Reading Challenge

Welcome to 2018!  A brand new year of reading!

I have looked at umpteen reading challenges over the years and never chosen to participate.  Partly it was an attitude of “I just want to read what I like, and I like a lot of books”.  But this year we at Jake Epp Library made up our own reading challenge.  We have listed 12 ideas for you and you can do it in any order.  It is one book a month. If you are not a huge reader and find that daunting, just pick 6 of the categories for this year.


Since I was part of creating our challenge I figured I should actually participate.  I hope you do too.  And I hope you will share some of your discoveries with us as well. In fact, for anyone who takes the time to give us just a couple of lines of feedback on what you have read the previous month, we will enter all those names in a draw.  On the 4th of each month someone will win a book. All the information is available on our website, or you can pick up a paper copy at the library.  We can even email it to you.  Drop a line at [email protected].

One of the challenges is to read a Young Adult book, and I chose this for my first challenge.  Over the last few years as I have ordered and catalogued books for our collection I have been intrigued by many of the stories written for teens.  I have chosen a fantasy entitled Seraphina, written by Rachel Hartman.  Our copy of the book is checked out right now, but I found it on eLibraries Manitoba so I am reading it on my iPad.  I am enjoying it so far and the only thing I am going to say is…… it has dragons!

Stay tuned and later in the month I will give my review of this book.  Now it’s your turn.  Get the list, pick a book, and find some gems that you might never have read on your own.

Online Face-Lift

“The library is more than just books.” If you haven’t heard this before, you haven’t talked to a librarian in a while. This is the current mantra of many a librarian. We have a number of other resources, we’re a community space, and we offer programs and services that range from educational to entertaining. Sure, it’s one thing to say it, but chances are you tuned out halfway through that sentence and skimmed to the end (it’s okay we won’t tell.) It’s much better to show it, it’s more interesting, and it’s harder to skim a picture.

With this in mind, we’re branching out in our social media. We’d like to show you what we are, instead of just telling. We’ve been on Facebook for a while, we do that blogging thing every now and again, and now we’re tackling Instagram! I know, I know, we’re late to the game but now that we’ve arrived we thought we would let you know. Follow us to see the daily life of the Jake Epp Library, in pretty picture format. If you take photos in the library, tag JakeEppLibrary in it, tag the location as Jake Epp Library, or use the hashtag #JakeEppLibrary. We'd like to see library life from your perspective too!

instagram post

We’ve also changed our website. You'll find it at the same place as normal (same url), just the look has changed. You may have noticed that it looks a bit different and more colourful. We’re hoping this new version will be easier to use and navigate (there’s a search function!), and have more information on it. Let us know how you feel about the switch, and if you see anything that looks not quite right, let us know that too.

Come see what we have to offer.

Things I Learned From Participating In a 24 Hour Reading Marathon

Things I Learned From Participating In a 24 Hour Reading Marathon:

TBR stackImpossibly Ambitious TBR stack

  • First and foremost, I am overly ambitious and incapable of choosing between books. Hello impossible to-be-read pile.

  • Turns out, I can get up at 7 in the morning on a Saturday and even function, if by “functioning” you mean remain in bed and read.

  • People will assume it’s for charity, because why else would you be doing this, and if you don’t rush to correct them they might make you breakfast in bed.ill-gotten breakfastill-gotten breakfast

  • Headaches are minor annoyances that I don’t actually notice while reading, only when I stop reading and walk around the house to get a cup of water or something. If I never get up to get a cup of water, I never notice I have the headache. (Flawless logic.)

  • You can’t actually survive all day by drinking only coffee.

  • The only thing more satisfying and enjoyable than reading all day is posting about it on instagram with pretty filters, so even though you’re sitting around in the same position all day, you’ve documented it well enough on social media that your life looks very glamorous.

  • Some graphic novels are not, in fact, faster reading than normal novels, because if you just skim over the pictures and only read the text nothing makes much sense.

  • Orange snacks and library books don’t mix well.

  • Related note, turning pages with your elbows slows down reading considerably.

  • 24 hours is a long time, and I am not in college anymore. Even drinking an energy drink couldn’t make me last through the night (I managed-ish until 3 a.m.)

  • Structural integrity is important for blanket forts. If you make one that is tenuous,Blanket FortSadly Snackless Blanket Fort be sure to bring extra (non-orange) snacks so you don’t have to risk going in and out.

  • Shoveling M&Ms into your mouth every time you doze off after 1 a.m. is not an effective way to wake back up (you may in fact fall right back asleep, now you’re just asleep with a mouthful of M&Ms, which can’t be safe), nor is it going to help you feel very bright and cheery in the morning.

