January 2021
I'm Not Crying, You're Crying!
Since this newsletter is sent from an unmonitored account, if you hit reply, you will receive an automated response and staff will not see what you sent. Those messages sit in an archive box, neglected.

I recently changed our newsletter distribution service. During the transition, I stumbled on those archived, neglected messages. What I found was a treasure trove of library love notes. Messages of support for our COVID-19 response and messages stating how much you missed us while we were closed. You told us what you’ve been reading. You told us how excited you are for the library’s expansion. You told us you shared Kaitlin’s craft videos with your children and grandchildren and virtual classrooms. You shared your concern for staff during closure, offering to sew us masks and bring us food! You wished us safety, and most of all, you expressed your patience, knowing we are doing all we can to get the library back to some sort of normal as soon as safely possible.

So, please excuse the outpour of emotion this librarian is experiencing today. Y'all are just the best and as much as this past year was just awful, my 2020 word of the year is “gratitude.”

Thank you!
Expansion Updates
Our expansion project hit a snag after a delay with the removal of a power pole. This week, Consumers Energy buried the line and removed the pole. Now our excavators can continue the foundation work and we are steps closer to a bigger library!

If you would like to contribute to our building fund, visit http://donate.benzieshoreslibrary.org/
Library Services Update

As of this writing, Benzie County has an 11% COVID-19 positivity rate (source: Benzie Leelanau Health Department). The library is still in Stage 4 of its Reopening Plan, which is open to the public but with limited services. Under the most recent MDHHS restrictions, we are operating at 30% capacity, which is no more than 15 people (including staff) in the building at a time. We also have a strict time limit of no more than 45 minutes inside the building, and encourage patrons to spend as little time as necessary. Our winter/COVID hours are:
Mondays 10 am to 6 pm
Tuesdays 10 am to 6 pm
Wednesdays 10 am to 4 pm
Thursdays 10 am to 4 pm
Fridays 10 am to 4 pm
Saturdays- by appointment 10 am to 12 pm
For scheduling purposes, appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance. To schedule an appointment, call 231-352-4671 or email bsdl@benzieshoreslibrary.org
Did you know you can check THINGS out from the Benzie Shores District Library? We are ringing in 2021 by adding Science and Technology kits for ages 7 and up. We have kits for Coding, Electricity, Chemistry, and more! These kits are made possible thanks to Newtons Road Traverse Area District Library and the Institute for Museum and Library Services!
Happy New Year! For the first time in recent memory, I actually had some time to read over the holidays! In addition to my usual diet of poetry (over break, I read poems by T.S. Eliot, Lord Byron, and W.H. Auden) I also found time to indulge in some lighter reading in the form of our newly added Colassal Edition of ATTACK ON TITAN by Hajime Isayama. This Japanese manga centers on a society that is forced to battle with a race of giant, emotionless, man-eating humanoids. Its mix of horror and action elements keeps the reader on their toes for the entirety of the series, but the beginning is especially engaging. If you can get used to reading backwards (it takes some practice but it’s easier than you’d think!) it’s as entertaining a book as any! As for non-illustrated reading material, I have been reading a lot of Ian McEwan. His measured, cerebral, and sometimes absurdist plots can be slow at times, but are always deeply fascinating. His book AMSTERDAM stood out both for its honest depiction of long-lost romance as well as for its hilarious approach to violence, death, success and jealousy. It didn’t hurt that one of the catalyzing characters was named Molly, either.

During the holidays I finally had a turn with Louise Penny's latest, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE. I have followed this series from the start and have never been disappointed. I love Penny's characters and the development of their relationships as the series progresses. This storyline finds Armand Gamache and his Reine Marie in Paris with family -- shedding light on Gamache's early life -- and facing struggles of the past. Of course, there is a murder to be solved and it is certainly solved with characteristic insight and intrigue.
For most of us the restrictions to what we would consider our normal lives have created some stress and the need for release. I let myself get lost in the first 2 books of a series by Paula Brackston, THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS and THE SECRETS OF THE CHOCOLATE HOUSE. Both could be considered historical romance novels similar to Outlander but not as historically detailed. The novels are a nice escape...open the book...buy into the possibility and enjoy!

In anticipation of not one, but TWO four day weekends in a row, I brought home a huge stack of books to read. I was overly optimistic about my reading time and only managed to read one book, THE QUEENS OF ANIMATION by Nathalia Holt. This was by far one of the most enjoyable books I have read in some time. Holt puts to page the unacknowledged role women had in the early stages of Walt Disney Studios. This book will appeal to any Disney or animation fan (full disclosure: I am a card carrying member of D23, the official Disney fan club), but the deep dive into the mid-century discrimination of women in the workplace follows the theme of Holt's other book RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS.
This holiday season I read THE AMELIA SIX, a middle grade mystery novel by Kristin L. Gray. This story follows 6 prize winners staying the night at Amelia Earhart's childhood home. A blizzard rages outside, while inside Amelia's flight goggles have been stolen and their host incapacitated leaving the prize winners to rise above their suspicions of one another and solve the crime before it is too late. Featuring secret passageways, a CPR dummy, a rubix cube expert, and a very intelligent pet rat. A wonderful mystery with a focus on women in science and aviation. Highly recommended for all ages!
Our staff wish you a happy new year and lots of reading time!
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