Why is RML Closed? (and other FAQ)

RML closed its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.

How can I get books out of the library?

We are officially offering Porchside Pick-up! Contact us at 453-4471, russellmemlibrary@gmail.com, or here to tell us what books you’d like (or to request a librarian’s recommendation). Then come pick things up from our porch during open hours on Tuesdays, from 1-5 pm, Thurs from 4-7, and Sat from 9-12 noon. See here for the full details on how things work.

Continue reading “Why is RML Closed? (and other FAQ)”

Genre Feature: Comfort Reads

Sometimes, when the world is scary, it’s good to make yourself a nice hot beverage and curl up with a comforting read. Comfort reads are different for everyone–but it can take some time to find what works best for you. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Simple Reads

Try reading things below your usual reading level–like YA or middle grade books. If you’re stressed and/or distracted, simpler stories can be so much easier to focus on and connect with.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
by Mackenzi Lee
Continue reading “Genre Feature: Comfort Reads”

Librarians Recommend: Free Lunch

Deb Recommends: Free Lunch by Rex Ogle

Free Lunch is the story of Rex’s efforts to navigate his first semester of sixth grade—who to sit with, not being able to join the football team, Halloween in a handmade costume, classmates and a teacher who take one look at him and decide he’s trouble—all while wearing secondhand clothes and being hungry.

“Free Lunch” is a bit hard to read when family arguments erupt into violence. There are many other youngsters in our country and beyond facing similar challenges. Ultimately, Rex finds his way and the reader cheers his success as he navigates through a complex and conflicting set of events. I enjoyed that, though this is based upon truly dark experiences, the story focused on themes of truth, hope and optimism.

Harcopy at RML – ebookaudiobook

RML Hobbies: Music

Music is awesome. Anyone can make it, no matter how inexperienced, and in the age of the internet, it’s more accessible than ever. You can sing alone or with friends, pick up that dusty instrument in your closet or, even craft something of your very own. In a time where so many of us are struggling, music can do so much to make us feel better. Want to try for yourself? Here are some ways to get started.


Anyone else remember those old Disney VHSs where you could sing along to your favorite songs? Something similar exists for free on YouTube now, complete with lyrics along the bottom of the screen and little bouncy icon showing you where you are in the song.

Not feeling the Disney nerdiness? Then allow me to introduce you to lyric videos–simple YouTube creations that show lyrics as a song plays. They tend to be less flashy than the kid-aimed singalongs, but you can find them for pretty much any song you want.

Continue reading “RML Hobbies: Music”

It’s okay if you can’t get through your book

We’re going into a truly rough patch in the times ahead. Record numbers of people are coming down with COVID both in state and across the country. Schools are shutting down for long stretches of time. There’s talk of another shutdown ahead.

And all that means different things for everyone. Some lose all time for themselves as they’re overwhelmed managing elder and/or youth care. Others end up locked in a small space with next to nothing to do to keep themselves from spiraling into dark, dark places. Nearly everyone worries about money and health, both for themselves and those they love.

And yes, for some reading can be everything in a time like this. But for others, reading might just not be accessible at the moment. Stress can make it hard to focus or even just hard to get the enjoyment out of reading that you’re used to. And you know what? That’s okay.

If and when you’re struggling to cope with all the ridiculousness 2020 has thrown at you, it might be time to make some new coping mechanisms. This is why RML is starting a new series called RML Hobbies, meant to point you to some fun, mostly free ways to learn new skills with which to distract yourself. Because nothing is quite so soothing as discovering a new passion.

RML certainly isn’t going to stop providing books to you all, nor recommending things to read, but sometimes even reading doesn’t solve all your problems. We get that. So the first post will be up tomorrow.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Be well.

New Books!

Deb has been busy…. (new graphic novels at the bottom)

And Sometimes I Wonder About You
Leonid McGill #5
by Walter Mosley

Leonid finds himself in an unusual pickle of trying to balance his cases with his chaotic personal life. Leonid is approached by an unemployed office manager named Hiram Stent to track down the whereabouts of his cousin, Celia, who is about to inherit millions of dollars from her father’s side of the family. Leonid declines the case, but after his office is broken into and Hiram is found dead, he gets reeled into the underbelly of Celia’s wealthy old-money family. It’s up to Leonid to save who he can and incriminate the guilty.

Continue reading “New Books!”

Librarians’ Recommend: So You Want to Talk About Race

Kat Recommends: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Hard Copy @ RML – audiobookebook

Oluo’s witty, honest prose breaks even the touchiest of subjects down so that even those of us White folks raised in conservative White America can understand. She never condescends to the reader, and never gets tied up in fancy academic speech. I laughed out loud plenty of times while listening to this book, and yet that never took away from the power of stories from Oluo’s own life that showcased the racism she and her family face every day. Even though some of this information wasn’t new to me, the clear and concise way that the author broke down these fancy academic ideas were so, so good. I feel like reading this story gave me a better understanding of how to explain things to fellow White folk.

I’d recommend this book for EVERYONE, especially those new to issues of race or looking for ways to explain these issues clearly and quickly to their friends and family.

RML Resources: Fake News?

While RML does not endorse a particular candidate, it is pretty safe to say that we support the pursuit of knowledge, cooperation, and generally progressive ideas. We’re here to help people learn more about themselves and the world around them. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of information out there and not all of it is true. How can you tell the difference between facts and rumors?

There’s no one quite as good at explaining how misinformation works, and how we can help stop it, as John Oliver. If you’re cool with strong language, give him a watch. If not, no worries–you’ll still be able to follow along:

Warning for strong language!

So, why should we trust this guy?
Let’s take a step back and look at the three big reasons we can tell that this video clip is an accurate piece of journalism and not just some guy spreading rumors.

Continue reading “RML Resources: Fake News?”

Don’t Forget to Vote

You probably thought the spooky season was over. Joke’s on us–it’s just beginning.

Tuesday, November 3rd, is election day. That’s TOMORROW. If you haven’t had a chance to turn in your ballot, PLEASE do so. For all of us. Make your voice heard.

Not sure the safest way to vote during a pandemic? VPR can help with that.

Not sure who to vote for? Here are some resources to help:

Continue reading “Don’t Forget to Vote”

Halloween in Quarantine: Games

Many traditional Halloween activities, like costume parties, just aren’t safe this year. Sad though that is, there are many other ways you can celebrate the Spooky Season from the safety of your home. Part three of a three-part series.

Candy Hide and Seek

You’ve heard of Easter Egg Hunts? Why not do the same with Halloween treats? You can buy bite-sized treats, hide them in a pet-free area, and set the kids out to find them all! Don’t forget to keep track of how many you hid so you know when you’ve found them all.

Level Up: find a safe place outside (maybe even a graveyard?) and set up some glow in the dark candy bags for your participants to find. Want to invite more people? Wear masks and spread the goodies out over a wider area.

Continue reading “Halloween in Quarantine: Games”

Podcast Feature: True Life Horror

Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a real life spooky story to get you in the Halloween spirit. Below are some non-fiction podcasts from the vaguely spooky to the truly horrific, perfect for listeners of all comfort (or lack thereof) with horror.


With each episode, MacLean Smith leads the listener on an atmospheric journey through the strange and eerie, taking in everything from bizarre tales of supposed time-slips, vanishings and UFOs to chilling unexplained deaths and dabblings in the occult. 

Through each carefully crafted story, Unexplained ventures into the space between what we think of as real and what is not, examining the nature of reality, truth and the human condition; where sometimes belief can be as concrete as ‘reality,’ whatever that is…

Continue reading “Podcast Feature: True Life Horror”