  • I have an addiction. Hello, my name is Aubrey, and I’m a bookaholic. Not only did I pick up a book the very next morning, the second I woke up after reading 20 hours straight the previous day, I’ve found myself reading significantly more since the marathon. Perhaps because I just whet my reading appetite, or perhaps because I took out over 30 library books and can’t decide which one of my babies to return without reading so I’m just trying to get through them all.

Overall experience: 10/10 would deprive myself of sleep, socialization and proper nutrition to read all day again. Highly recommend the experience.

Our Favourite Books

staffpicksfullSometimes the library can seem overwhelming. We have over 80,000 items, and if you aren’t quite sure where to start it can seem daunting. To help you get started, we’ve started a staff picks display. We’ve consolidated our bestselling Canadian books on to one display canoe, and set the other one aside for books that our staff have read and loved.

We have an eclectic staff with varying reading tastes, there’s a good chance you’ll find something right up your ally. Each book lets you know which staff member recommended it; after a while you might start to notice a staff member that happens to have the same taste as you, and gravitate to their picks. Or maybe your reading habits are varied, and you’ll hop around. Either way, we hope you find something that you love, there is nothing librarians love more than sharing the love of a great book!

We have books for all ages on the shelf, so if you aren’t sure where to start, start by taking a look there and see what you find! Anything on the shelf is available for checking out. You can also ask the staff at any time for reading recommendations. We always love to talk about the books we love, and more importantly the books we think you will love.


I Love to Read Month

February is “I Love To READ Month”


February is traditionally the hearts and flowers month, but make sure that you add something about reading to the mix. We are celebrating the wonderful, exciting, fun, and informative pleasures of READING! 


Years of research and studies have proven that good reading skills are important for your education from Kindergarten onward. The same skills will definitely enhance your workplace skills, and it has been proven that the lack of reading skills is linked to poverty and crime.


But February is all about book love. If you have not had a date with a book recently, let us entice you to jump in.  Back for the second year we are hosting “Blind Date with a Book!”  We have chosen a large selection of reading material from all over the library.  We have raided the shelves for fiction, biography, horror, comedy, true crime, classic literature, fantasy, poetry and…..there is too much to list!  These books have been wrapped in plain paper. No title, no author. However, we have identified the Christian Fiction, Young Adult and Juvenile books.


Last year many people had a lot of fun with their “blind dates”, and parents expressed an interest in children participating, so this year we’ve added wrapped books for children to take home. On one side of our bestseller table you will find all the others.  A word or two will provide a genre or a subject heading. 


So take a chance – you could find a new favourite author, you could discover a different kind of book that you have never read before and find out you love it! And go ahead – buy yourself a box of chocolates and indulge with your book date.

Raffle at the Library!

Do you love Dr. Seuss, or know someone who does? Have you always wanted to learn how to paint? Would you love to be able to give someone a Pandora bracelet for Christmas, all for only two dollars?

The Friends of the Library are holding a raffle to help us raise money for shelving, particularly in our Young Adult area to give it room to grow with our readers. Together, they have collected some really fantastic prizes.

There are beautiful literary themed quilts, a natural products prize package, a $400 gift card and gift basket to Chino’s/Sunshine Greenhouse (that’s a lot of gardening and/or gelato), an amazing handcrafted stained glass lamp, an intricate woodcarving, a chance to go behind closed doors at Prairie Oils and Vinegars and get a private tasting session for you and a group of friends, Pandora jewelry, a Paint Night package for two, a baby girl gift basket, and a Reiki session all up for grabs.

Pictured below are just a few of our prizes, come to the library to see them all!Fundraiser

We’ll be selling tickets until the draw, which will be at the Library on December 19th at 11 a.m. That’s just in time to snag some really amazing Christmas presents (or hey, keep the bracelet for yourself, we won’t judge.) Come check it out, all tickets are selling for just $2.


Knitting, Movies, and Games--Oh My! But Seriously Come Check out Our Adult Programs at the Library


Do you like knitting/crocheting, movies, reading, writing, colouring, or playing games? Then we’ve got a program for you at the library! And if you said no to all of those, are you a robot of some sort? Those are extremely enjoyable things. Perhaps you just haven’t given them a fair chance. This month is chock full of opportunities for adults to come and try a new program. Feel free to skim the headings until you find the thing that you love more than all the other things, or read straight through to see all of the amazing events we offer on a repeating basis.



What kind of librarians would we be if we didn’t love to knit? I mean, we love to knit so much, one of us even has the tattoo to prove it (we won’t say which). If you share the love of fiber crafting, join our new knitting club that we’ve lovingly called the Knit-Wits. There will be knitting, there will be chatting, and we are assuming that chatting will involve some level of wit. Any types of fiber crafting are welcome (though there isn’t a whole lot of space for your sewing machine—think portable), and any levels of skill. It isn’t a class, just a club. Bring your current project and enjoy!




