One of my favorite Autumn traditions is attending the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Starting Labor Day weekend and going through the end of October, I go at least two or three times. Full of shows, shops, and food, it’s always a fun time. Even just walking around the fairgrounds is enough on most visits, since there are people dressed in costumes, shops to explore, and beautiful scenery to enjoy. There is also a parade around mid-day where all the employees and shop owners will walk the entire fairgrounds -- you can see the Queen up close! One part of the fairgrounds I recommend getting there early, right as the festival opens so you can watch the employees welcome the attendees. Queen Elizabeth and her subjects stand atop of the entrance (which looks like a castle) and yell down to the people waiting to get in. It’s funny and sets the tone for the entire fair. One shop was letting people hold a falcon. They also put on a show at a nearby stage. My favorite part is the joust. Normally there are three jousts a day. These are real, not staged, performed by real athletes. It’s thrilling and entertaining and it’s always a different show -- since it is an actual joust, anything can happen. Whenever I go I have to watch at least one of the jousts. You really can’t see anything like it anywhere else around here. The start of the joust. If you are looking for something to do on a nice fall weekend, I highly recommend going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Eat a turkey leg, see one of the many shows, and buy some crafty merchandise. There’s something for [...]
The American Library Association announced their annual awards on Monday, January 28. You can see the winners here. But if you are looking for some more great reads for your kids, check out these books the Erlanger children’s department staff loved in 2018: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Flight of Swans by Sarah McGuire Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo Sweep the Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty Realistic The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss Breakout by Kate Messner Front Desk by Kelly Yang The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon Miscalculations of Lighting Girl by Stacy McAnulty Historical Fiction The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis The Button War by Avi My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver Graphic Novels Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol All Summer Long by Hope Larson Crush by Svetlana Chmakova Mystery/Thriller/Horror The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson Winterhouse by Ben Guterson Small Spaces by Katherine Arden Nonfiction Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word by Sarah Jane Marsh Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Margaret McNamara Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World’s Deadliest Animals by Lola M Schaefer Written by Lisa Clark, Jill Frasher, and Maria Parker. They all work at the Erlanger branch and can be found working the children's reference desk or doing programs.
It’s November. Which means the air is cooler, holidays are here, and writers of all ages are rushing to create a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, is an exciting, community-driven writing exercise that challenges participants to write a novel in the month of November. As the website says, “this is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.” NaNoWriMo started in 1999 and has steadily grown. It is now a non-profit company that supports young writers programs around the county and has published its own writing guide. Last year over 400,000 people participated in NaNoWriMo. I first heard about NaNoWriMo in 2008 and have written or attempted to write novels several times since then. It’s a great writing exercise and the official website offers community forums and pep talks from published authors to give you inspiration. There is an emphasis on just getting the story out and it takes away the pressure of trying to make your story perfect. This is a great way to get your creativity out and to challenge yourself to something new. If you are in need of more inspiration before beginning NaNoWriMo, check out these books to jump start your creativity: Lost for Words by Natalie Russell Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert And these books to help make your writing better: Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner On Writing by Stephen King Lisa Clark is a library associate at the Erlanger Branch where she runs the adult writers group.
Four years ago, I was asked to start facilitating the Writers Group at the Erlanger Branch. The group had already been in existence for several years, but needed a new staff member to organize the meetings. I jumped at the opportunity and have loved being part of the group ever since. Twice a month, writers join together to share their ideas, thoughts, and writings. We talk about what we are working on, what we should do next, and how to make our ideas better. Over the years, we’ve had many different attendees, but have become a sort of support group for each other. It has even helped me become more confident in my own writing and I hope I have instilled the same feelings in my fellow writers. The group is always open to new members, but is just for adults. Each meeting is set up the same way. Three people sign up and send samples to me ahead of time. During the meeting, those three writers take turns reading their samples out loud and then the group gives them feedback and we all discuss the piece. That’s it! It’s easy, laid-back, and inviting. We have had every kind of writing shared at our group, including chapters from novels, poetry, graphic novels, blog posts, nonfiction, memoir, and more. We’ve also had all different kinds of genres from fantasy to fairy tales to historical to science fiction. Everyone is encouraging and supportive. Along with sharing ideas and discussing writing, attendees give each other advice and share tips and tricks. Each meeting is an opportunity to bounce ideas off an unbiased, welcoming group of people who all share a common passion for writing. If you’ve always wanted [...]
Last year, I started thinking about going back to school. I had been out of college for several years and I had a couple subjects I was interested in. After taking a few graduate level classes at NKU, I still didn’t have a clear idea of what my end goal would be. Plus, taking classes can be very expensive. That’s when I discovered Gale Courses, a database offered by the library. As long as you have a library card, you are able to take any of the classes offered on the site. For free! These are instructor-led classes on a myriad of subjects, mostly focusing on personal and professional development. Each class lasts for around six weeks. Two lessons are released every week (one on Wednesdays, one on Fridays). You can sign on when you want and go through the lessons at your leisure. It is user-friendly and easy. The best part is the classes are not graded, except for the final test (if you pass, you get a certificate of completion). You can really work at your own pace. There is nothing to lose if you decide a class isn’t for you or if life gets too busy. So far, I have completed two classes: one on editing and one on writing. I am currently taking a sign language class, which has been great. I’ve learned a lot through these classes and I’ve only had positive experiences. I like that each lesson is a mixture of readings, activities, quizzes, and discussion topics. It has given me the opportunity to strengthen skills I already have and to explore others that I am interested in. Some of the subjects you can take are: accounting, drawing, [...]