Mindfulness Journaling

Get in touch with the present.

Thinking of ways to become more in touch with yourself during this quarantine? Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in the monotony of the “new normal” in quarantine, so some helpful and healthy mindfulness prompts can help bring to mind what made each day special. Mindfulness is about connecting the mind, soul, and body, so that you can be in the moment, rather than letting your thoughts drift off into anxious, dark places. By focusing on the present and bringing gratitude and gratefulness into each day, mindfulness can be extremely therapeutic. 

There are tons of mindfulness prompts that can be used while journaling that can help your juices start to flow. Many of these prompts ask questions like “What things am I most grateful for in my life,” “How am I impacting other people around me daily,” “Some areas that I’d like to improve in my life are…”. Clearly, a lot of these prompts dig into some areas that may not feel super comfortable, but by addressing them and putting them out on paper, they bring a sense of awareness and understanding. The thing that I like the most about mindfulness journaling is that it grounds me and helps me to understand myself better. If I am in a bad mood, sometimes mindfulness journaling can help me realize why I am feeling cranky, and it gives me the tools I need to improve my mood. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into the world of mindfulness journaling, there are many resources available online. My favorite mindfulness writer is Katie Dalebout, and I learn a lot about being mindful, grateful, and present through her podcast “Let it Out.” There are many mindfulness prompts available online as well, which can greatly help with starting the process.

Resources & Inspiration:

Katie Dalebout’s website

Why You Need a Mindful Journal Practice and Tips to Get You Started” from YogiApproved

10 Tips for Mindful Writing and Meditative Journaling” from DevelopGoodHabits

Mindful Journaling: 50 Unique Technique Topics and Writing Tips for Beginners” from Your Body The Temple

No Wait, These Books Are Great!

RRN_FictionYAWe have new collections of kids and teen eBooks, eAudiobooks, and Read-Alongs that are available without holds! These books are from Rosen Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, Britannica Digital Learning, Orca Book Publishers, Triangle Interactive, and other participating publishers.  More titles will be added in the future!

Looking for Read-Alongs?  Here are some of the ones in the kids collection:

goldy luckmy heart

Are you missing sports?  Maybe these books from Britannica will help:


Check out the rest of the 100 + titles available with no holds!  Here is the kids collectionHere is the teen collection.

Kids’ Update: Summer Begins TODAY!

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Believe it or not, summer arrives at the Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch on June 15th! You are invited to join our Virtual Summer Programs. Imagine Your Story: Patch Power 2020 encourages you to discover your own stories while reading others’ stories in fiction and non-fiction.
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Participants from Pre-K to Grade 5 are encouraged to read or listen to books every day for 30 minutes or more all summer and record your accomplishments through the Imagine Your Story: Patch Power 2020 website or app. You can also complete Missions, by completing at-home activties and attending Virtual Programs, to earn the 2020 patches!

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Students in Grade 6 and up may join the Imagine Your Story: Teen Reading Club 2020! Teens are encouraged to read or listen to books for at least 60 minutes every day to earn a Reading Grand Prize at the end of the summer! They may also complete independent Missions to earn collectible mini-buttons!
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Even children under 3 years can participate this summer by signing up for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten! Research has shown that listening to 1000 Books Before Kindergarten helps children to develop the important pre-reading skills that provide a solid foundation for learning to read — a key to learning and school success. Read at least 100 book this summer to earn a special award!  

Adults can sign up, too! Sign up today! Imagine Your Story

Special Edition: Quarantine Journaling

Journaling as a primary source document depicting turbulent times.

At this point in our journaling series, we’ve introduced the idea of journaling to your life and expounded upon its benefits as well as given you a couple ideas for formatting and content structure.  But some of you might be at a loss for what precisely to write about.

I was watching a webinar a few weeks ago that was talking about something totally unrelated.  It was a question and answer session with a group of authors of middle grade books.  One of the questions asked was something along the lines of “how will this time of quarantine and COVID-19 affect your writing?”  And one of the authors had an answer that honestly blew my mind a little bit.  She said that writing about this time was important, not just for authors like her, but for everyone, because those documents chronicling life during this period will someday become primary sources for students and historians in the future.

Maybe this is not as mind blowing for you as it was for me, but it’s a perspective that I never considered before, that we can actively become a part of history in this way just by writing down our experiences.  Historians are already beginning to compile primary source documents from regular people in order to gain a broader picture of what this time looks like in various parts of the world.  

Furthermore, we might feel like we’re stuck in this time of sickness and anxiety and isolation, but thinking about it in terms of history like this is, frankly, a little reassuring.  Humans have survived multiple pandemics before, just like we all learned as children in school; and while I don’t want to diminish the suffering and the death that many people are facing, and while we will certainly not come out of this unscathed, it is nevertheless comforting to know that we will be okay.

So if you’re looking for something to write about, write about your life.  Someday, your life will be important to many different people, and at the very least you’ll be able to look back and say, “I survived that.”

