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Mental Health Awareness Month: Resources From Your Library That Can Help

This may not be the coziest topic, but it’s a necessary one. And it’s a topic that many of us deeply relate to. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to promoting awareness of the importance of mental health and the symptoms caused by mental health decline. Beyond opening up educational discussions on mental health, it’s a month that aims to destigmatize common stereotypes and similar issues around it based on societal views that are misguided or not fully informed. 

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949 and was founded by the national organization Mental Health America (MHA). Like MHA, our mission in this post is to provide a toolkit of materials from our own library that you can take advantage of to care for your own mental health needs and, just as importantly, feel accommodated for, seen, and valued. 

What are some things you can do at our library to help boost your mental health? This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a good starter guide: 

1. Try our Tai Chi or yoga classes - Tai Chi and yoga have been shown to improve balance, strength, mood, mental acuity, chronic pain, and other health conditions. These sessions are amazing for both your body and mind, and they’re free to attend! Tai Chi is held every Wednesday at 1pm, and yoga is on Thursdays at 7pm. Both are beginner friendly! 
2. Use one of our sensory bags - this is a good option for our neurodivergent folks who experience depression, anxiety, concentration issues, and more. Many of the tools in our sensory bags help to calm the mind and ease the body to allow one to function while completing a task. To read more in detail about the bags, visit our December 2022 blog post “Our New Sensory Bags”, where there is also an unpacking video featured from our YouTube channel! 

3. Join our Teen Activity Club - If you’re a teen or tween in need of a friendly group to call home, look no further! Whether you’re experiencing loneliness or finding it difficult to make friends, our TAC group is a place to find affirming, genuine companionship.They meet every Thursday at 4pm at our Conway branch! Need a similar group for adults? Consider becoming a member of our Book Club held on 2nd Thursdays each month, also located in Conway.  

4. Come to our monthly programs - there’s strength in finding community, and it will strengthen your mind, too. By socializing and building connections with others, you can not only make lifelong friends, but regain your sense of purpose and zest for life. You may even discover a new passion or hobby! We have so many kinds of programs to choose from each month, catered to different interests, so grab one of our calendars or click on the Events tab at to see what cool things we have going on! You can also select the Programs tab and click on your age group. 

5. Check out our selection of mental health books - We have a hefty catalog of books in our physical collection here, but if you want a more curated list, here are our staff recommendations for all ages: 

A Blue Kind of Day*

*This children’s book by Rachel Tomlinson, described as a “moving picture book about depression, sensory awareness, and the power of listening”, is not a part of our collection yet, but could be if you request it! 🙂

In addition, for those of you who don’t know, one of the digital apps we partner with is Hoopla. Similar to Libby, Hoopla is a great place to explore eBook and eAudiobook collections from the convenience of your phone or tablet. All you need to sign up is your FCL card number and PIN, and you can begin browsing the thousands of titles they offer! And the best part is, they have an entire section dedicated to improving, overcoming, and coping with mental health issues. Here’s what Hoopla has to say about Mental Health Awareness Month and how it is using its collections to give support: 

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Support your mental health through these eBook collections about managing stress and anxiety, wellness for kids and teens, finding your happy place, and authors sharing their mental health journeys:

Sometimes you need to get away, if only in your mind. Discover eBooks on @hooplaDigital that will help you find calm.

Find support for kids' and teens' mental health @hooplaDigital with eBooks created to teach and help young readers how to manage mental health.

Discover helpful tips, tricks, and insights to help with managing stress and anxiety with these eBooks available on @hooplaDigital

A valuable part of mental health is knowing you're not alone. Check out @hooplaDigital for authors who share their powerful stories of struggle and how they cope.

Download the Hoopla app from our website here:


Ask a Librarian: FAQs on Library Policies and Procedures

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You all asked and we answered! Many of our patrons have inquired about a list of all the items that can be borrowed from our library, along with a few other good questions. So for this blog post, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy selection of frequently asked questions and their highly anticipated answers. This will be Part 1 in the Ask a Librarian series, so stay tuned for more in the future! But for now, we hope these will help give more clarification into some of the procedures and policy changes that have taken place. 

