Meet Ivy

20180310_103113It’s time to play, “Name That Librarian”! Here are your clues:

  1. This is her seventh year at the Library
  2. She went to JBU and to Culinary School
  3. She loves World of Warcraft and feel-good historical romance novels
  4. She doesn’t always have a food craving…but when she does it’s usually for homemade apple pie and ice cream
  5. She is the devoted Cat Mama of the incredibly adorable, Mr. Nuts

Can you guess?

It’s Ivy!

If you frequent the Library, chances are you’ve had the pleasure of meeting this easy-going, talented, and caring librarian. She is a joy to work with─as a library patron or a fellow staff member.

Ivy with proof that “Bigfoot was here” at the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium.

Ivy moved to Siloam Springs as a teenager when her Dad opened a Hank’s Fine Furniture Store. She recounts that she was born in Wichita, Kansas, “home of the BEST zoo I have ever been to.”


Fast forward through the rest of her school  years and Ivy found herself working at the Library beginning in 2011. When I asked her what motivates her about her job, she said:

“The staff is what motivates me. We are team, and we value each others strengths and weakness. The library is my home away from home, so the staff is like my family. I can’t think of a better group of ladies than the ones that I work with!”

It’s clear that Ivy develops great relationships with the other staff members at the Library. On any given day you might see Ivy delivering a homemade treat to the break room, taking time to ask a coworker “how are you?” (and meaning it), or telling someone “congratulations” on a successful project. She is a problem-solving, note-writing, program-planning, book-cataloguing, drama-dispelling, pie-baking, well-loved coworker.

But Ivy’s caring attitude extends beyond just her coworkers. She works hard to make the Library a fun and helpful place for everyone who comes in. Ivy would like to see the Library “…at the heart of the community.” She wants people to “…see the library as a destination haven where you can have fun, learn, and just feel like they are a vital part of this community, because they are!”

When I asked her what she wished more people knew about our Library, she said,

“I’d just like people to know that a library is more than just books. We are so much more.”

Ivy is especially excited about our new technology help services and basic internet courses. Class times will be listed on the Library Website as they occur. You can also drop in for personal tech help every Wednesday from 3:00-4:00pm next to the reference desk. She also wants everyone to know about Universal Class. Ivy says, “let’s say you want to add something to your resume to give it some ‘oomf’? Guess what, you can take a [Universal] class and get a certificate at then end of the class that you can add to your resume.”

When I asked her what inspires her to keep working at the Library, Ivy said, “I love it when a kid asks for a new series that we don’t have, and we can help provide them with the book through our item request forms. Just to see the excitement they have to read those books is what keeps me doing what I love doing, which is putting those new books in our library database. Don’t be shy, and ask us for that book that you’ve been wanting to read!”

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake Ivy made for Easter years ago.

As much as Ivy loves the Library, if she had to choose an alternate career, she said, “Everyone has a ‘dream job,’ and mine is to have a Coffee shop/Cafe with my pies, cheesecakes, cookies, and savory lunch type foods!”


This blog author gets hungry just thinking about a place like that. Library-Cafe, anyone?

Here’s some more fun facts about Ivy!

Hidden talent:  “My hidden talent is to make anyone within 10 feet of myself hungry. I talk about food a lot. Haha!”

Favorite color? “I love purple, but mostly a jeweled eggplant type color. (Hey look, I tied in food. Did I make you hungry?)”

Favorite foods to make: Apple pie, french toast, alfredo…she’s currently trying to perfect German pancakes. Bonus fact: Ivy’s Great Grandmother was a fantastic cook. Ivy grew up wanting to be like her.

Ideal Saturday: “My ideal Saturday would be to sleep in without an alarm clock waking up mid-morning. Play World of Warcraft (yes, I’m a nerd, and I love it.) until I wake up with a cup of coffee. Get cuddles with Mr. Nuts and watch Netflix (right now I’m watching Criminal Minds), or watch some ghost shows. Oh, and of course bake a homemade apple pie for dessert that evening – ice cream included!”

Current read: “I am reading The Girl at the Gatehouse, by Julie Klassen. I love historical romance. I like to read something warm and positive in my free time that just makes me smile and  sigh a contented sigh when I’m finished with the book.”


mr. nuts
Mr. Nuts playing in the presents on Christmas

Pets: “I have a fat, white, ginger cat named, Mr. Nuts! I got him at our Siloam Springs Animal Shelter. I remember the day before I was going to pick out a pet, my sister and I were looking at all of the pets at the shelter online. Specifically, we came across a really goofy looking cat named Picasso. We joked around about what a silly name “Picasso” was, and how that cat had just the goofiest looking face. It wasn’t until a few weeks afterwards, that I realized I had actually adopted that cat named Picasso, who actually turned out to be the best cat I have ever had! We still joke about “Picasso.” When he is really happy, he gives us that “Picasso” face, and it just melts my heart.”


Like apple pie with ice cream, the Library is a richer place because of Ivy. Staff and patrons alike are grateful for her calming nature, her organizational (and culinary!) talent, and her generous care for others.

Till next time,



Celebrating Eric Carle

Library Staff are dressing up like Eric Carle books this week. Tuesday’s outfit hightlights The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

If you grew up reading, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you know why we’re spending a week celebrating its author, Eric Carle. Did you know his “hungry caterpillar” was originally going to be a green worm? With the help of editor, Ann Beneduce, the worm became the voracious caterpillar and lovely butterfly we love today.

