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Every Day is Right to Read Day! How You Can Protect Your Freedom to Read

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Book bans are something that no library is immune to, and the effects can be devastating for communities. Not only is having access to information a constitutional freedom, but it is paramount to our advancement as a society. You’ve probably heard the famous quote from Winston Churchill, “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Book bans and other aims at censorship from our past have proven his point: erasure only begets ignorance, and spins a vicious cycle of injustice that threatens liberty for everyone. Efforts to more closely scrutinize educational institutions nearly doubled in 2022–the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom tracked over 1,269 attempts to ban books and other resources in libraries and schools. In the state of Arkansas, those same attempts are happening with greater frequency. Even our own library has been subject to a few book challenges over the past year, and we continue to combat opposition from the local to the legislative level. 

This week is National Library Week, a time that recognizes and supports readers, librarians, advocates, educators, and library lovers in their mission for providing knowledge. Monday, April 24th, is Right to Read Day, a call for all to defend against censorship and protect their right to read freely. This is also the day that the State of America’s Libraries Report is released, which includes the Top Ten Most Challenged Books for the previous year. But we can all agree that every day should be Right to Read Day, right?

According to the ALA, the most challenged books addressed topics on race, gender identity, sexuality, and reproductive health. 2022’s most challenged books were: 

1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

2. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

4. Flamer by Mike Curato

5. Looking for Alaska by John Green & The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (these two books were tied in their number of national challenges at 55)

6. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 

8. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

9-10. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas; Crank by Ellen Hopkins; Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews; and This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson (all four of these books were tied in their number of national challenges at 48)

Here’s an infographic that details the latest cases of censorship:

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So how can you help fight against book bans and keep your library accessible to all?

1. Check out books! The best way to keep a book on the shelf is to check it out. If our end of the year reports show statistics that prove banned books are being circulated and requested by the general public, it is harder to make an argument for removing them from the collection. 
2. Contact your elected officials: call or email your local representatives to give them your input on book bans happening in your district and any related bills they will vote on. If you don’t know your representative, you can find them on the Arkansas House of Representatives website by typing in your address and zip code here: 
You can do the same to find your local senator here: 
3. Start a campaign: connect with others about book bans happening in your community and mobilize to speak out against them. Gather different groups and organizations in your area to attend legislative meetings or to coordinate a peaceful protest. The more publicized news of censorship gets and the more people become involved, the greater the chance of halting attempts or reversing laws that support book bans. 
4. Report censorship to the ALA: the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom can help defend your freedom to read. Submitting a report keeps them aware of any national attempts at censorship. 

Want to learn more about efforts to fight against book bans and how you can make a difference? Visit! Happy reading!!


Celebrate National Poetry Month With These Literary Masterpieces

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Yes, it’s another post about a thematic month that’s widely celebrated! April is National Poetry Month, and this one actually occurs around the globe as the single largest celebration of literature. Launched by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, this is a special occasion that acknowledges the integral role of poets in our culture and society. Let’s just be honest–poetry is dang cool, and there’s so many different styles and stanzas, from haikus and sonnets to elegies and good ol’ free verse. 

But poetry is more than just a rhythmic art of expression. It helps us appreciate the world around us and serves as a reminder to emphasize with each other. It adds a beauty and depth to storytelling in a way that can be interpreted uniquely to every reader, beyond just the epic, comic, and tragic. Poetry is thought of by some as a mostly forgotten or undervalued craft, however in recent times it’s made quite the strong revival. 

The name of this year’s theme is “We Were All Meant for Something”, and as you delve into the captivating world of reading poetry (or perhaps even writing it), ask yourself these questions: what are you meant for? What purpose would you like to give to your life, and what kind of legacy would you hope to leave behind? Pretty deep subject matter to contemplate, we know. But that’s one of the points of poetry, right? To dig deeper. 

Philosophical discussions aside, we hope you enjoy this handpicked selection of the latest and greatest poetry in our library collection that fits well with the theme, and don’t forget to check out the 811.6s in our nonfiction sections for more!

This collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood and raising a family, the way our lives are shaped by our lineage and institutions, how we come to see the world through a new lens in the eyes of generations after us, and the actions we take with this new perspective.