What can you borrow at the Faulkner County Library? 

You can borrow a lot more than books at the library! We also have: 
DVDs & Blu-ray movies 
TV series 
Music CDs
Language learning materials 
Computer projectors and screens
Plant seeds
Wi-Fi hotspots
Storytime To Go Kits
Fishing poles (Mayflower branch only)
Sensory bags (in-house use only)
Tablets (in-house use only)

*Other services we offer
Faxing ($0.50/page)
Printing/Copying ($0.10/page Black & White, $0.70/page Color)
Scanning to email or USB
Notary Public
Public computers and Wi-Fi
Voter registration

*All services are free unless otherwise noted

How many items can you check out at a time?
If you are a new or temporary patron, you have a limit of 5 items for your first checkout. The same limit applies for every checkout if you are a nonresident or Gateway user. If you are a standard patron, the limit is 100 items at a time. We have also waived our limit on DVDs and TV series, so you can borrow as many of those as you’d like as long as it’s 100 or less!

How long can these items be checked out for?
Different items have different due dates. Here’s a list of each:
Movies - 1 week
TV series - 2 weeks
CDs - 2 weeks 
New books - 2 weeks
Regular books, audiobooks, graphic novels, & magazines - 4 weeks
Language learning materials - 4 weeks
Telescopes - 2 weeks
Hotspots - 2 weeks
Storytime To Go Kits - 2 weeks
Projectors - 24 hours

What are some important rules to remember while in the library?
1. Food and drink are now allowed, but not near the stacks or computers.

2. Please don’t run or make excessively loud noises!

3. No weapons or drugs of any kind are allowed. If you want to smoke, it must be away from any entrance. 

4. You can pay for a print job with a card, but the limit is no more than $15 worth at a time. Also, please don’t insert a dollar bill more than $5 into the vending machine.

What online resources does the library offer?
With a library card, you get free access to many different online resources! Here’s just a few of them: Mango Languages, Hoopla, Libby, Kanopy, our Niche Academy lessons, plus a long list of research databases! For more information and to view all our options, go to and click on the Resources and Books, E-Media, & More tabs. 

What do you need to get a library card and who is eligible for one?
To get a library card with us, all you need is a valid photo ID and proof of residency in Faulkner or Van Buren County if your ID doesn’t reflect that. Proof can be any document, physical or online, with your name and current address on it: utility bill, lease, Amazon account–all of these examples work! Just visit your nearest branch to fill out an application.

People of all ages are eligible for a card! If you’re under 13 (or a minor ages 13-17 without an ID), you would need to bring a parent or legal guardian with you when applying. If you don’t live here but attend school or college, you are also eligible for a card and can present your school ID. The same goes for if you own a business in either of these counties. If you do not reside or pay property taxes here, you can apply for a nonresident card for a yearly $25 fee, or you can go to your home county’s library and ask if they are a Gateway Program partner with us. If they are, you can apply for a Gateway card which allows you to borrow a limited number of items with us. Just make sure you are in good standing with your local library and have a card with them first!

What kinds of programs and events are at the library?
All kinds! We offer programs and events for adults, teens/tweens, and children. Additionally, we have garden programs you can participate in. Some of our regularly scheduled programs include storytimes, chess club, group crafting, yoga, painting sessions, and so much more! Plus, we offer more specialized programs–like financial literacy classes or concert performances–that can occur at any time, so be sure to check our calendars each month for updates and new events!

What if there is a book or other material I want that you don’t have in your collection?
No problem! We can order it or borrow it from a different library system if we’re unable to buy the item from our distributor. You can request an item at the front desk with your library card or log in to your account on our website and request an item here.