Eric Carle’s life, in many ways, reflects a similar transformation. His metamorphosis took him from immigrant, to WWII victim, to stifled artist, to career man, to soldier, to illustrator, and finally to beloved children’s author and illustrator.

Like his caterpillar, life began on a nurturing, green leaf for Eric: his German immigrant parents encouraged his love of nature and art. While these early years in New York were sweet, Eric would be forced to “eat” many unpleasant circumstances in his hungry journey toward maturity.

When Eric was still a young child, his parents moved back to Germany. Unlike his American school, his new school in Germany valued rules above creativity. While his boyhood hands swelled from the disciplinary blows of a teacher, his heart shrunk deep inside as he quickly learned to comply with the strict regulations.

Eric Carle’s art adorns our Children’s Library.

Although his creativity was stifled, it was not snuffed out. Eric talks about going to visit a favorite Great Aunt, Tante Mina, who always offered him plenty of yummy snacks. He jokes that these memories formed a basis for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. At Tante Mina’s home he would also spend precious time with his Uncle August who was an avid painter and storyteller.

The start of WWII looked bright for Germany, but soon, his hometown of Stuttgart became a major target of Allied attacks. It wasn’t long before Eric’s new normal included rushing to a bomb shelter dug into a hill in the middle of the night. He was eventually sent outside the city to live with one of many families who took in children during this tumultuous time. Fortunately, Eric was placed in a nurturing home.

One pivotal bright spot during the war, was getting to meet with his art teacher, Herr Krauss. Krauss exposed Eric to expressionist art, which was forbidden in Germany at that time. Seeing Eric’s tendency toward this lovely but outlawed art form, his teacher advised Eric, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen today. Just remember their free and loose style.”  Eric remembered.

Eric Carle is the author or illustrator of over 70 books. Hop over to our Children’s Library and read some!

After WWII the library played a special role in Carle’s life. He continued to hate school, having gotten behind in his studies in the chaos of the war. A librarian helped him discover authors who had been banned before the war like Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. He says, “I am not sure that I understood the deeper meanings of all their writings, but, with the librarian gently urging me on, I absorbed the heartbeat of every page.”

He entered a competitive commercial arts school after his secondary education was complete. After school and working two years, Carle finally returned to America. Armed with $40, an art portfolio and two years of work experience, he found a job with the New York Times. His budding career was interrupted by the Korean War, during which he served in the U.S. army stationed in Germany. The Army allowed him to live back at home with his own mother during this time.

In Germany, he decided to marry Dorothea Wohlenberg, the sister of a former co-worker. He and Dorothea moved back to America and had two kids. Another bitter circumstance arrived years later in the form of a painful divorce.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

As with any story of transformation, hopeful times came with the bitter ones. Carle started doing freelance work and met Dr. Bill Martin Jr. author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Carle was thrilled to illustrate a book for children. Later on, he wrote the first version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the version that featured a worm instead of a caterpillar).That worm-turned-caterpillar proved a turning point in his career, and Eric Carle began pouring himself exclusively into children’s books.

Carle includes the following thought in The Art of Eric Carle: “I am fascinated by the period in a child’s life when he or she, for the first time, leaves home to go to school. What a gulf a child must cross then: from home and security, a world of play and the senses, to a world of reason and abstraction, order and discipline. I should like my books to bridge that great divide” (38).

And indeed, many children have crossed that bridge from home to school with the colorful creativity of Eric Carle adding joy to the journey. Carle’s own journey was not an easy one: fraught with loss, pain, and even trauma─yet even the worms turned into caterpillars turned into butterflies.

This week we celebrate Eric Carle’s story, and all the stories that his books and pictures bring to life.

Till next time,



P.S. Big thanks to my main source of info for this blog: Eric Carle’s “Autobiography: a Life in Words and Pictures” found in The Art of Eric Carle (Philomel Books). You can find this book on our display shelf at the Library.

Do-it-Yourself Librarian

“It’s tiring to have to keep asking the librarians to look stuff up for me and renew my items…”   -Willie the Wistful Dog

Are you tired of driving all the way to the library just to renew books you already have? Do you wish you could remember which books you’ve already checked out from the library? What about when you see a book and think, “this would be perfect to read on vacation,” but then by the time you go on vacation, you can’t remember what the book was! Would you like to be the first to know when a new DVD comes to the library? Or the next book by your favorite author?I’d like to officially welcome you to the world of PAC, where dreams like these—and more—come true! Now, don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking:

Oh great! An acronym I don’t understand. And I bet it has something to do with computers! I’m having a nervous breakdown already!

Take a deep breath.

Being your own librarian doesn’t have to be a headache. Come to our PAC class!

This post is called “Be Your Own Librarian,” but we’re not gonna throw you into Librarian World all at once. We want to offer two classes at the library to walk with you step-by-step through the features of this program called PAC.

PAC stands for “Patron Access Catalogue,” which is a boring name for a really cool program. Many of you already use PAC to search for books at the library, or at home through the Library website.

If you’re new to PAC, then PAC 101 is for you! Grab your laptop or other device, and head to the Library This Saturday, February 24th at 10:00am! This class will begin at the basics teaching you to:

  • Access PAC and set up a personal account
  • Maintain a reading history
  • See items you have currently checked out
  • Renew items online
  • View requested items and your place in the queue
  • View your fines
  • Conduct basic searches
  • Receive emails about materials that interest you as they come into the library
  • And more!

