The Great Library Bake Off 2021

Welcome to the Great Library Bake Off!

Calling all bakers, both novice and experienced, amateur and professional! From Monday, March 22nd through Monday, May 3rd, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in three cake baking adventures: a heart-pounding signature challenge, a chocolatey technical, and a deliciously book-ish showstopper. There are great prizes up for grabs at the end for everyone who bakes, whether yours are Great British Baking successes or Nailed It-style flops.

How It Works

All bakes must be submitted by the final deadline: May 2nd at 11:59PM.

The Details

You can participate in as many or few of the challenges as you like!

Once you complete a challenge, submit your name, the title of your bake, and your photos to: mengland [at] jmrl.org. Please submit two photos: one view of the whole item, and one of a slice, to show the inside texture. Photos must be submitted before the next challenge is issued to qualify for star baker.

If you miss the original 2 week window for a challenge, you can still submit your bake before the final deadline for an entry into the prize drawing. You won’t be on the voting sheet for star baker for that challenge, though.

Virtual post-bake discussions will be held at 6:30pm on April 5, April 19, May 3. Instructions for joining the discussion via Zoom or phone will be emailed to all registered participants, so make sure you sign up!

The Prizes

Every challenge you participate in gets you an entry into the final drawing for one of two $25 gift cards to The Happy Cook in Charlottesville. Two bakers who participate in all three challenges will be crowned the champions and receive a beautiful wooden spoon and spatula set engraved with “JMRL Bake Off 2021” on the handle at the end. That’s four possible prizes! All are welcome to participate, whether you live in our service area or not, but prizes must be picked up in person at one of our member libraries.

We can’t wait to see your creations. Happy baking!

JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest

Enter the 2021 JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest for Adults and you could win $200!

This year’s Poetry Contest winner will receive a $200 gift card and the runner-up won’t be going away empty-handed either, landing a $100 gift card for their entry.

Crozet Library Branch Manager Hayley Tompkins said the Poetry Contest is a great way to express your emotions, especially during this turbulent time.

“This will be our fifth year collaborating with WriterHouse on this Poetry Contest for adults, and I am always blown away by the talented poets in our area,” she said.

“Poetry is a very powerful and healing way to process all of the things the world throws at us.”

“We are looking forward to seeing what this year’s participants have in store!”

The due date for submissions is March 31 and finalists will be selected by Poet Laureate of Virginia, Luisa Igloria.

The JMRL and WriterHouse Poetry Contest for Adults is open to ages 18 and older, with one submission allowed per person.

Entries can be submitted online at https://jmrl.org/poetry-contest.php or via mail to WriterHouse 508 Dale Avenue Charlottesville, VA 22902.

For more information and a full list of contest guidelines, visit jmrl.org

How to Learn a Second Language

Welcome to 2021! You may be juggling half a dozen New Year’s Resolutions already, but may I add one more to your list? Start learning a new language. Here’s why. 

Why Learn a Language

There are so many reasons to pursue language learning. If you’re looking to sharpen intellectual skills, learning a language will help you improve your memory, as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills. If you’re seeking a new career or promotion, learning a second language is a highly desired skill. It will also get you ready for video conferencing calls with clients and colleagues who speak other languages. Learning another language now will prepare you for future travels, whether they be for business or for pleasure. Closer to home, it may surprise you, but the more you practice another language, the more words you will learn in your native tongue. 

Learning a new language will also take you beyond book smarts; studies show that learning a new language boosts your ability to empathize with others. This is because being exposed to other languages can enhance your ability to parse out another person’s intentions, take another person’s perspective, and patiently work through ambiguity. In addition, every language has abstract concepts and notions that are very difficult to translate into another language. This is because those hard-to-translate words or phrases hold deep cultural meaning. Learning those words and phrases gives us a peek into another culture — those peeks add up and help contribute to greater empathy.

How to Get Started

JMRL offers two language learning programs: Rocket Languages and Transparent Language. Each platform operates in a different style and has its own strengths. Check out this short video to help you choose which program to try first.

Learn More

In doing my deep-dive I learned a LOT about these two databases, and there are some nifty tips, tricks, and important caveats I wasn’t able to go over in this brief overview video. For example, what about each database’s ability to review the work you’ve completed? Which database has a better mobile experience? Which database is right for me if I want to learn English? What about KidSpeak, offered by Transparent Language? What about setting goals, earning points, leaderboards, forums, and the like? If you’d like any of those questions answered, or would like to learn more about a different aspect of either these databases, sign up for our upcoming zoom program. During the program, I’ll answer any questions you have, and offer more information that is tailored to your needs.

As always, we’d also love to answer your questions over email, text, or chat. If you’d like to connect that way, email the reference staff at reference@jmrl.org, text us at 434-236-8611, or chat us using this link: https://chat.mosio.com/par/chat/new_chat/AskJMRL