It’s no secret that our kids and teens are wildly fluent in computers and video games. In fact, those may be their primary languages, and the lenses through which they see the world. At the library, we have many patrons who are excited by the possibilities of their children learning more about the technology in their lives, but there are still some who harbor some skepticism about their kids’ relationship to computers – and in particular video games.
There seems to be an eternal struggle between parents and children when video games are involved. Parents wish for games to be less time-consuming and to have more educational content, and children want their favorite games to stay, above all else, fun. While there may be further questions about the ethics and qualities of games in general, this debate the proper ratio between distraction and information will likely never disappear. One game, though, has transcended these generational divides over the past few years and proven itself both as a tool for entertainment and education. That game, of course, is Minecraft.
For the uninitiated, Minecraft is a resource-management game that involves the player mining and farming their resources in order to build structures and create the rudiments of civilization. Over the past five years, it has sustained its place as the most popular computer game for children. Kids love being able to build their own world, manage their own supplies, and explore their terrain. The game teaches basic principles of architecture and geometry, not to mention its subtle instruction in practical mathematics. All of this is done transparently – Minecraft never stops to teach the player, but rather lets them develop their skills organically.
We at the Library adore Minecraft, and it has become an important part of our programming. Teens can come to our weekly club, which meets every Friday night from 6-8. More information can be found here. But for our younger patrons, each Wednesday at 4, the Library hosts Minecraft groups for children aged 8-12. We alternate each week between creative mode (where players build freely with unlimited resources) and survival mode (which features management and enemy monsters). Signups begin each Monday on our website.
As STEM education becomes more and more vital in our schools, video games can play a valuable role in teaching children the skills they need. A game like Minecraft proves how important they are now, and indicates how much more important they will become.
We librarians here at Provo City Library have been abuzz about Marie Kondo's 2014 book, THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, the #1 New York Times best seller that has been inspiring people to declutter their homes so much that thrift stores across the nation have been flooded with donations.
If you’re like us and you’ve been inspired by the Konmarie method, or you’re simply raring to tidy up, improve your home, and prepare for a busy summer ahead, check out our librarians' favorite home care books!
This is an invaluable book for anyone who owns their own home and wants to care for it properly. It covers all areas of your home, including things from how to keep your faucets drip-free, to growing the best lawn on the block, to preparing your home before you go on vacation. It also includes easy repairs for appliances, plumbing, flooring, walls, furniture, driveways, and more.
This book is a great reference, and, because I'm kind of strange, I'll also sit down and read it for fun sometimes. The writing is surprisingly engaging, and HOME COMFORTS includes thorough instructions for caring for just about every aspect of the home (including deciphering those little hieroglyphics on clothing tags). Relying on thorough research, Mendelson describes not only how to keep house, but the scientific and historical reasons for why we do. Since the author is a lawyer, she even includes a section on laws that might affect homeowners. You'd be hard pressed to come up with a question about housekeeping that this book doesn't answer.
If you hate mowing the lawn as much as I do, LAWN GONE! is the book to alleviate your woes. While short, it is considerably broad in range, spanning the pros and cons as well as tips and tricks for a yard with little to no lawn. Whether you have a small or large yard, are looking to replace grass with gravel or mulch, flower beds, garden space, shrubs, or sitting areas, the ideas in this book are sure to inspire. I particularly found the numerous color photos, before and after examples, and lists of regional plant recommendations to be particularly useful for a novice landscaper like myself.
This amazing book is a quick read, as about a third of the book talks about how to actually get everything done in one day, and the rest is filled with 150 recipes. I especially liked the recipes because they are quick and easy to do - you won't find too many with more than 5 or 6 ingredients and steps. I pared it down to 10 meals for my first trial-run. I spent about $50 on the groceries, two hours in the kitchen, and packed 9 meals away in the freezer (we ate the 10th that night). I actually found the process kind of fun, and the tips and guidelines she gives in the instructional part of the book really did help a lot as I put this all together. Plus, what I've eaten so far was yummy!
I look at this as the nontoxic equivalent of Mendelson's HOME COMFORTS book. Sandbeck points out that we use harsh chemicals so often in our homes that they are actually more polluted than the outdoors. In our obsessive effort to rid our homes of germs, we have actually compromised our immune systems and created "super bugs" that are resistant to disinfectants or antimicrobial medications. Sandbeck discusses how to prevent messes as well as clean them, and she offers a few green, nontoxic formulas to replace traditional cleaners.
It's National Poetry Month, and we're celebrating with more recommendations of fantastic novels in verse!
Find them in the catalog:
As you may know, we love hosting authors here at the Provo City Library! This month we've got visits planned from Julie Berry and Darren Shan, and next month we'll welcome Kenneth Oppel and David Wiesner. Get full event details on our AuthorLink page.