Once you know the basics, come on over to our second PAC class (Thursday, April 12) and learn to…

  • Create custom lists
  • View, sort and send saved lists
  • Narrow searching by filters
  • Browse by material type and by collection
  • Advanced searching (find award winning books, books in a series, etc)
  • And more!

16333The Library can be a gold mine, but if you don’t know where to dig or what tools to use, it’s just a pile of dirt. Go for gold with our PAC class this Saturday, February 24th from 10:00-11:00am at the Library. The Second PAC class will be on Thursday, April 12th at 3:00pm. Don’t forget to bring your favorite electronic device!! That way you can learn about PAC on the same device you will use at home.

You can be your own librarian! Go for gold!



Till next time,



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Holding a baby Kangaroo: just another day in the life of Delilah. No wonder her programs are so fun!

“Oh it’s phenomenal!” an enthusiastic parent told me about the Library’s Home School Program. “They do such a good job!” I knew this parent was praising the work of our Library’s Program Coordinator, Delilah Williamson.                                                                                                                                            Almost every day of the week, kids gather in the library because of Delilah’s planning, outreach and creative implementation. The smell of popcorn wafts into the main lobby every Monday for a family movie. The kids shelves are lined with crafts from an after school program. Little minds are encouraged to read and explore during story times.

Delilah says she came to the Library because “the position of Program Coordinator sounded fun and interesting.” She has certainly fostered fun and interesting programs. And the kids programs are just the beginning. Delilah has created space for library staff and volunteers to pioneer their own programs as well. Now there are programs for adults and teens, from movie nights, to book clubs, to pumpkin crafts, to writing contests.

You can imagine it takes one talented, creative, energetic and fun individual to coordinate all our diverse programs at the Library. Delilah is just such an individual. She juggles her many responsibilities with grace, and seems to have fun doing it!

kids program
Delilah coordinates our amazing volunteers who put on children’s story time.

Although born in Tahlequah, Delilah moved to Siloam Springs when she was about four. She got her degree in Early Childhood Education from John Brown University and became a Preschool teacher. After a few years, she started looking for a change and took the Program Coordinator job at the Library. One of her favorite aspects of the job is applying her education skills to her programs, helping kids have fun and learn at the same time.

When I asked her where she would like to see the library in ten years, she said she would like to see, “A place where families and individuals know what we offer, can come hang out and everyone can have something to attend or enjoy.” Delilah is playing a significant role in making this vision a reality.

Family Event feb 10
Don’t miss the magic, fire and mayhem at our upcoming Family Saturday Program!

Currently, Delilah hopes that more and more people will realize all that the Library already has to offer. I asked her what one thing she wished more people understood about the Library. She said,

“Probably that the library in itself is a resource.  So many people still just think the library is for books only and if you don’t need a book then why bother going to the library. Even with all the advertising I feel that we do, I don’t think people understand what all we have and offer on a weekly & monthly basis – most generally for FREE!”

Side note: wouldn’t it be great if you could get a text or an e-mail about these fabulous programs?? You can!! Simply click HERE, to set up Notify Me on the Library website. Our Facebook Page is also updated often!

If you’ve attended any of Delilah’s programs, you already know she is fabulous. What you may not know, are these fun facts!

The most recent Saturday Program: a Cupcake Contest! Congratulations to our winner and thanks to our savvy judges (pictured). Check out the Facebook Page for more pics!

Delilah’s ideal Saturday: “Really depends on the weather of course, but if it was nice out I’d enjoy a leisurely, scenic motorcycle ride. If it was cold out (like today, burr…) perhaps a day in curled up by the fireplace watching movies and sipping hot cocoa.”


What Delilah is currently reading: I’m currently reading the Bible. I’m skipping around and not really reading in any particular order but I’ve finished the book of Acts and Psalms and now I’m in Proverbs. I’m also reading Live Original by Sadie Robertson to my youngest daughter before bed.”

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Delilah enjoys spending time with her two daughters.

Favorite meal: “I don’t really have favorites (as my children will attest) but I like pretty much anything Mexican and I also really like good southern home cooking; fried potatoes, ham, squash, rolls… yum!”

Favorite quote: “I don’t really have one, because there are so many that I like, but one I was reminded of not too long ago is ‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything’ (Irish Proverb).”

Favorite color: Purple

Delilah’s investment in Library programs has created a plethora of options for our whole community to enjoy. She works with energy, authenticity, humor, experience and skill. Come enjoy all the programs the Library has to offer, and tell Delilah how much you appreciate her!


Till next time,


Cupcake Contest

cupcake-collageThe nervous baker gingerly places exactly 6 cupcakes before the judges panel. Straight-faced, smug, and smiling respectively, the three judges prepare to taste. With a gliding motion, the first judge dives through the buttercream and airy-soft cake with his fork. He holds the bite in his mouth while the baker holds his breath.

Suddenly a rush of doubt overtakes the baker for three paralyzing seconds.

“Did I overbake?” He wonders. “Is the buttercream too butter-creamy? Did I overbeat the batter or under mix my mix?”

The tension! The anguish! The glory of victory! The letdown of defeat! When the gavel comes down on his cupcake confection…what will the verdict be??!

