5Days4Democracy – Why Democracy?

For me, the answer to “why democracy?” is an easy one. America’s democratic system of government grants me many freedoms that other countries’ citizens are not automatically given.

Two of my favorites are my freedom of speech and the right to vote for my choice in our elections. And while I admit that it’s hard for me sometimes when I see neighbors’ yard signs in support of a candidate running against the one I support, I’m sure glad I’m able to put up my own yard sign. When I feel myself getting aggravated by such a display, it’s important for me to take a step back and realize that this disagreement is actually our country’s Constitution at work. I take a deep breath and know that it’s not just okay that my neighbor might not agree with me, it is their right, too!

During these five days for democracy, think about how opposing yard signs make you feel. And then take your own deep breath and be grateful that you too live in a country where you can express such a thing.

So, help celebrate these 5 Days for Democracy and sign up here to receive emails this week that will help you better understand, celebrate and think of ways to improve what democracy does for you. Oh, and don’t even think about stealing any yard signs!

-Carol

Chadwick Boseman’s Gift

I hadn’t read any Black Panther comics or books and had the same amount of background knowledge of his place in the Marvel Universe as I did about Thor (ie – so very, very little) before seeing the movie based on the character. Oh. My. Gosh. The 2018 film staring Chadwick Boseman was 134 minutes of greatness!! The history and lore of Wakanda, the special effects, the serious moments mixed with humorous moments, all the surprise twists, and getting to watch Chadwick Boseman create an unforgettable, strong, vulnerable hero as King T’Challa. Mr. Boseman passed away on August 29th but his kindness, his vision of what the movie industry could be, and his long list of films, speak to the legacy of this legend, taken too soon. Thank you for all the gifts you gave to us Mr. Chadwick Boseman!

Imagine Your Story – Unplugged

Do you feel like if you might scream if you have to read one more email, attend yet another meeting online or answer another group text message? If so, then I feel your pain. I was right there with you a week and a half ago. I managed to complete my workdays without taking anyone’s head off, but then I realized, for me, it was time to unplug.

I’ve heard that unplugging for just 24 hours can be beneficial and can help people feel more centered and grounded in the present moment. But gosh, it seems harder than ever to unplug, right? We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are being forced to attend more virtual meetings than ever, order online more, stream everything, and text everyone that it seems impossible to avoid technology. But maybe this is the perfect time to do it.

A 2011 study from the University of Maryland demonstrated that when students unplugged from technology, they spent more time with friends and family, got more exercise, and cooked and ate healthier foods. That all sounds pretty good.

This past weekend, I left my phone alone, chose a paper book over my e-reader, avoided the video game console, and just let my brain relax. It wasn’t easy. I had to bow out of my weekly family Zoom meeting, miss an installment of a TV show I’ve been watching, and (sigh) put on my reading glasses to read, but think I ultimately benefited from it. I got lots of spouse and cat-time and some daydreaming in, got a bit of extra sleep, and crossed a few chores off my list. It was worth it.

So, how about it? Unplug for a day and see how it makes you feel. I won’t even be mad if you read my blog post a day late.

~Carol

 

Imagine Your Story -Book vs Movie

How often have you had the discussion about which was better -the book or the movie? All the time, right? And how often do you pick the movie over the book? Not as often as you pick the book, right? Well, I’ve got a win/win for you this week! You can read the book *and* watch the movie, in any order, and walk away thinking, “that was great!” Are you curious yet?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson blends his personal experiences and life journey with his drive to create social justice and encourage us all to get involved. I read this book when it first came out, and have enjoyed it as an audio book as well, and I think part of what makes Mr. Stevenson’s book so special is how a reader can emotionally connect to experiences, feeling his pain and his joy, while breaking down those systemic issues surrounding the inequality of our justice system. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative leading force in the creation of the Legacy Museum as well as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Mr. Stevenson is changing our World for the better!

