Don’t Forget to Exercise! | Library @ Home

bruno-nascimento-phigyugqpvu-unsplashHearing the word “exercise” often makes me cringe. I have a history of plunging into a new exercise routine and abandoning it when motivation dissipates. I tend to do best when I can attend fitness classes or even workout with someone else. The social act involved boosts my interest level and, if nothing else, I feel some motivation to do at least as well as the person I am exercising with. I joined a gym last year to get involved in fitness classes and fell in love with their yoga and cardio dance classes. When the gym closed its doors recently because of the stay-at-home order, I was initially left feeling adrift. I didn’t want to workout alone in any capacity and lethargy set in as time went on.

Then a wonderful thing happened…my husband decided it was time to start exercising regularly and he found two ways to get in shape. One is a push-up challenge. I hate push-ups with a passion, but I figured three days a week was doable, and I have found myself noticeably improving. I went from 5 push-ups in a row to 15. The goal is 100 push-ups in a row, but I have zero interest in that. My goal is, maybe, 25 and maintaining that while in quarantine.

The other fitness challenge we embarked on is P.E. Joe. He releases a video a day, except on the weekend. It’s a 30-minute family friendly, high intensity workout. Since he is a P.E. teacher, he knows how to get kids interested and keep the workouts simple yet effective. Sometimes when we are working out, my 4-year-old jumps in and bounces around.

While I was getting into the groove of these workouts, a friend invited me to take part in a daily yoga class through Zoom. I am thrilled with this format since it feels somewhat interactive. Following a taped video is much less inspiring for me. The simple act of feeling connected to other people makes me want to pull out my yoga mat!

And last, but certainly not least, I love going on long walks with my dogs. They are accustomed to walking together for our family walks, but lately, I have taken only one dog at a time and it’s much more peaceful. I can collect my thoughts while breathing in fresh air and enjoying time alone I normally never get.

I encourage anyone reading this to find a way to stay physically active in whatever way possible. Even a simple walk and light stretching can make a difference. If you find your mood destabilizing with too much time screen time, find an activity that elevates your heart rate for an endorphin release. This has made a huge difference for my mood and well-being.

When the library reopens, check out our collection to find books and videos on exercise! Check out our collection of Health and Fitness books through eBooks from OverDrive.

Making Time for the Important Things

These last few weeks have been hard for many of us for many different reasons. My reasons deal almost exclusively with time management – lack of socializing, being a full-time student, working, yoga, and being an only-parent of 4 (3 teen girls and a 4th grade boy). I’m figuring out how to do these things with distractions surrounding me all while NEVER leaving the house (love you kids!). These are the most pertinent things about me.

Here is one more thing about me: I love to read fiction, but I love history and truth, too. My newest addition to the time-management load is There, There by Tommy Orange (eBook and audiobook). I am halfway through the book and want to simultaneously keep reading and also put it down to process what I read. I’ve been reading it in small increments. This novel drew me in with the history lesson in the Prologue and the Interlude; the characters and their stories are enthralling. Each character’s trajectory holds the story to a common target at the book’s end.

This book is feeding part of me that I don’t get to feed often enough.

As we stay home and stay healthy, remember to do something that may add to your to-do list, but will feed the inner-self – even if only in small bits at a time.

Seeking Business Relief?

LivePlan, the library’s business planning software publisher, has some helpful articles about the various business relief programs passed with the CARES act.

Here’s the overview of the PPL that I find easy to use and understand:

This program is administered by a local bank that is participating in the PPL program.

Similarly, LivePlan also has a nice overview of the EIDL loan/grant program:

Learning to Draw with the Extra Time

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Lisa and I work at the Northtown location. During this time, I have been drawing up a storm with all the virtual offerings. The car and camera pictures are from a 3D Class I took years ago. The lighthouse is from our Oregon trip. I don’t claim to be an expert, because I am still learning different techniques as well.

Since life is pretty still right now, consider grabbing an object or a set of objects to draw a Still Life. If you would like to take a walk, take your camera with you and take close up photos.

