Rocky Library

Rock Island High School, Rock Island, IL

A data-driven apology

February 2nd, 2016 by Mrs. Curtiss in Uncategorized · No Comments

emptyWell, this is embarrassing. After having looked at some Reading Rocks meeting statistics, a disturbing anomaly emerged.  Admittedly, the library’s math skills are not optimal, but it looks like there have been a total of 292 Reading Rocks attendees so far this year, and figuring that we’ve had 24 doughnuts per meeting, having had a total of 11 meetings, that makes 264 total delicious Southpark Bakery Doughnuts.  The library humbly apologizes to the 28 book club faithful that came to a meeting expecting nourishment along with scintillating bookish conversation only to be met with a box full of only air and disappointment.  You are the heroes of book club, our champions, our idols, your sacrifice will not be in vain! We vow, from this day forward, to work tirelessly to provide at least one doughnut for each and every Reading Rock that attends a meeting for the rest of this school year!  See you Thursday, you brave, brave READING ROCKS!

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I’ll give you…a very late post

January 15th, 2016 by Mrs. Curtiss in Uncategorized · No Comments

One of my favorite things about book club is…ALUMNI VISITS FROM OREGON!  One of our original rocks, now a highly successful Reed College student, came to our meeting.  We are humbled, awed and humbled by our Chance encounter.  And we’re really glad he was not harmed by the aggressive hugging.



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Since our last meeting there have been several events related to reading and rocks that have unfortunately gone unrecorded.  But here’s a really awesome blog you should read!


The books read by the rocks have increased by THREE, The MartianTwo Boys Kissing, and I’ll Give You the Sun have all been read by many, if not all, of the resident Rocks.  Many dozens of doughnuts have been consumed, and a few bananas this week because our favorite doughnut joint went on VACATION. The nerve.  But maybe we will appreciate the deliciousness of Leo’s Southpark Bakery even more when we return to our regularly scheduled two dozen assorteds on January 21st.

Our three books in a nutshell:

A NASA botanist struggles to survive on a hostile planet with the help of duct tape and his own amazing nerd power.

Two boys attempt to break the Guinness record for longest kiss while a transgender boy starts a romance and another guy accidentally comes out to his surprised parents and meets a potential love interest online and tries to decide if he wants to live and a host of witnesses (spirits of gay men that have moved on) narrates the action.

Twins at 13, 14, and 16 years old tell the story of their artistic and love lives before and after their mother dies in a tragic accident and before and after they are accepted or not into a prestigious art high school.


So…our next book is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, he of the marvelous Monstrumologist “intellectual horror” series.




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The end of September and the beginning of the rest of your reading life

September 29th, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in Authors · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

The Reading Rocks wrap up a fabulous first quarter having read and hashed and rehashed another Rainbow Rowell masterpiece, this time the triumphant chronicle of a young woman’s quest to conquer her freshman college fears of twin separation, roommate weirdness and worry about her bipolar single dad, while penning the best fanfiction ever.  No small feat, but Cath accomplishes it with aplomb and, surprise surprise, somehow acquires a rancher boyfriend with a reading disability in the process.  Needless to say, but we went ahead and said it anyway, Fangirl resonated deeply with most of the Rocks, even the few of them that don’t write fan fiction!

Speaking of writing, September was enhanced dramatically by the wonderful Simone Elkeles, who was gracious enough to join the Reading Rocks for a pizza lunch before wowing us with an awesome presentation in the auditorium.  Ms. Elkeles talked to the Rocks about publishing their work and generally was just very kind and open and encouraging!

If you’ve read this far, you may be interested to know that the Reading Rocks now have a facebook page (managed by a facebook challenged library aide) and a GOFUNDME site!

Here is the link to the Reading Rock’s Go Fund Me site!  Tell all your friends!  Especially your friends with disposable income who want to support the  high school book club!

Also, Emily wants to tell you this:

Unshelved comic strip for 9/25/2015

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Two Martians kissing or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the library.

