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Monday, December 10, 2018

Bed Time Stories


So, I don’t sleep. Not really. Maybe 5 hours on a good night. Once I fall asleep, I am out for the night, but getting to sleep in the first place is a monumental task. First, a dab of Vicks Vapor Rub right under my nose for my chronic stuff-tiness. Then, adjusting temperature and fan exactly right. PJ seams lined up perfectly. Pillow One straight and firm with Pillow Two folded just so. Brown blanket covering me properly with toes peeking out for a little cool breeze and Blue blanket folded in perfect peaks over my head to block out light while still giving me enough air. 

I roll over on my right side to get in the perfect sleeping position, and then….I wait. Wait and wait as my mind races through the day’s events, last week’s mistakes and decades old regrets. Meanwhile, hub is blissfully snorkeling away and has been since 9:30 p.m. Pushing aside my bitter jealously at his ability to sleep so easily, my thoughts slowly start to blur and sleep finally takes over. And that is if it is a good night. 

It seems I am not alone with my sleep struggles. The CDC says that one third of adults and two thirds of teens are not getting the sleep they need. More disturbing is that two thirds of children are not getting enough sleep either. The researchers blame a lot of kids’ problems today on sleep hygiene – the nighttime rituals necessary to set you up for a good night’s sleep. Not the crazy maze of finicky tasks I describe above, but actions like turning off the TV earlier, not taking a tablet into bed, and enjoying a calming activity like a bath beforehand. Apparently, bedtime stories are no longer the norm and kids are staying awake with Spongebob, Gravity Falls and Paws Patrol instead of going to sleep with “Goodnight Moon” and Mother Goose.

Some parents are finding it hard to get their child interested in a “mere” book after being visually assaulted with exciting electronic images all day. But researchers suggest standing firm with your child, insisting that devices get turned off earlier in the evening, and pulling out a good bedtime story to read together. There are many new bedtime stories that are fun and interesting to read, and while they may not be as exciting as ninjas and superheroes, the mere routine of reading can help lead your little one fall into a sound sleep – and what is more exciting than a good night’s sleep? Try out a few of the books below:

“My Tail's Not Tired” by Jana Novotny Hunter. Little Monster tries to convince Big Monster that she is not tired enough to sleep and goes through wagging her tail, flapping her arms, and moving lots of other body parts to prove she is not ready for bed, but in doing so, she wears herself out and falls to sleep. I LOVE this book. The illustrations are ridiculously adorable but you will love it because your little one will wear herself out too.

“Nothing Can Frighten a Bear” by Elizabeth Dale. Baby Bear wakes up the whole bear family when he hears a scary noise. The family goes out into the woods to investigate and show Baby Bear that there is nothing to fear and that bears can’t be frightened. There is some suspense and a teeny bit of a fright, but the lesson learned is that Baby Bear was just scaring himself.

“Wide-Awake Bear” by Pat Zietlow Miller. In this lovely story, Elliot and his mother go into hibernation for the winter. Elliot images all the beautiful scenes he’ll see when they wake up to spring, but he just can’t get to sleep and gets nervous about the shadows he sees in their cave. Mother bear wakes up to show Elliot what the shadows actually are and to give him hope about the coming spring which helps him fall into a sweet sleep.

The Perfect Pillow by Eric Pinder. Brody is tossing and turning in his brand new big boy bed and can’t get to sleep. He and his stuffed dinosaur Horst travel around looking for the perfect place to sleep- from a squirrels nest to a cloud to a boat, until he figures out that the perfect place is his own bed with Horst.

For more sleepy time fare, come and visit the children’s librarians. They’ll help you find the perfect book to help your little one fall asleep. And the best part is that a bedtime story is a part to add to your sleep routine too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Grateful by Library Director Melody Kellogg


As I am writing this, a beautiful, heavy, wet snow is blanketing Stillwater and much of Oklahoma. Still, I won’t be surprised if as you are reading this, it is sunny and unseasonably warm. Some folks may even be wearing shorts and t-shirts. The weather is just one of many things I love about Oklahoma, although the older I get, the more my love for winter turns into greater love for fall, while my dislike for the hottest summer days intensifies.

In a couple of days we will be gathering with family, eating way more than we should, and napping or watching football or both. Some families will share around the table for what they are thankful with many of them most certainly including each other on their lists. I, too, am thankful for my family. Petty resentments of the past have long faded away and new slights are quickly forgiven. My family extends beyond the biological to close friends, church family, former and current colleagues. It is my hope that yours is just as full or even more so.

