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Morning Meanderings… L3 Summit…. Libraries, Libraries, Libraries

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Good morning!

I keep thinking that it would be fun to have a little thing here at Book Journey that if you see me mention libraries or the word library in a post you win something…

Then I thought…. well that is just crazy.  I talk about libraries ALL THE TIME.  😉

Today I am at the L3 Summit in St Paul Minnesota.  This is pretty cool.  About 4 years ago I was involved in a study with two of our Librarians that involved two-day work shops in ST Paul for four different dates within a year to learn more about strengthening our Libraries, and how we can help each other grow.  It was a great program and I learned a lot.  In fact, Wine and Words came out of this training.

They worked with Minnesota libraries when I was involved – a mix of large libraries, and small.  Then after Minnesota they took this program to Wisconsin.   And then this last year, they worked with South Dakota.  Now, at this Summit is a mix of the three years,all three states, inviting back those that made the most progress with the program.  I am honored to be a part of this.

So today is a day of connecting and sharing our success with our libraries and our programs.  I am excited to hear what the others have done as well.  I brought along a few Wine and Words brochures as well as tickets – cause hey – you never know 😉

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Last night they had a dinner which was nice.  I came back to my hotel room and wanted a little something so thought I would check and see if they had a little snack area.  I figured there are times that it makes sense to pay $5 for something sweet.  😉  I found in a cupboard in the room the jack pot…. and yes, I paid $6 for a small jar of Dark Chocolate Toffee Pistachios.  They had me at toffee…. lol

I will be back to talk about the books of BEA and the expo itself…. just let the last few days get away from me 🙂

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… It’s All A Bit Crazy

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*Deep Breath*

Today I wanted to share the pictures of the bench that was dedicated to my son at the Brainerd Public Library.  It is one of those things that I am a little surprised I have not already posted the pics (I did post the prep of the area pics but never the finished area).  And then as I plan to write this post the tears start rolling.

How my life has changed these past 5 months…

It is in all honesty quite surreal and surely requires a reality check from time to time.  How can this all be real?  How can 5 months ago I had this vibrant amazing kid in my life and we were making plans and hanging out and then…

this.

Now I have benefits, and Color Runs, and tree plantings and ribbon cuttings…

and a very very broken heart.

However, this is not what this post is about.  Well it is and it isn’t.

If you can put a shed of light over this tragedy I am trying to live through…  what I am posting here is a spark of life and love and well….  here it is.

A brief background story to the bench if you do not know it…. when my son died in a car accident this past April the book blogging community took a stand and wanted to do something to honor my love for books and the library and my great love for my son. Money was raised quickly for this project, bloggers and publishers, and authors, all came together to make this happen. 

I still can not write this or talk about this without tearing up… what an outpouring of love during the hardest part of my entire life. 

Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting

Two members of our friends group Dawn and Sherri spoke at the ribbon cutting.

 

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There was a nice gathering of people for the ribbon cutting… friends, family, and community.

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Justin's bench.

Justin’s bench.

 

 

And the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library group contributed $10,000 to add in 4 more benches and a picnic table to the area for people to enjoy.

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Thank you to every one who contributed.  Coming through the way the book community did at such a time as this was such a gift to myself and my family.  This heart felt generosity will not be forgotten.

(This post will be linked to Saturday Snapshot, where people share their stories through pictures).

Saturday Snapshot…. It’s Happening.

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Well I certainly did not plan on being MIA this past week here, but I see my last post was a week ago.  A week on heavy library activity and we are down to the wire planning for Wine and Words.  Lots of busy volunteers out there making the final steps happen.  This week I worked on the table brochure, seating arrangements with my friend Sue, lots of email communications, sponsor information, phone calls, ticket sales, communications to our venue, and tomorrow myself and the Co-Chair Gail will hopefully take care of the final silent auction items which we are planning on a good 4-6 hours at the library doing that.

Whew.

Anyhoo…

This week at the Brainerd Public Library a lot of things were happening fast.

  1.  We got the word that the cement people were coming to lay out the plan for the benches and give the bid.
  2. The Library Director and I went and layed out the plan for the benches and where they would go.
  3.  When they came the bid was a good one and they said they would be able to do the job on Friday.  (Yesterday)
  4. Friday!!!!
  5. We hit “go mode” and bought materials to put stone around two of the trees in the area the benches would go to add a nice park feel to the area.
  6. I dug up hostas from my own gardens because I loved the symbolism of having the plants being from our home where my son’s bench was going to be placed.
  7. Thursday we were able to work on it a little bit in the morning and then we were rained out.
  8. Friday morning we finished the hosta project (including a bonus space because we had extra stones) and the cement people did their thing.
  9. The benches will go in early this next week.

