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Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Podcasts: What are They and Why Should I Care?

I have a confession to make; I can’t stop listening to podcasts. For years now, people have asked me what book I’m reading/listening to and most of the time I shamefully mumble something about not having much time, or finding it difficult to discover new books I like. This, however, is a bold-faced lie. The truth is that podcasts have taken over my life. I listen to them when I’m cleaning, driving, getting ready, falling asleep, waking up, cooking (ok, that’s a stretch – more like microwaving). Just ask my husband who so graciously hid his eye rolls for almost an entire year when every other sentence out of my mouth was “I was listening to This American Life…”

To all of you who are reading this asking, “What’s a podcast?” – my response is: only the greatest invention to be popularized by the smartphone. Imagine being able to listen to your favorite radio broadcast at any time, in any place. Or consuming bite-sized documentaries that are delivered to your phone automatically and captivate from the first minute. And the best part is that anyone (even you!) can make and distribute a podcast, making the range of content available absolutely remarkable. I know what you’re thinking, “But Allison, how do we know what is worth listening to and what’s not if anyone can make anything?” Never fear. That’s what I’m here for.

Below you will find a list of some of the best freely-available podcasts around. They cover a breadth of topics to suit anyone’s interests as well as provide an easy route to discover something new. Most smartphones have a podcast app preloaded on the device at purchase where these titles can be found. They can also be found on the respective websites for each cast.

And once you’ve listened through this list and decided to become a podcaster yourself, come on down to the King Road or West Toledo branch libraries where our recording studios are waiting to turn your podcast idea into my next obsession.

General Interest

This American Life

No list of podcasts would be complete without This American Life. One of the longest running NPR offerings, Ira Glass’s iconic radio show looks at different aspects of life in America (and sometimes beyond) and offers new perspectives on ideas of all kinds. So many people you’ve probably heard of have contributed to TAL including David Sedaris, David Rakoff, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgeman, and many (many, many more). Personal favorites of mine are episodes 107: Trail of Tears and 199: House on Loon Lake.

Listen Alikes:

Invisibilia

Strangers


True Crime

Serial

If you’ve heard of any of these, chances are it’s Serial, the smash-hit from 2014 that dove deep into a murder that took place back in 1999. Because it’s unsolved? No. A man named Adnan Syed is currently serving time for the crime. But should he be? Sarah Koenig investigates and tells the story episode by episode, sometimes only hours after she has learned new developments herself. If you want a story that is all but guaranteed to hook you, this is where you should start. (Seriously, before this no one would have guessed that cell phone records could be so enthralling.) This one requires serial listening (Get it? 😉 ) so you’ll want to start with Ep. 1: The Alibi.

Listen Alikes:

In the Dark

Criminal


Science and Technology

Radiolab

Polar opposites and conversational wizards Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore all things science in a way that feels a little closer to performance art than information sharing. From the beautifully haunting contributions of the late Oliver Sacks in episodes such as “Oliver Sacks’ Table of Elements” to episodes like “The Ceremony” that are just plain creepy, Radiolab is a show for those people who are fascinated by the intricacies of the world we live in.

Listen Alikes:

99% Invisible

Every Little Thing


Myth and Folklore

Lore

I like to call this “Are You Afraid of the Dark: Adult Edition.” Lore takes true stories that frighten and disturb and turns them into campfire-style tales. Recently made into a TV show as well, it is best if listened to on a long night drive or with the lights dimmed. Fans of The Twilight Zone will appreciate its anthology-style storytelling and the added bonus is that these stories actually happened. Where to start? Ep. 2: The Bloody Pit


History

Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell is very likely a familiar name to you from his best-selling books Blink, The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw. In Revisionist History, Gladwell takes all the energy and enthusiasm he has for storytelling and applies it to ideas that we think we already understand. His brand of thinking deeply on topics that seem obvious on their surface works especially well in the podcast format. Check out “Hallelujah,” in which Gladwell examines the idea of genius and how it emerges in individuals.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

A podcast about the Supreme Court of the United States? Really? Yup. And it’s even better than you could ever imagine. From tales of its inception to the cases being argued today, More Perfect delves deep into the backstories of the people behind the cases and offers an in-depth view on how the court arrives at its decisions. Personal favorites of mine include “Kittens Kick the Giggly Blue Robot All Summer,” which looks at the very early years of the court while it was still finding its place in our system of law and “The Political Thicket,” in which we see just a glimpse of the pressure that serving on the court entails.

Listen Alike:

Stuff You Missed in History Class


Current Issues

Embedded

Embedded reporting is a long-standing tradition within the journalism field, but with Embedded (the podcast), Kelly McEvers takes this to the next level. By focusing in on a story currently in the news and placing herself in the center of the action, McEvers provides a unique type of insight into issues that can seem too big to be ever fully understood. In the gripping episode “The Capital,” McEvers ventures to the murder capital of the world, El Salvador, and spends 24 hours in the capital city, San Salvador, where she witnesses first-hand the gang violence that grips the nation. It’s edge-of-your-seat listening and just one example of an overall stellar body of work. Intrigued? – Check out the entire list of casts.