We’ve had family movie nights for a while, but this month we’re introducing classic movie nights. In keeping with the spirit of the season we’ll show Arsenic and Old Lace (PG) on October 28th. Movies are always shown on the fourth Friday of the month and while all ages are welcome, check our upcoming events website to see what’s showing that month and what the rating is. We intend to alternate between classic and children’s movies. If free popcorn and movies do not entice you, keep reading.



We talked a few blog posts ago about our drop-in book club. If you’d like to join our next meeting on November 8, stop by and pick up the book we’ll be discussing, “Boy Snow Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi. Book club has a fixed date of the second Tuesday of the month; check out our posters to see which book you need to read for the meeting. Feel free to just show up, no sign up required. We’ve got the book, discussion questions, and a strong desire to talk about our book related feelings. Also, comfy couches.


Want to come chat with an author instead? We have a pretty steady rotation of author readings, another thing to keep an eye out for on our webpage (or Facebook page, we post all our upcoming events there too), and this month is no exception. We’ve got authors of biographies coming to talk about their struggles with infertility (Vicki Olatundun), or with a parent’s dementia (Elizabeth Murray) on October 25. On Nov 15 we have two authors talking about their fiction books, Karen Emilson with “Be Still the Water” and Geralyn Wichers with “Cursed Seed”.



Is writing more your thing? Every November we host a month long event called NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, it’s an event designed to help encourage you to make that happen this November. The goal is 50,000 words and a more or less complete story arch by the end of the month. There are modified goals for younger audiences. We always have a kick off where you can meet other authors in the area, several write ins throughout the month where we provide the coffee and the quiet space, you provide the words, and a wind up party for everyone who tried. The event involves goody bags, free coffee, and celebratory pizza—are you tempted yet?



Who doesn’t like colouring? This event (to the dismay of many children) is for adults only. We supply the colouring pages, pencil crayons, and tea, at what we have dubbed Creativi-Tea time, because we are suckers for word play. We have nice soft music playing, and aim to create a relaxing atmosphere, though you’re welcome to talk to your fellow colourers. After all, half the fun of colouring is showing off your masterpieces. It runs the second Wednesday of the month, and is a come and go as you please sort of event.



Okay, so maybe you have some sort of aversion to moving pictures, find trying to stay within the lines when colouring more stressful than relaxing, love reading but don’t love interacting with people about your love of reading, or … no okay we really can’t think of a reason to dislike knitting. But suppose that somehow you do. We have one more thing for you to try. Games! Card games, board games, word games, any kinds of games. We have two events every month, the first Saturday afternoon of the month and the third Wednesday evening of the month. We have a game guy who comes because he really loves games, and a bunch of people join him. We supply a box full of games, but feel free to bring your own games, and your own game playing buddies.


Our repeating adult events are many, and varied, so why not come try one out today? Check out our upcoming events portion of the website for all the details, and very pretty posters.


Essential Skills

Photo courtesy of Plymouth District Library found on Flickr availablethrough the creative commons district library5244742145inphotolistIf you have recently decided to enter the job market after a hiatus, you will realize that things have changed. When looking at job advertisements you will see that job descriptions have also changed and may be confusing. One of the items listed in a job description may be: “must have essential skills”. It is important to understand what “essential skills” comprise. The government of Canada has identified nine essential skills that are needed when entering the workforce. These are areas that are used in every job in a variety of ways and levels and they provide the groundwork for all other skills to enable people to grow in their abilities and adapt to an ever changing workplace.

  1. Reading - The ability to understand reading materials in the form of sentences and paragraphs. You use this skill to scan for information, evaluate what your read and integrate information you find from multiple sources.
  2. Document Use - The ability to perform tasks that involve information that is presented with word, numbers, symbols and other visual characters. You use this skill when you read and interpret signs, labels, lists, charts and graphs.
  3. Numeracy - The ability to use numbers and think in quantitative terms. You use this skill when are providing numerical estimates, money math, creating schedules, budgets and analyze measurements and data.
  4. Writing - The ability to write text (this does NOT refer to ‘texting’) and documents. It also includes non-paper based writing such as typing on a computer. You use this skill to organize, record, document and present and request information.
  5. Oral Communication - The ability to use speech to give and exchange ideas and information. You use this skill to greet people, take messages, ask for information, and resolve conflicts.
  6. Working With Others - The ability to work with others to carry out tasks. You use this skill when you become part of a team or work with a partner. You will this skill if you are in a supervisory or administrative position.
  7. Thinking - The ability to process and evaluate ideas and information to reach a rational decision. You use this skill to solve problems, make decisions, think critically, and plan and organize goals and tasks.
  8. Computer Use - The ability to use different kinds of computer applications and other technical tools. You use these skills when you operate a cash register, use word processing software for letters and documents, send email, and create or update spreadsheets.
  9. Continuous Learning - The ability to participate in the ongoing process of acquiring skills and knowledge. You use this skill as part of most jobs, from co-workers and choose to utilize training in the workplace or in other ways.

