Time Travel in Your Living Room to the 1936 Olympics

I just watched a film so masterful that I literally felt I had time traveled to 1936 in Germany. I wanted to see the Olympic crew race from our One Book One Community book this year, The Boys in the Boat, and learned that we have the original, amazing Leni Riefenstahl documentary film of the 1936 Olympic Games in our library DVD collection.

Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl. Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Biography in Context. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.

It’s called Olympia, and it is so much more than a sports documentary, although it may be one of the finest sports documentaries ever made. Riefenstahl edits the sports action to delight any audience, it’s quick moving and fascinating to see how some sports have changed so much, and others not at all. If you only want to watch a short time, you can hop to the last chapter in the 2 disc set and see about 5-10 minutes of equestrian footage that is as amusing as it is historically educational, and watch, like a lurker in the 1936 crowd of hysterical fans, the Washington “Boys in the Boat” win Gold.

The beauty and expertise of Riefenstahl’s filmmaking cannot be understated. She ties the Olympics’ classical Greek roots to the 1936 present with stunning photographic technique.

I started out planning to watch the 5-10 minutes only, to see the crew race, and ended up going back to the beginning to watch ‘just a little bit more’, and then planning to watch the entire 3 hours….it is that good. Seeing Hitler as a person, in candid moments, seeing the crowds, the assemblage of nations in that wrought hour of history, unbeknownst to many, the pageantry and cutting edge photography, well, indulge yourself in some time travel, and check out “Olympia” (the DVD) for yourself!


Your Buffalo is Ready for School. Are You?

The Summer of Learning may be drawing to a close but there’s no end to learning!  Soon kids across Kitsap will return to their classrooms—whether in their own home, or in a public or private school setting.  Others will begin their school education for the first time.

For first-time students and their parents, this can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time accompanied by many questions:  What will school be like?  Will I make friends?  What will my grown-up do all day while I’m gone?  What if my teacher is a monster!?!?  Talking about new situations helps children to become more comfortable and feel ready for this big transition.

Picture books are great tools to facilitate conversations about what school will be like.  Here are a few titles for kiddos and their caregivers from our “First Day of School” booklist:

My Teacher is a Monster! (No I Am Not.)  by Peter Brown

my teacher is a monser

Bobby thinks his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is horrible, but when he sees her outside of school and they spend a day in the park together, he discovers she might not be so bad after all.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

first day jitters

Sarah is afraid to start at a new school, but both she and the reader are in for a surprise when she gets to her class.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen

 pout pout fish goes to school

Mr. Fish recalls how, on his very first day of school, he anxiously went to one classroom after another watching students do things he could not, until Miss Hewitt showed him to the room that was right for beginners.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

llama llama misses mama

On his first day of nursery school, Llama Llama misses his mother and is very sad until he joins the other children in play and art.

Keisha Ann Can! by Daniel Kirk

keisha ann can

A day in the life of a confident, upbeat girl as she zips through kindergarten with gusto.

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? By Audrey Vernick

is your buffalo ready

Although kindergarten provides unique challenges for a young buffalo, he learns that one who follows the rules and tries his best will get along fine, in a heartwarming look at first-day-of-school jitters.

The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten Through Grade 5:  How to Support Your Child’s Education, End Homework Meltdowns, and Build Parent-Teacher Connections by M.L. Nichols

parent back pack

Remember, if you check out these or other books, make sure to fill out your Summer of Learning time trackers.  There’s still time to turn in them in, and start a new school year with a brand new book!

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #11: Minecraft Papercrafts

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional Library.

I’m sure that many of you have heard by now that Minecraft is totally blowing up. Granted, the game is tons of fun but have you ever wanted to make your own unique characters outside the pixel-world?  Well, apparently the ancient art of paper folding (Origami) has finally crossed paths with the virtual gaming community and now here’s your chance to create your very own 3D Minecraft world.

DSCF3713 by Javi G Ch on Flickr
hide your kids, hide your wife by Klara on Flickr

First off, you will need a computer and a printer. If you don’t have access to both at home feel free to visit your Kitsap Regional Library. Next you will need to pick out your favorite characters. Or do you happen to already have your own skin? Don’t panic, you can use that too!