Listen Alikes:

The Daily

Reveal


Sports

30 for 30

What? Think I forgot about you, sports fans? Never. 30 for 30 will be familiar to you as a fan of sports/watcher of ESPN. The TV show has established itself as the most excellent avenue to the behind-the-scenes (off-the-field?) stories of the athletes we love. The jump to podcast was only natural and has only improved the long-form sports story. Whether it’s the tale of Madden and his videogame domination or the fight to open Wrigleyville up to night games, 30 for 30 is a must-listen for any die-hard fans who seek to know more about their favorite teams/players/sports than what you can get from just watching the main event.

Listen Alike:

The Bill Simmons Podcast


If you like the podcasts featured above, you may also like these great radio programs available at your local library …
NPR driveway moments [spoken CD] : radio stories that won't let you go. Moms
NPR driveway moments for dads [spoken CD]
NPR funniest driveway moments [spoken CD]
NPR driveway moments. Love stories. [spoken CD]

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Allison F. at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/podcasts-what-are-they-and-why-should-i-care.

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Make Your Own Natural Homemade Gifts

Make your own beauty products, cleansers, soaps, candles and more at home year-round. These natural products are better for you, the environment and they make great gifts to boot!

Homemade Beauty Products and Natural Cleansers

Fresh & Pure: Organically Crafted Beauty Balms and Cleansers by Jules Aron
Natural Soap at Home : How to Make Felted Soap, Wine Soap, Fruit Soap, Goat's Milk Soap, and Much More by Liz McQuerry
The handmade mama: simple crafts, healthy recipes, and natural bath + body products for mama and baby / Mary Helen Leonard ; photography by Kimberly Davis
Beehive Alchemy : Projects And Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, And Pollen To Make Your Own Soap and Candles by Petra Ahnert

Fresh & Pure : Organically Crafted Beauty Balms & Cleansers by Jules Aron

Tired of wondering exactly what went into her beauty products, holistic health and wellness coach Jules Aron decided to make her own. Whipping up a luxurious face mask using little more than honey, apricots, and coconut oil, and an acne-fighting toner with cooling cucumber and antioxidant-rich green tea, she knew without a doubt that no preservatives or toxic chemicals were used. In Fresh & Pure, Aron explains how to use fruit, flowers, herbs, and minerals to craft healthy beauty products that promote radiant skin, strong nails, and shiny hair. With this helpful guide, readers will be able to pamper themselves from head to toe with aromatic, forward-thinking potions like charcoal soap, strawberry rose facial mist, pineapple sunflower body scrub, and aloe and avocado hair conditioner.

Natural Soap At Home : How to Make Felted Soap, Wine Soap, Fruit Soap, Goat’s Milk Soap and Much More by Liz McQuerry

The creator of the natural skin care line Moon Magic, Liz McQuerry offers here a step-by-step guide for natural cold-process soap crafting. Mostly utilizing kitchen ingredients to create a variety of innovative soap blends-including felted soap, beer soap, and seasonal soaps – McQuerry will put you in touch with your inner alchemist. From body bars to hair care bars, with wonderful tidbits and advice on herbs and essential oil blends, you and your family will enjoy a clean like never before. Here are instructions for: Mermaid Kisses Salty Sea Soap. Golden Coconut Milk Soap. Wine and Rose Soap. Felted Soap Stones. Refreshing Lemon Solid Shampoo Bars. Beard Wash Solid Soap Bars. And more! After you learn to make your own soap, you’ll also discover how to scent, color, design, troubleshoot, and even sell your soap. McQuerry’s soaps make for attractive and personal bathroom and kitchen décor at home, as well as nifty gifts for just about any occasion.

The Handmade Mama : Simple Crafts, Healthy Recipes, and Natural Bath + Body Products for Mama and Baby by Mary Helen Leonard

Many of the everyday products we rely on through pregnancy and baby’s first year are actually quite simple to make at home with safe and natural ingredients. Making your own food, homemade skin care products, and everyday objects allows you to choose exactly what you put on and into your body. With help from Mary Helen Leonard, natural lifestyle writer of the blog Mary Makes Good, you’ll create handmade items for mama and baby using sustainable materials. You pick the color. You choose the ingredients. You make adjustments to suit your own tastes and needs. There’s nothing better than custom-made, and when you do it yourself it can actually be affordable! The techniques you’ll discover in “The Handmade Mama” will make cooking, sewing, and planning your own healthy baby projects a breeze. From ginger syrup for upset stomachs to baby powder, changing mats, food purees, teethers, and simple toys, this book is stuffed with useful projects, tips, and sidebars for a natural pregnancy and baby’s first year that you’ll cherish.

