King County Library System is a tremendous resource all year round. From the Summer Reading Program to robotics classes to an armful of good books to keep you company on a long weekend, amazing adventures often begin at your public library.
As the year comes to a close, we have even more things in store to help you and your family celebrate the holidays. Here is my top 10 list of new and exciting ways KCLS can make your holiday season even better:
• Smart shopping – Shopping for someone special this year? Use the library’s subscription to Consumer Reports Online to get great advice for your gift-giving plans at http://kcls.org/resources/consumer-information/.
• Holiday cookbooks – Whether you’re looking for a favorite old recipe or a new holiday classic, KCLS has a great collection of cookbooks. From Gluten Free and Vegan Holidays to the Barefoot Contessa’s Cooking for Jeffrey, there’s something for all tastes.
• Sounds of the season – Visit Freegal to download a few seasonal tunes to get you into the holiday mood. From classic to contemporary, you’ll likely find a sentimental favorite at http://kcls.org/browse/music/.
• eBooks galore – Giving someone an eReader for Christmas? Include a note to remind them about the library’s great collection of eBooks. They can download titles and start reading Christmas morning, and it won’t cost them a thing!Visit http://kcls.org/browse/ebooks/.
• Make your own gifts – Impress your family and friends with a personal gift you make yourself in a workshop on handmade chocolates. Pastry chef Laurie Pfalzer will teach you simple techniques to create beautiful candies and truffles that will delight everyone on your list! Check out our events calendar for details and be sure to register at https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/.
• Gifts for readers – Have someone on your list who’s hard to buy for? How about two tickets to meet keynote author Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket!) at the 2017 Literary Lions Gala on March 11. But hurry — tickets will go fast! Visit http://kclsfoundation.org/events/.
• Escape to a quiet place – The holidays can get a bit chaotic, so find a great new book or an old favorite and take time to curl up with a warm blanket. It’s the best cure when things start to get out of hand. And if home is too noisy, escape to a cozy reading nook at one of KCLS’ beautiful libraries. For more, visit https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/locations/.
• Plan a trip – And speaking of escape, if you’re planning a trip to escape the rain this year, visit KCLS first. From Fodor’s to Frommer’s, there’s a destination guide that can help you expertly plan your next excursion. Be sure to fill your eReader with good books before you go — but if you forget, look for our KCLS eBook kiosks at SeaTac Airport for last minute downloads.
• Season of stories and songs – Your local community library will be buzzing during our annual Season of Stories and Songs events throughout the month of December. Musical performances, craft programs and holiday-themed story times are free and offer something for all ages! Stop by and join the fun.
• Explore the diversity of the season – During this important season of remembrance and cultural celebrations, visit KCLS to learn about holidays and traditions that are new to you. In addition to Christmas and Hanukkah, many celebrate Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice. Milad un Nabi (Mawlid) commemorates the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad and Bodhi Day is a significant Buddhist holiday. Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Mexico) and Boxing Day (Canada) are also observed in December.
Whatever traditions you observe, all of us at King County Library System wish you and yours the very best. And may your New Year be filled with great adventures that begin at the library!
Here are a few recommended reads to help pass those cold, rainy nights:
• “The Latino Holiday Book: From Cinco De Mayo to Dia De Los Muertos — the Celebrations and Traditions of Hispanic-Americans” by Valerie Menard.
A great way to explore Latino holiday traditions, including history, recipes and crafts.
• “Holiday Cooking Around the World.”
A nice collection of simple recipes representing holiday traditions from many countries.
• “Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide” by Christian Ratsch.
Think you know everything there is to know about this popular holiday? This book explores the history behind many Christmas traditions that are now ubiquitous.
• “Awkward Family Holiday Photos” by Mike Bender.
It helps to know it isn’t just your family. Enjoy this light-hearted collection of embarrassing family photos. It may help provide perspective to your own gatherings.
• “Holiday Crafting & Baking With Kids: Gifts, Sweets and Treats for the Whole Family!” by Jessica Strand.
Enjoy some family bonding time with the young ones, using these easy to follow and inexpensive suggestions for holiday treats.
Gary Wasdin is the director of the King County Library System.