We’ve all sat on the edge of our seats watching Cake Boss or The Great British Baking Show. Now you can be a part of the action with….[insert inspirational trumpet sound]:

The Library’s Valentine’s Day Cupcake Decorating Contest!!!!!pexels-photo-23078

That’s right. It’s time to dust off your muffin tins, roll up your sleeves and get ready to get sticky in some friendly competition. Our own Trisha Lynn from Cafe on Broadway, Sheila Wilmeth from Heavenly Creations, and long-time Friends of the Library volunteer, Donna Schwartz will judge the competition.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out a registration form at the Library (to be turned in no later than January 27th at 4:00pm)
  2. While you’re at the library, get a copy of the rules. Read this carefully. Ignorance to the cupcake rules is no excuse.
  3. Craft six uncommonly creative, cream of the crop cupcakes and bring them to the Library on February 3rd at 1:00pm (contest will be in Meeting Room B, just down the hall to the left of the front desk).

Can’t decide between coconut cream and raspberry-filled espresso? No problem! You can enter as many times as you want. Just fill out a separate registration for each entry. This year our contest is for adults only.pexels-photo-718754

May the best baker win!


The Writing Contest

We know you have something to say. Ideas bubbling into words spilling out on paper. We

Startup Stock Photos

know you have what it takes. We know you’re ready for….



That’s right. We’ve teamed up with the Siloam Springs Writers Guild to create a contest for youth (8th-11th grade) AND adults (12th graders will be considered adults). 

And yes…there is a prize!

The winning adult will receive a FREE year-long membership to the Siloam Springs Writers Guild. The winning 8th-11th grader will receive a FULL SCHOLARSHIP ($200 value) to the brand new Writer’s Camp at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. The camp will be on the UAFS campus in Fort Smith July 9th-11th.

So, what do I write about?

For this contest, you will write a 250-750 word prose response to the question:

“How has the weather affected you?”

The weather is a powerful force. How has it impacted you?

This is nonfiction, autobiographical essay, so you gotta dig deep into your well of personal experience. Did the weather played a big role for you during the holidays this year? Do you have a vivid childhood memory where weather played a key role? Have you ever lived in a foreign climate that impacted your lifestyle? How has the weather has changed your view of the world? Has the weather ever changed your plans in a dramatic way?

Let your weather experiences inspire you and start writing!

All submissions are due February 28th. You can find all the rules by clicking here.

If you need a little more motivation, I’ve collected a few timely quotes:

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetFor the Perfectionist…

“I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life


For the Wordy Over-Achiever…

“Tell your story as you would to a neighbor; carry on a conversation in writing.”

─ Leonard L. Knott Writing for the Joy of it  

“Keep your new writing simple and remember─short is beautiful”

─ Leonard L. Knott Writing for the Joy of it

For the Overly-Serious….overly serious

“Approach writing in a relaxed and spontaneous manner, and your desire will not desert you. In the beginning, before it was duty, art was child’s play.”

─Victoria Nelson On Writer’s Block: a New Approach to Creativity

inspirationFor the Uninspired…

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”

—Ray Bradbury, WD
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference                                                                                    between the lightning bug and the                                                                                                    lightning.”

                                                                                —Mark Twain

For the Person Who Hates Essays…

“[The essay] is an art that needs to be revived and its revival depends upon amateur writers. Essays are meant to be enjoyed, particularly, I think, by the people who write them. This form is the ideal vehicle for the pleasure writer─neither too demanding nor too demeaning.”

─ Leonard L. Knott Writing for the Joy of it  

Final Thoughtspexels-photo-210661

Finally, if you think it’s not worth your time to write an essay for a community contest, just remember the importance of writing as a skill! Whether writing your resume, applying to college, composing an email, or finally publishing a book─writing weaves its way into almost every profession and life stage. A  contest might be just the motivation you need to sharpen your skills!

Whatever you do, have fun.

Happy writing!


Merry Christmas from Your Library Staff

It’s a cup of hot chocolate warming your cold hands while you watch the Siloam Springs parade. It’s making Christmas candy with your whole family and using your grandmothers’ recipes. It’s an ice-creamy “Santa’s cap” after opening presents. It’s the holiday season at the library, and I’ve asked our staff to share a few of their favorite things.

Merry Christmas from your quirky Library Staff.


Favorite Christmas food: Christmas pudding  (My mom’s version)

The Library staff and Friends volunteers enjoy the homemade gift exchange at the annual Christmas party.

Favorite Christmas Book: Any Debbie Macomber that has Shirley, Goodness and Mercy as the main characters.

Favorite Christmas Movie: The Sound of Music (It’s not Christmas, but it tends to show around Christmas time)

Favorite Christmas Activity: Caroling

A Special Christmas Memory: We used to get together with aunt, uncles and cousins when Gramma was alive and when we were younger. All of the cousins would put on a Christmas program for this gathering and Santa would come and hand out gifts to each one of us.


Favorite Christmas Tradition: One of the traditions I have with my family is the making of Christmas Candy. Everyone gets involved. This year we are all excited to add

christmas candy
Stephanie loves making Christmas candy each year with the whole family.

our girls to the festivities. We make the traditional candies of fudge, peanut brittle and divinity, recipes handed down from my grandmothers. Through the years we have also added cherry mash, turtles, pecan caramel pretzel bites and caramel corn. Everyone (Rick and I, all 3 children and their spouses and now our granddaughters) will spend at least one Saturday working together. Christmas was my mother’s favorite time of the year and she always tried to make it a fun time. She passed down the candy making experience to myself and my family.

