Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Saint Louis Area Bucket List

Need a place to stretch out with the book you've just checked out from the library?

Check out this list of compiled must-try activities and experiences in the Saint Louis area. We haven't tried all of these ourselves, so let us know how it goes if you try something off of our list!

  1. Ride a Tram up into the Arch
  2. Have lunch at Pappy's Barbecue
  3. Pet a Stingray at the St. Louis Zoo
  4. Visit the St. Louis central library
  5. Attend a food truck festival (the next one is Friday, July 14 @ Jefferson Barracks Park amphitheater! - no coolers allowed, 5pm-8pm with live music)
  6. Have a picnic at Tower Grove Park
  7. Attend a home game for both St. Louis major teams (Blues and Cardinals)
  8. Go to the Forest Park Balloon Race - this year it is September 15-16
  9. Eat at Mr. Curry's at least once- don't worry if you don't like spicy food, there is non-spicy stuff too and the banana dessert is awesome!
  10. Reserve a Sunday brunch at Café Madeleine pop-up in Tower Grove Park (it's amazing and the inside of the building is essentially a classy green house)
  11. Ride the ferris wheel on the roof of the City Museum
  12. See 4th of July fireworks from the riverbank of the Mississippi. It's a long walk, bring a chair and wear good walking shoes!
  13. Check out the Soulard Market, open every week Wednesday-Saturday; Saturdays are busy, but the whole market is open.
  14. Enjoy something cold and sweet from Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
  15. Are you up for a puzzling challenge? Try one of the escape rooms in St. Louis with a couple of friends.
  16. Try one of the haunted houses in St. Louis- two of the best, The Darkness and Creepyworld, are worth it if you can handle the haunts! *(Psst! If you get hot or a bit claustrophobic in haunted houses, Creepyworld is half open-air with smaller indoor sections - it's better if you are wary of 2 hours through a confined space)
  17. See the amazing mosaic ceiling of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
  18. Pick peaches or apples (or a whole lot of other things!) at Eckert's farm - technically in Bellville or Millstadt locations, it is one of the most popular farms in the area
  19. Visit the Jewel Box
  20. Float on the Meramec River or the Black River
  21. Check out a Friday fish fry at a local community building - they're very popular and delicious in this area!
  22. Explore Johnson's Shut-Ins Park
  23. Taste the food at Café Natasha- they have schwarma!
  24. Try Cajun cooking at the Broadway Oyster Bar
  25. Enjoy a day at Grant's farm - don't let the goats eat your [shoelaces, shirt, purse, sunglasses, pants...]
  26. Try a nutella & rootbeer float at Fitz's
  27. See a mummy or the Chernobyl art piece at the St. Louis Art Museum
  28. Drool over some toasted raviolis at a number of restaurants- they're a St. Louis specialty!
  29. Try swing dancing at Casa Loma
  30. Craving crepes? Try the City Coffeehouse and Creperie
  31. Keep it educational and exciting with the St. Louis Science Center
  32. Feel your hair stand on end with static electricity at the Magic House
  33. Tour the Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Factory
  34. Try an interesting flavor donut from Strange Donuts. (Check the hours online- they're kind of "strange!")
  35. Take the Anheuser-Busch tour and see some Clydesdales
  36. Indulge your sweet tooth with candy from the Crown Candy Kitchen.
  37. Enjoy Irish cuisine from McGurk's
  38. Feeling trendy? Try modern cuisine at Sidney Street Café
  39. Try Bosnian food at Grbic - the chicken rouladen looks amazing!
  40. Visit the Butterfly House in St. Louis - it's associated with the Missouri Botanical Garden.
  41. Attend the Japanese festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens (Labor Day weekend)

Did we miss something on our bucket list? Let us know!
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Pick your Yard's Critters

What kind of critters do you like to see in your yard? What you plant or allow to grow wild in your yard affects what wildlife visits your yard in the summertime.
(Psst! It's not too late to start planting mature plants - make sure to 'water in' your plants well, and try to plant later in the day after the hottest part of the day is done to give your plants a chance to acclimate overnight.)

