Vernon Area Public Library will join libraries across Illinois to host a virtual event with Midwest Made cookbook author Shauna Sever. Sever will discuss holiday baking with Chicago Tribune food critic and podcast host Louisa Chu. The event will be held on Zoom on Tuesday, December 13, at 7 p.m.
Shauna will share her love of food, baking, and some tips to make your holiday gatherings delicious. As a writer, Shauna’s work is best defined by her baking-centric cookbooks. Her fourth, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, was named among the Best Baking Cookbooks of 2019 by The New York Times.
The event is free and open to all. Signup is required.
The event with Shauna Sever is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present (ILP), a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events. Illinois Libraries Present (ILP) debuted in 2022 as a way to bring virtual events with bestselling authors and diverse and esteemed speakers to communities across the state and counts more than 200 Illinois libraries as members. Joining forces for such events allow libraries to bring speakers to their communities that might not be possible due to budget constraints or production capabilities. ILP is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
Brighten the holiday for a local child in need: drop off new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots in the library lobby through December 9.
Toys for Tots aims to provide Christmas gifts for children of families in need. For each requesting family, Toys for Tots aims to provide two toys, one large and one small, for each child ages 0-14.
Donations should be new, unwrapped toys, games, action figures, dolls, puzzles, or anything for babies or toddlers. Toys for Tots does not accept food, clothes, used toys, or liquid products such as perfumes, lotions, or body wash.
Vernon Area Public Library has served as a Toys for Tots collection site since 2006.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a recognized 501(C)(3) not-for-profit public charity. Since its inception in 1947, Toys for Tots has distributed more than 600 million toys to more than 281 million children in need. For more information about donating, collections, or registering to receive toys, visit http://ToysForTots.org.
As consumer attention turns to winter holiday shopping, your library is ready to help with the booklovers on your list.
“When it comes to finding the right book for every reader, librarians are the experts,” said Library Director Anne Rasmussen.
The fifth annual Vernon Area Public Library Gift Guide is now available in print at the library or as a digital download from the library website. It includes 66 hand-picked recommendations of books published in 2022.
The selections are thoughtful and diverse. Adult suggestions range from acclaimed fiction like Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson and Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel to must-read nonfiction like An Immense World by Ed Yong and The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman.
There are also recommendations for teens, grade school kids and tots, including delightful reads like The Bad Seed Goes to the Library by Jory John and Don’t Eat Bees by Dev Petty.
Guides from past years are available on the library website, too:
The annual Gift Guide is just one great source of reading recommendations available to you at your library. Other self-service resources include:
… or, just ask! We are always happy to have a conversation and make suggestions. Stop by the library for great ideas for every reader on your list.
“…a relentlessly curious and chipper tour guide to the underworld” — The New York Times
Vernon Area Public Library is joining libraries across Illinois to host a virtual event with mortician, bestselling author and advocate for death acceptance Caitlin Doughty. Doughty will discuss the reform of Western funeral industry practices and more in conversation with Mark Bazer, host of WTTW’s “The Interview Show.” The event will be held on Zoom on Wednesday, November 16, at 7 p.m.
Doughty is the founder of a Los Angeles funeral home and the funeral reform collective “The Order of the Good Death,” which spawned the death positive movement. The effort has caused her to be regarded as a bête noire by the traditional funeral industry. Her educational web series, “Ask a Mortician,” has been viewed almost 250 million times. Doughty is also the author of the bestselling books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (And Other Lessons from the Crematory), From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to find the Good Death, and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? – Big Questions from Tiny Mortals.
Doughty will be joined in conversation with Mark Bazer. Bazer is the host and creator of WTTW’s “The Interview Show.” Filmed in a bar in Chicago, the series features conversations that are as substantive as they are entertaining.
The event with Caitlin Doughty is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events.
“We’re looking forward to bringing this event to communities across Illinois,” said Jennifer Czajka, Arlington Heights Memorial Library Program Manager and a member of Illinois Libraries Present’s steering committee. “Caitlin is a leading expert in a field which unites us all and we look forward to learning about her unique body of work, which aims to destigmatize talking about death.”
“We’re excited to bring this event with Caitlin Doughty to our community,” said Vernon Area Public Library Program Coordinator Roz Topolski. “It will surely provide fresh ideas for our patrons to consider about this topic.”
“A Conversation with Caitlin Doughty” will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16. The online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Sign up on Zoom or call 224-543-1485.
About Illinois Libraries Present
Illinois Libraries Present (ILP) debuted in 2022 as a way to bring virtual events with bestselling authors and diverse and esteemed speakers to communities across the state and counts more than 200 Illinois libraries as members. Joining forces for such events allow libraries to bring speakers to their communities that might not be possible due to budget constraints or production capabilities. ILP is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
Two new EV charging stations now let you charge your car when you visit the library.
