Toops the Hedgehog

This week’s pet story is brought to you by staff member, Dan Mekeel! He has a pet Hedgehog named Toops.

“Toops the hedgehog and I became pals about a year and a half ago.  A friend was moving and had too many pets for the move so I took Toops off her hands.  I’m not sure why he was named Toops but it fits him.

    He loves crickets and kitten chow (gotta have that high protein diet) and his favorite toys are his running wheel, his plastic cat, and toilet-paper tubes.  Yes, I said toilet-paper tubes.  

Toops tubing

He sticks his head into the tube and goes nuts.  He starts thrashing his head back-and-forth and throwing his bedding all over the place, running into walls, and then just rolling over.It almost seems like he can’t get out but then he pulls his head out and looks at you, almost as if to say, “what are you staring at?”.

   Toops is pretty friendly and will only get defensive (sticking out his quills and make a popping/snorting sound) until you pick him up. Picking him up sounds a lot easier than it actually is. The trick is scooping him up under the quills.  This mellows him out, but he does become curious and starts to sniff around everywhere and climb about.

   I never thought I would end up getting a hedgehog, let alone one named Toops.  It has been a pleasant experience so far (besides cleaning his wheel ) and I really enjoy his hedgehoggish ways.” –Dan

Any of our readers have any unconventional pets? Tell us all about them! You have a random chance to win a 25$ dollar gift card to Target if you do!

How do you enter?

Two ways!

  • Shoot us an email at with your pet pictures and stories. Email entrants please include your full real name and grade level.
  • Comment on this blog post below with your pictures and/or story. Commenters only leave your first name and grade level.

You have until September 30th to enter! Contest for Bolingbrook teens in grades 6 – 12.

Let’s see those pets!!

Best Library Resources to Get Caught Using on Your Smartphone

It’s back to school time! And your attention spans will inevitably wane.

While I am not encouraging cell phone use in schools, I realize it happens. Even though they should be in your lockers, I know they’re most likely not going to be. The temptation is hard. The struggle is real; I get it guys.

But your teachers will not.

Now here’s where I come in. What if you get caught using a library resource on your phone? Your teacher will be so impressed that they will not confiscate your phone this time. You get to keep your phone for the rest of the school day and look good to your teacher. Win-win! Woo!

Here’s some apps and websites that will make you look awesome to your teachers.


mangoMango Languages for Libraries

Want to learn German while you’re in Spanish or French class? Now you can! Out of all these resources, Mango has to be my favorite. “Mango is an online language learning system teaching practical conversation skills for a wide variety of popular languages, including English as a second language; Spanish; French; Chinese; and even Pirate!” It makes learning a new language not only easy, but also fun. You’ll be amazed and proud of yourself on how fast you start picking it up!


The books you have to read for class are boring? Hide your phone in your school book and read something else that you actually want to read!

The library has several apps for eBooks. To download any of these, in your device’s appstore search for any of the following apps:

overdrive Overdrive

3m cloud 3M Cloud

axis 360 Axis360

For help installing any of these visit the library website!



Lynda is super cool. If you want to learn something technology related, chances are, they’ll have a video on it to learn about it. “This online subscription library teaches the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts. Create an account, track your progress and print certificates of completion when you finish a course.”

Brainfuse Help Now!

Is your teacher boring and you’re not really learning what you want to learn about the subject from them? Try Brain Fuse! it’s “a full service resource that has live online tutors, writing labs, online group collaboration classrooms and much, much more. Resume writing help, Microsoft Office help, high school equivalency prep and U.S. Citizenship preparation are also offered as part of the service.”


Find your next great book to read! “Search for fiction books by author, title, series title, plot, or genre. Searches can be done by Lexile score or grade level. Based on a book or author, the system can suggest read-a-likes. Reviews on most titles are also available.”

For a full list of library resources and recommended websites visit the library’s online resources page.

For a list of databases related to homework help visit here instead.

*Quick note, I am in no way encouraging cell phone use during school! This was meant to be a humorous attempt at sharing resources the library has available!

Now get on your phones and learn, everyone!

Happy Birthday, Kairi!

