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S.T.E.A.M. Fair Spotlight: SciTech Museum

news-blog-bannerThe Glen Ellyn Public Library is thrilled to announce that the SciTech Hands On Museum will participate during our Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair on Saturday, March 8th from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

SciTech Hands on Museum is an educational resource providing first-class educational programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Established in 1987 by Fermilab Physicist Ernie Malamud, SciTech offers 200 hands on exhibits designed to intrigue and excite the whole family.

During GEPL’s Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair, SciTech will teach the community about air pressure, encouraging children to create their own flyers and launch them through the air using their giant wind tunnel.

SciTech Museum is one of 18 exhibitors participating in the Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair, a family-friendly event featuring interactive exhibits showcasing the latest innovations in science, technology, engineering, arts and math designed to support the initiatives established by Glen Ellyn School District 41. The fair aims to introduce children to rewarding S.T.E.A.M. careers while igniting a passion for these emerging fields among the entire community.

For more information about the Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair, please visit: gepl.org/steam.

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Teens, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Hackers!

Teens Blog BannerIt’s S.T.E.A.M. week here at GEPL, leading up to our fantastic Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair this weekend, so I thought I’d do a thematically appropriate booklist!  S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (you may know it better as S.T.E.M., but c’mon, the arts are awesome!)  There are so many ways I could go with this, book-wise, but for some reason my mind immediately went to hackers.  Probably because I think being that good with computers and tech is awesome, and it’s something I know very little about.  So, in the spirit of S.T.E.A.M. week, here are five books featuring hackers!

Blog Entry 35 - Image 1Little Brother by Cory Doctorow – Marcus is a hacker in a San Francisco of the not-so-distant-future.  When a terrorist attack rocks his city, Marcus and his friends find themselves detained by homeland security in a secret prison.  When his ordeal is over, Marcus is determined to take action against a Department of Homeland Security that is using ever-more intrusive methods of spying, and making San Francisco look increasingly like a police state.  Using his computer skills and a network of other angry hackers, Marcus desperately tries to overcome the odds and make his city free again.

Blog Entry 35 - Image 2Find Me by Romily Bernard – Wick Tate is not particularly interested in obeying the command “find me,” words written on a dead girl’s diary.  But when her sister becomes the next target, Wick is suddenly ready to use all her hacking skills to find a killer and prevent her sister’s death.  With the help of her neighbor Griff, Wick begins the hunt.  Despite complications from the possibility of her father’s return and unwelcome attention from a detective, Wick pursues her quest with a dogged determination.  But will she find what she’s looking for in time?

Blog Entry 35 - Image 3Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks – Cadel was hacking computers at seven.  By fourteen, he is well on his way to becoming a true evil genius.  By taking classes in a World Domination program.  Seriously.  There is humor as well as drama in Evil Genius, as Cadel struggles with morals, his evil genius father, and even some romance when he meets a girl who makes him question whether world domination is really a good goal.  There is action and excitement enough to keep readers turning pages as they wait to see what kind of person Cadel will turn out to be.

Blog Entry 35 - Image 4Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes – Olivia has spent her time in foster home after foster home becoming a great hacker.  So when the mysterious Z from her new school recruits her to be part of his hacker team, she fits right in.  But while Olivia dreams of a better life, Z’s boss Sykes has his eye on her for other reasons.  Loosely based on Oliver Twist, Olivia Twisted centers on a tough main character who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or her morals – even to people she cares about.  Romance, computers, and suspense combine in this gripping story.

Blog Entry 35 - Image 5Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick – Real life super-hacker Kevin Mitnick spills in his memoir, Ghost in the Wires.  Mitnick avoided the authorities as he hacked into some of the biggest companies in the world.  He hacked phones, computers, and wireless networks.  And he avoided capture for years.  His story is a story of technology and computers, but also a story of crime and exciting escapes, a clever mind playing games with those hunting him, and immense skill and determination.

Posted in GEPL Teens

S.T.E.A.M. Fair Spotlight: SCARCE

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The Glen Ellyn Public Library is set to host the Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead Fair from 10:30am to 2:30pm on Saturday, March 8, featuring 18 interactive exhibits showcasing the latest innovations in science, technology, engineering, arts and math designed and operated by leading industry pioneers, including SCARCE.

SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) was started by Kay McKeen as SCRAP in 1990 to educate students about environmental issues. McKeen became inspired by discarded textbooks sitting in schools waiting to be thrown away. She initiated a “Book Rescue” to bring these discarded books to people who needed them.

Since then, SCARCE has won countless awards for environmentalism and continue to strive to “inspire people, through education, to preserve & care for the Earth’s natural resources, while working to build sustainable communities”.

SCARCE offers many workshops, activities and contests for all ages to participate in and learn how to make the world a better place. They award Earth Flags to other organizations that practice ecologically friendly habits and pass a Green Audit. The Glen Ellyn Public Library has earned this flag. It can be seen flying proudly outside the building.

Look for SCARCE’s booth during the S.T.E.A.M. fair to learn how to use your own kinetic energy on a bicycle to power a light bulb grid and to watch a recycled paper making workshop.

For more information about S.T.E.A.M. fair, please click here. 

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Teens, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Great Historical Fiction

Teens Blog BannerHistorical fiction is a funny thing.  I find when I read it that a lot of times, it feels a lot like reading fantasy.  Not because all fantasy is based in historical times (although much of it is,) but because often the time period I’m reading about is so different from our own times that it might as well be another world.  That said, historical fiction does offer something fantasy can’t – a fresh look at a real event.  Fantasy can offer perspective on human actions, and sometimes even re-write history.  But the historical fiction perspective is something different.  Good historical fiction thrives on good research, but is of course fiction, which allows for this new perspective.  And speaking for myself, historical fiction almost always teaches me something or makes me interested in learning something about the period.

But of course most importantly, good historical fiction – like any good fiction – is fun to read.  So check out these historical fiction novels set in Tudor England:

Blog Entry 34 - Image 1The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope – This is the book that made me think of the Tudor period for this list.  The Perilous Gard is one of my absolute favorite books, and Kate is one of my absolute favorite heroines.  When Kate is banished at Queen Mary’s order, she is taken to a house arrest of sorts at the Perilous Gard, an isolated castle in the forests of England owned by the Heron family.  There she finds a mystery surrounding her host and his brother, as well as rumors about an ancient and dangerous race of fairies.  Before she knows it, her curiosity gets her much more deeply involved with the Herons and the Fair Folk than she could have imagined.

Blog Entry 34 - Image 2Tarnish, by Katherine LongshoreTarnish is one of admittedly many takes on Anne Boleyn, looking at her life at court before she became queen, and her relationship with courtier Thomas Wyatt.  Anne is an outcast when she first comes to court, and struggles to find a place.  When Thomas Wyatt takes her under his wing, he assures her that if she plays his game, she will find acceptance at court.  Anne agrees, but what neither of them count on is that the stakes of their game will be raised when they start to fall for each other…and Anne attracts the attention of King Henry VIII.

Blog Entry 34 - Image 3VIII, by H.M. Castor – This book is another story involving King Henry VIII, but this time from his own perspective.  VIII introduces us to Hal, the young Henry before he became king.  He is a good fighter, an idealist, and determined to not rule like his family has.  But as Hal grows into all his powers and privileges as King Henry VIII, it will be harder to escape his past – and harder to control his future.  Like BBC’s The Tudors, VIII starts with a Henry very different from the fat balding man with a string of deserted and dead wives behind him that most of us are used to thinking of.  But throughout the novel, Castor shows us how he became that man.

Blog Entry 34 - Image 4The Fool’s Girl, by Celia ReesShakespeare in Love gave us one suggestion about the inspiration for Twelfth Night, but The Fool’s Girl gives us a wholly new one.  Violetta is the daughter of Viola and Orsino, the lead characters in Twelfth Night.  She arrives in England, accompanied by the fool Feste, to try and stop a plot of the villainous Malvolio.  There she meets Shakespeare, who hears her story – leading to him writing his famous play – and assists her and Feste.  Combining characters from Shakespeare’s plays and historical figures of his time, The Fool’s Girl will appeal to fans of Shakespeare, fans of historical fiction, and fans of engaging and awesome heroines.