How do I become a volunteer and what will I be helping with?
We’re so glad you’re interested in working with us–there is always something to do at the library! Volunteers are selected and contacted on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you can fill out the application at our front desk or online on our website here. As far as what you’d be assisting with, it can vary depending on the time of year. Oftentimes, we’ll need help processing new books, discarding old ones, or simply with cleaning the building. Sometimes our programmers will need help with facilitating activities, particularly during our busy summer season! You might also lend a hand in the garden or with packing seeds for our Seed Library. If you need volunteer credit, you can log your hours and we’ll make a copy of the timesheet for you!

How often do you buy new material for your collection?
Our cataloguer procures new material on a monthly and even sometimes a weekly basis! We work hard to ensure we have the latest and most popular titles available for patrons to borrow. This is why in our new book sections, you’ll see books with a numbered sticker on them. The number indicates the month in which they were published and/or purchased. Also, if there is an item we don’t have yet that you’d like to request, nine times out of ten we will order it! If our distributor doesn’t have the item in stock, we can borrow it from another library system via interlibrary loan. 

Why can’t we reserve rooms anymore?
Because we are a smaller library system with a one-story building, we have limited space to provide programs and services. There are currently no county plans to expand our main branch in Conway, so the Library Board decided to convert our meeting and seminar rooms into programming spaces. This allows our programmers to offer bigger, better activities for our patrons, especially for the teens/tweens and children who visit almost daily. Our goal is to use our facilities in a way that reflects our community and meets their needs. With our programming spaces permanently relocating to the meeting rooms, we will have the resources to offer a wider range of programs that occur more consistently and at a larger capacity, while still having open but quieter areas available for private study, business meetings, etc. 

Do you offer laptops or headphones?
Unfortunately, we do not offer either at the moment, but you are more than welcome to bring your own set to plug into our public computers or your own laptop to use our free Wi-Fi. We hope to provide laptop and headphone checkouts as an option in the future. However, we DO currently offer hotspots! You can check one out for your household for up to two weeks and they are renewable as long as there are no holds. They’re perfect for if you don’t have Internet at home or if you live outside of town and get spotty service. 

Do you accept donations?
Absolutely! Just preferably not encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, magazines, or VHS tapes. Depending on the publication date, those will most likely not be added to our shelves. Instead, they will become a part of our book sale or be recycled. If they are not one of the above items and in good condition, they can be placed in our collection. We also offer a tax credit form to any donors who are interested in writing it off as a charitable donation! Something to remember: we highly suggest calling us BEFORE dropping off donations. There will be occasions where we don’t have room in our storage to accept new donations. 


Resumé Assistance is Here!

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New year, new you—same us, more services! It’s now 2023, and we bet most of you have been working to kick that New Year’s resolution into high gear. For some of you, career advancement might be at the top of the goal-setting list. If you’ve been searching for a job or have a certain position on your radar, we can now help you strengthen your portfolio for a better chance of securing it! 

From January through March of this year, we will be offering resumé assistance! Melissa Freiley from the Hendrix Bailey Library will be here to not only help you build/update your resumé, but to also help you complete job applications and give you tips for answering common interview questions. And as an added bonus, we'll let you print out your resumé for free!

Here’s how it works: we will have 30 minute to 1 hour sessions available. Prior to meeting with the instructor, please ensure you have all the documents or information you need. Walk-ins are accepted, although reservations are preferred. There are a limited number of time slots, so be sure to double-check the dates on the reservation form below when you choose a spot, that way you are more likely to get the times you want!

Scratch paper and pens will be provided, but don’t forget to be ready to go for your session! Here’s some examples of what to bring with you:

Previous job start and end dates

Addresses of employment

Reference contact information

Your own laptop, tablet, or other electronic device if possible

To schedule an appointment, click on this link:

*Just as a disclaimer, the volunteers who run our resumé assistance program cannot guarantee employment or be held liable for any outcomes. The purpose and design of this program is to increase your prospects for being hired, but we cannot promise job attainment through participation; that is contingent upon the level of performance you put into the application process. Our intention is to help you succeed with that!*            

Many patrons have been asking for this service, and we’re so glad to finally make it possible! We’ll see you at the library, and good luck with your applications!    


