Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

Wild Card Wednesdays

Wild Card Wednesdays is where you'll find random fun things to learn and see!

All of these ideas are curated and brought to you by Alyisha Wasilewski (a.k.a Miss Alyisha)!


Wild Card Wednesdays, February 24, 2021

After a full year of Wildcard Wednesday musings to help get us through the pandemic, this will be the final resource shared.

For my Swan Song, I'd like to present this Interactive Birdsong illustration. Though the birds featured are resident Minnesotans, you'll recognize many from our local branches & skyline, too. Click on any bird to hear a sweet parting gift from me, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, & the outside world.

We hope you're well. Keep your eyes peeled & your ears tuned for fun new content from the Library in the days & months ahead!

Wild Card Wednesdays, February 3, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a Professional Book Restoration Artist who made a video so calming, book-lovers the world over used it to "self-soothe." That time is now and that video is here.
Sophia Bogle, of Save Your Books, gently outlines delicate, golden letters; uses a color wheel and mixes paint to match the perfect, muddy brown of the cover; and even submerges frail pages into a magical bath of warm water to bring an antique book of fairy tales back to life.
Described by one writer as "ASMR, but you could learn a thing or two," watch to see this particular story get its Happy Ending.

Wild Card Wednesdays, January 27, 2021

Recently, while reading poet Maggie Smith’s collection of inspirational tweets, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, I learned of a new-to-me resource from Berkeley University. It’s called “Greater Good in Action: Science-Based Practices for a Meaningful Life.” The idea is that you can select any motivation or feeling that you want to cultivate in your life, be it empathy, forgiveness, mindfulness, self-compassion, awe…the list goes on, and find a list of real-life practices to help you develop that mindset.

Given our current, ongoing state of separation (created by the pandemic), one of the most interesting themes on the list, to me, is “connection.” With physical distance and the added stress of an intense bout of politics, many of us are feeling increasingly isolated from our family & friends. This resource is one that could provide the tools to help us grow closer again (in safe & healthy ways: both bodily & emotionally). If you’re eager to check-out a real-life example, listen to this interview with teacher Rebecca DeCola & her octogenarian father, who tried out the “36 Questions” exercise.

What do you want to cultivate in your own life? Which practice looks best to you?

Maggie Smith’s book can be checked-out from the Ames Free Library or put on-hold through the SAILS network.


Wild Card Wednesdays, December 16, 2020

Today's suggested resource is:

Blob Opera

Whether music is your "aria" of expertise or not, much merriment can be had in the making of your very own Blob Opera! We aren't suggesting that you force your family to dress up in their fanciest attire while you play your recorded creation for them...but we're not not suggesting it, either.

Tip: Make sure they stock up on roses to throw at your feet. We recognize your genius; they should, too.

Wild Card Wednesdays, December 9, 2020

emma-matthews-digital-content-production-p6g6S_kXkFc-unsplash.jpgHoping to get a jumpstart on composing your goals for 2021? 

As the year (blessedly) winds down & draws to a close, you may be thinking about your plans for the coming year. Why not consult Leonardo DaVinci's 1490 "To-Do" List for some New Year's inspiration?
While your resolutions may have little to do with acquiring "the measurement of the sun" or "describ[ing] a woodpecker's tongue," you can still follow in this famous polymath's footsteps. As the writer of this OpenCulture article suggests, "Note how many of the entries are about getting an expert to teach him something, be it mathematics, physics, or astronomy." The Library's got you covered! Remember to check out our Master Classes. This year, local experts have taught us about everything from the History of Women's Suffrage, to set design tips from Broadway, to which wine pairs best with a sweet & tangy Manchego cheese.
Coming up in the very near future (tomorrow!), attend our Master Class with Marcy Venezia, CEO of GleeWorks Holistic Coaching: "Holiday Resilience Kit: Keeping Mental Health Merry During the Holidays." Register in advance & catch the Zoom meeting at 7pm (Thursday, 12/10). 

Wild Card Wednesdays, December 2, 2020

As we enter the month of December, a season known for celebration & good cheer, it might seem like a strange time to be sharing a video about The Bubonic San Francisco (created by Caitlin Doughty, author of From Here to Eternity & Smoke Gets In Your Eyes). But it’s been a strange year.

