Youth Services Blog

Wildlife and Wildflowers...Nature Nearby

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to write about special days or holidays each month.  It's enjoyable to look for little (and big) things to celebrate while maybe learning a fun fact or two along the way.  While I have already listed a few things about August, I just read that August is also National Parks Month.  You can check out the National Parks website  to see what parks are located near us in Illinois.  national park service

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is actually listed with the National Forest Service, but has much to offer, just a few miles south of Elwood.
midewinLast year, bison were introduced to this park and can sometimes be spotted as you drive by. However, they love to roam, as the old song states, so you may need to find a trail and have your binoculars handy. Actually, it's "oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..." (are you humming it right now??) This fact sheet, provided by the Forest Service, will help you learn the difference between bison and buffalo:


Several baby bison were born earlier this summer. Stop in at the visitors' center to find out more about them, as well as other features, trails, programs and volunteer opportunities at this park. Here are some books we have available in the nonfiction section for basic bison information:


970.004 Region Plains


   J 599.643 ROB

    J 599.643 PER

    J 599.643 GEO

Perhaps you'd like to learn more about prairies.  Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:


or stop by to pick up these books and others before you visit the prairie:

J 577.44 MIL

 J 583.73 ROO

 J 635.95178 COL

Find flora, fauna, and facts galore as you explore the prairie ecosystem!

To be continued......

New month, new fun...and the dog days of summer?

You might be feeling a little melancholy about now thinking that summer is over, but don't fret!  Here are some special days to celebrate these lazy, hazy days before heading back to school....

International Clown Week – August 1-7 Do they make you nervous?

National Scrabble Week – August 6-10-Brush up on your spelling!

August 9th National book Lovers day- Be sure to come and see us!!

August 10th National Lazy Day- Take it easy and stay cool!

August 11th National Son and Daughter Day- Perhaps celebrate with dinner? Or ice cream? Or both?

August 13th National Left-handers Day- Hooray for Southpaws!

Elvis Week – August 8-12- What's your favorite Elvis tune?

National Aviation Week – August 15-21 (Always during week of Orville Wright’s Birthday August 19)

August 19th National Aviation Day- Check out the Chicago Air and Water Show along the lakefront- Charles Tillman is skydiving on the 20th!!

Be Kind to Humankind Week – August 25-31- Pay something forward!

August  26th   National Dog Day   http://www.nationaldogday.com/

The hot, hazy days of late July and August are also known as "the dog days of summer", but what does the weather have to do with dogs?

According to Farmers' Almanac and other sites, people explain 
dog days
that when the weather is so hot, dogs become lazy and rest to stay cool and not get overheated.

It sounds like a good explanation, but both the Farmers' Almanac and Wonderopolis trace the phrase back to the dogdays wonderopolisancient Romans believing that Sirius (Dog Star), or the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, was so bright that it caused the Earth's temperature to rise.  Of course, it's really about the tilt of the Earth towards the sun and the distance between them, but it's a good story!

To learn more about constellations, visit the  520 section of the library for books like these:

J 523.8 SAS
J 523.8 LOR
J 520 LOV

And star-gazing on a warm summer night could be just the thing to add to your summer memories!

Bem vindo ao Rio! (Welcome to Rio!)

It’s nearly here…the Summer Olympics 2016! Starting August 5th, you can follow the events and medal counts round the clock. Here is the official website:


rio2016.com screenshot

Are you able to name all the summer sports? Click on each logo to learn a little bit more about the sport & rules, fun facts, when the events are scheduled, exciting players to look out for, and much more! There’s even a spectator guide to give you more details if you’re especially interested in a competition.

Olympic sports

Here is another site to explore:

rio2016.com/mascots screenshot

Of course the library has books for you to learn more about the Olympics throughout the years in the non-fiction section -whether it be history, athlete biographies, or information about the different sports.

If you’re interested in researching different countries and their customs, visit the Library webpage and look for CultureGrams in the Homework Help section under the Research & Learning tab.

CultureGrams screenshot

What’s up in Youth Services?

Have you noticed the displays near the front of Youth Services? Or have you rushed past to find your favorite section of the library? These three sections could become your new favorite stop, or a place to start when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for! Be sure to browse these areas when you have a few moments.

New books…

These are books that are brand new to the library. Look for this bright NEW label, and you could be the first to check these books out!

Here’s one of my favorite new books- just in time to hit a few ball parks and enjoy a lazy summer day:

Ballpark cookbook. The National League : recipes inspired by baseball stadium foods / Katrina N. JorgensenBallpark cookbook. The American League : recipes inspired by baseball stadium foods / Katrina N. Jorgensen

In both the National and American League versions!

Staff Picks…

Stop by and see what books your friendly Youth Services members have recommended to you. Try something new today and let us know what you think! Their choices, ranging across various age levels and genres, are on the second set of shelves, right after the new books.

Staff picks are highlighted with a card that shows an adorable picture of each staff member.  There is also a handy brochure for you to keep.

Staff picks display

State Award Nominees…

Each year, the Illinois School Library Media Association puts together a list of books nominated for the Monarch (grades K-3 ) and Bluestem (grades 3-5 ) Award. Another program, the Rebecca Caudill Award, reaches grades 4-8. Schools throughout the state that participate in these programs allow students to vote for their favorite book. These books are found next to the Staff Picks and have a brochure for you as well. The lists include contemporary choices as well as time honored stories from the past.

Staff picks display

Let us help you find a book that’s the right fit – whether it is a staff pick, an award nominee, or your favorite genre. That’s why we’re here!!


As we all know, weather can be unpredictable, especially in the Midwest. A hot, humid, lazy summer day can take a sudden turn for the worse with a shift in the wind, or a storm front on the horizon. While these severe storms are fascinating to observe as they move and grow, they can also be deadly, especially if they develop into a tornado. Our general area has been threatened by tornados throughout the years, most recently, this past June. The Red Cross Website , seen below, offers some information and safety tips to share with your family to help with tornado preparedness.

Here is another valuable site from the Department of Homeland Security:

Explore these kid-friendly websites with information about

many different types of severe weather:

Weather Wiz Kids

Tree House Weather Kids

Weather Watch

To understand more about a tornado, click on the picture to visit the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and try this activity:

These books are available in our library to learn more about tornadoes and storms, both fact and fiction.





Enjoy these summer days, but be sure to keep an eye on the weather and stay safe!!