Grow Your Gardening Skills With Our Seed Library

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You may be wondering why we’re posting about gardening during the beginning of winter. Fair point! But hear us out: it’s always a good idea to plan out the details of your garden early, and before we know it, spring will be here in just a few months. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of our Faulkner County Seed Library!

Our seed library was created in partnership with the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project to foster collaboration, sustainability, and food security in Conway. We’ve had countless amazing volunteers from AmeriCorps, our local colleges, and more who help put together seed packets, raise beds, and use our outdoor plots to grow little gardens of their own! 

You have the option to become a part of our community garden, too! If you’re interested in maintaining your own 4x4 plot, we have a total of 40 to choose from in our backyard. The only requirement is to volunteer in the garden 2-4 hours per month in exchange for the free space. To sign up for one, fill out the form here: 

Why should you consider starting a garden for yourself? Here’s several good reasons:

1. Fresher food - the taste will be better quality, and that’s one less trip to the grocery store with more money in your pocket. 

2. Better for the environment - your food won’t have to be shipped to you, and will help reduce the amount of fossil fuels used for travel. 

3. Beautifies your home - a little plant diversification can go a long way in sprucing up your surroundings! Even with just the addition of a flowerpot, you can freshen up a whole room (quite literally)!

4. Builds community - aside from growing a garden, you’d also be growing your connections with people involved in and passionate about local food.

5. Through your library, it’s free! You would be supporting a neighborhood nonprofit and inspiring others to do the same.

Not ready to have a full-fledged garden yet, or just want a couple houseplants? No worries! You can “check out” seeds from our seed cart. Located near the front desk, you can select up to 10 seed packets from an assortment of herbs, grains, flowers, and vegetables to bring home three times a year. After you’ve chosen, you can either fill out a paper form or scan the QR code on the cart to let us know which seeds you’ve taken so we can replenish as needed. Since you are “borrowing” these seeds, we just ask that you bring a few new ones back after germination to help keep the seed library going!

If you have any questions, contact our Garden Programmer Erica Lunde at 

For more information and to view our garden programming calendar, visit the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project Facebook page or go to and click on the “Events” or “Programs” tabs. 

Happy planting! We hope you have a spectacular “thyme” with it! 😉


Listening Is Also Reading: The Benefits of Audiobooks

Image titleToday, books come in all mediums. Aside from traditional print literature, you can listen to a book on CD or download one in a digital format on your smartphone or tablet. Some people like the feeling of holding a physical book in their hands–and even enjoy the smell which, according to the International League for Antiquarian Booksellers, is commonly a mix of grass and vanilla scents due to the chemical compounds used during the creation process–while others prefer the convenience of an eBook's portability and cost effectiveness. You won’t get a late or damaged fee for one of those! The options are endless, and we at the Faulkner County Library aim to provide a vast amount of each of them.

Audiobooks in particular, whether online or physical copies, can be a medium that’s overlooked by readers, with some claiming that it doesn’t really count as reading because there are no words on a page involved. But before dismissing audiobooks, it’s important to recognize the multitude of benefits that arise from listening to them, as well as some advantages. 

For non-native English speakers, language learners, struggling readers, and those who are disabled or visually impaired, audiobooks can help greatly in bridging the gap to traditional books and provide an alternative source for accessing information. Many people are also auditory learners, making up about 30% of the population, and best retain knowledge through listening. 

In addition, audiobooks are a good option for those who typically bypass conventional reading as the narration can better emphasize things like humor, sidestep unfamiliar dialects or old literary styles, and highlight certain aspects like pronunciation otherwise missed by print books. Plus, narration can be fun–just imagine listening to Reese Witherspoon or Morgan Freeman read one of your favorites! For centuries across all civilizations and cultures, storytelling has been a key component passed down through the generations. It’s no wonder that audiobooks help improve reading comprehension (students can comprehend two grade levels above their reading level when regularly listening), build concentration, and strengthen memory. By even combining print and audio, recall can increase up to 40% more than print reading alone!