A little background on the benches for those of you who are not familiar with my story of the past 4 months…. when my 24 year old son was killed in a car accident in April of this year, the book community did an AMAZING thing.  A group of bookish friends who I have connected with through here, started up a bench fund so a bench could be placed at our local library in memory of my son.

My heart… runneth over.

This bench led to the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library moving forward on something we had talked about over the last couple of years, and that was putting some nice outdoor benches outside the Library.  The Friends, on top of what the book community started with Justin’s bench, tossed in an additional $10,000 so we could add a bench on both sides of Justin’s as well as an octagon picnic table, a heavy duty garbage can, and two more benches for the Children’s outdoor area of the library.

I will post pictures once the benches are in place.  I have seen Justin’s bench and it is BEAUTIFUL.

book journey, Sheila DeChantal, Justin DeChantal, Brainerd Public LIbrary

The two trees that we planted the hostas around.

Mckay Concrete, DeChantal, Book Journey, Brainerd Public LIbrary

Preparing for the benches

Brainerd Public Library, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Prepping the Children’s Area ( we had planned on two benches but changed our mind and had them prep for 4. We will order two more benches.

Brainerd Public LIbrary, Book Journey

The moving of “Ben” the old bench that has sat in the bench planning area since the library was moved to this location.

Brainerd Public LIbrary, Book Journey.

“Ben’s” new home in the employee area of the library next to a picnic table. It looks as though he was meant to be there.

Brainerd Public Library

Jolene the library director working on the third “bonus” hosta bed.

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal. Justin DeChantal, Brainerd Public Library

The cement going in. It was crazy cool. I wanted to get my tent and stay overnight there so no one touched it while it hardened.

Brainerd Public Library, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Childrens area cement prep for the benches to go in this next week.

As you can imagine, this whole project has been bitter sweet.  I love being a part of it and digging my hands into the dirt knowing that this will become a place where people will sit and read, and talk, and enjoy.  For those of you who contributed to making this happen… I can not thank you enough.  Even now, 4 months in I still cry every day.  This bench… this project means so much.

Thank you.

I am posting this to Saturday Snaphot, where people all over the world can add pictures of what is happening in their lives. 

Morning Meanderings… A Day Of Library Friends

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Good morning!  Wow.  *yawn* *stretch*

What a day.

Yesterday I went to my first Minnesota Library Association of Friends meeting in St Paul Minnesota.  That involved me being ready and out of the house by 7 am and at the meeting shiny and ready to go by 10 am.

The Association supports the friends groups of Minnesota.  By being a part of this board I am ale to have a voice in how we support our friends groups.  I really am excited to be a part of it.

 

Then….

2:10 pm and I am out the door and heading for home.  In the house by 4:30 pm, time to organize my notes, heat my sandwiches and out the door again for our Annual Friends Meeting.  I was very excited with the turn out.  We had a wonderful year.  Our Spring book sale was a record-breaking sale.  This year we plan on it being another awesome sale.  We are actually for the first time ever moving the sale off site into a building a friend of mine owns for more space.  I am super excited about the sale!

We will have our first children’s sale this year, our third Wine and Words… so much going on!  🙂

I feel energized and have much to do today to update our website, continue my author search for Wine and Words, and work on a few things for Camp Benedict too.

Yesterday I finished up two audio books (with the drive time), Girl On The Train and Afterworlds.

and as long as I am rambling here, three books that I am planning to read have release dates today.  Keep an eye out for:

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Saturday Snapshot: Minnesota Library Association Conference

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This Past week I had the pleasure of attending the Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference in Mankato Minnesota. I went, representing the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library, 4 Librarians from our Library attended as well.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and joined the rest of the Brainerd Group for what was called Parlor Games.  A series of fun games from 6:30 – 9 pm.  A mix of Balderdash, Apples to Apples, and a fun team game where we split the 90-some people in the room into two groups and we had to follow a series of clues to complete a task.  It was fun!

Parlor Games!

Parlor Games!

 

On Thursday, along with hour-long sessions for the Librarians to choose from, there was an additional amount of sessions that were Friends Of The Library related.  I had a list of choices for each hour, and spent my first hour of the day at the Library Friends Idea exchange.  I picked up ideas there like a 5k, scholarship offering for seniors, character events for children, and more.

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I spent the second hour of my day in the same room listening to the author of Beyond Book Sales, Susan Dowd, speak about the things the Friends groups can do to raise finds beyond the books.  How to build membership, how to be listed in a will…

 

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At 11:15 I went to a different room, a room where I would be speaking.  Our local event that started in 2013 was up for an award for Best New Friends Event.  This was exciting!  I was up against a group who added on to their children’s area at their library and a Great Gatsby Event that raised $47,000.  I was sure Gatsby had it.  There would be two runner ups that would receive $250 each, and then the winner, who would receive the plaque and a thousand dollar check for their friends.

