New Staff Picks…and more!

It’s been good seeing you back in the library! We have been keeping busy by wrapping up the Summer Learning Challenge and handing out books, prizes, and certificates. The books nominated for the 2021 Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill awards are also on their designated shelves ready to be checked out.

(or click on a page below for the link to the list:)

And next to that bookshelf are the newly updated Staff Picks-books, audiobooks, and e-books…also listed on a handy bookmark!

Several times throughout the year, each of your Youth Department friends choose a few books that we like or that we think you might like to read. This time again, we have included titles that can be found online, as well as books you can come in and check out. Here is our summer list for you to enjoy:

Remember to find us online here with storytimes and activities:

The NLPL website also has links to Summer Programs and past videos for you to access for your viewing pleasure!

Click on this link

to open this link….

Are you enjoying your summer? Let us know how it’s going when you stop in. We’re eager to see you and hear what you’ve been up to!

It’s a mystery to me…

Mystery Bags are the newest addition to Youth Services! We have been filling requests since Curbside Pickup started in June. Just call, answer a few questions, and we will put together a bag of surprises! As soon as they are ready you will be notified to pick them up from the hold area shelves. Give it a try for something a little different… our picks for you!

There are also some additions and updates to our website. One thing you will see is the library tour, which goes over some changes and precautions we are taking to keep everyone safe with reopening. Just click on the arrow to watch.

Take the tour!

Also on the page you will see a “Books and Services” tab. This is not new, but is worth a look to find different resources or discover more reading choices. I’ve highlighted a few topics such as Anti-racism Resources, What Do I Read Next?, and Award Winning Books. Our e-Books & Digital Resources and Homework Help are here as well…lots of features to explore!

There are tabs listing resources for all ages:

These Illinois Readers’ Choice Award Books have a designated area in the library, too:

Several options are available in the What Do I Read Next? section to help you find similar themes, topics, or genres:

Remember, we are open now, and excited to have you visit us again-with social distancing! Should I retire my owl friends? I think I’ll still post them because we have missed you and hope to see you soon!

Summer Suggestions…

The NLPL Summer Reading Challenge is underway with a different look this year. First of all, we will be missing your smiling faces when you would normally be visiting us to turn in your reading logs! However, that shouldn’t keep you from reading and sending your completed logs as shown on our website. Just think how proud your teachers will be, and us too!

The more you read-or complete activities, the more raffle entries you can earn! Just print another sheet and send it in. All of the activities will help keep your learning skills sharp over the summer, but my favorite activity on the list is still reading.

I love sitting outside when the weather is nice with a good book, or curling up in my favorite chair and reading when it’s rainy, or reading in bed before dozing off for the night. Perhaps out in a tent like this guy? If you have a hard time deciding what to read, why not make a game out of it?

Below are several different “reading bingo” sheets. You can make your own,any size you’d like too. Use these for inspiration to print to get started. Or make it smaller by changing it to Tic-Tac-Toe…or look for books about a specific color…or make a card with different genres…lots of possibilities! has a printable sheet and resources to find books:

The Chirping Moms have a great set of 3 different cards for more fun ideas:

Here’s one more to print or look over for ideas:

Now you can start thinking of all the different kinds of books you may want to read this summer to keep exercising your brain and for fun. Check our NLPL website often for virtual summer programs and any news we have for you!. Enjoy summer, stay well, and we hope to see you soon!

Here they are…Staff Picks and Summer Reading Challenge Links!

Reading at home has looked a little different the past few months. We have depended on technology and our devices more than ever! This installment of Staff Picks features our online resources: Libby, Overdrive, Axis 360, Tumblebooks, RBdigital, BiblioBoard, and Audio Book Cloud.

In case you missed it, the Summer Learning Challenge is ready to go! Get started by going to the NLPL website to find the information you need:

Register here:

And here’s a peek at the youth activity tracking log:

Have fun, stay safe, and check back soon for some creative ways to complete your challenges!

Kids Kindness: Part 2

Time to share a few more ways to spread kindness & joy, or just put out a positive vibe. Last year’s summer reading kickoff featured a “Kindness Rocks” activity. This quote is from last year’s project: “What is a kindness rock? Kindness rocks are rocks painted with a positive message or image and are then put in a public space either locally or taken on vacation with you. They are placed in plain sight so that they can be spotted easily. The goal is to put a smile on someone else’s face and watch kindness spread. Once you find an “nlplrocks” rock, we encourage you to reshare and put it in another space. Keep the kindness going!” In case you need a few instructions, try the Guide to Painting Rocks at

Some neighborhoods are sharing books with little libraries or safely trading books with classmates and neighbors. Others have turned the little libraries into a little free pantry, or put out snacks for delivery people, postal workers, and neighbors. These ideas are featured at along with various resources for helpful articles and activities. Even though it is written for the Seattle area, there are good ideas here.

Neighborhood dancing or sing-alongs are also good ways to spread cheer.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 21: Toby and Mackenzie Glennon dance on the sidewalk in front of their house during neighborhood dance party on North 16th Street in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, March 21, 2020. Their mother Shelly Glennon started the ritual as a daily relief from the stress of dealing with the coronavirus stay-at-home order. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Another cool idea I found was to coordinate a teddy bear hunt in the neighborhood. First, read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Then spread the word and have your friends and neighbors place a teddy bear somewhere in a window, on a porch, or in their yard and get ready to start hunting! This could easily be adapted to be a rainbow or heart or color search…the sky is the limit with setting up this creative adventure! Read all about it at

Enjoy the Youtube video of the author, Michael Rosen, reading to you:

Or, you’ll be able to check it out from the library soon:

Please visit the New Lenox Library Homepage to read all the details about curbside check-out starting in the near future…hooray!!!

