Tuesday, May 29, 2012

These summer events are free, fun and ‘educational’

Most children aren’t really keen on activities their parents deem “educational,” especially during their summer vacations. But Fauquier County Public Library is presenting more than eight weeks of free events and special activities for youth this year: Dream Big: Read for children and Own the Night for students entering sixth grade or higher.

A bonus for parents is that numerous studies have found that students who take part in their local library’s summer reading programs significantly improve their reading skills and avoid "learning loss." Don’t tell the kids that though, the programs are so much fun they may not even notice they are reading and learning. And this year, just for fun, the library is offering a summer reading program for adults.

Registration for the children and teen programs begin online Sunday, June 3, at and Monday, June 4, at all of the county’s public libraries. Weekly programs and special events — many of which the whole family will enjoy — begin June 16 and continue through Aug. 11.

Participants in the children’s and teen programs set their own personal reading goals when they register based on the types of books they like to read and how many books they plan to complete and log by Saturday, Aug. 11. The library's goal is for participants to collectively read 30,000 books before the programs end.

Dream Big features weekly story times and programs for babies and children through fifth grade, special family events, and games and activities that are fun and encourage reading. Children earn a spin of the prize wheel once each week after logging the number of books read since their last log-in.

Special Dream Big events include an appearance of nocturnal animals from the amazing Wildlife Ambassadors, musicians Suzanne and Jim, artist/comedian Paul Merklein, a stuffed animal fashion show, a finale concert with Brooksie Wells and much more.

The popular Tween Scene, for students who are not quite old enough for the teen programs, features activities designed for rising 4th and 5th graders, including art projects, science experiments, and games.

Own the Night, the library’s summer reading program for students entering sixth grade or higher, features a self-defense/personal safety class with a martial arts instructor, T-shirt art, a Wii game day, a dream journal writing workshop, glow-in-the-dark jewelry making, a movie night, a swap shop and pizza taste-off, and a star gazing party. Lots of good reads will keep everyone sharp during the dog days of summer. Teens may earn small prizes throughout the summer by reading, but may win bigger prizes by writing book reviews and entering them in weekly drawings.

All children’s and teens’ events are free courtesy of the Friends of the Fauquier Library. Other sponsors supporting the programs include Chick-fil-A; Dairy Queen; Earth, Glaze and Fire; Effee’s Frozen Treats; Five Guys; Latitudes; and Rollerworks Family Skating Center.

The theme of the adult summer reading program, June 1 through August 31, is Beach Read Bingo sponsored by Friends of the Fauquier Library. Adults may pick up “bingo” cards with squares representing various genres, such as romance, history, mysteries, etc. Once they have read books in at least five of the categories they may return the cards to be entered in a drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Programs are offered at all Fauquier County public libraries. Call (540) 422-8500 for more information.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Declutter your life

It's not just me. Admittedly, I am on a personal quest due to my age, my finances, and my desire to live more simply, but it seems de-cluttering is the rage with lots of people these days.

There are tips for de-cluttering in 30 days and, even better, de-cluttering in 5 minutes. There are tips for de-cluttering your home and advice for de-cluttering your office. There is absolutely no excuse for not de-cluttering with these helpful books.

There are books about organizing your space, organizing your time, organizing your closet, organizing your employees, even organizing America (too much for me, for sure). There are even books about clutter's first cousin, hoarding, including the recently ordered The Hoarder in You by Dr. Robin Zasio.
You also might want to explore the principles of feng shui and, my favorite approach, philosophically at least, wabi sabi.

If you are reading this blog you are probably already a library user and saving lots of space and money by checking out books instead of buying them. (I know, I know, we still books every now and then - we're only human.) Recently a library patron told staff she was throwing out the old copies of her favorite magazine and buying the library a subscription so that she could read it here instead of cluttering up her house. Of course, staff thought that was a great idea! See more about about buying the library a magazine subscription.
Finally, you could do what I am hoping to do some day. Buy a tiny home - you'll be forced to streamline your possessions if you live in a small space. Two of my favorite websites dealing with tiny homes are Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Tiny House Blog. See? I'm practicing living small already and learning how to de-clutter. It's hard, but rewarding too. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day is May 18, so naturally I've been giving more thought to that topic than I usually do as I tear into my favorite Endangered Species chocolate (I allow myself three squares a day.).

The library has many books, e-books and magazines about or related to endangered species issues. Here is a just a small sampling of titles:
One notable title, donated to the library anonymously, is Wildlife Heroes: 40 leading Conservationists and the Animals They Are Committed to Saving by Julie Scardina and Jeff Flocken. 

The library has several magazine subscriptions that might be useful when searching for information about endangered species. All but the most current issue of magazines may be checked out. Adults might find information in National Wildlife, Blue Ridge Country, National Geographic, E: The Environmental Magazine, and Virginia Wildlife, while children may find information about endangered species in National Geographic Kids.

Get details on donating books and magazines to the library.

You can also check under the headings Encyclopedias & Reference; Magazines, Journals & Newspapers; and Science & Medicine on the library's Articles and Databases page for reliable, current information. And, you can get updates on threatened and endangered species from several organizations online.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Keep your favorite magazines on library shelves

All Fauquier County public libraries are seeking magazine subscription “adoptions” to help supplement the library’s materials budget during what it calls a Love My Library campaign.

The library’s materials budget, much of which comes from state funds, has been reduced by 14 percent since 2008, while library use continues to rise.

Several people have already generously stepped forward with the funds needed to renew magazine subscriptions this year, but many magazines still need funding. You can ensure your favorite magazines are available for everyone’s enjoyment by “adopting” a magazine subscription for a year.

Look for adoption forms on the front of unsupported magazines at your local library. Return completed forms to any library staff member along with a check in the amount needed to purchase the chosen magazine subscriptions. Shortly after you send in an adoption form you will receive a card in the mail confirming your gift and, with your permission, an acknowledgment will be placed on the magazine donated.

If you have questions, e-mail Fran Burke-Urr or call (540) 422-8504. See other ways you can support the library.