Monday, September 27, 2021

You Can’t Read That!


What is your favorite book? Harry Potter? Hunger Games? Thirteen Reasons Why? Eleanor and Park? Did you know that these books and hundreds of others have either been challenged or banned? So, what does that mean, and how does it affect you?

Let’s start with what does it mean. A banned book is a book that has been removed from the shelf of a library or school. A challenged book is a book that some people think should be removed but hasn't been removed from the shelves of a library or school. Rulers and groups of people have been challenging and banning books ever since books were invented. Way back in 212 B.C., Chinese emperor, Shih Huang Ti burned all the books in his kingdom so history could be said to have begun with him. Thomas Morton is believed to have been the author of the first banned book in the United States in 1642. The book New English Canaan critiqued and attacked Puritan customs, so the Puritans banned it. Most reasons books are challenged or banned in the U.S. include obscene language or sexual descriptions, offensive language, unsuitable for age level, homosexuality, racism, and religion. Reasons other countries ban books may include charges that the ideas of the book speak against the interests of the state which means political reasons.

 Now, how does it affect you? It’s all about censorship which is defined as the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security. Basically, it is someone telling you that just because they do not like something you shouldn’t either. Lucky for us though in the United States, your right to read what you want is protected by the First Amendment and in a free society, the author and reader are protected. Groups still push to have books banned but organizations, like the American Library Association, push back so that readers can choose what they want to read and not what someone else dictates them to read.

With all that explained, banned books have a whole week in September that is intended to draw attention to the censorship that groups want to enforce on other’s rights. Don’t let others censor what you read. Stop by your local library and check out a banned or challenged book in support of Banned Book Week or any of the other 51 weeks of the year!

Follow this link ALA link for the 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books from 2010-2019.

Friday, September 17, 2021

World Book Online for Students


World Book Encyclopedia was designed to meet the curriculum needs of students in elementary through high school. It was first published in 1917 and revised annually starting in 1925. The title was later shortened to World Book. The information contained in the books filled 22 volumes. By 1995, World Book had become available on two (2) CD-ROM versions and by 1999 it was available online. 

    Welcome to World Book Online provided by CMRLS Digital Resources. To access World Book go to the CMRLS website at Click on the Digital Library link above the banner, next click on the Virtual Reference collection, then scroll down to the World Book Online link. Be sure to have your library card handy, you will be directed to enter the barcode number on the back of your card. 

Once you have logged in you will see a "Your Resources" page with six different tabs:

  • Kids - Grade K+ Image driven content for curious kids to explore
  • Discover - Grades 5+ Foundational content presented for differentiation
  • Student - Grades 5+ Foundational research tool for curriculum reinforcement
  • Advanced - Grades 9+ Expanded topics and world resources for advanced understanding
  • Timelines - Grades 5+ A highly visual representation of history
  • Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgose - Grades 5+ Spanish-lanuage resources for kids
Each tab offers something different for the student based on your school level. 
  • The Kid's tab has brightly colored tabs which include pictures & videos, games, puzzles, science projects, etc...
  • The Discover tabs offer a search tab, reference tools, life skills, etc...
  • The Student tab offers a search tab, quick links, current events, biography center, etc...
  • The Advanced tab offers a search tab, featured article, in the headlines, etc...
  • The Timelines tab offers a featured timeline, world book timelines, My timelines, Create a timeline
  • The Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgose is just like the others but for those students in a Spanish-speaking household.

 Some highlights about World Book Online are the fun activities on the Kids tab such as the craft room, crack the code, doodle & design, and many more. My research under the Student tabs is also a get tool. It allows you to save articles related to your research for future use. Cite builder shows you how to cite the article you are using in either MLA, APA, or Harvard formats. There is a tab you can click on the listen to the article while you read along. There are even tabs for Educators.

    There are so many great advantages to having World Book online. Next time you are working on your research paper or a lesson for class, don't google it, World Book it!!


Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Amazing Escape: Teens Trapped in the Library!

The challenge is simple: you have 60 minutes to escape. However, completing the tasks, solving the clues, or being the first to escape is not simple at all...and that's why teens love escape rooms!

During the month of September, several of the CMRLS libraries are hosting escape rooms for teens. Using the library as part of the "escape," teens are given various challenges to complete within the 60-minute time frame. At the Forest Public Library, teens are divided into pairs and must complete ten stations to escape the library. The first pair to complete all ten stations and make it to the center circle of the library (the circulation desk) will receive two $25 gift cards and will be the winners of The Amazing Escape!

So, what is the appeal of escape rooms, and why are they rising in popularity? According to many online articles (and there are hundreds!), the stimulation of adrenaline along with the tick-tock of the clock creates a real-life gaming experience.  Having a game partner encourages a feeling of bonding and teamwork as the pair communicates and makes decisions during high-pressure challenges. 