Each of us had ten minutes to talk about our project.  In the end…

Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library took Best Project!  I could not believe it!

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Holy Smokes batman!!!!

The day then went to lunch where Tod Bol,the creator of Little Free Libraries spoke.  It was really interesting to hear how this wave of little book exchanges have popped up all over the world!  I did not realize Tod was from Wisconsin.

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After lunch, Laurel from our Library spoke on Social Media and her talk was very interesting!  After listening to her, I have some work to do. 🙂

All in all, a great couple of days hanging out in a Bookish World, just the way I like it 😉

 

I am adding this to Saturday Snapshot.  Please check out what others are posting in pictures this Saturday.  I am off to work with bees this morning and then home to work on my house… tomorrow, starts another adventure 😉

You Choose My Next Read and You Win the Book!

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Fall book sale is over so it is that time again!  Here I will show you the books that I picked up at the sale.  In the comments – tell me which of these books you would love to read.  On Friday I will choose a winner using random.org and that is the book I will read this weekend and mail it out next week to the winner.

It’s fun… and two of us get to read something good!  🙂

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Click to see a larger picture and the titles of the first few on the left

 

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Click to see a larger picture

*Note the only ones not up for grab is the one standing to the left of the top pic, hat is a copy of Little Women and I wish to keep that one and The Great Gatsby book to be added to my classic collection.

 

Morning Meanderings… I LOVE My Library

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Good morning.  We are in the middle of a storm here in Central Minnesota.  I mean… seriously.

 

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I took the above picture from my back deck and was plastered with rain from the high winds.  Weather has been so weird here.  I put a better video on Facebook.

 

Anyhoo… this post was not meant to be about the weather.  We have better things to talk about than that 🙂

What I wanted to chat about it Libraries.  Felicia at Geeky Bloggers Book Blog has been running these great library posts for September as it is National Library Card Month.  As soon as I seen what she was doing I knew I wanted to be involved but of course my life stuff got in the way and here we are on September 4th and finally getting with it. 🙂

You know I love our local Library.  If they would let me stay on the roof and raise money for a cause …. but they will not let me do that and yes, I asked…. but trust me…

there are other things I can do. 😉

I am so passionate about Libraries and what they offer.  My goal is to spread the word that today’s Library goes beyond the books… our library does sooooo much more.  We:

  • Rent movies and audio books
  • have computer classes
  • Author events
  • Adult and children book clubs
  • Reading programs
  • weekly reading time in the childrens area
  • a Teen hangout area
  • IPADs to use in the library
  • computers to use
  • conference rooms large and small that you can use for meetings and events
  • contests
  • historic information (Scandinavian week is coming soon!)
  • Assistance in how to use your e readers to the fullest
  • order in special request books
  • able to check out books from a number of connected libraries that will send the book to our library for you
  • Book In The Bag program – 10 copies of the same book to be checked out together for reading groups.
  • Book sales
  • and more to come 🙂

I know there is more, but that is what I have off the top of my head.  The Library staff works hard to stay educated and current on what the needs of our community are.  It is absolutely an honor to be a part of it.

I will be talking more about my library this month but for now… power looks like it is back on and I need to prepare for my day.  My questions I leave you with are:

 

Do you have a local library?

Do you visit it and if so how often?

Does your family members have library cards?

Do you know what your library offers besides book check out?

Do you think your community would be missing something important (Or is missing something important) if your library was no longer there?

 

I am thinking of an idea to get more power behind this discussion but for now… I have to go and there it is.  🙂

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… Catching Up With Brown Bag Author Terri Peterson Smith

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Thursday!  It has been a beautiful week here in Central Minnesota.  It is my favorite time of year!  Today I am in the office and feeling energized.  Later I plan to mow the lawn and if you follow these posts… you know I love to mow the lawn!  (It’s true – I really do!)

 

Terri Peterson Smith, Off The Beaten Path, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Author Terri Peterson Smith and her book, Off The Beaten Path

 

Fun story.  Earlier this year Author Terri Peterson Smith contacted me about our event, Wine and Words.  Our event already had the authors lined up but I really liked the sound of her book and directed her to contact my Vice-Chair in The Friends Group about being a part of the Brown Bag Author Line Up.  I am thrilled to say that it worked out for her to come and speak, which she did a couple of Mondays ago.

