Books to Fuel Renewal

Douglas County Libraries is celebrating the spirit of renewal throughout September. Check out these books for ways to fuel your personal renewal, sustainability, and intentional living.

Recycled Chic

by Amanda McKittrick
Take a creative plunge and explore the possibilities for refashioning your wardrobe with these unique, yet simple projects.

Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy

by Deborah K. Heisz
This book offers an eye-opening shift of perspective on the secret of authentic happiness and how surprisingly simple, everyday acts lead to lifelong joy and fulfillment. Organized around the key components of a happy life, from gratitude to attitude and play to purpose, Live Happy brings together illuminating real-life happiness stories, eye-opening examinations on the science of happiness, and simple and inspiring everyday “happy acts” to empower readers to achieve big happiness breakthroughs.

Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, & Eliminate Negative Thinking

by Barrie Davenport
Feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts? Struggling with anxiety about daily tasks? Worried about life? The truth is, we all experience the occasional negative thought. But if you always feel overwhelmed, then you need to closely examine how these thoughts are negatively impacting your lifestyle. The mindfulness techniques in this book can help provide the clarity that leads to happiness.

Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body

by Kate Hudson
A beautiful, insightful and personal look at health from the inside out. , an authentic plan for an authentic life from a woman who truly lives what she speaksAn ancient Chinese proverb says that if you want to change your life, you must move things in your home.

The Mindful Home: The Secrets to Making Your Home a Place of Harmony, Beauty, Wisdom & True Happiness

by Craig Hassed
Home is where the qualities that we equate with “good” itself live: true happiness, peace, beauty, wisdom and inspiration. It is also where you can find the good things in life, such as harmony, relationships, health and wealth. So how are we to find our core and create a home that reminds us of the qualities associated with it? That is where the practice of mindfulness comes in.

Fundamentals of Sustainable Living

If you take your own reusable grocery bag to the supermarket or buy green products, you’re already engaging in sustainable living practices. Stream this video (it’s not a book) to learn about other steps you could be taking to make an impact and save money.

The Beeswax Workshop

by Chris Dalziel

Making all kinds of amazing, all-natural stuff out of beeswax is easy and fun. Packed with over 100 step-by-step recipes, Beeswax Workshop shows you how to make beautiful gifts, household cleaners, beauty supplies, and so much more.

The Good Living Guide to Beekeeping

by Dede Cummings
In recent years, there has been a surge of folks struck with the desire to build and nurture beehives of their own. This book is for beginners and experts alike, with all the basic information you need to get started, as well as stories and tips that will inspire and instruct the most seasoned beekeeper.

Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes for Big Impact

by Rosaly Byrd
This introduction to sustainability and sustainable living explores the relationship between everyday life and the intricate global environmental issues of today, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and climate change.

Relax & Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times

by Judith Lasater
Experience the rest of your life with restorative yoga, the supported poses, and breathing practices that will help you heal the effects of chronic stress.


Renew! With Douglas County Libraries


Looking for ways to relax, learn a new craft, find a new hobby, or renew your lifestyle? Check out Douglas County Libraries (DCL) in September. We’re hosting a variety of events at our locations around the district that focus on renewal, sustainability and living intentionally. Learn more or register today!

Castle Pines

Feel Good, Look Good, for Life With Author Angela Gaffney
Friday, September 8
Registration is required

After surviving a personal health crisis that nearly took her life, author Angela Gaffney is sharing her life-changing strategies for thriving and living your best life, with tips from her book Feel Good, Look Good, for Life.

Over the Mountain & Through the Woods
Saturday, September 9
Registration is required

Thinking of exploring Colorado’s trails or climbing a 14er? Get important tips from experienced hikers.

Learn Embroidery
Saturday, September 23
All ages
Registration is required

Looking for a new hobby? Learn the art of embroidery and gain the skills to make your own design.

Castle Rock – Philip S. Miller

Sustaining You & Your Community
Saturday, September 23
No registration required

Experience adult Hula Hoop, Zumba, guided meditation, yoga and tai chi, and hear about water conservation from special guests, followed by a Q&A session.

Friday, September 29
Registration is required

Learn techniques for de-stressing, and make your own relaxation products like bath bombs and sugar scrubs.

Lone Tree

Growing Garlic
Saturday, September 23
Registration is required

Learn about planting and harvesting this beneficial plant (it’s easy!) and take one home for your own garden.


Active Minds Presents: Coffee, a History
Monday, September 18
Registration is required

Relax, and indulge in tasting and learning about coffee with Active Minds.

Composting With Worms
Saturday, September 23
Ages 6 & up
Registration is required

Kids can learn the ins and outs of composting with worms.

Healthy Snacks
Saturday, September 30
Registration is required

Families can learn together about healthy snacking and assemble healthy snacks for everyone in the family.


