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GEPL Kids: A New Year’s Resolution for Language Learners

By: Renee Grassi, GEPL Youth Department Director

If your New Year’s resolution is to learn a new language or pass on your native language, why not get the kids involved and include the whole family?

There are a variety of benefits of starting language learning early on in your child’s development. Learning a language provides children with an opportunity to improve memory and analytic abilities. It also helps a child strengthen their problems solving skills. Learning a language contributes to a child’s overall cognitive development, while also preparing him or hear for their participation in the global marketplace. If someone in your family is fluent in a particular language and is part of the learning process, there is a greater ability for the child to learn with a near native accent.

With your Glen Ellyn Public Library card, you and your family have 24/7 access to the library’s comprehensive list of online resources, which includes two new resources that have recently been added to the library’s collection of youth databases: Muzzy and Little Pim.

LittlePim-01Little Pim offers tutorials for children in Pre-K to Grade 2. It covers Spanish, French, Chinese, English, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, German, Arabic, and Russian. You and your children can enjoy a variety of animated videos that teach kid about a variety of basic scenarios, including mealtime, playtime, and bedtime routines.

Muzzy-01Muzzy is an online training system that offers language learning for children birth through age twelve. Through story and play-based games and vocabulary lessons, this database offers kids the chance to learn Spanish, French, German, English, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian.

Don’t forget that the library offers a wide array of print and audio-visual materials to supplement your family’s language learning, including books, audio books, CDs, and kits. Want to brush up on your own language learning? MangoBe sure to check out Mango—an adult online language-learning system that teaches conversation skills for over 60 languages from around the world, including English as a new language. Brush up on your grammar, the culture of the country, and compare your speech to a native speaker.

For more information or for a brief tutorial, stop by the library and ask a librarian!

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Art Contest Deadline Extension

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageYou’re done with finals – CONGRATULATIONS!  Now that they are over and you have brains that can think about anything other than tests, we’re going to take a moment to get a little repetitive here.  As you may recall (if, for instance, you read our last blog entry…) GEPL is having an ART CONTEST!  The contest will help us decorate our teen space with art created by local teens.  Plus, because your finals changed and we want to give you some time afterwards to get your submissions in, we are extending the deadline!  The new deadline to enter the contest is January 31 – which gives you over a week to pick your favorite piece of art and enter!

Now that we’ve covered the details, on to the important stuff!  Our goal with this art contest is that it will be good for you all and the library.  We hope this will be good for you because it gives you a chance to show off your work to a new audience, and use that project you did in art class for something else.  And it will be good for you because three winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Dick Blick, and six runners up will get a $25 gift card there.  That’s nine chances to get money for all those pricey art supplies!  Plus, of course, nine chances at the glory of having your art on display in the library.  And to top it all off, everyone who enters will have their pieces displayed at an art reception on February 15.  So no matter who wins, you’ll all get a chance to show off a little!

This contest is good for us because the time to personalize the teen room is long past.  It’s your room, and we want your art decorating it.  Plus, the rest of the second floor got a fancy makeover this fall – we think the teen room deserves the same!

You’ve still got a few more days to enter – we’re accepting submissions through January 31.  So do yourselves and us a favor, and go to http://gepl.org/teen/art_contest and enter our contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Being Green

By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian

tween-blog-bannerI’ve been thinking about “being green” lately. I was pleased to find out that studies have shown that kids today are more interested in the environment than ever before. Have you done anything lately that’s “green”? I have a great project to show you. It’s from a blog by Chez Larsson. This weekend you can make a pillow out of your favorite old T shirt!

What you need:

  • A t-shirt you’d rather have as a pillow
  • A pillow form/insert or filling
  • Needle and thread or a sewing machine



greenproject (1)



Step 1:

Turn the t-shirt inside-out and put the insert inside to make sure it fits.

Step 2:

Pin the edges down around the pillow insert.

greenproject (2)


Step 3:

Remove the pillow and sew three edges. Chez recommends a zig-zag stitch to reduce puckering.

Step 4:

Cut and trim the excess t-shirt.