Beehive Alchemy : Projects and Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, and Pollen to Make your Own Soap, Candles, Creams, Salves and More by Petra Ahnert

From crayons to cough drops, cookies to candles, “Beehive Alchemy” offers a comprehensive introduction to incorporating the miracle of bees into everyday life. “Beehive Alchemy” is a continuation of Petra Ahnert’s best-selling “Beeswax Alchemy.” With this new book, beekeepers (and bee lovers) will learn about the benefits and attributes of beeswax, honey, propolis, and more alongside a full range of projects and techniques to process and harness the amazing gifts of bees. Whether you keep bees or just love them, “Beehive Alchemy” will become your go-to comprehensive guide for hive-to-home creations.


More ways to inspire your creative spirit …

 

Cool stuff for bath & beauty by Pam Scheunemann
Nature's essential oils aromatic alchemy for well-being by Cher Kaufmann.
Vintage beauty your guide to classic Hollywood make-at-home beauty treatments by Daniela Turudich
Beeswax alchemy how to make your own candles, soap, balms, salves, and home decor from the hive by Petra Ahnert
Botanical beauty 80 essential recipes for natural spa products by Aubre Andrus

This is part of a series of blog posts dedicated to creating handmade gifts.

Crafty Library Blog Posts

Feeling Crafty?

DIY Holiday Gifts

What’s Really In Your Beauty Products (and How to Make Your Own)?


Give 3 Get 3

Personalized Recommendations Just for You!

Looking for your next great read?Let us help you!Tell us what you’ve enjoyed reading, watching or listening to, and our librarians will give you personalized recommendations.No algorithms, cookies or data mining – just real experts in your community sharing their love of great books, music and movies with you. We call it Give 3 Get 3.Get started today at ToledoLibrary.org/Give3Get!

 

Originally posted by Amy H. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/make-your-own-natural-homemade-gifts

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Celebrate Native American Heritage

November is National Native American Heritage Month. Learn more about the diverse culture and history of Native Americans by exploring the resources your local library has to offer.

Books for Adults

Native nations : cultures and histories of native North America / Nancy Bonvillain
Good Friday on the rez : a Pine Ridge odyssey / David Hugh Bunnell
Crazy Brave : a Memoir by Joy Harjo
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher : the Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan

Books for Children

Sweetest Kulu / by Celina Kalluk ; illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
Buffalo Bird Girl : A Hidatsa Story retold by S. D. Nelson
Arctic peoples by Robin S. Doak - First nations of North America
Native Americans : discover the history & cultures of the first Americans : with 15 projects / Kim Kavin ; illustrated by Beth Hetland

Books for Pre-Teens and Teens

Undefeated : Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football team / Steve Sheinkin
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III
If I ever get out of here : a novel with paintings / by Eric Gansworth
Dreaming in Indian : contemporary Native American voices / edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

The First Peoples of North America series by Raymond Bial

This series is great for grades 4 and up.

The people and culture of the Delaware / Raymond Bial
The People and Culture of the Huron by Raymond Bial
The people and culture of the Menominee / Raymond Bial
The people and culture of the Shawnee / Cassie M. Lawton and Raymond Bial

Additional Resources

National Native American Heritage Month – National Endowment for the Humanities

Native American Heritage – National Park Service

Native American Heritage Month – PBS

American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources – Smithsonian


Catalog Tips

Looking for more on the topics above? Search the catalog using the following terms:

  • Indians of North America
  • Indians of North America — Folklore
  • Indians of North America — Social life and customs
  • Indian Art — North America
  • Indian Mythology — North America
  • Inuit — Social life and customs
  • Native Americans

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County blogger April S. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/celebrate-native-american-heritage.

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Building Great Learners Starts With Reading

“Too early” has no place in the formula when it comes to gauging the right time to begin nurturing children’s interest in reading. While introducing her daughter Aria to the wonder of words, Renee O’Brien found out how quickly that awareness and appreciation of books and language can be ignited.

O’Brien had heard about the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s Ready to Read program and decided not long after the birth of her first child to get some advice on preparing Aria to be a lifelong reader.

“I wanted to make sure she has the tools she needs in life to be a good reader, and a good learner,” O’Brien said. “So I went to the library, talked to the people there and got the information on what to do. I found out that even at a very young age, it is important to read to her and let her hear a variety of words.”

Ready to Read stresses how critical the years before kindergarten are for the development of children’s reading ability, and how the language and word skills a child is exposed to during that time period will play a significant role in how successful that child will be in school, and in life. The program promotes five activities that parents can do with their children to greatly improve their success: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.

