Your Library Staff at Home- RiverCon! 2020 Excitement

As much as I have enjoyed spending time at home with my cats, husband, and favorite yoga pants, I am so stoked about spending some time back in the library beginning next week! Library staff is slowly returning to the library to bring our amazing community some great programming, materials, and more to enjoy this summer! In particular, I am brimming with excitement for RiverCon! That is why there are so many exclamation points already in this post.

If you are into pop culture, comics books, graphic novels, and manga you don’t want to miss this celebration of nerdom. You can take a look at the goodness coming your way on our RiverCon webpage!

We’ve got something for everyone and it all kicks off Saturday, June 6th. What might that day look like for you if you were to participate in this at home mini-con? Let me paint the picture for you!

  • 9 am- 1 pm: Patrons who pre-registered for a RiverCon@Home activity kit (if you didn’t claim your kit yet click here!) can pick-up their kits by stopping at the front entrance of the library to grab your kit from one of the librarians. You can also sign-up early for one of our super fun summer reading programs! Pre-registration for kits will end June 5th, but fear not- we will have unclaimed RiverCon@Home kits on hand to pass out to anyone who stops by on a while supplies last basis!
  • What will my RiverCon@Home kit include? A RiverCon magnet, materials to make your own upcycled comic book bookmark, blank panel pages to draw your own comics, a librarian curated graphic novel reading list with discussion questions to explore at home, superhero stickers, and more!
  • 2-3 pm: Teens and adults can learn all about the interesting history of comics and graphic novels in Cleveland from CSU literature professor Jeff Karem at our Graphic Novelists in Cleveland webinar.
  • 2-3:30 pm: Kids ages 8-12 can sign up to participate in our online Nintendo Gaming Tournament.

The fun continues all month with our first ever Community Cosplay Contest running from June 6th- June 29th! Find all the necessary information for participation here. We want to see your creativity! All ages are invited to bring to life your favorite characters for a chance to win a sweet prize bag. Two lucky winners will win a selection of graphic novels and gift cards to Carol & John’s Comic Shop, Immortals Inc., and Mitchell’s Ice Cream!

Keep checking back here every Thursday, June 11- July 2 to read interviews with talented local comic artists and writers! We will be talking to Karly West, creator of The Scholarly Banana, comics designer and artist Clare Kolat, and Tony Isabella, creator of Black Lightning, to name a few.

I’ll be posting some sneak peeks of our RiverCon@Home kits next Thursday, highlighting some more of the great comic book content we have curated for you, and reminding you all of the awesomeness ahead one more time before the big kick-off day! It’s so nice to have something to look forward to these days, don’t you think?

Stay safe and well until next time!

Virtual Book Club – Week 4 – Book Woman

This Memorial Day weekend, we’re talking about another holiday celebration: one that takes place in The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.

If you’d like to read along with us, click the link above to go to Hoopla, one of our e-media services. All you need is your card number and PIN to check out a copy of the book – no holds, no waiting! And what better to do over a long weekend stuck at home than to read? Now, let’s get to the discussion…

  • How do you think Cussy feels when she is ostracized at the Independence Day celebration, despite her change of skin color? Can you relate to her feelings of isolation? 
  • If Cussy was alive today, do you think she would still face the same kind of prejudices against her skin color that she did during the Great Depression?
  • Cussy has to deal with the loss of many loved ones in a very short amount of time. How do you think she handles her grief? Which loss was the most difficult for you to read?  

Some questions from the author’s website, some additions by me.

Check back next Sunday for our final week of discussing Book Woman! We’ll post the last batch of discussion questions and close out our virtual book club for May. Whether you comment or just read, we’re happy you’re here!

Your Library Staff at Home- Favorite Comics on Hoopla

Revisiting favorites is a comforting and fun activity during these uncertain, and often stressful, times. Whether it is a favorite film (I just watched Back to the Future last night!) or a favorite book, there is something about that second or fifth re-watch or re-read that feels like visiting with an old friend.

Maybe you will notice a small detail in the plot you never caught before, or a line will hit you in a new way, or maybe the story will read entirely different to you this time around! I’ve been perusing some of my all-time favorite comics series and have shared them below. Maybe you’ll spot a favorite of your own or find a brand new series to pick up!

