Musings

What Public Libraries Do – Part 2

Since the 1980s, Public Libraries across America have been providing free computer and Internet access to community members. The Aurora Public Library District is no exception. In 2017, our public computers were used by library patrons 4,678 times and we had 7,295 people use our Wi-fi connections. The Library District remains committed to providing this access to all members of our community. We see everyday the growing need for computer access, not only for looking up information, but also for applying for government or state benefits, applying for jobs, filing tax returns, staying connected through social media and email, and a variety of other activities.

You can access our Computer and Internet Policy at: https://eapld.org/about/policies/. Anyone age 18 or older may use the public computers with a library card, and visitors to our area may use a computer by showing a photo ID. Children and youth under age 18 are required to have a parent or guardian signature to use a computer. The Library District does have a content filter on the public computers to comply with the federal Computer and Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

If you need help at one of our public computers, just ask at the circulation desk! Staff members can assist with many things, although we can’t give you medical, legal, or tax-related advice. If you are interested in taking a computer class or in getting some individual instruction, let us know. We are hoping to be able to offer more training in the near future.

 

 

Santa Claus Indiana — The One And Only!

Santa Claus is a small town located in Spencer County in the southwestern part of the state of Indiana. The town was founded in 1854 and was named Santa Fe (pronounced fee). The story of how it became known as Santa Claus has roots both in fact and fiction. In 1856, the town applied for a post office under the name of Santa Fe. The application was returned with the directions to choose a different name as the town of Santa Fe, Indiana had already been established with the United States Postal Service. There are different versions of the story and there were other choices that the town did not settle upon. The story that appears most often is that the small area of Spencer County was settled in the 1840’s by German immigrants who were too busy to name it.  They put off naming the town so long that the people in nearby cities referred to it as “The Nameless Town.” In 1892, the residents met at a log church on Christmas Eve to select a name. During the deliberations, the doors of the church blew open and sleigh bells could be heard in the distance, causing the little ones to shout, “It’s Santa Claus!” According to legend, the decision was made to go with that. What is known is that in 1856, the name of Santa Claus was accepted by the United States Postal Service.

In 1895, the post office changed the name to one word Santaclaus. The small town went unnoticed until the 1920s, when Postmaster James Martin began promoting the Santa Claus postmark. On February 17, 1928, the name was changed back to Santa Claus and it was then decided that there would never ever be another Santa Claus Post Office in the United States due to the inpouring of holiday mail and the staffing issues it causes. The growing volume of holiday mail became so massive that it drew the attention of Robert Ripley in 1929, who featured the town’s post office in his nationally syndicated Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

On August 3, 1946, industrialist Louis J. Koch opened Santa Claus Land, which is claimed to be the world’s first theme park. The park’s name was changed to Holiday World in 1984. In 1993, it became Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari when a water park named Splashin’ Safari was added to the park. Still owned and operated by the Koch family, it attracts more than one million visitors each year, and is home to The Voyage, which has repeatedly been voted by coaster enthusiasts the number one wooden roller coaster in the world.
In 2005, a local development company purchased Santa’s Candy Castle in addition to other buildings that comprised Santa Claus Town and announced plans to restore and re-open them to the public. When its doors opened on July 1, 2006, Santa’s Candy Castle was the first building of the original town to be re-opened. The 40-ton, 22-foot concrete Santa Claus statue was restored in 2011. In 2012, a local historic church and the town’s original post office were moved to the site next to the large Santa Claus statue.

History of Thanksgiving In Indiana

Thanksgiving is considered an American holiday.  Just the word Thanksgiving brings to mind images of turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie, family, football, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag,  the founders of the holiday.

In 1817, New York became the very first state to officially declare the Thanksgiving holiday, a day to give thanks for the harvest and the prosperity of our new nation.  The practice of celebrating Thanksgiving quickly spread through the midwestern and northern states with each state holding its own celebration on a different day.  Thanksgiving in Indiana began in 1837 when then Governor Noah Noble proclaimed December 7th as the state’s first Thanksgiving Day.  All the stores were closed and Indianapolis was in great harmony.  In the evening, a benefit for the poor was held at the city’s Methodist Episcopal church in which all the churches joined.  The day was judged “a happy day.”  By 1857, Indiana had begun to celebrate the holiday on the same Thursday every November and in 1863 joined the northern states in celebrating a national Thanksgiving Day declared by President Abraham Lincoln.

The month of November holds another national holiday.  National Indian Pudding Day is a day to celebrate and enjoy puddings created by the Native American Indians and is celebrated each year on November 13.  To celebrate this day in November before Thanksgiving is appropriate as the Native American Indians were a part of our first feast.  Indian puddings are a number of recipes of native American Indian origin.  They may include molasses, cornmeal and dried fruits as ingredients and are usually baked.

