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2015 Teen Book Tournament: Sweet 16 Announced

5 hours 2 sec ago

2015 March Madness Finalist Banner

VOTE NOW through March 11 for the Elite 8!

After an exciting two months of voting, DBRLTeen is proud to announce the Sweet 16 in our March Madness Teen Book Tournament. However, if you are just joining in the fun, here’s a little background to get you caught up. Through a series of votes, we are narrowing the library’s list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. By supporting your favorite book, you’ll also be entered to win prizes like a gift card to Barnes & Noble!

How the March Madness Teen Book Tournament Works:
  • Round 1: Voting complete for the Sweet 16.
  • Round 2: VOTE NOW through March 11 for the Elite 8.
  • Round 3: Vote March 12-18 for the Final 4.
  • Round 4: Vote March 19-25 for the final two contending titles.
  • Round 5: Vote March 26-April 1 for the book tournament champion.
  • April 7: The champion is announced!

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite eight titles by Wednesday, March 11 at 3 p.m. The winners from this round of competition will be announced next Thursday, March 12.

March Madness Teen Book Tournament: Sweet 16
  1. Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
  2. The Maze Runner” by James Dashner
  3. The Giver” by Lois Lowry
  4. The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
  5. If I Stay” by Gayle Forman
  6. The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
  9. Legend” by Marie Lu
  10. City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare
  11. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
  12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
  13. Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
  14. The Raft” by S. A. Bodeen
  15. Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  16. Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater

Originally published at 2015 Teen Book Tournament: Sweet 16 Announced.

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March 13 Deadline for April ACT Exam

March 2, 2015

Standardized TestBe sure to register online by Friday, March 13 if you plan to take the April 18 ACT exam. If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our  online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.

Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).  If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call  (800) 324-4806.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at March 13 Deadline for April ACT Exam.

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2015 Spring Program Preview

February 27, 2015

2015 Program Preview
Design a Bookmark Contest
Entries Due Tuesday, March 31
Help us get ready for Summer Reading by designing an original bookmark based on the theme “Every Hero Has a Story.” Winning artwork from each library will be printed on bookmarks to be distributed late spring through summer. Please prepare two-dimensional artwork using crayons, markers or any other medium, or create it on the computer. Photography is also acceptable, as long as it is your own! Your entry should be drawn onto or sized to match the entry form. Download an entry form or pick one up at your library or the bookmobile. Ages 18 and younger.

March Madness Teen Book Tournament
March Madness is approaching, but why should basketball fans have all the fun? At your library or online at teens.dbrl.org, you can help us name a Mid-Missouri teen book champion. Each week in March we will be narrowing our pool of the 16 most popular teen books to a single champion. Vote March 4-11 for the Elite 8; vote March 12-18 for the Final 4; vote March 19-25 for the final two contending titles; and, vote March 26-April 1 for the book tournament champion. We’ll announce the winner on April 7! For added excitement, each round you vote, your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win cool prizes like free book sets or a Barnes & Noble gift  card.

Studio Open House
Columbia Public Library
Thursday, March 12 • 4-7 p.m.
Saturday, March 14 • 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Studio is the library’s newest public space: a digital lab that offers technology to help you explore your creativity. This space will be growing throughout the year to adapt to the needs of our patrons. Take a tour and learn more about how the library can help you cultivate skills for your latest project. Hands-on activities and demonstrations will be featured for teens and adults. Kids are welcome, too.

Project Teen: “Insurgent”
In honor of the release of the movie version of “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth, visit the library for some faction-related crafts and pizza. Ages 12-18.

Callaway County
Public Library
Thursday, March 26
at 12:00 p.m.
No registration required. Columbia Public Library
Thursday, March 26
at 1:00 p.m.
Registration begins
March 10.
To sign up, call
(573) 443-3161. Southern Boone County
Public Library
Tuesday, March 31
at 3:30 p.m.
No registration required.

Stop-Motion Animation Workshop
Columbia Public Library
Friday, March 27 • 2-4 p.m.
Using LEGO bricks and other materials, you’ll create your own mini-movie in this hands-on workshop. The library will provide the instruction and all tools necessary for you to photograph and edit your film, but feel free to bring your own props, camera or other recording device, too. Ages 8 and older. Registration begins Tuesday, March 10. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Callaway Youth Poetry Contest
Callaway County Public Library
Wednesday, April 1
As part of National Poetry Month in April, we invite Callaway County youth to submit original poems with a chance to win an award and have your work displayed at the Callaway County Public Library and at www.dbrl.org. Awards will be given in three age categories: 5-8, 9-12 and 13-18. Get entry forms starting in April at the library or bookmobile; entries are due April 30. An awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 at the Callaway County Public Library. Co-sponsored by the Auxvasse Creative Arts Program.