“But what about Just Mercy as a movie?” you ask. This movie focused in on how Mr. Stevenson became Mr. Walter McMillian’s lawyer over other experiences in the book. Sometimes it’s that trimming that can leave a reader feeling like something was missing, but I would be surprised to hear that after you watch this film. Instead, I’d guess you might also think of this as an additional chapter to the book?

I hope you read *and* watch Just Mercy, and then -please, let me know what you think!

Take care
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home -hunh?

Ooo! What happened? Somewhere over the past few weeks, I’ve realized my attention span has gotten very short. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It’s a good thing I’m already a fan of making lists -and checking items off the list. Now I need to figure out how to remember where I put my most current list… heh heh. (I also need to remember to recycle that finished list-geez,)

So maybe you’re on the same page as I am (book humor on purpose!) and you’d like to listen to an entertaining book or podcast right now? Great! May I suggest the following podcasts: Stuff You Should Know-covering a wide variety of topics, the length varies by episode, Flash Forward -possible futures based on current ideas, Imaginary Worlds-mostly SF topics but also plenty of general appeal, or NPR’s Life Kit -nicely compact discussions of truly helpful tips for navigating everyday life. May I suggest an older nonfiction book: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt -I learned so much about European Starlings and Mozart (of course?) plus musical moments were included in the audio book! And how about an older mystery/dark comedy series: Izzy Spellman Series starting with The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz -you too might fall a little in love with this seriously loving and dysfunctional family like so many of us have!

Or if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of what? who knew? I need to try that! nope. Yes! May I suggest checking out #recipes on TikTok? (If you can figure out a good way to limit your time on this one -please send that good tip my way?!)

And please, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, okay?
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Spring is (indoor) Spider Season?

Despite the recent snow (sigh) it really is Spring, a season that brings out all sorts of newly created flora and fauna. Spring also reminds everything that went into hibernation it’s time to wake up! While it isn’t really news to anyone, this year -being inside at home so much- I realized this includes house spiders! ugh. I’m working very hard to embrace the challenge of living peaceably with these multi-legged, fast-moving arthropods. (It would help a lot if they would stop running across the ceiling or hiding in the bathroom…¯\_(ツ)_/¯) So, what have you learned about your house this Spring?

As I give my new spider frens plenty of space, I’m also attempting to grow an avocado tree from a seed! I’m mid-week two and no roots yet but we’re in the early stages… oh, the hope! In-between refilling the water and moving Ava Cado to the warmest spots around the kitchen I’m enjoying some upbeat songs on Freegal, the Library’s new ad-free music service -all you need is your Rocky River library card and pin number to start streaming music! Check out the different genres and why not try making your own playlist – enjoy!

Be kind to yourself today!
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home-a New Set of ABCs

A is for All the Feelings. I’ve talked a lot about anxiety in general and how it has effected me specifically. I think we’ve reached a point in all of this that most people are well aware that we are feeling stress and anxiety, so I am changing this week’s A. Story time. Working from home has really drawn attention to just how bad my home home internet service is, so I decided to take advantage of a different company’s new customer offer. I placed my order and the company sent me the equipment. I felt very proud of myself for managing this basic task. I woke up Tuesday ready to set it all up. I disconnected the old modem. I unpacked the new one, feeling determination that quickly turned to anger and despair. I didn’t have the needed cable outlet! Feeling stupid that I didn’t know I needed cable, I made a quick call to customer service and the kindest woman dispatched a technician. Relief. I reconnected the old modem, only to discover it didn’t work. So, there I was, in a house with 2 internet companies, 2 different modems, and ZERO internet. I spent the next three hours waiting for help to arrive. I spiraled through ALL THE FEELINGS. I FELT them ALL. I walked myself to the ledge and then talked my own self off. My internet was finally installed, but I wasn’t up and running yet…I needed a router. Sigh. Being an adult is stupid and hard. Curbside pick up at Target. The internet ordeal that began at 11 am was about to finally end…9 hours later. Wrong. Which leads me to this week’s B.

