2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

The 2020 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced earlier this week, remotely, of course, in recognition of achievements in journalism, letters, drama, and music. 


Those who have been keeping track of winners from years past just may recognize a name or two. Author Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer for fiction for his novel Nickel Boys about a Jim Crow-era reform school in Florida. Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was granted a posthumous award for her trailblazing reporting on lynching in America. Other works being honored include the story of an African-American woman who was born into slavery, legally freed, then later abducted and sold back into slavery before suing her abductor for damages; a biography of writer Susan Sontag; a collection of poetry by Jericho Brown; and an exploration of cancer care in America. Explore the full list of winners here.

Ready to dive in? JMRL has curated a list of winners and finalists from years past on Overdrive. Titles are available as ebooks or downloadable audiobooks so you can listen to or read an award-winning title while the library remains closed.

Booklist: Optimism Month

Did you know March was actually National Optimism Month? March is over, but we could all still use some optimism. It’s tough to keep your spirits up right now, but it’s important to try! Here are some titles, fiction and nonfiction, to help you do what you need to stay optimistic, whether it’s escapism, making some meaningful change in your actions or thoughts, or just being plain silly. For help downloading, visit JMRL’s eLibrary or ask a Librarian for help. Don’t have a library card? Sign up online for a temporary card for instant access to ebooks, audiobooks, databases, and more.

Sometimes all it takes to cheer up is some good news, or some pictures. Take a look at Upworthy, or how about some cute animals? Not being able to go out can get claustrophobic. Get a little of the great outdoors with the National Park Service.

Music can change the whole tone of your day. Try out something to help you Work from Home, or just Have a Great Day.


Celebrate Citizen Science Day

If social distancing has you craving the feeling of community–and spending more time at home has you longing for a change of scenery–consider becoming a citizen scientist. Today, April 16, is Citizen Science Day, and there is no better time to connect with others and look at the world around you in a different light. No degree or background in science? No problem! All you need is a curious mind. 

File:201705 Scientist bench F.svg

Although all JMRL branches are currently closed until further notice and therefore unable to host programs in-person, there are tons of great online resources available to help you find a project that you are passionate about while still practicing social distancing. But first, what exactly is citizen science? As the name suggests, citizen science is a collaboration between scientists and the public. Ordinary people contribute to scientific research by studying the world around them, collecting information, and sharing their data with scientists. This crowdsourcing model allows researchers to collect and analyze data on a global scale and solve real-world problems.

Citizen science projects are as varied as the fields of scientific study. From ecology and astronomy to genetics and medicine, there is a citizen science project for every interest. Most projects require only a mobile phone or internet access, so anyone can participate from just about anywhere in the world. Track migratory birds, observe climate trends, or accelerate medical research without leaving your backyard – perfect if you are practicing social distancing! 

Ready to begin? Below is a list of resources to find a project or even create your own.

  • SciStarter: Online community with over 3,000 projects searchable by location, topic, and age level
  • CitSci.org: Provides tools for the entire research process including: creating new projects, managing project members, building custom data sheets, analyzing collected data sheets, analyzing collected data, and gathering participant feedback
  • iNaturalist: Nature app that helps you identify plants and animals
  • Citizenscience.gov: Citizen science projects created by government agencies