Bringing a little drama to your library

Bringing a little drama to your library
Last summer I was approached by two very kind women from Anderson about using our community room for drama classes for local students. I immediately saw this as a great chance to partner with their theatre group. That was when the Library Drama Camp was born. We were very excited to join forces with Spotlight on Drama to create a week-long intensive day camp for students. The kids would meet every day for a week to learn about theatre, acting, and public speaking. During that week they would also work on a short play. The week would culminate in a presentation of the play for their families. We gave it a go last July, and it was a big success. It was only natural to want to do it again. So your library partnered with Spotlight on Drama once again this spring break. Last week we had our second drama camp, and the students performed the classic tale Stone Soup. I am extremely impressed that a group of 7-13 year old kids can learn all of their lines and perform a play after only 4 days. This time the play included a short musical number as well which was a new experience for many of the students. This group of kids not only performed the play, but they were stars!
If you would like to see their performance, you can find it at the link below. Due to the amazing success of these camps, we are pleased to announce that we will offer another Drama Camp during the week of July 22nd. If you have a student who is in 1st-6th grade who would like to perform, keep an eye on our calendar, newsletter, and social media for announcements.
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Back to Basics

When we were working on the library’s long-range plan, we wanted to strike a balance between trying the next best thing and sticking to our roots, which will always be books and reading.  Even with free wi-fi, great programs, and notary services, most people still visit the library to find a good book or a stack of them.  We love all of our reading patrons, and we want to support you by staying true to our brand.

One of the goals on the library’s long-range plan is to “Provide greater services and support to readers.”  We plan to do this in a number of different ways. 

First, we are always building upon our website, and we have added a new resource, Books and Authors to the “For Readers” page of our website.  On that page, you can also find new book lists and links to other online resources for voracious readers.

Second, we are creating thematic bookmarks for you to use as suggested reading lists.  We are tapping into the expertise of our entire staff to cultivate reading lists for things like modern fairy tales, historic fiction, and even funny stories to read together with your children.  We want to make finding your next great read easy and maybe even a little surprising.

And finally, we hope to interact with you personally as your Reader’s Advisor.  Think of a librarian as your literary concierge.  We want you to tell us about some of your favorite books so that we may use our mad librarian skills to suggest something else we think you will enjoy.  Stop in and tell us what you’re reading so we can suggest what to read next. 

Lynn Hobbs, Library Director

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The Talents That Surround Us

A couple of years ago, I was at the South Madison Community Foundation's Open Hearts, Open Purses event. I was perusing the silent auction baskets, and was particularly interested in the one that offered a classically-trained chef who will come to your house and cook a gourmet Cajun meal for eight. What really struck me was that the Cajun chef was the Foundation's own Lisa Floyd!

Fast forward to last year when the South Madison Community Foundation awarded $7,000 to the library for a learning kitchen. The kitchen is to be used for cooking classes and demonstrations. You can probably see where this is headed.

On Saturday, February 23rd at 1:00 p.m., Lisa Floyd will be featured in The Learning Kitchen as she prepares jambalaya and bread pudding. Those who attend will be taught the secrets of gourmet Cajun cooking from one of Pendleton's premier movers and shakers!

At the library, we took this idea a step farther. We recognize that there are lots of talented people in our area. Quilters, woodworkers, birders, knitters, weavers, artists, writers, plumbers, musicians...the list goes on and on. And, these are the individuals who create the fabric of our community. So, doesn't it make perfect sense for the library to tap into all of these talents as a way to help you discover your next passion?

One of the goals on the library's long-range plan is to "focus adult programming on lifelong learning, skills development, and civility." One of the ways we hope to do that is to find local community members who are willing to share their skills and talents with others. If you've got a talent to share, please let us know by emailing

If you are interested in reading the library's entire long-range plan for 2019-2021, it is available on our website.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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pop-up wildlife

It's funny how things just evolve.  For example, take the library's little nature preserve, visible from the public computer area.  When the new library was built, nearly twelve years ago, that space was professionally landscaped with shrubs and trees.  After some time, a couple of the shrubs died and had to be removed.  The space was looking pretty bare, so library staff members purchased a couple of bird feeders to hang from the trees to attract birds in the winter.  Our children's librarian purchased a hummingbird feeder and started making monthly batches of hummingbird nectar in the break room.