B is for Breakdowns. Yup. I was finally defeated by a wireless router. What should have been a simple installation became my own personal hell. After an hour of trying and failing, of unplugging and restarting, of factory resets, of watching videos and reading all the help articles, I admitted defeat. I gave up. I sat on the couch and disolved into angry, self-pitying tears. I cried over a router. I cried because I had such a first-world problem that I couldn’t solve. I cried because I had a day full of ALL THE FEELINGS. For someone who likes to keep all the feelings deep inside, feeling them is shocking! If you have read this far, you might be nodding along, feeling all your own feelings. Or you might, like me, be wondering what this has to do with the library. Bare with me. I am about to make it sort of connect.

C is for Connecting. We are going through something. We are all feeling all the feelings at any given moment. My colleagues and I have been working on mourning the loss of our exciting summer plans for the public. We have had to completely switch gears. We have had to make tough decision about what programs to completely abandon and which ones to rework for our new virtual reality. Prior to all of this I was part of a team working to put on the library’s first ever mini-con. RiverCon 2020 was going to be AWESOME! Last week we had a team meeting. We felt all the feelings together and then got to work reimaging our program. I am proud of what we came up with and I so happy that Ms Nicole’s RiverCon 2020 is still going to happen. Details will be forthcoming, but for right now I can tell you that virtual RiverCon will include interviews with comic creators and experts, an at-home cosplay activity, comic recommedations for readers of all ages and a virtual superhero storytime with Ms. Amanda. Finally, we are working on bringing RiverCon directly to you! On May 16 you can register for a RiverCon@Home kit, full of fun crafts, comic resources and hopefully some cool comic swag. Save the date and register here. We are all working hard behind the scenes and from our make-shift home offices to stay connected with our patrons. We are adapting and thinking outside the box and we are excited about what we are coming up with. Stay with us. We are here for you. We are all in this together.

~Megan

Your Library Staff at Home -still doing lots of doing

Well. I’m still not over seeing so much snow fall but Mother Nature knows her business -and who am I to tell her she’s wrong? Maybe this is it though and I can put my boots away now… maybe?

There’s so much going on in the World and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, but this week I focused everyday actions I believe will have a positive impact: shopping small to help local businesses, sending my mail-in ballot, reaching out to friends and family with a phone call. I’ve also enjoyed a few other lovely distractions like: making Peanut Butter Bread (with chocolate chips), Some Good News with John Krasinski, and I’m looking forward to watching Capital in the Twenty-First Century on CIFF44 Streams, RRPL’s 2020 Community Partner film!

And this coming week? I still have a pretty tall stack of books I’d like to read but they’ll (still!) be there later, right? So I’m wondering, do you have any suggestions for me? Something to read, to make, to bake, to buy (local please), or the best snack ever? Maybe you want to help me pick one of these Virtual Volunteer opportunities? Let me know!

—Stacey

Libraries Are Awareness Creators

In observation of mental health awareness month, Rocky River Public Library will welcome author Sakeenah Francis to tell her story of living with paranoid schizophrenia. Ms. Francis will speak on Thursday, May 18 at 7:00 PM.

sakeenah

The event comes at an opportune time, with mental health appearing often in the headlines. What ramifications, if any, will the change in laws have for those in need of mental health care? Suicide rates are on the rise, while access to mental health care is becoming more limited. The media is buzzing about the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and its glamorized portrayal of suicide.

Our library, like many across the United States, aims to provide informational, educational, recreational, and cultural resources to patrons in the community. To me, community education starts with creating pockets of awareness. Sometimes this means giving patrons an opportunity to learn a skill, like cooking or jewelry making. Sometimes this means preparing patrons to transition well into the next stage of life, such as retirement or college.

Other times, this can mean giving a voice to people at the margins of society, in hopes of humanizing cancer patients or lifting stigmas around mental health. When we give Sakeenah a space to share her story, we are providing patrons an opportunity to become aware of her struggles and empathize with the situation she has found herself in. Same goes for Joanna Connors, a Cleveland writer and survivor of rape and PTSD, who spoke to us in February about her memoir, I Will Find You.