Talk Sing Read Write Play

Ready to Read encourages parents and childcare providers to frequently talk with children in order to help them learn new words and to stimulate brain development. Singing improves a child’s capability to understand sounds within words, while reading together helps children become skilled readers. Parents are also urged to write out words to give children an understanding of letters and how they form sounds. Time for play is likewise important, as this is one of the main ways that children learn about the world.

O’Brien and her husband Kevin started introducing Aria to books when she was just four months old, and followed a plan that included frequently talking, singing and reading to her while she was in her high chair.

“At first, she paid no attention to us,” O’Brien said, “but they encouraged us to keep doing it.”

Then, somewhat magically and whimsically, Aria’s eyes lit up and the pathway for the 17-month-old to become a lifelong reader was wide open.

“Now, over the past three months she has been so interested in books,” O’Brien said. “Her doctor is very impressed with her development. She brings us the books and says: ‘read, read.’ She loves the books with pictures and words like ball and banana and gets excited when we read to her.”

Since its inception in April 2014, the Ready to Read program has provided more than 4,000 parents and childcare providers with free kits and training. In 2017, the program reached more than 6,000 parents and children. 600 families received in-depth training and a free preschool or kindergarten resource kit while another 800 received tools and tips such as the Busy Book and Kindergarten Skill Rings.

Ready to Read helped 4000 parents and 10000 children

Planting the Seed to Read

Statistics show that when they enter kindergarten, nearly two-thirds of area students do not have the fundamental skills needed to learn how to read and write. With $2 million in support from donors, the Library’s “Planting a Seed to Read” campaign was developed to address this deficiency. It is part of the Library’s overall Early Literacy Campaign which has the ambitious goal of improving the essential literacy skills of every child in the community.

“We know that in Lucas County, a lot of children are not arriving at school ready to learn and read, and that’s a big concern,” said Nancy Eames, youth services coordinator at the Library.

“One of the ways we address that is to show parents how to teach their children so those children are ready to read when they start school. Most kids won’t start reading until they are five or six, but they need a good foundation in place well before that age.”

She added that with locations in every corner of the community, the Library is able to offer support to families and get children started on building a foundation in reading.

“Parents are children’s first teachers, so their role is very important,” Eames said. “We want them talking to their children, which helps build vocabulary. Engaging in conversations that expand their world knowledge is also very valuable. Children can gain a lot when parents sing to them, since singing slows down the words and lets the child hear the syllables.”

Eames said that parents should continually expand on what they are saying so children hear a wide variety of words. When they start to read, children will more easily recognize words they have heard before.

“What we all need to do is put down our devices, and help kids build vocabulary,” Eames said. “Vocabulary is a skill we build throughout our entire lives, and the earlier we start, the more successful we will be.”

Intensive Storytimes Make Learning Fun

The Library’s “Intensive Storytimes” program is on the same mission – to increase children’s interest in books and reading, while strengthening their pre-literacy skills. Intensive Storytimes were first introduced in the fall of 2013 to eight Toledo Public Schools (TPS) Kindergarten classes and today, now serves about 40 TPS Kindergarten classes and 600 to 700 students annually.

The program also introduces students to their neighborhood Library, through the work of children’s librarians who visit the schools to present traditional storytime elements, such as reading books aloud, teaching rhyming words and singing with the children. These are facets of the dialogic reading technique which has been shown to hasten the development of early literacy aptitude, including oral language skills.

A librarian reading during Storytime

A Teacher Approved Approach

Fadia Olrich has been teaching Kindergarten for eight years, and she said her Riverside Elementary students are very excited when Children’s Librarian Maria Royuela-Tomas makes her regular visits to the classroom. Olrich said the librarians in the program work with teachers and develop themes for each week, often linking them to topics covered during the rest of the school day.

“Maria always has props or puppet shows or something that ties into the story and keeps the kids engaged the whole time,” Olrich said. “She focuses on vocabulary and character identification and my kids are always eager to participate – their hands are in the air to ask or answer questions.”

Olrich said the Intensive StoryTimes program is critically important for her students, many of whom have not been introduced to books before attending Kindergarten.

“A lot of my students aren’t even exposed to reading before they arrive here. Some had no idea what a library is, and they can’t believe it’s a place where you can go and get books,” she said. “So this program is very beneficial.”

Jim Funk, manager of institutional and community initiatives at the Library, said the goal of the Intensive StoryTimes program and the overall early literacy efforts is to have children properly prepared to learn.

“At first, we only worked with adults on improving literacy, but we realized working with children is the key to a better life for them, and for society,” he said. “The task is daunting, since so many of the children come to school not sufficiently prepared to read, but we aspire to do anything we can to help.”

The response to those efforts has been overwhelmingly positive.