These poems are about survival and finding solace in the midst of existential threats, touching on the themes of race, mental health, and collective grief while reminding readers that apocalypse is a state of being, not a permanent status. 

The themes of motherhood, friendship, love, loss, and balancing it all within contemporary suburban life are explored, and how to push through the struggles to regain identity and purpose.

These poems urge the reader to embrace the consistency of change and serve as a reminder that you can make it through any weather, both internally and externally. The writer emphasizes the beauty and value you can create with these changes, and that you are in more control of your life than you may think.

In a lyrical, hard-edged fashion, this author invites us to redefine and reevaluate our spiritual and moral beliefs and decipher what kinds of revelations that pain, love, and grace can bring to our lives. Chapman tells a story of how life has been felt to its limits and can be transformed into art.

In this poetic memoir, Felix uses her dyscalculia–a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand number-based information–as a metaphor for the consequences of her miscalculations in love. Through a descriptive relationship with mathematics that deals with perception versus reality, she weaves a tapestry of healing and hope carried in the risk of intimacy. 

In another illustrative collection about becoming your best self by embracing change, Rupi Kaur challenges us to reflect on the past, present, and potential of ourselves through raw, honest conversations. Touching on themes of acceptance and community, the author reminds us that to help others we must first help ourselves.

At the intersection of language, history, culture, and identity is this prismatic collection of poetry centered around being of Native descent. Chabitnoy explores stories of family records, personal relationships, and attempts at erasure in order to reconnect with her community and stand firmly again from a life disrupted.

The anonymous poet’s latest installment embarks on a journey of studying oneself, inspiring the reader to look within for answers to the big questions. These poems on self-love, meditation, and meaning come paired with beautiful sketches that help bring the words to life on the pages.

In this ode to the Black experience, Cynthia Manick combines sweet observation with bitter truth on the themes of familial bonds, social commentary, introverted thoughts, peer expectations, and a celebration of the everyday lives of people of color.

Presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman features her famously groundbreaking poem spoken at the inauguration of Joe Biden, plus a collection of energizing poetry on social justice and politics that speaks to generations both young and old. 

This collection of poetry and prose on the pain of heartbreak and loss will encourage the readers to sit with their emotions and fully process them. Zebian allows us space to ask the important question of “how can we turn our pain into purpose and welcome happiness back into the fold?” 

Coping with the aftershock of his mother’s death, Ocean Vuong searches for a continuation in life through this deeply intimate second poetry collection. Shifting through memory, these poems delve into personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being a product of war. Vivid and bold, Vuong’s words are a testament to finding peace in the face of violence and illuminating a path forward. 


National Write Your Own Story Day: Books for Aspiring Authors

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It turns out there’s quite a lot of “National Fill-in-the-Blank Days”, and a good number of them are applicable to books and libraries–we love that! March 14th just so happens to be National Write Your Own Story Day, so we’re not going to toss up the opportunity to share a blog post about this one. 

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a writer, everyone has a unique story to tell. Stories are the one thing everyone possesses that brings us all together, but stories are also the distinguishing factor that sets everyone apart. Stories serve multiple purposes: to entertain, to educate, to inform, and even to innovate. And at the foundation of each is imagination! National Write Your Own Story Day encourages people to feel inspired to share their stories, not just through writing, but through any medium that can be used as a form of self-expression. Since we’re a library, however, we’ll focus on writing. 

If you’re an aspiring author, or just like to write as a hobby but still want to refine your craft, we have cultivated a list of books from our collection that will not only help you become a better writer, but help you decide what genre of writing you’d like to pursue (if you’re unsure of that). Because why wait until NaNoWriMo in November when you can jumpstart your writing career now?

Take a gander at these latest books we have–some of which are for our young writers–on the written word, plus a few oldies but goodies: 

This is a pretty hefty list already and since we can’t cover every kind of writing here, we recommend visiting the 808s in our nonfiction sections to find more books on the topic! These sections cover blogging and online writing as well!

Good luck, and happy writing!


