There are holidays and observations every day of the month – so many reasons to celebrate.
I’m not saying there should be cake every day, but I’m not saying there shouldn’t be cake every day, either.
MAY IS FOR GARDENING
Not only is it Gifts from the Garden Month AND Gardening for Wildlife Month, but there are gardening days throughout the whole month: May 1st is National Start Seeing Monarchs Day and Herb Day. May 3rd is National Garden Meditation Day. May 2-8 is National Wildflowers Week. May 8th is Iris Day, May 9th is Lilac Sunday, and May 13th is Tulip Day. May 19th is World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day. May 29th is Learn About Composting Day. May 30th is both National Water a Flower Day and the start of National African Violet Week. The library has lots of gardening books to delight, inspire, and educate you. Start by browsing in the 635 area of nonfiction, or call your neighborhood branch for assistance. If you just want to admire gardens, there are plenty of Virginia Gardens to visit. Some charge fees, so call ahead. Check out Richmond Grows Gardens if you are interested in community gardening. Or just visit a local Farmers Market to enjoy homegrown goodness without the labor.
National Foster Care Month
Learn more about foster parents from the Virginia Department of Social Services. Then check out the memoir American Daughter by Stephanie Thornton Plymale, founder of the nonprofit Heritage Home Foundation.
Older Americans Month
Take a look at the booklist Adult Children, Aging Parents for nonfiction books on the joys and heartbreak of caring for elderly parents. You can also find local resources through groups like AARP, Senior Connections, and the Virginia Department for the Aging.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Take a look at five booklists of fiction titles written by or about Asians or Asian-Americans:
Asian-American Stories: Contemporary Fiction: Dark or Dystopian
Asian-American Stories: Contemporary Fiction: Literary
Asian-American Stories: Contemporary Fiction: Rom-Com
Asian-American Stories: Mysteries and Historical Fiction
Read Around the World: Asia
National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 2-8
Check out A Furious Sky by Eric Jay Dolin – a history of America’s hurricanes, or Surviving a Hurricane by Jenny Mason – a children’s book of survival stories.
Mental Health Month
Good starting points for information and tools include: Mental Health America of Virginia, the National Alliance on Mental Health (Virginia), and the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. Don’t suffer alone.
National Bike Month
Check out Epic Bike Rides of the Americas – a Lonely Planet guidebook.
Learn to Ride a Bike Day
Check out Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur Ride a Bike – about a boy who learns to ride a bike with help from a dinosaur.
Check out Mayday 1971 by Lawrence Roberts – A vivid account of the largest act of civil disobedience in US history, in Richard Nixon’s Washington.
National Mother Goose Day
Check out Mother Goose of Pudding Lane, a children’s book about Elizabeth Foster Goose, the real Mother Goose.
National Homebrew Day
Check out Project Extreme Brewing by Todd Alstrom – an enthusiast’s guide with recipes and creative brewing philosophies. Or perhaps The Joy of Home Brewing Kombucha by Chad Turner, an eBook available through Hoopla.
Free Comic Book Day
See if any stores near you are participating with “Find a Shop“. Or look for your favorite comics in the library’s Hoopla database. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
National Play Outside Day
Check out Play Outside by Laurent Moreau, a picture book about two rambunctious children sent outside to play.
National Truffle Day
Check out The Truffle Underground by Ryan McMahon Jacobs – a nonfiction tale of mystery, mayhem, and manipulation in the shadowy market of the world’s most expensive fungus.
National Lemonade Day
Check out a pair of Hoopla eBooks by Jamison Wolf: Life and Lemonade and Love and Lemonade, both sweet ‘n tart LGBTQ+ romances.
World Laughter Day
Check out Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life and How Anyone Can Harness it. Even You by Jennifer Lynn Aaker.
National Lumpy Rug Day
If you want to make your own rugs (lumps or no lumps), check out a trio of eBooks: Rag Rugs by Juju Vail, Hooking Rugs by Lila Fretz, and Braiding Rugs by Nancy Bubel. If you prefer print books, check out Yarn Hooking by Carole Rennison – 14 fabulous projects for the modern rug.
National Two Different Colored Shoes Day
Check out the children’s picture book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin – Pete’s white “shoes” change color throughout the day! If you want to make your own mis-matched shoes, try decorating a pair of plain white sneakers. Instructables and Big DIY Ideas are just two of the many websites with instructions.
National Paranormal Day
Check out these nonfiction titles: Life With the Afterlife by Amy Bruni – truths learned about ghosts, or The Unidentified by Colin Dickey – mythical monsters, alien encounters, and (the) obsession with the unexplained. If you prefer fiction, try searching “paranormal fiction” in the library catalog, call your neighborhood branch for assistance, or ask The Bookologist for suggestions.
National Textiles day
Check out The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia Postrel – a nonfiction book about how textiles made the world.
National Weather Observers Day
Check out The Weather Machine by Andrew Blum – a journey inside the forecast.
