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 library@siloamsprings.com. 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!


A Song for Fancy Dancing

Mike Pahsetopah: Native American Cultural Educator and World Champion Fancy Dancer

Have you ever hummed a song without thinking? I often find myself humming Christmas songs during the summer, or a song from childhood that I thought I had forgotten. It’s usually a song I know so well, I barely realize I’m singing it.                                                                                                                                                                When it comes to cultures that are different from my own, I have a sort of “song” I sing. That is, I have all kinds of thoughts and feelings that I have without knowing I have them. Some are harmless, but some can hurt my relationships with other people.                                                                                                                           For example, when I heard that Native American cultural educator, Mike Pahsetopah, was coming to the library, my first thought was something like,

“huh, I guess that’s cool, but kind of weird too.”

And then I moved on. That is, until I started to write this post about his upcoming performance at the library. I realized my reference points for Native American culture are few and far between.

“No problem!” I thought, “I’ll just do some research, come up with some compelling facts and voilà!” But I quickly realized I was out of my league.

Mike is a World Champion Fancy Dancer. I have no idea what fancy dancing is. A quick internet search revealed that the fancy dance appears to have originated about a hundred years ago after the U.S. government banned religious dances for Native Americans…but let’s be honest, I still don’t really know what it is.

Mike performs at an event sponsored by the Collinsville Library

This is why I’m excited that Mike is coming to our library. He’s providing our community with an opportunity to learn. We have a lot to learn and a lot to gain from every culture. Mike is coming specifically to teach us about Native American culture—what a gift!

Oh, and did I mention he is super entertaining and highly talented?? His resume includes appearances in Last of the Mohicans and Walker Texas Ranger. He is also the first Native American in history to dance on the Eiffel Tower (il a dansé à Paris! Speaking of other cultures). He works to show kids and adults what true Native American culture means instead of the stereotypes represented on TV or Disney movies (Peter Pan, anyone?).

Now for the details: you’ll want to get to the Library this Saturday, November 4th, at 10:00am (or a little before to get a good seat). Head over to the meeting room (down the hallway on your left as you walk in the front doors). The program will last about an hour.

I’d like to invite you to be a learner with me. And not just on Saturday when Mike gives us a great show, but as a way of life. Let’s learn about each other together. Let’s ask questions. Questions open the door for relationships. And if we had more relationships with people who are different from us—well, wouldn’t that change the world?

See you Saturday!



“That’s part of how we keep the library alive.” Dolores said as she explained the process of bringing in new library materials and weeding out old ones.

“Keeping the library alive.” Dolores  I’d never thought of it that way. But as I learn more about the library, I see it  more and more as a living thing. Quite appropriately, as the Library Manager, Dolores seems to me a true nurturer, guardian, and caretaker of the library—a “gardener of knowledge,” you might say.

I have no doubt that people who know her better see this even more, and not just with books, but with people as well. Dolores is quick to stop and ask how you are doing, or reference an inside joke, or serenade you with her latest rewrite of a Beatles classic. Her positivity, care for people, attention to detail, and ready humor make her a welcome presence to patrons and library staff alike.

Dolores comes from Collins, Iowa. When I asked her what brought her to Siloam Springs she said, “We sold our snow blower in Minnesota so had to move south.” She continued, “Seriously, my husband retired from his first job, we had family in this area, and we wanted to move to a different town.” Dolores says the Siloam Springs Library was a “natural fit” because, “I love learning, books and helping people learn and discover things.”

Dolores & Leah
Dolores poses with staff member Leah to promote our summer program: “Are you Smarter than a Librarian.”

This passion came up  throughout our interview as Dolores shared her joy in watching patrons and staff make new discoveries. For example, early on in her Siloam Springs Library career, she helped another staff member host a cricket match on the library lawn. She had a blast helping kids learn a new skill, experience a different culture, and have a lot of fun at the same time.  Dolores loves working with children and has always found a way to work with them whether at church or at work.

When asked where she would like to see the library in ten years, Dolores painted a picture of an educational, recreational, informational, and social center for our community. “All four of these areas work together.” She explained, “they enrich each other.” In this library, information is readily available,  all forms of media are shared and discussed, the joy of learning is nurtured, and people have lots of fun playing games and enjoying library programs.

Of course I had to ask a few “just-for-fun” questions…

What are you reading right now? I just got done reading “Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship” by Michelle Kuo.

Pumpkin Decoupage Fun
Dolores captured the fun in pictures at Valerie’s Pumpkin Decoupage Program earlier this month.

Favorite meal? Steak, pizza, chicken Kung Pao, spaghetti. It would be easier to tell you my not so favorite foods. Beets, corned beef, and anchovy pizza. Fish and pizza don’t go together for me.

