Library of Things

On more than one occasion, I have had guests take a cursory glance around my house and ask, "Where's all your stuff?"  Truth be told, I don't have a lot of stuff.  Mainly, because I don't want a lot of stuff.  But, naturally there comes a time when I need some stuff, even if just for a day.  Take my recent birthday party, for example.  We decided to host a nacho bar, and I was in need of a triple crock pot.  Thankfully, I was able to borrow one from a friend, and I was able to keep the cheese, chicken, and beef warm throughout the festivities.

It's possible I may need a triple crock pot again.  But, I cannot really justify the expense for once every few years, nor do I want it taking up space in the house.  I suppose I could continually ask to borrow it, but that doesn't feel right either. 

That's where the "Library of Things" comes in.  Many libraries across the country, and even the world, have been circulating more than books.  Sewing machines, power washers, and triple crock pots have found their way into library collections, ready for checkout by patrons who occasionally need them.  Here at the Library, we're intrigued by the idea and curious as to how it might work in Pendleton.

Like any good collection development plan, we want to tailor our Library of Things to serve our unique community.  So, we need your help.  Please tell us what you'd like to see in our Library of Things.  What is that one item that you use every spring for a few hours, or that you might need for your annual birthday party?  I'm suggesting a triple crock pot.

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A Well-Deserved Retirmenet


Arriving at 5:30 a.m. every morning, before the sun rises, before most people even crawl out of bed, Head Library Custodian, Dean Whitesel, has already cleaned seven restrooms, vacuumed a 28,000 square foot facility, sanitized the public computers, and performed a walk-through of all mechanical areas.  Dean changed light bulbs and filters.  He mowed and mulched.  He fixed what was broken.  And, even on the coldest, most treacherous days of winter, he cleared our walkways of snow before we opened at 9:00 a.m.  He did all of this for the past twenty-plus years, and he never complained.  Because Dean cared.


You see it's no small feat to have an employee who gets along with everybody and is good at their job.  But, it's something truly special to have somebody who genuinely cares.  Somebody who cares about a building and the patrons who use it, who cares about a town and the people who live there, and who takes good care of himself so that he could continue to do strenuous physical work for all those years.



As a retirement gift, Dean asked each of his co-workers to sign his very first library shirt.  With Sharpie in hand we all wished him congratulations on a well-deserved retirement.  When it was my turn, I wrote a simple but true sentiment.  Dean is Superman!



Congratulations Dean!!



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Craft Stash

Years ago, after receiving a beautiful handmade card from a friend, I attended a hand-stamping class at a local craft store. When I walked out of there, I was well-stocked and ready to get started.  I bought stamps, ink pads, embossing powders, an embossing gun, colored pencils, various colors of card stock, and even a paper cutter.  I crafted handmade cards for about two months before the novelty wore off.  Then, I put all of my supplies in a tote that I got at a library conference, never to be used again.  I still have that tote, and all of its contents, tucked neatly away in a spare closet.  And, I have absolutely no interest in hand stamping anything ever again. 


On July 23rd the library is hosting a Craft Stash Sale, and I will be participating.  Here's how it works.  I will bring my tote of card-making supplies to the library.  Our evaluation team will determine the value of my items and make me an offer in "craft cash."  If I accept this offer, my supplies become the property of the library, and I can take my craft cash to the Craft Stash Sale where I can use it to purchase somebody else's knitting needles, embroidery thread, or acrylic paints.


Even if you don't bring items to the library for the sale, you can still stop in and purchase craft supplies with good ol' cash money.  We're doing this as a fundraiser, but the benefits aren't just for the library.  You can finally get that stuff out of your garage or attic while affordably enabling your next craft craze.  Any leftover supplies will belong to the library for use at future programs and activities. 


For more information, call the library at 778-7527 or email 



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Summer Reading is Here! Let's "Build a Better World."

June 1st kicks off the beginning of our Summer Reading Program, and this year's theme is "Build a Better World."  We can surely get behind that!  In recent years, summer reading themes have become less about entertainment and more about making positive change.  Last year, we encouraged kids and adults to exercise their minds and bodies.  This year, we are asking everybody to help "Build a Better World."  That's easier said than done, but even the tiniest good deed can mean a lot.  

