The London, Ontario, Public Library: A New Mega-Library

The London Public Library opened its doors on Nov. 26, 1895, in London, Ontario Canada, under the Free Public Libraries Act of 1882. Since that time it has grown to include 16 branches, special programs for kids and teens, computer equipment for people with special needs, a visiting library, and a free tutoring program for children struggling with literacy, among other things.

With information easily accessible on home computers, you would think libraries would be a thing of the past, but mega-libraries like these are not your grandma’s library. The London Public Library offers author readings, discussion groups and book clubs, computers and technology, movies, shows and concerts, workshops and classes, and extensive collections of material for enjoyment, learning and growth. Its goal is to be the community hub with resources to help you, “whether you are looking for parenting advice, need to know how to build a deck, or need a quiet place to read or connect with people.”

As engaging and helpful as the London Public Library branches are, in today’s fast-paced life style, many people enjoy the convenience of downloading information for use at home or on the road, and find libraries, therefore, an antiquated resource. With a growing collection of free downloadable media, the London Public Library not only meets these needs, it exceeds it by supplying links to resource material and informative web sites as well.

Using The London Public Library From Home

It may not cost much to download movies and ebooks from bookstores, but in today’s tough economic times, when every penny counts, you just can’t beat something that is free. By going to the London Public Library web site home page, and clicking on “download,” you have access to audio books, ebooks, and videos that can be downloaded to your home computer or iPod, iPad, Kindle, you name it.

The process begins by setting up an account online and following the instructions that advise you to first download and install their free software. You then activate the software and check out and download your selections. When your borrowing time is up, you will not be able to activate your selections any more, and then have to delete the title from your media player. This works great for everything from loading audiobooks to your iPod to listen to during your next vacation to downloading Cliff Notes to use on your next term paper.

Researching Information On The London Public Library Web Site

When researching information on the London Public Library web site, you not only have access to books and downloadable media, you are also supplied with links to web sites and articles on your subject of interest. Their information databases include links to magazines, newspapers, academic journals and encyclopedia articles. If you are researching the subject of fine art, for example, you immediately get your choice of reference books, books, recommended web sites, and community information web sites on the subject. This instant access to the pertinent links not only supplies you with useful information beyond your request, it speeds up your search time tremendously.

Like any library, you can reserve a book online and then pick it up to enjoy at home, from everything from Beowulf to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, but unlike any library, the London Public Library is a place that strives to make a difference in the community by enriching and empowering individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Lucky for us, because of modern technology, this community extends and includes the world.

 

 

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Tips On How To Publish A Childrens’ Book

Whether you are trying to write a children’s story or publish a picture book, one thing is for certain, getting your story out there is anything but child’s play. Creating children’s literature has always been highly competitive, and, with e-books, self-publishing, and children’s web sites, you could easily assume publishing in books and magazines were a thing of the past. Think again. Not only are children’s books and magazines alive and kicking, now you can take advantage of modern methods and technology to create a name for yourself.
To get started as a serious children’s book writer, the first thing you might want to do is join The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). By joining the SCBWI, not only do you receive their annual publication guide that lists everything from publishers to agents, you get six of their Bulletin magazines each year that are loaded with information and dates for conventions and contests, you are part of their web site group which allows you to promote yourself and share information with other writers, and you have access to the best advice and contacts in the industry.
Easy Guidelines On How To Write A Children’s Book
To become a successful children’s book writer, you need some talent, some imagination, and, according to Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication, by Ann Whitford Paul, you need to master some skills. The SCBWI describes the book as helping “you develop the skills you need by walking you through techniques and exercises specifically for picture book writers….to craft picture books that will appeal to young readers and parents, agents, and editors.”
The book begins by telling you some things you should keep in mind about your reader. These things include the fact that “everything is new to children, children live in the present, children have strong emotions, and sometimes childhood is not happy.” Paul then says you should build a frame to your story by taking a scene, like a girl walking down the street, and adding a question to the scene. Next, answer the question. After you have drafted the story, cross out everything that does not relate to the question and answer. She also suggests you read new picture books during the process of writing your book.
Once you have developed the story line, it’s time to work on creating some compelling characters. Paul advises you start with choosing a type of character you care about. Next make the character likable, which doesn’t necessarily mean he is good. A bully can be a sympathetic character, for example, if the reader knows the cause of his bad behavior. The character should be childlike, have flaws, and behave in believable ways. The main character must be active, not passive, and he should solve his own problems.
Lastly, to create unique, memorable and consistent characters, it boils down to knowing the following five things about him: his name, his age at the time of the story, his appearance, his relationships with others, and his personality. The personality of the character is knowing his fears, strengths, weaknesses, and special talents, among other things. After you have written a draft, finalized the story, and rewritten it several times, it’s time to get it published.
How To Get Your Children’s Story Published
Getting a children’s book published is easier said then done. The SCBWI and the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market supply comprehensive lists of publishers and agents, but getting an agent or publisher to choose your manuscript is a different story. In fact, it is rare to find a children’s book publisher who will even look at a manuscript that has not come through an agent. By the same token, no matter how well written a story is, it’s hard for an agent to take a writer seriously who has never been published. So where do you begin and how do you make a name for yourself?
Thanks to modern technology it is easier to make a name for yourself simply because their are more options available. For example, you can now submit your story via email to many children’s magazines or web sites like MeeGenius.com, or invest in yourself and publish your book through a self-publisher.
MeeGenius.com is able to publish stories by many new writers because of their unique system. They supply a list of illustrators and authors and ask that you join forces to produce a completed manuscript. If they accept it, the story is posted on their web site and people can download the stories to their media players for a small price. Not only is it a way for authors and illustrators to begin making money, it is an easy way to get stories published and create style and brand before starting to submit manuscripts to an agent.
Writing and publishing a children’s book may not be easy, but if you succeed, the rewards are great. It’s a satisfying way to put a little bit of yourself out there where the sky is pink, the grass is made of marshmellows, and laughter and imagination take charge of the day.
Sources:
SCBWI.org. “Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.”

