Choose Your Own Adventure | Opening Act(ivity)

Hi, my name is Lisa and I usually host the Opening Act(ivity) program at Northtown on Wednesday mornings.

Writing Exercise: Choose Your Own Adventure

When I sit down to write a story, I try one of the writing exercises my college professor suggested. You write the story as you go, but whenever your character has to make a decision, you write both sides. If your character does this, this will happen. If your character goes the other direction, this will happen.

It is an interesting way to explore your character’s motivation and can lead to interesting results.


Black Lives Matter

As an organization and as human beings, Spokane Public Library stands with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and all who are calling for immediate, collective action to end the systemic racism and inequity entrenched in our communities. 

While the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has set the stage for a “new normal,” the past months have been filled with all-too-familiar demonstrations of racism’s enduring harm and deep roots. Facing increased barriers to resources and health services, Black and other marginalized communities are losing their lives to COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate. During this same period, the U.S. has witnessed the brutal, racist murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.  

Systemic racism undermines our society and putting an end to it will require all citizens to work together — with the active support of dedicated community and government leaders. As highly trusted institutions and essential foundations of civic infrastructure, public libraries have a unique and vital role to play in advancing equity and addressing racial divides. 

In 2019, Spokane Public Library  showed our commitment to ending structural racism by signing the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity, which asserts that “libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership.” We will use this statement as a baseline for building progressive policies, activities, and collaborative relationships to advance equity.  

This is not a fleeting moment, or merely signing a statement. We’re committed to doing the work. We are dedicated to progress and tangible change. We stand against racism and violence toward the Black community. We commit to listening as we work toward becoming part of the change. As a starting point here is a list of books on racism available from the library. 


Black Lives Matter | A Reading List for Kids and Young Adults











Picture Books

Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis

Book | Audiobook


Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson

Book | Audiobook


IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi, Ashley Seil Smith



Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higgenbotham



The Other Side by Jacquline Woodson, E.B Lewis

Book | Audiobook


The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson



Something Happened in our Town 



Juvenile/Middle Grade

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

brothers, coming-of-age, white presenting, fencing



Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

road trip, green book, American South



Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

the Great Migration, poetry, Chicago, historical fiction

Book | Audiobook


From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Baking, letter writing, investigation, prison

Book | Audiobook | eBook


Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

internalized racism, eviction, new middle school

Book | eBook


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

historical racism, Emmett Till, unjust killing

Book | eBook


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Sisters, Black Panthers, summer camp, historical fiction

Book | eBook


The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

mystery, South Carolina, secrets, fortune

Book | Audiobook


The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

brother’s death, Harlem, Legos, grief, escape



Young Adult

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiley

Alternating viewpoints, police violence, racism



Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

short stories, black teens, personal identity and experience

Book | Audiobook


Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Social justice, MLK, media fallout

Book | eBook


How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

violence, privilege, community, multiple perspectives



I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

Police shooting, BLM, New York, Graphic Novel



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

community, justice, code switching, police killing

Book | eBook


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Revenge, gun violence, brothers, in verse



March: Book One by John Lewis

Biography, civil rights movement, graphic novel

Book | eBook


Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

disappearance, neglect, systematic racism, thriller

Book | eBook | Audiobook


Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

race, identity, privilege, art, Portland

Book | eBook


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi

racism, anti-racist future, narrative non-fiction



The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Oakland, race, gender, criminal justice system, non-fiction


Black Lives Matter | A Book List












We created this book list to help explain issues regarding race and equity, and to stand with the Black community and amplify their voices. Reading one, some, or all of these books is a step toward dismantling prejudice.

Black Lives Matter | A Book List

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Book | eBook | audiobook


White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo



So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo



The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

BookeBook | audiobook


Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World by Layla F Saad 



Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by  Ibram X. Kendi



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

BookeBook | audiobook


The Condemnation of Blackness By Khalil Gibran Muhammad



White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson 



We Are Not Yet Equal by Carol Anderson 



Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon 



Chokehold: Policing Black Men by Paul Butler 



Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva



How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi 



Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

BookeBook | audiobook 


The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Book | audiobook


The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter 



They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery 



When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele 



Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper 



An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz 



Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving  



Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum 


Download the New Library App

Access Spokane Public Library on-the-go! Find books, events, recommendations, and more with ease in our new app.

Download our app for Apple or Android today!

The app includes links to our digital library (such as eMagazines from RBdigital), updates on our construction projects, library locations and hours, library social media, and a link to Goodreads.

While temporarily unavailable, customers can easily book library meeting rooms from the app as well.




Vintage Finds

Check out the full presentation here.

Where to find your treasure:

  • Antique Shops – If you don’t have a lot of experience, start here. The prices may be higher than other stores, but they often have lots to dig through.
  • Antique Malls – They are usually a large building with LOTS of different vendors who sell their wares. You can have the cashier call the vendor and offer a lower price.
  • Estate Sales – You may find some great bargains here IF the family is running the sale. IF an estate sale company is running the sale, you can try to bargain with them, but don’t count on it.
  • Garage and Yard Sales – Stop and look around. Be courteous but be willing to bargain. Most people just want to get rid of their stuff.
  • Thrift Stores – They have become the “popular” place to go so don’t expect them to bargain with you. The best you can do is to shop the tag sales.
  • Curbside and Dumpster Diving – Don’t count this out! Wear your gloves. I’ve found some great bargains and I’ve gotten rid of some on my curb. Be sure to put a “FREE” sign on it.

