By Cherise T.

Do you miss browsing our library shelves? Settling into a cozy chair to explore a stack of books and deciding which to check out and take home? Filling your bag with books by new authors, DVDs for that sitcom your daughter thought you’d love, CDs by a band you’ve been hearing on the radio? If so, Howard County Library System’s Bundle Bags will bring you joy, information, and entertainment. Especially with the colder weather setting in, a bag of library materials prepared just for you will brighten the day. Think about snuggling under a blanket with a new book, immersing in a compelling period drama, laughing at a romantic comedy or dancing to energizing music. Whether you want to challenge yourself and learn to knit in time for holiday gift giving or bake a great pie using recipes from a gorgeous cookbook, there’s a Bundle Bag for you. 

Save time assisting your student with a homework assignment by requesting a Bundle Bag. Just imagine, a bag filled with books about trucks, colors, and shapes. Or maybe your child is ready to add chapter books to his reading journey. Our library staff is skilled in selecting children’s and teen books ranging from educational to inspirational, from sports to fantasy to classics. The next time a family member complains of running out of things to read or watch, be reassured that help is on the way. 

Destress throughout your daily activities with some holiday music. We’ve got a Bundle Bag for that. Always wanted to try a romance novel? We’ve got a Bundle Bag for that. Relax into an audiobook about your favorite movie star or escape with a thrilling mystery. Explore true crime accounts. Check out a British television series. With a bag filled with materials, you may just find your next favorite book or movie.  

Easily complete the form for a Bundle Bag on our website. There are five age categories ranging from infant to adult. Request books or CDs/DVDs, or both. For each category requested, a library research staff member selects six items. Choose up to five categories for a total of 30 items. After selecting the bundle contents, complete the form by entering a pickup date and time as early as the second library business day and up to two weeks from the date of form submission. Bags may be picked up at any of our six branches. With one trip to the library for contactless pickup, bring home everything from board books for your grandson to Oscar-winning films for you.  

Cherise Tasker is an Adult Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch. When not immersed in literary fiction, Cherise can be found singing along to musical theater soundtracks. 

Bundle Up

Milkweed for Monarchs

A bright orange and black monarch butterfly sits on purp
A monarch butterfly flexes its wings in the Enchanted Garden at HCLS Miller Branch.

by Ann H.

Now is a great time to harvest and plant milkweed to support the dwindling monarch population. Milkweed is the host plant of the monarch butterfly. It is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs, and when the eggs hatch the tiny monarch larvae (caterpillars) start chomping away on their one and only food – milkweed leaves. Monarchs cannot complete their life cycle without milkweed. Common milkweed, Swamp milkweed, and Butterfly Weed are all native to Maryland and suitable for the butterflies as they journey through our state. The Enchanted Garden showcases vivid orange Butterfly Weed and, especially this year, an abundance of Common Milkweed. The latter one spreads easily. During the garden closure it found its way to our compost bins, the pathways, and between the rocks lining our stream!

Milkweed seeds are easy and fun to harvest. In the fall, fat pods dry on the plants and burst open to reveal hundreds of seeds in a single pod. Each seed is attached to silky fluff also called coma. That silky fluff allows the seed to float through the air with the hope of landing in fertile soil. You can pull the seeds from the fluff or put an open seed pod in a bag with some pennies for weight, close the bag and shake. The seeds will come loose from the fluff.

Collect and plant seeds now so the seeds get the winter chill or cold stratification they need to germinate in the spring. If you want to wait, put them in a bag in the freezer for a month and they’ll be ready for planting come spring.

Would you like to plant some milkweed? I am happy to share the many common milkweed pods I harvested from the Enchanted Garden. I’ll place a container of pods in front of the Enchanted Garden Gate on days I’m in the garden (see times below) and for as long as the supply lasts. Bring a small bag and take a couple pods home. Every seed planted has the potential to support our monarchs!

WHEN:
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
October 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28
9:30 am – 12:30 pm

You can find additional information about Monarchs in our HCLS collection.

For Adults

The Monarch: Saving Our Most-Loved Butterfly by Kylie Baumle

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Co-evolution by Anurag Agrawal

For Children

Monarch Butterflies by Josh Gregory

Monarch Butterflies Matter by Cecilia Pinto McCarthy

Ann is a Master Gardener and the Enchanted Garden Coordinator at the HCLS Miller Branch, where she has worked for eight years. You can find her smiling in the garden and sharing her passion for plants, nature, and our community.

Libby Lends to Listeners! More eAudiobooks available via RBdigital

Deep red background sets off text in white for an ad for Libby app by OverDrive, which features a tablet and a phone displaying various book covers.

by Kim M.