Some have challenged the idea that education can help eliminate stigma. In last week’s Crain’s New York article, How to Eliminate the Stigma Around Mental Illness, researcher and psychology professor Patrick Corrigan said, “Education is grossly overrated for changing the stigma of mental illness, especially for adults. Stigma doesn’t really change much when you go out and tell people what to think.”

While Corrigan didn’t define what, in his opinion, education is or is not, he said that meeting a person with a mental illness is a more effective route to normalizing mental illness and reducing stigma. He encouraged those affected by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia to “come out everywhere.”

Corrigan seems to separate “formal” education and casual interactions, but I would argue that by providing authors a venue to tell their stories—placing books on our shelves or arranging a visit with an author—we are facilitating a hybrid of formal and casual that makes for deeply personal dialogue.

GRAPH

Library programs provide just enough structure to form a pocket where awareness can be created and empathy can be extended. I am proud of the library’s role in our community, and my role within the library, where planning programs that encourage community members to listen to one another is all in a day’s work.

Lyndsey

Books to movies!

One of the types of books I love to read are books that end up getting adapted to movies. I enjoy seeing the differences between my interpretation of a characters physical description and the actors that are casted for roles. What is also an intriguing but can be frustrating is what is left out of movies, changed, or added to make the movie more profitable. Below are a few of the books that I’ve read that have been adapted into movies. I hope you enjoy it and get an idea for your next book to read and movie to watch.

5-people The Five People You Meet in Heaven is written by my favorite author Mitch Albom. This was the first book by Mitch Albom that I was introduced to it. At the time, when I first read the book, I was in grade school. The book was released in 2003, the movie premiered as a TV movie the following year.

mebeforeyouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes is a sweet, warm-hearted story of finding love in unexpected places. Louisa Clark lives a basic life, has a job, close to her family, in a steady relationship. Once she receives notice that the coffee shop she works at is closing, Louisa is in desperate need of a new job, any job. She interviews to be the companion/ care-giver for wheelchair-bound Will Traynor. Louisa tries her best to improve Will’s happiness given the circumstances. Through they’re time together they both find happiness and love but they can’t live happily ever after. A decision Will made even before he met Louisa prevents this. A movie was adapted from the book with Emilia Clarke as Louisa and Sam Claflin as Will, released last February.

how-to-be-singleHow to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo was the perfect book to read at the timing of a recent breakup. This book was not at all what I was expecting, given the title but as a book I complete enjoyed it. The story follows the main character as she travels to various countries to learn what it means to be single in those cultures in contrast to what it means to be a single woman in the USA. The book originally published in 2008 was not adapted to a film until February of last year. I saw the movie right after reading the book and was completely disappointed. This is a perfect example of how different a book and movie adaptation can be.

 

immortallifeThe Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks  by Rebecca Skloot follows two stories. The first is the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman as she undergoes cancer treatment in the 1950s. The second story follows the author as she journeys to Boston to find the full story of Henrietta Lacks. Intrigued by the only information she found in a medical text book, that a woman named Henrietta Lacks had cancer cells that continue to grow even after her death. Rebecca meets with Henrietta’s daughter Deborah Lacks who helps her on her quest to write the book to tell the full story of Henrietta, not just about the HeLa cells. I started reading this book a couple years ago but when I saw in the newspaper that it would be adapted to an HBO TV movie, I had to finish it. The movie is scheduled to air on April 22 with Rose Byrne playing the role of Rebecca Skloot and Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks.

 

theshackIn William Paul Young’s The Shack, Mack returns to the Shack. This old abandoned building was the last location that Mack’s youngest daughter was thought to have been when she was abducted from a nearby camping grounds in Oregon during a family vacation. Mack was intrigued by a note he received in the mail to return to the shack, addressed by God. In this visit, Mack meets all three forms of God, gets understanding of life’s mysteries and finds peace. If you have ever wanted to have a deep meaningful conversation with God, this is the book for you as it was for me. I read this book last year for the department’s monthly book discussion but did not find out it would be adapted to film until last week. I am extremely excited for the release this weekend staring Sam Worthington as Mack and Octavia Spencer as Papa.

I hope you enjoy reading and watching!

-Gina