First take a look at the object and figure out the basic shapes: Square, Rectangle, Circle, Oval, etc.

Second, if you would like to add dimension, choose a point of perspective. There are many videos about 3D drawing. Take time to add details.


Lisa’s Suggestions

Fun at Home with Pinot’s Palette

Mo Willem’s Lunch Doodles

Artsy Rose Academy Drawing Tutorials

Drawing 2-Point Perspective

Drawing Foundations: Figure

The Monster Drawing Workshop

Drawing Foundations: Sketching the Landscape

Drawing Foundations: Fundamentals

Animation Foundations: Drawing Cartoon Characters


Simplifying Your Life | The Children’s Room

If you want to simplify your life, where do you start? Follow Clara’s lead on how to clean and organize your home one room at a time!

Lesson 3 | The Children’s Room

Start simplifying your life with the kid’s room! Walk with Clara and learn her tips and tricks for cleaning and organizing your children’s room.

Access her tips here.

Use Spokane Public Library’s Overdrive or Libby app to download these books on organizing:

You will need your library card number and your 4-digit PIN number.

1.Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight by Peter Walsh

2.Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

3.The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

4.The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark

5.The 8 Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds

Vendors Offering Temporary, Remote Access for Free

Many online service vendors are offering free or extended access of their products while communities are in self-isolation. Here’s a list of resources that we have so far:

  • Ancestry Library Edition genealogy database is usually only accessible from within a library building, but is offering remote access through 4/30.
  • EBSCO Offers – Our magazine database provider, EBSCO, is offering teacher guides and downloadable study packets along with other teach-at-home ideas. We subscribe to the LearningExpress resources listed, but they are making it easy to download free academic exam eBooks through 6/30.
  • Foundation Directory Online Essential – Foundation Directory Online is a great way for nonprofits to look for funders, but is normally only available at the South Hill Library. Foundation Center is allowing for remote access to Foundation Directory Online Essential while buildings are closed. This version does not have as many search options as the Professional version, so feel free to contact your local nonprofit librarian for tips on searching.
  • Gale Databases – Gale, which offers online learning and homework help options, is offering free access to content for pre-K to college students, as well as credible information on health and global issues. If any of the links ask for a password, use open.
  • New York Times – Normally limited to three free articles per month, the newspaper is allowing unlimited access to their coronavirus coverage and The Learning Network.
  • NewsGuard Browser Extension – NewsGuard is a browser extension that rates the reliability of news sites and social media feed stories. They are making it free to install until 7/1.
  • Omnigraphics Health Reference Library is offering free access to the topics in their health reference library through 4/30. Use the password spokane to access.
  • RBDigital Magazines has increased access to their magazine catalog to hundreds of titles.
  • TumbleBook Library is offering free access to their other products through 8/31. These include TumbleMath, TeenBookCloud, AudioBookCloud, and RomanceBookCloud.
  • World Book is allowing free access to their online encyclopedia through 4/30. Username is wbaccess, password is freeaccess.

Helping Your Children Relax and Rest

david-lezcano-1xzsalzuvsc-unsplashHygge (pronounced hue-guh, not hoo-gah) – A Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment that is comforting or cozy.

Cozy – A feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.

How can we make our children feel comfortable and calm during this time of uncertainty and unrest?

Time together:

Buy them a special mug that belongs only to them. Have a cup of cocoa or tea together.

Cuddle on the couch and read a special book.

Time alone:

Create a cozy space for your child. It can be their bed or a small corner of their room.

Provide pillows, a blanket, and a reading light. If possible, provide a small bookcase filled with books.

Play time:

Provide a toy box for them with specially chosen toys that encourage imaginary play.

Even if you have a cardboard box, you can decorate it with left over gift wrap and keep toys in that.

A room full of toys that children don’t play with can be overwhelming. Put some of them away and bring them out later if you can’t bring yourself to donate them.

Bath time:

Set up a nice warm bath with candles (ONLY if you are in the room) or use the little battery tea lights.

Play soothing music. It’s not dance party time.