And, did you know that the Library is hosting its very own Master Class about the Plague? How festive! Local historian, Edmund Hands, will be presenting about America’s other pandemic, the Spanish Influenza, & how residents were affected right here in Easton! 
Pre-register for this event, taking place on Thursday, December 17 at 7pm.

Wild Card Wednesdays, November 25, 2020

Today's suggested resource is:

Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, check out this resource from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum! It is a viewing experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Wild Card Wednesdays, November 18, 2020

Today's suggested resource is:

Lean Into Loneliness Like It Is Holding You 

“If you have pains in your chest/ ‘cause your anxiety won’t rest/ take a moment / take a breath.”
Might we suggest that you spend that moment with poet Tanya Davis’s words & a blend of stop-motion animation & illustration created by Andrea Dorfman? Their short, audiovisual poem might help you to feel that while you might be lonely, you’re not wholly alone. Remember: you’re in good company. 
[Note: This poem contains some profanity.]

Wild Card Wednesdays, November 4, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

The Weirdest and Coolest Polling Places Where Americans Have Voted

Why pretend it’s possible to think about anything else today, other than the election?

Divert your eyes, if not your brain, by checking-out some of the coolest places Americans have voted across the country.

Wild Card Wednesdays, October 28, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Literary Inspiration for a Sad Covid Halloween at Home

Which literary Halloween costume speaks to your soul?


Wild Card Wednesdays, October 21, 2020

This week's suggested resources are:

How COVID-19 Is Changing the English Language


Lockdown Creating a Nation of Cookie Monsters Say Oxford English Dictionary Experts

If COVID (or is it "Covid"?) has turned you into a maskne-ridden, doom-scrolling, quarantini-consuming, kitchie-dwelling, Cookie're not alone!

The above terms (& more!) have become so popular, they've either already been added to the Oxford English Dictionary or are on the "watch list" for any lexicographer worth their salt. 

Read more about how the pandemic has affected language in these recent articles from Fast Company and The Oxford Mail.

Wild Card Wednesdays, October 14, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Flower Punk

Watch this short, award-winning documentary entitled, "Flower Punk," about Japanese artist Azuma Makoto, who "uses plants to create stunning sculptures that connect humanity and nature" (The New Yorker, 2020).
Then, get in touch with your own "Flower Punk" side by supporting us via our Fall Bulb Fundraiser. (If public libraries didn't already exist today, can you imagine how radical & revolutionary the idea would sound?)

Wild Card Wednesdays, October 7, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

BookRiot’s list of “25 of the Absolute Best Cozy Mystery Series.” 

With the onset of Fall comes throw blankets, hoodies, & fuzzy socks. As temperatures dip, dip right along with them — into a cozy mystery! 

Whether you’re trying out a brand-new genre or picking up a tried & true comfort read, gentle mysteries are the perfect accompaniment to that pleasurable Autumnal chill.

Wild Card Wednesdays, September 23, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Have you heard of the Ig Nobel Prize? The 30th annual awards were presented this past week, given for research that "first makes people laugh, and then makes them think." This year's winners included experiments on the efficacy of weapons made with frozen feces; the effect of helium on an alligator's voice; and the fascinating eyebrow work of sociopaths.
Check out The Guardian's article for more details, or the full list of past & present winners at the prize's virtual home base, Improbable Research.

Wild Card Wednesdays, September 16, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Short of the Week's "Horror" Archive

Too soon?
Check-out Short of the Week's "Horror" archive while you eagerly await the official arrival of Fall.

Wild Card Wednesdays, September 9, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Are you a fan of fabulous felines? If so, we've got the purr-fect line-up for you this Wildcard Wednesday!
Fur-st, read the recently published article by the American Library Association, entitled "What It's Like to Be a Library Cat During the Pandemic."
Next, learn about the Tradition & History of Library Cats, dating back to Ancient Egypt (when domesticated cats "meandered their way through...temples" and "were trained to keep rodents away from the fragile manuscripts").
And finally, although traveling is tricky right now -- no one can put restrictions on your dreams! Plan your next trip with Fodor's list of "17 Bookstore Cats Worth Roadtripping For."

Wild Card Wednesdays, September 2, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Frog & Toad Tentatively Go Outside After Months in Self-Quarantine

It's important to check-in on your friends during this difficult time. How long has it been since you've touched base with your childhood pals, Frog & Toad? See how they're doing in McSweeney's comic & poignant, "Frog & Toad Tentatively Go Outside After Months in Self-Quarantine" by Jennie Egerdie.