The Library invites you to join us at the Local History Library @ The Depot on Tuesday, November 13 to celebrate with us National Indian Pudding Day.  We will have pudding to sample while supplies last and recipes to take home with you.  Who knows…..Indian Pudding just may be part of your Thanksgiving feast this year.

A Downton Abbey Movie

If you haven’t checked out the amazing television series that is Downton Abbey, then you are seriously missing out! Luckily, the Aurora Public Library District owns all six seasons of the popular PBS drama that are just waiting for you to check them out! You have plenty of time to catch up with the series before the release of the full-length Downton Abbey movie next September!

(In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan.)

Downton Abbey follows the aristocratic Crawley family from 1912 to 1926, as well as the lives of their domestic servants in Yorkshire, England. The series opens with the sinking of the Titanic and with it, the heir who was to inherit the estate, as Lord Grantham only has three daughters. The scramble to find the next heir to the estate is on, and on the way viewers are taken through monumental historic events in British and world history, like World War I, the Spanish influenza epidemic, the Irish War of Independence, and various scandals and elections. The personal lives of the Crawley family and their servants are also swirled into the mix, investing you so deeply in the characters’ lives, you’ll forget they aren’t real people at all.

If you like historical and period pieces, as well as drama and Dame Maggie Smith, I urge you to check this series out as quickly as you can. Then you can track me down anywhere in the library and I will gladly discuss the series with you at length. We can wait in agony together for the movie to be released on September 13, 2019. (Which, by the way, will also include the majority of the original cast and will also be written by Julian Fellowes!)

In the meantime, check out these titles to hold you over:

Downton Abbey: A Celebration by Jessica Fellowes

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

The World of Downton Abbey by  Jessica Fellowes

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon

The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy by Anne De Courcy

The Manners of Downton Abbey

PBS Secrets of Highclere Castle

Happy Watching! And Reading!

Jodi Picoult: Standalone and Controversy Queen

Jodi Picoult’s first novel — Songs of a Humpback Whale — was published in 1992, after she graduated from Princeton University with a degree in creative writing in 1987. She has been steadily releasing new fiction ever since, taking on more controversial and current events topics with each new release. Her newest novel, A Spark of Light, takes on the hot button issues of gun control and women’s reproductive rights. In total, Picoult has authored 25 novels so far that have been translated into thirty-four languages in thirty-five countries, as well as five Wonder Woman comic book issues for DC Comics, short stories, and a Broadway musical. Five of her novels have even been made into movies.

I have read about half of her novels so far and am always eager to see what she will come out with next. Currently, I’m reading her newest, A Spark of Light, which drew me in from the very first scene.

The majority of Picoult’s books deal with heavy topics, like school shootings, racism, suicide, and the Holocaust. The characters in her stories are never strictly black or white, but are filled with gray areas and ambiguities that make you question what you thought you believed in as well. She also never comes down one way or the other on issues, either, and leaves many endings open-ended, allowing the reader to decide for himself or herself what he or she wants to believe. Sometimes after reading one of her novels, one doesn’t know what to believe anymore, or what side of an issue one should be on. Novels that make me think are my favorite kinds of novels.

Picoult is also known for her dramatic courtroom scenes, where lawyers will believably attempt to argue for or against characters and issues, but who come with their own baggage as well. It is also guaranteed that there will be a twist right at the end of every novel that the reader will not see coming, no matter how closely they are following along. I always hate when I can figure out the ending before the author gives it to me, so I usually read the last few pages of the book once I get into it to see if I’m right. With Picoult, I am always confused by the last few pages and never see the twist coming even though I know it’s going to happen.

But one of the best things about Picoult’s books as that they are all — with the exception of her young adult duology she co-wrote with her daughter — standalones. Her books are perfect for when you need to take a break between series, or are waiting for the next installment to come out, or even if you’re just looking for quick reads. There are some recurring characters spread across some of her standalones, but you don’t have to have read any of her other novels that these characters are featured in. But be careful; most of the time the characters’ actions and what they’re not saying speak louder than what they are saying, so sometimes you have to do some reading between the lines.

Try these out:

Handle With Care

The Pact

Nineteen Minutes

The Storyteller

Plain Truth

Leaving Time

Second Glance

My Sister’s Keeper

Salem Falls

Or any of her other novels! Then come find me and we’ll discuss at length.

Happy Reading!

Read More

I am in a spot in life where I couldn’t tell you the last day that I read a book! I know, how horrible! I am struggling with it! So I wanted to learn how to read more and came up with these five tips.