Do you listen to eAudiobooks via RBdigital? Do you know Libby? If not, it’s definitely time to download the app to your phone and/or eReader! It’s the easy access point for eBooks and eAudiobooks, and it just got better.

All of the RBdigital eAudiobooks are available via the Libby app (as of 9/24/20) and the OverDrive website since OverDrive, North America’s largest provider of public library eBooks, has acquired RBdigital. The RBdigital mobile app will eventually be retired, but the good news is that you will continue to be able to browse, borrow, and enjoy all the same great eAudiobook titles.

For now, this change only affects RBdigital eAudiobooks and classic literature in eBook format. Digital magazines remain available via RBdigital. As OverDrive works on integrating RBdigital eMagazines, you can continue to access eMagazines in the RBdigital app. 

If you are a current RBdigital user, these frequently asked questions may help explain the move:

Why are RBdigital audiobooks moving to OverDrive?
OverDrive has acquired RBdigital, and is working to integrate the two services. You will be able to access all titles through the OverDrive website, the classic OverDrive app, and the Libby app. When this transfer is complete, audiobooks will no longer be available on the RBdigital platform and app.

What happens if I have a title(s) currently checked out on RBdigital?
Current checkouts will be available through the remainder of their lending period in the RBdigital app. Your current checkouts will not be moved to OverDrive. This will allow you to finish your title without disruption or risk of losing your place in the audiobook. 

What happens to my checkout history and wish lists from RBdigital?
Checkout history and wish lists will not be moved to OverDrive. You can export your Transaction History from the RBdigital website on a desktop computer:  

  • After logging into the RBdigital website, open the menu in the top left of the screen and select “My Account.”  
  • Then click “Profiles” and underneath your personal information, you will see the option to “Export My Transaction History.” 
  • Clicking this button will automatically download a CSV file to your computer with your information.

New to eBooks and eAudiobooks?
Howard County Library System is proud to offer a wide selection of digital titles for you to access through Libby, the one-tap reading app powered by OverDrive. For those who have not yet tried the Libby app, all you need to get started is your library card number. Download the free Libby app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The Libby app is easy to use and will guide you through the setup process and get you connected to our library in just a few minutes. You can find in-app support, or watch this brief video tutorial to get started.

Happy reading!

Kim M. works in the Materials Management Department at the Administrative Branch. When not keeping up-to-date on library technology, she is volunteering to get out the vote.

Voting Matters

by Emily T.

Election Day is fast approaching! 

Are you one of the 46,120 Howard County voters who have already requested their mail-in ballot?1 Because of the pandemic, all Marylanders have more options for how to vote to make the process safer and easier, but election deadlines are hard and fast. So, choose your path early and make sure you have time for the plan that’s best for you.

To help you plan, we’re introducing our new online HCLS Voter Smarts Guide 2020. It’s a comprehensive, nonpartisan collection of resources tailored to our Howard County community.

Use our guide to take the first critical step – make sure you are registered to vote by October 13.

Next comes the Choose Your Own Adventure part. To vote, you have several options:  

1) Mail in a mail-in ballot.

2) Drop off a mail-in ballot at a county drop box,

3) Vote early in person at any Early Voting Center in your county.

4) Vote in person on Election Day at any Voting Center in your county.

Due to the pandemic, all Maryland voters are encouraged to use mail-in ballots, but they WILL NOT be sent out automatically. Go to our guide (linked above) to request your mail-in ballot by the October 20 deadline. Then, return your signed ballot ASAP, no need to wait for election day. 

If, on the other (sanitized) hand, you choose to vote at an in-person Voting Center, check out our COVID-19 section for the CDC Recommendations for voters. We also have Voting Tips & Accessibility information with FAQ for before, during, and after you vote.  

Beyond logistics, maybe you’re looking for reliable information about all the issues at stake this election. Fortunately, the HCLS Voter Smarts Guide 2020 also connects you to trustworthy fact-checking websites and Informed Voter Resources & Guides with nonpartisan, well researched databases that lay out candidates’ positions and the pros/cons of any issue. 

Some things have to be different for the 2020 election. But one thing is downright fundamental as always – your vote matters. So, get out there – or stay in – and vote! 

Emily is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She’ll be making “I Voted” s’mores with her kids to celebrate dropping off her mail-in ballot. 

10 Ways to Reuse Your Contactless Pick Up Bag

By Anna B.