After a few seasons, the lawn started to deteriorate and the grass gave way to clover, attracting rabbits.  The Friends of the Library bought a bird bath to place near the feeders.  Soon, the Pendleton Garden Club took interest in the area and obtained a grant to introduce native plants to the library's landscape. Now there is a pollinator garden that includes plants like Cardinal Flowers, Golden Alexanders, and Wild Bee Balm. Scott Andersen, from Seedy Sally's, took note of this charming little outdoor space, and donated a lovely new bird feeder that looks like a birch tree.  Before we knew it, what started out as basic, run-of-the-mill commercial landscaping became a nice, little wildlife refuge where you can spot birds of all kinds, rabbits, stray cats, and even the occasional fox. 

It wasn't our intention to create this space.  It just kinda happened.  The bunnies hopped over, and the birds settled in.  Staff gave the rabbits and squirrels names like Sweet Pea and Mayor McSquirrel.  They live in the microcosm of local flora and fauna that we can all enjoy, year-round.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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When I was in school, my mom was the the editor for the local newspaper. This came in pretty handy when I needed a proofreader for term papers. She always had a keen eye for typos, but she also helped me with sentence structure, organization, and overall flow.
She would go over my work with a fine tooth comb, and with every correction, I would get more and more frustrated with her high standards. It didn't have to be THAT good, did it? Plus, it was past
 my bedtime.

As helpful as she was with my writing, she couldn't help with all of my schoolwork. She couldn't help with algebra. She couldn't help with chemistry. She couldn't even help with French because she speaks fluent Italian instead! There were times I struggled with these subjects, and I could have used a tutor.

At the library we recognize that there will always be students who need a little extra help with their schoolwork. We want to help. Carter Logistics awarded a $2,000 grant to help pay for a subscription to provides students with access to a live tutor who can help with problems in math, science, foreign language, and more. There are additional resources for college students and those who are college-bound. Job seekers can even submit a resume or cover letter for review.

Find on the library's website, beginning in January. It can be accessed from any device, at any location, with your Pendleton Community Public Library card. Many resources are available 24/7, but live tutors are available Monday - Friday from 3 - 10 p.m. and Saturday - Sunday from noon - 7:00 p.m.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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one-on-one tech help

The year I got a Merlin for Christmas was the same year that I was selected to place the Baby Jesus in the manger at midnight mass. The priest had briefed me the day before on what to do.  He reminded me of what an important job I had, and so I practiced walking down our hallway with a half-gallon of milk cradled in my arms.  I was completely prepared.  

What I was not prepared for was my distraction.  From the priest's instructions the day before, I knew that I was supposed to appear angelic, and that I was supposed to be thinking about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Better yet if I was even praying silently to myself as I walked the tiny statue to the altar.  But, when the time came, all I could think about was my brand new Merlin which I had just unwrapped a mere hour before.  I was consumed with thoughts of its ten buttons and the hours of gameplay they would afford. Tic-Tac-Toe, Magic Square, Crack the Code...  That's what I was thinking about as I walked the Baby Jesus down the aisle. 

The bottom line is that gadgets are fun.  It's exciting to unwrap a new Kindle or iPad. But, if your new toy is a little unfamiliar, the Pendleton Community Public Library can help!  With the library's Book-A-Librarian service, we can teach you how to use all of your new toys.  Call 778-7527 to book a 30-minute one-on-one session where a librarian will help you use your new device.  And, if you happen to have a Merlin, ask for me.  I think I still remember how to crack the code.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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cutting the cable cord

Consumer Reports ran a recent article about cutting the cable cord. This is something many of us want to do, but when we try to break down this à la carte approach to cable service, it can be daunting. We want to save money while having access to local network programming as well as our favorite TV shows and premium channels. So, that means it's time to do my research.