Not too long ago, I found a note on my desk that simply said, "Lynn Rocks."  Attached to that note was a Post-It that said, "found in the book drop."  I assumed that it was some kind of joke, but my staff assures me that it actually was found in the book drop.  I have that note pinned to the bulletin board behind my desk, and to this day, I still have no idea who left it.  It was a simple gesture that makes me smile every time I see it.

"Building a Better World" doesn't mean that you have to single-handedly solve the world's problems. Rather, I think it means to be nice to others and to our planet.  Pay a compliment.  Pick up litter.  Make someone laugh.  Plant a tree.  Each of these small gestures of kindness will collectively "build a better world."  I urge you to find and commit small acts of kindness every single day. Let's build a better world by building a better Pendleton, one good deed at a time. 

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We're Going Green!

It used to be that "green" was a bad thing.  If you were green, you were either nauseated or envious.  Of course, now "green" has evolved to mean that you are friendly to the environment...a good thing!  And, since the library likes to support good things, we are making some changes around here to "go green."

Would you believe that the library has nearly 1,000 light bulbs that burn for at least 65 hours each week?  We're making the switch to LED to save energy.  We're also making adjustments in our staff area, where we use motion-controlled lights.  It used to be that if the sensor didn't pick up on anything for an hour, the lights would turn off.  But I went around like a bandit a few weeks ago to turn them all to ten minutes.  Now it's become a frequent and comedic occurrence to walk by a staff office to see somebody doing "jazz hands" in order to get the lights to come back on.  But hey, it's good exercise, right? 

Finally, we are encouraging you, dear patron, to be kind to Mother Earth as well.  We are providing options for a better way to tote your library materials around.  For 25 cents you can purchase a plastic, reusable library-themed bag.  OR, you can purchase one of our $5 reusable bags which are made from recycled materials.  These blue bags have the library's logo and one of our favorite quotations about reading, uttered by Stan Lee, "Reading is very good.  And you can quote me!"  These bags are generously-sized with adjustable straps and a perfect side pocket for your library card.  Once you see one, I think you'll agree that $5 is a steal!

Lynn Hobbs, PCL Director

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I was brought up on Sesame Street.  Sesame Street helped me learn how to count, how to read, and how to treat others.  Sesame Street also taught me some basic Spanish.  It was so integral to the program, even back in the 70's, that I thought nothing of the fact that I knew how to count, how to say hello, and how to say open and closed in Spanish. 

My parents both speak fluent Italian.  Growing up, they would slip into Italian when discussing things that they didn't want us to understand, like where they hid our Christmas presents.  My sister and I were desperate to learn the language so that we could understand what they were talking about.  In response, my dad bought a Berlitz Italian textbook, and used it as a template for our formal language instruction.  But, I really struggled with it.  Despite the fact that I was retaining the Spanish I was learning on Sesame Street, I was not retaining the Italian taught by my dad.  Perhaps if my dad were a fuzzy puppet, who would occasionally break into song, I would have done better.

There's definitely something to be said for making learning fun.  And, that's why the library is introducing MUZZY to our young patrons.  MUZZY is a language-learning resource for children.  It uses sound, animation, interactive content, and fun characters to make learning a second language easy for kids.  MUZZY includes eight languages such as Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Italian.  MUZZY is available from home, via the Puffin Academy App. You can also access it through the library's webpage, under "Watch, Read, & Listen Online," which can be found on the Children's page. Login with "PendletonPL", and use "MuzzyPendleton" as the password.  HUGE thanks to the South Madison Community Foundation for funding this language-learning resource, made just for kids!

