Friday, December 6, 2019

Ready to Go Book Display: 20 for 2020

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are showcasing books that feature "twenty" in the title to celebrate 2020!

Adult Recommendations

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (July 2009)
Entreated by the bossy ghost of her great aunt to track down a missing necklace, Lara Lington finds her search challenged by her floundering start-up business, her best friend's defection, and her unfaithful boyfriend.

Twenty Questions by Alison Clement (Jul 2006)
Shocked by a local murder involving the parents of two students, cafeteria worker June visits the victim's home, becomes a mother figure to the victim's orphaned daughter, and discovers a shocking truth that jeopardizes her own marriage.

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch (Jun 2016)
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure - until the death of their ringleaders and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at the same house on the eve of what would have been Bea's fortieth birthday.

20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak (Jul 2006)
After a drunken orgy with her ex-boss, who had fired her the day before, Delilah Darling, obsessed with the fact that she has had sex with twenty men, tries to track down the men and make it work with one of them.

The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria (Jan 2017)
An investigator navigates a netherworld of occultists as he tries to connect unexplained events to an underground library of the past, where lonely citizens had met to read one another's dairies - an endeavor that had led to nighttime massacres and the Library's erasure from history.

Twenty by Debra Landwehr Engle (Jan 2020)
Meg may have just 20 days left to live, but as she sets her life in order, she re-discovers the warmth of family, the surprise of romance, the healing power of letting go and the pure joy of being.

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (Nov 2013)
While chasing after powerful mobster Salvatore "Uncle Sunny" Sunucchi, who is on the lam, New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum must help security specialist Ranger catch the killer of his top client's mother as a giraffe named Kevin runs wild in the streets of Trenton.

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir (May 2002)
The daughter of a former aide to the king of Morocco, who was executed after a failed assassination attempt on the ruler, describes how she, her five siblings, and her mother were imprisoned in a desert penal colony for twenty years.

Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber (Apr 2008)
Thirty-eight-year-old widow Anne Marie Roche, the owner of a successful bookstore on Seattle's Blossom Street, creates a list of twenty wishes, along with several other widows, and, while acting upon her wishes, becomes involved with an eight-year-old girl named Ellen who helps her complete her list - with unexpected results.

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan (Jan 2002)
A novel set against the exotic backdrop of the Mughal dynasty of sixteenth-century India chronicles the life and times of Mehrunnisa, an intelligent, ambitious, and beautiful young woman who became one of India's legendary heroines.

Teen Recommendations

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (Jun 2009)
While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best friends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna's first kiss, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

The First Twenty by Jennifer Lavoie (May 2015)
Peyton lives with others in what used to be a factory. When her adopted father is murdered by Scavengers, she is determined to bring justice to those who took him away from her. She didn't count on meeting Nixie.

Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford (Apr 2016)
Gloria longs for adventure, something beyond her ordinary suburban life. When a mysterious new boy strolls into school, bent on breaking all the rules, Gloria is ready to fall under his spell. But Uman is not all he seems. And by the time she learns the truth about him, she's a long way from home.

Kid Recommendations

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley (Apr 2016)
Going to bed early after spending a busy day at the beach with her family, Lucy wakes up in the middle of the night to find that her imagination leads her to see things differently in the dark.

20 Hungry Piggies by Trudy Harris (Jan 2007)
The wolf from "The Three Little Pigs" shows up at a party attended by lots of piggies, but his plans for dinner are disrupted by the pigs from "This Little Piggy Went to Market."

1 to 20, Animals Aplenty by Katie Viggers (Apr 2014)
Teaches young readers to count from one to twenty using simple text and animal illustrations.

See how the punctuation marks you use (and where you put them) can completely change the meaning of what you write.

Counting 1 to 20 (Feb 2014)
Introduces young readers to the numbers one through twenty, providing images of animals that represent each number, from one ape to twenty ladybugs.