Favorite Activity: exploring communities and neighborhoods with lots of Christmas lights. We have taken our children to many different towns and communities from Tulsa to Branson since they were little to enjoy the experience. This is also something we are looking forward to sharing with our grandchildren.


Favorite Christmas activities: we decorate the tree and the house the first weekend in December (typically) and ALWAYS put on Christmas music to listen to the whole time we decorate. I like my girls and I to create/craft an easy, small gift that we can give to all our friends and family members.  Sometimes it’s edible and sometimes it isn’t, but it has to be cheap and easy to make.

Enjoying some laughs at the Library Staff Christmas party.

Favorite Christmas movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas for sure every year and other Christmas movies like Home Alone, Elf and of course Hallmark Christmas movies….

A special Christmas memory: We have a tradition of always watching the Siloam Springs Christmas parade downtown all bundled up with our hot cocoa/coffee.  This started with my own family growing up.  We lived close to downtown so we would walk and stand on the corner by what is now “Café on Broadway”.  I live further out now so I have to drive to see it, but I wouldn’t miss it!


Favorite food: Christmas-tree-shaped sugar cookies with buttercream frosting, Dad’s homemade rolls, and a lot of Turkey Giblet Gravy. Please, just give me the bowl of gravy and a spoon.

Ivy's Santa movie
Ivy’s favorite Christmas classic

Favorite Movie:  For the past maybe 10 years, my family will watch Santa Claus (or Santa Claus vs. Satan.) It is ridiculously cheesy. It’s a 1950s movie where Santa lives on the moon, and Lucifer tries to spoil Christmas by sending Pitch, a demon, to earth to make good children into bad children. Santa gets help from Merlin the sorcerer, and the children of the world that work for (with?) Santa to build the toys. Best. Christmas. Movie. EVER. My family and I will cry we are laughing so hard.

Favorite activity: My family gets together after we are stuffed from Christmas Lunch to play Mexican Train Dominos. The competition burns calories, and works up another appetite for Christmas leftovers (more homemade rolls and gravy! Woohoo!).

A special Christmas memory:

Ivy’s cat, Mr. Nuts, shows his holiday charm.

When I was little on Christmas Eve, my parents would take my sister and I driving around town to look at the Christmas lights. While we were driving around, my parents would tell us to keep an eye out for Rudolph in the sky, because Santa would be coming to our house at anytime with our presents. When we’d finally spot a flashy red light in the sky, my parents would excitedly exclaim that the light was Rudolph and that Santa was right over our house. When we’d arrive back home, all of the presents from Santa would be displayed in front of the fireplace. To this day, when I go around looking at Christmas lights, I still peek up in the sky for a flashy, red light (an airplane light) in the sky announcing Rudolph’s arrival.


In case you were wondering who Santa’s favorite is…

Favorite Christmas food: Cherry Salad… and chocolate desserts.

Favorite Christmas activity: Eating

Favorite Christmas movie: Elf

A special Christmas memory: As kids, my siblings and I would wake up at 4:00am (sometimes earlier) and look at what Santa had left us.  Later (probably not much more than an hour) we would wake my parents up and eat the sugar cookies we had made the night before and open presents.  The Christmas Story movie would be playing in the background or some other Christmas movie.


Favorite Christmas food:

  • Hint of Berry Bon Bons. I found this recipe decades ago online or in a magazine or something (I don’t remember).
  • Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake for breakfast on Christmas morning, I make this on Christmas Eve.Santas Hat (1)
  • Santa’s Hat.  We drink these after opening Christmas gifts at my parents house.  The Santa’s Hats are just Cherry Ice Cream topped with a lemon lime soda, a large swirl of canned whipped cream, red sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.

Favorite Christmas movies: A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart)  and Christmas in Connecticut (with Dyan Cannon).

Favorite Christmas tradition: We have always bought new pajamas for the kids and allowed them to open them on Christmas Eve.  When the kids were younger, we always made a set of handmade ornaments every year.  We would give these as Christmas presents from the kids and keep some to decorate our tree too.  Each year was a different type of ornament: clay, beading, hand sewn, wooden, etc.

Favorite Christmas songs:  “Mary, Did you Know?”  (Clay Aiken singing),  “My Favorite Things” (Lorrie Morgan singing), “Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin singing).


Valerie and Jennifer bond over matching Christmas outfits.

Favorite Christmas Food: Lasagna and anti-pasta (New York Italian Christmas dinner!).

Favorite Christmas movie: A Christmas Story (When his tongue is stuck to the pole!), The Grinch and The Peanuts Christmas are always to be watched on TV.  Yes, they came out when I was a kid!!!!!!!  We had B & W TV then!

Favorite Christmas activity: OPENING PRESENTS!  and eating!

Favorite Christmas memory: We always went to Christmas Eve service at church and came home to open 1 present which was new pajamas!  The very best was when we were at church and a neighbor came to put my presents around the tree.  That was when my oldest daughter doubted there was a Santa…….mind-blowing!!!  This was when service was at 11pm and we got home at midnight.


Favorite Christmas food: Homemade mashed potatoes with A1 sauce

Favorite book to read during the holidays:  Harry PotterThe_Polar_Express_(2004)_poster

Favorite Christmas movie: Polar Express

Favorite Christmas activity:  Going to Indiana to visit my mom and family…and the snow.