Next take a visit to www.pixelpapercraft.com where you can either enter in your Minecraft username or search the site by Character, Mobs, Blocks or Items until you find the template that you want to print out. You can also create a design with one of these handy apps on your smart phone or tablet:
Free app for Android: Papercraft for Minecraft
Free app for iPhone or iPad: Papercraft: Minecraft Addition 

Finally you will need a pair of scissors and some glue.  After you print your Minecraft template it’s easy to follow and all it requires is some cutting, folding and a little glue here and there.

Here is a tutorial that will help during the construction process of your Minecraft world:

(From Minecraft Paper Studio)

Trust me,  you are now only just beginning to find your very own 3D Minecraft vision but it’s time to think outside the box (or pixel). Maybe you’ll want to start out with something interactive and design your very own chess set?

Papercraft Minecraft by Interested Bystandr on Flickr

Or go big just in time for Halloween?

Mine(Paper)Craft Day – GameCity 8 by nottinghamgamecity on Flickr

Or maybe you just want to see how your new characters get along once they’re brought to life. Will they build new worlds together or will they merely try to survive until nightfall?

Minecraft paper models by Rob Allen on Flikr

Either way, your options are limitless and all you need is a little time and dedication. An obsession for Minecraft might help too.

Don’t forget to checkout these many helpful resources in our Catalog:

Books on Origami:

origami henry     fabulous origami boxes   usborne origami

Books on Minecraft (gaming):

minecraft redstone   minecraft construction   minecraft combat

minecraft essential  minecraft 70 large  minecraft dummies

minecraft markus  ultimate players minecraft

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at jcharters@krl.org for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.


Robin Williams – He Will be Missed

As soon as we heard about Robin Williams, my son and I reached out to one another for comfort.  We both love pretty much every movie Robin Williams has done.  My favorite, Good Will Hunting.  My son was struggling to remember a movie where  Robin played a robot trying to understand how to be a human — it took us awhile, but we found it, Bicentennial Man.  He’s done so many excellent films, it’s hard to choose just one. I know you have one or two of your own as well. It is hard to say goodbye to such a talented man, he will be greatly missed.

2011 BAFTA Britannia Awards - Arrivals
“Robin Williams.” Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Biography in Context. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.

In both these films, Robin’s character steps beyond that cordial line of connecting with others and digs deeper to reach the more personal, intimate connection with his fellow human beings.  Often times this is just what is needed when someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide.

I recently attended a workshop sponsored by Kitsap Mental Health Services.  During our time together we talked about suicide and how one can help if someone they know or love has expressed suicidal thoughts.  The answer…  reach out to them, be non-judgmental, listen, make yourself available, and get help from an agency specializing in crisis prevention.  Call the Suicide Help Line 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

There are several resources available online and in print that provide support to those who are in crisis.  For information on helping someone who has expressed suicidal thoughts please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Crisis Clinic of the Peninsulas serves Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties and is also the local National Suicide Prevention Lifeline affiliate. If you are in emotional distress, having thoughts of suicide, or if you want to help others by volunteering please call 360-479-3033 or 800-843-4793.

Kitsap Mental Health Services is a private, not-for-profit community mental health center that provides both mental health and behavioral health care services to children, families, adults and seniors in Kitsap County.

Win 2-1-1 maintains a statewide database for health and human service information.  2-1-1 is an easy phone number to remember and once dialed, will connect you to local resources.

When LIving Hurts

And finally there are materials in the library that also provide help.  When Living Hurts by Sol Gordon and Take the Dimness of my Soul Away by William Ritter are just two to mention, but there are others.

My heart goes out to the family, friends, and fans of Robin.  May all the wonderful work he has done comfort us now and in the future.



World War I–The War to End All Wars

This summer marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  So many books have already been written about this war but many new ones are coming out to help readers get a grip on the  subject.  It is thought that 18 million people died in this war—a war that seemed to begin almost by accident.  Is it really possible that so many people would die and so many countries would be affected by the death of a prince and his wife in a minor Balkan land?


I love history and always hope to encourage other readers to find history appealing as well.  To that end, I can recommend wholeheartedly that readers pick up Barbara Tuchman’s wonderful history called The Guns of August.  Tuchman writes history for everyone.  Her book not only explains how the world ended up at war but it also reads like good narrative fiction as well.

I have other favorite books for readers who want to understand what this war was like for the soldiers who fought.  I recommend Robert Graves’ book Good-Bye to All That to experience what trench warfare was like.  A very high percentage of young, educated Englishmen perished while attempting to fulfill their duties as officers for their nation.  Another good look at the horrors of this war is present in Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, written from her experiences as a nurse on the Western Front.

Here are some books—both fiction and nonfiction—to help get some perspective on this topic.

The Times They are A-Changin’

Public libraries are no longer just about paper books. That fact may surprise you if you haven’t used a library lately. In point of fact, my library is a lively noisy place which hums with activity.

As you come through our front door you may observe the library being used by many groups at the same time. Off to your left is a story time with over 40 children in the audience. They hang on the youth services librarian’s every word as she tells the story of Crictor [the boa-constrictor] on a flannel board.


In the teen room the anime club and the teen services librarian are watching anime and cheering loudly as the film’s heroine finally rescues her parents at the end of the film.

At the reference desk staff is teaching patrons how to download free music and audiobooks from the library’s Overdrive site. At the other counter patrons are checking out dvd sets which contain some of the hottest shows on television (Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones-you get the idea). At least one of our libraries is even planning to provide a Makerspace for people who don’t have the creative space they need at home.

As one can tell after reading above, libraries are excellent at re-inventing themselves. One of our most recent (and best) re-inventions has been the transformation of the Summer Reading program into the Summer of Learning program for both teens and kids!

What is Summer of Learning? The original Summer of Learning program was created by Johns Hopkins 14 years ago. It was the spinoff of an ongoing program which was created in Baltimore, Maryland (Braun, 2013). In a nutshell, the Summer of Learning goal is to help students continue to learn during the summer (a period of time which is infamous for “summer slide” aka a decrease in learning).

Although KRL has conducted many Summer of Learning activities this summer the crème de la crème has to be the four teen field trips to Seattle. Up to forty teens at a time were taken to Seattle via the ferry system to go to the SAM, Frye, MOHAI and Wing Luke museums (all free of charge).

Wing Luke Museum
Wing Luke Asian Museum by Jason Brackins on Flickr

The trip participants got to learn about art, music, glass, chocolate, intolerance and history in addition to many other things. These were hugely successful and satisfying trips that the teens will remember for the rest of their lives.

The library has been helping people learn for a very long time and I am very proud that we are continuing our tradition by helping people find new and better ways to learn. Go KRL and Summer of Learning!

Braun, L. (2013, December 2).
What’s This Thing Called Summer of Learning? Retrieved 8/1/2014 from http://www.ala.org/yalsa

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #10: CD Crafts

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is written by Patty, the Port Orchard branch Intern!

CDs are great for crafting! You might not realize it, but these shiny disks do more than just play music! With a few old CDs or DVDs you can join in the fun of creating something new!

Disc Decorations: CD's on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr
Disc Decorations: CD’s on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr

A lot of people have old disks that they don’t want or use anymore, if you don’t have any, ask around! Or, if all else fails, you can buy blank CDs and DVDs at the store to use.

You can make cool hanging things like this one or use your imagination to create something unique to you! You can create wind chimes, mobiles, and even chandeliers!

DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr
DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr

Other ideas you can try are make a disco ball or Christmas ornament! Or, you can make coasters or candle holders! Anything you can imagine! This website and this one can give you some ideas.

The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr
The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr

You can decorate the CDs with yarn or make cool scratch art! Or, use whatever is around! Paint, newspaper, magazine pages, fake fur, fabric, jewels, and beads can all be used to make something unique! Decorate your walls with old CDs either whole or make a mosaic (be warned, the broken pieces can be sharp, so adult supervision is recommended)!

One idea I really liked was making your own book out of a CD!

With some old CDs and other things around the house you can do all kinds of things!  For more recycled crafts check out these books at the library: Recycled Crafts Box by Laura Martin


Every Day is Earth Day by Kathy Ross

every day is earth day


Fun with Recycling by Marion Elliot or Earth-Friendly Crafts for Kids by Heather Smith and Joe Rhatigan, and any of the other recycled crafts books that the library has to offer!

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at jcharters@krl.org for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.



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