Favorite quote? “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss

Favorite color? Green, orange, purple

You have a free Saturday with no responsibilities, what is your ideal day? Relax at home in the morning, do something later in the day such as attend a ball game, spend time with friends, explore the area and eat at a great restaurant (not fast food!)

Dolores: Library Manager, knowledge-gardener, direction-setter, learning advocate, sports fan, song (re)writer…the list goes on. I hope this post has been a small introduction for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Dolores, and for those that know her well, just another reminder of how thankful we are to have her as a part of our community.

Mike Pahsetopah Performs

‘Til next time,


P.S. Mark your calendar for family fun on Saturday, November 4th! Actor, dancer and Native American cultural educator, Mike Pahsetopah is giving a performance you won’t want to miss! Stay tuned for more details here and on our Facebook page.

It’s Pumpkin Time!

What is a fruit and weighs 2,624.6 pounds?

Why–the world’s heaviest pumpkin, of course! You didn’t misread that number, Mathias Willemijns, of Belgium, grew a pumpkin that weighed well over one ton according to Guinness World Records. Don’t believe me? Just ask The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. They’ll confirm the facts.

Edited Pumpkin Image
This is a “decoupaged” pumpkin. So cute, right?!

On a lighter note, we’ve got big pumpkin plans of our own right here at the library! Librarian and crafter extraordinaire, Ms. Valerie, is hosting a Pumpkin decoupage event for you and your family to enjoy on Saturday, October 7th. Create your pumpkin masterpiece from 10:00-12:00 in  Library Meeting Room B. We’ve only got 50 pumpkins, so scarf down those Saturday morning pancakes early and head over to the library!

 And if a pumpkin that could house a cow doesn’t get you into the autumn spirit, try these pumpkin facts on for size:

  • Pumpkins for dinner?? If you lived in North America before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, chances are that pumpkin would be a pantry staple. North Americans grew pumpkins waaaaaaay before Thanksgiving was even a thing!


  • The first pumpkin pie. Picture this: you hollow out your pumpkin, but instead of carving a scary Jack O’ Lantern face, you fill it up with milk, honey, maybe a little ginger, and you put it on a nice, low fire to “bake”–Voila! The first pumpkin pie! Your mouth isn’t watering? Well, a lot has improved since the 1800s, and pumpkin pie is certainly one of them.


  • Do you want fries with that? The biggest pumpkin festival (it’s in Circleville, Ohio if you want to visit this year), offers many tantalizing pumpkin treats including… pumpkin burgers. We’ve definitely come a long way from those early pumpkin crops. 

Get those creative juices flowing and join us for a stupendously squash-filled spree at the Siloam Springs Library!

Till next time,


P.S. This isn’t our only family event on a Saturday. Keep an eye on our calendar to stay in the loop about future fun!

P.P.S. Thanks to Tory Avery’s article on PBS.org and Alexandra Gonzalez’s post on her website for furnishing the fun pumpkin facts in this post!

Why a Blog?

We’re Starting a Blog!

As of this summer, the Siloam Springs Public Library had 12,663 members (people with library cards). Siloam Springs has a population of about 16,448. Although many of our patrons come from outside the city limits, it’s safe to say that the majority of people in town are connected to the library in some way. 10,333 people walked in and out of the library doors in July alone this year.

So, what does this have to do with a blog?

The library lives and breathes because of the people who use it. That’s how new ideas are introduced, how materials are chosen, and how book clubs, game nights, and storytimes are born. And while it’s impossible to sit down as a cozy group of 10,333 people, it is quite possible for all of us to read the same blog. We hope this blog will become a place to…

  • Be informed. Did you know you can take classes on everything from cooking to astronomy to military history through Universal Class on the library’s website? Did you know we show a movie (with popcorn!) every Monday for families? Have you heard about our digital collections accessible on your phone, computer, or tablet? Do you need meeting space? We’ve got it! The library has these and many more resources to offer. We don’t want you to miss out any longer!


  • Be personal. Yes, despite popular belief, librarians are people too. You might experience us as somewhat reserved, rule-enforcing, you-have-a-20-cent-fine type people from across the front desk, but we really care about people! We care about you, and we’d like to introduce ourselves and let you in on a little of what makes us tick.


  • Be inspired. The library belongs to all of us, so jump in there and make it your own! Maximize its resources and think of what you have to bring to the table! Do you have passion for gardening, foreign language or scientific discovery? Ask about starting a club or program! Did your family have a laugh at our “Are you Smarter than a Librarian” trivia night? Share a picture! Come be a part of shaping the library and the community.


Thanks for being a part of the library, and thanks for joining us on this new adventure. We are looking forward to sharing and shaping the library together.