June 17th, 2014

On the Road Again

roadtripsSummer is here and my girls have signed up for CCPL’s Summer Reading and Learning Program. It’s open to kids, adults and teens. Are you registered to read for rewards?

Summer is also the season of road trips in my family – but there’s one big problem – my girls can get car sick before we’ve come to the end of our lane. How do we survive a six-hour trip when reading, video games, coloring, journaling and DVD-watching are all destined to create emergency roadside stops?

Audiobooks! “Hands free reading” isn’t just for adults.  It’s a great way to make the hours go by and listening to audiobooks counts toward the summer reading program!

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I’ve tried to share my childhood delight in Little House on the Prairie with my daughters, but they’re not particularly interested. They tell me the “prairie” was so long ago it’s boring. But if you lend voices, experiences, emotions and adventures to those dates and people… you’ve happened upon what I call “entertainment learning.”

On our road trips and many excursions north and south along 213 we’ve listened to Harry Potter and the Warriors series. But here’s where I got “mom sneaky” – I started playing the Dear America series. These historical fiction books are based on real girls and young women who kept journals during important times in our history such as the Colonial settlements, Oregon Trail, Civil War and World War II. The heroines describe everyday life and how they were affected by these moments in history. There’s humor and adventure, but also stark description of sacrifice, sorrow and hardship. The resulting conversations with my daughters have been fascinating. The books end with historical notes about what happened to the girls and their families after the story ends.

While traveling I-95, we’ve discussed big topics like slavery and the Holocaust.  We’ve talked about what it was like to be a woman in different times in history, as well as the bravery and conviction of the American spirit. We’ve also discussed how many conveniences we take for granted in our modern life, such as plumbing, electricity, freedom.

When we travel to visit Massachusetts this summer, I plan to borrow Dear America: A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower 1620. For Royal enthusiasts, there’s a great series called The Royal Diaries that features princesses from around the world and from many time periods throughout history.

And if you have young men in your car, there are plenty of titles written from boys’ perspectives, too. Try The Watsons Go to Birmingham on CD or Dear America: My Name is America in print. And don’t forget to check our eBook and eAudiobook collections for downloadable options.

How do you keep your kids entertained (and learning) in the car?

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April 11th, 2014

Lives Change @ Your Library – Celebrate National Library Week April 13-19

Thomas Cousar PER 2014_1 - Copy_1First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. This year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library.”  We’re excited to share with you how lives change at Cecil County Public Library, right in our own community.

Thomas fell on hard times after leaving the military, including a period of homelessness. When he came to the Perry Point VA hospital, he discovered computer classes specifically for veteransChristian Cholish with quote space_1 at the Perryville Branch Library. He learned how to create an email account, use the internet and apply for jobs online. He has since been hired by the VA and works to help fellow vets gain computer skills.

Christian started volunteering at the Elkton Central Library a few years ago and the experience made a profound difference in his life. He writes, “At the library, opportunities abound for both character and community. Here, young people like me expand themselves by reaching out and giving back. In programs, in volunteering positions, and of course in YA social spaces, we are challenged to learn, to lead, and to find ourselves. For all of my growth and success, I owe the library enormous credit.”  His volunteer work was so impressive, it led to a paid position as a shelving clerk. He is graduating with honors this year
and has been accepted early admission to a prestigious college.Bookmobile - Hollingsworth Manor Mar 2014

Our community cherishes our bookmobile service because it visits communities in which many residents have limited access to transportation. The bookmobile brings library services to schools, Head Start centers, Boys & Girls Clubs and other community meeting places.  Many families visit the bookmobile regularly because without a car, it’s their only connection for getting books.

Many parents worry about getting their childrenConklin family baby with card_1 ready to start school, but Mark and Crystal were a little surprised when their pediatrician strongly recommended reading to their newborn each day.  Through fun storytime programs at Cecil County Public Library, they learned how early childhood learning, starting at birth, is critical for school readiness.  They were thrilled to find out that baby Ellie could get her very own library card and they feel proud to be investing in their daughter’s future by teaching her a love of learning.

Jerome may be one of our most extreme library users ever! After a fire destroyed his vehicle, he salvaged his library card and continued to use it until the bar code could longer be scanned.  He was sad to give up his card because it showed how important the library was in his life.  We got him a new card – and he let us hold on to the burnt one as a great reminder of how important Cecil County Public Library is to so many citizens.Burnt Library Card

Celebrate National Library Week by stopping by your local branch this week or visiting a new one. And don’t miss our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more life-changing stories and trivia this week – you could even win a prize by submitting your “Extreme Library User” story.  Whether it’s how long you’ve had your card, how many books you check out, or how the library has made a profound difference in your life, we want to hear your “Extreme Library User” story!  Post your story here, on our social media accounts, or send to webmaster@ccplnet.org by 4/19 for a chance to win.

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