HCLS is thrilled to now offer paper bags as a more eco-friendly option for Contactless Pickup. If you’ve stopped by to see us a few times, you probably have quite a collection piling up! Here are ten ways to reuse your Contactless Pickup paper bag:

1. Gift Bag

Decorate your bag and use it to surprise a friend or neighbor with a fun treat! Or save them for the holidays for easy gift wrapping.

2. Cat House

Decorate your bag to look like a house and see if your pet will nap inside.

3. Ripen Fruit

If you want your fruit to ripen up a bit faster, try placing it inside your paper bag and folding over the top.

4. Package Filler

Use your paper bag as an eco-friendly way to fill space when sending a package. Cut the bag apart and crumple the pieces so they act as a cushion.

5. Weed Blocker

Paper bags work great for blocking pesky weeds. Cut a hole in a piece of paper bag and arrange around seedlings in your garden.

6. Make a Luminary

Cut shapes out of your bag and place battery-operated candles inside for a lantern effect.

7. Book Cover

Use your bag to cover textbooks or cookbooks to keep them looking nice.

8. Recycling Receptacle

Use your bag to collect paper recycling for easy transport to the recycling bin.

9. Crab Paper

Cut open your bag and use it to line your table when picking steamed crabs at home.

10. Craft Station

Use your bag to protect your table or floor from paint and glue while you make something creative! Consider sharing your new creation with HCLS’s Created While Isolated.

There are so many ways to upcycle your bag to get the most out of it. We’d love to see how you are reusing yours!

Anna has worked at the Glenwood Branch as a Customer Service Specialist for 6 years. She loves crafting, yoga, and baking.

Contactless Pickup Begins Today!

A library staff member, wearing a face covering, places blue bags on a table with alphabetic signs, A-F and G-L.

Welcome back to the Library! We are so happy to be able to lend physical items to you again. Our electronic resources have been invaluable during our collective quarantine and our statistics show it, but we know you are interested in our tangible items, too.

You can now return the materials you have had since March (if not earlier) and borrow new books, movies, Playaways, tools, art, and more. All six branches of HCLS are open for contactless pickup, Mon-Sat*, 10 am – 6 pm.

More than 300,000 items were borrowed before HCLS closed, and customers have placed requests for more than 52,000 items during the closure. All items retrieved from book drops – and returned during contactless pickup – will be quarantined for 72 hours. HCLS staff returned to branches more than a week ago, preparing to begin this new service.

HCLS President & CEO Tonya Aikens comments, “The health, safety, and well-being of our staff and customers remains top priority. Guidance from health officials and the CDC continues to inform our plans. Decisions about how we progress to future phases will depend on the most current health and safety guidelines.”

County Executive Calvin Ball said, “The HCLS team has been instrumental in connecting residents with online resources throughout this pandemic, and we’re thrilled they have found a safe way to provide more access to our residents with contactless pickup.”

So, how does it work? The basics are below, but all the details and FAQs are available here.

1. Place items on hold.

Search the Library’s catalog for titles of interest. To request items from the art collection, please call Central Branch at 410.313.7800, or the DIY collection, please call Elkridge Branch at 410.313.5077.

Use your HCLS-registered library card or A+ student account (for HCPSS students) and PIN to log in and place requests, selecting your preferred pickup location.

You may also make requests by phone by calling your HCLS branch during business hours (10 am – 6 pm, Monday – Saturday).

2. Wait for notification, then reserve a pickup day and time.

You will receive a notice when your holds are available.

Then, fill out the Contactless Holds Pickup Request form online or call your pickup branch to make an appointment.

3. At the scheduled date and time, pick up your holds at the designated HCLS location.

Prior to your appointment, HCLS staff will locate your items, check them out to your account, and bag them. The bag will be labeled with your name and placed on a table in the lobby of the pickup branch.

When you arrive, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others. Face coverings are required.

If you notice another customer in the lobby, please remain outside until the previous customer has departed.

Grab your bag and go – items have already been checked out to you. Your receipt will be in the bag.

We have missed you and are so pleased to be offer this service. We can’t wait to see you in person again soon!

*HCLS is closed on July 4, as well as five Fridays for furlough: July 3, 17, 31, and August 14 & 28.

New Online Calendar!

Events calendar for June 2020, with classes listed in a grid. On the left side, a green filters menu to help with searching is visible.

HCLS is pleased to launch a new online calendar that provides an easy-to-use, snapshot view of all of our upcoming classes and events. The calendar can be accessed here, or by going to hclibrary.org and clicking on “Classes & Events.”

This user-friendly and easy-to-navigate tool allows customers to search and register for classes and events quickly and easily. Hovering above a title brings up a preview sidebar, and clicking on that title will take you to the full details and registration page. It is important to register with an email address so that you receive the automatic confirmation email and the link to join the online class.