I read this article...twice. I got online and priced out my preferred Sling package. I looked at antennas at a big box store. I double checked what's already available on my Apple TV. I looked at Hulu and Netflix. I talked with friends about their Amazon Fire TV stick and Prime services. And in the end, I still have cable. Cutting the cord is hard. Time is money. And, I've already spent a bunch of time trying to save money.

Even though I haven't cut the cord yet, I have to give kudos to Consumer Reports for their excellent, easy-to-understand coverage of a confusing topic. The following month, I was pleased to see letters to the editor raving about the completeness of the options presented. Of course, some readers pointed out a few lesser-known options, and one reader in particular, pointed out a piece of the puzzle that even I, the local Library Director, didn't even consider.

The letter reads, in part, "For movies and TV shows, I get DVDs from the library!" Huh. Who knew?? Well, surely I did, but I didn't even consider the library as a part of my approach to cutting the cable. And, if it didn't cross my mind, as somebody who lives and breathes the public library...chances are it didn't cross yours either. Don't forget your public library as you develop your strategy for cutting the cable cord. Chances are your favorite TV shows and movies are available to you at no charge, and commercial-free!

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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A note from an appreciative mom about Hoopla

A message was received from a local mom to share her Hoopla experience, we wanted to take this opportunity to share it with everyone:

I want to thank my library for introducing me to Hoopla. I had been a user of this service since you began offering it a few years ago to listen to audiobooks while running errands and doing housework. Recently I have discovered the value it has for my kids as well. My daughter was having what I would call a "readers block". She had lost her enthusiasm for reading and it really concerned me. Then we noticed that she wasn't completing her SRC reading quizzes at school as a result. As with many families, we have a very busy schedule. We're always running off to sports, programs, parties, etc. So I began to think about this time we were "wasting" in the car. Since my daughter gets carsick, reading in the car wasn't an option for her, and she was so exhausted by bedtime that she would fall asleep reading. One afternoon she noticed that I was browsing through my Hoopla app trying to select my next book to listen to. This piqued her interest! So we browsed the children's titles together, and WOW there are a lot. She settled on one of the I Survived titles in the popular series. Since we drive to Fishers twice a week for practice, I thought this would be a perfect time to start listening. As we cruised down I-69 listening to I Survived Hurricane Katrina, I noticed that she was very engaged with the book (honestly, so was I). We were able to finish that title in one evening. It also sparked some great conversations between the two of us about my memories of the hurricane. The next time we had to head to Fishers, she asked if we could pick another book. So we settled on I Survived September 11, 2001. Again, she was engaged and we were able to have some great conversations about this historical event. Her next title was a Lemony Snicket book, with an amazing narrator. Another win for us! Since beginning to listen to books, I've noticed her more excited to pick up her books and read too. Now that she's found titles she has liked on audio, it has inspired her to read more in those series.

Another side note that I love about Hoopla is that I can download the titles onto my phone. That way I'm not using up all my data as we drive down the highway. We also download picture books to use as bedtime stories on a recent vacation, so we didn't have to pack numerous books to keep our bedtime routine.
Thank you so much for this service and so many others!
An Appreciative Mom

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Digital Magazines

When most people board a plane, they have a plan for how they will spend the time in the air. Teens wait in line with travel pillows around their necks, waiting to get into their seats so that they can snooze for a few hours.  Business people carry on laptops, intending to finish up presentations. Some people have a book or magazine that they plan to read, and yet others have shows or movies to watch.  Me?  I stare at the seat in front of me. 

In all honesty, I have a hard time reading or watching movies on a plane.  I just cannot focus to the point where I am losing myself in the story.  I am always fully aware that I am on a plane, and that the flight attendant may stop by at any moment with peanuts and ginger ale.  I'm just too distracted.  However, I do enjoy reading magazines because they don't require a lot of focus.  You can flip through the glossy pages pretty quickly and pick and choose what appeals to you.  But, I don't want to spend $5.00 on a 20 minute read!  So instead, I stare at the seat in front of me.

