Snow on the hills, rain on the eaves. 

Over the years, I have lived in both sun-drenched environs and places cold and damp. On days when the skies were bright, sunny, and laced with clouds, being outside at the beach with a dog-eared paperback or swinging beneath a shade tree in a hammock with a freshly-loaded Kindle was a wonder and a joy.

But in the wintertime, when the sun would dodge behind the clouds, when the leaves were off the trees, and wind picked up and began to howl, that’s when comfy chairs beckoned and warm sweaters, tea pots and clicking heaters ruled.

Libraries can be a social place, a place of gathering and sharing stories, songs, and events. But they can also be a place where folks can gather up materials to take home with them when they need to take shelter from the storm. There was a time, when I lived up in Washington next to the wild and damp Puget Sound, when I knew that wintertime meant adapting to a whole different array of activities and pastimes. Summertime was for gardening, yardwork, and home repair. Summer meant trips to the ocean, or outdoor festivals in Seattle, or just taking in the vistas in lightweight clothing, sandals, and shorts. But come the fall, folks would start to gather, not only the fruits of their labors, but also woolens, hats, and heavy coats, board games, craft supplies, kitchen implements, and books. With winter on the way, that meant that all those movie titles and pieces of music set aside and not listened to in earnest in warmer times could be brought out and indulged in, guilt-free. When the rains would come down, seemingly for months, one could get away with lazy afternoons on the couch, comforter at hand, naps with a book in hand never too far away.

Libraries are always a destination, come rain or shine, but it is great to know that come wintertime you have an active and willing accomplice–an institution that is prepared and ready to help you hunker down and engage in sloth with a good book, movie, or the like. But one of the things I have discovered living here in Southern Oregon is that the winters have been, on the most part, mild, and that my favorite guilty pastimes of soggy western Washington have not really been close at hand. I find that I want to get out more: take walks, go shopping, be on the phone, visit people, engage with the world in ways that I couldn’t in winters elsewhere. Being inside, hunkered down, just doesn’t seem right.

Washington had its heavy wet snow, Colorado its screaming cold blizzards. Northern California was foggy and damp, Idaho never quite as snowy as it needed to be. But here on most winter days, I feel a bit sheepish being inside in the middle of the afternoon with a book. It doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t, but I think that it is a better thing, a better use of time, to grab a map or activate the GPS than sit and warm myself by the heater vent, fresh read in hand.

So that is where the various print and downloadable collections of the library come in, because no matter if you are a couch-bound individual for the afternoon on a sun-dappled day or serious grooving on exploring local trails on a snowy afternoon, the library has the goods you need to enjoy yourself and make the most out of our Southern Oregon winters. If you are not too sure where to start in your quest for reading materials, click on “Explore” on our dropdown menu. From there you can you can access our catalog, join a book group, check out new titlesask for reading adviceperuse our digital content, and more. If books are not your bag, we have magazines to curl up with, online programming you can enjoy, movies and music to stream, and books to download. We even have a Library of Things, where you can check out tangible goods and learn how to use them.

Wintertime is fun time here in the Rogue Valley. When the wind begins to roar outside your door, take advantage of the great books and services that Jackson County Library Services has to offer. We are here to provide you all the tools you need to help make that comfy couch or your wintertime stroll be the best you’ve ever experienced.

Here are some book titles to help inspire you to get out and about this winter!