You can search for classes in many ways through the Filters menu. The calendar has a basic keyword search. For example, typing in ‘STEAM’ will display all of the upcoming STEAM classes. You can also search by subject by using the “Program Type” list on the left-hand sidebar.

The feature I find most useful is that all the classes are color coded by age group! I just select Ages 14-17 (High School) to look for classes for my teenager, and interesting classes like Science Lab, Digital Design Lab and Food Truck Entrepreneur pop up! Click “reset” to search again with a different filter.

Play around and explore this new online calendar, and discover classes and events for everyone! If you love literature, I suggest searching for Staff Picks & Book Chat (scheduled for this Friday, June 26th, at 11am) and register – you will love how speedy and simple this process is!

If you have any questions, we can be reached at Ask HCLS.

Rohini is the Adult Curriculum Specialist with HCLS. She loves literature and rainy days.

Libraries Stand Against Racism

Black box with white text that reads, Libraries Stand Against Racism atop red text that reads, Anywhere. Anytime.

My heart aches at the cruel and inhumane acts routinely inflicted upon my Black brothers and sisters and all people of color. Tears stream from my eyes because statements like this continue to be issued in the aftermath of senseless killings like those of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. I wail as committees are formed to check the box so we can bird watch in public parks and not endure what Christian Cooper endured. My gut wrenches because conversations must held to see that our children have the protections denied Aiyana Jones at seven years of age. My soul is in a state of unrest to see people of all races and ethnicities in harm’s way and being harmed as they peacefully protest in support of respect, equal justice and equal treatment for all. The statements, committees and conversations should and must continue, but we must also move past them, standing against racism and hatred each time it is in our midst, and strategizing and enacting change until America’s promises ring true for all citizens.  

Learning of one another, our shared history, and the peaceful steps we can all take is essential to reaching this goal. In line with its mission of high-quality education for all, Howard County Library System (HCLS) dove into the topics of systemic racism with the Undesign the Redline exhibit and Color of Law author Richard Rothstein event (in person and on our HiJinx podcast), and racial justice with Waking Up White author Debby Irving and educator Lisa Gray. HCLS condemns racism, hatred and violence. Today, HCLS invites you to join us in committing to and engaging in an educational pursuit for justice. 

Public libraries across the country have the responsibility to advance social equity. HCLS stands united with the Urban Libraries Council and the American Library Association in condemning racist incidents and behavior that targets individuals and communities. 

HCLS is one of more than 160 North American public library systems that have shown their strong commitment to ending structural racism by signing ULC’s Statement on Race and Social Equity, which asserts that “libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership.”  

The American Library Association unequivocally condemns racism and endorses recent statements by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Laureate once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” 

I implore you not to be neutral. The cost for neutrality is simply too high. It’s incalculable. I invite you to take the deep pain felt in our community and use it to fuel positive change. Peacefully learn, grow, share, support and act. Our talented team will continue to add to the list of materials below and on our website curated for all ages in various formats. Read. Watch. Listen. Share. Act.  

Sincerely, 

Tonya Aikens 
President and CEO 
Howard County Library System 

Read 

Anti-racist books 

Anti-racist reading list from Ibram X. Kendi  

Social Justice Books – Young Adult Fiction 

20 Social Justice Books for Young Adults and Middle Grades 

31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance 

Watch 

https://www.kanopy.com/category/29286

Learn 

What White People Can Do for Racial Justice 

HOUSING 

Listen 

Howard County Library System’s HiJinx podcast, Episode 19: Seeing Red, focused on the Undesign the Redline exhibit. This episode featured Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, a forgotten history of how our government segregated America, and Braden Crooks, co-founder and partner of Designing the We which created Undesign the Redline. Tune in here via SoundCloud or listen on iTunes

How Racist Property Laws Formed The Neighborhoods We Live In Today on The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Listen

Watch 

Designing the WE co-founder April De Simone gives a tour of Undesign the Redline in Washington, DC. Watch

Welcome

Welcome to Howard County Library System! While the doors to our branches may be closed, HCLS remains open at hclibrary.org where you can stream, download, and learn. 

HCLS offers numerous online tools and resources for all ages and interests. Sharpen your professional skills, learn a new language, stream music and movies, research family history, tackle “Do It Yourself” projects at home, and so much more. 

If you have questions or need assistance, our staff is available at 410.313.5088 or askhcls@hclibrary.org. 

We at HCLS sincerely wish you well during these difficult times. We can’t wait to see you at the Library!