Where No Woman Has Gone Before: Women in Science Fiction and Space Exploration

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 by David Litherland

Close-Up Photo of a Person Wearing Space Helmet “That’s one, small step for [a] man… One, giant leap for mankind.”
~Neil Armstrong, July 20th, 1969

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before!
~Captain James Kirk, “Star Trek,” Stardate 1533.6 (actually 1966)

These two quotes are ironed into the brain of many a starry-eyed science fiction and space exploration lover. I know they’ve been in mine since I first watched William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy with my dad as a kid, while he told me stories of watching the Apollo launches when he was growing up on the Space Coast of Florida. The idea of going out and exploring that final frontier turned me into the sci-fi aficionado I am today. Continue reading “Where No Woman Has Gone Before: Women in Science Fiction and Space Exploration”

Reader Review: The Confident Parent

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2024 by patron reviewer

The Confident Parent by Jane Scott book coverI loved “The Confident Parent” because it gives a global perspective on parenting, which I think is so important these days. As a parent in the US, it is easy to get anxious and stressed out while making sure your child gets the best start, succeeds in school, and is a contributing member of society. However, our children need us to lead by example and can sense our anxiety while we are trying to get everything “perfect.” This book includes a lot of great strategies and ideals that are a confluence of many cultures due to the author’s experience living and parenting in many parts of the world. My main takeaways from this book are to chill out, lead by example, and enjoy the journey.

Three words that describe this book: global, practical, timely

You might want to pick this book up if: You are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

A Book and an Album: Valentine and Bluets

Posted on Friday, January 26, 2024 by Karena

Snail Mail Valentine album cover

Presenting two women after my own heart: Lindsey Jordan (of indie rock solo project Snail Mail) and Maggie Nelson (author of, among many other breathtaking works, the prose-poetry collection “Bluets). These two artists write about devotion, longing and self-revelation in ways that cut to the core. So, I’ve done the logical thing: Listed all 10 tracks on Snail Mail’s sophomore album “Valentine,” along with lyric highlights and emotional descriptors, and assigned each song a related quote from “Bluets” to guide your reading and/or listening. Happy yearning!

Bluets by Maggie Nelson book cover Continue reading “A Book and an Album: Valentine and Bluets”

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 by Jason Delpire

“You?! You’re reading an Ali Hazelwood book?”
“Um, well, it is set around chess, so… yeah?”

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood book cover

Full disclosure, “Check & Mate” is the first Ali Hazelwood book I have read. I heard she generally writes steamy romance and that’s not exactly my preferred genre. This title is YA, and while there is romance and language, and even mentions of sex (fade to black), it is pretty tame. Whew.

So, why am I writing about this title you may ask? Chess. I love chess and have been playing for more than 25 years. Chess players generally can’t help themselves, we have to critique every mention of our game and we are perpetually frustrated by simple inaccuracies.

Oh, there will be spoilers, you have been warned. Continue reading “Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood”

January Crafternoon – Paper Quilling

Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 by cs

flowers made from paper quillingBack by popular demand: paper quilling! We did this activity last year and before we were even finished participants were asking for it again.  Paper quilling has been popular since the 15th century and is the art of using paper strips and glue to create simple or complicated shapes and patterns. Strips of paper are quilled onto a skewer, shaped and glued onto a canvas to create a picture. All supplies are provided. This is a more complex process, so fine motor skills win the day here! Join us on Saturday, January 27 from 2- 4 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library. This program is for adults and registration is required — register early as these classes fill quickly.

For more ideas on decorating with paper, check out these library resources. You can also explore CreativeBug, which is our database on arts and crafts activities. You can view tons of creative jewelry ideas with instructional videos, on everything from wire-wrapping to beading to leathercrafts, and more are added monthly! You will need your library card and pin (your birthdate in MMDDYYYY format) to use this database.

Stay tuned for our future Crafternoons — bullet journals, basic embroidery stitching and painted rocks to name a few — in our program guide, on the website and on social media!

Reader Review: A Man Called Ove

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2024 by patron reviewer

Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman book coverA Man Called Ove” tugged on all of my heartstrings. The main character, Ove, is unlikeable, truly. He is old and grumpy, and takes it out on everyone that he encounters, including the person trying to sell him an iPad. When Ove gets new neighbors, he is infuriated. Not only are they annoying, but the husband cannot back up a trailer. Ove, out of frustration rather than just being helpful, decides to help the couple back up the trailer. This is where the book really takes off, and Ove’s relationships with the people around him change. Ove reminded me of my own grandpa, who was quite grumpy, and thought his way was the only way. Ove also reminds me of my dad, so this character holds a special place in my heart. The book surprised me, made me laugh out loud, and made me cry while staying up late to finish it.

Three words that describe this book: Heart-wrenching, funny, and sad.

You might want to pick this book up if: If you are looking for something that will warm your heart while also breaking it, this is the book to pick up.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

Q&A With Lisa Kinser, Author of “I Am the Night”

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 by Decimal Diver

Lisa Kinser is a Columbia, MO author whose debut book is “I Am the Night.” It’s a poetry book written over a 15 year period that chronicles a younger, more free time in her life a past of longing and searching for both adventure and true love. Kinser is an Integrative Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach and End of Life Planner. She was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed via email. Continue reading “Q&A With Lisa Kinser, Author of “I Am the Night””

Reader Review: 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week

Posted on Monday, January 15, 2024 by patron reviewer

24/6 by Tiffany Shlain book coverIn the book “24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week,” Tiffany Shlain dives into the topic of technology use and the harmful impacts it has on us inside and out. Tiffany’s family takes a tech Shabbat every Friday evening to Saturday evening. The time and attention that they gain from unplugging is exactly what many of us want in our lives. I was so inspired that I implemented a modified tech Shabbat in my life before I was halfway through reading this book. I intend to have a full tech Shabbat every week from now on.

Three words that describe this book: Intriguing, Informative, Insightful

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to know more about taking time off from technology or why it’s so important to consider taking a tech break.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

Literary Links: The Science of Music and Sound

Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2024 by Liz

Music plays an important role in most people’s lives. I myself attribute many songs to specific points in my life and hearing them can trigger a specific emotional response. And, although most people love music, I recently learned that up to 5% of the world’s population doesn’t like music. This phenomenon is called musical anhedonia. For those who do enjoy music, or at least are interested in learning more about it, consider checking out some of the books below.

High Bias by Marc Masters book coverI grew up in the ‘90s so cassette tapes are very nostalgic for me. My first car only had a tape deck, and I remember listening to Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” over and over again on my drive to and from school. Marc Masters explores the history of cassette tapes in “High Bias: The Distorted History of the Cassette Tape.” He charts the journey of the cassette tape from its invention in the early 1960s to its Walkman-led domination in the 1980s to its decline at the birth of the compact discs to its resurgence among independent music makers today. Continue reading “Literary Links: The Science of Music and Sound”

Favorite Manga and Graphic Novels of 2023

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2024 by Michael M

I think it is probably fair to say that I’m a power reader. In 2023, I read a little over 230 books, including novels, novellas, short story collections, and a lot of manga and graphic novels. Without pulling the numbers (I’m a book person, please don’t ask me to count), I’d say anywhere between 45-50% of my reading last year was some kind of graphic story. Before we get into it, here’s a quick overview of the difference between comics, graphic novels and manga/manwha: Continue reading “Favorite Manga and Graphic Novels of 2023”