All of the TPS teachers surveyed concluded that Intensive StoryTimes exposed their students to experiences that increased their pre-literacy skills. The teachers were also unanimous in their opinion that Intensive StoryTimes amplified the interest in reading in their classrooms, and helped the students build reading skills. The teachers all wanted Intensive StoryTimes to return to their classrooms.

“That’s very gratifying, because there are many different types of intervention underway, but the fact that teachers want our program back every year is a real testimony to its effectiveness,” Funk said.

A father reading to his son

Get In on the Early Literacy Action

Parents and childcare providers who have more questions or would like to request a free training may call 419.259.5253 or email readytoread@toledolibrary.org.

To support the Library’s Early Literacy Campaign, contact the Library Legacy Foundation at 419.259.5123 or email kathy.selking@toledolibrary.org.

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Memoir Writing Resources

We field a lot of questions at the library about writing memoirs. It may be the fact that everyone has a story they want to share with the world or maybe they just want to become famous? Whatever the reasons – a few questions usually come up:

What’s the difference between an autobiography and a memoir? – Autobiographies tell the entire story of someone’s life (from start to finish), while memoirs focus on one story.

What makes a good memoir? – Like anything, a “good story” is really a matter of opinion. However, the resources below may help you focus your efforts.

Books on Writing the Story of Your Life (Memoir/Autobiography)

The art of memoir / Mary Karr
Writing about your life : a journey into the past / William Zinsser
The Memoir project : a thoroughly non-standardized text for writing & life / Marion Roach Smith
The story of you : a guide for writing your personal stories and family history / John Bond
How to write a memoir in 30 days : step-by-step instructions for creating and publishing your personal story / Roberta Temes, PhD
The truth of memoir : how to write about yourself and others with honesty, emotion, and integrity / Kerry Cohen
Writing your legacy : the step-by-step guide to crafting your life story / Richard Campbell M.Ed. and Cheryl Svensson, Ph.D
Telling your story : preserve your history through storytelling / by Jerry Apps
Your Story: How to Write It So Others Will Want to Read It by Joanne Fedler
How To Write Your Personal Or Family History by Katie Wiebe
Writing Your Life: A Guide to Writing Autobiographies
Writing What You Know: How to Turn Personal Experiences into Publishable Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry by Meg Files
Online Tips on Writing Your Memoir

5 Tips for Writing a Memoir – Publisher’s Weekly

8 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Powerful Storyteller – The Writing Cooperative

Great Tips on How to Write Your Memoir – Reader’s Digest

How to Write a Memoir: 6 Creative Ways to Tell a Powerful Story – The Write Life

How to Write a Good Memoir: Advice on Finding Your Voice – Writer’s Digest

How to Write a Memoir that People Care About – NY Book Editors

Originally posted on: ToledoLibrary.org/blog/memoir-writing-resources by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger April S.

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Haunted Midwest Travel for Those Who Dare!

I don’t know about you, but I come from a long line of non-scaredy cats! You just can’t spook my family and friends, much as you may try. And yet, they all love scary movies, books, and places!     

My mom’s probably not going to be super happy about my sharing this – but my love affair with all things spooky started in elementary school, when she and my dad made the mistake of letting me watch The Exorcist. They had guests over and I heard the voice of my beloved babysitter Missy – so I crept out to see her, and they let me stay up and watch it with them. I was PETRIFIED, but have been feeding the need to be scared ever since.      

Like my family and friends, I too have a passion for all things scary – Halloween, haunted houses (real and fake), horror movies, and the like. My best friend and I even toured one of America’s most haunted places – The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. It was really cool to walk through the place, but I was (and always am) disappointed that I neither felt nor viewed anything of the paranormal sense. Others in our group said they did…which leads me on my continued search.      

So, do ghosts really exist? I don’t know, but I will never stop trying to discover the answer!     

If you’re like me, and you love to be scared, here are a few regional locations you can visit to get your spooky fix, along with some companion books and movies! 

Ohio State (Mansfield) Reformatory, Mansfield OH   

Have you seen the movies The Green Mile, Tango & Cash, or Air Force One? All three films feature footage of the Ohio State Reformatory!      

This sprawling and legendary prison has been featured in countless TV shows, documentaries, and books, including on Season 3 (episode 4) of the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Season 1 (episode 5) of the National Geographic Channel’s Inside Secret America: Ghosts.      

The reformatory was opened in the early 1900’s and closed officially per a United States Federal Court ruling (the Boyd Consent Decree) in the 1990’s. During its time in operation, more than 150,000 prisoners passed through its doors. Many died due to violence, influenza, tuberculosis, or other diseases. One of the most tragic incidents associated with the Ohio State Reformatory occurred in July 1948, when the farm boss, his wife, and daughter were kidnapped and shot by two parolees known as the “mad-dog killers.”     

