Love Your Library

We all know that Valentine’s Day is in February but did you know that February is also Library Lovers’ Month?  That’s right, the entire month is dedicated to celebrating the place that so many of us hold near and dear to our heart—the library.  This magical place is devoted to reading, organizing, finding, studying, preserving, and adoring books. Libraries also offer a place to work on group projects, access computers, and enjoy special exhibits.  They provide a quiet, safe space for reflection, comfortable seating for relaxing, and archives full of unique treasures.  And, of course, libraries offer intelligent, dedicated staff, who provide a variety of services including valuable research help!  Join us this month in celebrating all the great libraries out there—past, present and future!

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.–Shelby Foote

Take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of library-related books available in our favorite library, the Mark O. Hatfield Library!


Cup of Tea, Anyone?

teapot and cup of teaAs Agatha Christie so wisely said, “Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!” There really is something satisfying about a nice “cuppa” and since January is National Hot Tea Month, we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate this wonderful ancient beverage.  According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., tea “is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households.” Tea was initially used in China for medicinal purposes and there are numerous studies that claim “regular tea consumption supports wellness when combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.” So why not fix yourself a nice cup of tea, grab one of the tea-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, and join us in celebrating tea, glorious tea!


Home Sweet Home

During this time of year when holidays abound, our thoughts often turn to “going home.” The concept of home is a powerful one but “home” means many different things to different people.  For some, it is a cozy place where they feel the most comfortable just being who they are.  In the winter, perhaps it is a house with a fire in the fireplace, a friendly lap kitty, a cup of hot cocoa, and a good book.  Or maybe “home” has more to do with the people that live there—family or friends or both! In any event, “home” must resonate with a lot of us or there wouldn’t be all those pithy sayings about the notion of home such as:

 

East, west, home’s best.

Hearth and home.

Home is where the heart is.

Make yourself at home.

There is no place like home.

Welcome home.

 

Whatever home means to you, here’s hoping your home is a happy one!  And while we’re on the subject of “home,” why not take a look at our WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of home-related books available in the library?


Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic

Image of artwork with children skatingThere is a new exhibit in the freestanding cases on the second floor of the Mark O. Hatfield Library courtesy of Dayna Collins, former Hatfield Library staffer.  In this exhibit, Collins has taken discarded books and breathed new life into them by creating wonderful collage pieces using different parts of the books. The exhibit includes books in various stages of deconstruction as well as finished art works. Below is Collins’ artist statement regarding the display:

Dayna Collins has always loved old books. She hyperventilates at the sight of books which are stained, defaced, torn or marked up. She rips battered books apart, reclaiming their faded fragments, and creates collages using only materials she has excavated. Dayna’s mixed media pieces reflect the passage of time, repurposing the scraps that are worn and weathered, transforming the aged and tattered pieces into something unexpected and beautiful, celebrating their fragile decay.

For more information on artist Dayna Collins, visit her website.  “Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic” will run through January 20, 2020.


National Adoption Month

Family enjoying a sunset In 1984, President Reagan established a week in November as National Adoption Week proclaiming “it is fitting that we give special recognition to those who are rebuilding families by promoting adoption.” President Clinton expanded the week to the entire month of November in 1996.  The goal of National Adoption Month is “to increase national awareness and draw attention to and support for the thousands of children and youth in the U.S. foster care system who are waiting for permanent, loving families.”  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau estimates that over 100,000 children and youth are waiting to be adopted in the U.S.  This year’s theme for National Adoption Month is “Youth Voices: Why Families Matter.”  Families really do matter and having that sense of belonging and the knowledge that there are people looking out for you, supporting you, and loving you is important on so many levels. Families come in all shapes and sizes and one vital way of creating family is through adoption. For more information, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway and have a look at WU Reads Reading Guide for a selection of adoption-related books available in the library.


Eat Your Veggies!!

vegetables in a basketWe all know how important fruits and vegetables are to a healthy diet.  Federal guidelines recommend that adults get at least 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day but just 1 in 10 adults actually meets these recommendations, according to the Center for Disease Control. October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month and the perfect time to explore ways of incorporating more vegetables into your diet and to seek out tasty vegetarian recipes. The North American Vegetarian Society promotes vegetarianism because they believe that a “vegetarian diet has proven health benefits, saves animals’ lives and helps to preserve the Earth.”  To learn more about vegetarianism, check out one of the books from the WU Reads Reading Guide.

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.–Albert Einstein

Play On…

music scoreIn 1994, President Bill Clinton signed Proclamation 6716 designating September to be Classical Music Month.  The proclamation aptly declares that “classical music speaks both to the mind and to the heart, giving us something to think about as well as to experience.”  When we consider the many talented composers, conductors, and musicians who have created and shared classical music with us through the ages, it seems appropriate that we take time to honor them one and all for their wonderful artistry.  So tune in to your classical music radio station, attend a local symphony concert, or checkout one of the books from the WU Reads Reading Guide and join us in celebrating this special month!

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”–Maya Angelou


Food, Glorious Food

There is a month for every occasion and July is no exception.  Join us as we celebrate National Culinary Arts Month!  This month recognizes the cooks, chefs, bakers, and food lovers who bring joy to our plates every day.  Food is a significant part of every culture; it connects, sustains, delights, and inspires us.  Many of us have favorite recipes from a cherished friend or family member no longer on this earth and every time we prepare that dish or bake those cookies, we are immediately swept up in treasured memories of that important loved one.  National Culinary Arts Month is all about taking the time to think about the foods we put on our tables, considering the recipes that have been passed down through the generations, and celebrating the skill, dedication, and artistry required to be a great cook or chef.  Be sure and check out the WU Reads Reading Guide for an interesting selection of cooking-related books for your reading pleasure!


Ode to the Ocean

Did you know that over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean waters?  And over half of the world’s population is estimated to live near coastal areas.  Ties between humans and the global ocean are numerous and vast; they include economic, environmental, health, and spiritual links, just to name a few.  The ocean is teeming with life and filled with extraordinary and mysterious creatures of all sorts that have fascinated humankind forever.  It has been an inspiration to early explorers, scientists, artists, musicians, authors, and more for centuries.  The ocean provokes an emotional response from most of us; the sight of the ocean stretching unendingly before us as we stand upon the shore boggles the mind, the feel of the waves on our bare feet tickles and delights us, and the sound of the ocean both comforts and energizes us.  In celebration of the magic of the ocean, June has been proclaimed “National Ocean Month.”  You can learn all about the ocean from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including information about estuaries, marine sanctuaries, coral reefs, and much more.  And don’t forget to check out the assortment of ocean-related books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide!


Celebrating Short Stories

How many of us remember our discomfort and increasing anxiety when reading Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell Tale Heart” or “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson?  What about those monkeys in “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri?  Short stories have the power to thrill, horrify, tantalize, and enchant us.  They show us beauty, make us examine uncomfortable subjects, and stick with us long after the last word of the story has been read.

 

Encouraged by the success of April’s National Poetry Month, May has been declared International Short Story Month.  Everyone is encouraged to read and share short stories throughout the month.  You can even participate in the “A Story a Day” challenge in which writers write and finish a short story every day in May.

 

Join us in celebrating Short Story Month by reading a short story today!  Looking for short story suggestions?  Check out the books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.