My family has been hoping and planning to go to Europe for several years, but something has always gotten in the way. Not this year! We are finally doing this: Germany and Austria, here we come! The library has been so instrumental in planning for this trip. Sure, there are travel guides, which have been helpful, but there are so many other resources beyond that.
We have watched travel DVDs to get a feel for what we want to see when we get there and to get a feel for the culture and language. When we first began planning this trip, my daughter was worried that it would be nothing but World War II and beer. The DVDs helped ease her fears — there will also be music, food and beautiful scenery. Our favorite DVDs were “The Best of Europe: Fairy Tale Europe, Germany and Austria” and “Visions of Germany and Austria.” We can’t wait to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the model for Walt Disney’s castle! Continue reading “Summer Vacation in Germany and Austria!”
As part of summer reading this year, the Columbia Public Library will be hosting a blood drive on Thursday, June 15, from noon-4:00 pm. Please drop by or make an appointment by visitng www.redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Your donation could save up to three lives and it only takes about 45 minutes.
If you’re planning on donating, you must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and feel healthy the day of. Avoid aspirin for 48 hours before you donate. And remember to eat healthy: don’t skip any meals, and drink plenty of fluids that day.
Continue reading “American Red Cross Blood Drive”
Images and stories of refugees fleeing war-torn nations are haunting and have unfortunately become a fairly regular sight in our news. The journeys these displaced people find themselves on are perilous and traumatic and for some, even deadly. Once they manage to arrive in their sanctuary countries, settling into a place where the language and cultures are different can be tremendously challenging. Continue reading “Center Aisle Cinema and Discussion With Refugee and Immigration Services”
May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. We are extremely fortunate that in Columbia we have a world class network of paved and limestone trails, bike lanes, lightly traveled rural gravel and asphalt roads and single track mountain bike loops basically a doorstep away. One might even go so far as to say that Columbia, Missouri is one of the country’s hidden cycling gems. Bicycling magazine thinks so — we were recently rated as the 42nd most bike friendly city in the nation.
To get a good feel for the current cycling-friendly projects that the city (and Boone County) are working on, please visit Pednet, a nonprofit alternative transportation advocacy group in Columbia. The fine folks at Pednet have assisted in cycling-related development and have pushed for many of the infrastructure changes and redesigns that have made our city so welcoming to cyclists and pedestrians. Their website also offers solid information about non-motorized advocacy and opportunities to get involved at the ground level. Continue reading “National Bike Month”
It’s May and that means it is National Stroke Awareness Month. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) have teamed up, campaigning to raise public awareness about stroke, a disease affecting the arteries leading to and within the brain that causes brain injury. Their educational efforts cover the warning signs of stroke, symptoms of a stroke, stroke prevention, and the impact of stroke on survivors, families and caregivers.
Stroke (originally known as apoplexy and now also known as a cerebral vascular accident — CVA) has been around for a long time. It is unknown how many people suffered from stroke 2,400 years ago when it was first recognized by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. But today almost every one of us knows someone, who has suffered a stroke — it’s the fifth highest cause of U.S. deaths. It is also a leading cause of long-term disability, including paralysis, pain, aphasia, problems with thinking or memory and emotional disturbances. Continue reading “Knowing Stroke: Preventing it or Surviving it”
I recently decided to relearn the French language — not that I was incredibly fluent in the first place, but I had taken five years and could cobble together a conversation. However, that was almost 40 years ago. So I enrolled in an adult immersion class at a local school and tried the intermediate section. Although I was surprised at how much I understood (in context, or course), participating in a conversation was equivalent to me staring blankly into headlights. I was trying to call up the appropriate vocabulary words, the right verb conjugation and whether I should use the masculine or feminine version — all at the same time. It was quite a lot to ask my almost 60 year old brain to handle. After a few classes, I realized I was in over my head and decided to postpone until the beginners class started again in the fall. Yet, I didn’t want to let more time further obliterate what little French I still held on to.
What could I do in the meantime? I decided it would be good to work on building my vocabulary and pronunciation skills. I had a long drive coming up, and so I found myself in the language section of our library. There I found shelves of books and audiovisual materials on languages ranging from French to Korean. I picked up what appeared to be some fairly basic vocabulary and speaking skill books with corresponding CDs. I also checked out some downloadable audiobooks to augment my limited grasp of the language. Armed with my audiobooks, I set out on my two hour drive. Continue reading “Learning a New Language at Your Library”
May is Mental Health Month. Having a designated month reminds us to think about our own mental health and consider whether any peers or loved ones need our attention.
Here are a few facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
*One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness.
*Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-fourths by the age of 24.
*Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
*Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.
*African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of white Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
*Approximately 10.2 million Americans have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S.
*Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
*Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.
There are many different types of mental illness with varying degrees of severity. There is, unfortunately, still a stigma surrounding mental illness that leaves some people reluctant to seek help. If we, as a society, considered mental illness as we would any other physical condition, it would help bring the problem out of the shadows. If more people felt free to discuss their experiences, they could more readily find the help they need. Mental illness should not be viewed as a weakness or a short-coming, but as a condition that needs treatment and understanding. Continue reading “Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit”
When you check your mailbox for the day’s mail, how excited are you to find a few pieces of junk mail you never solicited? Probably not very. Add to that let-down feeling the worry about the unnecessary waste of paper. Sigh. By contrast, what do you feel when you pull a handwritten card or letter from your mailbox? A happy little thrill? Mm hmm, I thought so.
With the advent of electronic communication we have experienced the decline of this happy little thrill in our lives. Handwritten cards and letters have been replaced with emails, text messages, live phone calls or voice mails, except, fortunately, around holidays and birthdays, when we still get to experience this dear form of communication as it comes through the snail mail. Continue reading “April Is National Card and Letter Writing Month”
Today, April 19, marks the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. The war was long, lasting over 8 years. Countless lives throughout the colonies were affected by those seemingly endless years of fighting as the new nation came into being. The Revolutionary War years were filled with drama, so it is not surprising how many fiction titles are set during that time. Here are some novels at the library that readers who enjoy historical fiction may want to explore:
“America’s First Daughter” by Stephanie Dray: we’ve heard stories about our Founding Fathers, but what about the rest of their families? Dray’s book offers a fictionalized look into the life of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. Patsy was close to her father and served as a stand-in First Lady to her widowed father. Dray’s book, which is based on letters and historical documents, follows Patsy’s journey from Monticello to Paris and ultimately to the White House, and offers insight into the personal sacrifices she made in order to help her father achieve the presidency. Continue reading “Revolutionary War Fiction”
Last month, our book club read “The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio,” a memoir about a struggling family in the 1950s and a mother who enters contests to augment the family’s income. Our conversation about the book morphed into a discussion of what those times were like. It was a time when “housewives” were courted to submit jingles for popular products, when radio broadcasts and newspapers were still the main source of information about the world and traveling salesmen were regular visitors to households around America. Salesmen went door to door selling everything from “Fuller Brushes” to encyclopedias.
I didn’t anticipate how animated the discussion would become around our memories of using encyclopedias — for doing homework, looking at the sometimes exotic pictures and just the sense of pride over a family owning their own set. Encyclopedia sets were displayed proudly, and usually in a prominent place, in the home. I can remember how fascinating it was to turn each page and see information and beautiful pictures on a variety of subjects. It probably wasn’t that dissimilar to the feeling one has when accessing the internet for the first time and realizing you could instantly receive information on almost anything with the touch of your fingertips. Yet, the information on the internet can come from a variety of sources, some trusted, some not so much. Continue reading “Knowledge at Your Fingertips: Encyclopedias Offered at Your Library”