September 2nd, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in Authors · Books · General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · 1 Comment

Well, since our last conversation, constant reader, there have been two colossal Reading Rocks meetings.  The first, on August 13th, was HUGE!  Emily counted 42 students!  We voted on what to read next and chose another Rainbow Rowell masterpiece, Fangirl!  Unfortunately we are having a difficult time getting enough copies for everyone, so when you finish it, return it for the next Rock, ok?  This is known in the library biz as circulation.  But you already knew that…

In other news…the Rocks have voted on the next two titles to read!  The Martian by Andy Weir, soon to be a major motion picture, and might I just say thank you so much to the Reading Rocks for choosing a book that your sponsor has not only already read, but is a colossal fan of and have been telling people for two years to please read it because it is amazing.

Two Boys Kissing, which I have not read, but feel very confident about due to its author, the reliable and gifted David Levithan, and many many recomendations from you, the student body.

Also brought up during the two meetings:

Student representatives!  A hardy few signed up to help plan fun activities and be the face of the Reading Rocks to RIHS, thank you!

Author Visit!  Simone Elkeles will be HERE AT ROCKY on September 16th, and the Reading Rocks will be joining her for a pizza lunch in the library!  If you haven’t signed up yet, see one of your friendly library staff to get on the list!

T-shirt design!  We have a design, next we have to figure out the logistics of having it printed…

BOOKS TO READ!  Recomendations from our magnificent YA liason as well as YOU, the Rocks…

Beyond the Body Farm by Dr. Bill Bass, sounds gross and forensic, my favorite!

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, of course!

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley, a graphic with no flying and no tights, just mushrooms, a witch pot, and a little dose of magic.

See you next week in the library, because if you read, you are a READING ROCK!

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August 31st, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · 1 Comment











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2015-16: a new year at the RIHS Library!

August 10th, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

WELCOME BACK READERS AND WELCOME NEW FRESHMAN READERS!  The RIHS Library is open for business and looking forward to a great year!  The library is in the process of recieving a Chrome Base computer lab to replace the old iMacs that are dying slow yet painless deaths. Our fervent hope is that the new lab will be a hive of print-free creativity and that you (and your teachers) will embrace the print-free nature of the print-free sharing options in the print-free Chromeverse.

In other more library-ish news…

The READING ROCKS BOOK CLUB will have the first meeting of the year on Thursday, August 13th.  The goal of this meeting is to stare at each other in awkward silence as we ponder the unfathomable mystery of high school.

But seriously…we will have an agenda including nominations and votings on which books to read as a group this year and hopefully we’ll have enough time to reflect on what fabulous books you read over the summer.   My recommendation is that we concentrate on the Abe Lincoln High School Book Award nominees, but hey, you’re the boss.  Emily Tobin of the Rock Island Public Library will regale us with her stories of YA summer reading and probably recommend some totally marvelous books, as usual!

A special thank you to all the freshmen that stopped at the Reading Rocks table at Rally at the Rock, the library will thrive on your reading energy!  Also big thanks to our veteran rocks, Thi, Asya and Summer that helped with prep and at the table.

Come to the meeting!  Comment on this post!  Or any post!  Please!  We need proof that you’re out there!


In conclusion:  Print-free, unfathomable, book club, Rally at the rock,  engrossed, comment.  Thank you.

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The road to Portland is paved with READING ROCKS!

June 9th, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

The Rocks gathered for our final meeting last Friday in the library.  Well, maybe “meeting” is the wrong word…pizza, cake, presents…yeah, it was a party!

library 12-14 018This is the yummy cake we got from Southpark Bakery!  The decorator put all the books we read this year on it, tiny little books!  Plus our lame catchphrase!

Here is the only agenda of the entire year that was actually followed!


June 5th, 2015

  • WELCOME! Have a drink, what do you want on your pizza?
  • Read aloud from the book of Hope
  • Top five Rocks!   Shelby, Asrielle, Kat, Destiny, and Eboni!
  • Shelby! Every meeting for 2 years!
  • Anything Emily wants to say!
  • Goodbye to Chance, with no crying
  • Watch a movie and eat stuff
  • See you next year! (except Chance, no crying)

library 12-14 017Shelby, Kat, and Chance were all there!

Here’s the results of the end of year survey that most of the Rocks filled out:


ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell wins with 5 votes!

Unwind by Neal Shusterman and Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe  by Benjamin Sáenz tied for second with 3 votes each, then Cinder by Marissa Meyer and The Princess Bride by William Goldman each got one vote.  Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea and The Shining  did not get any votes, but I really liked both of them, so there.