Celebrate Black History Month With These Monumental Reads

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Here at the library, the preservation of history remains one of the most important tasks to this day. In addition, we strive to make sure that equal representation of all aspects of history are reflected in our collection and that everyone has equal access to the items within. This is why amongst the shelves you’ll find historical books on the lives and experiences of every American, as well as different perspectives of those who bore witness to major events in our nation.

In February, we celebrate Black History Month! During this month, we focus on the accounts of Black Americans, both contemporary and past. Ranging from education to science to the civil rights movement, this is the time where we highlight and pay homage to their accomplishments. According to the American Library Association, Black History Month was founded in 1925 by Carter G. Woodson, a distinguished Black author and historian who wanted to raise awareness of Black Americans’ contributions to civilization. His inclusion efforts helped inspire and pave the way for diversity in America to be commemorated. Now librarians, educators, community leaders, and others annually dedicate the month of February–when it was first celebrated in 1926–as Black History Month, and it is officially recognized by the entire country. 
This year’s laudatory theme for Black History Month is Black Resistance. The purpose of this theme, states the Association for the Study of African American Life, is to take a  “multidisciplinary look at how {Black} people in a variety of careers and capacities resisted oppression in order to make strides forward” and is “a call to everyone, inside and outside the academy, to study the history of Black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected.”

We love being able to have a well-rounded assembly of stories that share pivotal moments in our history, so we want to share some books from our collection that are great choices for Black History Month, featuring Black authors and notable Black Americans (many of these are Coretta Scott King Book Award recipients!): 

Children’s Literature

Juvenile Fiction & Nonfiction

Young Adult Novels

Adult Fiction & Nonfiction

For more information, be sure to visit, where you can find lesson plans, student activities, research aids, book guides, and more! 


The Best Valentine's Day Gifts for Book Lovers

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If your loved one makes frequent visits to the library, there’s a good chance they may be a book lover. And if they love borrowing books, there’s an equally good chance they like receiving them as gifts. If that sounds like the love language of your partner or spouse, then we have good news for you! Whether you are a fan of Valentine’s Day or prefer to skip the holiday altogether, we can help you think of some sweet gift ideas to give to your book-loving sweetheart for any occasion! 

Let’s not forget about those of us who are single and loving life that way, too. During this holiday season you may want to surprise friends, coworkers, or family members (or even your pets, because they’re family too) with a thoughtful present! And who says you can’t buy flowers and chocolates for yourself? However, with all the couples and newlyweds celebrating this day, Valentine’s Day can be a time where some people understandably feel left out. If you know someone who might need a pick-me-up, here’s a possible solution for that: our lovely list below shows 14 different ways you can treat yourself or another, because no matter their relationship status, everyone deserves something nice–including you! 

Book Bath Caddy
With this caddy, you don’t have to worry about getting a book wet when you want to read in the bath. There’s also space to put food, a glass of wine, candles, or anything else you think pairs well with a relaxing soak.

Paddywax Candles Library Collection 
Yes, book-scented candles are actually a thing, and they smell delightful! Check out these Jane Austen-themed fragrances made with eco-friendly ingredients.

Magnetic Poetry Book Lover Kit
Containing over 200 themed magnetic word tiles, you can rearrange the words to write cute poems or messages!

Lake Champlain Classic Chocolate Bar Library Gift Box
This gift box made in Vermont has six assorted chocolates, comes packaged like a little mobile library, and is tied with a satin ribbon.

“‘What I Love About You’ By Me” Personalized Book
Express how you feel in this unique book with fill-in-the-blank lines. This is a good gift for those who love words of affirmation!

Crystal Bookends 
Beautify your book lover’s bookshelf with these agate bookends, available in six colors! 

Handcrafted Bookmark 
The best bookmarks are accessorized bookmarks! Check out this and other uniquely handcrafted bookmarks on Etsy.

Decorative Book Tote Bag 
Are you a true book lover if you don’t have a tote bag just for your giant haul of books? Plus, its user gets the benefit of owning a reusable bag. 

Booktok Journal
Log your reading history with this trendy journal featuring book recommendations from TikTok’s #booktok subcommunity. 