The Level 2 charging stations are now open at the back of the library public parking lot. The chargers are compatible with all electric vehicles currently on the market, including Teslas.
Each station provides up to 7.7 kilowatts of charge per hour — approximately 25 miles of additional driving range for each hour spent charging, depending on your vehicle.
Those powering up at the library pay a per–kilowatt-hour charging fee of 16 cents. The user fees cover the cost of electricity plus an amount toward cost recovery for the equipment and installation. Charging fees may change each month beginning in December to adjust for fluctuations in electricity costs.
To use the charging stations, users can download the EVmatch app or visit EVmatch.com. A credit card is required for charging fees.
Find full details and links at VAPLD.info/EV
Ruth Spiro is the author of the bestselling Baby Loves Science board book series and a STEM-themed picture book, Made by Maxine, named a “Best STEM Book” by the National Science Teaching Association. She writes books that inspire kids to observe the world, ask questions, and dream big! She lives in Deerfield, Illinois.
Your Baby Loves... series covers some pretty sophisticated topics! What inspired the idea to create board books about STEM and political science?
In 2010, The New York Times ran the article “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children,” about a substantial drop in picture book sales. Some believed this was due to the choice some parents were making to start their very young children on more “advanced” level books like early readers and chapter books. It occurred to me that these parents might be looking
for elevated content — books that were fun to read but also age-appropriate and educational.
I think the reason my Baby Loves Science books have become popular is that they work on several levels. They’re beautiful to look at and appeal to even very young babies who do not yet understand the words. (Thanks to the brilliant illustrators, Irene Chan and Greg Paprocki!) As children grow and develop, they can relate the concept to a real-world observation or experience. Importantly, the books also appeal to parents and caregivers because they feel they’re learning something, too.
Similarly, the Baby Loves Political Science books felt important in the time leading up to the 2020 election. With so much going on in the media, my editor and I discussed the need for books that explain these ideas in simple terms for very young children. This collection includes Democracy, which is about how elections work, as well as Congress, Justice, and The Presidency.
As we head into election season once again, I think these books will be helpful both at home and the library.
Your process must involve quite a bit of research. Where do you begin?
Once I decide on a topic, I’ll read books and articles, watch videos, talk with experts and even take field trips if possible. While working on Baby Loves Quarks, I visited the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia and toured an actual particle accelerator. Throughout the writing process, I seek feedback to help refine the story and its relationship to the science concepts. I call upon expert reviewers, including retired physicist Dr. Fred Bortz, to check both the text and illustrations for accuracy.
While the Baby Loves Science books may appear simple, they’re the result of collaboration between an entire team, because we all believe that our young audience deserves nothing less.
How do you make those topics accessible for little ones?
My editorial priority is always the child. First and foremost, the books we share with our little ones should be age-appropriate, visually appealing, and fun to read. Then, if I can find a way to include even the smallest nugget of science while also producing a giggle or two, I’ve done my job!
I start with a list of things that are familiar to a baby or toddler — activities like watching a bird fly, building a tower with blocks, and dropping crackers from a high chair just to watch them fall.
Then I think about how they relate to what feels like a complex scientific concept. Without this context, the idea of “science” is too abstract for a small child. But when introduced in a story about something familiar, it becomes more accessible. That real-world experience becomes a key, unlocking the door to the science behind it.
There’s actually a growing body of research on this topic, mostly relating to the fact that babies are natural scientists. For example, a study at Johns Hopkins revealed that before their first birthday, babies intuitively understand that if you drop a ball it will fall, rather than hover in the air. This is physics and gravity! So rather than talking about babies learning science principles, I prefer to reframe the conversation as babies discovering science principles.
I imagine adults have plenty to learn from these books, too. What’s something surprising that you have learned while working on the series?
Writing about science for a very young audience has inspired me to look at the field with a fresh perspective. When I was in school, I thought that “science” meant memorizing facts and formulas. Working on this series, I’ve discovered that science is so much more than that because it explains the interconnectedness of our world.
The second thing I learned is that it’s never too early to introduce children to this way of thinking. I received an email from a parent who’d been reading Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering with her daughter. She mentioned that they’d be going on an airplane soon, and her daughter began talking about how an airplane’s wings do not flap because it has engines to lift it into
the air. The little girl may not yet understand the physics of flight, but she does know there’s a difference between a bird’s wings and an airplane’s wings, which is a brilliant beginning.
What do you hope children and families take away from your books?