Project Teen: Decorate Your Space
Callaway County Public Library
Saturday, April 25 • Noon-1:30 p.m.
Create a decorative memo board to hold your notes or photos. We’ll have the supplies you need and pizza will be provided. Ages 11 and older.

Wii U Family Game Night
Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 • 6-7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 • 6-7:30 p.m.
Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Pizza served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins two weeks before program. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at 2015 Spring Program Preview.

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2015 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced

February 16, 2015

2015 ALA Award Winners

Every January the American Library Association hosts its annual Youth Media Awards Press Conference. At this time, authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature are recognized for the amazing works they have published over the last year

Have you read any of this year’s award-winners? What did you think? Who might you have picked for this year’s top awards?

Alex Award Winners are the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizes an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adult.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

  • Middle School Award Winner: “Rain Reign” by Ann M. Martin
  • High School Award Winner: “Girls Like Us” by Gail Giles

Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults.

Originally published at 2015 ALA Teen Book Award Winners Announced.

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Voting for Sweet 16 Ends February 20

February 9, 2015

2015 March Madness Booklist

VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16!

Daniel Boone Regional Library has received nearly 50 ballots in our March Madness Teen Book Tournament! Through a series of votes, we are narrowing our list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. Voting for the Sweet 16 will end on Friday, February 20. We’ll take a few days to tabulate the results and then announce those titles that will advance in our single elimination bracket on Tuesday, March 4.

Which titles will be among the Sweet 16?  “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins?“City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare? “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl?Voice your opinion by voting today! Don’t forget that by supporting your favorite book, you’ll also be entered to win prizes like a gift card to Barnes & Noble. 

Who can participate?

March Madness is open to all teens ages 12-18 who live in either Boone or Callaway County, Missouri.

How It Works:

  • Round 1: VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16.
  • Round 2: Vote March 4-11 for the Elite 8.
  • Round 3: Vote March 12-18 for the Final 4.
  • Round 4: Vote March 19-25 for the final two contending titles.
  • Round 5: Vote March 26-April 1 for the book tournament champion.
  • April 7: The champion is announced!

Each round that you vote, your name is entered into our prize drawing! Limit one ballot per person, per round.

Originally published at Voting for Sweet 16 Ends February 20.

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Books for Dudes – Ultimate Comics: Spider-man, Volume 1

February 6, 2015

Miles as Spider-manThink you know Spider-man? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t! Peter Parker, Spider-man, debuted in Marvel Comics Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, and you can still read his adventures in comics, newspapers, and graphic novels today. In 2000, Marvel decided to create a separate, updated universe as if all its characters were created in modern day. Dubbed the Ultimate line, Ultimate Spider-man #1 premiered with a teenage Peter Parker being bitten by a genetically modified spider (as opposed to the radioactive one of the primary Marvel Universe).

After a successful run, Ultimate Spider-man writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to push differences between the regular and Ultimate Spider-man even further by killing off teenage Peter Parker. Right before his heroic death, a 13-year-old boy named Miles Morales gained powers similar to Peter Parker. Inspired by Peter’s heroic death fighting evil, Miles Morales became the new Spider-man in the Ultimate Universe. So, Marvel currently has two universes being published, with two different Spider-men. Grown-up Peter Parker is in the regular universe, Miles Morales is now Spider-man in the Ultimate universe. To get started on the ground floor of Mike Morales’ adventures, check out Ultimate Comics: Spider-man Volume 1

As readers get into the new Ultimate Comics: Spider-man series, we quickly find out that Miles has more differences than Peter besides just ethnicity. Due to the modified spider that bit Miles, he can become invisible, he can administer a venom sting, and his spider-sense doesn’t work quite as well as Peter’s. Miles also, at least initially, lacks Peter’s webs.

Volume 1

Initially skeptical of a non Peter Parker Spider-man, I quickly grew to enjoy Miles as a character. He has a great supporting cast, too. His best friend, Ganke, is an enthusiastic help as Miles deals with life’s complications to becoming a super hero. And for those who follow Marvel comics regularly, this summer’s “Secret Wars” sees a big event that ends both the regular and ultimate universes, with something new coming out of the event by the fall…something that may just have Miles Morales and adult Peter Parker in the same world. Marvel has already been quoted as saying Miles plays a large part of this big summer story which changes the Marvel landscape. Start reading now and catch up on this great series.

Originally published at Books for Dudes – Ultimate Comics: Spider-man, Volume 1.