Speaking of thankfulness, the Oklahoma Library Association, a professional membership-based organization that works to strengthen the quality of libraries, library services, and librarianship in Oklahoma, conducts a leadership training every three years. One of the activities frequently included during the week-long program is establishing the practice of writing a gratitude journal. The concept is that each evening prior to lights out, one reflects over the day’s events and writes three good things that happened. Although the study results are mixed, some show a propensity for gratefulness means better mental and physical health overall.

I have to work at seeing the positive. It does not come naturally like it does to others I know. Still, when I stop and reflect, I recognize just how many reasons I have to be thankful. Stillwater is a new addition to my gratitude journal (mine is theoretical, by the way). The reception I have received has been quite overwhelming! Not only does the community love its library, the people take every opportunity to let us know just how great they think their library is and even why – the staff are so friendly, everyone is so helpful, I love attending library programs, I love that I can download my books now, we have such a great building… I am definitely reaping the fruits of the labor of others who were here before me.

Folks I meet are instantly supportive and agreeable and often turn to someone nearby to widen the scope of any introductions. Friends and colleagues from “years past” have dropped in to welcome me back to Stillwater. In Library School, where one gets a Masters in Library and Information Studies, there is considerable talk about engaging and serving the community. How refreshing it is to join a group that puts that philosophy into action, every day.

Thank you for welcoming me to Stillwater!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Top Ten List of New Things to do at LexiCon




LexiCon4 is just a few days away! Our “mini” comic convention this Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. is a whole lot less “mini” this year with activities to do in three locations along Duck street.  To make sure you get to see and do it all, check out our list of the top ten new highlights at LexiCon.

10. Superhero Storytime. Mr. Incredible will be in the library storytime room at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. so that comic-con tots and their families can take pics and hear superhero stories. It’s a good way to start your little ones on their path to master-geekdom!

9. Foam Weapon Sparring. The Tripoint Sparring Association will be set up in the library courtyard for interested swordsters to test their skills – with safe, light foam weapons, of course. Rounds are priced at $1 and $5.

8. Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Join Game X Change in the library’s room 119 for their free SSB tournaments or join the champion’s tournament for $5. Test your skills against other SSB enthusiasts.

7. Shop ‘til you drop! With almost double the number of vendors and artists, there will be something that everyone will want at the community center. Be sure to bring some spending money for original art work, buttons, toys, t-shirts and other collectibles.

6. Use your library card! Make sure to have your Stillwater Public Library card on hand and you may just be visited by the Library Fairy! Our fairy has gifts for people who can produce their SPL card.

5. Learn to draw. Artists at the Prairie Arts Center will be giving free instruction on drawing. A new Nintendo character will be featured every hour. While you’re there, screenprint your own LexiT ($10 kids; $12 adults) or join in on their other fee based crafts.

4. Anime Theater. Head over to the community center if you love anime or want to see why it has become such a hit. We’ll be showing family friendly anime programs throughout the whole day.

3. Actually venture outside. In years past, LexiCon days have been scorchers and you daren’t step outside. Right now the radar looks clear and the temp should be in the mid-90s, so you’ll still be hot walking between the venues. But, the Stillwater Medical Center nurses have your back! Visit their zombie quarantine themed first aid hut at Tenth and Duck for free water or to report heat related illness. Be sure to dress in cool clothing and wear sunscreen!

2. Eat up! Two food trucks will be located at the Stillwater Community Center: I Don't Know, I Don't Care (with an array of dishes) and D's Down Home Bar-B-Que. In addition, Prairie Arts will be selling drinks, popcorn and popsicles and candy and drinks will be available for purchase in the library lobby.

1. Get more chances to win! Once again attendees will have a chance to win tickets to the Tulsa Wizard World comic con just for showing up, but this time the ticket package is huge and worth approximately $320. You’ll get more chances to win by filling out a drawing entry at all three LexiCon locations (the library, Prairie Arts Center and the community center). The winner will be announced immediately after the cosplay contests in the library auditorium.

For more information on LexiCon, visit us at http://library.stillwater.org/lexicon.php.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Local Harlequin author discusses creativity at Aug. 18 workshop


On Saturday, August 18, at 1 p.m., the Stillwater Writers and Stillwater Public Library will host “Creating Your Inner da Vinci” with local author Liz Tyner. The program is free and part of the Stillwater Writers’ series of programs on writing and publishing.

Tyner is the author of eight books published through Harlequin, a division of HarperCollins. Her latest book, “Saying I Do to the Scoundrel” came out Aug. 1. Tyner writes in the Regency romance genre, which includes novels set during a very narrow time period in early 1800s England when the Prince of Wales became Prince Regent after King George III was declared unfit to rule. The category was made popular by authors like Georgette Heyer and Mary Balogh, and more recently, Christina Dodd and Amanda Quick.