It’s also worth mentioning that a 2017 study by the National Library of Medicine has found listening to audiobooks can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, known as bibliotherapy. Novelist Sarah Rayner wrote in Psychology Today that “audio is one of the most intimate forms of media.” It gives the opportunity to boost your mental health as well as a way to spend quality time with friends and family. Have you ever hosted a listening party? Trust us, it’s the best.

To browse our audiobook collection, come visit us and we’ll direct you to their locations! You can also download our apps by visiting or the websites below to access more digitally: 

Libby, by Overdrive - search for “Arkansas Digital Library Consortium” and enter library card number & PIN

Hoopla - search for “Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library” and enter library card number & PIN

Any tech issues? Call us at (501) 327-7482 or email


Our New Sensory Bags! Plus Books On Neurodiversity, Autism, & More

Most of us know that libraries aren’t quiet places anymore. You won’t expect to get “shushed” by an employee and you are unlikely to find a library that’s only frequented by a few regulars every now and then. Libraries have become bustling community hubs–and while that’s a very good thing, for some people it can be overstimulating. We’re all about meeting the needs of our community in the most effective ways possible, which is why… 

Something new that we’re excited to offer our patrons here at the library–specifically at our Conway branch–is our sensory bags! 

We have three bags catered to different age groups: children, teens, and adults. These bags aren’t perfect by any means and while we can’t meet everyone’s sensory needs, we have included some items that we hope will be useful for when you or your child might need sensory input or sensory block! 

Here are some of the items we provide in our bags:

  • Textured squishy balls for stress relief

  • Calming, self-soothing visual stims for coping with sensory overload (one of them looks like a lava lamp!)
  • Noise-canceling headphones

  • A pair of sunglasses for those with light sensitivity

  • Pop-It bracelets and strips

  • An Infinity Cube fidget toy to aid with concentration

More good news? You don’t have to be a library cardholder to borrow a bag. Just visit our front desk and ask for one to use while you’re in the building!

To watch this video and more on our YouTube channel, click on the link: Unpacking Sensory Bags with Mary

Looking for resources on autism, ADHD, and sensory processing, or books about neurodiversity? View our recommended reading list from our collections, including children’s picture books, tween/teen guides, and educational fiction:


Niche Academy: What Is It?

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Are you needing to learn basic computer literacy or how to better use the technology at your disposal? Have you been looking to polish up your work portfolio, or just want to know what kind of resources we offer at our library? Prefer learning something new on your own and in a way that’s contactless? (With COVID-19 still going around and being in the midst of flu season, we totally get it.) We’ve got the perfect solution for that–it’s called Niche Academy! 

Niche Academy is an information hub of tutorials on a variety of topics; from professional development to Microsoft Office to academic research, this online tool will show you how to cultivate important life skills and direct you to where you need to be to finish that challenging assignment. And it’s all free!

To access Niche Academy, go to and click on the “Resources” tab. You can also click on the photo above to go there directly!

Once you enter the site, you’ll notice a list of categories. We’ll briefly explain them here:

FVBRLS (Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System)

  • These videos will show you how to use our card catalog, self-checkout kiosks, as well as logging into your account to pay fines or place holds!


  • Learn how to navigate our digital collections through Hoopla, Libby, Kanopy, Mango Languages, & World Book

  • Spice up your scholarly know-how with the EBSCO & ProQuest reference centers–you’ll find all the articles and answers you need with these instructions!


  • Can’t figure out how to organize your Google Drive or attach a document to your email? We got you!


  • Excel, PowerPoint, Word–it’s all here! 


  • Watch how to ace a job interview, where to find free legal forms, and get tips for writing your best resume yet


  • Here you’ll find Internet and iPhone basics, steps for creating social media profiles, and an intro to Zoom


  • Last but not least, our ultimate category for education: learn how to access different genealogical records, encyclopedias, and more databases!

We hope Niche Academy will be the portal to your success (pun fully intended). Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement!