Get a Library Card…And Another…And Another

I can’t imagine anyone not having a library card. When you were young, we’d go to the library regularly to check out bags full of books. Before taking off for a long car trip, we’d load up on books on tape or later, books on CD.

Spending time flipping through books, looking at displays and selecting bookmarks provided a good opportunity to relax after school or escape the heat on a summer afternoon. Going to the library was always a treat.

Now I use the library much differently. Today I walked into the doors of a library for the first time in over nine months when we went to the Micanopy Branch of the Alachua County Library, and I left without checking out a single item. The visit today was simply to renew my library card. Yes, my Alachua County library card. One of three library cards I carry in my wallet.

Did you know you most counties in Florida have agreements with surrounding counties to provide library services to their residents? As a Marion County resident, I have a card for the libraries in my home county, and in addition to my Alachua County card, I also have one for Lake County. In fact, the last time I stepped inside a library, it was the one closest to our house. One in Lake County where I did check out books before attending a presentation on the history of cattle ranching in Florida.

Most of my library use today doesn’t require leaving home. I check one digital books that are magically sent to my Kindle and audiobooks (no more cassettes or CDs) that I listen to on my phone and best of all, magazines, dozens of magazines every month, that I read on my Kindle or iPad. It’s even possible to download music. And with different resources available in each county, the choices seem to be endless.

If your library card isn’t up-to-date, go in and renew it, and then start exploring all of the digital resources. And then go to your neighboring counties to add to your library card collection.



I may have to stop in a branch of the Citrus County Library this summer. Are four library cards too many?

Show Your Library Love

Have you noticed the red Library Lover signs sprouting throughout the county?


Unfortunately, the worth of our libraries is being attacked by the Marion County Commission and we, Library Lovers, need to show our support of this essential county service. Let the commissioners know that you value the Marion County Public Library, their staff and services. Contact commissioners, attend meetings and plant a Library Lover sign in your yard. (If you need help getting a sign, leave a comment and I’ll get you in touch with a member of the Friends of the Library.)

10. Provide genealogy help centers.
9. Access the online resources from the comfort of your home. Use the online catalog, reserve materials, and complete research by accessing one of the dozens of databases.
8. freegal provides more than a million songs that can be added to your music library at the rate of three songs a week
7. eAudio with One Click Digital
6. Special events offered for children, teens, and adults. Check the here for the calendar.
5. eBooks can be downloaded using Freading, Open Library, OverDrive and Project Gutenberg (more than a million titles)
4. Collection contains more than 549, 000 volumes.
3. Zinio lets you download over 100 electronic editions of popular magazines.
2. Open 7 days a week.
1. Best of all – it’s free!
And as a bonus, the building is decorated with mosaics illustrating the Dewey Decimal classifications as well as what makes Marion County special.

Can’t wait to post my signs tomorrow!

Hammock Heaven

Did you know last Wednesday was Hammock Day? It’s always on July 22nd, but it’s difficult to enjoy a hammock on a Wednesday so I’d suggest today’s the day to climb in the hammock and relax. If you’re feeling especially energetic, you may want to take a book and read, otherwise, napping in the hammock will suffice.


“I’ve never understood activity holidays since we seem to have far too much activity in our daily lives as it is. Find a culture where loafing is the order of the day and where they don’t understand our need to be constantly doing things. Find somewhere you can have a hammock holiday.” ~Tom Hodgkinson

“My perfect day is constantly changing. Right now, it would be to lie around in a hammock reading with a portable phone and a table of food next to it. I would spend all day there. And that’s all that I can possibly come up with on the spur of the moment.” ~Eric Stoltz

“Your best ideas, those eureka moments that turn the world upside down, seldom come when you’re juggling emails, rushing to meet the 5 P.M. deadline or straining to make your voice heard in a high-stress meeting. They come when you’re walking the dog, soaking in the bath or swinging in a hammock.” ~Carl Honore

“I don’t care who you are, the pressure is on to go to the next task immediately. What happened to the days of hanging out in the hammock all afternoon?” ~James Brolin

“My goal involves a hammock, a vegetable patch, and a solar-powered house. And I hope to eventually get there.” ~Miranda Kerr

“Reading is a joy for my kids, and to swing in a hammock on a lazy summer day reading a good book just goes with summer.” ~Marcia Gay Harden

“I like to sit in my backyard. I go out on the hammock and sit in silence and kind of meditate. Nature is calming, and it’s nice to go out there and clear my head.” ~Devon Werkheiser



What have you read lately?