Lynn Hobbs, PCL Director

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Lemonade Stands

Did you ever have a lemonade stand as a kid? I know I did. It was always fun to team up with a friend, mix up the lemonade, and sell to our neighbors. Then we got to dream about what all those dimes and quarters would buy.
Well, the lemonade stand is still around. Now there is a national initiative to teach kids entrepreneurship using the lemonade stand. Lemonade Day was created to encourage kids to get out there and sell lemonade. It teaches them how to start the business, even encouraging them to look for funding or "seed money" to help them get started. Now Lemonade Day has come to Pendleton and your library is getting involved. We're offering a series of events to teach the kids how to host their own lemonade stands. We're putting another spin on it as well. If you want to participate with the library, you can host your stand here. The money raised at the library stands are going to directly benefit the children's department. Since the kids are doing the hard work, they get to decide how we spend it.

If you would like your child to participate in this event, please email Miss Sara at for more information.
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New Nursing Nook

I'm not a mom.  But, I don't have to be a mom to understand that nursing a baby in the restroom is kinda gross.  I mean, I wouldn't eat a sandwich in the bathroom.  And, I wouldn't want my kid to eat a sandwich in the bathroom, even if he or she was too young to know any better.  Sometimes there isn't a better option, and you've gotta do what you've gotta do.  But, at the Pendleton Community Public Library, we want to provide nursing mothers with an option WAY better than the bathroom.

To that end, we are pleased to introduce the Nursing Nook.  This space is dedicated specifically for nursing mothers and is equipped with a comfy chair and reading materials for moms.  There is plenty of space in the Nook for Mom, baby, and another kiddo that might be in tow.  A chalkboard wall and fun activities help to keep everybody occupied during mealtime for the little one. 

The Nursing Nook is located in the lobby outside of the children's storytime room.  The room is locked at all times.  Simply request the key from the children's reference desk or the main circulation desk, where it should also be returned. 

Even though I'm not a mom, I DO think it's pretty cool for the public library to offer this space for nursing mothers.  It shows that we value you, dear patron.  We value your health and wellness and that of your children.  We value your beliefs and your passions.  And we will always respond to your needs whenever possible.

Lynn Hobbs, PCL Director

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Homeschool Mint-Mobiles!

Our Homeschool Science & Social Studies classes had a lot of fun today with a quick intro to engineering! After gathering lots of good information, they tried their hands at designing their own cars and then angling them down an incline to see how far they would go (and if they would hold together!)

Take a look and see how they turned out!

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in memory and appreciation

It’s hard to believe that more than a year has passed since we said goodbye to our beloved library patron, Maxine Stover.  We were all so saddened by the news, as she was one of our regulars, somebody who came in nearly every day to take advantage of all the things offered by the public library.  Maxine was a member of the Friends of the Library, and the Friends planted a tree in her memory.  We dedicated this tree in 2015, and during the dedication ceremony, I felt compelled to say a few words about Maxine.

Maxine’s interest in books and reading was evident in her involvement with the library.  It was this passion that would ultimately lead her to a career as a technical services librarian, working in Zionsville.  But, the thing that really impressed me about Maxine was that she was the type of library patron we want everybody to be.  Not only did she check out books, but she involved herself in so many other ways.  Maxine attended programs offered by the library, ranging widely in various topics.  She found library programs to be an opportunity to continue learning about things old and new.  Maxine embraced new technologies and started reading books on an ereader.  She signed up for the library’s one-on-one computer assistance where she learned how to get the most out of her new device.  She even attended computer classes to improve her internet skills and learn about digital photography.  And she was a longstanding member of the Friends of the Library where she volunteered her time to help with advocacy, programs, and fundraising. 

Maxine was “patron extraordinaire.”  She was a part of the library, and the library was a part of her.  Her dedication to public libraries was reinforced when Maxine kindly willed a portion of her estate to the Pendleton Community Public Library.  Those funds have been specifically earmarked for the purchase of ebooks, a format that Maxine fully embraced as a true lover of reading.

We remember you fondly, Maxine.  And, we thank you for being a great patron, librarian, and Friend.

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Real News vs. Fake News

Lately there's been a lot of real news about fake news.  Although fake news has been around for a long time, it has finally found its place in the public consciousness.  But you see, librarians have always been aware of fake news, and we've always found it to be a great opportunity for us to show the value of what it means to be an information professional.