Well, now your library has FREE digital magazines, available from Libby by OverDrive. Download the Libby app, and select the Pendleton Community Public Library as your home library.  Enter your library card number and start borrowing magazines like HGTV Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and ESPN The Magazine.  There is no limit to how many you can check out, and there is no waiting period, even for the most popular titles.  Now you can have a collection of magazines to enjoy on a plane, at the beach, or even just sitting on your couch.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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Bike Share

Recently, I was downtown Indianapolis for a meeting at the Indiana State Library. It was about two weeks after Bird scooters were introduced to the city. And let me tell you. They were popular! There was at least one on every block, a person riding an electric scooter amidst the throngs of people on the sidewalk. I could tell that some pedestrians were annoyed with the new trend, but I actually thought it was pretty cool.

Bird scooters are motorized scooters that you rent through an app on your phone. Similar to the city’s Blue Indy car rental, they provide a means of transportation for people who don’t need to own their own vehicles, but have an occasional need for wheels. It seems so progressive, so urban. I like it.

So, I was pretty thrilled when I got a call from Rachel Christenson from the Town of Pendleton, asking me if the library would be interested in becoming a location for the town’s new Bike Share. The Bike Share is sponsored by Community Hospitals and allows people to rent bicycles. You could rent one to ride along the trails in the park. Or ride one downtown and browse the local shops, with no worries about finding a parking place. It’s progressive, not urban. I still like it.

Look for the new Bike Share locations at your Pendleton Community Public Library, Falls Park, and behind First Merchants. Coming Soon!

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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Sky-High It

I like to plan. I like to make lists and check them off. Organization appeals to me. It's the main reason I was drawn to librarianship. But, I also like to dream. I like to imagine what's possible. I like to toss around big ideas and see where they land. When it comes to long-range planning, I'm in my element. I'm planning, AND I'm dreaming.

When we brainstorm at work, I always say, "sky-high it." It's kind of a motto of mine. I'd like to believe that my staff is comfortable sharing their ideas, big and small. When Matthew, our Teen Librarian, casually mentioned how nice it would be if the periodical room became the teen room, we made it happen. When former staff member and current Farm Manger of Indy Urban Acres, Tyler Gough, filled up my doorway and simply stated, "Let's start a community garden," we got to it. And, when a young mother mentioned how much she appreciated designated nursing areas in public places, our wheels started spinning. When we brainstorm, no idea is off the table.

We are always brainstorming, always planning. But, this year is different. This year we begin planning for the next three years at the library. We are taking a deeper dive in the areas of technology, facilities, collections, programs, services, and collaborations to see what we can do and what we can do better.

Over the next several months, we'll be around. You might see us. We'll be at the grocery store. We'll be on the sidewalk. We'll be on Facebook. We will be using new and creative ideas to engage our patrons to see what you want in your public library. Because, in the end, that's whom it's about. It's about you. The Pendleton Community Public Library is YOUR library, so you have every say in the matter. Won't you tell us what you think? "Sky-high it."

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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National Library Week

April 1, 2018

I'm sorry to say that National Library Week usually passes me by. Come February, it's somewhat on my radar, but then the spring kind of gets away from me, and the next thing you know, it's here. This year, with the help of the Friends of the Library, we have some exciting things planned. But, I have to remind myself that the idea isn't just to promote ourselves at the Pendleton Community Public Library. The idea is to promote the great work that all types of libraries do every day, all around the country.

When natural disasters strike, the library often serves as a resource for people who have been affected. After Hurricane Harvey, libraries that could open their doors offered assistance filling out FEMA forms, provided access to computers and internet, and provided an air-conditioned space to charge cellphones. At NRG Stadium, those who were displaced from their homes were offered a sense of normalcy by the pop-up-library which hosted storytimes, and made laptops and books available to use.

When demonstrations take place regarding social inequalities, the local libraries often host public conversations encouraging civil discourse, empathy, and a greater understanding of the world around us. It's natural for other libraries around the country to follow suit, recognizing that the value of these interactions isn't just for those who live in the communities that are affected. Because we all live in communities that are affected.