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Announcing Homework Cafe

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 33 - ImageNew program announcement!  Late Night Study was awesome you guys.  At least for us.  And I hope, despite the studying, for you all.  You certainly seemed to enjoy it, based on the amount of pizza eaten and hot chocolate drunk.  So much so, that I started thinking it seems unfair to only offer that twice a year.  Plus, I noticed how many teenagers come to the library every day after school, and how you’re usually working your butts off.

So going back to my old “how to make anything in the world better” standby, I decided that hot chocolate and caffeine are obviously the best way to make the daily homework grind better.  So a couple weeks ago, we launched “Homework Café” – your one-stop shop for study space and hot drinks after school.

Every Thursday afternoon from 2:30-4:30, we will be serving coffee and hot chocolate in the Teen Scene for teenagers.  Like Late Night Study, you can take your drink anywhere in the library (as long as it’s covered!) or stay in our awesome teen room to study, chat, or whatever else you’re whiling away your after school time with.

I’m excited that this program has already gone smoothly twice in a row, and I’m looking forward to fulfilling your chocolate and caffeine needs for the rest of the semester!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Why I Love…The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Teens Blog BannerThis may already be obvious, but when I love something, I tend to really love it, and talk about it a lot.  Which is why you’ll often see me mention the same authors or books several times – it’s not really conscious, I just can’t help myself.  So I thought I’d try doing a few posts explaining why I love these particular authors or books (or characters or movies or TV shows or whatevers) so much.  I’m not promising I will stop referencing them, but maybe it’ll get them out of my system just a little bit.

Blog Entry 32 - ImageToday, I thought I’d start with one of the worst offenders, The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson.  I believe I’ve included this book in at least two or three lists and personally recommended it to at least a few people.  There’s so much good about it that I can’t possibly write about it all in one short blog entry.  But I’ll try!So just why do I love this series so much?

Because Elisa is wicked cool and strong without it being all about physical strength – Look, I love Katniss, Tris, and a good workout as much as the next person.  But both Katniss and Tris rely a lot on their physical prowess and strength to survive, to win, to accomplish their goals.  It’s wonderful to see a different type of heroine.  Elisa reminds me of Hermione a little bit in her book-smartness, but she’s got something else going too.  Although it takes her a while to realize it and let this skill flourish, Elisa also has people-smarts.  She understands people, including how to manipulate them, and she uses this.  She’s not physically weak – very early on in the first book, she kills a man to protect someone – but she is much more reliant on her mental and emotional abilities than her physical ones.

Because Hector! – I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say that Hector becomes a big character in this series, even moreso after the first book.  And he is wonderful.  It’s so great to see a fascinating, complicated, attractive male character who does all this without being “bad” in any way shape or form.  It would be so easy to make Hector interesting by giving him a much darker side than he really has.  It would also be really easy for Hector, since he is so freaking good, to be extremely boring.  But Carson does a masterful job of creating a complex, complicated and charming character without making him bad or boring.

Because Elisa is not even close to thin, and that’s okayAnd – Elisa never gets skinny.  It’s just so dang refreshing to read about.  Granted, at the start of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa has an unhealthy relationship with food.  She eats when she’s not hungry, she eats as comfort, as protection.  She eats without thinking about it, often to the point of discomfort.  She is dominated by her food cravings.  BUT – never once is her weight the problem.  Only her relationship with food.  And when – minor spoiler – she has no choice but to eat less and exercise more, she is still not skinny.  Yes, she loses some weight.  Yes, she breaks her unhealthy food cycles.  Yes, she gains muscle and physical strength.  But she’s never going to be a skinny girl – which doesn’t make her any less of an amazing heroine, doesn’t make her any less attractive to people who matter, and doesn’t stop her from enjoying the heck out of some really delicious honey cakes.

Add on top of all these things some really outstanding world-building and character development, and I just can’t think of any reason not to love The Girl of Fire and Thorns series.  Don’t believe me?  Read it yourself and find out!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Pets and Clothes?

