Category Archives: Content

Librarians Recommend: Secret Coders

Kat Recommends: Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

Just the idea of this graphic novel series is awesome: teaching the basic principles of coding through comics. Despite being written on a very easy reading level, this book is incredibly effective at conveying complex computer science concepts. They explained binary in a single chapter! And at the end of each chapter is a puzzle for readers to solve using what they’ve just learned. Yes, the story mostly serves to carry the learning, but there is definitely character developments and at least one big twist in the story of the first book–this is a finely crafted piece of work, worthy of any reader curious about computer science.


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Top Checked out Titles 2018

Our patrons checked out over 700 audio/ebooks from our Overdrive this year!

From those items, the following ten audio and ebooks were the ones most checked out by RML patrons via our Overdrive account. Some are beloved, some are notorious, and a great many of them involve Jack Reacher.

How many have you read?

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Happy 2019!

The time for New Years’ Resolutions has come. Ours will be simple:

We want to commit to more programming for our patrons, young and old, while also continuing to make our library the most welcoming space it can be.

RML Resolution 2019

How are we going to do this? Well, it starts here:

We officially have our very own Google Calendar full of events that you can add to your calendar, if you use one.

Of course, all of our recurring events will continue: monthly Tabletop, Yarns!, and Saturday Stories show no signs of stopping, while our Poetry Club, Article Club, and RML Book Club meetings are only just getting started.

Playing Ticket to Ride at the Library.

There are also some upcoming special events in the works; we have visiting authors, guest speakers, and crafting events in the works for both kids and adults, as well as our annual Summer Reading Program and Strawberry Festival.

We also have a Friends of the Library group that has just started meeting. So far they’re still working on their bylaws and goals, but it’s looking to be a fantastic group of volunteers helping to support the library. If you, too, are looking to support your library, but don’t want to commit to the whole trustee thing, consider joining them. Their next meeting is Tue, January 22, 2019, from 6 pm – 7 pm, here at the library.

An image from our library open house of the one and only reading chair we have available for patrons.

One more thing – we are still trying for a bigger library space. The planning committee is still discussing a community space that combines both the library and the town hall. It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like we may finally be making headway. We have as much information as possible collected here, for your perusal, including previous conceptual designs for the building. Curious what the building committee is up to? Check out their website here.

Any questions? Suggestions? Things you’d like to see in the coming year? Comment below to let us know.

And have a spectacular 2019!

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Why play games?

Our library has it’s own games available for check-out now, in addition to a monthly Tabletop Gaming Night. You might ask why; after all, games are very different creatures from books. I have absolutely seen patrons stick their nose up at our filling valuable shelf space with a bunch of “kids’ stuff.”

But games are becoming more and more common at libraries. Surely there must be some reason so many libraries are stocking up on games.

Here are three:

Reason One: Games bring people together

Libraries are more than just places to read; they’re community centers and places where people can come to meet new people, learn new things, and just get out of the house. In rural Vermont there aren’t many places you can go to make new friends, especially once you’re out of school. Libraries are great places to meet people, and even better, they’re FREE. In today’s economy, who can turn down free entertainment?

Real live example of people playing Bananagrams at RML in 2018.

And if you’re the kind of person who is uncomfortable with the usual meet and greet, games can be a great way to get to know people. Sitting around a game means you pretty much have to talk to people, but also that you automatically have topics that you can talk about. It doesn’t matter what background you’re coming from, if you sit down to play a game with someone else, chances are good you’re going to learn something about each other.

As a library trying to build its community, we can also say that games are a way to get people into the library, especially people who don’t usually come. In a world of e-readers and streaming services, why bother to leave the house? Well, one reason could be to try out a new game at the library, and meet new people at the same time. This gets new people into the library, even sometimes people who aren’t big into reading. (And yes, we mean it when we say that libraries are for everyone. We do not judge people for what they do or do not read.)

Reason Two: There’s a game for every kind of player

Qwirkle at the library – like scrabble, but without the pesky spelling.