A child’s job is to explore and experiment, because that’s how they figure out how the world works. I’m not advocating for teaching young children about science; I view it as encouraging exploration and curiosity while introducing some basic science vocabulary along the way.
My hope is that my books will spark an interest and then become jumping-off points for continued learning. Even if the science is new to parents, they can have fun learning right along with their children. If they don’t know the answer to a question, it’s fine to admit that and then say, “Let’s find out together!” By modeling curiosity and a willingness to investigate, they’re encouraging their child’s sense of wonder as well.
I also hope these books help parents and caregivers slow down, appreciate all the little things that children find fascinating, and experience them together. When we view the world from their perspective, every day brings opportunities for discovering something new.
I’m pleased to share that between 2023 and 2024 I’ll have seven new books coming out, including two additions to the core Baby Loves Science board book collection. The topics haven’t been revealed yet, but I promise they’ll be worth the wait. I’m also working on a brand-new picture book series
based on Baby Loves... but for early elementary readers who are ready to learn more about their favorite topics. In the coming months I’ll also be sharing more about three exciting new picture books. These are departures from my other books in that two are rhyming and one is lyrical and quite special, a
“book of my heart.”
Reach Ruth via her website, RuthSpiro.com, or on Twitter or Instagram @ruthspiro.
Information and forms are now available for people considering a run for Vernon Area Public Library Trustee in the April 4, 2023 Consolidated Election.
Prospective candidates can pick up nomination papers at Vernon Area Public Library, 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire, during regular library business hours. The library is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Ask at the Adult Desk.
Information and forms are also available on the library website at http://VAPLD.info/candidates.
Public library trustees are nonpartisan community representatives. They determine the library’s policies, set its budget and advocate on its behalf. The library board meets monthly, typically on the third Monday, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Two of the board’s seven seats will be filled at the spring election. Trustees elected in April 2023 will serve six-year terms beginning in May 2023 and ending in April 2029.
To qualify to run, prospective candidates must meet residency and other requirements. They also must petition at least 50 signatures from qualified voters residing in the district. Prospective candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions, which are included in the packets, beginning September 20, 2022.
Completed nomination papers may be filed at the library during weekday administrative business hours beginning Monday, December 12, 2022. The last day to file is Monday, December 19, 2022. Paperwork may be filed by mail or in person, either by the candidate or their representative.
Those wishing to run for this office are strongly advised to obtain legal counsel regarding candidate requirements, the proper method for completing the petition forms, the qualifications of signers and circulators and other information.
This fall, join us in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our culture through their contributions to art, music, and literature with a selection of library programming for kids
and adults during National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President
Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
The date of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of
independence for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate
their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
Join the celebration by stopping by the library to select a book for kids or adults that honors Hispanic heritage. Or join in at one of these free library programs:
Also find us at Brushwood Family Fest at nearby Ryerson Woods on Saturday, September 17, from 10am-2pm for a festive celebration of nature, art, and culture. Stop by the library table featuring crafts from three Latin American countries.
The Vernon Area Public Library District is pleased to announce that Anne Rasmussen, MLIS, will serve as its next Library Director beginning September 12, 2022.
Rasmussen joins us from Milwaukee Public Library, where she most recently served as Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Services. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University (Ohio), along with a second master’s degree from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree from Saint Olaf College in Minnesota.
“We were looking for an innovative thinker who will help the library continue to meet the evolving educational, recreational, and social needs of our community,” said Library Board President Marc Fenton. “Anne demonstrates the passion for librarianship and openness to new ideas that the board was seeking.”
Rasmussen brings a strong track record of leadership, vision, and direction to the role. In her more than 20 years of service in libraries, she has distinguished herself as a mission-focused leader with an eye toward delivering thoughtful library services that advance civic well-being and connection.
“I am thrilled to serve as Vernon Area Public Library District’s next director,” said Rasmussen. “I look forward to learning from and listening to the community in order to best lead this stellar library forward.”
Summer Reading is an American tradition more than 100 years old. Originally intended to help schoolchildren retain academic gains over the summer school holiday, summer reading programs today may serve all ages and include non-reading activities and recreational pursuits.
This year’s "Create Your Own Summer Adventure" program is more flexible than ever. Just pick up a checklist and complete activities you choose at whatever pace you prefer. The program provides a challenge, a small amount of structure, and a good number of ideas of things to do or try — what you do is up to you!
Qualifying activities include reading (of course!), watching a movie, crafts, outside activities, and more. Complete half the activities for a “halfway” prize; complete them all for a finisher prize and raffle entry. Summer Reading runs from June 1 to July 31. Visit the library to begin your adventure!