“While Regency is a popular genre, Harlequin is a difficult market to break into,” said Judith Sexton, Stillwater Writer President. “The authors must follow strict guidelines while having original stories and a fresh, creative voice. Liz will discuss creativity, a topic of interest to writers in all areas. It will be inspiring to hear how she gets her ideas and how she keeps herself motivated.”

According to Tyner, participants at the program will learn how to reduce writer’s block and how to keep writing despite a lack of motivation.

Without creativity, a writer is lost,” said Tyner. “The answer to this problem might lie in creative research, both for your novel and your life. This workshop will help you visualize your successful path and take the steps you need to keep the stories flowing.”

Tyner will answer questions following the presentation. Sexton advises hobby writers and those interested in getting published to take advantage of Tyner’s experience.

“Liz always finds time to write, while continuing to work full time, said Sexton. “The discussion period after the program, when Liz will answer questions, is a great opportunity to visit with a writer who is selling in the current market.”

Tyner’s novels and other popular Regency titles will be on display in the library and available for check out. Links to Tyner’s books are located on the library’s Local Author webpage at http://library.stillwater.org/local_authors.php. With the assistance of author Susan Walker, the library keeps a list of published Stillwater and Payne County writers and details about their books on the site. Books from these authors, including Tyner’s, are located on a special shelf across from the Help Desk.

For more information on the program, contact the library at (405) 372-3633 x8106 or email askalibrarian@stillwater.org.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Escape Room @ the library!




Next week, the library will be presenting its own version of an escape room. An escape room is a real-life, physical space where a group of players search for clues and then solve puzzles and riddles in an attempt to break out of the room. In our case, you will be trying to break INTO a room, but it is the same concept.

I became obsessed with escape rooms over ten years ago, before they were physical and when they were mostly just Japanese and eastern European produced flash games on websites that would end up loading your PC with massive numbers of adware and viruses. Those viruses seemed to regularly thwart even the best of security programs.

When tablets and apps came out, escape rooms seemed to become more digitally safe, because in theory your big name app stores like Apple, Google and Amazon will vet apps before making them available, right? Unfortunately, it is still very, very important that you take security precautions, just like you should have been doing with your PC. 

Not only do you want to scan your apps, but more importantly, you need to read and find out for which “permissions” the apps you want to download are asking. If you download apps without reading about them, you very well could be giving them permission to take some very insecure actions like recording audio, reading your texts, accessing your location and more. 

A lot of time, the permissions for which the apps ask sound really, really technical and scary and important, but are in fact harmless. At other times, the requested permission sounds innocuous, but could actually have far reaching effects. If you aren’t sure whether one of these “permissions” is harmful, then check it at a site like Carnegie Mellon’s http://privacygrade.org to find out.

But—to stay really safe—just sign up for the library’s escape room being held at various times throughout the day July 9-14. To register, visit http://tinyurl.com/splescape. Up to five people can register together during one of the 45 minute escapes. If you are on your own or don’t have five people, just sign up for one of the slots with a few people registered. You must be an adult or a student going into at least sixth grade to attend.

The slots are filling up pretty quickly, so it is a good idea to sign-up as soon as you can. If you can’t get a slot, then there are plenty of other exciting happenings at the library next week: 

Tuesday, July 10 (10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) – Juggle Whatever. Lights! Music! Circus! Kids and their families will be dazzled by a glow-in-the-dark circus show set to fun music with a variety of high-tech LED props including hula hoops, juggling, unicycling and much more.

Wednesday, July 11 (2:30 p.m.) Geology Rocks! The OSU Geology department will bring fascinating hands-on geology demonstrations to SPL. Teens will have a chance to interact firsthand with different types of rocks and participate in activities involving the different minerals. The geology group will present information on other facets of geology and answer questions posed by the teens.

Thursday, July 12 (10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) –Summer Cinema. This PG rated film tells the imaginative story of a young girl and a friendly giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. 

Friday, July 13 (1 p.m.) – Friday Musicals. In this rated G film based on The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is a shy Harlem kindergarten teacher who is transported to the land of Oz during a blizzard. There she meets up with assorted characters who accompany her on her journey down the yellow brick road.

Friday, July 13 (6:30 p.m.) – Fribrary. The Anime Club for young adults meets to watch anime, eat Japanese snacks and draw.

As a reminder, the library will be closed all day Wednesday for Independence Day, but we still have several fun events this week:

·       Tuesday (10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) - Hill's Irish Dancers
·       Thursday (10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) - Summer Cinema
·       Friday (6:30 p.m.) – Teen Advisory Committee

For more information on any of the upcoming programs, visit http://library.stillwater.org.