Custom Book Print Wall Art
Surprise your book lover with a customized print of their top-shelf favorites! This is also a special way to showcase beautiful artwork that isn't store-bought.  

Gift Card to Your Local Bookstore
If you know your partner loves to visit Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble, a gift card might be just the thing for them! Better yet, look for an indie bookstore in your area and support them by getting a gift card from there. Conway’s Book Traders Bookstore and WordsWorth Books of Little Rock are great picks!

Book Flower Bouquet
Short on funds, or want to give your loved one a bouquet of flowers with a twist? You can create your own DIY flower bouquet made out of book pages!

Tequila Mockingbird Literary Cocktail Book
For our 21 and ups only! This cocktail book provides 65 of the finest recipes based on literary classics. 


Fall In Love With Reading Again During National Library Lovers Month

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You might not have known this, but here’s a fun fact: February is National Library Lovers Month! This month is dedicated for all the bibliophiles of the world (for our avid vocabulary learners, “bibliophile” is a fancy term for “book lover”) and the people who love and depend on local libraries for building literacy skills, accessing information, and bringing the community together. Libraries are not only a treasure trove of ideas, but a way for people to share those ideas within a safe and inclusive space. That’s just one of the many reasons why we love them so much! 

You’ll have to excuse us for the cheesy title, but since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we wanted to share some ways that you can fall in love with reading books again or transform into a first-time library lover. Not everyone is into literature, and that’s totally okay. Maybe books just aren’t your thing, or because of a busy schedule, you’ve found it difficult to fit reading into any free time you have. Maybe you’re a graduate student and now that you have a hefty required reading list, you’ve become burnt out on books–even the fun fiction ones you used to check out in bulk. 

Whatever your struggle may be, here are some effective ways to get started with or get back into the habit of reading for leisure: 

1. Start small: read graphic novels. Yes, that includes comics. These books are for all ages to enjoy. They are also a good alternative for people who may need help with constructive imaginative thinking or who experience social imagination difficulties that can come with autism. Many chapter books have graphic novel adaptations nowadays too, so you can read familiar favorites in a quicker format when you’re under time constraints! And, of course, don’t sleep on audiobooks!!

2. Try books that reflect your life and daily experiences: being able to make connections to topics that mirror who you are (or who you want to be) when you read is a great way to stay engaged. If you love regular visits to the coffee shop or art museum, look for a book with those things in the plot. If there’s a passion project you’ve been wanting to do, see what books are available on the subject–they often come with tips on how to stay motivated in the midst of a hectic lifestyle! A book we highly recommend to reclaim your creativity is Find Your Unicorn Space by Eve Rodsky. 

On the contrary, we often read to escape reality. If that’s the case for you, ask your librarians for fantasy recommendations! Another great source is, where you can search for books by genre, popularity, and other categories.

3. Change your setting: just like it can be hard to finish a school or work assignment in a place with many distractions, it can also be hard to get into the reading zone when there’s other things commanding your attention. Try switching to somewhere quiet with minimal disruptions, like a study room at the library or a spacious park; you’d be surprised how much this can make a difference in your level of concentration!

4. Get to know your own reading style: aside from selecting books that cater to your interests, it’s good to know what your reading preferences and limits are. Do you like a lot of detail and description? Go for an author like J.R.R. Tolkien. Are you wanting a fast-paced comfort read that isn’t 400 pages long? Try someone like Emily Henry or Sally Rooney. As action-packed as the movies you watch? Clive Cussler could be the one. If you want contemporary English with relatable, modern subject matter, maybe not Shakespeare, but instead a significantly younger writer like Rainbow Rowell. 

5. Develop a routine: we know, that’s easier said than done. But if you can dedicate even 10 minutes to reading per day, whether in the morning before work or at night when the kids are asleep, it still counts! Just getting a few pages in daily can help you build up regular reading skills over time. Setting a notification on your phone or jotting it down on your calendar can be a good reminder! Set a timer while you’re reading. After that, you’ll become a more efficient reader. 

We hope these suggestions work well for you! If you’ve settled on a book you think you might like, don’t forget to check our catalog at and place a hold on it so a copy can get to you more efficiently too!