Put a few drops of lavender oil in the bath to calm and soothe.


Rub a drop of lavender oil on the bottom of their feet before bedtime.

Put thick warm socks on their feet to wear to bed.

NEVER put a candle in a child’s room, but you can find small electrical nightlights that cast a warm glow in the room. There are very fancy ones that cast stars on the ceiling and play music, but a small plug in one will work.

Why it’s a Good Time to do Genealogy

I hear it all the time – “I don’t have time for Genealogy.” While a pandemic isn’t the way I like to interest people in Genealogy, it is effective! Everyone trapped inside with nothing to do? Now is a GREAT time to do Genealogy. You can even make it a family affair, and the people at Ancestry agree with us. Until April 30, 2020, you can access Ancestry Library Edition from home with your library card!

If you aren’t sure what you are doing or need some extra help, use the Learning Center on their web site or check out the RBDigital database, which has free access to Family Tree Magazine. Family Tree Magazine has a variety of helpful hints and web sites they recommend. You can also create a free personal account at FamilySearch. And check back soon for the opportunity to meet one-on-one with me remotely! In the meantime, if you have questions, please send them to and happy hunting!

Becky | Genealogy

Museums Around the World


If you want a break from the same four walls, take a look at some of the virtual museum tours all over the world. Explore places you’ve never visited or reminisce on old favorites. One of my favorite memories of the National Museum of Asian Art is the Peacock Room, an entire room that was disassembled and moved from it’s original home in a London mansion to Detroit, and then to it’s final destination at the Smithsonian to be enjoyed by everyone.


You can even earn a badge for visiting in the Spring Reading Program! 

Museums in the United States


National Museum of the American Indian

The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire

National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City

Art Institute of Chicago 

Explore the collections at the de Young Museum in San Francisco 


Museums Around the World



National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

Tour the National Gallery of London 


Tips for Reading with Your Baby

picsea-eqltydzrx7u-unsplash-2While I eagerly await the return of Baby Storytime to the South Hill Library, here are some recommendations for reading at home with your littlest one!

Reading with your baby is all about enjoying a snuggly good time together. You are both creating a wonderful routine that can last the rest of your baby’s childhood, and introducing them to the world via books. Even with very young babies, listening to your voice and having that bonding experience with you will create a positive association with books and reading.

While I recommend reading all picture books with children very slowly (go over all the artwork and talk about the story!), it’s especially important with babies. Their eyesight is still developing during their first year, so going slowly and repeating things gives them a chance to study the pictures and form word associations. Older babies may have favorite books that they want to read multiple times in a row; go for it! It can be tedious for grown-ups, but it’s fantastic for little ones to learn language and stories.

Babies use all their senses to learn about the world, and books are no exception. Incorporate their sense of touch into the experience. With very little babies, you can take their hand and trace the outlines of shapes and pictures, or run their fingers over any textured parts of the book. When they’re ready to turn the pages themselves or lift the flaps, let them do it to their heart’s content. Ask them to point to colors, animals, or things they know on the page. Make the sounds of the animals and vehicles you see, and encourage your baby to do so, too. Listen to your baby vocalize about the book. Count the objects on a page, and have them point as you go, or hold their hand to count along. Anything that makes the experience more interactive will entertain busy babies and increase what they’re learning.

We all know that once babies get moving, they can have an astonishing amount of energy. Sometimes your baby will be too wiggly to sit with a book, and that’s okay! Again, reading with your kiddo is about creating a positive association with books and spending a happy time together – if they’re not enjoying it, please do not try to force it. You may have long stretches of time where they’ll only enjoy books at bedtime, when they’re eating, or even when they’re in the bathtub (perhaps not with borrowed library books!). It’s important to keep trying, and to have books available, even if you’re only getting in snippets of a story at a time. You’ll have days where they’re ready for longer reading sessions, and those days will increase in frequency as they grow.

It’s never too early or too late to start reading with children; you’ll be building their vocabulary, reasoning skills, and social/emotional intelligence. You’ll be creating memories, a bond with you, and a lifelong love of books for your child.

