At the Beloit Public Library with Jeni Schomber

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I am definitely a minimalist sort of person. I don't really have any dusty tchotchkes sitting on shelves at home, most of my clothes fit into one closet and I love the look of clean lines and surfaces. Visual, electronic and mental clutter just make me crazy. About three years ago, I spent some time sorting through and purging storage bins, closets, drawers and computer files. Basically, if something didn't serve a purpose, or if it didn't make me smile, it was gone. Blurry pictures from grade school? In the trash. Pants that no longer fit? Donated. Kitchen utensils that I didn't use anymore? Bye-bye. Fortunately for my husband, he fit neatly into the purposeful and make-me-smile categories.

There is, however, at least one area of my life where more is way better than less: books and reading. I can't get enough of either of them. At the moment, I have several stacks of books scattered around the house, just waiting for me. Fiction, non-fiction, adult and children's; I've got all the bases covered.

And books are the reason why I am so excited about the change coming to your Beloit Public Library in January. The Arrowhead Library System (ALS) is joining the SHARE Consortium, a resource-sharing partnership with the Lakeshore Library System and the Kenosha County Federated System. What does this mean for you and me? It means we now have access to over 2.15 million items, an increase of more than 1.4 million items currently available from ALS alone. It also means you can use your library card at 28 different libraries in south-eastern Wisconsin (just make sure your contact information is current!). More items, more libraries; both serve a purpose and both make me smile.

For more information on the transition to the new SHARE system, visit http://als.lib.wi.us/share.html, visit the library, and like us on Facebook. In the meantime, be sure to check out these books coming soon to your Beloit Public Library.

"Drop the Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less" by Tiffany Dufu. An inspiring memoir from a renowned voice in the women's leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go. (Book Description)

"Year of No Clutter: A Memoir" by Eve O. Schaub. Eve has a problem with clutter. Too much stuff and too easily acquired, it confronts her in every corner and on every surface in her house. When she pledges to tackle the worst offender, her horror of a "Hell Room," she anticipates finally being able to throw away all of the unnecessary things she can't bring herself to part with. (Book Description)

"Smile" by Roddy Doyle. Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razorsharp dialogue, the humor, the superb evocation of adolescence, but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page, you will have been challenged to reevaluate everything you think you remember so clearly. (Book Description)

- Jeni Schomber is the Youth Services Director at Beloit Public Library.

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