Restore Through Mindfulness
Sunday, September 17
Registration is required

Learn to use mindfulness and meditation to be more present, aware, responsive and calm, presented by Gregory Weeks, a seasoned meditation teacher and graduate of the contemplative psychology program at Naropa University in Boulder.

Costumes in Your Closet
Sunday, September 24
All ages
Registration is required

Learn to make cool costumes from clothing and thrifty items you already own — just in time for Halloween!

Active Minds Presents: Spices
Monday, September 25
Registration is required

Add spice to your life as Active Minds traces the rise of spices from colonialism and the spice trade to the varieties we love at grocery stores today.

Reuse Your T-Shirts
Saturday, September 30
All ages
Registration is required

Upcycle those old tees to make scarves, pet toys, bags, rugs and more!

The Most Loved & Hated Required Reading in Douglas County

Classic BooksIn the spirit of Back to School, we asked our Facebook fans for their most loved and most reviled required reads. The loves were far more diverse with 69 different titles compared to only 63 titles on the loathed list. Often someone’s favorite was another person’s least favorite; 22 titles appeared on both the loved and loathed lists. In fact, all of the books in the top-fives listed below appeared on both lists. The sign of great literature is how many emotions a book evokes. As Edmund Wilson once said, “No two persons ever read the same book.”


Here are Douglas County’s favorites:

These are Douglas County’s least favorite:

To see the full list of Douglas County’s favorites, go here.

To see the full list of Douglas County’s least favorites, go here.


What do you think? Is your most loved and most hated book from your school days listed above? Tell us yours in the comments.

New Ideas for Your Kids’ Lunch Bag

Looking for some new ideas for your child’s lunch box? Here’s a great list of cookbooks to check out to step up your lunch game. They include a wide variety of options, from inventive sandwiches to cute bento boxes. Here’s a delicious sandwich and easy mason jar salad to use this week:


Saucisson & Cornichon from The Little Book of Lunch 

  • 2 slices of multigrain bread
  • soft butter
  • 2-inch pieces of saucisson (dried salami)
  • 1 tbsp of cornichons

Butter bread slices. Slice cornichons and place on one slice of bread. Place saucisson slices on other side. Wrap in foil.




Barley & Kale Salad from Mason Jar Salads

  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 3 tablespoons White Wine Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup quartered cucumber
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 1 quart-size Mason jar

Pour water into a saucepan over high heat, add pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the barley, reduce the temperature, and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until the water has evaporated. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Pour vinaigrette into the Mason jar. Add layers of diced onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, 1 cup of the cooked barley, and red bell pepper. Fill the rest of the jar with kale. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.

White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until thickened.

Learning Resources & Support at DCL

Douglas County kids are heading back to school for another year of learning! Whether you have children just starting kindergarten, moving into middle school, or heading to high school, Douglas County Libraries has a variety of tools and resources to help all students grow and excel academically.

Learning-Centered Tools & Services

  • DCL’s Bark for Books and Reading Buddies programs help budding and struggling readers gain confidence and skills.
  • Live online tutoring from expert tutors and homework help are available for free through Brainfuse, which also offers writing and language labs, test preparation, and a 24/7 question center.
  • Find the right books to match your child’s reading level and foster growth through AR BookFinder and Scholastic’s BookWizard.
  • Tech tutoring can help with technology subjects like basic internet use, tablets, popular software basics, and more.

Research Resources

Students can access a variety of information online from respected newspapers, magazines, journals and educational materials through popular research resources like:

  • Brainfuse – Homework help and tutoring for students of all ages and learning levels.
  • World Almanac for Kids – Grade-appropriate content on a variety of topics.
  • Facts on File – A research portal for a variety of history resources.
  • CultureGrams – Cultural and geographical information.
  • EBSCO – A collection of database resources with access to comprehensive information.
  • American History Online – More than 500 years of American history.
  • Brittanica – Targeted search levels for children and adults.
  • And many more!

Other Resources

  • Private study rooms can be reserved with your library card at our Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker and Roxborough locations.
  • The Recording Studio at our Parker location includes state-of-the-art software and equipment you can use to create videos, musical compositions, animations, and much more for top-notch classroom projects. Reserve the Recording Studio using your library card.
  • The Douglas County History Research Center is a great resource for researching local historical information and events. Visit the DCHRC in person at our Castle Rock location or online.
  • Teens 14 and older can volunteer at DCL to earn community service credit toward graduation requirements. Check out and search on Douglas County Libraries to find the volunteer opportunity that’s right for you!

Looking for more? Stop by and ask us! We’ll help you find the materials and resources you need.



Harry Potter-Inspired Party Ideas

Harry Potter fans are celebrating the fictional wizard’s birthday this week. Looking to throw your own Potter-themed party? We’ve got some fun ideas for you!


