Women You Should Know

Posted on Monday, March 8, 2021 by Lisa Stock

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.

Book Cover: Alone atop the Hill

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”

Elephants on World Wildlife Day

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2021 by Ida

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”

DIY Bread

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2021 by Cap'n Ludd

bread dough being sprinkled with flour

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”

Winter Sports in an Unlikely Place

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Seth

An image of the snow over North America on February 13, 2014.

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.


Digital Escape Room: Snowed In!

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2021 by Anne

snowy mountain

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!

Continue reading “Digital Escape Room: Snowed In!”

Crafternoon-To-Go: Resin Pendant Kits

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 by cs

Our winter Crafternoon-To-Go kits could be a perfect Valentine’s gift (yay, a holiday!) for you or for someone else. Although there are lots of activities on the internet showing how to make these with resin, we have made it easy for you with pre-made pendants. All you have to do is decorate. In your kit, we have provided some decorating possibilities, such as paper flowers, glitter, and inspirational words. But don’t let us hold you back — anything that will fit will work: a picture of a loved one, a pressed flower or a favorite word. Also provided in the kit are instructions, paper backings, glue and a necklace cord. You just need a pair of scissors. Continue reading “Crafternoon-To-Go: Resin Pendant Kits”

Winter Crafting

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2021 by Lisa Stock

Three people paper crafting

I love crafting. There’s something magical about taking a random assortment of items and turning it in to something new and exciting. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s any good because, gosh darn it, you made it! It’s yours! It’s a little expression of you, made from string or paper or sticks and some glue. Getting together the necessary materials, however, especially in current times, can be daunting. Maybe you’re in quarantine. Maybe it’s really cold out. Maybe you just don’t want to leave the house. Whatever the reason, your crafting projects can’t happen because you don’t have the correct materials, right? Wrong! I’m here to help you out. You can craft awesome, creative things just using what you have at home. Don’t believe me? Well, read on fellow crafter — have I got the books for you! Continue reading “Winter Crafting”

(Better) New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2021 by Alyssa

list of 2021 goals, blank

Here is a by-no-means-comprehensive list of things that I have no intention of doing this year: going keto, doing crossfit, reading “War and Peace,” giving up social media. If you have already lapsed with New Year’s resolution, the problem may not be with you. Many typical resolutions are so dry and joyless. The secret to a good resolution is to pick something that will improve your life and that you will actually enjoy doing. Here are some that may spark a bit more joy than, say, dieting or giving up coffee. Continue reading “(Better) New Year’s Resolutions”

Virtual Travels With UNESCO – The American West and Southwest

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2021 by JessB

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


World Heritage SitesWelcome back to the next installment of Virtual Travel with UNESCO! It can be fun to explore new places — even without leaving the comfort of your own home. Previously, we talked about the UNESCO organization and their list of World Heritage sites. Part I focused on the sites closest to Mid-Missouri and a few more in the central and eastern United States. If you have not had the chance to read the first part of this series, UNESCO is a worldwide organization that promotes cultural diversity, safeguarding natural resources, and protecting culturally meaningful sites around the globe. UNESCO has over a thousand sites that are protected by the organization and considered valuable cultural and natural resources. Today, I will be highlighting UNESCO World Heritage sites in the west and southwestern United States. To see the entire list of natural and cultural World Heritage Sites check out World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide to 1,031 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Let’s explore! Continue reading “Virtual Travels With UNESCO – The American West and Southwest”

Making Holidays Less Lonely

Posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by Alyssa

I will spare you the “with the new normal … ” spiel. Holidays feeling lonely, while new to some, has long been a familiar feeling to many. Pre-pandemic, many people were too far away from family to travel, had toxic families who were damaging to their mental health or simply did not have any family with whom they could gather. You may be spending the holidays alone this year, or with significantly fewer people than you are used to. I can’t promise you merry and bright, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Continue reading “Making Holidays Less Lonely”