This question made me take a serious look at my priorities. When asked,”What have you read lately?” I could only respond, nothing.

That was a hard admission. I consider myself a reader, but I’ve been too busy to read. What does that really mean? It means I’ve found other ways to spend my time.

I don’t regret wedding planning instead of reading. Bike riding, traveling, hiking, outdoor activities, writing…all good uses of my time.

However, there’s been plenty of time to waste on Facebook. Time to waste watching television. Time to play games online…but no time to read?

After admitting I’ve read no books recently, using that busy excuse, I did say I’ve become a magazine reader…and that’s true. Thanks to the Marion County Public Library and the Zinio app, I’ve discovered and read magazines I’d have never tried, and since I access the magazines on my phone or iPad, I don’t have to deal with all of the paper magazines piling up.

I’ve read Backpacker, Handyman, iPhone Life, Mother Jones, Outdoor Photographer, Writer and Yoga as well as the more traditional “women’s” magazines I’d read in the past. I’ve found I really enjoy magazines, but since my admission of taking a break from reading, I’ve taken action.

I dusted off the books on the nightstand by my bed, charged my Kindle and downloaded the audio book, The Boys in the Boat, for a Spring Break trip. Does that count?

Busy is no excuse. It’s time to get my priorities straight. Thanks for asking what I’m reading.




Storybook Tree

A morning spent working with students at Osceola Middle School resulted in an unexpected surprise. A book lovers’ Christmas tree.


Mini books used as decorations.

Dozens of ornaments with favorite book characters: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Tigger, Madeline, Paddington, and Peter Rabbit.

IMG_5307.JPGClifford and one of the Wild Things.


Even a couple of nursery rhyme characters: the Three Men in a Tub and Humpty Dumpty.


Love the hat used as a tree topper!

IMG_5212.JPGAnd more characters, like Arthur and Curious George, as well as book themed gift bags surrounding the tree.IMG_5310.JPGWhat a trip down memory lane for all of the book lovers who pass through the media center. Thanks, Karen, for sharing this holiday treasure.

Make it a Shel Sunday

When I saw this picture earlier this week, it made me chuckle. Reading poetry from Shel Silverstein’s book, Where the Sidewalk Ends, always brought a smile to the face of my students as well as my daughters.

It’s been years since I’ve read any Shel Silverstein poetry, but seeing this image inspired me to re-read many of his poems.

mustntsI couldn’t help but smile as I read his humorous words.


As the writer of Johnny Cash’s famous song, A Boy Named Sue,  Shel Silverstein’s unique sense of humor has been a source of joy for more than a half century.


So make it a Shel Sunday and smile.


On Sunday’s I’ve been posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou, for the past nine months. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Since I’ve posted all of the poetry she’s written, I decided to share a site where poetry lovers can subscribe to receive a Poem-A-Day. Subscribers receive a poem by email daily. Unpublished works by contemporary poets, as well as classical and historic poems are included in the Poem-A-Day emails.

Rondeau, by Jessie Redmon Fauset, was the Poem-A-Day for April 19th, 2014.


by Jessie Redmon Fauset

When April’s here and meadows wide

Once more with spring’s sweet growths are pied

I close each book, drop each pursuit,

And past the brook, no longer mute,

I joyous roam the countryside.

Look, here the violets shy abide

And there the mating robins hide—

How keen my sense, how acute,

When April’s here!

And list! down where the shimmering tide

Hard by that farthest hill doth glide,

Rise faint strains from shepherd’s flute,

Pan’s pipes and Berecyntian lute.

Each sight, each sound fresh joys provide

When April’s here.

– Source:; Poem-A-Day; April 19, 2014.


by Jessie Redmon Fauset

When April's here and meadows wide 
Once more with spring's sweet growths are pied 
    I close each book, drop each pursuit, 
    And past the brook, no longer mute, 
I joyous roam the countryside.

Look, here the violets shy abide 
And there the mating robins hide—
    How keen my sense, how acute, 
      When April's here!

And list! down where the shimmering tide 
Hard by that farthest hill doth glide, 
    Rise faint strains from shepherd's flute, 
    Pan's pipes and Berecyntian lute. 
Each sight, each sound fresh joys provide 
      When April's here.

– See more at:

The Most Beautiful Libraries

I can’t possibly be the only person who likes to visit libraries while on vacation. Not only are libraries wonderful places to sit down and relax to get out of the heat or cold, they’re great places to find out what’s going on in the area. They provide free wifi and you can see some beautiful architecture.