Party Invitations

via One Creative Mommy

These decorative, letter-style invites are brilliant, as Harry would say!

A few things you’ll need: white balloons, black marker or Sharpie, white ribbon, aged cardstock paper.

Party Favors & Decor

Harry Potter Ties

via East Coast Mommy

These adorable ties can be made from cardstock, and they can double as a party activity if you provide the supplies for kids to color and personalize their ties.

Here’s what you’ll need: paper cardstock, crayons, hole punch, elastic.

Treat Bags

via The Preppy Planner

These creative treat bags make great party favors to send home with each guest. You can fill them with whatever treats you can conjure.

Materials needed include: lunch-sized paper bags, scissors, gold ribbon, wizard treats (candy), pretzel rods.

Potion Jar Centerpieces


These magical centerpieces are a delightful, if not disgusting, feast for your party guests’ eyes!

Here’s what you’ll need: glass jars in different sizes, labels for jars, food coloring, water, a variety of odd-looking substances to serve as “magical” ingredients.

Ghosts & Dementors

via Over the Big Moon

What would a Harry Potter party be without a few terrifying dementors? Hang these throughout your party space for horrifying, but fun, effect!

Materials needed include: cheesecloth, fabric stiffener, balloons, string, invisible nylon thread.

Treats & Snacks

Cheese & Pretzel Broomsticks

via One Little Project

These cute, simple snacks will be a big hit with your young party witches and wizards!

Ingredients: cheese sticks, pretzel sticks, chives.

Butter Beer


This Harry Potter staple is a must-have for any themed party! And it’s simple to make.

Ingredients: vanilla ice cream, cream soda.

Golden Snitches

via Bite-Sized Biggies

Fun, simple, delicious — a party trifecta! Everyone will want to get their hands on these golden snitches.

Ingredients and materials needed: wrapped chocolate truffles, glue dots, paper wings.

Houses of Hogwarts Reading Guide

Harry Potter fans, you don’t need a sorting hat to find a great read at Douglas County Libraries. We’ve done the sorting for you! The only question is, which Hogwarts house do you prefer?

Gryffindor House

The most famous Gryffindor, of course, is Harry Potter. These books are for those who can’t get enough of the bravery, daring and nerve of characters like Harry.

Ravenclaw House

Intelligence, knowledge and wit are the admirable values of Ravenclaw. If those sound good to you, then you’ll love these books. Fun fact: Ignatia Wildsmith, inventor of magical fireplace-travel floo powder, is one of this house’s most famous residents.

Hufflepuff House

Hufflepuff values hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fairness — themes you’ll find in these stories. Newt Scamander, the famed Magizoologist and author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, belongs to Hufflepuff house.

Slytherin House

If you can relate to the Slytherin house values, which include ambition, cunning and resourcefulness, then these are the books for you! Tom Riddle, aka “He Who Must Not Be Named” (later known as Lord Voldemort), is the sinister face of Slytherin. (But we all know how that ended.)


Lovin’ Summer Bucket List

It’s summer in Colorado — and there’s simply no better place to be (in my humble, but biased opinion)! The sun is shining and the days are warm and long. That means the time is ripe to squeeze out every ounce of pleasure the season has to offer.

Make this summer one to remember! Do something you’ve always wanted to do, something outside your comfort zone, something that takes you out of your day-to-day life … something silly! Now’s the time, because summer won’t last forever.


Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List

  1. Dine al fresco, sip a cup of joe on a patio, or indulge in some soft-serve yogurt. As a card-carrying library user, you can do so at a discount!
  2. Make your own ice cream treats.
  3. Give the stove and oven a break for the summer, and fire up the grill instead.
  4. Have a picnic or go hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping or fishing (there’s so much to do!) at one of Colorado’s great state parks. Bonus: You can score a free State Parks pass from the library through Check Out Colorado!
  5. Host a patio party — at your place or ours.
  6. Take that road trip you’ve been thinking about. Here are some ideas for inspiration.
  7. Indulge your passion by reading a romantic novel or two.
  8. Better still, sign up for the Summer Reading Program and dive into some binge-worthy series to hit your reading goal.
  9. Create the soundtrack for an awesome summer using Freegal or Hoopla — all you need is your library card.
  10. Record your own summer smash or music video purely for fun (and maybe a few laughs) at our Parker location’s Recording Studio.
  11. Explore all of the museums and attractions in our Adventure Pass — for free, using just your library card!
  12. Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and feed a giraffe, at a discount! You might just get to see baby Rae.
  13. Come to the library and meet a bestselling author! C.J. Box (The Highway trilogy) visits Highlands Ranch on Wednesday, July 26, and Peter Heller (The Dog Stars, The Painter) stops by Parker on Friday, August 18.
  14. Do some stargazing on a warm summer night — you can check out binoculars for the occasion!
  15. Grow an herb garden. Here, some resources to dig into.
  16. Experience a real western rodeo in person. And you’re in luck, because the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo rides into town August 3-6 in Castle Rock. Giddyup!