Step 5:

Turn the t-shirt right side in again, and place the insert inside.

greenproject (3)

Step 6:

Tuck in the edges of the opening. You can either sew this last edge or leave it as is. The cotton clings to itself, keeping the insert in place. If you chose to use filling, you should definitely sew up the end!

greenproject (4)


And there you have it! Your super cool pillow that gives a new life to an old t-shirt that may have otherwise been thrown away. What t-shirt do you plan to use? Do you have any other upcycled craft ideas? Let us know!




And make sure all you eighth graders register for our T Shirt Design program Thursday, February 19 and make something like this! tweentshirtdesign

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Teens: Teen Art Contest!

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 119 - ImageTeen librarian fun fact: I am a terrible artist. I always have been. To this day when I doodle, my hearts are misshapen and my stars are uneven. I don’t have great handwriting. My photos tend to be passable, but not awesome. And don’t even ask me about things like composition and balance and color – the most you’ll get is “I like this picture because it has a puppy, and I personally don’t care for the color yellow.” I’m hopeless, and I accept that.

That said, none of this stops me from doodling or creating or making some kinds of art. Even at my most self-conscious when I was a teenager, I doodled stick figures and shapes in the margins of my notes. I sketched dragons who, while they didn’t look right on the page, were beautiful in my imagination. I even once agreed to a request to draw someone – and let them see the drawing. I love to take pictures, even if my photos are only passable. Something about visual creation has the same inherent appeal to most of us, I think, as listening to music or dancing or creating with words. We are constantly bombarded by the visual, and there’s something satisfying about contributing to our visual world somehow, even if we prefer our creations never be seen by anyone except ourselves.

And for some people, of course, art is more. Whether through hard work, talent, passion, or some combination of those three things, many people are artists, creating art they want people to see, and hope to share with the world. I love those people, even if I will never be one. And the library loves those people too!

Which brings us to the library’s Teen Art Contest to decorate our teen room! We want teens to be the ones filling the walls of their own space, and we want to showcase the wonderful things that local teens are creating. Moreover, we want to celebrate any teen artist who enters. So in addition to selecting winners to be displayed in our Teen Scene, we will be hosting a reception in February to celebrate every artist and every piece that is submitted to our competition.

We have a whole page on our website dedicated to the rules and submissions, but here’s the quick and dirty of what you need to know:

  • We are accepting submissions through January 25, and we welcome any projects you created for school this semester!
  • The three winners will receive a $100 Dick Blick gift certificate, and the six runners up will each receive a $25 gift certificate.  All nine winners and runners up will have their work displayed in the Teen Scene.
  • Local artists and art teachers will be judging, so you won’t be at the mercy of my complete lack of artistic talent.
  • We will host an art reception on February 15 for everyone who enters the contest, because we’re pretty excited to show off everyone’s work.
  • We are super excited about this opportunity to celebrate creativity and creation, and get some fantastic artwork for our Teen Scene.

So celebrate art, and yourselves, and enter our Teen Art Contest ASAP!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Study Tips

Teens Blog BannerBlog Entry 118 - ImageIt’s no secret that studying can be tiresome and boring, especially when there are other priorities during the week. But what if there was a way that you can make studying a little more appealing? Actually there are tips that will make studying more comfortable, fun, and quicker.

The first tip is using highlighters.  Yes, highlighters. Highlighters are the best tools given to students because highlighters can be so helpful. First of highlighters can be used to mark important words and vocabulary words. Also highlighters can be a good visual tool when you want to focus on one specific thing.

The second tip is being comfortable. How can someone study when they aren’t comfortable?  The times when you are going back and forth between different places, you can still be comfortable. You can listen to background music, wear comfortable clothes, drink coffee, light some candles, etc. As much as being comfortable can help, it can also be your worst enemy. You shouldn’t be comfortable to the point where you are falling asleep because that won’t get you any closer to finishing you work.

Tip number three is clear all of the distractions around you as much you can. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re around things you can’t control the sound of but try to get rid of as much distraction as you possibly can. Turn of the TV even if you think you can “double task.” Even though I said music can help you work, make sure once you pick your playlist you don’t keep checking your phone or changing the song because that will also distract you.