  • THROW YOUR PHONE IN THE TRASH!
    • Actually, you can put your phone on silent mode or airplane mode so there aren’t any distractions.
  • CARRY A BOOK WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES!
    • Whether the book is on your tablet or it’s a book, it doesn’t quite matter.
  • HAVE ANOTHER BOOK READY AND PICKED OUT BEFORE YOU FINISH THE ONE YOU ARE READING!
    • Check out three or four books from your library, load up your ereader, or even make a stack of your own books!
  • IF YOU AREN’T ENJOYING A BOOK, STOP READING IT!
    • Life is too short to continue reading a book that you aren’t interested in or liking.
  • SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOU TO READ!
    • Schedule an hour a day, Whether its during commutes, lunch breaks, waking up early, or even getting into bed early!

Reading is important especially to bibliophiles. When you feel stressed and feel like you don’t have time to read a book, your world could potentially become chaotic. Yet, when you do finally pick up a book and set aside time to read it, life starts to make sense again.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The wait is almost over! The second installment in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will be released into theaters on November 16!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be the second movie in a reported five-part series and the tenth in the Wizarding World universe. Fans have been anticipating this release since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out in November 2016– I know I can hardly wait!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on the textbook of the same name written by Newt Scamander, which is one of the book requirements for first year Hogwarts students, as shown in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The movie begins in 1926, when magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York City from England en route to Arizona. After several mishaps, Newt becomes mixed up with a No-Maj/Muggle, Jacob Kowalski, demoted Auror Tina Goldstein, her Legilimens (a form of magical telepathy) sister, Queenie, and the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Strange events have been happening across the city, and while searching for several escaped magical creatures Newt had with him in his suitcase, he is arrested and accused of working for the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, who is second only to Voldemort.

Without giving away what happens next, the ending of the movie is clearly left open-ended and begging for a sequel. This next installment promises to bring back the characters of Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, Credence, and Grindelwald, as well as new characters, like Albus Dumbledore, Leta Lestrange, Theseus Scamander, Nagini, and more. Plus, the screenplay was also written by J.K. Rowling! Check out the trailers here.

To prepare you for this momentous release, check out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to remind you of what happened in the last movie. You can always check out any of the Harry Potter films or books to hold you over until November 16. I’ll try to see if I can squeeze in a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in either Orlando or Hollywood; I’m not picky!

Happy Reading! And Watching!

Accio, November 16!

Mary Poppins Returns

There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Disney movie Mary Poppins Returns, which is to be released December 19, 2018, and the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you jump on the bandwagon! Keep a lookout for an Author Biographies blog featuring P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins and all of her adventures. In the meantime, check out Saving Mr. Banks to hold you over.

The first book in the Mary Poppins universe, Mary Poppins, was released in 1934, with subsequent adventures periodically released all the way up to 1988. We have several of these titles available both digitally and physically to check out.

Mary Poppins Returns is actually intended to be a sequel to the popular 1964 film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. And while the film is similar to the books created by Travers, it has become its own entity entirely. In other words, you don’t have to read the books in order to watch and understand the film, which is definitely still one of my favorites. The sequel promises to deliver all of the magical realism elements present in the original, as well as new musical numbers. I have high hopes that this new movie will be able to bridge the gap between generations; maybe it will even become as iconic as the childhood staple that is the original!

Starring Emily Blunt as the titular Mary Poppins, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns has been anticipated since its announcement in September 2015. Dan Van Dyke is also going to make an appearance in the new film, so we can only hope that the Queen of Genovia herself (Julie Andrews) will follow suit!

Watch the trailer here.

Can you tell I’m more than a little excited? It’s bound to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

National I Love Yarn Day

There is a day to celebrate everything, and October 13 is National I Love Yarn Day! What could this day possibly have to do with the library?

If you love to craft, chances are you’ve checked out a how-to or DIY crafting book from us at one time or another. We have plenty of yarn crafting titles available for you to check out from the Library’s physical or digital collections for all levels:

A Beginner’s Book of Knitting and Crocheting by Xenia Ley Parker

Sewing with Yarn: An Introduction to Sewing by Hand by Barbara Carmer Schwartz

One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites

Yarn Crafts by Linda Hetzer

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes

Let’s Knot: A Macramé Book by Donna M. Lightbody

Sock Yarn: One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

The Knitters’ Book of Socks by Clara Parkes

Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen

Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman

Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman

The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes

60 Crocheted Snowflakes by Barbara Christopher

Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller

Christmas Ornaments to Crochet by Barbara Christopher

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Luxury Yarn: One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

And so much more! We also have magazines filled with patterns, designs, and project inspiration that you can check out, too! Discover a new hobby or rekindle an old one this October 13. Someone could always knit me a scarf or a blanket or something; I’m not picky!

Happy Reading!