The Middle: GEPL Middle School Blog


By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Christina standing next to a Pokémon character.Pokémon Go or Pokémon No? Are you playing? Why or why not?

I was introduced to Pokémon in 6th grade. I loved Team Rocket. I thought they were hilarious. Pokémon was my gateway anime. After that, I watched Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, Fuli Culi, and a few more. But I never forgot my Pokémon roots. I’ll randomly spout out a Pokémon fact without thinking about it, and I’ll always have love for my favorites. I was actually planning on going as Misty for Halloween before the craze happened.

Now Pokémon Go has conquered the world. It makes approximately $2 million a day. With the new game, all of my memories are flooding back to me. I am completely on board. I have two Pokéstops across the street from my house, and enjoy the two Pokéstops at the library.

As with anything as big as Pokémon Go, there is a lot of news about it. Many have been talking about the positive and negative things related to the phenomenon. Four teenagers were lost 100 ft. underground in a cave, people are upset about trespassing, robberies, safety, and appropriateness of Pokéstops and gyms.

With the bad comes the good. Pokémon Go has made kids of all ages go outside again. People are reliving the 90s – not just because they’re playing with the little monsters, but it’s the last time they’ve seen so many kids outside.

Nostalgia aside, this is a great way to motivate yourself to get outside and explore new places, or appreciate spots you’ve taken for granted or overlooked. Whether you play on your own device, or a grown up’s, make sure you are being safe and aware of your surroundings, just like the Gyarados on the loading screen says.

Screenshot of the Pokémon GO game.If you play, you may have heard a lot of tips and tricks of what to do in the game. Some of these have been tested, and they’re not all true. When you’re trying to catch a Pokémon and they’re annoying and dodge away from you, it’s been said that you can tap on the rolling ball so you don’t lose a Pokéball. I have personally tried this, and it has never worked for me. I tried multiple times because I really really wanted this to work.

However, naming your Eevee a certain trainer name has at least somewhat accurately generated a specific evolution. Rainer makes a Vaporeon, Pyro makes a Flareon, and Sparky makes a Jolteon. Unfortunately, I already had two Jolteons before I learned this trick.

Make sure you play at different times of the day – different Pokémon come out at different times. You’re not likely to find a Ghastly around noon! Also note that being by water will attract more water-type Pokémon.

The library has accepted the Poké-craze. We’re going to put lures up at our Pokéstops, and we’re going on Pokéwalks July 28. Be sure to join us as we catch ‘em all! And just remember to be safe while having fun!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

Glen Crest Middle School Battle of the Books Winners!

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

This spring, GEPL and Glen Crest Middle School joined forces to offer Glen Crest students a challenge. We provided a list of books, and faced them against each other in a battle… of the books!

The contenders:

Glen Crest middle schoolers submitted their bracket predictions and voted for which book they wanted to win. There were over 400 brackets this year!!! Wow!

Weeks and votes went by, and the bracket slowly filled up.

Picture of the Battle of the Books Bracket at Glen Crest Middle School

Picture of Christina Keasler Handing Marena Keci Her Prize
Out of those 400+ brackets, one student, Marena Keci, predicted all but the winning book. That took some major skill. I’m super impressed.
Picture of Christina Keasler Handing LaDaveya Williams Her Prizes
During the battles, one Glen Crest student read every single contender! LaDaveya Williams went above and beyond in this competition, so we made an extra award just for her.
Both winning students received a jumbo candy of their choice, and LaDaveya also won a $16 gift certificate from The Book Store in Glen Ellyn – one dollar for every book in the battle. I can’t wait to find out what books she picks from her winnings!

Great job to all Glen Crest students that participated in this year’s battle of the books. I’m proud of all of you. Keep reading!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

Ode to Festivals

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Picture Overlooking A Carnival Scene

Carnival season is upon us! Unfortunately, I never get to go to the Taste of Glen Ellyn. It always coincides with my nerdy weekend. It’s a shame, because I LOVE festivals! They’re like farmers markets with rides.

I enjoy seeing the shows and just soaking in the carnival culture. Funnel cake is a must. Growing up, my favorite rides were the spinning teacup type rides and the swings. Now that I’m older, my body has turned against me and I feel sick just looking at them.

Hot Air Balloons Taking Off During Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Eye To the Skies Festival, Lisle 2013

Stick Figure Scarecrow With Pumpkin Head at the Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles 2012

What I do enjoy are free samples, fortune tellers, demolition derbies, live music and animals. It’s a great way to get outside and see what life has to offer. Festivals sometimes show different ways of living life, so go out there and expand your horizons!To find even more festivals to attend this season, go to

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

National Poetry Month

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

April is National Poetry Month, and I think that it’s important to respect and embrace poetry. Good poetry can be difficult to write, even if it doesn’t rhyme, but there are other ways to reflect your creativity.

Now, I’m not saying I’m good by any means, but I did try to get my poetic hands dirty by creating some of the different types of poetry.