Here are some creatures and a few of the plants that attract them:

1. Bees

These pollinators are essential to the process of flowering and producing fruit and vegetables in the summer. To help the bees, here are a few flowers they especially like:

Alyssum or Sweet Alyssum

This plant looks like a carpet and does wonderful in the St. Louis area heat, especially with the clay-dense soil in our area. This looks great potted (especially if you have a balcony or porch area) or contained in a bricked-in area to spread out like a carpet.
How to care for Alyssum plants

Poppies or Oriental Poppies
Poppies are lovely wildflowers to grow. These are perennials, so they will come back if cared for over the summer and late fall when they maintain some foliage (leaves) after their blooming is finished.
How to care for Poppies

2. Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds especially love red and orange shades of flowers, and they like flowers with a tubular or bell shape. They also like plants between 3-12 feet above the ground as a rule of thumb. Here are some plants that will attract these little beauties to your yard or balcony:

Fuchsia Plants (pronounced: few-shuh)
 Pictured: 'Snow burner' color variation; any red and white or hot pink/red colored fuchsias will attract hummingbirds.
Fuchsia plants are shade-loving plants that grow best in hanging pots or slightly elevated pots. They need good drainage in their pots and should not be in direct sunlight in the hottest times of the summer to stay healthy.
How to care for Fuchsia Plants
*Psst! These can be taken indoors over the winter to keep them growing.

 Columbine flowers
These plants are easy to start from seed and attract hummingbirds. They live for only a few years, but re-seed themselves; with proper fertilizing and plant food, these will continue to populate your garden.
How to care for Columbine flowers

Red hot poker plant
These plants are the preferred hue and height that hummingbirds like. These are also known as "Torch Lilies" and require full sun and good drainage around their roots (no standing water for these lovely plants!) Leave adequate space between this plant and others due to its large size.
How to care for Red Hot Pokers

3. Butterflies

These delicate insects are delightful pollinators - they are also essential to growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers each year. The plants listed below are to attract mature butterflies - if you are interested in planting food for butterfly larvae to help the butterfly population, check out this list of butterfly host plants.

Butterfly Bush
This tri-colored butterfly bush is an example of the gorgeous and wild-looking bush named after the creatures that adore it. There are varieties in different colors - some are solid colors while others are mixed. These bushes do well in full sun and well-drained soil. Make sure to plant these 5-10 feet apart- they do indeed get very tall and wide!
How to care for a Butterfly Bush

Allium or Flowering Onion
These amazing flowers look just like the Truffula trees out of Dr. Seuss's book The Lorax. These flowers like sun and do well with fertilizer if the soil quality is lacking.
How to care for Allium flowers

Did this help you think about what to plant in your yard? Show us a picture and tell us about it!

Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017: National Haiku Day

Today is National Haiku day. To celebrate, here are a few literary and library-themed Haiku poems for your enjoyment. Don't forget to stop by the front desk at either library branch and submit a Haiku of your own until April 24th for a chance to win a prize!

Can you guess which works of fiction belong to each Haiku below?

In a world of screens
true knowledge is forbidden.
The books must be burned.
Evil ring of gold
uniting elves and mankind-
the test of friendship.
Blinded by ego,
acting arrogant and cruel
yet falling in love
One child, no husband
Judgment is the color red
Sins will be revealed
Returning from war
stranded with a goddess fair
a Greek hero waits
A nosy houseguest
asks about dead Catherine.
Heathcliff is haunted.
A plain governess
loves the master of the house.
Fear the madwoman.
knowledge at the cost of love.
Meddling scientist...
And one for the library...
Afterlife of trees,
caldera of creation-
a whole universe.

Did you guess all of the Haiku above? Are you stumped? Let us know!
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Show Hole

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a show hole. You start a new show and fall in love with every minute of every episode. When it is over, there is this feeling of overwhelming despair. The shows listed below are long - running favorites that are currently still airing new episodes.

ER - 15 Seasons

NCIS - 14 Seasons

Grey's Anatomy - 13 Seasons

Bones - 12 Seasons

Criminal Minds - 12 Seasons

Supernatural - 12 Seasons

Modern Family - 8 Seasons

Vampire Diaries - 8 Seasons

Blue Bloods - 7 Seasons

Posted by Selena Rivera, Library Clerk

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February: National Heart Health Month 2017

February may be a month with cold and chilly weather, but it's a hot season for dieting and exercise. Don't mistake flutters and missed heartbeats for love - this month is National Heart Health Month. We've got FREE programs and a list of some FREE exercise apps to help you keep your heart healthy this winter, so check out a few of our suggestions:

At the Library:
Every Saturday @ Blum House
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
No registration needed!

Yoga Time (16+)
Every Monday @ Blum House 
(Starting Monday, February 13)
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
No registration needed!

Family Yoga
Every Thursday @ Collinsville Library's Children's Floor
(Starting February 16)
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
No registration needed!

Free Apps:
*The library is not affiliated with or officially sponsoring any of these free apps. This list exists to share with patrons who are interested in free exercise apps and to promote technology literacy. Some of these apps may have paid extras, but all apps on the list have a free basic app. The Collinsville Library is not responsible for any issues regarding the apps or any other device-related problems.