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FAFSA Frenzy Sessions Begin This Month

February 2, 2015

Scrabble MoneyWhat is the FAFSA and why is it important?

F-A-F-S-A. Commit these five letters to memory. If you plan on attending college, they will follow you throughout the course of your entire academic career.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All prospective college students looking to qualify for federal grants or loans must complete this online application. Most colleges also require this application so that they can award institutional scholarships based on financial need.

Another important note: Once you are admitted and attending college, you will have to complete this form every year until you graduate. Typically the latest version of the FAFSA form is available in early January, or shortly before.

Of all the applications you submit, your FAFSA ranks right up there with your application to the college or university you have chosen to attend. Translation: Very Important. You have through early spring to complete this online form, though deadlines vary by state. Be sure to review the 2015 FAFSA deadlines.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these four sessions. 

Best all, FAFSA Frenzy attendees are entered for a chance to win a scholarship to a Missouri postsecondary institution for the Fall 2015 semester!

Where are FAFSA Frenzy events being held in Boone & Callaway counties?

Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Tuesday, February 3 from 4:30-7 p.m. Battle High School 7575 St. Charles Road, Columbia Tuesday, February 10 from 6-8 p.m. Hickman High School 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Wednesday, February 18 from 5-7:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 22 from 2-4 p.m.

What to bring:

  • Your parents’ and your 2014 W-2 forms
  • Copies of your parents’ and your 2014 tax forms, if they are ready.
  • Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event.

If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2014 tax returns, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2014, any 1099 forms and any other forms required to complete your taxes.

Originally published at FAFSA Frenzy Sessions Begin This Month.

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Program Preview: Wii U Family Game Afternoon

January 27, 2015

Just DanceColumbia Public Schools are out on Friday, February 13, so make plans to join us for our “Wii U Family Game Afternoon” at the Columbia Public Library at 2 p.m. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Snacks served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, January 27. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Program Preview: Wii U Family Game Afternoon.

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Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA

January 20, 2015

FAFSA FrenzyThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. More importantly, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these four sessions.

Best all, FAFSA Frenzy attendees are entered for a chance to win a scholarship to a Missouri postsecondary institution for the Fall 2015 semester! 

Where are FAFSA Frenzy events being held in Boone & Callaway counties?

Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Tuesday, February 3 from 4:30-7 p.m. Battle High School 7575 St. Charles Road, Columbia Tuesday, February 10 from 6-8 p.m. Hickman High School 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Wednesday, February 18 from 5-7:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 22 from 2-4 p.m.

What to bring:

  • Your parents’ and your 2014 W-2 forms
  • Copies of your parents’ and your 2014 tax forms, if they are ready.
  • Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event.

If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2014 tax returns, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2014, any 1099 forms and any other forms required to complete your taxes.

Originally published at Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA.

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Program Preview: Finding Summer Jobs for Teens

January 15, 2015

Finding Summer Jobs for TeensMoney Laundering
Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 • 6:30-8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 • 6:30-8 p.m.

We’ll look at local resources for teen job-seekers, help identify job possibilities and employers who may be interested in you. You will leave with resources and a form to make completing applications easier. Snacks provided. Ages 15-18. Registration required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Photo credit: Laundering Money by Images of Money via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: Finding Summer Jobs for Teens.

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Books for Dudes – The Accidental Highwayman

January 9, 2015

The Accidental HighwaymanAre you a fan of the “Princess Bride?” If so, then I highly recommend checking out “The Accidental Highwayman” by Ben Tripp. To give you an idea of the wit and humor in this book, you only need to look at the FULL title to this book: “The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides.” And every word of that full title is on the front book cover, with illustrations besides.

This swashbuckling adventure for young adults does indeed star the title character of Kit Bristol. Unbeknownst to poor servant Kit, his master is a legendary highwayman by night. When his master dies, Kit is ensnared in all sorts of adventure and intrigue…most notably being obligated by magical contract to rescue Princess Morgana, who is at the heart of a conflict involving England, Fairy kind and more. Kit is unsure if he is qualified to help anyone, especially when he realizes he has hold of a magical map that predicts him hanging at the gallows by the end of his journey.

I enjoyed many of Tripp’s creative characters in this story…the unsure hero, the feisty and stubborn princess, a confused ringmaster, a tightrope walker,and a souless vengeful pirate, and more. Like “Princess Bride,” this story has so many different and unique elements, but Ben Tripp manages to pull everything together into a wonderful tale. I highly recommend this book, and you can join me in waiting for Kit Bristol #2, as this book is the start of a trilogy.

Originally published at Books for Dudes – The Accidental Highwayman.