Terri’s book is about grabbing your friends and taking a literary trip.  It really is a book for book lovers.  I loved that Terri mentioned in her talk that book groups are now seeking out that next level to reading the book… they want to taste the food that the characters have, they want to see and touch and feel – almost making the books three-dimensional.  Terri provides that in her book, Off The Beaten Page.

 

Inspired by “field trips” with the author’s own book club, Off The Beaten Page offers a literary look at fifteen U.S. destinations as seen through the works of famous writers.  No plodding tour of dead people’s homes; award-winning journalist Terri Peterson Smith takes readers on a lively tour of some of the  most fascinating places in the U.S., combining her love of literature and her quest for a good time with friends. Her inspired explorations and meticulous research combine to help readers not only extend the experience of a great book but also to gain a greater understanding of the people and culture in the places they travel.

Terri was a lot of fun to meet in person.  She has a fun bubbly personality which I felt made her perfect to write about bookish adventures such as where to find the house in St Paul Minnesota that F Scott Fitzgerald finished his book “This Side Of Paradise”.  Terri’s book cover 15 US locations for literary trips for you and your group.

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It was a real pleasure to hang out with Terri Peterson Smith.  I have been reading her book this week and love the ideas it sparks about literary trips.  I am hopeful she will write a follow-up book… I am hopeful she invites me along on these trips to help her with her research.  😉  Hey, a girl can dream.

How is your Thursday shaping up?  I need to get into the office soon, I already have a list of things building up in my head of the “to do’s” for today.  It is funny how that happens. 🙂

Morning Meanderings… New Normal – Official Day One and Brown Bag Author

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good Morning!  Happy Wednesday!  (Is it crazy that I had to pause there and think what day it was?)  Yesterday was my first real full day of feeling like I was moving into my new role.  I have home space set up, and made a commitment to be in it.  I actually had time to open up a packet of papers that were given to me in mid June as research for my manuscript I am revising.  They have been sitting in the library since they were handed to me and are now in the office and I spent time yesterday reviewing them and making notes. It was a good feeling.

 

 

JOhnathan Friesen, Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Author Johnathan Friesen

This past Monday we had an exciting author at the Brainerd Public Library.  Author Johnathan Friesen (pronounced “free-zen”) spoke at our library about his books, and read from his most recent book, Mayday (LOVE the cover!)

I had never read or listened to Johnathan Friesen before and I for one was excited to have him at the library as a YA author.  He started out with sharing a very powerful story about his childhood and Tourette’s syndrome.  I think most of the room was in tears – and then he turned it around into his passion for writing.  At this stage in my life, what he said really resonated with me.  He spoke with intelligence and I found myself scribbling on a napkin (I know, I know, you would think I would be more prepared!) to capture some of the things he said…

…and when she left my room, she took something with her.  Almost like a magnet it stuck to the back of her shirt…. when she left, the hate I had felt for myself left with her.  ~ Johnathan Friesen

 

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Johnathan was a delightful speaker!  He was animated and funny and can really channel his inner child! While he spoke about each of his books I found myself trying to choose which I wanted to read, they all in one way or another spoke to me.  His book Jerk California is about a boy with Tourette’s.  This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette’s Syndrome for modern teens.

When the event was over, the crowd of 44 people gathered around to but his books.  I always wait to be last to make sure everyone has the opportunity to pick up the books that they want.  I left this event with:

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If you ever have the chance to hear Johnathan speak, I highly recommend you do.  I was very impressed with his style and look forward to digging into his books!

 

 

 

 

Brown Bag Author Event: Julie Kramer

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Every Monday in June and July at the Brainerd Public Library, we have a Minnesota Author come from noon to one to talk about their latest book, answer questions, and sign books.  It is a lot of fun, and being a part of the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library who sponsors these events gives me a front row seat when it comes to chatting it up with the authors.

Not a bad gig.  😉

Recently we had Julie Kramer at the library talking about her new book Delivering Death.  She was very engaging to the 70+ people in the room.

Julie kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

While talking about where she gets her ideas for writing thrillers, she passed out to the audience her Minnesota Book Award for Silencing Sam.  It passed from person to person, even I had to get in on that action!  When it had been “oohed and ahhhhed” over by everyone there, Julie said this:

Let’s say tomorrow I am going to book signing in Duluth.  And lets say on my way there I meet someone and I beat them to death with that Minnesota Book Award and leave the person and the award with all your fingerprints all over it.  That’s where ideas come from.  ~ Julie Kramer

 

We all laughed.  Some nervously.

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

Julie was a wonderful speaker and we had a great time with her.  She left us a signed copy of her book Delivering Death, and a bottle of wine with the same book title on it for Wine and Words in August.

And I picked up a copy of her book as well:

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death, Sheila DeChantal, Shunning Sarah

Julie Kramer’s website