Happy Birthday to my kitty, Kairi!

Today she is two years old! I’ve had her since she was four weeks old (I had to guesstimate her birthday by counting back four weeks). Like Tux, her origin story is unconventional.

Around Sept 10th at the boyfriend’s (Scott) house, his neighbor went up to the house and asked if we could take in a kitten. She found her outside sleeping in a dish left out for the stray cats to eat out of. She was only 3-4 weeks old so she was extremely tiny. There were hawks circling outside nearby and the neighbor was scared she would be hawk-food! Thankfully she was able to catch the teeny kitten and bring her to Scott’s house. 


She adapted to inside life right away!

When someone comes to your door asking if you could keep a kitten (when you already own a few cats), how can you possibly say no? You may be able to, but we weren’t!

We found out from the vet’s office that she had an upper respiratory infection so we had to keep her isolated from the other cats until she was well again. In the meantime, I spent all my free time with Kairi: making sure she had plenty of food, water, and attention. Kairi and I bonded instantly.

One of my favorite memories of her as a kitten was when we first got her, Attack on Titan (the anime) was still a new thing. Kairi slept in my lap the entire time while Scott and I marathoned the first eleven episodes that were out at the time. I was a bit freaked out by the titans but Kairi’s presence made things a lot less creepy!


She also enjoys watching Supernatural and 3DS games!

We weren’t the only ones to bond, however, Tux and Kairi had too! This was a complete and total surprise to all of us. We were actually worried about how he would react to her because when he was a stray, he would occasionally get into fights with the other feral cats outside (and he was the instigator more often than not! Thankfully he’s an indoor only cat now, so no need to worry.)

When we first brought her into the house, Tux was so excited that we really struggled to keep them separate at first. Thankfully once Kairi got a clean bill of health from our vet, they were free to snuggle and play together as much as they liked! Two years later, they’re still the best of buddies.


Any (true) pet stories or pictures you want to share with us? It can be about any kind of pet, not just cats! You have a random chance to win a 25$ dollar gift card to Target if you do!

How do you enter?

Two ways!

  • Shoot us an email at with your pet pictures and stories. Email entrants please include your full real name and grade level.
  • Comment on this blog post below with your pictures and/or story. Commentors only leave your first name and grade level.

You have until September 30th to enter! Contest for Bolingbrook teens in grades 6 – 12.

I can’t wait to see your stories and photos!


Codecademy: Learn Programming for Free on Your Own Time!

There’s this awesome (AND FREE!!) website I recently discovered that perhaps some of you might have heard of. It’s called Codecademy. All you need to sign up is an email address and you’re good to go!

The website is about exactly how it sounds: a place to learn how to code different programming languages. The ones they have available are: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP,  Python, and Ruby. They don’t have everything, but it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to dive into coding for the first time (like me!). So far I’ve started a little bit of Python and HTML & CSS.

What I like about Codecademy is their sense of humor. Since Python was actually named after Monty Python (if you don’t believe me, look it up yourself!), the course for Python has lots of silly Monty Python references in it. It makes learning to code a lot more enjoyable when you’re able to laugh while doing it.

You can also be silly with the instructions in whatever you’re coding. Here’s mine for example:

I've been futzing around with HTML and CSS, but feel free to play with any of the languages they have available! (Python is pretty awesome, I recommend starting with that!)

I’ve been futzing around with HTML and CSS, but feel free to play with any of the languages they have available! (Python is pretty awesome, I recommend starting with that!)

I was working on the HTML & CSS course in the above image and felt like using pet noises for my practice! You’re allowed to type in whatever you like as long as it’s within the bounds of the instructions.

I like that it teaches you one step at a time without being overwhelming. If you take a break, just sign off for a while and go back to it when you’re ready. There’s no reason to do it all at once (unless you decide you want to do that, that is! At the very least take food, sleep and definitely bathroom breaks)!

Worried about making a mistake as you’re coding? Don’t be! If you make a mistake, it’ll give you a hint on how to fix it. Codecademy is there to help you learn, and mistakes are part of that process!

Try making an account today, you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll pick it up.