East of West by Jonathan Hickman

A weird series that has it all- dystopian future Earth, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, epic robot/monster battles, political intrigue, forbidden romance (with Death!), sci-fi spaghetti western tones.. .and the art is gorgeous. This series hasn’t ended yet so snag Volume 1: The Promise now on Hoopla and prepare for the end!

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s talents as a terrific horror and thriller author shine in this amazing series! Readers follow the Key family as they move into the mysterious Keyhouse mansion, which they discover is filled with mysterious and powerful keys. The Key kids also soon find other nefarious forces are at work to obtain the keys- will they survive? You may have recently caught the new Netflix series based on the comics, but I can assure you the books are much weirder, darker, and spookier than the show- in the best way. You can read the entire series from beginning to end on Hoopla, starting with Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

This is the series that truly began my love affair with comics. Sure, I’d read X-Men and Spider-Man plenty, but when I picked up Gaiman’s brilliant tale of Morpheus aka Dream I was blown away by how philosophical and creative The Sandman world was. The imaginative weaving together of mythology, fairy tales, Shakespeare, and more will entrance you. The impressive cast for the Audible adaptation was announced last week and inspired me to want to read this series for a third time! You can read the entire series, including the 30th anniversary edition of Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes, on Hoopla now.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga is a huge, sweeping sci-fi epic that is actually about love and parenting- but also super weird, graphic in more ways that one, and sometimes soul-crushingly sad. But it is so so good! Two soldiers on opposite sides of a long-running war fall for each other and have a child, quickly making them the most wanted fugitives in perhaps the entire galaxy. Saga is their story, as told by their daughter, Hazel. The series is on a hiatus, so while we patiently await the next new issue (or not so patiently), you can get caught up on Hoopla starting with Volume 1!

If you are a comics fan be sure to check out our online programming celebrating comics, graphic novels, and fandom kicking off June 6th- RiverCon! Originally envisioned to be a mini-con in the library, we have revamped our plans to offer you some awesome goodies and activities to safely enjoy at home! Register for a RiverCon@Home activity kit now on our event calendar and keep your eyes peeled on our website for more great stuff. I’ll be posting next week with a sneak peek of some of the cool content coming your way in June.

Stay safe and happy reading!

Virtual Book Club – Week 3 – Book Woman

Hello everyone, it’s time again for our virtual book club! We’re in our third week of talking about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, which you can get right now from Hoopla if you click that link. No waiting, no holds, always available!

This week, we will talk about the community scrapbooks that Cussy makes, as well as a ‘spoilery’ question about Cussy’s genetic condition. Don’t read the second question if you haven’t read about the ‘cure’ for Cussy’s blueness. You’ve been warned!

  • Imagine you were making a community scrapbook like the ones Cussy distributes to the people of Troublesome. What would you include? Do you think these materials were helpful to Cussy’s library patrons?  
  • When Cussy receives the cure for her blueness from Doc, she realizes there’s a price to pay for her white skin and the side effects soon become too much to handle. If you were in Cussy’s shoes, would you sacrifice your health for a chance at “normalcy”? If there weren’t any side effects, do you think Cussy would have continued to take the medication? Would you? 

Questions from the author’s website.

We’re dying to hear what you think in the comment section below! And make sure to check back next Sunday for our next batch of discussion questions and comments.

Virtual Book Club – Week 2 – Book Woman

And we’re back – week 2 of our second virtual book club pick – The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson! That link will take you to an ‘always-available’ copy of the book through Hoopla. Let’s get right to it!

In the first few chapters, despite her protests Cussy is married off, even though she has a job as a librarian and can support herself. But her father, thinking he is doing what is best for her, gives her to a violent and angry man. The discussion questions this week talk about that betrayal and the aftermath, as well as how hillfolk have been treated throughout history. Questions come from the author’s website.

  • Missionaries, government, social workers, and various religious groups have always visited eastern Kentucky to reform, modernize, and mold hillfolk to their acceptable standards. Do you think Cussy faced this kind of prejudice from the outside world? Is there any prejudice or stigma associated with the people of Appalachia today?  
  • How do you think Cussy’s father feels after he marries her off to an abusive man? Why do you think he agrees to Charlie Frazier’s proposal in the first place? What do you imagine life was like for an unwed woman at that time? 

