Gratuitous cat picture. This blog post has nothing to do with cats
There are many worlds held in the stacks of our libraries–some funny, some sad, some colorful and rich. Stories that are taken from real life and those that are wonderful imaginations of the Authors. Any interest one has can be found and explored, all with the help of your library card. January is National Book Month; what a great time of year to hunker down on crisp winter nights with a steaming cup of hot beverage, a favorite pair of jammy jams and a good, no great, book. I, like most of the reading public, have a tendency to become caught in the grasp of genre or author. Rolling through reading rock blocks, very rarely do I step out of my comfort zone. Occasionally we all need a push out of the boxes that we subconsciously create for ourselves. Is this the year to expand your book horizons? Why not try a book geek site like goodreads.com or a book challenge. And of course you can always ask the wonderful library workers for advice on your next book choice or engage with our library website at fontanalib.org for multiple types of library materials, from streaming movies and eBooks to good old fashioned DVD’S and print books.
A few of my favorite books
With the New Year upon us, maybe you have resolutions on the brain. Personally, I tend to fail at resolutions but they are still fun to make in the hopes of a better self. Each year I pledge to drink more water, a tip from a good friend, and each year I don’t quite reach my hydration goals. Last year I decided to add expanding my book repertoire to my compact of hydration. Let’s be real, I have a much better chance at accomplishing a resolution of reading than I do for say, eating healthier or losing weight. It’s just one way to set myself up for success in the New Year. To fulfill last year’s resolution of stepping out of my self-imposed reading box, I took a stab at a reading challenge through book riot.
I also found Goodreads at this time, a great website for the information geek no matter your level of reading obsession. Through it you can find any number of different genre discussions, from romance paperbacks to philosophical works by long dead authors. Some discussion boards are not even directly based on books, but on the sharing of knowledge. Goodreads also contains online book clubs where you can read and discuss books with people all over the world from the comfort of your own couch or armchair in the library. Another wonderful aspect of goodreads is that you can track what you have read, rate the books and even write a book review if you so choose. As you interact with the website, the program will suggest books and book lists that you may be interested in. There is also a way to track books that you want to read, a nice way to consolidate all those book lists, which if you are like me can be strewn throughout scratch paper and notebooks littering my life.
A book challenge is a wonderful way to create a game or competition out of reading. With challenges; for any level of reading skill, genre, involvement and interaction, there is a book challenge out there for you. Within goodreads there are a number of reading challenges. A couple that I found interesting are seasonal challenges; participants are given new goals every three months, are awarded points for challenges completed, and seem to be fairly interactive. I find this beneficial because one, it can be a short commitment and two, if you choose to continue throughout the year each new goal is a good way to keep you engaged. The two challenges that I found are seasonal reading challenge, which appears to be pretty involved, and for those looking for one a little less daunting try reading with style. If those seem a little ambitious there are groups and challenges for any level of commitment, topic, or genre. The real bonus of joining a goodreads challenge is that it is an interactive platform, and you can ask questions or find suggestions for books to read in order to fulfill any of the goals. You can also discuss the books that you have read to get a book club-like experience.
You do not have to join Goodreads to find a book challenge, there are a number of challenges available out there in the electroverse. They can range in amount of books and the themes that they cover. One of the nice things about these challenges is that the themes can be slightly broader and you have a little more control over the time that you read each book. Here are a few that I found interesting: pop sugar and book riot. Both reading challenges have a printable form of the challenge so you can partake in the old school pen and paper tracking model or the ability to link a goodreads account to keep track.
There are also a number of reading challenges that are geared towards kids. Many of them are focused on summer reading programs, but there are a few that flow throughout the year for those budding bookworms. The first is a nice little challenge by imagination soup: they have 12 categories listed out with a printable sheet so the kids can track their reading goals. They also include comprehensive lists of suggestions for individual age groups. ur friendly library staff is always available for reading suggestions, too. Smiling shelves has a Newbery award challenge that is a little more in depth, complete with points to make a more competitive experience. The link that I have provided is still 2017’s challenge. I hope that they are able to update it soon, even if they don’t it is a workable challenge any year. Another great reading opportunity for kids is joining the Battle of the Books, a statewide challenge where students are formed into groups, based on age and school. The North Carolina Library Media Association curates a list of books each year that the students enrolled in the competition read and study. Here is a study guide. Then there is a competition against other schools in the area. Students are given questions on each of the books and work out the answers amongst themselves. The winners in each step move to the next level all the way to a statewide competition. We have the book lists and books here at the Jackson County Public Library, in the youth services area on the first floor, and our lovely youth services staff would graciously answer any questions that you may have.
Battle of the Books
Whether you decide to join a challenge or just want to tackle that ever-growing book list, your public library has multiple ways to access the material you’re looking for. Obviously we have physical books here that you can check out, but did you know that we can get books and other materials sent from all across the state? Fontana Regional Library is part of NC Cardinal, a statewide consortium, that shares resources so that we all have much more to offer you. You can put an item on hold, through our catalog system, and it will be sent to whichever library is set as your home library. Once at the library, the material will wait patiently to be picked up for seven whole days. Check out our online catalog for the materials that we offer or come on in to any of our library branches, where we can help you search the materials that are accessible.
Library card holders also have the availability of electronic books, with two different applications that you can download and a couple more sources that are available through a browser window. RB Digital is a platform that is mainly concentrated on audiobooks and classics yet is not limited to these items. Before you download the app for RB Digital it is best to make an account from a computer and then download the app to your reading device. The second app that we have available for patrons of FRL is Libby.** Those of you that have been using our electronic resources already may recognize it as Overdrive, which is currently transitioning to Libby. (The old Overdrive app will continue to function for the time being.) Libby is good to either read in a browser window or download to your device and is more concentrated on newer releases, though not limited to them, and you have the ability to renew items. The other two eBook resources that we have can be read in a browser window, downloaded, or printed. On biblioboard there are a number of classics, small publisher and out of print books. They also have curated collections and learning modules for any number of topics. If you create an account you have the ability to write notes and do keyword searches throughout individual text, a helpful element for students or researchers. Within biblioboard there is also an extensive collection of books written and or published in North Carolina. Another scholastic eBook resource is through Proquest. Through this source you can take notes, search within the publication, view within a browser, download and print. The sources on here are accredited so they can be used for scholastic purposes and have links to bibliographies. The benefit of having so many different eBook platforms is that they each offer a different selection of books, so if you are looking for something in particular check each resource!
No matter what your New Year’s resolution may be, we here at the library are ready to help. We can connect you to a new favorite book or author, teach you how to use that new piece of technology, or connect you to computers and the internet. We can show you how to start researching your genealogy or find all sorts of information. You can also join us for exciting programs on nutrition and health, your local environment and a number of other interesting topics in the year to come. We’re here to help you succeed in the New Year!
**Libby is more concentrated on new releases, though not limited to such titles, and works well for our E-iNC collection, and offers both eBooks and e-Audiobooks.