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Our Summer Book Selection For All Your Vacation Reads

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It’s summertime! You know what that means: our brains immediately switch to vacation mode. Summer vacation looks a little different for all of us. For the kiddos and teens, it’s a period to unwind from the deadlines and busy times of school. For a lot of us adults, there’s still that work grind involved, but during this season we can find ourselves being blissfully whisked away to a relaxing getaway full of dopamine-inducing experiences. Or at least, that’s the goal! Whether that dream destination is sipping on a cocktail in the tropics or migrating to a cooler climate to shred the snowy mountain slopes, a likely part of your itinerary is taking the time to read a good book. After all, what’s a beach trip without a beach read?


Here at the library, summer is the liveliest–and arguably the greatest–time of year with our endless array of programs, activities, and new books lined up on the shelves! We realize these options can be overwhelming, so to help give you a good place to start your search, we’ve assembled a diverse list of our favorite new (and newer) summer reads that you or your children may love! Comforting, hilarious, mortifying, hopeful–all of the feelings we absorb from a well-written novel are there. Even more fitting, many of these books take place during the summer. Quite a few of our staff have personally read several from the lists, so trust us when we say that, like Harriet and Wyn, you’ll find your happy place with one of these! 



Adult Fiction
Happy Place by Emily Henry - Speaking of finding happy places, this glittery novel has the audacity to describe the complexities of adult life in a way that’s funny and charming. A couple goes on vacation with their friends–except they actually broke up months ago (but they’re still joyfully together if you squint!). What could go wrong?
Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum - What’s a good island resort without a little mysterious murder? And is that a body underneath the boardwalk? This one is for our thriller fans who enjoy dark plots in sunny settings.  
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree - An Orc mercenary suddenly decides to give up the plundering life and run a coffee shop–say that again?? Wholesome, subtly romantic, and sapphic: it doesn’t get much better than this. 
Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen - A Vietnamese-Canadian family will do whatever it takes to keep their nail salon open when the competition heats up–even if that means good old-fashioned sabotage. This light-hearted novel on gentrification and the immigrant experience showcases the resilience of community to create the ultimate summer comeback.
In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune - Described as an adult combination of Swiss Family Robinson, Wall-E, and Pinocchio, this novel of a strange sci-fi world features a delightfully dysfunctional family of robots (and one human) who embark on a rescue mission to save one of their own. Full of witty banter and a desperate need for love, this book will make you both laugh and ugly cry.


Adult Graphic Novels
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe - If you’re looking for a stylish and contemporary reimagining of Greek mythology that isn’t Percy Jackson, this is it. Intriguing, sharply perceptive, and utterly human, these graphic novels spill all the tea of what goes on behind the scenes in this pantheon.
The Color of Always by Brent Fisher - Here’s an anthology that highlights the full spectrum of LGBTQIA+ experiences in love, loss, heartbreak, and most importantly, discovering who you are and feeling good about it! Featuring a number of queer writers and illustrators, this graphic novel is brimming with poetry, color, and fearless expression. 
Paper Planes by Jennie Wood - Former best friends attempt to navigate their way through a summer camp for troubled youth after a life-altering incident. And they can mostly only communicate through sending each other paper planes. Will they be able to make it through so they have another chance at a normal high school life, or will their friendship and futures be threatened? 
Spider-Punk: Battle of the Banned by Cody Ziglar - In this anti-fascist spinoff, it's up to Spider-Punk, his trusty Converse, and his band of rockin’ heroes to protect Earth-138! Will all the chaos win, or is this rebellious gang perfect for handling it? Can we also talk about how he uses his guitar as a weapon? This storyline could be the best one yet.
Why Are You Like This? by Meg Adams - In this collection of comics with a millennial take on marriage, adulthood, self-care, and so much more, Meg Adams asks the most important questions, like: is my partner really upset or just hangry? Chalk full of bizarre musings and dorky existentialism, these comics explore enjoying the little things life brings. 