These disasters and demonstrations didn't align themselves with National Library Week. Libraries work tirelessly throughout the year taking the lead in helping their local communities. Celebrate ALL libraries during National Library Week, April 8th - 14th, and every week.

Lynn Hobbs

PCL Director

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The Learning Kitchen Project

June 1, 2018

Food is the center of so many aspects of life.  It's the center of parties, holidays, and cultural traditions.  It's the center of your family get-togethers and your church fundraisers.  But, what happens when your 12 year-old daughter is gluten-intolerant, and Sunday pasta Bolognese is no longer an option for your traditional family dinner?

What happens when you are diagnosed with diabetes and haven't a clue what to snack on?  What if, after your latest check-up, your doctor recommended a Keto diet, a Paleo diet, or a dairy-free, sugar-free, or meat-free diet.  You can Google recipes for hours on end, reading reviews, bookmarking, printing... Or, you can participate in The Learning Kitchen Project.

The Learning Kitchen Project has been a big idea for some time.  It's on the library's three-year plan, but it comes with a price tag, a price tag too expensive for the public library.  With funding through the South Madison Community Foundation's Community Enhancement Grant, the Youth Leadership Academy grant through the Madison County Community Foundation, and the Friends of the Library, The Learning Kitchen Project became a reality.

The purpose of the grant is to install a full kitchen in the library's community room to be used for demonstrations and cooking classes.  The Learning Kitchen Project targets three specific audiences:  those who need to prepare food in accordance with specific diet regulations, those who want new ideas for family meals using affordable pantry items, and teens who desire to learn basic kitchen and food preparation skills, for life.

In a partnership with the Purdue Extension, the Pendleton Community Public Library will start offering cooking classes and demonstrations the first four Monday evenings in July.  Check our calendar for more information and a link to register for "Eating Smart, Moving More." 

Construction on The Learning Kitchen Project is nearly finished.  So, stay tuned to see what's cooking!

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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Pendleton Community Garden

May 1, 2018

It's hard to believe that the Pendleton Community Garden is entering its 9th year.  Over that period of time, the garden has donated literally thousands of pounds of fresh, locally-grown produce to local residents.  Every Thursday during the growing season, fresh vegetables are harvested and loaded onto the library's Read 'n' Feed trailer, a unique combination of a bookmobile and mobile food pantry.

It's no secret that we love fresh veggies, but we also love fresh faces, and we want to involve as many people as we can in the community garden. It is a community garden after all.  And part of its mission is to "cultivate a community mindset of volunteerism." A great way to give back to your community is to get involved as a plotholder or garden volunteer.

If you are interested in becoming a plotholder, call the library at (765) 778-7527 to talk with Jennifer. She will explain that one half of each plot is for the plotholders who can grow veggies for themselves.  The other half of the plot is planted by volunteers, and that half grows vegetables for Read 'n' Feed.  Both halves of the plot are tended to by the plotholders.  This includes weeding, watering, and harvesting.  Jennifer can answer any question you may have about the Pendleton Community Garden, including how to become a garden volunteer.

Whether you want to spend an hour planting seeds in the sunshine or dedicate an afternoon each week to harvest, plant, or weed, the Pendleton Community Garden appreciates any and all help.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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My Eating Habits

I need to change my eating habits.  I don't mean that I need to go on a diet.  I mean I need to change my eating habits.  I'm in a rut.  I have the same things over and over.  The Kroger app could write my weekly shopping list. Because I really need to change my eating habits. 

It's not too often that I go on Pinterest, but when I do, I typically get caught up in recipes. My Facebook feed has been taken over with fast-motion video clips of fattening party favorites and lunch box suggestions.  And, of course I can Google anything from Brown Betty to Hoppin' John.  Meal ideas come at me from every which way, but I'm still uninspired. 