Twenty Heartbeats by Dennis Haseley (Apr 2008)
After waiting for decades for the portrait of his prize horse to be finished, an angry rich man decides to confront the artist.

Twenty Gold Falcons by Amy Gordon (Feb 2010)
Twelve-year-old Aiden is very unhappy when, after her father's death, her mother moves them from the family farm, but soon she and new friends are caught up in the search for long-lost coins in the historic Ingle building that towers over the city of Gloria.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Annual Gratitude Article

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.” - Willard Scott

Every year at this time, we here at 5 Minute Librarian like to take a moment to express our gratitude for the wonderful things we have in our lives, both personal and professional. You can read our past years' gratitude here: 201520162017, and 2018

As always, we are extremely grateful to our readers, without whom we wouldn't have been able to keep writing for so long. It warms our hearts to see people commenting and sharing our articles, so please keep it up! 

Kat L., Children's Librarian:

  1. I am extremely grateful that I have a job that I love. My Director is fabulous and encourages me to think outside the box and push my creativity. My coworkers are awesome, I get to do something different every day, and it's generally a wonderful place to work. Having worked in some not-so-wonderful places, I am very aware of what I have here.
  2. At-A-Glance calendars, colored pens, and fun office supplies. I love being able to flip to a month in my calendar and quickly see what I am doing (green), what my assistant is doing (purple), what days our reading dogs are coming in (blue) and when I have meetings (orange). It probably sounds silly, but it makes things so easy when they're color-coded! I also have stickers all over my calendar, and fun office supplies abound. Sure, everyone has post-it flags, but how many of you have kitten mermaid ones?
  3. Do you know how many flavors of tea there are in the world? LOTS. I am on a mission to drink them all. Tea not only has health and stress-relieving benefits, but it's delicious and has zero calories. 

Allison C., Teen Librarian

  1. I'm super grateful for I was able to use our Friends' 501(c)(3) credentials, to get a free upgraded account for our Library. It's super easy to create beautiful social media posts, Facebook headers, graphics for our event calendar and even library signage. You can also have a team so that other library staff can collaborate on designs. And since it's all saved online, I can easily access it from any computer in the library.
  2. Another site I'm loving is It's great for scheduling social media posts in advance. The free version allows you to schedule 30 posts in advance (think 30 Facebook posts or 10 posts to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). Our library upgraded to the paid version so that I have unlimited scheduled posts. It really comes in handy for the summer when I can schedule out weeks or months worth of posts before I'm too busy to post daily.
  3. Work-wise, the biggest thing I'm grateful for this year is that my library has finally broken ground for our expansion and renovation project. Our library is going from a place with no program space to having a whole teen space and teen program room (among lots of other great additions). I can't wait until our teens can start enjoying it!


  1. I am so excited about e-passes! Our library offers one for the local science museum and I was able to request it online (on a Sunday night), it was emailed to me, and I immediately used it Monday morning, before my library even opened. It could not have been any easier! More of these, please!
  2.  I love public library and school collaborations. Our school is in the process of changing their curriculum from reading one book of anthologies to having a variety of books of different age levels. Not only are our teachers getting teacher cards to help add more books for kids to use, but the library director also offered all of the leftover books from the book sale for the teachers to use. It is a win-win for everyone.
  3. Lastly, I am super grateful for my colleagues, Kat and Allison. This has been a rough year for me and they have stepped up and kept 5minlib going. There is no 5minlib without you two. Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, and passion. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Kid Kits for Big Topics

The act of browsing is a wonderful thing. You can take your time to pick the entirely right story that will work with your mood. This is particularly wonderful in the children's room - giving a child their choice of book will help ensure that they enjoy the reading of it, because it is their book. Of course, there are times when browsing just isn't possible, and there are times when you need a book on a specific topic. Enter the Kid Kit - these kits are curated collections of titles on various topics, from potty training to the death of a pet, which are ready when you need them.

