Come Play With Us!

Approaching strangers is hard. Approaching strangers and asking them to play a role-playing game online with you can seem even harder. You’ve heard or watched people have a blast playing these games, but you just can’t seem to pull a group together. We are here for you, friend! Every month at the library, we play exciting, fun, and, sometimes, weird games! Whether you are a teen wanting to make new friends while you try to stake a vampire or an adult who wants to know if cats riding bats is really as amazing as you think it is — we’ve got you covered.

Dungeons and Dragons

Last time in the land of Barovia: Where we last left our teenage adventurers they finally found the basement of a nearly empty house, its inhabitants seemingly being all ghosts and haunted suits of armor. There they uncovered the dastardly secret of the house — the baby the party spent so much time searching for had turned into a monster! Thankfully, they remembered the lullaby and finally rescued the baby, Walter. Once they escaped the house, Casmir, our wizard friend played by a library staff member, revealed himself to be the evil vampire Strahd! Casmir, as Strahd, flew away laughing as the party was powerless to stop him.

Now our story is past its prologue and ready for other misfortunate adventurers to fall prey in the misty lands of Barovia, where witches kidnap children to bake them into pies and where you will never see the light of day again! We are level 3 and have room for more players to join. We meet on Discord on the second and fourth Friday every month from 5 PM to 7:30 PM. Please arrive 30 minutes early if you need help making a new character. Follow this link to register today!

Old School Gamers of Florence 

Last time on the Barbarians of the Ruined Earth: Continuing through the underground passages beneath the ruined fortress, Colby, Rath, and Gorgonzola are confronted by the frequent sight of SCIENCE gone wrong: strange amalgamations of body parts and plants. Colby is mutated twice while attempting to use a device guarded by two skeletons with flame throwers. The group bows before the aerial supremacy of cats riding bats. Colby is killed by a four-headed scientist hydra only to return back to life as a cyborg only to have his remaining human flesh stripped off by the baleful gaze of a basilisk.

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth is a quick and easy rules-lite post-apocalyptic heroic fantasy game by Mike Evans that is based on the awesome The Black Hack rules by David Black and is inspired by the animated series Thundarr the Barbarian, Mad Max, He-Man, and other sources.

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth continues In Search of the Unknown on the third Saturday of each month from 1-4pm. If this sounds like your kind of mayhem, register here for March 20th.


Reading comprehension suggestions!

Reading comprehension can be difficult to learn and a challenge to teach.  BCPL has a few suggestions that might help.

Reading Together

Reading with your child is important for the development of reading skills, but it can be especially helpful when trying to improve reading comprehension. Reading a book together allows you to help define words your child may not know and ask questions about the story. You can pick books out together at the library, ask for recommendations from your friendly BCPL librarians, or request a Book Bundle!

If English is your second language, you can read a book in your native language with your child. BCPL has children’s books available in Spanish, French, and Japanese.

Try these resources for examples of questions to ask to ask your child when reading together:

Stamford Public Schools: Helping Your Child with Reading

Scholastic: 7 Important Questions to Ask Your Child During Story Time

Scholastic: 5 NEW Questions to Ask Kids About Books


Check out our variety of Wonderbooks

A Wonderbook is a physical book with the story pre-recorded on an attached device.  Children press play and the story is read to them as they follow along in the book. You can activate Learning Mode on the device and children will be asked questions about the book they just read.  Similar to asking questions when reading aloud together, this is perfect for when a child may need to read on their own. The questions will help them think about the story they just listened to. And Learning Mode teaches parents what type of questions to ask their children when reading with them. Wonderbooks come as picture books, beginning readers, nonfiction, and chapter books. Click HERE to view our Wonderbooks.

Virtual Homework Help

Virtual: Homework Help at the Florence Branch

The Florence Branch offers Virtual Homework Help sessions that can be used for reading practice. This means that a student can read with a library staff member or teen volunteer (virtually), and work on reading comprehension questions. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 3-5 p.m. Fill out the form to schedule your 30 minute appointment.

Additional resources

For more information and ways to help your child with reading comprehension, check out the following articles:

Reading Rockets: Comprehension – I like this resource because it has examples of what children with reading comprehension difficulties look like to the parent and the child, and offers examples of ways to help.

Scholastic: Understanding Reading Comprehension – While this article is targeted towards teachers, it discusses the types of strategies that readers use, which could help you pinpoint what you may need to focus on with your child.

Pamela Jayne is a Youth Services Librarian at the Florence Branch. Recently, several teens told her that she is cool and hip and is taking that at face value. She is not very good at using the 3D pens, so she is very proud of the glasses she recently made, and will share the photo of her wearing them over her real glasses whenever she can.

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch nine – Clone High U.S.A.