World Asthma Day and National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month
Check out Breath Taking by Michael J. Stephen – nonfiction about the power, fragility, and future of our extraordinary lungs, or Breath by James Nestor – explores what went wrong with humans and breathing and how to fix it. Then find more information from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, check out the Asthma Awareness Toolkit from the CDC, and resources from the National Center for Healthy Housing.
National Cartoonists Day
Check out Fearless: a Cartoonist’s Guide to Life by Robb Armstrong – a biography of the nationally syndicated cartoonist; or Fights by Joel Christian Gill – a young adult graphic novel (print or eBook) about one young man learning to be an artist despite the violence and chaos in his life.
National Day of Reason
Check out Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason available in multiple eBook formats. Because a little light reading is always fun!
World Password Day
If you haven’t changed your computer passwords in, like, forever – today might be a good day to change them.
National Space Day
Try some of these nonfiction books about space: Operation Moonglow by Teasel Muir-Harmony – a political history of the Project Apollo; American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley – available as a book, eBook, eAudio, and as a young readers’ edition; and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – the true story of the “human computer” mathematicians (many of them African-American women) who calculated (by hand!) the numbers that launched the U.S. into space and available in various formats and age levels.
National Babysitter’s Day
Check out Best Babysitters Ever – a juvenile fiction book by Caroline Cala; or the nonfiction book The Babysitter’s Survival Guide by Jill Chasse – with fun games, cool crafts, safety tips, and more.
National Miniature Golf Day
Yes, there are still Putt-Putt and other miniature golf courses around, but The Hotel Greene in downtown Richmond offers highfalutin’ mini golf, along with adult beverages and comestibles.
National Windmill Day
Check out Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – the book behind the phrase tilting at windmills.
Check out The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew – a novel of Jamestown by Denise Heinze (print or eBook); or 1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy – a nonfiction interpretation of the significance of Jamestown by James P. Horn.
National Sleepover Day
Check out Sleepovers, a book of rural southern short stories by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips; or The Yawns are Coming by Christopher Eliopoulos, a picture book about best friends who plan to stay up all night. Then, check out a blog post about the science behind the “contagious yawning” phenomenon.
National Lost Sock Memorial Day
Check out Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? – a picture book by Sergio Ruzzier about a duck who has lost his socks.
Call your mother. That is all.
National Clean Up Your Room Day
Check out Clean My Space by Melissa Maker – just one of the many books on tips and secrets to better house cleaning and organizing.
National Etiquette Week, May 10-15
Check out Kill Reply All by Victoria Turk – which dips into the murky waters of online digital etiquette. If that’s all too, too much for you, try Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century by James Mallory – a scholarly eBook guide to etiquette in an earlier era.
National Eat What You Want Day
Check out What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You – a beautiful cut-paper collage juvenile picture eBook by Steve Jenkins. Or check out the library’s extensive collection of cookbooks – start browsing at 641.5 or call your neighborhood branch for assistance.
National Twilight Zone Day
Check out Twilight Zone by Nona Fernandez – a terrifying novel about Chile in 1984 under Pinochet. If you are looking for the television show hosted by Rod Serling, the library has seasons 1-5 (the complete run) available to stream online through Hoopla. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
Anniversary of the discovery of the Anglo-Saxon ship The Sutton Hoo
Check out The Dig by John Preston – a fictionalized account of the Sutton Hoo discovery. More factual information can be found on the National Trust website, or the website of the British Museum.
National Nightshift / Third Shift Workers Day
For those who work “non-traditional” shifts, check out an article from the Sleep Foundation: Coping Strategies for Shift Work Disorder, or a National Institutes of Health Q&A on shift work and sleep available through MedlinePlus – a trusted source for health information.
National Frog Jumping Day
Check out one of the eBook versions of Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, the inspiration for the day.
National Dance Like a Chicken Day
Check out The Sky is Falling by Mark Teague – a humorous version of the “Chicken Little” tale where a falling acorn sets off a chicken dance frenzy. Or maybe a YouTube video of dancing chickens is more your style. Okay, yeah, they are not chickens, they’re emus. But they are doing the tango!
International Day of Families
United Nations resolution A/RES/47/237 made the day official in 1993. Find out more information on the United Nations website. Your public library has lots of books (and more!) about all kinds of different families. Search the library catalog, call your neighborhood branch for assistance, or ask The Bookologist for suggestions.
Learn to Swim Day
Check out Otter: Let’s Go Swimming by Sam Garton – a children’s easy book about an Otter who wants to learn to swim but is afraid of the ocean.
This day is definitely NOT a vegan / vegetarian day, sorry! Not only is it Slider Day and National Barbecue Day, it is also American Cheese Month and National Hamburger Month. For some reason, burger aficionados have to wait until May 28th for National Hamburger Day, which kicks off summer grilling season. The library has plenty of books (and more!) to get you in the mood for grilling. Search the library catalog or call your neighborhood branch for assistance.