Back when the Internet became a "thing," many people started questioning the need for libraries.  People thought you could find anything and everything online.  For many years, we fought to show our constituents that we were still relevant.  Back then, the argument was that you needed a librarian to help you navigate the complicated waters of the Internet.  You may be able to type a question into Lycos or Ask Jeeves, but your results would never really have the answer you were seeking.  Librarians relied on their expertise in creating cryptic Boolean searches, using "and" "or" and "not" to find the real answer, a proficiency that surely no layperson could ever glean.

Then Siri came along with the amazing ability to answer just about any question with the push of a button.

Ah, but now, librarians are back in the fold of newsworthiness as Ambassadors for Information Literacy.  Information literacy is the ability to recognize when information is needed and to have the skill to locate, evaluate, and use needed information effectively.  With news coming towards us at every turn, many people don't bother to verify the truth before believing what they are told and passing it along to others.  But, rest assured...your librarians will always be here, wielding the torch for truth and accuracy in the news stories we all consume.  It is simply what we do.

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Hard Work Pays Off

On January 16th, the library will be closed for our staff development day.  We'll start the day with an all-staff breakfast, where we will enjoy Jenny's Famous Cinnamon Rolls. That's a great start to what I hope will be a great day.  Our first order of business is to gather for an all-staff meeting where we will take some time to reflect on 2016.  As I prepare my notes for this meeting, I see that we did a whole heck of a lot!

This past year, we have been responding to the needs of our patrons who have been requesting quiet work space.  The library now has a dedicated quiet area where you can use a computer, enjoy a cozy fireplace, and finally get some work done.  With the help of the newly-formed Tween Advisory Board, we have introduced a new tween space with fun furniture and programming designed for 9-12 year olds.  In January, we will start work on a nursing nook which will provide a private, comfortable space for new mothers visiting the library.

We've also made great strides in our technology offerings.  The library has fifteen wi-fi hotspots to check out and take home.  We are also in the process of upgrading the library's wi-fi network to guarantee the widest coverage and the fastest speeds. And, Chromebooks are available for in-house checkout, especially for students who may need quick access.

But, perhaps the biggest effort over the past twelve months has been the redesign of our new website.  We're librarians.  We're fussy.  We want things to be just right.  We've been working with Solutions4ebiz here in Pendleton on a much-improved website. Our plan is to launch our new site on January 3rd.  Visit to see improvements such as a streamlined calendar that includes online registration for events and quick access to searching the library's catalog and digital content.  We also have a fun staff page where staff members answer the question, "What is your hidden talent?"  Find out on January 3rd!

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Days Off

I've had five, count 'em FIVE, glorious days off work for the holidays.  Today is the fifth day.  I had grand plans of sleeping in, watching a movie, and doing absolutely nothing.  But, here I am, working.  I'm sure there is a window to clean or a surface to dust in my house somewhere.  Yet, somehow I cannot stay away from the library.  It just so happens that I've got things to do.

We're getting ready to roll out a new website in less than a week, and there are links to check, photos to upload, and lots of text to proofread.  Over the past five days, it's been in the back of my mind.  As we prepared the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, the library's new website was in the back of my mind.  When we settled in to watch a movie on Christmas night, the library's new website was in the back of my mind. Even when we took Big Dan on a long walk around the Upper Fall Creek Loop, the library's new website was in the back of my mind.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of this.  In a way, I think it's great that I've found something that I'm passionate about.  I care.  I want things to be just right so that our patrons can delight in all that we have to offer.  And, yet there is another part of me that wants to let it go...just for a day, a holiday, or a special meal.

Then again, it's been five days, and I'm ready to get back to it.


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2016 was a fun year!