Last week, I found inspiration in the library's cookbook collection.  It was there that I found cohesive meal ideas and recipes worth the paper they were printed on.  These recipes weren't written by bloggers who need to hammer out weekly recipes in order to meet a deadline and maintain a fan base.  Rather, the books were inspired by the recipes.  These authors took the time to select their very best recipes, hone techniques, give clear instructions, and include beautiful photos.  And, all of it was there at my simple to just pull a book off the shelf and leaf through the pages.  No ads.  No reviews with suggestions that make you second guess the recipe. And, no shopping list in the sidebar leading you to local sale prices.  Just tried and true recipes worth sharing with the world.

Tonight, we're having Mediterranean tuna melts.  Simple, yet inspired. Exactly what I've been looking for.

Lynn Hobbs, PCL Director

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A Familiar Song

Several years ago, during Heritage Fair, the library welcomed Father Boniface Hardin to Pendleton.  Father Hardin was a social activist and founding president of Martin University, a Predominately Black Institution in Indianapolis.  Because he bore an uncanny resemblance to Frederick Douglass, he would perform reenactments of the abolitionist's famous speeches.  It was for this reason that he was at Falls Park that day in September.

There was a small crowd of about 30 gathered around Father Hardin as he gave a rousing interpretation of one of Frederick Douglass' speeches.  After the speech was finished, he began to sing the spiritual, “We Shall Overcome.”  But, somewhere around the third verse, he forgot the words. He started to hum along to the tune, but we could all sense him trying to capture just one or two words that would bring everything back to mind.

And then we started hearing the words.  At first they came softly, with a little bit of self-consciousness, but then they got stronger and clearer.  It took me a moment to realize that the singing was actually coming from behind me.  This small crowd knew the words to  “We Shall Overcome,” and they begin filling the awkward space around us, until the awkwardness fell away and compassion and humanity took its place.

I remember that moment as something incredibly profound.  And I feel emotional thinking about it even now.  I can hardly remember another time in my life where I felt so connected to unfamiliar people in a shared experience of genuine support and kindness.  I truly felt that we were all one that day, even if only during a few verses of a familiar song.

Lynn Hobbs, PCL Director

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Mission 595 is Launching

Recently, some of us took a field trip to the Muncie Public Library's Connection Corner.  It was there that we would have a first-hand look at their Digital Climbers program, an after-school, incentive-based S.T.E.A.M. initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).  "Climbers" complete challenges and earn points which can be cashed in for prizes.  When they complete a predetermined list of challenges, they advance to earn a new badge. 

We tried a few of these challenges.  My favorite was the Osmo pizza challenge.  With an iPad mounted before me and game pieces laid out on the table in front of me, I successfully served custom-ordered pizzas to an interesting array of colorful characters.  The lion only wants red toppings on his pizza today.  The hippo likes veggies.  And, the blue guy wants pineapple and anchovies?!  As I'm building the pizza with these pieces, the iPad registers my movements, and I interact with the characters up through the payment process where I make change with tiny currency.

Next, we used a Mac to create a song on GarageBand.  Ours started out with some catchy Dixieland horns before the chanting monks finished it out.  It was pretty bad, but somehow I was still proud of it.  After that, we Photoshopped a celebrity pic by giving Robert Downey Jr. a few pimples and a garish tie.  I learned quite a bit that morning, but I was also actually having fun.

And now your Pendleton Community Public Library is one of the official pilot libraries for the program we're calling Mission 595.  With a generous $5,000 educational grant from The Kroger Co., the library was able to purchase a MacBook, iPads, Osmo kits, Snap Circuits, Gravity and Laser Mazes, and more.  Kids aged 7-12 can visit "Mission Control" (aka the children's program room) on Friday, January 5th any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to see what Mission 595 is all about.  

Lynn Hobbs


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Holiday Traditions

Growing up in Minneapolis, we had a local department store called Dayton's.  It was like the Macy's of Minneapolis, and in true Macy's form, the holiday festivities at Dayton's spared no expense.  Every holiday season, we would visit the Dayton's display, a life-sized exhibit that rotated its literary theme.  Despite the fact that I was very young when we strolled through the dazzling displays, I still remember many of them, especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where I was terrified by seeing a boy about my age stuck in a big tube.  The displays were always so real, and honestly a little creepy, with mechanically- animated mannequins portraying scenes from books.  Various faces would jerkily turn to look directly at me or lift an unnaturally quick hand to hang a stocking or offer a piece of candy. 