Young Adult Fiction
Chaos Theory by Nic Stone - Inspirational and completely relatable, this book tells a heart wrenching tale of two outsiders forming a powerful pact of friendship and creating their own universe amid chaos in the world surrounding them. This is a classic story where love truly conquers all!
The Queens of New York by E.L. Shen - Perfect for college students or fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this cinematic, slice-of-life book tells of an unbreakable bond and one life-changing summer between three friends that takes them miles apart, but ultimately brings them closer together. 
We Ship It by Lauren Kay - This contemporary rom-com contains fierce girl energy, exciting adventure, and awkwardness all in one! Perfectionist Olivia has a detailed plan for her life, and it certainly doesn’t involve going on a cruise and meeting a boy who–dare she say it–makes her feel like she can have fun. Do you ship it? We definitely do. 
House Party by various authors, edited by Justin A. Reynolds - A team of critically acclaimed POC authors deliver a fresh collection of interconnected stories that follows a group of teens saying goodbye to high school and hello to life’s next chapter, whatever that may be–but not without throwing the most epic house party first!
Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler - This is another novel in the alternate timeline genre that you don’t want to miss! Natalya has 24 hours to decide between two options: stay in NYC for the summer with her dad and go for the girl she’s always wanted, or travel to LA to be with her estranged mom and meet the guy she never saw coming. How do you choose? She can’t, and so both summers end up playing out in coexisting realities. Turns out, there’s more than one path to happily ever after. 


Young Adult Graphic Novels
Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story by Sarah Kuhn - Lois Lane didn’t come to play! And in this graphic novel, it’s not all about Superman. The ambitious small town girl tackles a summer in the city as a corporate intern, but when her boss demotes her to coffee-fetcher, her career plans go awry. However, as Lois uncovers a dramatic scandal, she comes to discover what she really wants and learns to embrace life’s messiness. 
Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Booth - Heartstopper fans, this one’s for you! This imaginative retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy full of star-crossed love and mistaken identities takes place at a high school, where the main character gets roped into helping plan the Twelfth Grade Night dance. What she also doesn’t expect? Getting roped into a love triangle. 
Sunshine by Jarrett J. Krosoczka - In this sequel to memoir Hey, Kiddo, Jarrett brings his audience back to Camp Sunshine, a place for ill and disabled kids and their families, where he spends the summer as a camp counselor. Through meeting extraordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, he learns about the freedom a safe space can bring. 
Other Ever Afters by Melanie Gillman - In this fantasy collection with a twist, fairytale characters who have typically sat on the sidelines now take center stage through retellings of classic stories. What if your one true love wasn’t who you expected? Or what if the definition of  “happily ever after” took on a whole different meaning? 
Squire by Nadia Shammas - In this alternative historical fiction, Aiza dreams of becoming a Knight, her only pathway to citizenship as part of a subjugated minority in the Bayt-Sajji Empire. Enlisting in the competitive Squire training program, Aiza finds it’s not what she expects, and she’s faced with choosing between her heritage and her loyalty to the Empire. 



Juvenile Fiction
The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan - Featuring two of the most popular characters in the Percy Jackson saga, demigods Will and Nico can overcome any obstacle or foe together…or at least, that’s been the case so far. But a few dreams and prophecies suggest trouble ahead, and it’ll be up to the pair to go on a challenging quest whether they like it or not. 
Ghosts, Toast, and Other Hazards by Susan Tan - This middle-grade novel is about a girl who must overcome her fears in order to discover the truth about her town’s urban legend. These fears may involve ghosts, and not toast per se, but things that can catch on fire, like toasters. Scary, right? But as battling these and other hazards opens up a rich world of history and answers to burning questions, she’ll have to learn to live life a little dangerously. 
Conjure Island by Eden Royce - Set on the coast of South Carolina comes a story of a girl forced to spend her summer with the great-grandmother she’s never met, only to discover that she runs a school for Southern conjure magic. Del knows this is going to be a weird summer, and not only that, she finds out the magic is actually real. Why had her family never told her about this place? Read to find out!
The Human Kaboom by Adam Rubin - From the author of Dragons Love Tacos comes another irresistibly, unpredictably fun ride with stories featuring different artists and–you guessed it–things that go “kaboom!” There’s plenty of mystery and mayhem, daring and danger, and yes, some explosions here and there. 
The Braid Girls by Sherri Winston - Business rivals, family drama, and a summer camp full of locs that need attention–sounds like a job for The Braid Girls! But the journey for Maggie to earn enough money for ballet lessons won’t be easy, and she’ll have to navigate surprising upheavals in her life, like the addition of a half-sister she’s never known. Maggie is determined to prove herself and her skills in this unforgettable novel about friendship, belonging, and fabulous hair. 


