Books on Tap - November Follow Up

Many different reactions to The Girl on the Train - not that I expected anything different from our group! The topics of addiction, abuse, and self-realization led our discussion. It was sometimes difficult to find ways to empathize or even relate to the characters Paula Hawkins created.

Better Living Book Club - December 2015

Staff Conference Room at the Library

December's title is The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. This meeting has been moved to November 30.

Upcoming titles for Better Living Book Club:

Please note, the December meeting will be at the library on November 30. The date has been changed due to the upcoming renovations:

Want to know more about the renovation of the East Lansing Public Library?  Visit:






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ELPL to be Closed Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to Prepare for Renovation Project

ELPL to be Closed Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to Prepare for Renovation Project

Nov. 9, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The East Lansing Public Library (ELPL), 950 Abbot Road, will be closed to the public Dec. 7-Jan. 10 to prepare the building for an eight- to nine-month renovation project.  

During the closure, the library’s collection will be moved to the south side of the building, collection items that will not fit in the reduced floor plan will be packed up and stored and a construction wall will be built. No items will be due until after the library re-opens on Jan. 11. 

While the library is closed, all digital resources will remain available to patrons, the ELPL book drop will be open and StoryTimes and the Teen After School Drop-in Program will be hosted at All Saints Episcopal Church, 800 Abbot Road. In addition, the ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio’s hours will be expanded and the space will be utilized for programming, the drop off of items and the pickup of hold requests, including MeLCAT holds. The 2.0 Maker Studio will also house a small collection of items from the library and a limited number of public computers.

The 2.0 Maker Studio is located on the second floor of the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave., and the expanded hours (excluding holidays) from Dec. 7-Jan. 10 will be:

    Tuesday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m.
    Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Beginning Dec. 7 and through the duration of the renovation project, the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library will not be able to accept book/collection donations due to a lack of storage space. Community members are encouraged to donate their books and collection items to neighboring libraries and other organizations. The Friends will resume collecting items in earnest once ELPL is fully renovated.

When the library re-opens on Jan. 11, approximately one-third of the floor space and collection will be accessible to patrons and the first phase of the renovation project will be underway. ELPL staff would like to thank patrons in advance for their patience during the closure and throughout the renovation.

About the Renovation
ELPL will undergo an exciting renovation of its interior thanks to a very generous donation of $1.5 million from a library patron. 

“This is a wonderful gift to the library and the community,” said ELPL Director Kristin Shelley. “We have the opportunity to create the library that the East Lansing community deserves.”

The renovation will transform ELPL into a community hub and learning space. The children’s area will be moved and enhanced with an early childhood literacy area, the teen space and Maker Studio will be expanded, a cyber café with vending machines will be added, a family bathroom will be built and the floor plan of the library will be reconfigured to create more open space. The library’s collection will be moved around as part of the renovation, but the number of items in the collection will be close to the same. 

The renovation will also allow ELPL to plan for the future with added data and electrical outlets, mobile shelving/furniture and small group meeting spaces. 

The renovation project is slated to be completed by September 2016. Community members with questions about the project or the temporary closure of the library can call (517) 351-2420. 

Friends Board Meeting Highlights October 2015

Meeting date October 27, 2015

New board member Deborah Smith was introduced and will fill the roll of member-at-large.

September financial reports were reviewed and approved. The total capital asset number is $37,503.84. The October book sale final report is still pending, but the sale netted about $4,000 with expenses of about $1,000 including room rental, book moving and recycling leftovers.

We would love to hear from those who came to the sale and to that end Lanette has created a “exit interview” on our Facebook page so please respond and give us your feedback. Thank you to all our supporters.

We are getting closer to construction time and the closing of the Friendshop in its current location. The Friends will be selling books from carts wherever space can be found for the duration of the renovation. Story times for children will be held in All Saints Episcopal Church during the months of library construction.

The last art show in the North Foyer Gallery is coming down October 29th. Once the renovation is complete new art exhibit space will be in the Cyber Café next to the new Friendshop.

Our legislative watch Jim Anderson reports that there are bills in the legislature that chip away at library funds. One is the consideration of spending $600 million dollars on roads with no definitive plan as to where to find the money.

Information needs to get out to Friendshop shoppers and Friends’ donors explaining the construction timeline and how it will impact Friends’ fundraising.

Framed art sales offerings will necessarily be curtailed during the library renovation, as many pieces will have to be stored until construction is completed.

Project 60/50 Resources

A list of resources to complement the Project 60/50 programs at the East Lansing Public Library


Children's Books and Resources

Terrible Things by Eve Bunting

The Terrible Things from Lauren DeSha on Vimeo.


Teen and Adult Books



Out of This World - November 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Staff Conference Room

November's title is Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie.

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Coulrophobia: It by Stephen King Started my Fear of Clowns

I have to admit, while many people are terrified of clowns, I never really gave them a thought one way or another before reading and watching

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy, is an inventive werewolf novel.  The story is set in an alternate, present-day world where werewolves exist and lycanthropy is an acknowledged condition.  The disease is caused by a prion (a kind of infectious protein) that can be transmitted in a manner similar to rabies.  People with the disease are often the subject of discrimination, and the target of hate crimes, and the disease is common enough in some areas that an ethic identity has been built up around being a werewolf.  The disease is also incurable, but a sufferer's lycanthropic outbreaks can be controlled with medication.

Against this backdrop, Red Moon follows several characters, both werewolves and humans, who live out their lives.  We see extremist hate groups, werewolf terrorist organizations, and the average citizens of both sides who are caught in-between.  And these normal people have their lives changed.