Wild Card Wednesdays, August 26, 2020

Do you have guilt over never having read "the Classics"? Want to be part of the cultural conversation without putting your nose to the proverbial grindstone? Are you woefully behind on your Book Club reading? Well, have we got a solution for you!

While we'd never advocate not reading (of course!), we're all about making life simpler. Here are "25 Animations of Great Literary Works: From Plato, Dostoevsky & Dickinson, to Kafka, Hemingway, & Bradbury", collected by Open Culture.

Don't worry: we know you'll pick up the text someday. And if not, you can at least seem like you did. ;) Bonus: you'll get to check-out some pretty cool art in the process!

Wild Card Wednesdays, August 19, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Ways I've Organized My Rainbow Bookshelves

How do you organize your bookshelves? Alpha by author? By genre? Are fiction & nonfiction shelved separately or together? In rainbow order? Spines in or spines out? 

Your average booklover has MANY questions to ponder, & MANY strong opinions about the subject.
Read one bibliophile’s musings here.
Then, share your thoughts (& shelves!) with us. We’d love to see photos of your home libraries.

Wild Card Wednesdays, August 12, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Book Riot Quiz Archives

Looking for a diverting way to kill some time? Visit the Book Riot Quiz Archives!

In which magical city should you live? 
Which classic book are you?
Who said it: Fiona Apple or Virginia Woolf?
Book Riot knows all...

Wild Card Wednesdays, August 5, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Creepy Cove

Peter Laws, author of The Frighteners: A Celebration of Our Fascination with the Macabre & the supernatural detective series Matt Hunter, has a new podcast befitting of his reputation! Known as “The Sinister Minister,” Laws, an ordained Christian minister & horror afficionado, has launched “Creepy Cove”: a horror-themed immersive podcast…presented in the style of a church service…[which] shares spiritual insights, comedy, and strange music from Creepy Cove, a mysterious, haunted fishing town by the sea…where every horror movie happened for real.”

There are four episodes so far; whether you “use this podcast as pure entertainment, comedy or as a genuine spiritual space…you might enjoy this one. After's certainly going to enjoy YOU!"

Wild Card Wednesdays, July 29, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

20 Words That Are Their Own Opposites

Calling all Word Nerds! 
Searching for the perfect word? Don’t overlook contronyms! Consult this list of words that mean what they mean...but also the exact opposite. ;) 

Wild Card Wednesdays, July 22, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Crystallized Book Art

Caution: Don't try this at home — especially not with our library books! San-Francisco based artist, Alexis Arnold, makes books the centerpiece of her project about "the history of time, use, & memory."


Wild Card Wednesdays, July 15, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

We've been having some weather this week: sunshowers, thunderstorms, and rainbows! And, we're forecasted to get more. It seems like the perfect time to check out photographer Eric Meola's stunning photos from inside some of the most dramatic storms of the Midwest.
As he puts it, "Storm chasing is very much a science, but at the same time there's a bit of black magic and intuition to it." This should please our Fantasy & Nonfiction readers alike!

Wild Card Wednesdays, July 8, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:


Worried about falling “behind” on social media trends? Don’t worry! We’ve got your “back.” 

Globally, museums have been participating in thematic, online Curator Battles; their most recent theme was #BestMuseumBum. 

4 months (roughly) into the pandemic & our “Daily Distractions,” you might think you’ve seen it all. We’re here to disabuse you of that notion, in a completely learnéd & academic way, of course, with these 4 simple words (& an article from 

 “But(t) wait...there’s more!”


Wild Card Wednesdays, July 1, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Shakespeare 360

In this "60 minute, cinematic, 360-degree adaptation" of Shakespeare's classic play, "viewers are cast as the Ghost of Hamlet’s dead father," thereby creating "a sense of agency and urgency" as you act "as an omniscient observer, guide and participant." Join the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company for an experience in high culture and modern technology.


Wild Card Wednesdays, June 24, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Binging with Babish

Binging with Babish is a delightful cooking show, in which the eponymous host creates your favorite dishes from pop culture. Sometimes delectable & sometimes just plain weird, Babish's cooking chops are always on display. His soothing voice & wry wit are the perfect ingredients to complete this serving of Daily Distractions.

 In this episode, Babish makes a twist on an old Summertime favorite: the Dessert Dog from The Simpsons. Will this masterpiece have you looking at your plain, ol' hot dogs thinking, "D'oh! Why didn't I think of that?" Or will you stick with the classics: bread, meat, ketchup, & mustard?

