YOUR HOME LIBRARIAN

A new newsletter designed to help you through the COVID-19 crisis by providing readers of all ages book recommendations, multigenerational activity ideas, and tips on home organization.

 

Issue 1: Welcome to Your Home Librarian 
A deep dive into the Dewey Decimal System and how it may be used to organize the books in your own home; go on virtual tours of eight stunning libraries; and highlight some of the best craft books available in digital formats.
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Issue 2: Virtual Offerings for Book Lovers of All Ages
Organizing the books in your home, taking a deep dive into fiction genres and subgenres; explore the ways publishers, bookstores, and authors are connecting with readers virtually; and take a look at J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter at Home.” For aspiring green thumbs missing the great outdoors, we roundup some books about indoor and container gardening. Ravenous for your next read or (virtual) book club pick? Be sure to check out the list of hot-off-the-press titles (all available digitally), including books for kids and teens. 
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Issue 3: Zooming Into Your Homes 
Do-it-from-home activities, including crowdsourced archival and library-related projects; online storytimes and reading activities for kids from Dolly Parton, Levar Burton, and other celebrities; and two booklists to help you refine your home breadmaking and stretch those pantry staples. Working remotely and looking to jazz up your Zoom backgrounds? We've got several stunning libraries that will serve as beautiful backdrops on your next web call.
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Issue 4: Binged That? Read This. 
Small screen escapism, adults looking to keep kids and teens occupied indoors, novels starring protagonists who are on the autism spectrum, indoor Earth Day celebration ideas, the facts you need to know before embarking on a library graduate school program, and a moving sketch by SLJ's creative director, Mark Tuchman, inspired by the creative and innovative ways libraries are continuing to deliver programs, services, and human connection to their communities—safely and at a distance.
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Issue 5: Love To Read? Learn To Weed! 
Take a deep dive into a practice that's familiar to librarians, but often talked about in hushed tones around the general public: weeding, aka the process of evaluating and—deep breath—discarding books; Some reading suggestions to help get you get to sleep; streaming video, music, and other exercise and fitness resources—all of which you can do in your living room; and a virtual trip to the Louvre and Mars.
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Issue 6: Imagine-You're-on-the-Beach Reads 
Productivity-inducing ambient background noise typically found in coffee shops and libraries, a list of cat-related titles, resources and distractions for kids and teens, kid-friendly podcasts, new beach reads, mysteries, and revealing biographies; plus our picks for the best new magazines.
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Issue 7: 8 Blooming Botanical Gardens with Virtual Tours & Activities
From the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to the Cheekwood Estate in Music City, botanical gardens around the country are bringing their blooms to you with interactive virtual tours, home garden inspiration, and activities for the whole family. Meanwhile, crafters looking for sewing, quilting, or woodworking ideas will find lots of creative sparks in our recent roundup of books and resources. For young sports fans missing their favorite games, we suggest books and streaming movies to fill the gap.
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Issue 8: Bored in the House? Try One of These Family-Friendly Board Games
For many folks, it's been eight weeks or more of sheltering at home, oftentimes balancing remote work and digital school. Families or roommates in need of some screen-free activities will want to check out our roundup of the best board games that encourage cooperation, friendly competition, and belly laughs. Meanwhile, home gardeners—perhaps inspired by our recent roundup of virtual tours of botanical gardens around the country—may want to dig into these delightful horticultural guides.
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Issue 9: Antiracism Begins at Home
When we launched this newsletter several weeks ago, our goal was to help support readers and library users sheltering at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. As so many (including librarians and library workers) were forced to quickly transition to working remotely—while many others were furloughed or laid off—we aimed to help ease the transition and provide engaging, mostly lighthearted content that librarians could pass along to their communities: reading recommendations, ideas for family activities, and tips on organizing one's home library. And while those goals remain, this week our nation grapples anew with so much more than simply how to safely pass the time while staying indoors. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor—and too many other Black Americans—at the hands of police, and the protests they sparked this past week, have brought to the forefront, once again, the centuries-old inequities and biases that run through the core of our nation.
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Issue 10: Flowering at home 
For folks looking for multigenerational activities, this summer could be an ideal time to start exploring your family tree. We offer a handful of excellent—and mostly free— resources to get started. For adults looking for a different kind of fun as most bars and restaurants remain closed, check out our roundup of books on how to craft fancy cocktails (and mocktails) at home. This Friday is Juneteenth, a holiday that dates back to 1865, and many libraries and other organizations are offering online celebrations and resources. Finally, be sure to also check out our weekly roundup of virtual book-ish events for kids and teens.
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Issue 11: Zoom Party Tips, Family Arts & Crafts, & Civics Podcasts for Kids
This week we offer ideas to liven up a Zoom party, from adding interactive trivia to picking a theme for costumes to organizing a scavenger hunt; Parents and caregivers looking to pry young eyes away from screens will want to check out our list of books featuring easy and family-friendly crafts and DIY activities; For learners of any age, especially folks interested in growing their knowledge of American history and cultivating an antiracist mindset, we've gathered a variety of excellent online resources, from books to documentaries to TED talks to online exhibits.
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Issue 12: Make Like a Scientist This Summer 
This week, we offer a roundup of some of the best online resources for exploring science topics at home—from virtual dinosaur exhibits to kitchen chemistry experiments to an astronaut's view from inside the International Space Station; we continue our series of curated summer reading lists for kids and teens, with a spotlight on some of our favorite graphic novels; and offer a deeper dive into Zoom's settings to ensure a safe and efficient event, whether you're hosting a work meeting or a trivia night.
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Issue 13: Bookish Face Masks, Great Summer Audio, & Talking with Young Children About Race
We rounded up some of our favorite book-themed face masks for sale, to keep you safe while proudly proclaiming your love of reading and libraries; our resident readers' advisor recommends five titles that offer escape and enlightenment; information and suggestions on continuing—or starting—discussions with even the youngest kids in your life; and titles, many of which offer easy-to-do, at-home science experiments, are guaranteed to keep kids wide-eyed and occupied... at least for a bit. 
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Issue 14: Virtual Volunteer Opportunities & Stories for Armchair Campers
Adults, teens, and even kids can find inspiration and resources in this week's roundup featuring in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities; Many kids are not able to attend summer camp this year, but readers can live vicariously through the rollicking adventures found in these excellent graphic novels selected by SLJ's resident comics expert; Adults looking for reading (or watching) suggestions will want to peruse our latest collection of the books, TV shows, and films our own staffers are enjoying this month; LJ is launching an online book club, #LJReads. Anyone can participate in discussions on Twitter throughout the next few weeks using the hashtag #LJReadsRodham.
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Issue 15: Enjoy a Virtual Music Festival This Summer 
We round up some of the most exciting upcoming and ongoing virtual music events, from classical to hip-hop to jazz to family sing-alongs; We look back at the life and legacy of civil rights icon and American hero Rep. John Lewis, including his National Book Award–winning graphic novel series and his stirring keynote speech at SLJ's 2016 Leadership Summit; Children, parents, and educators around the world also mourn the loss of Joanna Cole, the beloved creator of the "Magic School Bus" series; Identifying the top five most buzzed-about titles likely to wind up on 2020 best-of-the-year lists; The launch of our first in a series of online chats about Curtis Sittenfeld's Rodham.
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Issue 16: Easy & Frugal Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space While Staying Indoors This Summer
After spending months primarily indoors, and with recent spikes in positive COVID-19 cases causing many to return to more aggressive social distancing measures, there's a fair chance that many of us will continue to spend the majority of summer 2020 in our homes and apartments. One way to stay positive is by using this time to spruce up neglected corners, deep clean closets, or make like Marie Kondo and declutter. This week we offer some cheap and easy ideas for novice DIYers; We report on the emergence of "personal learning pods," and how some families are reenvisioning educational models of homeschooling; Check out our weekly roundup of some of the best (and often free) virtual events for kids, parents, and educators.
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Issue 17: Book-themed Masks for Kids & Adults
This week we highlight more of our favorite literary and book-themed masks, including options for Star Wars and Marvel fans, as well as those designed by children's book illustrators; Our graphic novel columnist also catches up with Jack Black and Kyle Gass, aka Tenacious D, to hear about their latest artistic endeavor: Post-Apocalypto; In a reading slump? Check out what our editors are enjoying this month, from heady work on politics and religion to spooky stories for kids.
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Issue 18: Missing Museums? Check Out Some Virtual Art Exhibits This Summer
This week we highlight eight outstanding online exhibits, from a look at art in the age of coronavirus to the Tate's retrospective on Warhol; our editors share some of the top titles they're reading and enjoying this month; and we round up 16 laugh-out-loud YA novels.
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Issue 19: Taking Care of YOU
This week we offer some tips and resources for self-care; For book lovers, we highlight some of the most anticipated titles and our editors' top picks; Finally, we've rounded up several virtual museum exhibits exploring the history and impact of past pandemics.
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Issue 19: Sparking Creativity at Home
We highlight a collection of dance resources that feature free live and prerecorded performances for people to watch at their convenience; Spotlight virtual book clubs for reading during challenging times, while those looking for suggestions on what to read next will be interested the latest LJ starred reviews; and feature how-to grilling guides for Labor Day cookouts as well as podcasts for tweens and teens drawn to spooky stories. 
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Issue 20: Virtual Travel Ideas & Advice for Aspiring Activists
The tourism industry has been working hard over the last few months to create appealing virtual experiences for travelers to explore from home. We highlight eye-catching locations from around the world; We feature books on climate change and climate activism, which will draw in teen and adult readers; We share advice for aspiring activists interested in the voting process and sparking change.
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Issue 21: Taking Comfort in Collecting
The hobby of collecting is well-suited for our current era of isolation and social distancing. It entails activities you can and often need to do from home, including sorting and organizing your stuff, doing research, and scouring the internet for items you might want to purchase. For many people, collecting was a childhood pastime that they have continued to pursue or are rediscovering. Others are using their extra time at home to begin a new collection. We offer advice on getting started; We also honor National Hispanic Heritage Month with selections of kidlit and YA titles as well as picture book biographies.
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Issue 22: Family-Friendly Virtual Food Festivals
This fall organizers of culinary events are finding new ways to connect with food lovers around the globe. We highlight festivals that the entire family can enjoy this season; We also feature upcoming romance novels that can serve as escapism in this time of uncertainty; Lastly, we share snapshots of pandemic life, and encourage you to share your work area, garden, or any space that is bringing you comfort during these challenging times.
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Issue 23: Celebrating Halloween Safely
The candy, the costumes, the haunted houses. As we all know, many people—and not just kids—wait all year for Halloween. And while the pandemic is definitely changing how the holiday is celebrated this year, the fun will still go on. So, get your costume set and get ready for a spook-tacular time! 
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