Book Cart Drill Teams Battle for Supremacy

iStock
iStock

The secret lives of librarians took center stage at the American Library Association's annual conference earlier this month. There was dancing, there were costumes, there was music, and, of course, there were book carts. They practice their routines in hallways and parking lots, ready to compete in the 5th annual Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship, sponsored by library supply company DEMCO.

"I thought, my God, what have we done here," said DEMCO's John Ison of the first competition. Teams bring acrobatic splits, book cart headlights, and dry ice effects to the floor in the quest to win first place and the coveted gold book cart trophy that comes with it. "It changes the whole image of librarians," added Ison.

What started out as a creative demonstration has since turned into an all out competition judged on technical ability and artistic impression, with bonus points for unique costumes, dance moves, and other innovations.

After the second place Des Plaines Public Library Cart Wheels team performed to a medley of songs from Grease, Ison remarked, "There was a move towards the beginning--a sort of thrust--worth several points." And with each thrust, the competition also brings team members closer together, building camaraderie. (The winning team had to juggle practices with members from three different library branches.)

After an especially competitive year that almost ended in a tie, the judges awarded the Oak Park Library Warrior Librarians first prize for their viking-inspired performance, complete with sword play, horned helmets, and war cries.

During the competition, one of the moderators joked to any library school students in the audience, "It's really not too late to change your major." Judging by the applause from the overflowing crowd, if anything, this competition will likely boost library school enrollments, and reduce shushing.

Kids Can Join Children's Book Author Mo Willems for Daily "Lunch Doodles" on YouTube

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

For children interested in taking drawing lessons, there are few better teachers than Mo Willems. The bestselling author and illustrator has been charming young readers for years with his Pigeon picture book series. Now, from the Kennedy Center, where he's currently the artist-in-residence, Willems is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" videos that viewers can take part in wherever they are. New lessons are posted to the Kennedy Center's YouTube channel each weekday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak closing schools across the country, many kids are now expected to continue their education from home. For the next several weeks, Willems will be sharing his time and talents with bored kids (and their overworked parents) in the form of "Lunch Doodles" episodes that last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In the videos, Willems demonstrates drawing techniques, shares insights into his process, and encourages kids to come up with stories to go along with their creations.

"With millions of learners attempting to grow and educate themselves in new circumstances, I have decided to invite everyone into my studio once a day for the next few weeks," Willems writes for the center's blog. "Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons. We are going to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making."

If kids don't want to doodle during lunch, the videos will remain on YouTube for them to tune in at any time. The Kennedy Center is also publishing downloadable activity pages to go with each episode on its website [PDF]. For more ways to entertain children in quarantine or isolation, check out these livestreams from zoos, cultural institutions, and celebrities.

This App Lets You Download Free E-Books, Magazines, Comic Books, and Audiobooks From Your Library

boggy22, iStock via Getty Images
boggy22, iStock via Getty Images

Even if your local library is closed during the novel coronavirus outbreak, you can still use your library card in quarantine. As Thrillist reports, Libby is an app that works with local libraries to give you free access to audiobooks, e-books, comic books, and magazines wherever you are.

Libby, an app from the digital reading company Overdrive, is connected to 90 percent of public libraries in North America. To use the app, just enter the information from your library card and start browsing digital titles available through your local branches. If you don't have a library card yet, some participating libraries will allow you to sign up for a digital card in the app. That way, you don't have to leave home to start reading.

As more people are looking for e-books and audiobooks to pass the time at home, Overdrive has made it possible for multiple users to check out the same title at once. That means as more libraries shift to a 100 percent online loan system for the time being, it will be easier to meet their patrons' needs.

No matter what your current literary mood may be, you should have no trouble finding something to read on Libby. Downloadable titles from the New York Public Library currently available through the app include the e-book of Becoming by Michelle Obama, the e-book of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, and the audiobook of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. After you download a book, you can send it to your Kindle device, and all items are automatically returned on their due date. Download the free app today to start browsing.

[h/t Thrillist]

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