July 20th, 2015

everyday-heroes-signWith this year’s Summer Reading theme of “Every Hero Has a Story,” we will take time to reflect on what a hero is. The concept of a hero is an ever-changing one in our society. For small children, the only reference point of hero is what they see on television and in video games such as Spiderman and Batman. For elderly adults, it may be the person who takes them to the store or spends time with them.

Teenagers, however, may find it harder to identify a hero as they are in the middle-ground between childhood and adulthood. There are many gray areas— what can you do, what can’t you do, what do you believe in, what don’t you believe in, who are your friends, where do you belong—so many questions! All of these uncertainties make it difficult to define a hero.

Teenagers lose their sense of awe in the extraordinary. They may find it hard to suspend reality and view their childhood “heroes” in that capacity any longer. In addition, they are too cool to think of a parent or community helper, such as a police officer, as a hero. Often, teens will look at other outside sources for motivation and hero-worship. You may ask your teen who their hero is and often be answered with the latest music artist or sports personality. In some respects, this may be a viable hero. In others, maybe not so much!

As we take time to reflect on what a hero is to each of us, we note that heroes can take on many different shapes, sizes, and incarnations. Children, teens, and adults can find plenty of inspiration at the library. We have books, movies, and programs that provide access to traditional “super” heroes as well as other non-traditional heroes such as animal search and rescue heroes, military heroes, and everyday heroes who have overcome extreme obstacles.

Perryville Branch Library is hosting a teen program on Thursday, July 23rd at 3 PM called “Heroes Among Us”. Teens will be asked what the word “hero” means to them and challenged to identify a hero of their own. Teens will participate in games and activities to explore heroism and discuss ways that real-life heroes differ from heroes we see in books, movies, and comics.

So think about it….who is YOUR everyday hero?

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Anti-Valentine’s Day

February 7th, 2012

broken heartDo you love being single? Do candy hearts filled with chocolates make you feel ill? Do lovey-dovey couples making kissy faces at each other send you screaming for the hills? Does the dreaded February 14th on the calendar have you planning your escape? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

As the Young Adult Librarian, I like to plan programs around special times of the year; last year to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the teens I did the traditional Valentine’s Day fete–make Valentine’s,  eat chocolate,  and  play candy heart BINGO. Ho-hum. It was fun, but just not what I was looking to do this year. As I was searching for something off the beaten path, I came across the Anti-Valentine’s Day Movement—while Valentine’s Day celebrates love and lovers and is all about candy and flowers, Anti-Valentine’s Day is all about having fun, being confident and loving that you are single. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

The Anti-Valentine’s Day movement has begun gaining some popularity recently. While it’s not entirely new, as there have always been people who either refused to celebrate Valentine’s Day or spent the day in some act of Valentine’s Day protest, in the last decade, the movement has been gaining momentum and taken on a name: Anti-Valentine’s Day! So, while some people are off gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes over fancy dinners, other people are home watching any movie that does not celebrate love, listening to angry music, or joining with friends for Anti-Valentine’s Day gatherings.

At a time when many teens are not allowed to date or do not have a boyfriend/girlfriend, celebrating Valentine’s Day where everyone gets together to “share the love” can be daunting. Instead, promoting the Anti-Valentine’s Day idea where they can celebrate and promote their independence is a great way for them to feel good about themselves and their non-dating choices. By spending time with the teens playing games and creating small, Anti-Valentine’s crafts the teens can have fun with friends and peers while they express their individuality and that they are “OK” with being a single, independent teen.

Both the Perryville and Rising Sun Branches will have Anti-Valentine’s Day programs for our teen patrons. On Thursday, February 9, join us at the Perryville Branch for an Anti-Valentine’s Day Bash at 3:00 pm. We will enjoy some broken heart cookies, make some Anti-Valentine’s with anti-love quotes, and don’t forget to bring a tee that you can decorate with an independence slogan. But if Valentine’s Day really makes you sick, you should join us at the Rising Sun Branch on Wednesday, February 15, for an Anti-Valentine’s Day Gross Out at 3:30pm. If you’ve had enough of the candy and chocolates, then you’ll want to try something totally different—how about kitty litter and dried scabs?!

For those of you who have “aged out” of our teen programs, consider throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day get-together of your own. Serve some broken heart cookies and play some “un-love” songs for the right atmosphere. Have a movie night and watch some great movies where the love story is NOT the hot topic. Or plan a girls’ night with a book discussion around a book where the heroine is a chick who kicks butt! All branches of the Cecil County Public Library have many CDs, movies, and books that would love to spend the night (or 3 weeks) with you! But whatever you do, remember that to enjoy Valentine’s Day you don’t need to be part of a couple—you don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. Just love yourself and be happy with who you are! Everything else is…well, the icing on the heart-shaped cookie.

If you need some ideas to kick-start your Anti-Valentine’s Day Planning, take a look at some of the great materials that CCPL has to offer:

For your Anti-Valentine’s Day Musical Playlist:
-Beautiful Day by U2 on U218 Singles CD
-Come Together by The Beatles on Abbey Road CD
-Stand by R.E.M. on In Time: The Best of R.E.M. CD
-Beautiful by Christina Aguilera on Stripped CD
-Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas on The E.N.D. CD

For your Anti-Valentine’s Day Movie Playlist:
-Despicable Me
-Dead Poet’s Society
-The Blind Side
-Catch Me If You Can

For your Anti-Valentine’s Day Book Discussion:
Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy by Steig Larsson
Lucky by Alice Sebold
Stephanie Plum Mysteries by Janet Evanovich
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

How will you be celebrating this February 14th?