Tip number four is do not cram. I say it again, do not cram. Cramming all of the information in your head will not help you in the long term and make things so stressful. Make sure you give yourself an appropriate time to study but also make sure to give yourself enough time to rest.

This goes right into my fifth tip which is get enough rest. Sleepiness causes headaches and a lot of times not enough sleep can make it hard to focus. Sleep is so crucial in a student’s lives and many teens don’t get enough of it. Always try to get a good amount of sleep (7-10 hours) especially before a test.

The last tip is to give yourself 5-10 minute study breaks about every 40 minutes. We all need breaks when we are trying to absorb all this information. Either listen to music, have a snack, turn on the TV for a little bit, draw, journal, take a walk, etc.

Hopefully, using these tips can make studying just a little less boring!


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Kids: Favorite New Books

By: Katy Almendinger, GEPL Early Literacy Librarian

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the really great books that were published in 2014. I thought now would be a great time to share some of my favorite new books.

Board Books:

Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Church


Church, Caroline Jayne. Ten Tiny Toes

Ten Tiny Toes is just right for babies who are still discovering body parts like fingers and toes! This one invites movement and interaction by asking the reader to wiggle ears and play peekaboo. It also features lots of repetition, which is known to help babies remember tasks and skills.



Play Nice, Hercules by Joan Holub

Holub, Joan. Play Nice, Hercules!

Meet Hercules. His mom constantly reminds him to play nice, especially with his younger sister. Joan Holub masterfully takes a Greek myth and makes it accessible for a young audience. The bright illustrations are also great, and they provide an opportunity to talk about recognizing facial expressions. This is a new book series that has a companion out called Be Patient, Pandora!


Toot by Leslie Patriecelli


Patricelli, Leslie. Toot!

I love Leslie Patricelli’s books! I dare you to read Toot without laughing. It compares to the classic “Everyone Poops.”Patricelli will explain how all toots sound different. This one is perfect for the whole family. Older children might want to read this one to younger siblings.


Early Readers:

Clara and Clem Under the Sea by Ethan Long


Long, Ethan. Clara and Clem: Under the Sea

Clara and Clem’s imagination takes them on an adventure under the sea. Featuring only a few words on each page and rhymes, this series is perfect for beginning readers.




Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems


Willems, Mo. Waiting is Not Easy

Yes! A new Elephant and Piggie book! Piggie tells Gerald that he has a surprise for him, but refuses tell him what it is. These books are hilarious, but they also provide an opportunity to talk about character, fairness, and respect.



Picture Books:

My Bus by Byron Barton

Barton, Byron. My Bus

Joe is a bus driver, delivering neighborhood cats and dogs to their destinations. This book is a perfect read aloud for fans of animals and transportation! Each time the bus stops, adults will notice that Barton is also introducing simple counting and math skills. The bright color palette and Barton’s signature illustration style are also perfect for beginning readers.


Big Bug by Henry ColeCole, Henry. Big Bug

In this concept book about size, Henry Cole shows us that sometimes what we think is big might actually be small. With clear art and sparse text, this picture book would work for babies too! Big Bug can also be used to introduce opposites or even scale. Scale, while it may be advanced for young readers, is a common feature in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) subjects.


Creature Features by Steve Jenkins

 Jenkins, Steve. Creature Features

Ever wonder why giraffes have a purple tongue? A giraffe will tell you why. Twenty four other animals will explain their unusual features. Some of the answers might surprise you! This one is an easy way to introduce children to some great nonfiction.



It's Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

Parr, Todd. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Did the title catch your attention? Me too. Todd Parr’s latest gently reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes, color outside the lines, and not know the answer. Kids will want to talk about the sometimes silly illustrations and will understand the problems Parr presents.



Found by Salina Yoon

Yoon, Salina. Found

This is a sweet story about a bear who finds a toy that doesn’t belong to him. It’s a simple message that will resonate with children. Some of my favorite books have plenty of details hiding in the illustrations and Found is no exception. Can your child find the little yellow bird? Or how about the lost hat from I Want my Hat Back? Don’t forget to look at the lost flyers!