I have loved games since I was a little kid, partially because it meant time hanging out with people. I could read a deck of cards before I could read a book. And now that I’m an adult who loves games, I’ve seen all sorts. My mother prefers simpler games like Tsuro, Qwirkle, or Patchwork, that run quick with only a few rules. My nephew, ever the storyteller, loves games like Gloom and Betrayal at the House on the Hill where you create a story as go. My niece adores arguing with her Dad, so they play more bluffing games like Catan and Loot Letter. My friend the game-collector prefers rule-heavy games where it takes a while to learn how things work, but once you’ve got the rules, everything moves like clockwork and play goes fast. Her favorite game is Seven Wonders, though she’s also fond of Red Dragon Inn and T.I.M.E. Stories.

I could go on. There are games where you compete and games where you cooperate; games about history or games about the far future; games with no rules and games with SO MANY RULES; games for the whole family and games just for the adults; even games played with lots of pieces or no pieces at all. It’s not just chess and monopoly out there anymore – if you look hard enough you will absolutely find a game you like.

Reason Three: Games teach new skills

Libraries are all about getting information out to the masses. We do read aloud and craft programs that promote literacy, discuss all sorts of different literature, and invite guests to share their knowledge and experiences. Heck, we even offer to teach people to knit or crochet. But what can you learn from a game?

Playing Splendor at RML.

Well, there’s always strategy; many games ask you to think ahead and try to plan how you’re going to win. Games like Splendor or Carcassone force you to think about how to get the most points. If you’re clever, you can even subtly block other players from getting points of their own.

Then there’s learning to cooperate with all sorts of people. If you’re trying to defeat a fire in Flash Point or save the world in Pandemic, you need to work together to figure things out. Either you all win or you all lose to pieces of colored cardboard with a bunch of rules.

Games also teach you to read other peoples’ minds. Not literally, of course, though that would be cool. But hard-strategy games like Tak or Onitama ask you to predict what another player’s thinking in order to defend against their move. And then there are the soft strategy games, like Apples-to-Apples, and Bring Your Own Book. To get points in these games you have to be able to read other peoples’ likes and dislikes, and play hard to those likes in order to get them to choose your answer. Abstract games go even further, with things like Dixit or Mysterium asking you to communicate complex ideas with only abstract images.

And, at the end of they day, we’re also teaching a new way to have fun. Whether you’re trying to make a bad movie, construct the best quilt, or kill Doctor Lucky, there’s sure to be some game out there that you can enjoy with your friends and family. Or maybe there’s even a game you could use to get your kids away from their phones?

Catan – one of the most popular tabletop games on the market today. 

But you don’t have to take my word for it:

Top 10 Reasons to Play Board Games with your Kids

Gaming 101 (aka Every Librarian Should Play Board Games)

Five Reasons Why I Play Board Games (and why you should too)

Top 10 Health Benefits of Board Games

Board Games don’t just bring us together–they remind us how to play

An Intro to Board Games (Video)

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Holiday Reads

Nothing better for those cold vacation days than sitting down with a good book. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit try one of these wintery reads:

For littlest ones:

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera

Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there’s her annual “business trip,” right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus’s mysterious ways.

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Top Books in Vermont, October 2018

Curious which books are popular in Vermont right now?

According to the Department of Libraries, a total of 5527 items were requested through the state’s Interlibrary Loan system in October. Most of those were books, of course:

(That “Other” category consists of 3 articles, 11 CDs, 2 music scores, and 1 book club kit.)

How many of the top 20 have you read?

Top 20 most requested titles through Vermont’s ILL system:

Cover of To all the Boys... the title and author's name write large over an image of a teenager of Asian descent gazing longingly off into the distance as she sprawls across her bed, writing a letter.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

#20 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean never openly admitted her crushes, instead writing each boy a letter about how she felt, that she hid in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

This was released as a Netflix original movie.

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Author Feature: Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater, with one of her cars.

I didn’t want normal until I didn’t have it anymore.

Maggie Stiefvater, Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception

Margaret “Maggie” Stiefvater submitted her first manuscript to a publisher at sixteen years old, and has yet to stop writing. Her Shiver Trilogy spent weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List and went on to be published in more than 36 countries, while her similarly bestselling Raven Cycle series has become a cult classic amongst YA fans.

Ever multi-talented, Maggie also writes and performs the audio for all of her own audiobooks She is also a formally trained artist, and accomplished racecar driver, incorporating her love of classic cars into many of her stories. 

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