Tuesday, July 28, 2015


This makes my heart so sad.

School districts in Ohio cutting librarians.

Friday, July 17, 2015

meandering in the 'Burbs

Today was lovely. Hopped in my jalopy and drove around the Chicago suburbs. Stumbled upon this cute little town called Itasca, where you can catch the Metra to Union Station. Ate at a cute little diner called Daddy O's, where I filled up on delicious greasy diner food and that silently enjoyed the world's-my-oyster feeling that always creeps over me on days off. I love days off.

Found my way to the Itasca Library today. Awesome little library, very well organized and tidy. Snagged a couple of their kids and teen booklists--suggested reading lists are always a helpful thing for us to see, for when we're feeling uninspired. 

Farmers Market nom nom for lunch!
Found my favorite flowers at the Farmers Market this morning
Next I found a Farmers Market in Schaumburg. The city, as well as the FM, were bustling. This is what I bought. 

Today has been grand. Already feeling eight million times more rejuvenated. Now off for some more of those sweet tomatoes and a book. 

Happy weekend all!

when it rains it pours

...literally and figuratively.

Sticks has gotten so much rain this summer that many farmers will lose portions of their harvest; yard and fields and basements are flooding everywhere. And in my life one stressful thing seems to keep happening  after another. I'm exhausted.

Summer Reading: our craziest, busiest time of year; months of preparation and 6 weeks of chaos and happy patrons. It was an amazing year with growth in all of our numbers, and we're pretty proud of how hard we worked and the great feedback we've received!
It was an amazing year:
466 people participated
92 programs over 6 weeks with 1,972 people attending
Thank God it's over!

The Building: I've been talking to our alarm company and HVAC guys more than I talk to my Mom. We've been having loads of weird issues with both our alarm and the air conditioning. Also, going through the process of getting appointments set-up for carpet cleaning, and interviewing cleaning companies as we're finally deciding to outsource our cleaning.

Staffing issues
One of my staff recently resigned, which means I will have to go through the hiring process AGAIN. Ugh. My treasurer retired July 1st, and so we're still trying to get her replacement up to speed.
I've received complaints about unfriendliness of a couple staff at the Library, and am dealing with that. Disciplining staff is NEVER fun. I am not popular with a couple folks right now. WORST part of my job.

Recently realized that I was having some moisture issues at my house; landlord had repairman out who determined there is significant amount of water damage to two of the exterior walls of the house, due to bad water spouting for who knows how long. This repairman said he could do work in roughly months time, and that would be replacing two outside walls. More quotes are to follow from other contractors.

I can't even imagine how I would go through not being able to be in my house for at least a month! I'd have to put all my furniture in storage, and what of Hemmy?! I am also hesitant to stay in a house that's had water damage--unhealthy fear of cancer caused by weird bio-hazard molds...so, I'm looking to move again. I think I'm done with Sticks--this being my 3rd housing situation, none of which have been stellar. I am thinking 30 minutes north in a bigger city with better amenities.

Long story short, my poor Hemingway got what the vet called "crystals" in his bladder--something akin to kidney stones. Poor fellow was in pain and had to stay over at the vets this week. He is on the mend, and thankfully my great friend, Kelly is taking great care of him while I'm on vacation.

...my vacation couldn't happen at a better time. Spending 5 days with ChicagoBoy, celebrating his birthday, and doing a lot of relaxing. Already feeling better.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

solar powered oven for SMORES

The other day Prairie Dawn worked with the tweens and teens to make these solar powered ovens to cook SMORES with; an activity that they loved. We were blessed with a sunny day--anyone else tired of the rain yet?!--which of course made the ovens work, and gave the kids some time to enjoy being outside on the lawn, instead of in the Library. 
Great and simple STEM program. 

Solar Powered Oven for SMORES Instructions:
  • Hit up local pizza shop for donation of small pizza boxes (enough for 1/kid)
  • Pop a hole in the lid and cut a big square in the center 
  • Layer the bottom of the box with black construction paper
  • Cover the inside of the box lid (where the hole is) with plastic wrap, taping it so it'll stick on the inside of the lid
  • Tap foil to the lid and position it upright with the help of a popsicle stick
  • Put graham cracker down, chocolate, marshmallow on black construction paper inside the box
  • Close the lid so SMORE is visible through plastic
  • Make sure the foil stays upright (as pictured above)
  • Check on SMORE cooking, looking for marshmallow getting gooey
  • EAT!

PLF update

"The conference report on House Bill (HB) 64, the state’s two year main operating budget bill, was adopted on a 4-2 party-line vote at about 2:30a.m. this morning.  The Senate is expected to approve the report later today and the House will vote tomorrow.

Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-N. Canton), Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) and Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) voted for the report.  Sen. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) voted against the report.

PLF – The Conference Committee kept the language increasing the PLF percentage to 1.7% of the total General Revenue Fund (GRF).  This is a huge success because anything can happen in Conference Committee.  However, they chose not to include a provision guaranteeing us the actual dollar amounts estimated in the budget documents.

Tax Package – The Conference Committee made a few changes as they worked out the differences between the House and Senate tax proposals.  They kept the 6.3% across the board personal income tax cut and revised the small-business income tax cut and cigarette tax.  Under the revised small business tax cut, business owners would receive a 75-percent income-tax reduction on their first $250,000 of net income for the 2015 tax year.  In tax year 2016, they would pay no state income tax at all on their first $250,000 of income.  Any income beyond $250,000 would be taxed at a flat rate of 3 percent under the budget plan.  As for cigarettes, they reduced the proposed per-pack cigarette tax hike from 40 to 35 cents..."
--Michelle Francis, Director of Government and Legal Services, Ohio Library Council

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

owl pellets and hovercrafts

Today was a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) day.

This morning the younger kids made hovercrafts with CDs, balloons, and pop-top caps. Prairie Dawn already had the CDs and pop-top caps already hot glue gunned together, so the kids were only really doing the balloon part, but she talked about friction with the kids, and what was causing the hovercraft to move. The parents loved that the craft was simple and something they could take home and that the kids could use all day on the floors! 65 attended! That's our biggest program this summer!

Teens dissected owl pellets this afternoon, which was a great thing that definitely got some of our fence-riding boys to come out! As you can see from the link, it was a pretty inexpensive thing, and a nice break for Prairie Dawn to not be doing so much prep work!