Libraries Make You Awesome
A Pew Research Internet Project report came out in March with some interesting facts about the American public’s engagement with public libraries. Book Remarks thanks Emma Cueto who wrote the following lightened-up summary of this research.
Apparently, people love libraries. Like, even people who don’t go to libraries think that they’re really cool. Even more surprising, two thirds of Americans report they have high or medium engagement with their local libraries.
They not only do stuff like...give kids a place for an after school hangout, they are also places where you can access truly staggering amounts of knowledge. Think about it: they employ people whose whole job is to make sure you not only can find what you’re looking for, but to help you sort through what you find. How awesome is that? Pretty darn awesome. And so it makes sense that this awesome-ness rubs off.
Libraries Create a Sense of Community
So you like reading? You like knowledge? Guess what, so do all these other people! And hey, you live in this town? So do all these other people! Libraries are community fixtures for a reason. They do everything from advertise community events to simply provide a space where book lovers can all be in the same room.
And people who feel like they’re part of their community are more likely to do stuff like, you know, give back to their community. Libraries help make that happen.
Books Make People Think More Broadly
It’s well established by now that books are super good for you. Reading makes people more comfortable with ambiguity and paradox, helps them to think more deeply about issues, increases empathy, and can even make you less racist. So places that encourage people to read are bound to produce some awesome people.
Libraries are Inclusive
Not only are libraries part of the community, they are places where everyone in the community can come and hang out. The typical library card is free, so it’s not like you have to pay to get in. Plus pretty much all libraries now provide plenty of computers and free internet access. Unlike many sources of knowledge...
libraries give access to all people, free.
Libraries are More Relevant Than Ever
Maybe the most surprising data point to emerge from the Pew Research study is that most library users are technologically engaged. That may sound
counter-intuitive, but the truth is that in the age of information, places where information can be organized and contextualized are key. Having a librarian help you research a topic is way different from searching blindly through a Google search results page. And that can make all the difference in how people perceive the world. In other words, library users are going to be smart about their technology, rather than becoming overwhelmed by unsorted information.
My Library Story
When my granddaughters come to visit, they always say, “Let’s go to the library!” We head over to the Perry Creek Branch, which is my favorite library. What a joy for me to share my favorite pastime with these special little readers.
Helping Boys Read
We recommend Guys Read (guysread.com), a web-based literacy program founded by author Jon Scieszka and dedicated to helping boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.
Research shows that boys who are having trouble reading, will read—if they are given reading that interests them. Boys in first or second grade who don’t have the skills to take on dense chapter books have no interest in picture books they consider to be “for babies.” Enter the graphic novel.
The interplay of words and pictures in graphic novels allows boys to comprehend the story and feel successful in reading. Other juvenile series like Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid offer a similar look, feel and level of satisfaction.
Advice for parents
We recall author Richard Peck’s apropos advice: “Never say to yourself or to others, ‘My child isn’t into reading, but he has so many other interests,’ because your child won’t get far with those other interests as a functional illiterate. There’s a literature for every field: scientific, artistic, athletic, vocational, professional, parental. Successful people in those fields must have access to it.”
Peck further advises that parents give their pre-school children literacy training, read aloud to them even after they
can read for themselves, play vocabulary games with them, encourage and reward the memorizing of short passages, make sure there are maps in the house and library cards in hand, and that they present reading and writing as adult activities. “The young are hungry for the advantages of maturity. Reading is one of them, and they can have it now, with your help.”
We especially like the part about library cards, and we’d love to match your children’s interests with our great reads.
Library Tech Talks
Confused about downloading eBooks? Want to know how to get the most out of other Library online resources? Library Tech Talks, providing demos and one-on-one assistance, are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, from 6 to 7pm at The Wilbur Aalfs (Main) Library—free parking after 6pm. Or, if you need assistance NOW, call 255-2933 x 221 and schedule a consultation at a time convenient to you.
Science & Summer Reading
The Pre-K through 5th grade crowd takes on science in a big way during Fizz, Boom, Read, our summer reading program that runs June 2 through July 31 at all Sioux City Public Library locations. Whether conducting simple science experiments or exploring the natural world and weather extremes, the combination of stories, movies, hands-on activities and guest presenters will dazzle curious young minds.
Spark a Reaction is the theme for teens and ‘tweens in grades 6 through 10. Sparks will fly in more ways than one as they engage in exciting activities that explore the arts and sciences, the natural world and the paranormal, and what it takes to be a hero.
Both age groups earn incentives at each Library visit, and after four visits participants may select a free paperback book, courtesy of the Friends of the Sioux City Public Library. Sign-up begins June 2. Library Summer Events Calendar (PDF)
Tourist in Your Own Town
Tour the Library This Summer
Try something new this summer with an adventure tour package from the Library. Coinciding with the City’s annual Tourist In Your Own Town promotion, June 1 through July 31, the Library’s adult summer program is all about discovering the Library in new and fun ways—and you get to choose how! Try the Family Tour, the Online Tour, the Readers Tour, the Friends Tour, or the tech-inspired WOW Tour—or take them all!