Favorite Christmas memory: My family goes to my grandma’s house for Christmas nearly every year. The cousins all have a Christmas tree just for our presents and we each have a balloon with our name on it with our presents. The tree is huge and when I was little it looked like it would go through the ceiling.


cabbage patch
Jennifer cherishes childhood memories of homemade doll clothes one Christmas.

Favorite Christmas food: White Chocolate covered pretzels

Favorite Christmas movie: Little Drummer Boy

Favorite Christmas activity: Baking or decorating

A special Christmas memory: When I was little there were six kids and money was tight.  I wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll but they were too expensive.  So my mom and dad bought us the knock off brand then she and my dad sewed several outfits for me and my sisters’ dolls.


Favorite Christmas Food: My family has a tradition of cooking an amazing Christmas waffle recipe for brunch on Christmas Day. Sausage is also served to help balance out the sugar.

Tabatha says you “can’t go wrong” with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

Christmas Movie: Christmas afternoon is usually spent watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”  Can’t go wrong with a classic, and they even have the DVD in color now. What more could you want?

Favorite Christmas Tradition: I enjoy decorating for Christmas. Putting up lights, red bows, and some fake snow is always fun. While it didn’t happen this year, I am definitely planning on it next year. I also like going to my Aunt’s house when she is decking it all out with her snowmen and snowflakes. We listen to Christmas music, talk, and sip something yummy.

Christmas Memory: When I was young, my mother would put out the nativity manger at the beginning of December.  All throughout the month, each time my sisters and I helped one of our siblings or parents, we earned a piece of straw to place in the manger. Christmas morning, Baby Jesus would be resting on the hay we had earned that month.


Favorite Christmas food: Every year I look forward to my mom’s “melting moments” cookies. A holiday treat that lives up to its name!

Favorite Christmas movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

My newest Christmas tradition is attending JBU’s Candlelight service with my husband, James.

Favorite Christmas Activity: I love the anticipation of Christmas: looking at soft twinkle lights, playing my Spotify Christmas favorites, the Christmas story building with each Sunday on the Advent calendar, having more unhurried time with family and friends. and─ever since meeting my husband James─going to the JBU Candlelight service!

A Special Christmas Memory: One year my sister and I got a little white mouse for my Mom on Christmas. My mother hates all rodents and we thoroughly enjoyed watching her freak out (I’m ashamed to say). True to character, my mom started to have compassion on even a squirmy, albino mouse and decided we should take care of it. Somehow though, it escaped it’s makeshift home and got loose in the house. By the time we found it, it had lost an eye. The pet store wouldn’t take it back because of the missing eye. We set him free by our neighborhood creek. You will hear my family talk about “Gingersnap” the mouse every year.

And we’ll stop there. Thanks for letting us share our traditions with you. We hope your holidays are truly filled with joy.

Merry Christmas!

-Kendra & The Library Staff








10 Holiday Problems the Library Can Help You Solve

awkward christmasDo you find yourself wishing for a few personal assistants around the holiday season? Let your library be of service! From long road trips to awkward parties, here are 10 problems the library can help you solve this season.

Long road trips

Of course we all love to visit Great Aunt Gertrude in Kansas City, but sometimes the long road trip seems to sap our holiday fervor before we even get to her front door. Never fear, the library is here. Pop in one of our fabulous audiobooks or CDs and make the car trip part of the holiday fun! Need some ideas? Get in the holiday spirit with Gwen Stefani’s You make it feel like Christmas or A Pentatonix Christmas by Pentatonix.

Jazz up your road trip with the tight a capella harmonies of A Pentatonix Christmas

When your throat is sore from singing, why not enjoy some old classics like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, or Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women?  We also have popular authors like Dean Koontz, James Patterson and Danielle Steel. Or how about a collection of funny and heartwarming dramas designed for family vacations! Adventures in Odyssey: The Ultimate Roadtrip: Family Vacation Collection. Browse our collection and enjoy the ride.


Let’s face it: the most wonderful time of the year can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. A book like Brené Brown’s  The Gifts of Imperfection could be just the mental re-set you need. Or perhaps Elaine St. James’ Simplify Your Christmas: 100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays. You might also feel better if you are prepared for the worst. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Holidays by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht may provide the peace of mind you’re looking for. Everything from putting out a turkey fire to creaming your friends in a snowball fight to making a last-minute Menorah–you’ll be prepared for anything the season can throw at you.


santa's helpers
These kids know how to get a project done! They show off their Lego skills at the library on Santa Saturday this month.

To-Do Lists


Maybe in the middle of extra holiday projects, you realize other responsibilities are falling by the wayside. Let David Allen help you out with his proven methods in Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. The holidays are also notorious for overspending and under budgeting. Get back on track with Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.


Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. Enjoy time with your family AND check off some holiday “to-dos” with homemade gifts. Fun Christmas Crafts to Make and Bake: Over 60 Festive Projects to Make with Your Kids might be a good place to start. Or consider Carol Field Dahlstrom’s Simply Christmas 201 Easy Crafts, Food and Decorating Ideas. Be sure to stay on budget with Holly-Jolly Crafts Under $10


Christmas movies

Okay this isn’t a problem, but who isn’t looking for a good holiday movie this time of year? Don’t spend your money, borrow a movie for free with your library card. Tune in next week for our library staff’s favorite Christmas movie titles!

window christmas tree
Books, movies and decorations like this Christmas tree get us in a holiday mood. Special thanks to the Siloam Springs High School Art Club for decorating the Library’s windows!