Do you remember waaaaaay back when having a day off meant Saturday, and Saturday meant waking up at the crack of dawn to plop yourself in front of the television set with a bowl of sugar based cereal substitute to watch Saturday morning cartoons? Yeah, me neither. But that’s okay. Let’s get NOSTALGIC

Let’s say you work for a top secret organization populated by shadowy figures seeking global domination. Did you agree with me when I said that? No? Good. That was a test. If you had agreed with me, I’d have to do something with a certain degree of… finality to you. But you didn’t, and since you didn’t, and since it’s a Saturday, specifically November 2, 2002… we can watch Clone High U.S.A., which aired for the first time on this date.


Mad scientist, Cinnamon J. Scudworth, uses cloning technology to recreate some of history’s most prominent figures, including Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, and Cleopatra, all of whom have the stereotypical hallmarks of their genetic predecessors. Clone High U.S.A. was [described] by its producers as “a comedy disguised as a teen drama” and by media critic Dakota Loomis as “a fascinating cross-pollination of the History Channel and Saved by the Bell…” The show only lasted for 13 episodes due to an outcry from Indian views who “were offended by the depiction of Gandhi as a Ritalin-popping, junk-food-eating underachiever.” Which is… totally fair. 

What I remember

Technically speaking, I did not watch this cartoon in the 80s BUT it took place in the 80s, albeit a fictional 80s where famous guys and ladies were cloned to make amusing genetic copies. (I think that’s how the theme song went.) I started watching Clone High U.S.A. in the early 00s, in that indeterminate period of my existence between completing undergraduate college and finding a job. The art style from the show was somewhat influential in creating my own style while I was teaching myself to draw webcomics in order to justify to myself having graduated with an art degree.  


This week, on a very special episode of Clone High… Abe, Gandhi, and Joan prepare to start a new year of school. Joan is in love with Abe. Abe is in love with Cleo. And Cleo is in love with… herself? And Abe. And JFK. But mostly… herself? Joan starts a teen crisis hotline to demonstrate her commitment to community service to Abe. Non-alcoholic beer is consumed at a party. Mr. Butlertron makes scones! 

Final verdict

I’ve never watched any of the teen dramas that Clone High U.S.A. parodied because I didn’t understand the point behind watching a show about teenagers (or actors in their 20s-30s pretending to be teenagers) as a teenager, but my surface level knowledge of them from pop culture tells me that this was exactly what they were like.

If you liked Clone High U.S.A.

Genetics 101 : from chromosomes and the double helix to cloning and DNA tests, everything you need to know about genes by Beth Skwarecki

Woolly : the true story of the quest to revive one of history’s most iconic extinct creatures by Ben Mezrich

Lincoln road trip : the back-roads guide to America’s favorite president by Jane Simon Ammeson

Gandhi : the years that changed the world, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha

The maid and the queen : the secret history of Joan of Arc by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone

JFK / Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall

When Women Ruled The World : Six Queens Of Egypt by Kara Cooney

Also check out

Clone High Food Pyramid Song by Marilyn Manson

(Yes, Marilyn Manson. Yes THAT Marilyn Manson. I checked the credits.)

I didn’t have any webcomics from November of 2002 but this one was from a few months later. 

For more on Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch by Kevin

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch one – Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch two – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch three – The Herculoids

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch four – Hong Kong Phooey

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch five – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch six – Valley of the Dinosaurs

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch seven – Thundarr the Barbarian

Saturday Morning Cartoon Rewatch eight – Captain Cavemen and the Teen Angels

More to come (live from what I remember about the 80’s!) as this story continues.

Kevin Wadlow is 100% a real human being and definitely not a murder of crows wearing a person suit. He is an avid reader of horror, tabletop gamer, and drinker of coffee who enjoys drawing things of strangeness along the way. When the zombie apocalypse comes, he will probably be eaten first after saying something about how he fully expected to go out like this.

From the Director – The dark creates a path to new innovations

Carrie Herrmann, MLIS – Director

Leading the Library through a pandemic is not something I trained to do.  It has been stressful and at times has seemed dark. But with two vaccines approved, I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  While the pandemic has been tough, it has created a path to some innovations that I am excited to see continue.  Many positive changes have been made to meet the needs of Boone County, and they are here to stay.



Temporary Card

In March 2020, when the Library shut its doors, we had to pivot to an all virtual/digital organization to serve the community.  In order to provide the Library’s resources to those without a library card, we created the Temporary Card.  The Temporary Card has gone through several iterations before we landed on the current version and decided the temporary card needed to stay after the pandemic. After all, how many of us needed access to resources after waiting till the last minute on a project.  The Temporary Card immediately grants temporary access to digital resources and provides a maximum check-out of 5 physical items at a time. The card expires after 6 months.

Curbside Pick-up

I have heard from so many people in the community how much curbside has been appreciated during the pandemic.  From parents with small children asleep in the back seat to people with mobility issues, this is a service that has been well used.  Curbside will continue at the Main Library, Scheben Branch, Florence Branch, Walton Branch, and Chapin Memorial Library.  The Hebron Branch will continue to offer the drive through window and the 24/7 locker system in the vestibule.  Using Curbside is easy and the details can be found in Touchless Curbside Pick-up is Available!