The goal of Tourist in Your Own Town is to explore local attractions. “Tourists” can stamp their “passports” at each location (including the Library) and register to win prizes. With the Library adventure tours, the challenge is to complete four out of five tasks per tour. Completed Library tour forms become entries in the Library’s grand prize drawing (to be announced when we actually have a grand prize). The point is to provide a fun way for patrons to experience those aha moments of discovery.
Looking Forward to the Past
When authors add emotion to their historical research, or project their imaginations into situations and events, the narrative becomes historical fiction. An excellent example is the 2014 One Book One Siouxland selection, Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline. With a keen sense of story, the author presents firsthand accounts of Orphan Train riders through the lives of fictional characters. Examples of historical fiction are found across all reading levels, from picture books through teen titles.
Good storytelling, lively language, and characters who present an accurate picture of a past time and place are important; and writers must stay true to established history. Historical fiction is a great way to experience the past—we invite you to check it out!
The world, our community, and how people use libraries continue to change. Sioux City Public Library is changing, too, in response to our community. When City budget realities demanded fewer open hours, Library officials envisioned what best-case scenarios would look like. Staff and Library trustees analyzed gate counts and hourly checkout statistics to identify times that would have the least impact on Library patrons. Officials considered the various services accessible in each of the Library buildings and through the Online Library, and which services are seeing an increase in use and which are trending down.
Ultimately, the Library Board adopted a recommendation to implement the July 2014 operating budget reduction by reducing hours open, on a date that is yet to be determined. Perry Creek Branch will change to five days per week with consistent 10:30am- 5:30pm hours Monday-Friday. Morningside Branch will be open until 6pm week nights. The centrally located, full-service Aalfs (Main) Library will keep the current schedule, and hopes to see even more visitors evenings and weekends when parking is free!
The Library’s Online Branch is open 24/7, where patrons can search the catalog and place holds on desired items, renew items currently checked out, or download magazine articles, eAudiobooks and eBooks.
Planning a Book Sale
Anyone happen to have an extra 10,000 square feet of open and dry warehouse space lying around? With heat, and lights, and bathrooms with running water? And a truck dock? Near a flat, well-lit parking lot? For free? Considerations like these make finding a site for the annual used book sale a tricky proposition for the Friends of the Library.
While not every item mentioned above is guaranteed in any given year, the site committee always finds a location by the middle of April—this time, in the same location as last year.
The 2014 annual used book sale begins Friday, April 25 and ends Saturday, May 3, under the clock tower in Gordon Plaza (3241 Gordon Drive, Sioux City). Proceeds from the sale will fund the children’s summer reading initiative and provide books, recordings, online resources and more for the Library, thanks to hard-working, dedicated volunteers. Visit www.siouxcity library.org or call 255-2933 x 251 for details.
Welcome to a reader advisor page featuring new or popular titles. For the most recent additions click the New & Recommended tab. Use the dropdown menu under Our Newest Titles for a list of items by category. Visit the Kids Zone and Teen Scene pages to find the newest books for these reading levels. Questions? Call us at 255-2933 x 221.
Read-alikes for Popular Titles
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, the Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline is a story of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.
In The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, two young sisters search for safe haven.
A foster child struggles to overcome her past in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
If you liked The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, try Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.
Both are atmospheric, lyrical coming-of-age novels that follow the experiences of grieving teens who receive an unexpected gift from lost loved ones.
Chilled by Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival, and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff? The dramatic 1912 self-rescue of Douglas Mawson in Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts makes for thrilling and inspiring reading. Or try The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by Gay Salisbury, in which 20 dog teams relay desperately needed serum across the Alaskan wilderness in a heroic dash now celebrated by the annual Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell looks at the comples and surprising ways in which the weak can defeat the strong and how having goals influences our sense of success. Imperfect: An Improbable Life by Jim Abbott tells how a one-handed pitcher rose above his disability to pitch a no-hitter in Major League Baseball, excelling at the sport he loved.
In Khaled Hossieni’s And the Mountains Echoed, the choices people make resonate through subsequent generations. For another tale that contains vivid historical details and spans generations and continents, try The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. Or, experience real life in Afghanistan with The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. As the sole breadwinner for her five siblings in Kabul, a young woman creates a thriving business despite the Taliban authorities.
Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman is the 2014 All Iowa Reads selection. Set in a Minnesota smalltown in 1987, a father searches for answers after his son commits a shocking murder, and a pastor’s wife returns to uncover the secrets of her past. Once Upon a Lie, a new mystery by Maggie Barbieri, is also about family, justice, and the choices we make that define who we are.
Long-Shining Waters by Danielle Sosin offers three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography. This strong sense of place is echoed in The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye. In the wilds of early-20th-century Duluth, the orphan son of an immigrant woman tries to build a life for himself and the woman he loves.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel Brown describes how a group of working class youths emerge from obscurity to defeat a field of elite international rivals. Fiction at the games can be found in Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936 by Jeffery Deaver. Here, a German-American hit man poses as an Olympic contender to kill a member of Hitler’s regime. Or try the Bernhard Gunther mysteries of Philip Kerr, beginning with March Violets, in which a private investigator solves a case of theft, murder, and corruption.