Celebrating the Great Outdoors

June is National Great Outdoors Month and never before has getting outdoors been so important.  As we all struggle to cope with this new world of COVID-19, spending time in nature can bring joy and solace.  Striding along a path, feeling the sun on your back, watching a squirrel scamper up a tree, enjoying the beauty of a brightly-colored flower, listening to the birds singing—it’s magical!  According to the experts, being outside is one of the safest places for us to be right now as long as we remain six feet away from others.  And staying away from others is a lot easier to do outdoors! Those of us living in the Northwest are lucky to live in a temperate climate with easy access to beautiful places in every direction.  Most cities have wonderful parks and trails but just walking around your neighborhood can reveal the natural beauty all around us.  So get outside and join us in celebrating the great outdoors!  In preparation for your time in nature, check out the nature-related e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks–John Muir


Honoring Our Elders

Two older people on bikesMay is Older Americans Month and in light of the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on older populations, it seems particularly important for us to take a moment and pay our respects to older adults around the world.  It is time to celebrate the amazing contributions our elders make to our families and to our communities every day.  Their experience, knowledge and talent benefit all of us in countless ways.  Reach out to the older people in your life and let them now how much you appreciate them.  Join us in celebrating Older Americans Month and while you’re at it, check out these ebook titles related to older adults listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


The Word for 2020 is Resiliency

The ability to carry on in the face of adversity is crucial, particularly in difficult times such as these.  With severe economic, political, environmental, and public health challenges surrounding us, it is vitally important to cultivate resiliency.  Maya Angelou once said “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”  And Helen Keller’s words of wisdom resonate beautifully all these many years later: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  We all need to consider ways to relieve stress, remain optimistic, and be grateful for the small things.  To help you find your way to resiliency, have a look at the resiliency-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.  And although you currently can’t come to the library to pick up a print book, all of these titles are available as ebooks!


You Are What You Eat!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states on their website that “Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.”  There is also increasing evidence that a healthy diet can improve brain performance and with midterms all around us, we need all the brain power we can get!  With all of this in mind, it seems fitting that we join in on this month’s celebration of National Nutrition Month.  This annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages “everyone to focus on the importance of making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.” So help yourself to some leafy greens, grab an apple, and checkout these nutrition-related titles listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – François de La Rochefoucald


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