Virtual Programming

Virtual Programming has allowed the Library to continue offering lifelong learning activities from home for all ages.  In conversations with people in the community, I have discovered that many prefer the virtual programming because they are too tired to visit the Library after a busy day at work.  So moving forward, the Library plans to offer both in-person and virtual programming for all ages.

Reading Recommendations and Book Bundles

When we reopened in May 2020, we could only offer curbside pick-up.  Many people told us that they missed browsing the shelves in the library and stumbling upon the next good read. Although BCPL already offered Reading Recommendations, the service grew in popularity. After you complete the form with as much detail as possible, our readers’ advisory staff create a personalized reading list for you. Book Bundles offers a similar solution for children and teens. Youth Services staff choose up to ten books for you and your children to enjoy.  We discovered that although we are open to the public, Reading Recommendations and Book Bundles remain popular.

Student Digital Access Card

As we counted down to the start of the 2020/2021 school year, Youth Services staff worked with Boone County middle and high schools offering a card to every student which grants them access to all of the Library’s Digital resources. This card belongs to the student until graduation from the school district and allows them access to information and books they need for school.  And best of all—there are no fines on digital items or resources.

Homeschool Collections

When school resumed in August, many parents and caregivers moved to homeschooling their child(ren). Homeschoolers were using the Book Bundles, but found that it did not fit their needs.  So Homeschool Collections were created.  A Homeschool Collection is a bundle of children’s books and media selected by a BCPL librarian to supplement your curriculum. Collections are available for Boone County homeschoolers and each collection contains up to 20 items to check out for three weeks.

Digital Inclusion

The Library has partnered with the City of Florence to create a Wide-Area Mesh Network to get Wi-Fi to households in the community that do not have an internet connection. The first stage of the project called for the Library to bolster the Wi-Fi signal surrounding our six locations by increasing the indoor access points and installing outdoor Wi-Fi access points. Think of each library location sitting in the center of a circle with a 1,000 foot diameter where the secure Wi-Fi network is available. The second stage of the project called for the Library to share this signal with partners in the community. A Wi-Fi access point has been mounted at the Historic Firehouse along with a fiber optic internet line. The Library’s circle now touches the circle at the Historic Firehouse, each with a diameter of 1,000 feet. Together these two circles reach about 200 households in the Florence area. Eventually, additional access points will be daisy-chained out to create a larger network of access. The network acts as if the user is actually in the Library, so it is secure with content filters as well as security encryption in place to stop hackers. The Wide-Area Mesh Network is an effort to reduce the digital divide in our community making necessary and social connections a little less stressful.



Why the heart? – Valentine symbols

February is the shortest month of the year, but probably filled with the most love and romance.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated by all ages whether you are decorating a shoebox to collect cards from friends or buying flowers for your sweetheart.  And you can’t deny that the holiday has a lot of popular symbols associated with it. How did an actual human organ become a cutesy symbol of love? Why do we focus on a naked baby wearing wings? Here are just a few of the symbols we associate with Valentine’s Day.

The Heart

You can’t say “Valentine’s Day” without thinking immediately about hearts. How did we get our cartoonish heart from what is really a very bloody organ? The heart didn’t become associated with love until the 13th or 14th century as the idea of romantic love started to develop. People believed the heart contained memory and had the names of their beloved written inside of them. Most research prior to the 13th century had been conducted on reptile and bird hearts, which look more similar to the heart symbol we know today. A picture accompanying the Italian poem Documenti d’amore by Francesco Barberino featured a horse wearing a wreath of “scalloped hearts.” This version of the heart continued to be depicted in books and other writings over the next several decades, leading to the mass popularity of the classic heart symbol!



Cupid did not start out as the adorable figure we know today. Cupid began as Eros, the Greek god of love (Greek mythology). He was known to wreak havoc on the love lives of gods and mortals, often at the request of his mother Aphrodite. Once the Greeks realized Eros was primarily a puppet of his mother, they began depicting him as the less threatening cherub we know. The Romans adopted this god into their lineup and named him Cupid. Cupid has been associated with love for decades, so when Valentine’s Day began to grow in commercial popularity, including Cupid on cards made sense. Card companies capitalized on the focus that 19th century families had on their children by depicting Cupid as a cute baby that helped bring couples together. That image has stuck around through modern Valentine celebrations.



Love Birds

I had to include love birds because their link to Valentine’s Day is a literary one! Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules  is considered the first Valentine’s Day poem.  There is a lot of Valentine symbolism in this poem, but the mention of all of the birds gathering to choose their mates on “Valentynes day” is where the idea of the love bird originated. Additionally, the actual lovebird, a type of parrot, demonstrates several of the behaviors we associate with a very affectionate couple in love, including monogamy, pining for their mate, and feeding each other.

The many symbols we associate with Valentine’s Day have some interesting stories behind their connection to February 14 which has made it so easy over the years for greeting card companies to get creative. And the best part – there’s heart-shaped chocolate we can enjoy!


Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.