Finding Christmas books

If you want to curl up with a cozy Christmas book this year, we have placed a special Christmas sticker on all of our Christmas-themed books. For an even easier search, check out Valerie’s picks for holiday books this season on the front display shelf (first shelf on the right as you walk in the library). They aren’t just for display, they’re for YOU!

Party Food

Potlucks, family gatherings, office parties, school celebrations–the list of “bring-a-snack-to-share” events can be daunting! We have a plethora of recipe-filled cookbooks and magazines for all cooking levels. Christmas Cookies and Candy Easy-to-Follow Recipes for Mouth-Watering Holiday Treats by Portland House could be a good place to start. And don’t forget about our online magazine collection! Real Simple magazine contains handy tips and recipes for the holiday season as well as many others.

These girls grab some quality time at the Library on Santa Saturday this month.

Talking to strangers at parties

When friends and family draw near, we can sometimes find ourselves in awkward situations with people we either don’t know or haven’t seen in years. Mark Rhodes may speak to you in his book How to Talk to Absolutely Anyone : Confident Communication in Every Situation. Or maybe you need a reminder that it’s actually okay to be an introvert and not like parties. Susan Cain can help you out with, Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.



Creating Quality Family Time

School’s out and you may find yourself wanting to create some quality time with your kids. You might find some helpful ideas in The Family Dinner Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids One Meal at a Time by Laurie David. Maybe you just need some fresh games for your little ones. Family and Party Games by Bounford, Trevor and The Diagram Group can give you creative ideas for 3-year olds all the way to over-10-year-olds.

Understanding holidays besides Christmas

hanukkah3Do you have a friend or neighbor who doesn’t celebrate Christmas? Do you feel misunderstood or ignored because you don’t celebrate Christmas? Although about 92% of Americans do celebrate Christmas (according to a Pew Research Survey done in 2013), there are still a significant number of people who don’t. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to open constructive dialogue and to learn about friends and neighbors who may celebrate differently than you. Try New Year’s to Kwanzaa: Original Stories of Celebration by Kendall F. Haven, or Light the Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas by Margaret Moorman.

All the best to you and yours,


P.S. Look for our bonus blog in honor of Christmas next Tuesday. We’ll take a short break and resume bi-weekly posts on January 9th.





Assistant Library Manager, Stephanie Reed.

Careening through the mountains on a four-wheeler, diving out of an airplane, cruising down the road on a motorcycle─not what you expect to hear when asking about the hobbies of an Assistant Library Manager. But this is exactly how our own assistant manager, Stephanie Reed, enjoys spending free time with her family. It just goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover!

As I interviewed Stephanie, it became clear that, although I had pegged her hobbies all wrong, other impressions I had of her were right on. Anyone who meets Stephanie quickly discovers that she is kind, efficient, hard-working, thoughtful, strong and full of integrity. In this sense, Stephanie is exactly who we think she is, and her sense of adventure and     strength of character are a gift to all who encounter her.

Stephanie considers Colcord, Oklahoma her home. She currently resides there with her husband. Although her six children are now adults (three originals and three─affectionately called─“newbies” who became kids by marriage), they are always welcome there, not to mention the twin grand-babies!

Although she and her husband bowled together in high school (yes, bowled), and he asked her out twice during their four years in school together, they did not actually date until after graduation. Not to waste time, they got married exactly 9 months after their official first date. Over their thirty-five years of marriage, Stephanie has intentionally put her family above her career.

Reed Family
Stephanie and husband, Rick, love to spend time with their grown kids and twin granddaughters.

In fact, her family led her to the library in the first place. When her kids were young, Stephanie wanted them to experience the joy of reading, as she had as a young girl. Specifically, she came in search of The Boxcar Children and walked into the Siloam Springs Public Library for the first time.

When a position opened up to work part time, Stephanie asked her husband,

“What do you think my dream job would be?”

“Well I don’t know, but I know it’d have to have something to do with reading!” He answered.

Together they thought and prayed about accepting a part time job at the library. With a farm and young children to care for, there was a lot to consider.  One by one, each piece of the puzzle fell into place to allow Stephanie to accept the job, and she began her career at our library.

That was in 1995. About 22 years later, I asked her what keeps her motivated in her job. She said,


Stephanie makes sure she has room in her schedule for play time!

“It’s the relationships. I’ve seen generations come through this library. I’ve watched babies grow up into adults and have their own babies. It’s getting to know the patrons. It’s getting a new item in and knowing that a specific person I know will be so excited about it.”

She also loves the environment of constant change that the library provides. Ten years from now, Stephanie hopes the library is “still adapting:” still implementing new ways of experiencing library materials. Just as DVDs and Audio-books have changed the experience of the library, she hopes the next 10 years will bring still more variety. She sees it as a challenge that she is confident the library is up for. This confidence comes partly from a look at the past.

“We used to process 12 books/month in a good month. Now we average about 300 materials per month, not counting e-books.”

Stephanie knows we can continue to keep up with information in it’s ever-evolving forms.

One thing that doesn’t change in the midst of this though, is Stephanie’s commitment to her home family, her church family and her work family.

“If I couldn’t get all three of those to work together, I wouldn’t be here.” You might see Stephanie’s husband help hang a new display at the library, or notice Stephanie proudly introducing her adorable granddaughters on her way to a family gathering. This priority is not a sentiment, it’s a value that directs her decisions.