Celebrate 4th of July in Douglas County!

Summer has officially arrived, and that means 4th of July is right around the corner. You don’t have to venture very far to take in a local parade or celebration. Here are some events happening around Douglas County — make plans now to join the celebration!

Saturday, July 1

Castle Rock Band Fourth of July Concert
Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, Philip S. Miller – Bandstand
100 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock

Wear your red, white and blue and get a jump on your Independence Day festivities at this outdoor concert. Enjoy patriotic, Americana-themed music performed by the Castle Rock Band. Chairs are provided; no registration required.

Tuesday, July 4

Castle Rock Fireworks Show

Fireworks will go off from the top of the Santa Fe Quarry butte above Red Hawk Golf Course (south of The Meadows on the west side of town). The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 15 minutes, and it can be seen from virtually anywhere in Castle Rock.

Lone Tree Independence Day Celebration
Sweetwater Park, Lone Tree
$5 wristbands for Lone Tree and Acres Green residents, while supplies last (sales benefit Hearts Across the Miles)
Wristband pickup info

Enjoy an evening of family fun, including a bike parade starting at 4 p.m., BMX kids’ skills course and high-flying stunt show, music from Funk Knuf and Pg.6ix Band, and fireworks starting at 9:15 p.m. Food trucks and beverage booths will also be on hand.

Highlands Ranch July 4th Parade
Town Center North (starts at Kaiser Permanente building, 9285 Hepburn St., corner of Lucent Blvd. & Highlands Ranch Pkwy.)

Dress up the kids, even dress up the pets, and show your patriotic spirit! Enjoy a Family Bike and Pet Parade at 8:45 a.m. and the Community Parade starting at 9 a.m. along the streets of Highlands Ranch. The Family Bike and Pet Parade is free and open to families with kids ages 2-grade 6, no registration required. A parent must accompany children in the parade.

Highlands Ranch July 4th Celebration
Highland Heritage Regional Park, Highlands Ranch
Free to attend, with minimal charges for some activities, food & drink

The celebration includes balloon twisters, face painters, games and inflatables, live music, a hot dog eating contest, and fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. Food and drink vendors will be on hand, and shuttle parking will be available to and from the event from Highlands Ranch High School and Rock Canyon High School.

Parker Stars & Stripes Celebration
Salisbury Park, Parker

The Independence Day party includes many kid-friendly attractions, such as free bounce houses, slides, games and inflatables, as well as fun for older kids and adults, like a big slide, trampoline jump, and climbing wall. Face painting and a tot train will be available for a small fee. Live music will be part of the evening’s entertainment, and food and drink vendors will be on hand.



Road Trippin’

Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “Life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.” Or was that Rascal Flatts in Cars? Either way, I’m sure Hemingway would have also embraced that most American tradition of exploration and discovery: the road trip.

From the Oregon Trail to SpaceX, Americans have a storied history of packing their bags, loading their vehicles with snacks, grabbing a friend, and hitting the road. Why not join this tradition and embark on your own road trip this summer?

Ideas to Get You Started

  1. Re-create a road trip from your favorite book. Do you have a Harley and 17 days to spare? Why not do the Minnesota-to-California ride from Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Got a VW van and a friend who loves baseball? Why not drive from Iowa City to Boston to re-create W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe (later turned into the movie Field of Dreams)?
  2. Make a playlist. No road trip is complete without a soundtrack accompanying it. Look up artists from the towns you are driving through to add some local flavor to the drive. The best part is that you can download music for free with your library card on Freegal, which makes finding songs for your trip a cinch!
  3. Pack snacks. Your vehicle won’t be the only thing that needs fuel. Ideally, you want snacks that don’t need refrigeration (sorry, chocolate!), aren’t overly messy, and that you can eat while keeping at least one hand on the wheel. The best snacks are the ones you make at home and pack in a zip-close bag. Think “puppy chow” and homemade trail mix. For some ideas, check out some of our food magazines and download one now through Zinio.
  4. Bring a friend, visit a friend. Road tripping with a friend is a great chance to bond, and having somebody to talk to can power you through the longer legs of a trip. But you can also find driving motivation by planning stops along the way at friends’ homes. Not only do you get to catch up with old buddies, you usually get to sleep somewhere more comfortable than your car.
  5. Listen to an audiobook. Conversation with your travel buddy run dry? Did you have a fight at hour 34 of the trip and aren’t speaking to each other? Does your travel buddy have one of the same books on his or her reading list that you do? Are you traveling alone? All perfect reasons to fire up that 11-hour audiobook to help get you to that baseball field in a cornfield that’s four states away.
Pass the trail mix, and let’s hit the road.