Everything: being with people who have common interests: it’s about books:  books are amazing:  donuts and conversations: getting to know other people and making new friends: I didn’t attend many, but the few that I did were quite fun.  So many nice, like minded readers to exchange ideas with.: Talking about good books with friends: Getting to know people: getting to make new friends: you make new friends: The best thing about Reading Rocks is the way that everyone had a chance to comment on books.: Donut holes and debatable discussions.:  I love getting together with friends and talking either up or crap about books.  Not to mention the awesome doughnuts!!:  The sheer chaos that occurred.:

WORST THING ABOUT READING ROCKS MEETINGS:  Nothing: people get off topic and stop talking about books: when we couldn’t get everyone’s attention: they’re so early: Conflict with Key club meetings: the meetings were only every other week:  IDK: When people talked over each other.: Out of control sometimes.: Probably because it’s not every week…:  Trying to stop said chaos

WHAT WE SHOULD DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT YEAR: More book choices: nothing it’s awesome the way it is now: recruit more members : fundraisers: Let people talk in a more orderly way.:  Nuthin’:  NOTHING…except bring Chance back!

T-SHIRTS; Black with gold writing, maybe with a ROCK with googlie eyes reading a book on the front, a quote on the back

BOOK SUGGESTIONS FOR NEXT YEAR (OR SUMMER READING!):  The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Epic Fail by Clare LaZebnik, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher,  The 100 by Kass Morgan, Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday, Gone by Michael Grant, Evermore by Allison Noel,  anything by Neil Gaiman or Ray Bradbury, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell,  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, the Bluford High series, Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, Welcome to Nightvale by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor (x2), funny and loving books, John Green: Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck, the Ex-Heroes series by Peter Clines, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, Please don’t tell my parents I’m a supervillain by Richard Roberts, Nice Dragons Finish Last by  Rachel Aaron.

Here’s a bunch more pictures from the party!  (If you see one of yourself that you don’t want on the site, let me know in the comments section and I will take it down.)

library 12-14 020 Sam and Daysha get free books!library 12-14 016Shelby, Kat and Chance again, still awesome

library 12-14 022Ashley, Eboni, Shelby, and Kat hangin’ out in the library.

library 12-14 023 Iesha and you know the rest… library 12-14 024The effervescent Emily Tobin talks books with Daysha.

library 12-14 026Girls in the darkness.

library 12-14 025Daysha loving life in the library!

library 12-14 027Ashley, a founding Rock, with Shelby, our loyal book lover!

Rho Sung off the soccer field!

library 12-14 028Beautiful, peace.

library 12-14 031Emma looking pretty during the movie.

library 12-14 033 Anthony looking awesome during the movie.

library 12-14 035 Julia showing some love.

library 12-14 038Julia and Eboni losing patience with the photographer.

library 12-14 037 Gabe with the poetic genius Hope!

library 12-14 036Thi, happy and wonderful! library 12-14 040The fabulous library, with Rocks in it. library 12-14 042Nicole, looking away, and Julia. library 12-14 047Anthony sandwich!

library 12-14 046 Jessica, she was here all day!

library 12-14 045 Alexis in the dark during “The Maze Runner”

library 12-14 050 READING ROCKS!library 12-14 048

library 12-14 051 Denae and the artist known as Emma

library 12-14 053Fabulous Asrielle, Nicole, Anthony, Emma, Julia and Eboni

library 12-14 052 More art!

library 12-14 058 library 12-14 055

library 12-14 056 library 12-14 057The seniors!


library 12-14 060Kat is so photogenic!

library 12-14 059 Shelby and Chance have the same shirt!

library 12-14 029 The Rocks in the dark!

library 12-14 021Eboni is always smiling!

library 12-14 014Myranda and Summer, with their loot! library 12-14 013Yep, that’s Emma


library 12-14 011The process…

library 12-14 010She got up later, not too damaged to travel… library 12-14 009 Myranda, Summer, and library feet!library 12-14 008 Summer is smiling!

library 12-14 007Dakota, Myranda, and Asrielle library 12-14 004Nicole not smiling!

library 12-14 006 Sam on the phone!

library 12-14 005Asrielle and Dakota’s back!

library 12-14 001Emma and Denae making it a party!