Dewey What? How To Locate the Book You Need

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POV: You hurry into the library in pursuit of a book that you need for your literature class, and the deadline to write an analytical essay on it is fast approaching. You discover from using the catalog on our website that, luckily, your local branch has it in stock. But when reading the description of its location, you see a random decimal number with some letters underneath, and have no idea what that means. You become officially lost in the stacks. Should you turn back the way you came and ask an employee at the front desk? Or do you dare to trek through the seemingly endless maze of books? You decide to continue onward, but then your surroundings change. Now you’re in a section where there’s no numbers and just letters??

This scenario might sound a little dramatic, but even in a smaller, one-story library it can be easy to get confused. This is where us librarians come in to save the day! We’re always happy to show you where anything is shelved and help you understand how our cataloging system works. You can come to us or we’ll be out on the floor asking if patrons like you need assistance! But if you’re wanting to know what the numbers and letters mean for yourself, you can potentially save some time, skip the frantic searching, and be the hero of your own story. 

Here’s a rudimentary guide to navigating those strange library symbols:

The combination of letters and numbers are referred to as “call numbers.” Call numbers are found on a book’s spine label. Our books are categorized by the Dewey Decimal System, which is just a way to classify books based on their subject. Most public libraries use this system, while academic libraries utilize the Library of Congress classification, but we won’t get into that here.

Navigating Fiction
If you’re in the fiction section, it’s a bit easier to find a book. Books here are categorized in alphabetical order by the first three letters of the author's last name. So if you’re looking for “Along Came a Spider” by James Patterson for example, you would look for PAT and then once you found Patterson, you would search by title for “Along” since A comes first. However, if the title begins with an article such as “an” or “the”, you would use the next word!

The same goes for our large print section as well as our juvenile sections! If you’re looking for a particular genre, they are mixed in with all the others, so be sure to ask a librarian for recommendations if you don’t have a particular book in mind!

Navigating Nonfiction
Here’s where things get a little trickier: nonfiction has both numbers and letters. This is the Dewey Decimal System at work. Books here are categorized in numerical order, and each number represents a different subject grouped within a larger common topic. For instance, books shelved in the 100s will be on different topics than books in the 500s. Then if you choose a topic in the 100s, the 120s will be on a range of different subjects than, say, the 140s. It’s a lot of information to process, so we’ve created a handy list that details every section: 

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If you’re still unsure of where to look for a book after viewing this index, feel free to ask us! We can check the catalog, and we have memorized a lot of placements because of how often they’re asked about. Cookbooks? They’re in the 641.5s in Home & Family Management under “Technology.” ACT prep? The 378.1s in Education under “Social Sciences.” 

As always, if you want a book or other item not found in our catalog, we can make an order request. We hope this helps you in your quest for the perfect book!


Getting To Know Your Library 101: Basic Terminology and Becoming Involved

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Everyone knows that public libraries are one of the most magical inventions on Earth–people from all walks of life can come together in community and find practically anything they need. Libraries are one of the few organizations left in the service industry where utilization isn’t accompanied by the expectation of spending money. Not to sound too biased, but the Faulkner County Library might just be the coolest hangout spot in town (okay, maybe aside from the splash pad at the park). As counterintuitive as it seems, our headquarters in Conway is constantly busy and we easily help close to 500 patrons in a single day if not more. If you’ve been to our summer programming, you know exactly what we’re talking about!

Despite the welcoming vibes and lively atmosphere, libraries can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the lingo or which department to go to for questions. Whether you’re a newbie or a frequent patron, here’s our mini guide to common library terms, the names of different areas around the building, and ways that you can get involved at your local branch!

Basic Terminology 

Circulation: This is where the usual stuff happens–checking out or returning items, getting your first library card, and updating your account information. You may hear front desk workers mentioning items being “circulated”, which means how many times it’s been used by patrons. This is where to ask questions, and if the staff here doesn’t know the answer, they can direct you to the right people!

Reference: Being a smaller library, we don’t have a separate reference desk per se, but we do have a handful of more experienced librarians who can help you with your research needs. They can show you how to use the microfilm machine, look up local records in the Arkansas Room, and provide tactics for better understanding online sources!