This summary is based on the list found at the ABC Life Literacy Canada website ( can also go to this website - to find more information and some self-assessment helps.

Photo courtesy of Plymouth District library, available through the creative commons


Reading Doesn't Have to Be Solitary

Reading can be a lonely past time. While you’re reading you have the characters for company, but once the book has ended and you’ve placed it back on your nightstand, you’re often left with a whole lot of emotions and no one to share them with. Sometimes as I’m reading small gasps or exclamations will escape me, and my husband will want to know what just happened. He often gets a skeletal running commentary of a book, along with a short summary of my feelings on the matter when it’s finished. But sometimes, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. I want to talk to someone who went through the whole story with me, not just the highlights. Someone who felt as deeply as I did about the whole matter. Certain books demand to be felt and discussed, and having finished them with no one to talk to I can feel a sort of void, as if I haven’t fully experienced the book yet.


Photo available through creative commons courtesy of Peter Lubeck. Modified to include text.

This is why book clubs were born. You can meet and talk about all the things a book made you feel and think; all the things you loved or hated (sometimes the things you hated make for very interesting discussion). Occasionally you’ll find that someone else felt the exact same thing, and that makes your heart feel as though you’ve found a friend, and occasionally someone felt something opposite, and suddenly you see the book or scene in a whole new light that you never would have otherwise.

To facilitate this sort of interaction, we’ve collected a bunch of book club kits to make life easier. We’ve ordered multiple copies of these books, and collected a sheet of discussion questions to get the conversation flowing. Anyone with a membership can use these books for book club purposes. You can find our complete list of books available in kits here:


Not all books are pictured, for a full list see the link above.

If you find committing to a book club isn’t something you want to do, we have an alternative option starting this October. We’re starting a drop in book club that will run the second Tuesday of the month at seven, and be held here at the library. Every month we’ll post the book that we will be discussing. If you want to read the book (or if you’ve already read it and would like to discuss it) you can come and chat with others about the book. If you don’t want to read that particular book, you can skip it and come next month. Though, sometimes the books we thought we didn’t want to read are the ones that end up surprising us.

How about you—do you feel the need to share your reading experiences? Do you make your friends read it, waiting impatiently for them to finish so you can discuss it? Do you go online and find a book minded community where you can chat with someone about it? Or do you have a book club of your own for precisely this reason?


Book Lovers Day

August 9, 2016

Did you know that today is Book Lovers Day? I found the following information at:


Book Lovers Day

"Date When Celebrated: August 9th and/or first Saturday in November.

Book Lovers Day encourages you to find a place in the shade to relax with a good book.

Book reading is a great hobby. It's an important one, too. Employers look for it on resumes. Reading is educational, informative, and relaxing. It makes us both smarter, and happier people.

Book Lovers Day is a great day to celebrate. Just grab an interesting book, find a quiet, cozy place, and crack open the cover. Celebrating Book Lovers Day in August is pleasurable on the deck, under a shady tree, poolside, or in a cozy hammock. If you fall asleep while reading, that's okay. It's all part of the relaxing benefits of being a book lover."


What a great way to celebrate a day. As true book lovers we really don’t need a special day to enjoy books.  But there are times when we have all needed to conquer a guilty feeling when we grab a day or half a day and just read. 

The pleasure of releasing your mind from work, to do lists, weeding, etc., and just settle into a good book. Immerse your mind in a different time, place and events. We can solve a mystery with a favourite sleuth, travel a faraway country, have a great adventure or explore a brand new universe with a fantasy author.  There is something fulfilling in occasionally being able to read a whole book from first sentence to the final denouement without interruption.  And when you close the book it might need a little wrench to return to your reality with a satisfied sigh.

If you can’t have a “Book Lover’s Day” on August 9th, then maybe you can try for November 5th.  Or better yet . . . just block off a day and call it YOUR Book Lovers Day – and enjoy! 

Happy Reading!

book lovers dayPhoto courtesy of - modified to include text and used under the creative commons license


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About the Authors

Hi - my name is Carolyn Graham and I am the Head Librarian and I love my job! One of the best parts of my job is that I am the first one to see all the beautiful new books as they arrive. I have always loved to read and my favorite way to relax is with a good book. I strongly believe that having good reading skills is an integral part of all learning. Being able to share good books and authors that I have enjoyed is great fun. Feel free to come and ask for suggestions.

Hi - I’m Aubrey Walker, Assistant Librarian at the Jake Epp Library. I’m a librarian and coffee guzzler by day, a reader and tea sipper by night. Reading and writing (and talking endlessly about both) are passions of mine, so I’m rather lucky to have a job where those things are relevant and important. I’m also the voice behind our Facebook page, and I love connecting with people about books both online and off. is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.