New educational databases

The Plum Creek Library System has added three educational databases from Scholastic to our services.

Each of these sites is available for unlimited access with an active Plum Creek Library System library card.

Bookflix

Bookflix is a literacy resource for grades pre-K through 3 that pairs video storybooks with related non-fiction titles. There are currently more than 140 book pairings on the site.

All titles can be read with or without audio, and key vocabulary words are highlighted. In addition, the pairings all have related interactive educational games. Bookflix also offers the opportunity to dig deeper into each subject, with age-appropriate web links for each book pairing.

ScienceFlix

ScienceFlix offers science videos and articles for grades 4-9. Each article is available in three different reading levels to ensure comprehension. Additional resources from safe, vetted sources are included for each topic. Resources and tools including lesson plans, quizzes, videos, and science labs are also available.

Watch & Learn Library

Watch & Learn Library is a database of educational videos on a variety of subjects, designed for students in pre-K through grade 3. All videos are available in both English and Spanish, and offer closed captioning. Each video has correlating materials available, including quizzes and “think sheets” for students to record their thoughts, give reviews, and more.

Whether your students are learning in-person, at home, or in a hybrid model this fall, be sure to check out these new online educational opportunities available through the library!

Links to all three databases are accessible on the home page of our website.

Page to screen favorites

As soon as I finish the book I’m reading now (“Cat’s Eye” by Margaret Atwood), I plan to pick up “Lovecraft Country” by Matt Ruff. It wasn’t what I was planning to read next, but my husband and I want to watch the series of the same name, and it seems like it would be worth reading the book first.

Generally, I like to read the book before watching the movie. Of course, sometimes I’m just setting myself up for disappointment. Some movies based on books are great, while others are disappointing, especially if a book you love is adapted into a mediocre movie. On the other hand, there are times when I find the movie is even better than the book. It’s rare, but it does happen.

Here are some of my favorite page-to-screen adaptations:

The Great Gatsby

There are a few different versions of “The Great Gatsby.” I love both the 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and the 2013 version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. The 2013 version incorporates modern music, which some people did not like. I typically don’t like that sort of thing, either, but in this case it worked for me. I like the soundtrack, too.

Pride & Prejudice

I had a hard time choosing just one Jane Austen adaptation to include on this list. I have seen so many, and there are so many great ones. I think my favorite, however, is the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. I love Donald Sutherland’s portrayal of Mr. Bennet, and all of the Bennet sisters. The film captures Austen’s humor very well.

Doctor Zhivago

I saw the movie “Doctor Zhivago” (the 1965 version, with Julie Christie and Omar Sharif) long before reading the book, and it has been one of my favorite movies for many years. I read the book late last year and found it…just okay. I thought it lacked the magic that the film has, and I found that the character of Zhivago held little charm. The movie, however, is still great, and I highly recommend it.

The Shining

This is another case where I actually prefer the film to the book. Like “Doctor Zhivago,” I saw the movie before reading the book. (Maybe that is the key – whichever I experience first is the one I like best?) The Stephen King book by the same name is great, but Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall is near perfection. I still remember the first time I saw that movie – I stayed up late reading “Calvin and Hobbes” and left the bedside lamp on because I was so scared!

Anne of Green Gables

I’m not sure how many times I watched the 1985 mini-series “Anne of Green Gables” starring Meagan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst. I remember it airing on PBS during their membership drive, and I could never resist watching it. It’s a charming and sweet adaptation, and I think I could still watch it every year!

I could probably go on and on with this list, but these were the first page-to-screen adaptations that popped into my head when I was thinking about this topic. It’s always fun to watch movies based on books we’ve read, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it again with “Lovecraft Country.”

Happy reading!

~Val

Tracy Public Library is now fine-free!

Last week, the Tracy Public Library Board voted to eliminate fines on late items. What does that mean?

  • There will still be fines charged for lost or damaged materials. If you lose or damage a book, you will still need to pay the replacement cost. Fines will also continue to be charged for our new WiFi hotspots ($5/day).
  • If you have something overdue, you will continue to be called or receive email notifications that the item needs to be returned or renewed. Letters will be sent once an item has entered long overdue/lost status, meaning it is overdue by 68+ days.
  • We will continue to follow the policy in place for all Plum Creek Library System libraries, which states that if a patron has five or more items overdue for a week or more, no further items can be checked out until the late materials are returned. In addition, if any one item checked out by a patron has entered long overdue/lost status, he or she will be unable to check out anything else until the lost item has been returned or paid for.
  • Fines accrued at other Plum Creek Library System libraries must still be paid. If you check out an item from a library that charges fines and it is returned late to Tracy, you will still have a fine on your account. Tracy Public Library cannot waive fines owed to other libraries.

Tracy Public Library patrons are great about getting their items returned on time, and we know you will continue to be. Please be especially conscious about returning items received on loan from other Plum Creek Library System member libraries and MnLink on time. We hope that this will be a positive change for our library and community, and that it will encourage more people to use the library.

If you have any questions, please call the library at (507) 629-5548.

A little (or a lot) late to the party

When patrons ask me if I’ve read a new book, I often joke that I haven’t, but it’s on my to-read list and I’ll get around to it in the next three to 10 years.

I may be joking around when I say that, but it’s not entirely inaccurate. I’m usually not one to be the first on the list to read a new book, although I admire and am in awe of the people who are. I tend to put a book on my list and let it sit there until the time is right, or I decide I’m never going to read it and delete it.

As a result, I tend to be a little late to the party when it comes to popular books. While it’s not always the case – I did read “Gone Girl,” “The Girl on the Train,” and “The Hunger Games” when they were still relatively new – I’m typically not one to be reading what’s all the rage.

I am currently reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” to my daughter at bedtime. Last night, she said something about me already knowing what happened in the book. I told her I did not know what was going to happen, and she was shocked to learn that I had never read the Harry Potter books before. This led to additional questions about how old I was when the first book came out (19), and why I hadn’t read them.

I told her honestly that when they came out, they just weren’t really my cup of tea. I was in college, and didn’t get to read for enjoyment all that much. I knew the books existed, I just didn’t really have any interest in them.

When I got older, I tried to read the first book not once, but twice. I found myself unable to get into it, and decided that I had been right all along – this series just was not for me.

Then, nearly two years ago, my daughter chose “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” as our bedtime read. I figured I would certainly have to finish it if I were reading it aloud. I did, and I liked it. We didn’t start the second one right away, waiting until this summer to pick it up. I find I’m enjoying this one even more, and now we are planning to start book three immediately after we finish. I think I may officially be a Harry Potter fan, albeit 20+ years later than everyone else.

Am I sad that I waited this long? Nah…I think part of the reason I’m enjoying the books now is because, even though I couldn’t discover them as a kid because they didn’t exist then, I can now discover them with a kid, and I think in this case that’s the next best thing. Sometimes being late to the party isn’t such a bad thing.

Happy reading!

~Val