No question we’re glad Stephanie decided to apply to work at the library 22 years ago. Whether you’ve known her since her first day or whether you just visited the library for the first time, you’ve benefited from Stephanie’s work at the library. We are grateful for her leadership and strength of character.

Now for some fun facts!

Favorite meal: Trying new things! “In the past I would have said ‘roast with carrots and potatoes.’ but now I’m trying to eat more healthy stuff and I really enjoy trying new things.” Jerita, a co-worker and friend at the library says, “She’s trying things I never thought she would try.”

Hobbies: Motorcycling, white water rafting, four-wheeling in the mountains, skydiving

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite Saturday: Playing with grand-babies or a quiet day with Rick.

Favorite quotes:

“Where there is love, there is


Where there is courage, there is


Where there is peace, there is


And when you have God,

You have everything”

Louise Penny, The Brutal Telling


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

10 Reasons to Join a Book Club

Confession: I attended my first library book club just last month. Yes, I work at the library and I had never before been to a book club. Now you know. But today I’m here to give you ten excellent reasons to join me in the joy of book clubs.

1. Make new friends. We live in a small community, so there’s a good chance you’ll see some familiar faces. I enjoyed putting names with some faces I knew and meeting totally new people. The book club provides common ground for easy conversation.

You never know who you might meet at a book club. Maybe some of these colorful characters who dropped by on Halloween last month 

2. Eat yummy snacks. Soon after chatting up my neighbors and making new acquaintances, a kind woman offered me the most delicious piece of homemade blueberry buckle. Now, I couldn’t promise you blueberry buckle at every book club meeting, but chances are, you’ll run into a tasty treat and some coffee to boot!



Mike & Lisa Pahsetopah helped us hear a different viewpoint AND expand our horizons with their Native American Cultural presentation at the Library earlier this month! 

3. Hear a different viewpoint. If you give fifteen people the same book to read, they will come away with fifteen different points of view on the book. As we discussed The Pecan Man, by Cassie Dandridge Selleck, each person brought their own life experience and perspective to the table. It’s like being able to read a book with 15 sets of eyes.


4. Expand your reading horizons. This month’s evening book club chose to read, The Death of Santini. It’s not a novel I would normally pick up, but when I went to the first book club, one member had already read it and she inspired me with her glowing reviews. Book clubs are full of people who know about good books─let their ideas broaden your reading enjoyment.

5. Read. Many of us want to read more (or just read at all), but we need a little motivation. I probably wouldn’t have read The Pecan Man without the motivation and deadline of a book club. That being said, it is not necessary to finish the book to come to a book club (just a little insider secret there). Any reading you do is more than you were doing before!

6. Connect more personally to the library. Did you know two of our three our book clubs are led by library staff? Although the group I attended was not led by a Library staff person, Dolores Deuel, our library manager attended as well as some Friends of the Library volunteers!

book club
Assistant Library Manager Stephanie Reed (seated at the head of the table), leads the adult morning book club the third Tuesday of every month.

7. Enrich your old friendships. Why not invite an old friend to do the book club with you? I met a brother-sister duo attending the book club together. You and your friend can enjoy discussing the book together and bond over trying something new.



8. Develop your reflection skills. A discussion group like a book club gives you space and stimulation to reflect on what you have read. This in turn helps you draw conclusions, ask questions, and form opinions. Reflection is a valuable personal, relational and professional skill.

9. Evaluate your personal experience.  The Pecan Man brought up issues like racism, lying to protect someone, cultural taboos, and handling abuse. Our discussion gave room for us to share our own experiences with some of these issues.

young adult
Book clubs aren’t just for adults. Check out our exclusive club for 7th-12th graders: T.R.O.L.L.S.

10. Boost your mental and emotional health. It’s common knowledge that having friends is good for your health. It’s like cardio for your soul. We also know that reading is good for your mind. Think of it like a serving of brain broccoli (except smothered in cheesy goodness and no calories).


Wanna join a club? Choose the time and setting that suits you best. We have something for everyone! Stop by the library to sign up, or e-mail us at Here are the fast book club facts:

  • The next book club meeting will be our adult Morning Book Club at the library Tuesday, November 21 at 11:00 am. This group is reading A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. Look for this group every third Tuesday of the month. This is a smaller group for a more intimate setting. It is sponsored by the Library and facilitated by Assistant Library Manager, Stephanie Reed.
  • The Adult Reading Group meets in the evening of the second Monday of every month (except December) from 7-8:30 pm. This is our original reading club. It is a larger group sponsored by the Friends of the Library with a variety of facilitators. Local author and JBU professor, Gary Guinn will facilitate in January.
  • Our young adult (7th-12th graders) book club, T.R.O.L.L.S. (Teens Reading Obviously Likeable Lit on Saturday)meets in the Young Adult area of the Library at 11:00 am one Saturday a month. Led by Library staff member Leah Humphrey—you won’t want to miss out on this group exclusively for teens! Group will resume in January.

Book clubs provide us an opportunity to partner with other libraries as well as community members. We are especially grateful to the Arkansas State Library for providing a great number of books for our clubs. Many services at our library would be impossible without their partnership. Thanks ASL!!

Wanna start your own book club? Talk to us about using Library space or host it in your own home and let us provide the books with one of our book club kits. Check them out just like any other item with your library card.

Happy reading!