Resources & Inspiration:

The Quarantine Diaries” from The New York Times

3d Printing is Back Online

The Jacobs Technology Center is excited to to announce that we will resume 3d printing all your projects! Our Ultimaker S5 Pro is up and running and ready for your requests. If you’d like a 3d item to be printed, please fill out this form.

If you’re new to 3d printing, you can download 3d object files from Thingiverse, or try creating your own with TinkerCAD. Our printer also uses fully dissolvable supports. If your object is intricate and requires support, simply leave it soaking in water overnight and the PVA support material will melt away.

Currently, we only have black, white and red PLA materials available, but we will be expanding that selection over time. We charge on a tiered system based on how much material your object uses: anything up to 10g costs $3, and each additional 10g tier is just another 50¢. Once your object is finished, we will contact you and set up a time for curbside pickup. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at ccljtc@ccls.org.

Tabletop Role-Playing Club

Join the Tabletop Role-Playing Club with us virtually on Wednesday, June 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) you use your imagination. Together, the players and the Game Master craft a whole world of adventure! Will your character face the evil wizard head on, try to bargain their way out, or run away? That’s for you to decide and act out!

There are many TTRPG “systems” out there, from the well known Dungeons & Dragons to the huge variety of indie games like Kids on Bikes or Monster of the Week. Each has it’s own set of rules, usually involving dice and a bit of math, but the story is all up to you!

In this club we will use the Roll20 virtual platform to explore the wide, wide world of TTRPGs, usually in one-off sessions. Due to the nature of this style of game you will need a microphone, but a camera is optional.

Micro Journaling

Quick journaling for busy people.

Welcome to our third installment in our series about journaling, which is going to be all about Micro Journaling.

Micro Journaling is exactly what it sounds like: small journaling.  If reading our last two journaling posts made you think things like “I don’t have time for all that” or “I never have anything to write about,” this style of journaling might be a better fit for you.  Micro Journaling is essentially all about picking one little aspect of journaling and sticking to it.  

People do this in all sorts of ways, all completely different from the next person.  In a video by author Todd Brison, he outlines his very specific method of Micro Journaling.  There are only three steps to his system.  First, write the date.  Simple enough.  Second, choose a category and write a list of ten things that fit this category.  The category can be anything from “ten things I want to accomplish in the next ten years” to “ten reasons I love winter.”  The point is simply to get your brain moving.  The final step is to write one thing that you’re grateful for.  And that’s it.  His takeaway from this method of Micro Journaling is that it has improved his focus, and by doing it every morning as part of his morning routine, he kick starts his creativity so that he can do better work throughout the day.

If this still sounds like too much of a commitment for your busy life, you could try the method adopted by Jeremy Daly, who works as a leader in the tech industry and thus has a very busy lifestyle.  Rather than finding time to sit down everyday and write in his journal, he took the label of Micro Journaling in a different direction and instead writes little snippets in his journal throughout the day.  Every time he finishes a task or starts a new project or has a significant experience, he jots down a little note about it in an app on his phone.  Now years into journaling in this manner, he has thousands of little snippets chronicling his life that he can look back on and remember moments that he might otherwise have forgotten.

Remembering seems to be a big motivator behind many people when they begin journaling.  I know for me, I often look back in hindsight and wish I could remember when I first went to that place or met that person or did that thing.  Ariel Bissett, a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and YouTuber, felt the same when she decided to pick up Micro Journaling.  Similar to Jeremy Daly, she writes down little snippets of things she does each day, but she does this by taking a few moments at the end of each day to quickly scribble a couple bullet points into a little calendar.  And that’s it.  That’s all she needs.

And maybe that’s all you’ll need, too.

Resources & Inspiration:

Micro Journaling”, video by Todd Brison on YouTube

Micro-Journaling Needs To Be A Thing” the website of Jeremy Daly

Micro Journaling!”, video by Ariel Bissett on YouTube

Teen Update: Life Hacks and Everyday Crafts for Teens

Looking for something interesting and different to do? With over 7 million subscribers, 5-Minute Crafts TEENS is a treasure trove of ideas for a bored teen.

There are short videos with simple crafts that include easy drawing and painting tricks, sewing ideas, and creative art ideas using everyday items. You will also find entertaining and informative life hack videos. The videos include Photoshop ideas, Instagram help, microwave hacks for food lovers, one-minute breakfast ideas, beach day hacks, surviving wildlife and much more. You don’t want to miss “23 Everyday Hacks You Must Know”, it may just change your life. Check it out and have some fun!

Kids’ Update: Little Free Libraries


Are you running out of books to read? Hoping to find something new? Why don’t you try visiting a Little Free Library. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Bring a book — take a book! It’s that simple!

Chartered LFLs are quite easy to find.  Go to Little Free Library. There you will find a function/map through which you can locate LFLs by ZIP code or other criteria.  There are many in the West Chester area, and the United Way maintains one on each Born Learning Trail. 

Of course, there are also many unchartered LFLs, which you just have to luck upon. It’s like a Treasure Hunt!  Have fun and I hope you find some good books!