Juvenile Graphic Novels
Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo - All Sue wants is to just have a relaxing summer reading and making comics with her friends. Instead, she gets stuck traveling to Honduras to visit relatives, and the worst part is, there’s no Internet! The trip becomes even less ideal for Sue when her mother announces her plan to host a surprise quinceañera, which is the LAST thing Sue wants.
Grace Needs Space! by Benjamin A. Wilgus - In this exciting space adventure, Grace is ready to get away from her overbearing mother and take a journey to Titan for an important mission involving a delivery. But when things go sideways, it’s up to Grace to save the day, and she might have to recruit her mother for help. 
Hotel REM by Zack Keller - This delightful story arc reminiscent of Spirited Away and Hotel Transylvania features a magical hotel where the people and creatures in our dreams go to hang out after we wake up, and owner Rem attempts to run the business smoothly and handle the wild guests in order to make his parents proud. But what happens when a celebrity dream guest arrives and threatens to ruin everything he’s built?
Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz - Fans of Roller Girl and Smile will appreciate this graphic novel about two unlikely friends who save each other’s summers while solving their neighborhood’s biggest mysteries. While they’re on the case of a boy’s missing pet gecko and facing challenges, the girls must also work to solve an even greater mystery: what it means to be a friend. 
Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea by Dav Pilkey - Doggonit, Dav Pilkey’s done it again! In this latest installation, Dog Man and his feline sidekick are back to battle Piggy’s most diabolical plot yet, and they’ll do so in the most epic, heroic, action-packed way!



Easy Readers
*The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson - It’s summertime in the city, and that means playing double dutch and chasing ice cream trucks! In this exuberant and nostalgic children’s book, Brooklyn is the place to be, where a sunshine state of mind rules the streets!
*Mario’s Big Adventure by Mary Man-Kong - With the new Super Mario Bros. Movie now out, kids will be sure to love this easy reader with engaging characters and easy-to-follow plots. This is the perfect book for kids getting ready to read on their own!
When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling - For one young girl, summer is a special time full of mango jam, funny stories, and the company of her grandmother who comes to visit from the Philippines. This is a sweet cultural narrative evoking imagination and all five senses that makes for a wonderful multi-generational read. 
Oscar’s Tower of Flowers by Lauren Tobia - This wordless picture book for the little ones–featuring lots of green!--celebrates community, gardening, and sharing beauty with the world. When Oscar stays with his Nana for the summer, she shows him how to take care of plants and make them bloom!
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell - If you’re looking for another cute mermaid tale (pun intended), this is the one! Minnow has a million questions about what lies beyond the sea kingdom, and she embarks on a journey to answer those, while discovering her own remarkable skill: the gift of storytelling. 


*These books are currently not in our collection, but can be made available upon request. In the meantime, check out other books by these authors!



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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 fcl.org 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. https://hoopla.app.link/QS1ay0CSpxb


Find support for kids' and teens' mental health @hooplaDigital with eBooks created to teach and help young readers how to manage mental health. https://hoopla.app.link/f9Xs9WZSpxb


Discover helpful tips, tricks, and insights to help with managing stress and anxiety with these eBooks available on @hooplaDigital https://hoopla.app.link/WJy4gagTpxb


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. https://hoopla.app.link/QDGkVUwTpxb


Download the Hoopla app from our website here: https://fcl.org/phone-apps/home/



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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
Audiobooks 
Language learning materials 
Computer projectors and screens
Telescopes 
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
Microfilm
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 fcl.org 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. 