At my library, we have a large selection of kits, which are shelved all together. The topics can be divided, for the most part, into three major categories. (Why the division? For collection development purposes, I find it easier to mentally separate them so that they aren't overwhelming.) I'm going to list our topics here, to show you the broad range of things you can make kits for, but please don't take this as a call to make every single one of these. It's just to give you ideas.

Major Life Events

If you're a parent and you're already dealing with a major life event, you want to be able to grab a few books to explain it to your children and hit the road. Of course, some of these events (death of a loved one, for example) are more major than others (going to the dentist), but they are all new experiences for children. We have book kits about:
  • Adoption
  • Aging (as in, dementia)
  • Dealing with Cancer
  • Death of a Loved One
  • Death of a Pet
  • Divorce
  • Going to the Hospital
  • Going on a Plane
  • Going to the Dentist
  • Going to the Doctor
  • Military Families
  • Moving
  • New Sibling
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Starting Kindergarten
  • Starting School
  • Tooth Fairy

Help With Behavior

Behavioral problems aren't because a child is bad, of course. They may just need some help and reminders about things (spoiler: we don't bite our friends), or some help with confidence. Our topics include:
  • Afraid of Dogs
  • Bad Behavior
  • Being Patient
  • Feeling Afraid
  • Manners
  • Needing Attention
  • Self Esteem and Confidence

Learning New Things

It's always wonderful to learn a new skill! Whether it's tying your shoes or using the potty, or reading folktales from around the world, we have you covered. Our kits are: 
  • Adding and Subtracting
  • Colors and Shapes
  • Cinderella Stories
  • Fire Safety
  • Folktales from Around the World
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Four Seasons
  • Multiplying and Dividing
  • On the Farm
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Safety
  • Tying Your Shoes
  • Weather


Of course, there are a few kits that don't strictly fall into these guidelines, but are important enough to have kits about. 
  • All Kinds of Families (LGBTQIA+, single parents, etc.)
  • Autism (both for children who have it, or who know someone that does)
  • Differing Abilities (includes books about Deafness, blindness, Down Syndrome, etc.)
  • Extended Families (cousins, grandparents, etc.)
  • Gender Roles and Equality (including transgender children)

What They Look Like

Of course, your kits may look absolutely different from mine, but at my library, we have them in blue canvas bags, which hang next to the green canvas bags (books with CDs). Each bag has a barcode and a clear label of the topic, as well as a label listing the contents of the kit (top right).

There are actually two stickers that have the call number - in this case, J KIT GOING TO THE DOCTOR. We have one in the top left corner, and another on the left edge, so when you are flipping through the hanging kits, it's easily visible.

We also have a label that clearly and cheerfully says "KID KITS," so you know exactly what you're getting. 

The sticker on the bottom right has the library's name and address. 

Each book in the kit also has a label on it, clearly marking this book as part of the kit, so if it is returned separate from the rest of it, we know right away.

This kit has 5 books in it, which is about average. Some kits have more, and some have less, depending on the topic. They were recently updated to include newer titles, and some have familiar characters (in this case, Pete the Kitty and Daniel Tiger). 

What Do You Think?

We know every library has their own way of doing things, and we hope you share your tips and tricks with us here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter

Friday, November 1, 2019

In Defense Of Decorating For Every Holiday

Perhaps it's just me, but between taking down the bats and pumpkins and putting up the turkeys and other pumpkins, I sometimes take a moment to consider: do I really have to decorate for EVERY holiday? But then I get back to work and tack up another cornucopia because: yes. You might not find it necessary, but I think it's worthwhile to decorate for everything. I've compiled a list of my thoughts on the subject, which I will share with you today. This does not only include wall art and decorations, but also displays and bulletin boards. (Please note that, while I believe this about the entire library, I am - to be fair - a children's librarian.)

We Want To Be Relevant

When many people think of libraries, they think of buildings full of dusty, old books. Of course, these people are incorrect, but what better way to prove that we are currently relevant than to be as current as this very week? Yes, we care about being up to date! Take away that Halloween candy, it's old news - it's Thanksgiving season now!