The library also has lots of books on programming for those interested in book resources. Check one out!

We Want Your Pet Stories!

Lookit all these cats! All of five of these live the boyfriend’s house. Yes, that’s right, five cats in one home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Out of those five, three actually belong to the boyfriend and I.


From bottom to top: Coffee, Tux, Kairi, Dean, and Tiffie.

I guess you could say I ended up turning into one of those crazy cat ladies. I didn’t plan on starting out this way. Growing up, I actually had dogs! I didn’t wake up one day suddenly deciding to collect ALL THE CATS, it just kinda happened. It wasn’t until I met the boyfriend, Scott, and started spending time at his family’s place that I had cats around on a regular basis (His parents owned two cats). Within a few years, my cat count went up and tripled! I didn’t choose the cat lady life, it chose me.

It all started with how we were adopted by my cat Tux.

tux bowtie

No proper suit is complete without a bowtie! Bowties are cool.

One seemingly ordinary day, Scott was getting home from work and stepped out of his car. Before he could barely even take a step, he felt a sudden weight on his feet. He looked down with a start! There was a cat plopped down on top of his feet.

“Cat! Who are you? I’ve never seen you around here before.”

He reached down to gingerly pet the cat. He was very thin indicating that he was wandering the neighborhood for some time. The cat nuzzled into his hand and when he had his fill, he got up and walked away. Scott scratched his head as he watched the cat, wondering if he’ll ever see him again. Once he got in the house, he couldn’t wait to tell me all about what happened. We decided to name him Tux for his colors. He was black with a white stomach and white markings on his face; it looked like he was wearing a tuxedo. Not very original, but it oddly suits him (pun intended).

A few days later, Scott came out his bedroom and noticed something was different. There were three cats in the house instead of the usual two! It was Tux! In the house! We stood a moment and stared, confused. A smile slowly appeared on our faces, it looks like we obtained another cat in the household. He hasn’t left since; it’s now been over three happy years of being owned by multiple cats (Kairi and Tiffie stories to come at a later date!).

Now that I’ve shared my story, we want to hear from you!

Shoot us an email at with your pet (can be any type of pet, not just cats) pictures and stories for a random chance to win a gift card! Email entrants please include your full real name and grade level.  You have until September 30th to enter! Contest for Bolingbrook teens in grades 6 – 12.

You can also enter by replying in the comments below! (Remember online to not share your real name publicly! That is for email entrants only)

Now lets see those photos and stories!

Manga Review: Skip*Beat! By Yoshiki Nakamura

skip beat

Skip*Beat! By Yoshiki Nakamura

Genre: Shoujo (Romance) / Comedy

First Released: 2002

Number of vols: 35+

Brief Synopsis: When her childhood best friend, Sho Fuwa, tosses her aside like last week’s breakfast after becoming famous, Kyoko Mogami vows to enter show business and become even more popular and famous than him.

Where can I find it in the library?
This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.


Spoiler-free Commentary

I didn’t think anything could be cuter than Dengeki Daisy, but I was wrong (and I love me some Dengeki!).

Unlike a lot of shoujo manga leads, Kyoko is not driven by her desire to be loved by someone. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. She is driven by hatred and rage. She felt used by her childhood friend and will stop at nothing to get back at him. That’s what makes her so interesting! I love that about her. She’s so extremely determined that she puts her entire self into everything she does. Once she gets an idea in her head (getting revenge against Sho), she is going to give it her all and nothing can save you if you get in her way.

Nakamura doesn’t write flat main characters; the other characters are just as interesting as Kyoko, if not more so. Without spoiling anything, many of them are very multi-dimensional as you learn about them with every volume.

On Crunchyroll, there is also an anime version as well available to watch but I haven’t seen it yet. I enjoy the manga so much that I was worried it would ruin it for me somehow. Maybe once the series ends (which only Nakamura knows when that’ll be) I’ll give it a try. If you’ve seen it and think its worth watching, reply below in the comments!

However, If you’ve already read all of Skip Beat that’s out so far AND seen all of the anime, I also recommend reading Otomen by Aya Kanno! The series is complete and the library also owns all the volumes! Check it out today!