The story is one that cannot decide whether to be plot-driven or character-driven.  The setting of the story, all of the underlying social tensions, the state-and-organization-level movers, all point to a plot-driven story.  But the story is not told in an overarching narrative in which actors play out their roles on a stage.  Rather, it is told in a series of deep, sometimes intimate character interactions, and in the vast majority of these interactions, the characters shape and determine their own future.  In such snapshots, the characters create their stories.

If this story had been masterfully told, it would have become an enduring work of art.  It would have shown how the largest organizations that shape our world are in turn shaped by the smallest decisions of their individual members.  It would have humanized inhuman and inhumane people, and it would have provided a chilling example of how purely average people can turn themselves, over time, into immoral monsters simply by taking the easy way out.  But it would have also provided hope, and showed how people can endure and stay true to themselves, even when the worst of tragedies unfolds around them.

While the story does many of the above things, it nevertheless was not masterfully told.  Some characters have depth; others that should have depth, lack it.  Heavy-handed parallels are drawn between the organizations and events in the story and organizations and events our in recent memory.  Inelegant and sometimes imprecise, these literary devices crop up like weeds, where one would wish to see a beautiful flower instead.  The author takes such care to make sure that everyone sees what he is trying to say, that he makes sure that no one could possibly miss it.

While not exceptional, this story was at times sweet, engaging, and unnerving.  Although not everyone will enjoy it, if the story sounds appealing to you, it is still worth reading.  But the one thing that this story desperately needs, and sadly lacks, is subtlety.

"Infestation" by Garth Nix in the book By Blood We Live

The short story "Infestation", in the book By Blood We Live, is an incredibly entertaining work.  It remains my favorite vampire short story, and my only regret is that it is over too soon.  The story is written by Garth Nix, who is known for his children's books, but this story is better suited for older teens and adults.  The main character is a vampire hunter, dressed in a T-shirt and beach shorts, with a penchant for surfing when he's not hunting.  He signs up with a group of younger hunters, and sets out to clean up a local infestation.  The other hunters are armed to the teeth, but our surfer's weapon of choice is a stake.  Now, stakes are fine in the Buffyverse, which is the universe of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where vampires are merely superpowered humans with a bit of vulnerabilities and unusual drinking habits.  (If you haven't watched it, check it out.  The TV series, not the movie.)  But when vamps move fast enough to give a poor hunter motion sickness, a stake is almost suicidal.  The other hunters know this.  The vampires know this.  The government knows of the surfer.

What follows is one of the most original vampire stories that I've ever read.  I suggest that you read it too.

Staff Reviews: Sunshine

Do you like reading books about vampires?

I'm here to recommend a book with a strong heroine, who works in the restaurant business, and has her otherwise normal life disrupted by a vampire.

She is not Sookie Stackhouse.

In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, vampires are not hidden from the world.  Neither are demons, fae, werewolves, or any other sort of supernatural beings.  Humanity knows about them, we fought a war with them, and we won.  Right?

At the start of the book, the "Voodoo Wars" are in the past. The SOF (Special Other Forces, kind of like a human SWAT for dealing with things-that-go-bump-in-the-night) are standing guard.  And so humanity can go outside without, for the most part, worrying about whether they're going to end up as lunchmeat for something with big, sharp, pointy teeth.  There are still bad parts of town, and places that one doesn't want to go after dark.  There are a few differences from our world, of course.  You might get as much mileage out of a charm as a gun, and some gangs are a bit more...nocturnal...than usual.  Still, it's entirely probably possible that one might live out one's life without becoming anything remotely resembling "fang fodder".  In fact, both you and your close friends might never even be mistaken for any variety of giant, human, slurpee.

This is what Rae "Sunshine" Seddon wants to do.  Live out a normal life, I mean.  The slurpee thing is not so high on her list.  She was raised by her mother after her father disappeared, and she works at the family restaurant.  There, her excellent baking skills produce things like Killer Zebras and Bitter Chocolate Deaths, as well as other, less-imaginatively-named confectionery treats.    However, one day she goes to spend time at a somewhat remote lake, and gets caught up in a struggle between vampires who are trying to convince one of their kind to be less of a picky eater.  What happens after that, dear reader, is awesome.

The book won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2004.

Go read it.

Books on Tap - November 2015

Mystery and intrigue is the order of November for Books on Tap. November 10th at 6:30pm at Jimmy's Pub, we will discuss The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. There will be many spoilers at the meeting so make sure you've finished the book before coming to discuss!!

"Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. 'Jess and Jason,' she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

Books on Tap - October Follow Up

Even though it is something that will happen to everyone, death is a topic that brings up a range of emotions and beliefs. Inspired by Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Stories from the Crematory by Caitlyn Doughty, we discussed how we do everything we can to prolong life and make sure that we get every single drop out of it. As a society, we don't have the discussions about death as a part of our life - we are too focused on living in the now. It was firmly established that everyone deals with death in their own way, and that's okay! When we don't talk about death as a society, then we don't know how to deal with it when it happens. Alex was able to provide some insight into the mortician's work after a person has taken their last breath and what that means in terms of scientific study at Michigan State University. If you want to start thinking about how to deal with death, these are some questions we used: what makes a "good death?" How are you prepared for death? Why do you have to be prepared? Do your loved ones know of your final plans? After thinking about this, come discuss the work of fiction The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins on November 10.

Better Living Book Club - November 2015

East Lansing Public Library - Staff Conference Room

November's title is Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier.

Upcoming titles for Better Living Book Club:


Please note, beginning November 2, Better Living Book Club will meet in the Library Staff Conference Room.

The move is due to the library's renovation project which begins this fall.

Want to know more about the renovation of the East Lansing Public Library?  Visit:





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