We Want To Be Friendly

It's hard to be angry when you're surrounded by happy things, and creating an environment full of cheer is helpful for those who tend to lean toward the grumpy side of life. Of course, some people will be stressed and unhappy no matter what you do, but for the majority of people, a cheerful, welcoming environment helps relieve some of life's tensions. According to scientists, "the nostalgia associated with festive decorations reminds people of when they were children with no responsibilities."

This same study mentions that people who decorate the outside of their homes for the holidays are seen as "more friendly and cohesive" than their neighbors who do not decorate. Our goal as librarians is to create an environment that people want to visit and use, and if sticking a pilgrim hat on the turtle tank will make that happen, I am all for it. As I tell patrons who are overly worried about a 25 cent fine, "this is a happy place."

We Want To Be Inclusive

Halloween is the most popular holiday in October in my part of the world, but it's not the only one. I had up a small display of books about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and every single book was checked out! Several parents were surprised we had any books about Diwali at all, and more than one family expressed gratitude that their holiday was represented.

Of course, it's impossible to celebrate every single holiday, but we can do our best to make sure that all of the most important celebrations are noted. The choice is yours: would you rather celebrate absolutely everything, or nothing at all?

We Want To Be The Third Place 

American sociologist Ray Oldenberg wrote in his book The Great Good Place that people in productive societies need to have a third place - not work, not home - "where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances." Whether this is the neighborhood coffee shop, the barber shop, the local park -- or, perhaps, the library! -- this place can be integral for people's mental well-being. The idea is that people have no obligation to be here, but they want to be. What better way than to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere?

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with Kat? Let us know here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Literary Ghosts We Love

October is the spookiest month, and a perfect time to have some fun! Last year, we showed you our favorite Spooky Fictional Libraries, and this year we at 5 Minute Librarian wanted to share with you some of our very favorite literary ghosts.

Image result for jacob marley basil
Basil Rathbone as Jacob Marley, 1954
Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Sure, there are more famous ghosts in this title, but Jacob Marley is where it all begins. He's the one who earned his ghostly shackles and is warning Scrooge of his doom by demonstrating exactly how bad things can get.

Image result for moaning myrtle illustration
Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle, 2002
Moaning Myrtle 
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hogwarts is chock full of ghosts to choose from, but arguably none as memorable as the girl who was killed in the toilets and haunts the castle's pipes. She's also one of the few characters who befriends both Harry and Draco!

Related image
Cynthia Garris as Mrs. Massey in The Shining TV series, 1997

Mrs. Massey (The Bathtub Ghost)
The Shining by Stephen King
There's a good reason to stay out of Room 217 at the Overlook Hotel. Danny Torrance finds this out one day when he decides to explore, and ends up meeting Mrs. Massey in the tub - who then tries to strangle and kill him! Mrs. Massey is the newest of the Overlook's ghosts, having committed suicide just a few years before the story is set. (Sure, the creepy twins may be the most memorable from the movie, but Mrs. Massey was the one in the book that we were afraid of.)

Image result for headless horseman
The Headless Horseman, in miniature, as a Halloween decoration.
The Headless Horseman
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
American folklore specifies that the Headless Horseman was a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball during the Battle of White Plains in the American Revolution. He was buried without his head, and his ghosts wanders the world searching for it. He was immortalized around the world when he pursued Ichabod Crane late one autumn night.

Billy Boyd as Banquo
Billy Boyd as Banquo, 2014
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Three witches tell Macbeth that he will be king, and that Banquo will not but his son will be, so Macbeth sees him as a threat and has him murdered. He shows up later at a feast, scaring Macbeth out of his wits and hastening his descent into madness. We like him because, if we were killed, eternity haunting at a feast sounds pretty good.