Another reason why escape rooms are so popular is that they literally escape the ordinary. The idea of being trapped anywhere, even in the stacks of the library, is not part of anyone's normal routine. It is exciting to devise a plan of escape based on decoding a preset combination of clues. Add the adrenaline rush of out-competing others in the escape room environment, and it is game on! Doesn't everyone enjoy one hour of nonstop panic and mayhem during a normally boring day? Teens certainly think so.

Thinking is definitely part of the process, especially "fast thinking." According to Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, all of the running around, trying to decode clues, is a good thing. "There's a lot of benefit to activity on your mood. One of the things we know from research over the last 10 or 12 years is the faster you're thinking, the better you feel. And when you're in a social group working on a problem together, that energy makes everyone in the group think faster and that actually elevates people's moods." 

The simulated survival situation created in escape rooms also provides an opportunity for people to be directly connected. For teens, entering into this new experience allows them to think, laugh, move, choose, and trust. Who has the best skills to complete a physical challenge? Who would be the best choice to crack a code? How can two people work together to find the quickest solution?  The idea of being the first pair to escape - the "can we win together" mentality - creates a connection that might not be found at school, in sports, in clubs, or in other teen group activities.

The Amazing Escape at the Forest Public Library combines the concept of the escape room with the popular TV series, The Amazing Race. Only one pair of teens will be the first to successfully complete all the challenges at the ten library stations and make The Amazing Escape! The free escape room event is set for Tuesday, September 21, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The challenge is simple: you have 60 minutes to escape!

Friday, September 3, 2021

BRANDON: The Power of the Card...

Hello Teens!

That time of year has arrived: Library Card Sign-Up Month! This is the perfect chance to get your card of awesome power (seriously, you can check out books, video games, movies, and use the computer for free; that's awesome power!). And if you sign up at the Brandon Public Library, you can get some very special incentives: for children, you can pick a prize from the treasure chest; for adults, you register for a gift card drawing! So come in and grab your prize!

Also, we have some special packets just for you: Top Tips for Teens and Tweens. Each week features a different topic with some helpful hints, ranging from the serious to the silly (but still all helpful). 

We also have a special something in the works that we need your help for; FRANKENTOYS! Please donate your old or broken toys to the circulation desk at Brandon by October 1st to make this project possible! Let's make some new friends for Frankie!

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts here and on our Facebook page at 

Stay safe, stay sane, and stay awesome!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Surviving the School Year with CMRLS!

The number one thing to surviving the school year this year with your library is to have a Library card!!

Let your library card take you somewhere else. Check out a book and let it take you far away or even into another year or dimension!

Taking Spanish? Try downloading the app called Rocket Languages. Here are all the languages below:

Number two is World Book Online (even teachers and parents need this!)

World Book Online has something for all ages! 

Have you ever seen a section of the Great Wall of China? Click here.

Hate writing up the citation? World Book will do it for you. 

Last be certainly not least,  Full Virtual Reference Collection!
With the downtime that you may be experiencing, you can study for your Driver's test.
Listen to some music or watch videos with Freegal!
Study to the ACT
There are many links! So grab your library card and "go"!

Monday, July 19, 2021

I'm Bored!

 Ah, yes, the universal cry of Tweens and Teens around the world during Summer. I'm bored! But, why?!?! There is so much to do! What? You doubt me?!?! Ok, check this out.

July 20th is National Fortune Cookie Day so visit your local Chinese restaurant and see what your future holds. After, get a lollipop and celebrate National Lollipop Day.

On July 21st, eat some junk food, yes there is a day for that, and then Be Somebody! You can do that by being somebody that a friend or family member needs today. 

July 23rd - National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! I prefer mine with some chocolate syrup in case you are wondering. Hey, it's hot and us librarians are working hard. We love cool treats!

July 24th - National Cousins Day. Go visit your family! It's ok, we all have that one crazy cousin. Really. We do. 

July 25th - National Merry Go Round and Hot Fudge Sundae Days. Both of those sound good to me. I just would suggest riding the Merry Go Round first. 

July 26th - All or Nothing Day! Is there something you have wanted to do? Try something new? Share a secret? Today is the day! Go Big!

July 27th - Love is Kind Day. This one is easy. Just be nice. To everyone. Even the people that drive you crazy. Ok. Maybe not so easy. But important. So, just be nice.

July 28th - National Milk Chocolate Day. Do I really need to say anything else? Oh, yeah, your favorite librarian likes chocolate! Hint, hint.

July 29th - National Lasagna, Chicken Wings, and Chili Dogs Day. WOW! That all sounds good to me. But, can you guess what Garfield and mine's favorite one is?

July 30th - Talk in an Elevator Day. I already do. Sometimes when I'm all by myself. Also, Get Gnarly Day! Cool. I didn't think anyone used that word anymore. Now I feel totally tubular!

July 31st - National Mutt Day. Take your dog for a walk and see what you can discover together. Just be careful, dogs find things interesting that you might find gross. Just saying. 

There you go! A whole bunch of ways and reasons to not be bored. Now, get out and enjoy some or all of them. Have fun! Make some memories with people that you love. That is always the best way to not be bored. Make this summer the best one yet!