Throughout the month of May, we will be posting new discussion questions in this read-along book club of Book Woman.  Sound off in the comments below, or just read along with us. Check back every Sunday for new questions to think about, and read along with us! 

Virtual Book Club – NEW Title! – Week 1

It’s here, the day you’ve all been waiting for… the day we announce the new book for the virtual book club for May! This time, we’re taking a turn from present-day literary fiction to historical fiction.  

Our book club pick this month takes place in the rolling hills of Kentucky during the Great Depression. Most people are out of work, or killing themselves in the coal mines to provide for their families.  They barely have time to sleep, let alone educate themselves. But that is where Cussy Carter and the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians come in. Funded on a grant from the Works Project Administration, the Pack Horse Librarians braved the wilds of Kentucky to bring the people of the hills books and education. Cussy is not just a librarian, though – she is a Blue: one of the last blue-skinned people of Kentucky, whose skin is a cerulean hue from a unique genetic trait.  

Based on historical fact, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson shines a light on a fascinating time in America’s history, seen through the eyes of a blue librarian. And you know we just can’t resist a story about librarians! 

Just like last month, we’ll post new discussion questions each week on Sunday. Click the book’s title up there to go to Hoopla, where it is always available. No need to wait or place holds for this one! Our librarians may also pop in to add their thoughts to the discussion. If we have a lot of interest, we’ll do an online meet-up to discuss the book. 

For this week, let’s talk a bit about libraries and librarians – you don’t need to have read the book to answer these!  

1. The Kentucky Pack Horse program was implemented in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create women’s work programs and to assist economic recovery and build literacy. Looking at the novel, how did the program affect the people in this remote area? Do you think library programs are still a vital part of our society today? 
 
2. How has a librarian or book lover impacted your life? Have you ever connected with a book or author in a meaningful way? Explain. 

Questions from the author’s website

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and hanging out with us!

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

I was lying in bed this morning thinking about what to post on the blog today – I’ve been doing these posts for a couple of weeks now, focusing on making a product and the processes involved. But I wanted to do something different today, about making, but from a different perspective.

YNYT-SugarCalling-3000pxesterday, I was listening to the new podcast by Cheryl Strayed, Sugar Calling and she was interviewing travel writer  and memoirist Pico Iyer, and as they were discussing how to participate ‘joyfully in a world full of sorrows’, Pico included a quote from a Benedictine Monk friend of his – “The best cure for anxiety is thinking of others”.

This quote was rolling around in my mind as I was thinking about how I could re-frame the word making.  Webster’s defines making as “the act or process of forming, causing, doing, or coming into being”, so why not think about making connections or making a difference in these anxious times?

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We at Rocky River Public Library got into this line of work because we want to make a difference, we want to help – with information, education, entertainment,  and equity of access. We can’t do everything we used to do, but we’re trying hard to provide similar services and explore new ones. Next week is National Library Week and we want to bring the library to you! Here on the blog, check us out daily for our thoughts about books, movies, TV, podcasts and cultural institutions with links to streaming media and digital books. We’ve shared our crafts, cooking and baking interests and we’ve even got a book discussion going. On our social media, we’re keeping in touch by sharing resources, fun activities, and asking you, our patrons, what you need. Our website can lead you to classes, books, movies, newspapers, business research – you name it, we’ve got it.  Call us at 333-7610; if we don’t answer, leave a message and we will get back to you – we really want to help – it’s our business and our calling!

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As you think of others, consider the Rocky River Assistance Program and the Cleveland Food Bank. Rocky River restaurants who are doing takeout could use your business, too. And if you go to Heinens or another essential business, make sure you wear your mask to support the workers who are helping us stay fed, clean and healthy. Check on a neighbor or call an old friend, whatever you choose, thinking of others does seem to help to stem the tide of anxiety.

cakeOh – and here’s an amazing Chocolate Flourless Torte I made at RRPL’s Biblio Bistro class with Annie’s Signature Sweets this week – look for a recording of the class in the coming weeks. Library Reads has a their May list of books out –  and Creativebug gives us their Week 4 Crafting at Home suggestions – I don’t have little ones, but making Galaxy Slime looks tempting!

I’d love to hear what you’re making or how you’re making a difference, so comment below. Stay safe and stay home!

~ Dori