Despite the creepy mannequins, I remember those exhibits fondly.  It was our annual tradition to see the display as a family, and it just enhanced that wide-eyed feeling I had as a child during the holiday season. 

I hope that the library's annual holiday open house is a similar event for kids in Pendleton.  For well over a decade, the library has been hosting holiday festivities where we welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to the children's department.  This year's open house will be held on December 10th from 1-3 p.m., and kids can get their faces painted, enjoy holiday treats, and visit with a real live reindeer.  This year, visitors will also be able to enjoy the Friends of the Library's display of gingerbread cottages, all vying to be the contest winner.  I imagine these kids twenty, thirty, forty years from now saying, "We would go to the library every year to see Santa and his reindeer.  Those were such fun times."  And, not at all creepy.

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My Sweet Tooth

I love Willy Wonka.  Not Gene Wilder Willy Wonka or Johnny Depp Willy Wonka.  I mean the actual Willy Wonka, the candy factory that's churning out brightly-colored, fruit-flavored goodies right this very minute.  Nerds, Gobstoppers, Runts, even Pixie-Stix and Fun Dip.  I like them way better than chocolate or cookies.


My taste in candy has never evolved past my childhood.  The sweeter and fruitier, the better. I should probably be ashamed to admit my penchant for high fructose corn syrup, carnauba wax, and yellow #5.  Or the fact that I actually prefer artificial banana flavor over real banana flavor.  But, I'm not ashamed.  I like what I like, and I like Willy Wonka.



With Halloween just behind us, my pantry is well-stocked with my favorite Willy Wonka candies.  Some of these are very similar to those that are included in the gingerbread house kits that can be purchased by contestants in the Friends of the Library's Gingerbread Cottage Build. 



Stop by the library any time in November and pick up a cottage kit entry for $20.  Use that as a starter kit for the most fantastical gingerbread cottage you can create. Or, if you're feeling really confident, forego the kit for a $10 entry fee which comes with a gingerbread recipe and cutout templates.  Deliver your cottage to the library on December 6th or 7th, and we will put it on display for patrons to enjoy during the library's Holiday Open House on December 10th.  Those who attend can vote for the People's Choice winner, and our panel of judges will award prizes in three other categories.  



I cannot wait to see the display of delicious cottages.  And, I promise to keep my hands to myself, no matter how much my sweet tooth might be tempted.




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Why can't I break out?

There are things that I'm good at.  And, of course, there are things that I'm not good at.  But, then there are the things that I think I SHOULD be good at, but I'm just not. Like breakout rooms, for example.  I like puzzles, and I like to solve problems.  I'm pretty good at that.  So, why for the life of me, can I not find my way out of a breakout room?

I've done a few breakout rooms, and I think that they are so fun.  I overthink things so much that the people who sit in the room, the ones who are available to provide clues, actually laugh at me.  Yet, I feel like every time I've done a breakout room, I've left with ways that I can improve upon my skills for the next time.

For example, listen VERY carefully to the instructions you receive when entering.  Listen to them twice, or even three times. I applied that to my next breakout experience, but that time the instructions weren't even instructions.  There were no hidden clues, not even red herrings.  I wasted precious minutes listening three times to Dr. Candice Bore talk about how I needed to save the planet.  And I did not save the planet.

Second, just because you use a tool once to retrieve a clue doesn't mean that you won't ever use it again. I applied that to the following breakout experience, but that time I really did only need to use the black light flashlight once.  I spent 30 minutes shining that flashlight on every blasted thing in the room.  And the only thing I learned is that the walls are clean.

I guess the main thing to remember is to just have fun.  We expect that lots of people will have fun in the library's Harry Potter Breakout Room which we will have set up for groups to try on October 28 - 29.  Be sure to call 778-7527 to reserve your timeslot.  I hope you fare better than I usually do.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director

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