Teens Blog BannerOkay guys, I’m still sick of winter, despite the warmer days, and I think it’s starting to sap my inspiration.  So instead of any discussion about a famous literary character, or a booklist, or anything librarian-ish and literature-ish like that, I’m going to my old standby for humor and cheerfulness – adorable pictures of animals.  So I present to you:

Five Reasons You Should Not Embarrass Your Pet With Clothing

1. The results can veer disturbingly into the uncanny valley.

Blog Entry 31 - Image 1

2. Your adorable pig might start plotting murder.

Blog Entry 31 - Image 2

3. Your cat will definitely start plotting, then commit, murder.

Blog Entry 31 - Image 3

4. That shirt will have hair in it FOREVER.

Blog Entry 31 - Image 4

5. You will NEVER get over this kind of guilt!

Blog Entry 31 - Image 7  Blog Entry 31 - Image 6

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Posted in GEPL Teens

Learn to Maximize Your Healthcare Dollars During GEPL’s Health Insurance Program

news-blog-bannerConfused about your health insurance options in 2014? Join Lori Martin, President of Envision Benefit Specialists on February 19 at 7pm for an informative discussion about healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act and Medicare updates.

“The healthcare and Medicare landscapes are changing at such a rapid pace that it has become difficult to truly understand your healthcare options and make an informed decision about whether to stick with your current plan or shop for a new plan,” says Marketing Coordinator Anthony McGinn. “We wanted to provide the Glen Ellyn community with an opportunity to learn from a healthcare expert and present them with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the healthcare industry.”

Martin will cover a wide variety of topics including: Medicare changes, healthcare trends, public exchanges, tax credits, marketplace subsidies and how to manage benefit costs.

Click here to register for How to Maximize Your Healthcare Dollars and Save.

Posted in GEPL News

Glen Crest Middle School Presents: Fine Arts Night on 2/18

news-blog-bannerOn Tuesday, February 18 the Glen Crest Middle School will host a Fine Arts Night  at the Glen Ellyn Public Library from 6 to 8pm.

Join Glen Crest Middle School on the library’s second floor as they display works of art in various mediums including videos, music, sculpture and home arts.

GC Fine Arts Night Logo text

Posted in GEPL Kids, GEPL News, GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: What I’m Reading Now – Midwinterblood

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 30 - ImageSo now that the American Library Association has announced their youth media award winners, I’m back on lots of award reading!  Currently the book of choice is the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

What I’m Reading Now: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

What’s It About (Jacket Description): In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visitor arrives. He is greeted warmly, but something is wrong. Something is hidden on the far side of the island. Something that, as if in a dream, he cannot reach.

And so it is that under the light of the waxing and waning moon, seven stories unfold: the story of an archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact; of an airman who finds himself far from home; of a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking. And the story of a love so primal and passionate it slips the bonds of time.

This is the story of Midwinterblood.

Do I Like It: Let’s just say it is abundantly clear why this book won an award!

Thoughts: I don’t even know where to start with Midwinterblood.  In a way it’s like a short story collection, except that the same two characters appear in some form in all the stories.  And each story is part of a larger story, so it has a much more connected narrative thread.  That I’m reading backwards.  I kind of want to go back to re-read all the chapters in reverse order when I’m done.  And I guess that says something, that I’m not even done yet and I already want to re-read it!

So, this kind of confused excitement is most of what I feel about Midwinterblood, but I’ll try to give a little more of a review.  The characters of Eric and Merle, two connected souls finding each other through different lives, are what hold the novel together and bring each shorter episode into the larger story.  Each story in Midwinterblood so far has been really unique, despite the fact that they all have Eric and Merle in them.  But the stories are so different tonally, and the characters come at different ages and with different relationships to each other, so each story feels fresh.  Some of them – like the opening story – get my “doom sense” tingling.  Other ones, like “The Painter”, have more of a sad sweetness about them.  Nothing is completely free of the overwhelming creepiness of the island and the mystery of who Eric and Merle are and why their lives keep connecting.

Sedgwick’s writing is wonderful.  He does a great job creating the eerie but still beautiful and seductive island of Blessed.  At this point, I’m half in love with the island and half terrified of it.  He makes even the littlest things – an apple, a hare – important and appealing and delightful.  It’s easy to see why this book won a prize known for honoring “literary” books.

Midwinterblood isn’t quite like anything I’ve ever read before, but I’m really enjoying it for its own sake – and for the experience of reading something so fresh.  Midwinterblood is a great read for anyone who likes more “gothic” kind of creepy, as well as anyone who likes intergenerational stories or just really great writing.  I’m definitely enjoying it, eeriness and all!

Posted in GEPL Teens