National Biographer’s Day
Marks the date that Samuel Johnson met his biographer, James Boswell. Check out an eBook version of The Life of Samuel Johnson. If you are just interested in the era, check out The Club by Leopold Damrosch, a book about Johnson, Boswell, and their friends.
National Pack Rat Day
Check out Clutter: an Untidy History by Jennifer Howard – a journalistic look at, well, our stuff. Or take a look at some curated RPL booklists:
Get it Together: Organizational Tips for the Wildly Successful Procrastinator
It’s Simple Really: Our Lives are Frittered Away by Detail … Simplify … Simplify
The Ignominy of Abundance, the Plight of Plenitude, or, First World Problems
International Museum Day
Many, many museums have “opened” their collections to virtual tours – a delight for armchair travelers. Search for your favorite museum, or check out Google Arts & Culture. If you want to stay closer to home, Richmond has a wealth of museums. Check out a list from RVA on the Cheap. Be sure to call ahead for hours, restrictions, and costs.
National Devil’s Food Cake Day
Who knew there were so many eBook fiction titles that include the words “devil’s food”. Try a title search in the library’s Hoopla database. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
World Bee Day
Celebrated on the birthday of Anton Jansa, a pioneering beekeeper. Check out The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum – an absolute beginners guide to keeping bees in your yard and garden. Or buzz on over to the Richmond Beekeepers Association Facebook page or the Virginia State Beekeepers Association website for more information.
National Waitstaff Day
Check out The Waiter & Waitress and Waitstaff Training Handbook, an eBook available in the library’s Hoopla database. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
National Endangered Species Day
Check out Beloved Beasts by Michelle Nijhuis – a vibrant history of the modern conservation movement and just one of the books the library owns. Search the library catalog or call your neighborhood branch for assistance.
International Being You Day
Check out You? by Vladimir Radunsky – a picture book about a lonely girl and a stray dog.
National Lucky Penny Day
Find out more about the history of the humble copper (well, mostly zinc now) coin from the U.S. Mint. Find a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.
World Turtle Day
Check out Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff – the true story of a lonely tortoise who found an unusual best friend. Or learn other ways to “shellebrate” the day at the official World Turtle Day site.
International Tiara Day
Check out Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – a novel about a introverted librarian who enters a beauty pageant for her identical twin sister. Then take a look at this brief history of royal tiaras from Vogue U.K.
Check out the DVD Three Identical Strangers – a true story about three strangers who discover at age 19 that they are separated-at-birth triplet brothers.
National Missing Children’s Day
Find out more information from the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Then check out the adult fiction booklist Among the Missing.
National Tap Dance Day
Celebrated on the birthday of Richmond’s own Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Check out Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, an eBook biography by Meghan Engsberg Cunningham; or, Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles Think of That – a picture book by Leo Dillon. You can also search YouTube to find film footage of varying quality, or find out more information about his life in this Britannica article.
National Brown-Bag it Day
Check out some books to give you ideas beyond the ubiquitous PB&J sammie: Best Lunchbox Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford, Beating the Lunchbox Blues by J. M. Hirsch, and The Organic Lunchbox by Marie Lawrence.
National Paper Airplane Day
Check out Paper Planes by Jim Helmore – a picture book about best friends who make and fly paper airplanes. If you want to make your own paper airplanes, check out Hoopla for eBooks, or take a look at Instructables for paper airplanes simple to sublime.
National Senior Health & Fitness Day
Check out Younger Next Year Exercise Program by Chris Crowley; the eBook Relax Into Yoga for Seniors by Kimberly Carson, or the DVD Arthritis Chair Exercises for Seniors by Susan Tuttle. You can also find local resources through the VCU Health and Wellness Center or Senior Connections.
World Otter Day
Check out Otters Love to Play by Jonathan London – a picture book about frolicking baby river otters. Find more information from the International Otter Survival Fund. And just for fun, check out In Otter News for news, memes, and otter stuff, and follow Steve the Otter on social media.
National Cellophane Tape Day
Known in the U.S. by the dominant brand — Scotch tape — read about the history of this amazing invention in an article from The Smithsonian or watch a video of adhesive tape being made in this article from Can-do National Tape.
National Road Trip Day
Check out Road Trip by Jim Paulsen – a children’s fiction book about a father and son going to save a homeless dog. Or check out one of the many many print or eBook travel guides – search the library catalog or call your neighborhood branch for assistance.
National Paperclip Day
Check out a trio of eBooks: The Paperclip Revolution by Beth Lee, People Not Paperclips by Kath Howard, and The Paperclip Test by Mario Gmur. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
International Jazz Day
Search “jazz music” in the library catalog to find books, CDs, music scores, and more. Or go straight to eContent through Hoopla. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
National Creativity Day
Search the library catalog for the subject you are looking for, or call your neighborhood branch for assistance. You can also learn how to make all kinds of things online – try Instructables for crowd-sourced content, or RPL’s premium database CreativeBug. You’ll need your RPL library card to set up an account and access content. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
All Richmond Public Library locations will be closed. Visit the library online 24/7.