I’ve not yet had the chance to take one of the reformatory’s public ghost hunts, but I did attend one of their Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters. It was a blast and the food was surprisingly delicious! I highly recommend it.

Related BooksThe Haunted History of the Ohio State Reformatory by Sherri Brake  The Ohio State Reformatoryby Nancy K. Darbey

Loveland Castle, Loveland OH   

Did you know there’s a castle in Ohio? Well there is, and it’s really cool…and apparently haunted. It also has an interesting story as far as how it came to be!      

The castle was built by Harry Delos, who constructed it (mostly by hand) “as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower.” Loveland Castle has a sense of humor about its ghostly grounds too – the “Activities” section of its website reads:      

Ghosts.  If you believe in ghosts…the Castle has them! If you don’t…fine, be that way! Either way, you will find pictures of the Castle’s ghosts and ghost stories galore at the Castle! 

Related BookOhio Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State by James Willis  

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville KY  

Waverly Hills Sanatorium has a rather sad history. In the early 1900s, the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital constructed a sanatorium that could accommodate up to 50 tuberculosis patients. Eventually, tuberculosis reached epidemic levels in the surrounding communities, and the sanatorium was expanded to accommodated over 400 patients.      

At its height, Waverly Hills was known as one of the most advanced tuberculosis sanatoriums in the country. Despite this, most of the patients succumbed to the disease and (as was common practice) were often subjected to painful and bizarre “treatments” such as having balloons surgically implanted into their lungs.  

Waverly Hills has been featured on Season 3 (episode 18) of the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters, and Season 2 (episode 5) of TLC’s Paranormal Lockdown. As far as hauntings, the most prolific sightings surround a boy (dubbed “Timmy”) who plays with a ball along the 3rd floor as well as sightings in room 502, which is believed (and was told during our tour) to have been the location where a nurse hung herself as a result of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy in 1928.

Today, Waverly Hills is owned by “historical and paranormal enthusiasts,” Charles and Tina Mattingly who operate the sanatorium as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, offering ghost tours, a haunted house, and laser light shows.

Related BooksHaunted Hospitals: Eerie Tales About Hospitals, Sanatoriums, & Other Institutions by Mark LeslieHaunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums : Inside the Abandoned Institutions for the Crazy, Criminal & Quarantined by Jamie Davis  

The Masonic Temple, Detroit MI     

If you haven’t ever attended an event inside of the Masonic Temple, I implore you to do so! It is the world’s largest Masonic Temple – an absolutely beautiful and magnificent Gothic revival building with 14 floors and 1,000 rooms full of winding stairways, secret passages, and ornate sculptures and lighting.      

In fact, the Masonic Temple is so grand that its construction is said to have left architect George D. Mason bankrupt. Unfounded gossip also says that as a result, his wife left him and he committed suicide by jumping from the top of the building – however, in reality Mason died in 1948 at the age of 92.      

That hasn’t stopped it from being included in most “haunted Michigan” lists, nor has it detracted interest from numerous paranormal investigative teams, including 313 Paranormal, the Marter Paranormal Research Team, and the Erie Shores Paranormal.      

Other notable paranormal activity that’s been widely experienced are slamming doors, knocking, and other random bumps in the night. If you’re interested in taking a tour, the Temple offers building tours or if you really want to ramp up the spooky factor, why not attend one of the most beloved Halloween parties in the world there – Theatre Bizarre – which is held each year inside of the Masonic Temple!

Related BooksDetroit Ghosts by Mimi Staver  Ghosts of Southeast Michigan by Kristy Robinett  

Disclaimer: The information included in this blog post is for educational purpose only. The Toledo Lucas County Public Library does not endorse any businesses featured in this blog post.

Originally posted at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/haunted-midwest-travel-for-those-who-dare by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Heather H.

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Good Day, Good Reads

The most jarring thing about “A Good Day,” by Kevin Henkes, is the first page, the way it begins:

“It was a bad day…”

Kind of seems like false advertising, yeah? I mean, look at the title. The title, Henkes! There were promises made!

But indeed, the first half of the book is all about characters having a real bummer of a day.

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

But then…

Things get better. And by the end, the way they get better intersects unexpectedly with the events of the first half of the book, an elegant overlap that may satisfy fans of “This is Us” or, depending on your tastes, “Pulp Fiction.”

The plot’s overall simplicity is part of the book’s genius. Things were bad, things got better. Meaning what? Things aren’t as bad as you think they are? You should sit tight and wait for improvements to happen? Life is an unpredictable mosaic of suffering and joy? The fact that Henkes doesn’t tell you what it’s all supposed to mean is another part of the book’s genius.

Which is no surprise: writer/illustrator Henkes has a history of folding complicated emotions into deceptively simple narrative packages.

Picture Books by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Egg by Kevin Henkes
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

Above all, “A Good Day” is not so much about luck or fate or fairness – it’s about feelings. Often feelings are directly influenced by outside circumstances, and sometimes you can control the impact of outside circumstances by managing your reaction to them, but the fact remains that sometimes you’re the little yellow bird who lost his tail feather, and sometimes you’re the little brown squirrel who found the biggest nut ever, and either way, there are going to be feels.

And one of the biggest challenges about being human, at least for those of us who are somewhere roughly between the ages of 2 and 115, is confronting and controlling and understanding our feelings.  Good thing there are picture books to help us with that.

Picture Books About Feelings

I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis
Are You Scared Darth Vader by Adam Rex
I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black
Penguin Problems by Jory John
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket
I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett
Mr Particular by Jason Kirchner
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Now by Antoinette Portis
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge and How Do You Take It?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

Originally posted by Eric P. at ToledoLibrary.org/Good-Day-Good-Reads

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Plays by African-American Playwrights

Tarell McCraney’s having a pretty good couple of years. He’s the playwright who last year won an Oscar for writing the daring screenplay for the exquisite movie Moonlight, and next year he’ll see his play Choir Boy open on Broadway.

The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney
Choir Boy by Tarell McCraney
Moonlight DVD

He’s also part of a long tradition of African-American playwrights who have long been at the forefront of pushing the art form of the American theater into new artistic, political, and popular territory.  Whether the plays are doggedly realistic, bitingly satirical, or wildly expressionistic, the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has on its shelves a variety of examples from this tradition that are well worth reading. A selective compendium follows.

The first African-American playwright to reach Broadway with a non-musical play was Willis Richardson with The Chip Woman’s Fortune in 1923, a play you don’t hear about too much anymore. But Lorraine Hansberry was the first African-American woman to hit Broadway (collaborating with Lloyd Richards, a black director), and the play she took there in 1959 has been enormously influential. A searing family drama about class and race and community pride, A Raisin in the Sun is a cornerstone of American literature and continues to dialogue with successive plays and writers to this day.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry - book
A Raisin in the Sun with Sidney Poitier DVD
A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs - DVD

As disquieting as the economic realities exposed by Hansberry were, the naturalism and domestic setting of her play made her uncompromising vision of the world digestible to a broad audience. Just a few years later, the playwright LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) took a very different approach.  His 1964 play Dutchman is starkly allegorical and viscerally violent, following the tumultuous interaction between a white woman and a black man on a subway car.

James Baldwin, of course, is a colossal figure in American thought and literature, known primarily for his bracing prose. But he also wrote plays. Most notable is his 1964 play Blues for Mister Charlie, a history play inspired by the horrific murder of Emmett Till.

Vastly different in style is Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy, which shared the Obie award with Dutchman in 1964. Ambitious and exhilarating and occasionally exhausting, Kennedy’s play about racism and stereotypes is absurdist and dreamlike, featuring masks and hair loss and an enormous statue of Queen Victoria. Even though she emerged on the scene decades ago, Kennedy is still relevant; the University of Toledo produced Funnyhouse as recently as 2003, and her latest play He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box just opened in New York last month.

Meanwhile, Charles Gordone was the first African-American playwright to receive the Pulitzer Prize for drama, in 1970, for his play No Place to Be Somebody. Inspired by what he observed in his job as a bartender at a Greenwich Village watering hole, the play’s story of struggling urbanites chasing broken dreams seems descended from Hansberry and O’Neill, but with the sordid and flashy elements of gangsters and gunplay mixed in to goose the action.

Gordone’s play has a rough poetry to it, but for a play that takes lyricism to a whole other level check out Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf.  Shange calls this theatrical work, a collection of twenty poetic and idiosyncratically punctuated monologues, a choreopoem, because each character’s speech – some about very difficult subjects and upsetting experiences – is composed to be paired with music and choreography.

For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange - book
For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange - Audiobook on CD
For Colored Girls - play on DVD

Samm-Art Williams’s 1978 play Home was originally produced by the Negro Ensemble Company and transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for a Tony.  Like some of the other plays on this list, Home – a kind of staged bildungsroman – chronicles the experiences of a character who enters an urban milieu and is buffeted by crime and economic woes and poor choices. What differentiates the play from a lot of serious issue-oriented theater is its sense of humor and its ultimately sunny outlook; this protagonist, when things are going poorly, merely hypothesizes that God must be “on vacation in Miami.”

Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer-Prize-winning A Soldier’s Play, by contrast, doesn’t have much humor, but it does do interesting things with genre, appropriating the conventions of a murder mystery to explore violent bigotry and internalized racism. With its use of flashbacks and multiple locations, Fuller’s play is thoroughly cinematic, and it made an effortless leap to the screen in a film adaptation featuring Denzel Washington.

