How Libraries Continue to Serve During the Pandemic

COVID-19 disrupted just about every aspect of life in America…and libraries were not immune. Officially, they’re book repositories, but public libraries also operate as community centers, technology access points, continuing education centers, after-school hangouts, and unofficial social services agencies. When the pandemic forced libraries across the country to shut down, their doors may have locked but their work never stopped. From finding creative new ways to continue regular services (e.g., curbside book pickup, e-library card sign-ups, virtual storytime) to offering pandemic-specific services, libraries have stepped up in a big way. The Bas Bleu community is full of library lovers (and February is Library Lovers Month), so we thought we’d share just a handful of examples of how libraries continue to serve during the pandemic. Continue reading

7 Black Librarians You Should Know

metal letters spelling "library" affixed to stone building

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it packs quite the one-two punch! Not only is it Black History Month, it’s also Library Lovers Month…and the perfect opportunity for Bas Bleu to celebrate the accomplishments of Black trailblazers in American library history. We can’t begin to profile all of the men and women who deserve a spot on this list, but allow us to introduce you to seven Black librarians you should know. Continue reading

Winter Self-Care Kit

After the sparkle and warmth of the holiday season—even in a year when celebrations were subdued—the winter cold, bare trees, and slumbering earth feel particularly dull and dark. Factor in the additional stress of COVID fatigue, prolonged social restrictions, and continuing political unrest, and you have a surefire recipe for the January bleus. Time and patience hopefully will resolve many (though not all) of the present challenges; until then, we’re cherishing the small pleasures we can incorporate into our daily lives. With that in mind, the Bas Bleu editors assembled this winter self-care kit, a collection of products we hope will deliver a dash of comfort and joy. Continue reading

2021 Winter Reading List

photo of wooden bench shaped like an open book, in a snowy landscape; header image for Bas Bleu's 2021 Winter Reading List blog post

At long last, 2020 is over, and we step into a new year filled with hope. Many aspects of life still remain uncertain, but Bas Bleu is thrilled to offer something you can count on: New books! Our Winter 2021 edition lands in mailboxes this week, filled to the brim with fresh reads, cozy gifts, beautiful note cards, and plenty of new puzzles to keep you busy through winter’s cold days and long nights. Y’all loved our seasonal reading collections in 2020, so we’re continuing them in the new year, with three winter sets for you to choose from: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Mysteries. In the meantime, we’ve assembled a 2021 winter reading list, highlighting a dozen new (to Bas Bleu) titles to whet your appetite. Continue reading

Christmas and New Year’s Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

Christmas and New Year’s Poems: 12 Verses for the Season blog header

Christmas is drawing nearer; if we listen very closely, we can hear the bells jingling on Santa’s sleigh! Like other celebrations and holidays this year, Christmas will be a quieter occasion for many, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the spirit of the season. From twinkling lights and pretty packages to delicious baked goods and cups of cheer to time with family and friends (albeit masked and socially distanced!) to reflection back on this singular year…we hope you’re able to make some happy memories this Christmas. To add a literary dash to your holiday season, Bas Bleu’s editors have collected twelve of our favorite Christmas and New Year’s poems. (To read each poem in full, click on the title or image.) Continue reading

An Interview with Artist Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes

Two years ago, the “Peace is Always Beautiful” Art Block debuted in the Bas Bleu catalog. We were charmed by the whimsical illustration, the thoughtful quotation, and the wonderfully bookish detail of a canvas backed with book pages. Our readers liked the art block as much as we did, and since then Bas Bleu has partnered with artist Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes on a half-dozen lovely little keepsakes (and an inspired collection of greeting cards set to debut in our Winter 2021 edition next month). Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Michelle took a break from her studio to talk to us about the pros and cons of working with salvaged materials, the shift in focus created by the pandemic, and how she first “met” Bas Bleu. Continue reading

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season looks a little different this year: Many of us are curtailing our usual travel plans and reducing the size of our annual family gatherings. Holiday fêtes and office Christmas parties are on hold until next December. And wading into a crush of holiday shoppers in a big-box store is…not very appealing. If you’re wary of venturing out into stores or need to send your holiday gifts via mail this year, Bas Bleu is your one-stop shop for everyone on your gift list. Just check out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide! Continue reading

Advent Calendars: Count Down to Christmas!

2020 is simultaneously racing and crawling by, which helps explain why we’re already making plans for Christmas while snacking on leftover Halloween candy. But there’s no need to put up the Christmas tree just yet (though we do recommend getting a jump on holiday shopping this year). It is time, however, to order your 2020 Advent calendars from Bas Bleu! Continue reading

7 Creepy, Spooky Houses from Classic Literature

The Halloween season is upon us, and though your usual festivities may be curtailed this year, Bas Bleu readers know there are plenty of haunted houses to explore in the pages of a good book. (Though somehow, faced with COVID-19 and all the other scares 2020 has thrown at us, these seven creepy, spooky houses from classic literature feel like an escape from our fears?) Whether you’re thrilled by creaking doors and things that go bump in the night or you’re in the habit of running past that weird old house on the corner, you’ll want to read about these eerie edifices with the lights on. Continue reading