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Program Spotlight: May the Fourth Be With You! Star Wars Day at the Library


A long time ago in a library far, far away…


Okay, it was actually a short time ago at a library in this very town (hint: it’s us) that held probably one of the greatest events in the galaxy: Star Wars Day. So many of our patrons–and all of our staff–look forward to celebrating this day. It’s just one of those timeless cinematic creations that will remain relevant to pop culture and the kind of program people keep coming back to!


Star Wars Day entails displaying our favorite books and movies from the fandom all around the library, along with screening some of the beloved films. Another popular recurring activity is making miniature lightsabers using boba straws and finger lights! They turned out to be really effective glow-in-the-dark toys, and the kiddos loved them. Lightsaber battles may or may not have ensued. Here are a couple photos of how they turned out: 


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We also shot a Star Wars-themed Cookbook Corner video on our YouTube channel hosted by our Garden Programmer Erica (if you haven’t subscribed yet, you need to!). In this episode, Erica gives a step-by-step demonstration on how to make Yalbec Stingers, an appetizer fit for Admiral Snackbar and a recipe taken from the book Star Wars, The Life Day Cookbook: Official Holiday Recipes From a Galaxy Far, Far Away. A little behind-the-scenes footage: 


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Click on the link to watch the demo here: https://youtu.be/eKyijc74dZQ

You can also place a hold on the book here



In addition to that, we filmed two more videos on DIY Star Wars Coasters using cross-stitch patterns with our staff member Sawyer, who shows how to make the cutest little womp rat in the galaxy, Grogu, and a second choice of imperial perfection featuring Darth Vader. Patrons were able to pick up the take-and-make kit supplies at the front desk and learn from the comfort of their own homes! 


Click on this link to learn how to cross-stitch Grogu: https://youtu.be/bbA4BxB8IOQ 
Or click on this link to master a Jedi-level Darth Vader coaster: https://youtu.be/5zuj6N7SeMY 



As always, and even when it’s not May 4th, May the Fourth Be With You! Don’t forget to keep reading books: they’re our only hope ;)




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Community Spotlight: The Bookcase Project

The annual Bookcase Project is one of our most prominent community partnerships at the Faulkner County Library that we look forward to every year. Collaborating with the Conway Kiwanis Club and the Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA), our library serves as a distribution center for the sets of personalized bookcases and book starter kits that 50 Head Start children from disadvantaged backgrounds receive to help them succeed in their education and development of literacy skills. 


The Project, entering its 19th consecutive year, is a volunteer-led initiative founded by Jim Davidson in 2005, the nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist and author who saw a need to fulfill in Arkansas. Noticing the lower literacy rates at the local level, Davidson sought to implement a program that would aid in expanding opportunities for families and their children to have access to books. “We will never improve the problem of illiteracy in our nation, until we make reading a top priority in the homes of America again,” Davidson stated. 


Over time, organizations like Kiwanis began to get involved, leading to a statewide endeavor where children ages 3-5 are encouraged to begin reading in order to better ensure their future success, both professionally and personally. During October, The Bookcase Banquet serves as the primary source of funding for the construction of the bookcases. The banquet is also where status updates on our state’s literacy rates are shared, and committee members of the Bookcase Project Board, including our own Library Director, convene to inform the Department of Education of progress in their districts and celebrate milestones. 


The books and bookcases aren’t the only things the Head Start children are gifted with, either. Each bookcase is labeled with a nameplate of the recipient, and the books come with personalized bookmarks plus a stuffed animal to accompany as a reading buddy. This year, the children got to take home adorable unicorns and puppies with them. 


Since the Project’s founding, over 900 bookcases and starter kit sets have been awarded to preschoolers in Faulkner County. According to a research brief released by Amplify on February 16, 2022, the number of students nationally in grades K-5 at risk of not learning to read has increased during the pandemic. “The purpose of our literacy initiative is to reverse this trend and reduce the percentage of students who need additional support in reading,” said Richard S. Plotkin, chair of the Bookcase Project. 


Now in 2023, 50 more kids from Conway, Greenbrier, and Southside schools are getting the support they need. Check out these wholesome, heartwarming photos from the event below! 🦄 🐶 📚 


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