April is Autism Acceptance Month. Even though there are still a lot of stigmas and misconceptions surrounding autism, there is beginning to be a shift in perspective from autism as a disease to autism as a neural divergence, and from autism awareness to autism acceptance. According to the CDC, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.” In 2013, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) replaced Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders with the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Continue reading “Autism Acceptance Month: Autism in Women”
Change is in the air. Spring is beginning to bloom. Baseball season is upon us. There is a new president and administration. People in 2020 protested for change in policing and civil rights matters. Society is adjusting to multi-culturalism, gender issues and calls for equity. The coronavirus is mutating while people scramble to get vaccinated. The BBC reports that the permafrost is melting across the northern hemisphere, and the last decade was the hottest on record. A 2019 report from the United Nations stated that more animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction than ever in human history. It’s a dizzying amount of change. Also, it is a broad topic for a blog post, which I appreciate. There’s a little something for everyone.
Let’s break it down. Continue reading “Change, Change, Change”
Ready to enjoy a craft that is often used for relieving stress? (I would imagine this last year has been stressful for many of us.) Our April Crafternoon-To-Go kit has everything you need to paint a colorful mandala. Traditionally, a mandala has stood for circle or completion. In various cultures and traditions, mandalas are often used as a spiritual guidance and meditative tool. But drawing a mandala is also fun and rock painting has become a popular (and pretty easy) craft activity.
There are instructions and supplies in your kit for painting the dot mandala with examples of other design options. And in honor of National Poetry month (April), we encourage you to write a favorite line of poetry or word on the other side — you can use the permanent marker included in your kit for this. Keep your rock in a place that will remind you to take a breath and relax. Or you can leave it in a place for someone else to find and maybe they will take a needed breath as well. However, I must warn you mandala painting can be addictive; I think my family is worried our house is evolving into one huge mandala. Continue reading “Crafternoon-To-Go: Mandala Rock Painting”
I’m continuing on my tour of the United States through literature, and I’m now entering the Southwest. These are all books that have a deep sense of place.
I’m starting this portion of my travels in Texas. For convenience sake, I’m including Texas in the Southwest even though you could argue that it belongs in the Deep South or even, in part, in the Great Plains. As a native Texan and an environmentalist, I’m hoping that “Goodbye to a River” by John Graves will tick all of my happy boxes. Graves traveled down the Brazos River to explore the land and reflect on it’s history before a series of dams were erected and irreversibly changed everything. Continue reading “Travel Through Story – The Southwest”
In the 1970s & ’80s, The Ramones asked, “Do you remember Rock ‘n Roll Radio?” Today we ask, “Do you remember attending live music concerts?” I certainly miss seeing shows by my favorite bands and artists like: Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Groovie Ghoulies and Buddy Guy. As live concerts are still quite a few months away, I decided to do some digging into the DBRL collection to find the best (in my opinion) live recorded music. I included titles from our CD collection and our streaming service, Hoopla. So, here are my choices to get lost in the good ol’ days. Disclaimer: I have mostly avoided the MTV Unplugged-type recordings, as they tend to sound a bit too polished. I prefer the “warts and all” approach to concert recordings; give me banter, give me crowd noises, give me mistakes! I want to replicate the concert experience! In the end, I relented and did add some MTV Unplugged performances to the additional titles list. Continue reading “Do You Remember Live Music?”
I love Antiques Roadshow. The history, stories, and surprised owners always make me smile. A few weeks ago, I was watching an old episode before bed, and a young man had a collection of items related to Bessie Raiche, who is credited as the first woman to fly an airplane solo — an airplane, I should add, which she built in her yard. Raiche was also a dentist, a physician, a businesswoman, an athlete and an artist. Sadly, I had never heard of her! So, I looked her up. That search led me to other women I should have heard of but haven’t, and thus, this list was born. Obviously, it is in no way an exhaustive list, but it’s my hope that it will encourage you to seek out other amazing women. Let’s learn their names and stories. Let’s honor the amazing contributions women have made and continue to make. And let’s celebrate Women’s History Month by finding those women, past and present, who don’t always make it onto the ‘famous women’ lists.
“Alone Atop the Hill: The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press” by Alice Allison Dunnigan
Alice Dunnigan was the first credentialed White House correspondent, and the first African-American female member of the House and Senate press galleries. She was a recipient of over 50 journalism awards, a noted civil rights activist, and was known to ask the hard questions about race, gender and rights. Continue reading “Women You Should Know”
Here’s a trivia question. How many elephants currently reside in Tennessee? I don’t know the precise number, but it’s at least 11. That’s the population of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, which provides a 2,700-acre home for retired circus and zoo elephants. One of the organization’s stated goals is to give the animals “the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.”
Since the focus is on what’s best of for the elephants, their habitats are off limits to the public. Fortunately, for those who have a deep fascination with these magnificent creatures, there are elecams. Even better, DBRL has arranged a special opportunity to make a visit from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading “Elephants on World Wildlife Day”
Bread is one of the least controversial things out there. Most would agree with the decorated food writer Michael Pollan that “Even bad bread is pretty good.” Pillowy, fragrant inner-crumbs with chewy, caramelized crusts, who can honestly claim they know restraint around those bottomless bread baskets certain restaurants dare offer? The gluten-free industry has flourished in the last decade to satisfy cravings for this universal carb. Now, while you could continue purchasing this diet staple from the grocery store, I’d argue that it is far more gratifying and delicious to bake it yourself. Continue reading “DIY Bread”
In the last 10 years something interesting has happened in Mid-Missouri: we have actually had some real winters here. Because of peculiar weather patterns, partially caused by the shifting climatological dynamics due to global warming, the winters have been snowier and in some respects much colder than those in previous decades. Even with record breaking hot spells in the summer and an overall higher average temperature, we saw some of the snowiest and coldest winters on record in the 2010s. In fact, the winter of 2013-2014 happened to be one the longest, coldest and snowiest since the epic winter of 1978-1979. Check out this amazing visualization of the extent of snow cover in North America during that vicious winter seven years ago. Since the winter of ’13-’14 we have had numerous cold and snowy stretches, with the following winter season of 2014-2015 being again one of the coldest in many decades. Perhaps most remarkable is the following: two of the biggest snowstorms in the history of Mid-Missouri occurred in the last decade (in 2011 and 2019).
What does this mean for us misplaced snow-creatures who love winter and all the great outdoor sporting opportunities it brings? It has meant many (though highly variable) opportunities for ice skating, cross-country skiing and for my daughters, sledding.
Cross Country Skiing: Because of its fantastic public trail system, Columbia Missouri is a great place to cross-country ski when it snows. I have spent many hours skiing in the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary in the west part of town as well as the grasslands area in the southern part of Rock Bridge state park. For those lucky enough to have access to cross country skis, check out a couple of great books here at the library about the sport, the best beginner guide called “Basic Illustrated Cross-Country Skiing,” by Scott McGee. Although our trails are not groomed for the faster and more athletically challenging skate skiing, tracks are often laid down early by the nordic style skiers in town on the more popular trails, which always makes for a more pleasant experience.
Ice Skating: Another winter wonderland is Stephens Lake when it freezes over (the City of Columbia announces when it is safe). Within hours of the city’s “safe ice” announcement, one realizes how many people in town actually own figure and speed skates, play hockey, and dream at night of the sticks and pucks gathering dust in their closets. I am one of those people. I have done about everything possible on Stephens Lake during hard freeze events: from man-hauling my daughter all over the lake on her sled to playing pickup pond hockey with my brother and friends. My family is usually one of the first on the ice when it is deemed safe and often the last to leave. I was once doing laps around the lake and met a Dutch man with speed skates doing laps as well. He told me that “safe ice” stretches were probably even more rare in the Netherlands now than they are in Mid-Missouri. If you want to learn more about ice skating then take a look at the book “Ice Skating Basics,” by Aaron Foeste. A timeless guide, the book teaches beginners some of the basic stopping, crossover and backward skating techniques essential to feel confident on the ice. Ice skating can be terrifying at first. After learning the hang of it, skating almost feels like flying.
Sledding: the most accessible winter sport is, of course, sledding, known as tobogganing in other regions of the country. Many great sledding opportunities can be found in the region where the northern drift plains hit the Ozark foothills: Mid-Missouri is a land filled with river-bottoms and stubby hills and valleys. Adjacent to the Stephens Lake is our very own Stephens Park sledding hill, which on a snowy Saturday can see hundreds of kids and their parents engaging in trips up and down the slope. To make the experience even more enjoyable, Stephens Lake park also has a fire pit and well supplied wood pile right next to the hill where one can warm up during those long winter sledding expeditions. For info on the best kind of sledding gear for family fun, plus other enjoyable outdoor winter activities, please see the book “The Kids Winter Fun Book” by Claire Gillman. The book also speaks to cozy indoor crafts that families can do after legs are tired from building snow igloos.
Perhaps getting out and playing some winter sports after you read about them is part of your Comforts of Winter reading challenge. You get to create your own challenge, and when you’ve completed it, you get a prize! Learn more about it here.
In these cold, and potentially snowy days of winter, we’re often stuck inside. I love to curl up with a good book or movie, a cup of hot tea and one of my cats in my lap. I imagine many of you do as well. But sometimes we need a bit more stimulation, something to give the brain a bit of a workout. In the days prior to COVID-19 we could come to the library for lots of interactive programming, including escape rooms. Right now, to stay safe, we’re hunkering down at home a bit more and so we’re bringing our escape room to you!