Wow!  I can't believe it is nearly a new year.  When I took on the role of Children's Programming Librarian in February, I had no idea what was in store for me.  This year we had so many amazing programs.  We had visits from outside groups like Silly Safaris and Professor Steve.  Just last week we had a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their reindeer, Misfit.  As I look back with a full heart, I remember so many good times.  There were lots of laughs and smiles from the children.  I got to hold an armadillo!  I built a gingerbread house large enough for the kids to play in.  We had a visit from Piggie and Elephant from the Mo Willems' books.  We held a worm race here at the library.  The Mascot Stampede had us running and dancing with the Butler Bulldog, Charlie Cardinal, Rodney Raven, and the Pendleton Arabian!  So many days I came home covered in paint, glitter, or both.  Being able to provide programs for kids from ages birth-12 is an amazing privilege.  As I look back, it makes me excited to see what is in store for 2017!  Before we know it, Summer Reading will be starting and there will be a fresh batch of memories to be made.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our programs this year.  A huge thank you to the rest of the library staff, the VolunTEENs, the Friends of the Library, and the countless parent helpers who made my first year an amazing one!

~Miss Sara~


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Director's Note | August 2016

A few years ago, the library was asked to participate in Pendleton Heights High School's career day.  We were encouraged to include an activity as a part of our presentation table. How could we select just ONE aspect of this profession to illustrate all of the wonderful things that library workers do?  In the end, we created a little checklist for the students to complete.  We asked them to "check the boxes next to things you like to do."  The list included things like being crafty, planning programs and events, using technology and social media, organizing and collecting things, and interacting with children.  As it turns out, lots of students were interested in things like that, and we went on to explain that those were the types of things that they would do if they worked in a library...not, contrary to popular belief, read all day.
I think that we attracted a few students to library work that day.  And, we continue to attract more with our VolunTEEN program.  If you know of any high school students who are interested in putting in volunteer hours, learning new skills, and perhaps finding a future career, please let them know about the library's VolunTEEN program.  Working as a VolunTEEN is great way to beef up a resume or college application.  Students get to work in a fun environment and meet new friends with similar interests.  VolunTEENs are the first ones we tap when we are looking to fill our High School Page position.  And, everybody who signs up for the program gets a free, tie-dye shirt!  Our fall session will run from August 22 to December 16.  Applications are available at the front desk and are due by August 12. 

For more information, call 778-7527, and ask for Ashley.

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Director's Note | December 2015

The last time I got a new car, I read the owner's manual cover-to-cover.  I figure most people don't do this.  But, if I hadn't done this, I would never have known that my glove box doubles as a cooler.  It's true.  The glove box has a little vent in it, and when you open the vent and turn on the A/C, it's like a little ice box.  I used this feature once when I had some leftover Mexican food, and my glove box still smells like fajitas.
An owner's manual is a valuable tool.  But these days, when you purchase a new electronic device, it often doesn't even come with an owner's manual.  They are "plug-and-play" so to speak.  The devices are supposedly so intuitive that you should just know how to use them straight out of the box.  But, we're not all that technologically savvy.  And some of us can even be a bit embarrassed about that, myself included.
This holiday season, you might receive a new device, sans owner's manual.  Let the library help you!  Give us a call to set up an appointment for free one-on-one assistance.  Or drop in if you have a quick question.  We'll get you started and do our best to help you enjoy your new device.  We'll also show you how your new toy can be used to take advantage of all of the free digital services and content the library has to offer.  But, most importantly, we guarantee that you'll receive friendly assistance in a non-intimidating environment.  The staff at the library genuinely believes that there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to technology.  And, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

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Director's Note | November 2016

Thankfully, we don't receive a lot of complaints at the library.  So, when we do, we take them pretty seriously.  In the 10 plus years that I've been the Director here, the #1 complaint that we get is that it's too loud in the library.  No matter how libraries evolve, there will always be the expectation for quiet space, and I totally respect that.  And, you know what?  It IS too loud in our library.  For those using our public computers, you hear the phone ringing, the scanner beeping, the DVDs clacking against each other, kids squealing, and we laugh...a lot.

Allow me to introduce our new Quiet Zone...  We have re-purposed our Indiana Room into a quiet study zone for those who need to work without distractions.  Cozy up in front of the fireplace.  Use your laptop or tablet at a table or comfy chair.  Or log into one of our new PCs to get your work done in a comfortable, quiet environment.  Those who enter, should silence their phones, hush their voices, and tread carefully...for they have entered the Quiet Zone.
We hope that this new space will be a great feature for our patrons.  We've upgraded our WI-fi to guarantee the fastest speeds, and we provide basic office supplies and equipment like a scanner, printer, fax machine, hole punch, stapler, etc.  We want the library to be your home away from home and your office away from the office.
For those of you who regularly use our local history and genealogy collections, we've made some improvements there too.  The collection has been relocated to higher, more accessible shelves.  Additionally, the collection is now located closer to the reference desk, so that research assistance is at the ready.  We're excited to roll out these improvements, and we hope that everybody will love them!

