Category Archives: Online Library Resources

Black History Month: A List of Non-Fiction Titles For Children

a collage of book covers that celebrate black history month - for children
In honor of Black History Month here is a list of many outstanding children’s non-fiction books that tell the amazing stories of so many amazing people; it is certainly not exhaustive, and it is not limited to the Civil Rights Movement or slavery.   These titles are definitely worth seeking out regardless of the month. 


Picture Books (For ALL Ages):

  • A Splash of Red: the Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
  • All Together Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis
  • Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier.
  • Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
  • Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
  • Rosa by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier. (about Rosa Parks)
  • Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez
  • Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Ron Husband
  • Step Right Up by Donna Janell Bowman and illustrated by Daniel Mintner
  • Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm by Karen Deans and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
  • Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate

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Flaky Thoughts

picture of snowflakes under a microscope

"The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread." ~John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866

While we eagerly await the returning warmth, let us attempt to appreciate the unique beauty of our current season, particularly of the wondrous snowflake. Maybe take some time this winter to read about Mr. Wilson Bentley in SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, who was the first to photograph snowcrystals(flakes) using photomicrography. You can also learn more about him, his work, and snowflakes in general at the following links:…/snowcrystals/class/class.htm

PrairieCat Now Offers Personalized Schmaling Homepage and New Digital Media Service

PrairieCat is new and improved!
Now when you arrive at the login page which has been personalized for Schmaling, you will see many scroll bar menus featuring national bestsellers and new items from various genres at Schmaling.
Toward the bottom of the page, you will find links to eRead Illinois and a new ebook service: biblioboard.
Biblioboard differs from eRead IL in that you are able to actually download most books that they offer (public domain stuff), as opposed to limited borrowing time or waiting for availability. Furthermore, ANYONE in IL can access this for free – you don’t need a library card! You just must physically be in Illinois when you first create your account due to their geolocation-based authentication system.
To describe biblioboard in their own words: they boast of “a growing assortment of rich historical and locally curated multimedia content–available to all with the ease of unlimited, multi-user access.”  Upon visiting the site a few times, I have noticed a large and changing variety of subject groupings that they refer to as curations.  Some have included British Children’s Literature, Scholarly Works on Film and Media, Shakespeare, Historical Primary Source Documents, Exhibits from National Libraries and Archives, Mathematics, Business and Law, Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Community History … there are seriously to many to name.  There are also video and audio selections, including music.  And while it isn’t necessary in order to utilize biblioboard, they do offer a Kindle app.

New Automation System

Schmaling began participation in a new automation system in October.  We upgraded from a Union List member of the library consortium, PrairieCat, to a Basic Online member. This move creates increased patron autonomy.  Patrons now have 24 – 7 online access to their patron accounts; allowing them to place holds, order materials via inter-library loan, renew materials (until renewal limits are reached), pay library fees and fines with a credit or debit card, make reading lists, and more!

For complete instructions on searching, placing holds, and utilizing all the benefits of your personal account in PrairieCat: please see our PrairieCat Catalog page, or pick up a printed brochure at the library.

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