Wild Card Wednesdays, June 17, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Antidepressant or Tolkien?

Laugh through the pain by taking this (surprisingly difficult!) quiz!

Wild Card Wednesdays, June 10, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

"A Body of Language" by D.W. Young

Love books? Learn to talk the talk! After watching this short documentary, highlighted by The New Yorker, you might even be mistaken for an antiquarian bookseller!

Wild Card Wednesdays, June 3, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Sugar Calling

Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) presents a new podcast, "Sugar Calling." A product of the times (but relevant to *every* time & to the human condition), Cheryl interviews Literary Greats about topics such as: resilience, loss, solitude, family, healing, spirituality, quiet, & beauty.


Wild Card Wednesdays, May 27, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

A NEW Children’s book by Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling?! This is *not* a test! She'll be releasing it, chapter by chapter, over on her website. Check out her drawing prompts & illustration competition while you're there! And, while we have your attention, read this New York Times article by Ann Patchett about how discovering Children’s Literature as an adult could be one of the most “satisfying” and “calming” adventures of your life.


Wild Card Wednesdays, May 20, 2020

Looking to connect with other bookworms? Download Litsy (for free)! Litsy is available both as a phone app & as a website. Visit your App Store or use this link!

If Goodreads & Instagram had a baby, it would be Litsy. Write a review, post a picture, or transcribe your favorite quote(s) from your current read. Join readers who are as passionate as you! 

A social app at heart, Litsy is at its best when you join up with others. From book talks, to bookish pen pals, to snail mail gift exchanges, Litsy can be a true Reader’s Paradise.

Need suggestions for people to follow? Check-out @MrBook, @Avanders, @Soubhiville, @Eyelit, @cinfhen, @BarbaratheBibliophage, & @ReadOrDieRachel.

Hashtag your post #LitsyWelcomeWagon (to be warmly greeted by the kindest community on the internet). Follow @LitsyHappenings. And kick it off by looking up some of your favorite (or least favorite) books & leaving comments!

Good luck & enjoy!

Wild Card Wednesdays, May 13, 2020

Need a distraction for your anxious, busy mind? Or maybe just a quick, stay-at-home version of "dinner & a movie"?

Whether you're looking for a cartoon for the kiddos, a horror film for after they go to sleep, or an opportunity to learn something new, Short of the Week offers a healthy collection of bite-sized films for all ages!

The highlighted (17 minute) documentary, “L.A. Roll” is about a community searching for its sense of place when the local roller rink shuts down. Plus, its dance/skate team has got MOVES! 

We’re all missing our favorite places right now...but don’t worry! Virtually or in-person, the Library will always be "where the community connects." We hope to see your faces soon!


Wild Card Wednesdays, May 6, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

DIY Watercolor Prints

Sick of staring at your walls? Make gorgeous, frame-worthy, watercolor prints using basic materials (Crayola markers, paper, water, & ziplock bags).


Wild Card Wednesdays, April 29, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Favorite Poem Project: "Make Believe" by Jaswinder Bolina

Ordinary people perform their favorite poems aloud; in this video, dance-choreographer Dahlia Nayar reads "Make Believe" by Jaswinder Bolina. If you're feeling inspired, record your own & share it with us!

Wild Card Wednesdays, April 22, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Selected Shorts: Safe Distance (with Guest Host: Levar Burton)

Celebrities read short stories aloud, performed live, on-stage at Symphony Hall in NYC.


Wild Card Wednesdays, April 15, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Bon Appetit darling, Claire Saffitz, attempts to make a gourmet version of one of the most popular, survivalist, apocalypse-ready foods known to man: Instant Ramen. Binge-watch all her episodes (especially those featuring Pringles, Oreos, Gushers, & Peeps)!

Wild Card Wednesdays, April 8, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

DIY Mini Shadow Box Tutorial: Tiny Moth Shadow Box

Providence-based maker, Thistle Thistle, shows you how to create a tiny shadow box inspired by nature.


Wild Card Wednesdays, April 1, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Virtual Disney rides!

Try a whole variety of rides in the first person perspective, from multiple Disney theme parks.


Wild Card Wednesdays, March 25, 2020

This week's suggested resource is:

Wondering what the trending game is today? Competitive marble racing! Lose your marbles over some of these photo finishes.
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