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Director's Blog | October 2016

We grew peanuts in the Pendleton Community Garden.  A couple of days ago, we dug up a small handful of peanuts, and I cracked them out of the shell and ate them...raw.  They tasted like fresh peas, with a hint of horseradish.  I've never tasted anything quite like it, and I realized that I had never eaten a raw peanut.

Back in August when we hosted our Silly Safaris program, I petted an armadillo named Spud.  Before that, I had never petted an armadillo.  And, that same month, I gave blood at the library's blood drive.  I'd never done that before either.  I got to thinking about all of the cool opportunities that a job at the library has offered to my staff and me over the years.
Here is just a small sampling of experiences we've had at the library in recent years:  ghost hunting, playing the ukulele, meeting favorite authors, petting a bona fide sled dog, participating in parades, breaking out of escape rooms, racing and eating worms (not at the same event), making glowing Frankenpickles, holding Thor's hammer and wearing the helmet from the first Thor movie, petting a python, watching James Alexander Thom dance to a live drummer, learning to knit, and playing life-sized Clue and Monopoly.
We are always so focused on what we offer for our patrons that I think we often lose sight of what our jobs offer to us as staff members.  And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play with a robot.  I've never done that before.

Lynn Hobbs
PCL Director


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Director's Note | December 2016

Recently, my husband and I took a quick vacation.  The weather was warm, and we enjoyed a few afternoons at the pool. When we headed down to the pool on an overcast day, there must have been 200 people in lounge chairs, and not one person in the pool.  As we dipped our toes in the COLD water, we realized why.  But, we still found it odd that we were the only ones.  We actually questioned whether or not we were allowed to go in.  But, we've grown up swimming in Wisconsin lakes, so the cold didn't bother us.
As we were floating around, I started to look at the people on lawn chairs, and I was surprised once again...this time, by how many people were reading.  Not magazines, or newspapers, but actual books.  I saw people reading hard covers and paperbacks, 1,000+ page novels, non-fiction, Kindle Paperwhites, and even library books.  I saw people of all ages, spending their leisure time reading a book.  Many people think that reading is a thing of the past or that it's something boring, time-consuming, or too much like school.  With the onslaught of social media, streaming content, and just about anything on demand, who reads anymore?  Well apparently, a lot of people.  But, who actually swims at the pool anymore?  Just us, I guess.

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Director's Blog | July 2016

When I was a kid we would spend every Thanksgiving with my dad's family in Brooklyn, New York.  We would drive two full days from Northern Wisconsin, with an overnight stay somewhere in Pennsylvania.  Those were long car rides, and we kept busy the way people did back in the 70's and 80's.  We played games.  We played the alphabet game, I Spy, and 20 Questions.  We had car bingo where you'd check off a square by sliding the little transparent red cover over the spot.  We even had those books with activities where the answers were printed in invisible ink and revealed by using a magic pen.  Ah, those were the days.
Now, of course, kids taking long road trips enjoy DVDs or games on their phones.  But, if you want to hop on your laptop or iPad, chances are you'll need a wi-fi connection.  Oh sure, there are some fancy cars out there that are equipped with their own wi-fi.  But, if you don't have one of those, you were just out of luck...until now.
The library now has wi-fi hotspots that you can checkout for FREE!  These hotspots connect to the Sprint network, and wherever you have a cell signal, you'll have wi-fi.  Each hotspot can accommodate ten devices at one time, so your whole family can stay connected. Host a homework night. Bring one camping. Or just enjoy a weekend of free Internet in your home.
The hotspots are compact and easy to use, but when they are overdue, they stop working. We think they are really cool, and we are excited to offer them to you.  Visit the library today, where you can literally check out the Internet.

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