Stay safe, and as always…..

Kids Kindness…

Here we are into another month of sheltering in place. As you stroll through your neighborhood, look around to see if April showers really did bring May flowers. The warmer days will allow us to spend more time outdoors whether it’s gardening, playing, or visiting via social distancing. There have been many stories in the news and in conversations with friends & family about the different ways people…and kids…are reaching out to share a little joy and kindness with each other. This post will highlight a few things you could do with your family and neighbors.

Kindness kisses from Arizona!

Chalk art, messages, and games- whether on fences, driveways or sidewalks- are all ways to leave positive messages to anyone passing by. Why not use this opportunity to encourage others to join in random fun? There are even fun ways to learn!

Some people have created sensory or exercise activities with sidewalk chalk. There are a ton of ideas in the links below:

No chalk? No problem! You can make your own sidewalk chalk with a few ingredients you probably have at home. Here are 2 recipes to try:

For a different twist, try setting up a “silly walk” zone…then sit back and laugh as people participate from

You have no doubt seen many websites and links to help with keeping children engaged and learning while at home, but here is one more for you.

This parenting site has quite a few links to for virtual visits and activities to investigate:

I have a few more ideas to share, so check back for Kids Kindness, Part 2. Remember to visit us online for our own activities and updates while you stay safe! Hope to see you soon…..


The weather is warming up, and my thoughts turn to gardening and outdoor activities in the dirt! I love watching trees and plants as they begin their new growth season. One sure sign of spring’s arrival is the return of weeds in my garden! Getting out in the garden and flower beds to pull weeds is a necessary first step before any kind of planting, so that can be a starting point for outdoor activities. The good news is that it is possible to start gardening as we “shelter in place” without making a trip to garden centers. Visit these websites for inspiration:

Easy to read infographic from Food Revolution Network

You can always try experimenting with the science projects seen here:

Don’t let the fun and creativity stop with gardening! Set up an easy outdoor play space with relatively few supplies to “grow” your imagination. Click on the photos below for suggestions and information at The Imagination Tree:

There are many different ideas and how-to’s at The Empowered Educator to design some backyard exploration areas:

A garden game can also be garden art!

Visit our online e-book collection for books available online. Don’t forget there are links to access these resources and a help button if needed!

This is a small section of the search I did for gardening. There are many choices, both fiction and non-fiction, when you enter “gardening” in the search bar.

Be sure to take pictures of any projects you might try to share with us when we welcome you back! Good luck, stay healthy, and hopefully we will see you soon!

Missin’ my peeps….

As you read this, I’m sure you are well aware that we are “sheltering in place” and looking for ways to stay connected. The Youth Services department -and the whole library- is keeping in touch with virtual meetings, emails, texts, etc., to think of ways to reach out and support you. We miss you…our peeps! There are so many things available online to help everyone stay engaged and active. I will post a few things today with a short description of what you can find if you click on the link. Our own New Lenox Library has so much to offer online, so I hope you are exploring our website as well! Be sure to visit the online resources and e-books we have available to you. A previous blog tells you about Libby and our website has easy step-by-step instructions about how to access the digital library.

Below is a blog from one of my librarian friends in the school district where I previously worked. She and her colleague have put together a tremendous page- called Library Bookends– of daily live author/illustrator read-alouds. Be sure to visit them each day, along with their resource tab for many other ideas and activities….a big, happy thanks to Steph & Mary!

Here is an example of a video from beloved author/illustrator Mo Willems that I found in their blog:

If you’ve read some of my past postings, you know I have a special place for the Forest Preserve of Will County. Their website has some kid-friendly activities for you too.

The Joliet YMCA also has kid activities on their website with fun things to do with materials you probably have around the house:

A scavenger hunt, whether outdoors or indoors, is always a creative exercise. Have mom or dad, grams or gramps, or whomever you are sheltering with look around for one to try. Below are just a few images of some scavenger hunts searching Bing, Google, and Pinterest….or better yet, make up your own for someone in your family!

Here’s one to get your ideas flowing:

Check back soon for more resources for you to investigate. The Library has a Facebook and Instagram account for your caregivers with frequent updates, so visit those when you can! Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy, and stay connected! Most of all, remember…

Always after me lucky charms…☘🌈

“Tis the season when everyone is a wee bit Irish with the wearin’ o’ the green…but enough of this blarney, here’s a quick post about St. Patrick Day facts, festivities, and fun!

To start out with facts, you can learn about St. Patrick’s Day at the History Channel link below:

National Geographic for Kids also has some information to help explain this holiday:

And for good measure, here’s one more site to visit to explore the customs and traditions:

Now that you’ve done a little research, it’s time to zero in on those pesky leprechauns and their gold. has facts galore about leprechauns:

This brings us to the best part….trying to catch a leprechaun! There are many creative ways to construct a trap, so here are some ideas to help you get started:

As always, you can search our e-book selection online, or come in to browse and we can help you locate titles like these:

Above all, we wish you a….

We interrupt you for this public service announcement…..

About two months ago, the first reports of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  began surfacing in the news. You may have heard the word pandemic, but what does that mean? Our kid’s database TrueFlix has put together some information about this and other health emergency situations in this special monthly publication:

A simple way to prevent the spreading of germs is to wash your hands properly. A simple science experiment has been getting a lot of attention lately because of its obvious results:

Here are some other sites with information and graphics to show you how to attack those germs! And don’t be too quick about the method…it’s recommended you hum or sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing your hands!

These posters provide more visual references for you:

Besides washing your hands, another way to prevent the spread of any kind of germs is by covering your cough or sneeze, please. You probably have heard about the vampire method or even the dab.

Practicing these good habits can help you stay healthy!