Before George C. Wolfe became one of the most celebrated and influential theatrical directors in the country, shepherding major works by other writers like Tony Kushner to the stage and running the Public Theatre, he wrote The Colored Museum, an exuberant and bitingly satirical series of sketches best remembered for “The Last Mama-On-The-Couch Play,” an irreverent parody of A Raisin in the Sun.

There are few more towering figures in American theater than the playwright August Wilson. His ten-play oeuvre, The Pittsburgh Cycle, chronicles the twentieth-century black American experience decade by decade in plays that range from rambling kitchen-sink naturalism to magic realism while always maintaining a remarkable tonal unity. Probably the most famous of these plays is Fences, which Denzel Washington turned into an award-winning film.

Jitney by August Wilson - book
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson - book
Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson - book
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson - book
Two Trains Running by August Wilson - book
Seven Guitars by August Wilson - book
King Hedley II by August Wilson - book
Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson - book
Radio Golf by August Wilson - book

Encouraged in college to become a playwright by James Baldwin, Suzan-Lori Parks exploded onto the scene with early plays like The America Play, which established her as someone who writes for the stage with a grammar and orthography that are all her own. She explores about race and America and history by approximating a heightened version of Black English and telling unconventionally theatrical stories about characters with evocative names and symbolic resonance.

The Red Letter Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks - book
The Book of Grace by Suzan-Lori Parks - book
Father Comes Home From the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks - book

With two actors playing multiple roles, Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith explores how being dark-skinned or light-skinned influences its characters’ experiences of the pressures exerted by race and class – and shapes their relationships with one another. Orlandersmith is currently in New York performing a new play of hers, Until the Flood, about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Lydia Diamond often writes about affluent African-Americans, in plays that typically open with congenial interactions among friends and colleagues until conflicts over issues like race and poverty boil to the surface.  Check out her play Stick Fly.

And Passing Strange, an acclaimed musical by a playwright and performer who calls himself Stew, combines autobiography, allegorical drama and rock & roll into a highly entertaining mélange.

Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith - book
Book / eBook
Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond - book
Passing Strange by Stew - book

One of the most significant writers in the American theater today is Lynn Nottage, a prolific and eclectic playwright who’s also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama twice: in 2009 for Ruined, a riff on Brecht’s Mother Courage that interrogates the human capacity for resilience and compromise amidst the unrelenting brutality of wartime in Congo; and in 2017 for Sweat, a portrait of working-class malaise in the 21st-century American heartland.

Crumbs From the Table of joy by Lynn Nottage - book
Ruined by Lynn Nottage - book
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage - book
Sweat by Lynn Nottage - book

The playwright Katori Hall has written a number of plays and won several awards, but thus far has attracted the most attention for her slyly metaphysical two-hander The Mountaintop, which imagines an interaction between Martin Luther King and a hotel housekeeper on the night before his assassination. Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett played the roles on Broadway, and the play helped initiate a conversation about theatrical representation of race when another theater produced the play with a white actor in the King role.

Thomas Bradshaw, meanwhile, is a provocateur, writing plays about violence, sexual aberrations, and racism that are designed to make the audience uncomfortable. His (possibly ironically titled) play Intimacy, about pornography, is no exception.

Katori Hall - book
Intimacy by Thomas Bradshaw - book

And then there’s one of the most striking success stories of the recent American theater, the self-made writer/director/actor Tyler Perry. He went from writing, self-producing, and starring in his own plays at community theaters to making feature films and being named the highest paid person in entertainment by Forbes magazine. But his plays are where it all began, and several are available in their theatrical form on DVD from the library, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Marriage Counselor, Madea’s Big Happy Family, The Haves and the Have Nots, Neighbors From Hell, and Madea On the Run.

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Eric P. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/plays-by-african-american-playwrights.

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Art Students Prepare for Black History Month

Coming in early February, students from the Toledo School for the Arts will kick off Black History Month with a concert at the Main Library. These students are planning a musical collaboration with the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and retired BGSU professor, Michael Peslikis.

TSA students rehearsing for Black History Month music concert.

What started off as a school project, has quickly grown into something more. The high school students take time out of their busy schedules once a week to prepare their performance. They meet every Monday, sometimes with Dr. Peslikis, to rehearse and explore black history through musical interactions. Even with so few rehearsals, much progress and individual discovery has taken place. During rehearsals, young musicians delve into the rich history of African American music, sharpening their skills along the way, while learning more about black history.

Toledo School for the Arts rehearsing for music concert.

From 1800’s parlor songs to the blues, a wide range of music will be featured in the February program, and they are already looking forward to the performance. It will be a vibrant showcase of some of the country’s most influential songs, as well as other tunes, which may not be as familiar to the average listener.

The concert will be held at the Main Library (February 2018). Admission is free and the concert is open to the public. We hope you’re just as excited as we are. See you at our Black History Month celebration in February!

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