Hope to see you all again soon at Baby Storytime!

Kathryn | South Hill Library

Create a Cat Castle! | Library @ Home

If you’ve got a cat, small dog, hamster or other small pet, why not create a cardboard castle for them? Don’t they all love to be in a box, anyway?

Spokane Public Library has hosted several Cat Castle events, where families use cardboard, paper, and tape to create some wonderful spaces for their pets.

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If you’ve got a few supplies, your family can create a Cat Castle at home!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • Yardstick and/or measuring tape if you want to be precise. Metal yardsticks and rulers are best to cut along.
  • Utility knives and scissors. Parents, please consider safety! Always lock the utility knife blade closed when not in use.
  • Packing tape is best for this project, but you can use other tape or even white school glue – just allow time for the glue to dry (White school glue is nontoxic and will not harm your pet.).
  • Gather boxes, shoe boxes, tissue boxes, toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper, cat toys, rope or twine, if you have it.
  • Make a cutting station. Put a piece of cardboard on the surface you’ll cut on so it doesn’t get damaged.

Step 2: Learn a Few Techniques

  • Curving or rolling cardboard. Rolling cardboard around a rolling pin is the best way to get cardboard to curl.
  • Score and fold – score on the outside of the cardboard where you’d like the fold to be. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Score the outside, then fold the cardboard in the opposite direction.
  • Cutting curves – move the cardboard as you go.
  • When cutting, use gentle pressure and make several passes rather than using force. This is for safety and precision.

Step 3: Design

  • Consider the size of your cat for holes and castle sizes.
  • If you have a large cat, consider doubling up the cardboard for weight bearing components.
  • Don’t incorporate anything a cat could swallow such as glitter, sequins, and beads.
  • Color: cats don’t see colors the same way humans do, so reflect YOUR style.
  • Consider the inside of your cat castle – what would be fun to add for your pet? Consider wrapping a tube with twine or rope for a mini scratching post.
  • Add comfy touches such as pillows and blankets. Felt is another nice touch.

Step 4: Construction

  • Be safe! Parents should supervise this activity.
  • Let everyone in the family contribute! Younger kids can use markers or colored paper to decorate. There are some fine cat toys you can make at home out of toilet paper tubes or string.

We’d love to see some of your creations along with your pets! Share your cat castle on social media and tag Spokane Public Library.

This activity was inspired by the book, Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver.


Drop Everything and Read | Celebrate Beverly Cleary April 12

beverly_cleary_ca-_1955April 12 is celebrated every year in schools and libraries all over the world as D.E.A.R. Day – Drop Everything and Read! It’s an annual reminder to make reading for fun a priority in our lives!

Why April 12? It’s the birthday of beloved children’s author, Beverly Cleary. You’ll recognize some of her book titles instantly.

Born in 1916, she struggled with reading and writing until she started spending more time at her local public library. When shew grew up, Cleary became a children’s librarian.

When a young boy asked Beverly, “Where are the books about kids like us?”, she was inspired to write funny stories based on her own childhood friends and neighborhood experiences. Her books have won awards such as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award (formerly the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award) for “substantial and lasting contributions to children’s literature” and the Newbery Medal. This April 12, 2020, she will be 104 years old!

So on April 12, make some time to read for at least 30 minutes.

You can find many of Beverly Cleary’s books via Spokane Public Library’s digital downloads. Check for eBooks in Overdrive/Libby, and Open Libraries. Streaming audiobooks for many of her books are available in Hoopla.

Ways to celebrate D.E.A.R. Day:

Read her books, such as:

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Make Beverly Cleary a birthday card! Mail it to:

Beverly Cleary, HarperCollins Publishers c/o Author mail, 195 Broadway Floor 22, New York, NY 10007

Watch a video about Beverly Cleary.

Learn fun facts about Beverly Cleary.

Design or color a bookmark! Here are some fun ones to try.

(Source for book images: SPL Catalog) (Source for Cleary images: Wikimedia commons)