Image result for anya's ghost emily
Ghost of Emily in "Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Emily is, at first, a friendly, helpful spirit to Anya, who is lonely after just having moved to town. Of course, she gets less friendly and demure and much more vengeful as time goes on, making this graphic novel super creepy and amazing.

Aragorn-Dead army
Aragon and the Dead Men of Dunharrow, Lord of the Rings, 2001
The Dead Men of Dunharrow
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
They were oath-breakers, men who abandoned their promise to Isildur to fight with him in a war, and cursed to remain on Middle-earth until they could make it right. Aragon, heir of Isildur, was able to call upon their aid and finally release them from their oath. But seriously, can you imagine being in a battle and suddenly an entire army of unkillable warriors is fighting against you?

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna is still wearing the bloody white dressed she wore the day she was murdered in 1958. She's killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home, sometimes literally tearing them apart. She's so creepy.


Image result for death
Image of Death from Wikimedia Commons
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
Though not technically a ghost, the narrator of this book from his point of view is particularly creepy when you know that it takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ready to Go Book Display: Black Friday

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are showcases books for a Black Friday display with a twist: titles with the word Black in them!

Recommendations for Adults:

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates (Aug 2015)

One game. Six students. Five survivors. It was only ever meant to be a game played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University; a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal and more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Sep 2018)

Unexpectedly chosen to be a family manservant, an 11-year-old Barbados sugar-plantation slave is initiated into a world of technology and dignity before a devastating betrayal propels him throughout the world in search of his true self.

Black Sun by Owen Matthews (Jul 2019)

Days before the test of the world's largest nuclear device, a KGB officer in 1961 Russia investigates the murder of the bomb's architect, unraveling a conspiracy that poses apocalyptic threats. 

A former top CIA executive and media pundit shares previously undisclosed details about the September 11 attacks and how the CIA developed enhanced interrogation techniques and other controversial initiatives under wrenching circumstances.

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun (Mar 2014)

Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can still sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

Recommendations for Teens:

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today - Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it's like to be young and Black in America.

Black Butler by Yana Toboso (Dec 2013)

Just a stone's throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria's faithful servant... and a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master's wishes. There apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true... or at least, too good to be human.

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (May 2017)

Elloren Gardner, the granddaughter of the last Black Witch, lacks her grandmother's powers in a society that covets magic ability above all else. In an attempt to escape the shadow of her grandmother's legacy she heads to school with her brothers to learn to become an apothecary.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Nov 2012)

Ash, a sixteen-year-old twin-blood who sells his addictive venom, "Haze," to support his dying mother, and Natalie, the daughter of a diplomat, discover their mysterious - and forbidden - connection in the Black City, where humans and Darklings struggle to rebuild after a brutal war.

Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch (Jul 2016)

Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories.

Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland (Oct 2019)

Everyone has a soul, and soulwalkers - like Kamai and her mother - can journey into other people's souls while they sleep. But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it. When tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

Recommendations for Children: 

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot (Oct 2019)

Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance is in a rock band with her two best friends and has a good relationship with her mom, but when a mysterious figure threatens her friends and family, she learns more about herself and her mother's secret past.

Black Cat, White Cat by Claire Garralon (Jun 2016)

Black Cat, who lives in a white house, and White Cat, who lives in a black house, become friends but must find a more colorful place to play together.

Black Belt Bunny by Jacky Davis (Jul 2017)

Black Belt Bunny is good at sidekicks, backflips, and air chops, but when told he must learn to make a salad, he resists, only to be unexpectedly empowered by himself and the narrator. 

Young, Gifted, and Black by Jamia Wilson (Feb 2018)

Join us on a journey across borders, through time and even through space to meet 52 icons of color from the past and present in a celebration of achievement. 

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (Oct 2014)

Who says princesses don't wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas (Sep 2017)

Eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez finds herself in possession of a strange new pet that swallows up everything in sight when a black hole decides to follow her home.

Not Quite Black and White by Jonathan Ying (Sep 2016)

Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? These black and white animals are not all quite black and white.