Friday, August 31, 2012

Are You Ready For Some Football? Or Soccer... Or Basketball...

With the start of the school year also comes the start of fall sports! We just put up a new display of sports books. We have something for everyone – junior to adult, fiction and non-fiction. We’ve put out mostly fall sports books: soccer, football and some basketball (since I know they’ll be starting practice soon even if the season doesn’t start yet). We have plenty of books on other sports if you are interested – just ask!

Are you interested in soccer? Did you know that there is a new soccer club in the area? Prairie Fire Soccer Club is a new soccer club starting this Fall. It is based in Homer, IL but is not limited to Homer or Heritage School District. They are hoping to serve kids from all surrounding communities.

We have several books on our display to help our new soccer players and coaches. We have ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coaching Soccer’ and ‘Soccer Skills and Drills’ for the adults involved as well as a great book, ‘101 Ways to be a Terrific Sports Parent: Making Athletics a Positive Experience For Your Child”. This is a good book for parents with kids in any sport not just soccer. We also have several fiction and non-fiction books for the kids. We have some ‘how to’ sports books and several biographies on athletes in our junior section. And for the kids who prefer novels, Mike Lupika, Tim Green and Dan Gutman are among the favorite sports authors in our junior collection.

We have a really fun series of non-fiction sports books for the kids – the Sports Illustrated ‘How It Works’ series. These books discuss the science behind different sports moves and plays and discuss why they work and how to make them work. While that might sound rather scholarly and stuffy, these books use colorful, action photography and easy-to-understand descriptions to get kids engaged in the how’s and why’s of sports. Books in this series cover football, soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball, and skateboarding.

We hope everyone got off to a good start of the school year and good luck to all of you who are starting sports. Youth sports can be an important part of a child’s development. As our display says, “Sports: Good for the Body, Good for the Mind”!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It's Calendar Time Again! (Please Read - Lots of Changes)

Once again, in 2013, the Homer Library will produce the "Homer Community Library Calendar" as our primary fundraiser. The Calendar, which began in 1965 as a fundraising project for the Homer Lions Club, was given to the Library when the Lions disbanded in 2006. This will be the 48th year that the Calendar has provided essential civic support to the Village of Homer. And, now that the Library is the sole benefactor of Calendar sales, that support extends to all of the citizens of Heritage School District. That’s because they too are eligible for a Homer Library card (for a modest fee).

The Calendar is strictly a volunteer project, with all net proceeds—typically $4,000.00 a year— going to the Library. These funds supplement the income the Library receives from Village of Homer real estate taxes and State of Illinois per capita grants, which barely cover our payroll, online catalog service, and interlibrary loan fee. We also earn some income from fines, copying, and fax services. It is these sources, plus outright gifts and the Calendar income, that we use to pay for programs, new materials, and services for the Library.

For the past six years, more than a third of yearly Calendar income has been allocated to the “Reading Is Fundamental” (RIF) program. This now defunct federal program was designed to improve child literacy by giving, in our case, 400 to 500 books per year to kindergarten through fourth grade students in Heritage School District. Thanks to Calendar income, the Library has been able to continue this popular program on our own, although RIF was discontinued altogether last year. Even the RIF name is now gone—we’ve renamed our program “Reading is Fantastic Fun” or RIFF. Fortunately, our children’s book publishers were able to continue their RIF stipulated discounts this past year. BUT . . . we don’t know how much longer they will do so since their federal aid has also ended. For this reason alone, the Library staff hopes community support for this year’s Calendar will be exceptionally generous.

To improve our chances of having a banner year, the Homer Library Board of Trustees has approved several changes to the way the 2013 Calendar will be promoted. We are adding ten more advertisements to help pay for printing twice as many Calendars. That’s because this year the Calendar will be mailed to every household, business, and farmstead in the Village of Homer and South Homer Township! These mailings have been made possible by a new, low-cost U. S. Postal Service program that encourages direct mailings to every household in a given zip code.

We will be calling on the many new families that have moved into Homer the past few years as these folks have not been previously asked to contribute their listings to the Calendar. Listings consist of anniversaries and birthdays of Homer family members that are printed on the relevant dates of the Calendar, along with meetings of civic and religious organizations. The charges for listings are: one or two listings; just $6.00; additional listings are $1.00 each. If someone wants to acquire a Calendar, but doesn’t want to include their listings, we would appreciate a donation of $10.00.

Finally, we will send our previous patrons a double postcard which shows their 2012 listings. Receipt by the Library of the amount billed will confirm that the patron wants to resubscribe to the Calendar. The deadline for confirming listings is September 30, 2012. Payment checks, and changes or corrections to listings, may be sent to Homer Library, ATTN: K.C. Jones, 500 E. Second St., Homer, IL 61849. You may telephone K.C. at 531-7856; or email him at

By using the mail for bills and Calendars, the Trustees hope to substantially reduce the need for the 20 volunteers normally required for production, assembly, and distribution of the Calendar. In these difficult times, individuals with the time and resources to help are becoming hard to find. That’s no reflection on the dedicated volunteers who, for many, many years, have steadfastly donated their time, energy, and gasoline to the Calendar project. The Library staff and Trustees sincerely appreciate the efforts of those volunteers. And we will still need several of them to help assemble the Calendars and perhaps to make some deliveries.

Please help make this the best fundraising year ever for the Homer Community Library by adding your listings to the 2013 Calendar or by making a donation!