Found Poetry
Picture of Page of Tom Sawyer Hilighting Words To Create Found Poetry
Found poetry is kind of like a “literary collage,” gathering bits of existing written word and converting it to something else.
had ceased
disturbed him
a single
half and hour
and the village
no longer”


Spine Poetry
Books Stacked on A Shelf So Titles Create Poem
Spine poetry is made with… book spines! It’s pretty much a different type of found poetry. Those are some crafty goats!
“Look Both Ways
The Goats
Bottled Up
get well soon”

Haiku Poem On A Chalkboard: flowers are blooming | the gnome travles at midnight | watch out for the slugs
Remember, I never said I was good at this poetry thing. This haiku was featured on our chalkboard wall in The Middle!
“flowers are blooming
the gnome travels at midnight
watch out for the slugs”

Write your own poetry using magnetic words, or on our Poe-tree during Crafternoons! For more poetic inspiration, check out this video!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

It’s Spring Break

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Spring Break Written In The Sand with a Pair of Red Sunglasses


While some of you might be thinking that the year has been going by too fast, others think spring break couldn’t have come quick enough. Spring break is a time to set down the textbooks and catch up on a little R&R. If you’d like, you should totally take advantage of the lack of commitment and sleep in.

Looking for things to do? If you want to have fun outside, you can fly a kite or take a walk around Lake Ellyn. We’re supposed to have a few days of sun, so be sure to rock last year’s swag glasses! If you’re looking for things to do indoors, why not play a board game or see a movie? I’m dying to hear how Batman vs. Superman is!

You probably already know this, but you can totally come hang out at the library. We have games and crafternoons in The Middle and, of course, LOTS OF BOOKS!

Need a suggestion? Here are some great books you’d be sure to get through in a week:


Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

St. Patrick’s Day

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Saint Patrick’s Day is coming. This holiday reminds us of the Irish, shamrock shakes and luck. I personally am a firm believer in luck. So much, in fact, that it skews my perception of statistics. I focus less on the science of what’s likely to happen, and more about all the possibilities that could happen.

There are a lot of strange good luck charms used around the world. Alligator teeth are believed to bring you good luck when gambling in Africa. Some Asian cultures think it’s bad luck to kill a cricket, even accidentally. In Middle Eastern cultures, an Evil Eye amulet wards off the Evil Eye curse. Even ladybugs are a sign of good luck.

I believe in the ladybug, the horseshoe, the wandering eyelash. When I was a kid, I always looked for a four leaf clover. I avoid the risk of breaking mirrors, walking under ladders and opening umbrellas inside. I annoy my coworkers all the time by knocking on wood whenever something is said that could jinx us.  You might say that I’m superstitious.

If you’re looking for a book to read while sipping on your delicious shamrock shake, or eating corned beef and cabbage, why not try one of these books?

Lucky by Rachel Vail Book Cover
Lucky by Rachel Vail
It’s all good . . . and lucky Phoebe Avery plans to celebrate by throwing an end-of-the-year bash with her four closest friends. Everything will be perfect–from the guest list to the fashion photographer to the engraved invitations. The only thing left to do is find the perfect dress . . . until Phoebe goes from having it all to hiding all she’s lost.
Lucky 13: Survival in Space Richard Hilliard
Lucky 13: Survival in Space Richard Hilliard
In April 1970, three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 launched into space on a mission to explore the surface of the moon. But that mission was never completed. As they began the routine procedure for landing the spacecraft on the lunar surface there was an explosion. Astronaut Jim Lovell radioed Mission Control with the now famous words, “Houston, we have a problem”. All over the world, people followed the plight of the astronauts and their race against time.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage Book Cover
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a café and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.
Ship out of Luck by Neal Shusterman Book Cover
Ship out of Luck by Neal Shusterman
In honor of Old Man Crawley’s eightieth birthday, the Bonano family has been invited to celebrate with a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean aboard the world’s largest, grandest ship. But whether on land or at sea, Antsy can’t manage to stay out of trouble: He quickly finds himself the accomplice of stowaway and thief Tilde, whose self-made mission it is to smuggle onto the ship and across the U.S. border illegal immigrants from her native Mexico. When Antsy steps in to take the fall for Tilde, he becomes the focus of a major international incident and the poster child for questionable decisions.

As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins Book Cover
As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
A teenaged boy encounters one comedic calamity after another when his train strands him in the middle of nowhere, and everything comes down to luck.
Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Tweens: Technology

Tweens Blog Purple Banner

By: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

March 6-12 is Teen Tech Week. Even if your age doesn’t end in “teen,” this is a perfect time to discover and embrace new technologies that can affect your world. Technology is all around us. For starters, you’re using tech to read this blog post right now!

If you’re looking to learn about a new technology, the library can help you out. We try to stay current on all the technology trends.

Be sure to also check out our Digital Media Lab (with a grown up) and see even more tech toys like our green screen!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Tweens: Christina Check Up!