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Resources for Your History Day Project

January 7, 2015
Missouri's 2008 Delegation to the National History Day Finals

Missouri’s 2008 Delegation to the National History Day Finals

Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the National History Day contest. If you are one of these participating students,  the Daniel Boone Regional Library has lots of resources to help you!

An important part of your History Day project will be finding and learning from primary sources. These are documents created during the time period being studied by people who lived then. The library has a collection of free online databases that will give you access to hundreds of primary sources like amendments, petitions, speeches or newspaper articles.

To access these online databases, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (573) 443-3161 or (800) 324-4806. You can also try the library’s chat reference service to visit with a librarian who can help in real time from your computer. Learn more.

Don’t forget that the library also has dozen of print resources available with primary sources. As you begin your project, we encourage you to visit any of our three branch locations for assistance with your in-depth research.

Originally published at Resources for Your History Day Project.

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Registration Begins for C.A.R.E. Program

January 5, 2015
Young Adults Working at New York Deli

C.A.R.E. program participants working at New York Deli.  Photo courtesy of City of Columbia.

Each summer the City of Columbia sponsors the Career Awareness Related Experience (C.A.R.E.) program which prepares young adults for the workforce. The goals of this program are to provide paid, real-world experience while helping teens develop life skills and foster mentorships.

The C.A.R.E. program lasts eight weeks and they hire approximately 185 teens (14-19 years old) at minimum wage to work up to 20 hours per week. The online application must be submitted by Monday, February 2.  Interviews will begin the on February 13. For more details and a list of last year’s local summer work site partners, please visit the City of Columbia’s website.

Originally published at Registration Begins for C.A.R.E. Program.

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Audiobook Giveaway Winner Announced

December 31, 2014

Congratulations to Nila Palaniappan! She is the lucky winner of DBRLTeen’s “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” Book Giveaway. She will receive a free autographed copy of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” on CD. If you’d like the chance to win more free books or a gift card to Barnes & Noble, be sure to support your favorite book in the upcoming March Madness Teen Book Tournament. Through a series of votes, we will narrow our list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. If you’d like to be informed of when voting begins, be sure to subscribe to our blog updates!

Originally published at Audiobook Giveaway Winner Announced.

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2015 March Madness Booklist Announced

December 29, 2014

2015 March Madness Booklist

VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16!

A new season of book rivalries has begun. Vote for your favorite titles from a pool of the 32 most popular teen books of the year. Your votes will narrow down the list to the 2015 Mid-Missouri teen book champion. For added excitement, each round you vote, your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win cool prizes like free book sets or a Barnes & Noble gift  card.

Vote at your library, or online at teens.dbrl.org, until February 20 for the Sweet 16; then four rounds of weekly voting will take place in March. We will announce the winner on April 7.

Who can participate?

March Madness is open to all teens ages 12-18 who live in either Boone or Callaway County, Missouri.

How It Works:

  • Round 1: VOTE NOW through February 20 for the Sweet 16.
  • Round 2: Vote March 4-11 for the Elite 8.
  • Round 3: Vote March 12-18 for the Final 4.
  • Round 4: Vote March 19-25 for the final two contending titles.
  • Round 5: Vote March 26-April 1 for the book tournament champion.
  • April 7: The champion is announced!

Each round that you vote, your name is entered into our prize drawing! Limit one ballot per person, per round.

March Madness Teen Book Tournament Finalists

Originally published at 2015 March Madness Booklist Announced.

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Program Preview: Family Game Days

December 22, 2014

ScrabbleFamily Game Day
Columbia Public Library
Tuesday, December 23 • 9:30-11:30 a.m. –OR– 2-3:30 p.m.
Drop by to play board games. We’ll have favorites, old and new, but feel free to bring your own games, too. For families with children of all ages.

Wii U Family Game Night
Columbia Public Library
Thursday, January 8 • 6-7:30 p.m.
Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” Pizza served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, December 23. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Photo by Flickr User peddhapati. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Program Preview: Family Game Days.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Hardback Charging Station

December 20, 2014

Kindle HolderAt my house, we have quite a few electronic devices: MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras and e-readers. It’s a mess, and I can never find the right cord and charger when I need it.

That’s where the handy repurposed book comes in! It’s the perfect place to keep all of those devices out of sight, organized in a lovely, old-fashioned book that looks nice sitting next to your bed or on your bookshelf. You will find complete instructions to make your own at studenthacks.org.

When you are selecting your book to repurpose, make sure it is roomy enough to fit all the things you want to hide with a bit of space to spare for airflow and easy removal. In fact, you may want several books for several devices. Or, you can just find an enormous title that’s big enough for all of them while making you look like a serious reader. (“War and Peace,” anyone?)