Local vintage and antique shops:



  • Paris Flea Market: 1815 N 4th St, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
  • Rebel Junk Shop: 2424 N 4th St, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814



  • Antiques 101: a crash course in everything antique (book)
  • Antique & collectible buttons: identification & values volume 2 (book)
  • A price guide to antique tools (book)
  • Treasures: antique to modern collecting (periodical)
  • Kovels‘ antiques & collectibles price guide


  • Heart of Junk by Luke Geddes
  • Antiques Fire Sale by Barbara Allan
  • The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

Recycle Art | Opening Act(ivity)

Hi, my name is Lisa. On Wednesday mornings, I usually host the Opening Act(ivity) at the Northtown Branch.

Recycle Art Project: How to make a Faux Gum Wrapper Chain (if you don’t chew gum)

If you are like me, your time at home has been filled with art projects and leftover paper supplies. Recycle your paper supplies and magazines to make this chain. Since I am a quilter, I’m going to attempt using fabric scraps for this project. Here is a wonderful website that has great instructions on how to make a gum wrapper chain.


Mental Health Awareness Month | Book List

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Here is a list of books that deal with mental illness by addressing things like depression, anxiety and OCD, and more.  








Juvenile/Middle Grade

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look | anxiety, first grade, funny, being afraid 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds | PTSD, running, teams 

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson OCD, mystery, neighborhoods  

Guts by Raina Telgemeier | anxiety, friendships, school, graphic novel

Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty OCD, genius, comfort zone, middle school  

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller | parental depression, science project, hope  

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand feeling blue, separation, reality and fantasy  

Stanley Will be Fine by Sally J. Pla | anxiety, scavenger hunt, friendships comics trivia  

Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington | parents with mental health issues, small town, summertime, secrets, angst  

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff anxiety, friendship, grief, community

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin | parents schizophrenia, family farm, friendships, summertime 









Young Adult

All the Right Places by Jennifer Niven | depression, escape, heart wrenching, witty  

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman | schizophrenia, recovery, delusions, mutiny  

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | anxiety, online communities, webcomics, introvert 

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman | social anxiety, artist, toxic relationships 

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin depression, gender fluid, punk, new kid 

Turtles all the Way Down by John Green | OCD, mystery, friendship, resilience 

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge | anxiety, creatives, mountain towns, graphic novel 



Teen Link helpline for teens by teens 866.833.6546 

Frontier Behavioral Healthlocal behavioral health clinic  509.838.4651 

Regional Crisis Line: 1.877.266.1818   

National Alliance of Mental Illness 

Teens and Young Adults 


National Suicide Hotline 1.800.273.8255 (TALK)    


If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to Youth Services Librarian Katie at


Rainbows | Opening Act(ivity)







Hi, my name is Lisa. On Wednesday mornings, I host the Opening Act(ivity) Program at the Northtown location.

Today’s activity involves rainbows. Can you name all the colors of the rainbow?

Next, I would like you to write down all of things that are the same color in a rainbow.

For example:

Red- strawberries.

Orange- traffic cone.

Continue writing items for each color.

Have a competition to see who gets the most items, the funniest, the largest, the smallest, the strangest.


Art Break | Writing Letters & Postcards

art-breakHey all, it’s Eva with another “Art Break.” We are collaborating with Spark Central to present a program called “Stay Home and Correspond.”

I’ve always written letters and postcards, and while working from home I’m taking more time for this than ever before. Social distancing inspired me to send my friends more letters. The best part is that people write back!

Check out the video I made to learn techniques and tips and tricks.

Who to write to:
The list is endless! You can even write to someone in your own home. Here are some ideas:

  • Friends & relativesscreenshot2
  • People you admire – look up how to write to someone you admire on the internet and send them a letter (if you need help you can ask the library)
  • A business you like – send a letter to a place you miss going to. For example, write to an ice cream shop or café you like (or the library or Spark Central).
  • A pen-pal – if you would like a pen-pal, please contact Spark Central by email or leave a voicemail including your name and address at 509-279-0299.

What should you write about?
Anything! The person who gets your letter or postcard will be thrilled to get mail regardless. Here are some ideas:

  • Tell them what you see out your window
  • What you did over the weekend
  • What you miss doing and who you miss seeing during quarantine
  • What you’re looking forward to
  • Ask them questions, e.g. what’s the best meal you’ve eaten lately? And other questions.

Remember, you can add extra touches to your letter with different color pens or pencils, drawings and collage, or stickers and washi tape.

Enjoy and ciao for now! 😊

Simple Self-Care | Library @ Home

Librarian Clara shares some tips for simple self-care in this presentation.

Read some of the tips below and even more ideas for parents and families in the link above.

“While the suggestions I’ve given here are not for everyone, SELF-CARE IS FOR EVERYONE.

• Create your own list and don’t forget to do them.

• Take a deep breath.

• Call a friend. Yes, call them, don’t text.

• Keep your mind open and look for those 5-minute increments where you can focus on the thing you are grateful for.”

Continuous Line Drawings | Opening Act(ivity)


Hi, my name is Lisa. I usually host the Opening Act(ivity) program at the Northtown Branch on Wednesday mornings.

For today’s activity, you will need paper and something to draw with. Continuous Line Drawing is when you use a single unbroken line to draw an image or images.

If you would like to see more examples, search for Continuous Line Drawings or watch this instruction video from YouTube.

This is a great drawing technique that develops hand-eye coordination and observation skills.