Over the years, we stopped in the Denver Public Library so I could work while on vacation.


In Taos, we got out of the heat and used wifi at the Taos Public Library.


In New York City Public Library we marveled at the architecture and furnishings in the library where Claudia and Jamie researched Michelangelo in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

nyc-public-libraryGenealogy drew us to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

family-history-library_1067502And we even go to the library on Sanibel Island. It’s the perfect place to read magazines and escape from the hottest part of the day or dodge a summer thunderstorm.

librarySo on National Library Week I’d like to share an article from the Huffington Post entitled 50 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World. Click here to see these amazing libraries and make a list of the ones you’d like to visit.


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

IMG_2195Celebrating Dr. Seuss on the birthday of author Theodor Geisel on March 2nd is another tradition from the many years I spent in an elementary classroom.

Thanks to Dr. Seuss, and my mom, I love to read. As a five year old, I would proudly read (or more likely recite) Green Eggs and Ham.

I will not eat with in a box.

I will not eat with with a fox.

I will not eat them here or there.

I will not eat them anywhere.

I do not like green eggs and ham.

I do not like them, Sam I am.

These words would elicit the same response from my mom every time I read them. “Stop reading that book! You’re making me sick!”

My mom wasn’t anti-reading, or anti-Dr. Seuss, she was pregnant with my younger sister and the mention of green eggs and ham made her nauseous. What power! As a  five year old I could make my mom sick by reading! Of course I wanted to learn to read!

IMG_3076Years later, another mother helped me inspire a group of kindergarteners to want to read. As a media specialist, I taught a unit on identifying fiction and non-fiction books by reading and discussing books about cats. Naturally, The Cat in the Hat was included. What better book to illustrate examples of fiction!

However, upon introducing the book, one little girl raised her hand and announced her mother would not allow her to read “that book”. When I asked why, she said the cat taught children to do bad things.

Bingo! I had the students’ undivided attention! After excusing the student from the classroom to find a book in the media center she’d like to read, I dove in to The Cat in the Hat with the remaining students. Needless to say, they looked for all the bad things in the book.

Not only did I help the children identify elements of fiction, but we also discussed how the children in the book should have responded to avoid the problems caused by the Cat in the Hat. I should have written a thank you note to the little girl’s mother who wouldn’t allow her to read “that book” because her daughter’s words inspired many students that day.

I could see the look in their eyes. Like me, they realized the power of books, and they couldn’t wait to get their hands on one that upset adults. We couldn’t keep The Cat in the Hat on the shelves and everything Dr. Seuss increased in popularity.

Want a child to read? Just tell them you hate a book – The Cat in the Hat, Harry Potter, Goosebump books…they’re all more popular when adults disapprove.


Summer Reading List

Those three words send chills down the spines of middle school and high school students all over the country. Every student relishes the first day of summer – no homework, no projects, no studying for tests. Unfortunately, too many schools and teachers sabotage the joy of reading by assigning required books to be read and reports and projects to be completed on these books during the days of summer.

As a person who can’t wait for Tuesday to roll around so my teaching responsibilities will be behind me giving me time to read, I hate the idea of required summer reading. I’m all for teachers providing suggested reading lists for students. Those who want to read but need help finding titles of books that may enjoy will appreciate these lists and students who already love to read may refer to the list but will probably have developed their own reading plans for the summer now that they have more free time. Of course, there are others who will not read, but that’s preferable to resenting reading and books because they associate books with assignments, projects, reports, and school work.IMG_1280

Personally, my summer reading list grows every day. I’ve downloaded a dozen or more non-fiction books on my Kindle and I visited the library on Thursday and picked up the three books on my list. I’ve decided to concentrate on Florida books this summer. Among the titles on my list (in no particular order):

Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White (actually South Georgia)

Team Rodent by Carl Hiaasen (non-fiction)

Florida Forever and Allapattah by Patrick Smith

Totch A Life in the Everglades by Loren G. “Totch Brown (memoir)

Ocali Country by Eloise Robinson Ott and Louis Hickman Chazal

Condominium by John D. MacDonald

Barefoot Mailman by Theodore Pratt (time to reread this one)

Tourist Season by Carl Hiassen

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

No book reports. No projects. No deadlines. No requirement to finish a book I’m not enjoying. Now that’s what I call summer reading!