“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” - Mary Wollstonecraft, writer.

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Were you looking forward to Groundhog Day? I never take it too seriously, because no matter what the groundhog sees on February 2nd, winter in North Idaho will last as long as it pleases, usually between six and nine months. Kidding! Kind of. I might not be 100% in the #neversummer camp, but I do like my winters, and the snowier the better (otherwise, what’s the point?). Recently, though, I’ve become intrigued by the origins of Groundhog Day, when I realized it coincided with the pagan holiday Imbolc / Imbolg, or Brigid’s Day. It’s also known as Candlemas or the Festival of Lights. No matter what we call it, it is the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and was historically considered a powerful time of renewal and potential.

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I have a soft spot for alliteration, which is partly why I wanted to title this post “In praise of cozies and crossovers!” However, I realize that those terms might need translation for those of us not fluent in library-speak, so I will elaborate: by “cozies,” I mean a special breed of gentle detective story known as a “cozy mystery,” and by “crossover,” I mean books that cross genres, also known as genre blends. Books that appeal to both teens and adults are also known as crossovers, but I’ll stick with the genre definition for now. I bet you didn’t know you were going to library school today, did you? Congratulations, you just passed Readers’ Advisory 101!

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Science Fiction is not limited to the future. Much of what we see in films and read in books of this complex genre are not just possible, but are developing behind the veil of common knowledge. Advancements are being made at such an exponential rate, it is be difficult to keep up. Tech giants have turned to biology in an effort to solve the impending data storage problem by purchasing and utilizing DNA strands to archive this data. Although they are still working out the kinks in this project, it is visible on the horizon. This is one result as the scientific and technological fields blend into an enormous force of progress.

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Some people get enormously excited about the holiday season. All the delicious food! The chance to dress up for parties! The visits from family! Oh, wait… well, no matter what gets you into the holiday mood, sometimes it can be oh-so-easy to burn out before you’ve gotten a chance to enjoy the delights of the season.

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In this blog I usually stick to themes of productivity and learning, or cover a few drops splattering off the giant umbrella of “self-improvement,” but for once, with this shockingly abrupt onset of winter, I thought it might be appropriate to lighten up a bit. And even though our current weather is not exactly unseasonable, I saw no reason why our topic shouldn’t be. Therefore, today we are going to cover… fashion!

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“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” Stephen King

The creative process is a difficult one to master. We sit with our canvas, page or computer staring blankly at us. It taunts one minute, motivates the next and then completely blocks us. The reasons for this may vary, but there are times when it seems that my work is working against me.

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The genre of science fiction represents the realm between what we know and what can never be attained, a sort of middle ground of endless possibility. I believe it is this that makes it such a popular and highly stimulating form of entertainment. It captures our imaginations as well as our intellect. It both feeds and satisfies our curiosity. It may compel us to ask ourselves questions such as, what is our place in the universe and in the construct of time? How do we honestly react to the unknown? Or, we may simply enjoy the ride, fully immersing ourselves in the world presented before us, allowing ourselves to be carried away by the story and the unique yet somehow familiar characters.

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Have you ever requested an item from the library catalog to have it magically and conveniently appear to your delight on the holds shelf? Our library treasure hunters (aka. holds assistants) are the ones who make the magic happen.

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While the demand for comic books has faced certain periods of decline since their inception, audiences eventually go back for more. The notion of superheroes first gained significant popularity during the Great Depression and this popularity grew well into WWII. These stories were inspiring and provided a much-desired form of escapism in a time of unrest. Similarly, as we find ourselves in a time of pervasive chaos, disillusionment and artificial connections, the demand has risen for entertainment which features not just superheroes, but superhero teams.

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When the smoke cleared recently after a week spent indoors, I ventured outside to run a few errands and to inhale as much fresh air as was humanly possible. Nearly everywhere I went, I bumped into friends as well as some of my favorite library volunteers and patrons. While we chatted and shared stories, I was reminded how fortunate I am to live in our close-knit community.

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As adults age, many begin to worry about their mental health and well-being beginning to decline. 47.5 million people around the world suffer from dementia with nearly 7.7 million new cases a year. The best way to protect mental health and prevent the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's is to challenge and exercise the brain regularly. Here are a few ways seniors can stimulate their mind in order to stay in good health.

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