Some of these apps were pulled from this article: The 39 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2016

This free app includes a food diary to track calories, a pie chart showing your daily balance of Fats, Carbs, and Proteins, the ability to save "meals" that are regularly eaten, and a comprehensive, editable list of the nutrition content of almost any food in grocery stores.  (Computer link - MyFitnessPal ) You can also track how much water you drink and exercise sessions with this app.
Tip: When adding a food, search the name in the search bar -  example "Hellman Mayonnaise" - you don't have to add in the  nutrition info of Mayonnaise yourself! Search for the correct information that has already been put into the app first.


This free app for iOS and Android devices creates semi-customizable workouts for its users. Pick from types of workouts (strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching) and how much time you have (5 minutes to 1 hour) and the app generates moves to follow for the duration of the workout. The premium subscription offers more personalization, but as a basic app, this is a highly rated app to try if you want to use technology to track workout sessions.

Spotify Running
Spotify has a new feature that allows you to run at your own pace. With the "Running" feature, you can select a genre of music or a time of day for your run (for example, an "evening run," or a seasonal, brisk "spring run") and select "Start Run." Once you start running, this app selects music to match your pace. With the free basic app, it picks the music for you within the genre you choose. To choose which song or artist you specifically want, you'll need to get the paid app subscription.

Tip: It took me a few minutes to find the run feature at first! You can find it by searching 'running' in the search bar or under Browse, which pulls up a list of music genres. Scroll down and select "Running."

And finally, for fans of gaming and/or zombies,

Zombies, Run!
Are you convinced you could outrun Zombies and survive an apocalypse? This app may interest you. This app combines exercise and gaming with interactive missions. Your running missions unlock valuable items for the included game. The coolest feature of this game is that you can control whether or not there are zombie noises based upon your speed in the missions. If that's too scary or distracting, the feature can be turned off.
The basic app includes one season of free running missions and the in-app game. For more seasons of running, check out the in-app paid subscription (or wait until February 17th, when more seasons are scheduled to become unlocked with the free app). 

Tip: This app DOES work on treadmills. (This librarian knows from experience!)
 Other users say it works on bicycles too.

Have any suggestions or recommendations for fitness apps or heart health programs? Let us know!
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Great Computer Lab Update

If you stop by the Collinsville library branch, you'll notice a few things have changed. As of January 17, 2017, a library card is needed to log in when using a computer in the lab. Guest passes for those who do not have a library card are available at the desk in the lab.

In honor of this tech update, here are a few important technology milestones in history:

February 15, 1946: The existence of ENIAC, the first computer, is revealed to the public.

1966: Xerox releases the Magnafax Telecopier, the first standard fax machine to send faxes over a telephone line. It could send a one page document over a phone line in about 6 minutes.

1973: The first successful call made from a cellular phone occurs, with a Motorola phone.

1975: Calculators, which had only existed for five years, were adapted into the cigarette pack sized models seen today. The price dropped beneath $100 for the first time and the cheapest model finally sold for under $20. This forced many other calculator companies out of business. (Trivia fact: Teachers and professors tried to have the calculators banned, "or else no one will learn how to do math."

1977: Apple releases the Apple II, at which point the sales of personal computers take off (including other companies' personal computers).

May 1978: ARPANET sends the first spam email to 300+ people.
(If you're interested in reading it, check it out here.)

April 1981: The first laptop, the Osborne 1, is released.
1983: Dynix Library automation software is released. (One of the first popular digital book checkout and cataloguing systems

August 6, 1991: The Internet is launched for the public by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

1994: Bluetooth technology was developed, but did not spread much until cell phones were common.

December 3, 1994: The original Playstation (1) was released.

November 15, 2001: The original Xbox was released by Microsoft.

July 2003: The insanely popular flip cellphone, Motorola Razr, was released. (You were cool if you had one in my generation....as fourth graders.)

November 19, 2006: The Wii was released.

June 29, 2007: The first iPhone was released after announced in January by Steve Jobs of Apple.

January 2017: The Collinsville Public Library in Illinois has library card logins added to the desktop computers in the lab.

Let us know if you found this timeline interesting!
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk

Monday, January 02, 2017

New Year's Vote: 2017

To ring in the new year, we asked our staff to vote on our favorite funny commercials leading up to 2017.  (Note: click the linked name to open the YouTube video for each commercial.)

Here are our nominees:

Nolan Cheese: Mouse
Heinz: Stampede
Snickers: Marilyn
Temptation: Keep them busy
Geico: Raccoons
Superbowl: Invisible Mindy
Allstate: Mayhem Jogger
Doritos: Time Machine
Blockbuster: Click the Mouse
3rd place:
2nd place:


Thanks for your participation, staff! Here's to a good new year, 2017.
Posted by Kaitlyn Auer, Library Clerk.