Emily handed out reading logs for “Every Hero Has a Story,” RIPL’s summer reading program, plus brought some comic book loot for the Rocks to take home!  I like to think of Emily as the bridge between Rocky’s library and her public library home, also between the Reading Rocks and the aging library staff here at Rocky.  She is the wacky fabulous glue holding us together.

Speaking of Tacoma, which is north and west of here, our fondest farewell to Chance, who is the whole reason for the title of this post, one of the founding Reading Rocks, and the best friend the library has ever had.  He is a mensch and will be missed here at Rocky and especially in the library.

Reading Rocks will start up again in August!  Be prepared and bring your little freshman siblings and/or friends!









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Your five year old self is calling…

May 11th, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

Last Thursday the Reading Rocks had a somewhat raucous meeting as we discussed the plausibility of having an imaginary friend that is actually an older iteration of yourself…the super lame question asked by the adult facilitator was, “What would you say to your 5 year old self?”  The Rocks are a tactful group, though, and deigned to answer thoughtfully with such gems as, “I would tell her not to listen to bullies!”  and “There is so much!  I wouldn’t know where to start!” and (from someone who did not read the book) “Sounds like the kid has multiple personality disorder!”  and probably more that the facilitator didn’t hear due to the cacaphonous sitting on the table (!) nature of book club meetings.  Not everybody read the book, but that’s cool, those that did had some great insights and it was amazing to hear that I was not the only one who took FOREVER to figure out the whole “REDRUM” thing.  Most Rocks thought that, given a different set of circumstances, Jack could have prevailed against the Overlook, but he did his best with what he had available, and after all he did avoid murdering his wife and son, by a pretty slim margin, but still. (oo, sorry, should have said “spoiler alert“) Hopefully the Rocks that have read The Shining will seek out Mr. King’s update on Danny in the book Doctor Sleep which is awesome and fascinating and scary and full of fabulous unpredictable characters, not unlike almost everything the King writes.

Other things that happened at book club:

Emily came and told us about some graphic books!

Bad Machinery by John Allison

and Daredevil comics, but I can’t remember which author or illustrator she recommended…she did say the new Netflix version is worth watching, though, and I would concur, although I’ve only seen the first three episodes and am admittedly not a Marvel expert or purist.

Books recommended by Chance:

only one this week!  Infected by Scott Sigler.

Our last meeting of this school year will be on May 21st, where we will be discussing the book Cinder by Marissa Meyer and deciding how to celebrate the end of the Reading Rocks year!  Suggestions so far…watch “The Breakfast Club” and eat food in the library!  So really we just have to settle on a date that works for Shelby.  And Chance.  And Daysha.  And Anthony.  And the rest of you.  You know who you are…

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The Reading Rocks Shine on…

April 23rd, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in Uncategorized · No Comments

Today the Reading Rocks didn’t talk much about our current title, The Shining by Stephen King. Our next meeting will be more book-centric, but today we talked a bit about the shine itself.  No one said that it was a concept exclusive to fiction, which is troubling and yet paradoxically and at the same time quite a relief.  We had some discussion of the age of the book’s protagonist, the precocious 5 year old Danny Torrance, and how that might relate to his ability to see truly terrifying things in bathtubs and believe and be guided by an imaginary (?) friend.  It seems to be a widely believed phenomena that younger chilren have a better connection to the supernatural or spiritual world, and some of the Reading Rocks were generous with examples from their own childhoods of things that they experienced as kids that faded as they got older.  Of course there was the “cat freaking you out and making you think there are ghosts and rapists and murderers in you house” phenomena that is one more excellent reason to NOT have cats in your house, right behind the whole litter box thing, which arguably is grosser than a rotting lady in your bathtub.


Here’s the link to the Eleanor and Park playlist from Emily!

Emily Tobin, our rock, our foundation, our super cool YA librarian, recommended two books,

Gabi, a girl in pieces, and The Universe versus Alex Woods, both books we have here in the Rocky library!

Book recommendations from the Rocks!

Ready Player One, by Alex Cline, and did somebody say there’s a movie, too?

Ex-Heroes, a series by Peter Clines

Please don’t tell my parents I’m a super-villian by Richard Roberts

This is what happy looks like by Jennifer Smith

and finally A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Schlitz.

Come to the next meeting on May 7th, it’ll be a hoot!

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Newsletter from Emily!

April 6th, 2015 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · No Comments

Click this link to see the public library teen events for April!




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