Programs: Libraries aren’t just about books, but also about putting on events! From author talks to after-school programs, we have something exciting for every age to participate in. Ask a worker at the circulation desk to point you to our calendar shelf! 

The Stacks: We’re not talking about the home of the main protagonist in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, but rather something a little less dystopian. These are the lines of shelving that house our physical collections, and are organized based on genre and format.

Catalog: This is where you can look up an item to see if we have it and check its status. You may see that a DVD is “processing”, meaning it’s brand new and currently being inventoried into our system, or that a book is on the “repair shelf” and we’re fixing some damage. The catalog will also tell you whether an item is part of our digital collection or if it’s at another branch. We have card catalog computers for public use on each level near our ramps, or you can ask a circulation worker to search for an item!

Branch: Fun fact–we are a dual-county system. This means the Faulkner County Library is actually the Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System, but it’s easier to just say the former or simply “FCL.”  We have 8 locations: Conway, Vilonia, Mayflower, Mt. Vernon, Twin Groves, Damascus, Greenbrier, and Clinton. We share funds and resources with each of them, and if you ever need a hold (see next section for the definition) transferred to a different branch for your convenience, we can do that! 

Books and Resources

Holds: Want a guarantee that a book you’re waiting for will be yours next? You can place a hold on an item in our collection–given that it’s not a reference-only item to be kept inside–to ensure you can grab it during your next trip to the library. For a faster experience, we’ll place your hold in a locker when it’s ready for pickup, and all you have to do is scan your card and the locker will pop open with the materials already checked out to you!

Requests: If we don’t have an item in our collection that you want, you can place a request with us! We’ll either buy it from our distributor or borrow it from another library system. If it’s a new title that hasn’t been published yet, we can do pre-orders as well. You can fill out a request form by logging into your account on our website or asking the front desk!

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): Remember that bit about borrowing an item from another system? That’s what this is called. If we can’t purchase it, we’ll reach out to libraries across the country and see who has the closest copy. Depending on the agreement we have with that library, the checkout time may be shorter than what we allow with our own items. 

Collection Development: This is the process that librarians complete for selecting, acquiring, and “weeding out” items. Weeding is a necessary step that means getting rid of items that are outdated, in poor condition, or no longer serve the community’s interests. After all, a 2003 edition of PCs for Dummies probably isn’t the most accurate source of information anymore.

Get Involved

Donations: Have a box full of books or CDs you’re cleaning out? Give them to us! We can possibly add it to our collection or include them in our book sale. If anything, we can recycle them. A useful tip: don’t leave piles of donations outside the book drop. Knock on the door and we can help you unload them! As a thank you, you can write it off on your taxes for credit by filling out our donation form.

Friends of the Library: This is our volunteer group that supports us and provides funds. Most libraries have them! They often run donation drives, book sales, and other important special events to help keep us going. You can sign up for a membership at the front desk and join our community service network (it comes with a free tote bag too!).

Library Board: A group of elected or appointed individuals who work closely with the Library Director on library policies, monetary decisions, and strategic plans. Library Board members represent and advocate for our community and the library’s best interests. You can find more information on the Board at under our About Us tab, including their meeting minutes, agendas, and upcoming issues they’ll be discussing. This is another great way to get involved with your library! The FCL Board meets on the 3rd Monday of each month at 5:30pm, and the Van Buren Board meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 5pm. 


Playing Catch-Up After COVID: How Your Library Card Can Help Kids With Lost Learning

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Even though the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is over and things have mostly gone back to normal, there are still children who have been significantly affected in terms of academic growth and learning loss from the school closures and reliance on distance learning. According to a study by Horace Mann Educators Corporation, more than 97% of teachers reported their students are behind compared to classes held prior to the pandemic. 

Luckily, work is being done to combat this. The Arkansas Department of Education awarded funds to schools from the American Rescue Plan to create over 84 summer and after-school programs in the last year. Not to mention, our own library has recently been able to offer more educational and social programming for kids and teens outside of school hours, like After the Bell at FCL! You can check out the monthly calendars for each age group at under the Programs tab.

As parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders work to fill in the learning gaps for our students, there is one other invaluable (and FREE) tool that will help our young patrons to get back on track towards success: a library card! There’s a reason why we have such a lenient checkout policy and let our patrons borrow up to 100 items per account. So many teachers, students, and homeschooling families depend on a library card to boost learning, and allowing them to check out a higher volume of materials at a time–something they often do, which always makes us librarians smile–widens their capacity to level the playing field and place their learners on the threshold of a promising career path. 

With your library card, you get automatic access to all of these resources:

A-Z Databases: located under the Resources tab, this lengthy list of scholarly sources is organized by subject and is great for high school or college students doing research.

Mango Languages: get full access to over 70 languages and learn realistic conversations. You can even skip lessons if you’re at a more advanced level! (We’ve been told it’s better than Duolingo, too.) 

Kanopy: this underrated streaming service has dozens of documentaries and educational films to choose from for all ages. You can check out up to 10 movies per month! 

Learning Express: filled with interactive tutorials, practice exams, flashcards, articles, and eBooks, this resource is good for mastering basic skills, test prep, and helping with career decision-making.

World Book Kids and World Book Student: both are designed to encourage young learners to be curious! The Kids online encyclopedia includes eBooks, videos, activities, read-aloud, and translation features. The Student version is aimed toward an audience of upper-elementary through middle school students. Specific features include a timeline builder, individual research accounts, and a “How to Do Research” feature that will help students develop information literacy skills. With thousands of articles, multimedia content, and a collection of biographies, there is something for everyone!

Bookflix: a website with animated stories that bring eBooks to life! Kids can choose over 120 animated fiction or nonfiction books with music and interactive games. 

CultureGrams: take a virtual tour of the world with this travel database covering all 200 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and the Canadian provinces. You can explore any place through photo galleries, slideshows, and even listen to interviews from locals!

All of this can be found through our Niche Academy portal here. We hope you and your kids enjoy learning with these handy online tools as much as we do!


Happy Hygge-days! How You Can Use the Danish Concept of Contentment to Have a Cozy Winter

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With our blog being named Coffee + Cardigans, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention a phenomenal part of Danish (and initially Norwegian) culture that’s gained widespread popularity known as “hygge”, which describes generating a mood of coziness with emphasis on feelings of wellness and contentment. We think most of us can agree that both coffee and cardigans spark these feelings, especially on cold days. What kind of blog would we be if we didn’t share something about comfortable conviviality? As we have officially entered the winter season, now is the perfect time to delve into this topic and learn how you can make the most of it in order to combat the winter blues and have yourself a merry and bright holiday!

So what exactly is hygge? Basically put, it’s about good vibes only. It’s about creating a welcoming atmosphere for premium rest and relaxation, for yourself and for others in your company. Hygge is not found in a specific setting or aesthetic–think of it as cultivating a warm and inviting ambience where you can temporarily hibernate and just “be.” With our often busy lifestyles and the hecticness of the holiday season, hygge is a way to slow down and a reminder to fully enjoy the present moment. Hygge is where mindfulness and minimalism meet to create a sense of magic within the mundane. 

The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen has studied the positive effects of practicing hygge and found it helps promote wellbeing and the feeling of togetherness, as well as a deeper appreciation for the aspects of ordinary living. In essence, hygge can transform the perceived drudgery of domestic life into that of a happy place.

How can you bring hygge into your everyday routine? Here are examples of simple rituals you can incorporate without breaking your budget:

  Brew your favorite hot drink and savor each sip by the fireplace

  Play your favorite music while preparing a homemade meal

  Curl up under a warm blanket and read a book (from your local library of course!)

  Light some scented candles and treat yourself to a bubble bath

  Invite friends over for a potluck dinner 

  Indulge in a hobby like crafting or journaling while at home

  Put on comfy pajamas and play games or watch a movie

But don’t just take our advice. When it comes down to it, happiness is an art, not an exact science. Whatever brings you joy and helps relieve stress, that’s what you should do!

View our list of books to keep calm and hygge on here: