June 2012

The Other Pets

We fish want you to know that Henry, Mudge and Ralph are great and all, but they aren’t the only pets who live at the Oak Park Public Library! We are African Cichlids from Lakes Victoria, Malawi and Tanganyika in Africa.

We live in a 400-gallon fresh water tank, and currently there are around 40 of us. Also in the tank with us are two algae eaters (Plecostomus) and a catfish that stays on the bottom.

Staff members feed us once a day and a nice guy comes once every two weeks to clean our home. It’s hard to duplicate what nature does naturally--our tank cleaner he changes the water and checks it for the proper PH and nitrate levels.

Finally: we are ALL named Jennifer, hee!

Oak Park's Best Reading Spots

Oak Park is so awesome--we're a village filled with readers, after all! I've been thinking where the best places in OP to sit down with a book are. Here are my faves, but please leave a comment about your own fave bookish nook!

1. Caribou Coffee. The one on Harlem is best, because they have a fireplace and super comfy leather chairs. Their fruit smoothies are delightful, and they offer cold-pressed coffee for the grownups. Don't forget one of their french toast muffins--yum!

2. The Book Table. They have lots of small nooks to sit down in, and the place is carpeted so there's always a comfy spot. Usually you can find a chair tucked away in the stacks, too. Add in that new-book smell, and it's wonderful!

3. Prairie Bread Kitchen. This is my pick for reading outside, since their cafe tables are off the beaten path, they have amazing smoothies and cookies to nibble, and nobody bothers you if you want to take your time.

4. Rehm Pool. For reading, I like Rehm better because they have some grassy areas and more shade. The benches in the nearby park are also great spots to try.

5. Scoville Park Hill. You can usually find a spot, there's enough shade, and the library is right next door for cold water and bathroom breaks--what could be better?

Storytime Songs with Miss Shelley

I use a lot of music in my storytimes--it’s a great way to get everyone participating. My favorites are the ones we can act out as well as sing, like these:

Drivin’ In My Car

Toddlers and preschoolers love pretending to drive to Minneapolis and singing along as the car’s horn, windshield wipers, muffler and more.

We Are The Dinosaurs

Who doesn’t love to march around, pretending they are a dinosaur? Practice those roars!

Bean Bag Rock

This is great in our Sensory Storytimes, because the weighted pressure of the bean bags helps everyone focus--but all toddlers and preschoolers love to listen to the directions and shake their bean bags all around.


Miss Heather's Summertime Boredom Busters!

Woohoo! School's Out! It's time to play in the sun. Don't you hate it when you're at the pool, and they make everyone get out for a pool break?

Just tuck a book into your beach bag and you're all set. Or, when you are on a l-o-n-g car trip, and the scenery is really b-o-r-i-n-g? Take an audio book, a paperback, or a graphic novel with you and the miles will fly by.

Here are my top 5 picks for awesome NONFICTION books:

1. Not-For-Parents Travel Book: Cool Stuff to Know About Every Country in the World by Michael DuBois. Did you know yo-yo's were invented in Greece more than 3,000 years ago? This book is filled with quirky, fun facts.

2. The Big Book of Everything Manga by Christopher Hart. Are you ready for hours of fun? Learn how to draw all your favorite Manga characters.

3. Ultimate Weird but True by National Geographic. If you like world records, you'll love all this fascinating trivia and eye-popping photos. See a car that drives underwater, or discover that a bee flies higher than an eagle!

4. How Big is It? A Big Book All About Bigness by Ben Hillman. Fascinating photos about everything that is large about the world.

5. Life-Size Aquarium by Teruyuki Komiya. The photos feature the actual size of animals, along with fun facts. This close-up perspective of your favorite animals will wow your senses.