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Hi guys. I know what you’ve all been thinking – “What’s Christina been up to these days?” You want to know what I’ve been reading and playing, and I get it! Well, this is your chance to get a sneak peek at Christina behind the scenes.

What I’m Reading

I have quite a few books checked out right now, and I’m working my way through all of them.

What I’m Watching

I have Spectre checked out (finally!) I also need to check out more Dr. Who seasons since Netflix took them away from me. I’m also super stoked that Venture Brothers are back!


Spectre Movie Poster

Venture Brothers

Venture Brothers Poster

What I’m Playing

I’ve been digging the Goat Simulator, and Ark for a bit now. I also have been hooked on a digital card game called Star Realms for quite a while.

So, yes, right now I’m hogging the library’s copies of these. If you’re interested, you can a) put them on hold or b) wait until I’m done with them. Then once you’re finished, be sure to stop by the library and tell me what you think!

What are you reading, playing, or watching? Make sure you write a review on our website!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Tweens: Mardi Gras

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Mardi Gras Parade It’s Mardi Gras season! I spent a large portion of my childhood years in Louisiana. My grandparents live very close to a few parade routes, and my family would walk from their house to see the parades.

Up until a few years ago, I had giant garbage bags filled with all the beads I collected over the years. I even met John Goodman early one morning. He lives in New Orleans and is a part of a specific parade each year.

Even though I don’t live in Louisiana anymore, I try to celebrate Mardi Gras in some way now. I have bought boudin online and it was shipped in a Styrofoam box with dry ice, but still delicious. I haven’t gone so far as to make king cake on my own, but I have looked up recipes. Last year I made beignets and they were delicious!

This year, we’re going to New Orleans! I am super excited, but it’s just dawning on me that it’s coming up very soon. I’ve made a mental checklist while waiting the months between buying plane tickets to actually going on the trip.

  • Have beignets and hot chocolate from Café Du Monde
  • Go to Audubon Zoo
  • Eat at the Lebanon Café
  • Visit the World War II Museum
  • Ride a Trolley
  • See some parades

So the only problem with this list is that we’re only there for 4 days. We’ll have to be very productive with our time. I didn’t put “spend time with grandparents” on there, because I assume they will be doing at least some of these activities with us.

Water Taffy Cart at the Audubon ZooWhen we go to the Audubon Zoo, I’m really looking forward to the salt water taffy cart.

The last time we went, I talked it up to my husband and IT WAS CLOSED! My heart broke. When we go to the zoo, I’m bee lining it straight to the cart. Priorities.

The Lebanon Café is somewhere our family goes whenever we’re in the area. They have the BEST shawarma. I love it, and can’t wait to be eating the deliciousness.

The World War II Museum wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t even know it existed sadly. It’ll be interesting to go, especially since it’s the national museum.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually never ridden on a trolley, or at least not in my recollection. I can’t be held accountable if I went on one as a baby and don’t remember. My family’s so big we didn’t want to spend the money on tickets for everyone. We will be remedying this on this trip.

Of course, we’re seeing some parades. It’s a given! I was sad to find out that we won’t be in town for the parade with John Goodman. That parade is so early, I didn’t think to bring a camera the last time I went. I wanted photographic proof of meeting John Goodman and shaking his hand. Sadly, this will not be the year that this happens.

I’m sorry if this blog is kind of rubbing it in readers’ faces that I’ll be in New Orleans while everyone is up here in the chilly Midwest. It’s actually due to snow on the days we’re flying out and back. But if it makes you feel better, New Orleans is only supposed to be in the 50s.

If you come visit me after I get back, I’ll give you some beads.

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School

GEPL Tweens: The Middle

Tweens Blog Purple BannerBy: Christina Keasler, Middle School Librarian

Have you stopped by our middle school room yet? If not, you should. We christened the room with our Middle School Room Kick-Off Week, which was a lot of fun. Mikey Reif from Glen Crest Middle School stopped by too. Mikey came up with the winning name suggestion for our room, now named The Middle.

Middle School Room Name Contest Winner Mikey Reif

Mikey is an 8th grader from Glen Crest, and also one of the vice presidents of the Teen Advisory Board through the school library. When thinking of a name suggestion, she thought of what it was currently being called – The Middle School Room, and just abbreviated it to The Middle.

When she got the call that her room name suggestion was chosen as the official name, she was very surprised. Or, as surprised as she could have been because she was sick with a cold.

Mikey is currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. WOW! Her top three books are the Harry Potter books (I let her count those as one), Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Emma by Jane Austen. Needless to say, historical fiction is her favorite book genre.

Her favorite places to be in Glen Ellyn are Danby Station, and the library of course. She plans to visit her grandparents in sunny California this summer. Mikey wants to be a corporate attorney when she grows up. She likes the idea of combining law, paperwork, and business and swimming around in money like Scrooge McDuck.

Make sure you come by The Middle soon, and if you see Mikey, congratulate her on her genius!

Posted in The Middle: GEPL Middle School