Paul, Ann Whitford (2009) Writing Picture Books. Writer’s Digest Books.

MeeGenius.com. “MeeGenius!”

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How Sleeplessness Can Set You Free

As I laid in bed awake, watching the hours go by, tossing and turning, I wondered what was keeping me awake, and if there was something I could do to relax and sleep. I knew there was nothing significant going on in my life that I should be loosing sleep over, so it had to be something deep, hiding in my subconscience.  I thought back on my day, and remembered standing in line to purchase some clothes at a local department store, watching a woman at the check out counter. She was middle-aged, unnaturally tan, with a hair style that was overly teased, and she had a stack of no less than ten pairs of the same shorts, all in different colors.  I imagined her wearing the shorts, a different color each day, secure and happy with her summer attire, carefully planned to look the same, yet refreshed each day.

I realized that I had been thinking about my new purchases as I lay in bed, planning how I would incorporate them into my wardrobe with jewelry and shoes to match, it was daunting.  Was I like the woman with shorts, taking my appearance so seriously, and why was I doing it?

Next I remembered an episode of the recent remake of ‘The Odd Couple’ on TV.  Perfectionist Felix was driving a car for the first time, and Oscar was in the passenger seat, coaching and encouraging him.  Felix was gripping the steering wheel in a panic, and screaming as he drove down the road, while Oscar kept telling him to relax.

Could I be a Felix, screaming with panic inside as I steered my life with a death grip,  unable to relax and enjoy the ride?

I then remembered words of Life Coach Martha Beck, in her book, ‘Finding Your Way In This Wild New World,’ where she explains that we come up with our best ideas when we aren’t focused on solving them.  That a relaxed state of mind is the quickest and easiest was to connect with your true purpose in life, and create a life where your wildest dreams come true.  Relax, she was saying, as we steer our way through life, even though we may feel like screaming as we hold on for dear life.

Could it be true, I wondered?  Was it really OK to not worry about being ready for my day tomorrow?  Was it OK not to worry about sleeping well and being sharp and ready for the day?  I knew I had the ability to sleep, but I wondered how to let go of the pressure to sleep and relax.  I asked myself what I would be like if I didn’t sleep, and I realized I would be tired, not caring so much about my outfit or appearance, not caring so much about following my routine or pleasing others, and open to new ideas and ways.  Interesting.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  If we aren’t relaxed enough to sleep, the fatigue that comes the next day is nature’s way of forcing us to relax and be open to feelings and thoughts we wouldn’t have in a well-rested mind set.  Our cloudy minds are open and more able to come up with solutions to the very problems that are keeping us awake.  Eureka! Once I realized it was not only OK, but beneficial to be tired the next day, the pressure was released, and I was able to relax enough to actually sleep.

I realized easy it is to be like the woman in the store with the shorts, living in a society that puts a high value on fashion and appearance. We feel if we look a certain way, we are safe and in control.  How scary it seems to go out in the world with little preparation, without an image to convey that makes us feel confident.  How freeing it would be to prepare less, and observe more, to worry less and be as we are, however tired or imperfect that may be.

Will this work every night?  I’m not sure.  I may just lay awake tonight worrying about it, and that’s OK with me.

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