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This Saturday is National Readathon Day.  Why?  Because millions of Americans still struggle with basic literacy.  40% of American adults are either at or below basic reading proficiency, and 14% are fully illiterate. But the trouble doesn’t stop there. Each year, millions of Americans — especially our youth — are losing touch with the power and importance of reading books. As Malcolm X said, “People don’t realize how a whole life can be changed by one book.”

Help change lives by celebrating National Readathon Day with Penguin Random House, GoodReads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation. Together with your support, we hope to help fund their efforts to educate, tutor, create and sustain a lifelong love of reading.

You can get involved by joining readers across America in a marathon reading session onSaturday, January 24. From Noon – 4 PM in our respective time zones, we will sit and read a book in our own home, library, school or bookstore.

Get started now by creating your own Firstgiving Fundraising page, and inviting friends and family to donate, or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

You can also create a fundraising team, enabling your community to fund raise together as a group to contribute to the National Book Foundation’s efforts to promote reading in America. Visit the Readathon Resources page for supporting materials and information on how to get started.

And be sure to share your experiences and photos using the hash tag, #timetoread!

If you’re on Goodreads, enter the challenge!  Don’t forget to log it in our Winter Reading program as well.

If you don’t want to give money, there are other ways to get involved like tutoring, volunteering, or making sure you pick up a book every now and then and that your friends do too.

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With the Golden Globe awards finished for another year and the Oscar nominees just announced, there are probably quite a few movies you want to see.  Have you checked our catalog to see if we have them?  Our movies are behind the Circulation desk and we have tons of great DVDs and Blu-Rays to select from!

If you’d like to read the movie– er, we mean the book that came out before the movie, the odds are high we have that too.  There’s also the bonus that everything you read counts towards your Winter Reading Log!  Sign up for Winter Reading now and get all the details on the login screen, which you can access from the banner on our homepage.  Our theme is books made into movies, so why not read the book and watch the movie? We have plenty of lists and ideas for you, and there are more recommendations on the Winter Reading sign up page.

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Life After Life is this week’s staff pick. By Kate Atkinson, this book follows the unusual life of Ursula Todd who continuously reincarnates, and whose life plays out a bit differently each time.  Our staffer loved this book and thinks it deserves all those awards it won.  While initially confusing it’s worth the effort, and soon the life on loop becomes quite normal and you can’t wait to see where Ursula goes next. Highly recommended for anyone who likes the unusual.  A companion novel about her brother Teddy will be released in May, making now a great time to read all about Ursula.

“On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.”–Taken from Goodreads.com

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Our Winter Reading programs kick off today! Sign up for our Children’s and Adult programs through our homepage

The theme is books that have been/are being made into movies, but we always think you should read whatever you want!

Adults: Never Judge a Book By Its Movie.  Ages 12 and up! Get some great suggestions at these websites.

Children’s: Night at the Movies.  You can get more information and reading suggestions of books made into movies on the Kids Blog!

It’s a great way to start our 2015 Read Harder Challenge as well (flyers at Circulation and Reference).

Don’t know where to start? We offer a variety of reading recommendations:

– Staff Pick Bookmarks (located at the Circulation and Reference desks) These change frequently and are always stocked

– Staff Pick of the Week : blog post and added to our Facebook album (one for 2014 and one for 2015)

– We’re encouraging everyone (staff included) to participate in a reading challenge.  This year, we picked Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.  We made flyers for it that you can find at Circulation and Reference.  This challenge has a support group on Goodreads.com

-Check out our Pinterest Book Recommendations board – we’ve posted tons of lists of all kinds. There is definitely something you’ll love here!

-We have a book recommendation page where you can get newsletters on your favorite types of books sent straight to your email

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Have you ever wanted to check out a Reference book and not been able to? Good news! Now you may be able to.  We’ve implemented a new initiative, and now some of the items in our Reference collection CAN be checked out!

If you’ve noticed the pink labels on some of the Reference books, this means they can be checked out.  You can see in the photo that the items on the right can be checked out because they have pink call numbers.

Here are the rules:

  • You can only have ONE circulating Reference item checked out at a time
  • You may only check out a circulating Reference item for 3 days
  • Overdue fines are $2.00 a day, up to $100.
  • You take the item you would like to check out to Circulation, as normal
  • When you search the catalog, you can also see if something is Circulating Reference under “Materials” – below, the red box.

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