These hidden charging stations make a great gift for anyone else you know who might need a bit of help corralling their stuff, too. Bonus: This project can also be modified to fit those ugly remote controls that always seem to make their way into the crack of the couch cushions.

If you enjoy crafting with recycled odd and ends, you should borrow the following titles from your library:

If you’re an online learner, check out our Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. You can access this website for free with your library card number; your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). You’ll find many fun project ideas available with instructions and inspiration for all sorts of interests.

Photo credit: Kindle Case Mosaic by litlnemo via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Hardback Charging Station.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Catnip Fish

December 18, 2014
Catnip Shadowfax

Shadowfax enjoying his holiday present.

Handmade gifts are not just for people. Here is a fun and easy gift to make for your cat; or, skip the catnip and make it for a special puppy. I made this in a single evening after dinner. It took me about an hour and a half, but I had all the materials on hand.

Supplies

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine or sewing needles
  • Fabric batting
  • Catnip (I got mine at Clover’s Natural Market)
  • Funnel

Catnip Crafts

Step 1:
Make a pattern.

Step 2:
Cut out the pattern pieces and choose your fabric. I chose a scrap of colored cotton and some felt from an old sweater I washed/shrank.

Step 3:
Trace the pattern on the cloth with a pencil. Double the cloth and pin it so it won’t move while you cut it. Cut two pieces at once; one for each side of the fish. I used pinking shears so the fabric wouldn’t unravel.

Step 4:
When you are ready, sew with the right sides out. Pin the felt fins so that they are well inside your fish and will be securely caught by your sewing.

Step 5:
Sew around the fish about 5/8 of an inch inside the cut edges, catching the felt fins with either a sewing machine or by hand. Backstitching works best for hand sewing. Check out this YouTube tutorial for a live demonstration. Make sure to leave a gap so that you can fill the fish with a combination of batting and catnip. A funnel or chopsticks can be helpful when stuffing your fish.

Step 6:
Sew up the gap and sew around again if you think it needs to be extra secure. Now it’s ready to be presented to your special pet. If you’re interested in making other kinds of pet toys check out “Pet Crafts: 28 Great Toys, Gifts and Accessories for Pet Lovers” by Heidi Boyd at the library!

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Catnip Fish.

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Best Teen Books of 2014

December 9, 2014

Best Books of 2014If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. These were the heavy hitters on this year’s New York Times’ “Young Adult Best Seller List.”

Whether you’re looking to purchase a holiday gift for that special bookworm in your life, or you’re looking to get lost in the pages of a good book over the winter break, here are some “best of” lists of recommended young adult titles.

The Young Adult Library Services Association produces several lists each year which encompass books from a wide assortment of genres:

Be sure to check out these lists created by the publishing industry’s most renowned book reviewers, many of whom are librarians:

With 2015 fast approaching, stay ahead of upcoming trends by subscribing to the library’s YA email newsletter. This monthly publication features reviews on the the most popular new releases in young adult fiction. Best of all, this newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s also a good idea to monitor Good Reads’  lists of the “Most Exciting Upcoming YA Books” and “Upcoming YA Novels of 2015.” With your library card, you can reserve many upcoming titles before they are even published! Be sure to check out our online catalog, or give us a call at (800) 324-4806  to check on a book’s availability.

Originally published at Best Teen Books of 2014.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Spicy Ranch Pretzels

December 7, 2014
Pretzels

Find a similar recipe at MacaroniAndCheesecake.com

As the holiday quickly approaches, the perfect gift to give is on the minds of many. My favorite tactic is giving the gift of food. It’s always a hit.

Like socks, sweaters and dish towels, if the recipient doesn’t like your gift, eventually it will disappear. But, if they love the food you gifted, they will have the delicious memory lingering on their taste buds and the recipe to make more and gift forward. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Below is a super yummy recipe for Spicy Ranch Pretzels. This my friends, is a CROWD PLEASER. At first glance they look like ordinary pretzels, but trust me when I say your friends and family will think you are a kitchen genius.

You can package this yummy treat in glass jars, decorate it with bow and attach a cute homemade gift tag along with the recipe. Boom! Holiday shopping, done!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz bag miniature pretzels
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ranch dressing mix, cayenne pepper and garlic powder with the oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Place pretzels in a larger bowl and top with oil mixture. Stir well to coat.
  4. Let sit in bowl for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
  5. Spread pretzels on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before packaging.

Don’t forget to check out these great cookbooks with gift ideas for all the foodies in your life. You can borrow them for free with your DBRL library card!

Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Spicy Ranch Pretzels.

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