Posted in GEPL Kids

GEPL Teens: Make Studying Slightly Less Awful

Teens Blog BannerWell, it’s been a lousy week.  Nasty cold weather.  And sure, no school, but with the start of finals still looming next week I doubt any of you have had a chance to relax and enjoy the time off.  On the plus side, you do get two more days to prepare for finals!

While you do all that preparation, in our constant effort to make studying not-terrible, the library is once again hosting Late Night Study on the nights before you take your finals!  You can come to the library on January 15, 20, and 21 from 5-10 to study together or alone, get fed, and use the library’s resources to help you rock your finals.  Or just to get a book or movie to help you forget about the horror – that’s up to you.

In case you’re still not convinced, we’re recycling last year’s list of great reasons to come to the library to study.  Maybe one of these will change your mind:

Blog Entry 117 -  Image 1

We’ll feed you and caffeinate you!  We’ll provide pizza starting at around 5:30 until it’s gone, each night of studying.  We’ll have coffee and other hot drinks for the whole night.  Studying on an uncaffeinated brain and empty stomach is pretty much impossible, so we’ve got you covered.

Blog Entry 117 -  Image 2

We have great study resources!  We have many of your textbooks available here so you don’t have to lug them, laptops so you don’t have to bring your own, plenty of distractions (mostly in book and internet form) for when you need a study break, and you can work with your friends or on your own, in a quiet environment.  It’s like we created this whole dang library just for studying.

Blog Entry 117 - Image 3

The library is all yours from 9-10 p.m.  Seriously – only library staff and high school students allowed.  You’ll have all the space in the world to spread out your books and sit with your friends, without any adults or kids taking up space.

Blog Entry 117 - Image 4

Good luck!

Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Teens: Teens Write – Books to Movies

Teens Blog BannerLet’s face it. Winter break and the holidays have just ended and finals are coming scarily near; there is little to look forward to besides the cold. As first semester comes to a close, we deserve a reward for all our hard work. I personally want to lock myself in my room and marathon my favorite TV show or watch a couple of movies as a short respite.

Blog Entry 116 - Image 2Although typically “movies aren’t as good as the books,” it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them! When anyone reads a book they create their own vision of the story. How someone interprets and understands a book is completely unique to them. It is immersing in its own way. Yet a movie adaption of our favorite book is always welcomed. We can watch a story that was only in our heads jump into real life on the screen.

I always want to read a book before I watch a movie. Well, here is your chance! Even if you watched it already, read to see its origins.Blog Entry 116 - Image 1 Whether you want to read and watch classics such as the Lord of the Rings, some recent popular films such as The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars, or even popular TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries, we have the books as well as the DVDs in our collection. You can even get ahead of the game by checking out the books that currently are or are planned to be made into movies or TV shows, like Paper Towns. So before popping some popcorn and grabbing a movie, settle down with the book first. No matter how accurate the movie is, your imagination will have its own vision for you and only you.


Posted in GEPL Teens

GEPL Tweens: Share Your Experience With Others

tween-blog-bannerHave you ever experienced something so awesome that you just needed to share it with everyone? Whether it be music, video game, movie or book? The tween website has a place where your opinions can be heard. Submit an online review. We’d love to hear what you have to say. You might even help someone find their next favorite book, or discover a game they had never heard of.

All of the tween reviews will be stored on the website for everyone to access whenever they want. Your opinions and recommendations will be read forever!

As an extra thank you, anyone in grades 6-8 who writes a review earns a piece of candy at the youth department desk. Once you’ve written a review, check in at the youth desk, and receive a tasty reward for your thoughts.

Posted in GEPL Tweens

GEPL Tweens: Looking For A New Book to Read?

tween-blog-bannerChoose your next story based on this neat flowchart from Harper Collins! Identify with Gamer, Dreamer, TV Addict, and more to help lead you to another great book. After you’re done, write a review for other tweens.


Posted in GEPL Tweens