Tam Lin

British folk-rock group Fairport Convention’s version of the traditional Scottish ballad “Tam Lin”—included on their 1969 album Liege & Lief—is, lyrically, a feminist affirmation, limning a world over which men still think they have control but seem obtusely and, at times, almost comically unaware of who wields the real power: women. This scarcely makes the Fairport Convention version of the ballad unique—most versions of "Tam Lin" have this proto-gynarchic torque to them; but the melodies of the various versions of the ballad can differ widely. I myself am partial to Fairport Convention’s arrangement and melody; moreover, Sandy Denny’s voice, transcendent as usual, truly soars throughout the seven minutes and thirteen seconds of FC’s take on the ballad and she manages to breathe a separate life into each of the characters, be they female or male.

The ballad takes its title from the name of its main male character, which is in a way part of its subtly subversive irony. …

Knitting With Help: Books, Groups, Web

If you are thinking of learning to knit, improving your knitting ‘chops’, or taking up knitting after a longish break, then check out all these resources – books, magazines, DVD’s, knitting groups, and the web.

Let’s start with the Mercer County Library System:

Knitting Groups at the Library
On our library programs site, you can find four regularly meeting knitting groups (and sometimes with crocheting):

Yarnworks (Ewing Branch – every Wednesday at 7:00 PM)
Presented by Lee Pellegrino. Join fellow knitters and crocheters and tackle a new project or work on one you’ve already started.

Knitting Group (Hopewell Branch – every Wednesday at 7:00 PM)
Bring your current needle-craft project and join us for an hour of knitting (or crocheting...or needle-craft of your choice!) No registration necessary. CONTACT:  Hopewell Programs 609-737-2610 or

Knitting Circle (Lawrence Branch – every Wednesday at 7:00 PM)
Knitters who already know the basics are invited to drop in to socialize…

Get to Know Mercer County Government

Since you are reading this, you probably already know that Mercer County Library System is a terrific community resource.  But we are not the only county government department that provides a great deal of services and information for residents and visitors to the Capital County.  Like the library, some departments maintain their own websites and social media accounts, while others have pages on the county’s main website.  Almost all of these websites have had recent updates to get a fresh look and add more content about the programs that are offered, so let’s take a look at Mercer County on the web.  Keep in mind that you can also find information about the programs and services on the county’s social media pages, just look for Mercer County, New Jersey or the specific department, as many have their own accounts.

In this month’s post, we will take a look at the main county website and cover the other county websites in April’s post.  The county’s website can be found at www.mercerco…

The Amelia Bloomer List: A Selection of the Best Feminist Literature for Young Readers

You may have heard of the Caldecott, Newbery or Coretta Scott King awards for children’s literature, but you may not have heard of the Amelia Bloomer Project. Named after women’s rights advocate Amelia Bloomer, the Amelia Bloomer List is created every year by a committee of professional librarians who select the best feminist literature for young readers ages 0-18.
Being a Committee Member
In January 2019, the committee (made up of ten librarians) met at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle to discuss, debate, and ultimately select which books (published within the last eighteen months) would make the list. As a committee member I can tell you that this experience is both exhilarating and exhausting. Throughout the year leading up to the Midwinter Meeting, committee members must read and nominate potential titles. This past year, we had a total nomination of 100 titles with 68 titles making it onto the official 2019 list.
How Do We Choose?
There are severa…

Oodles of Noodles

When it was my time to write a blog post, I went online to see what celebrations are designated for the month of March. The list was quite long, with a number of unexpected and even what some might consider funny, topics. Three of the more amusing ones were National Celery Month, National Umbrella Month and National Noodles Month. After agonizing for about a minute, I decided to recognize National Noodles Month; celery is too pedestrian and although umbrellas might be a fascinating topic, I assumed that there would not be much material available in the library on them, or they would all be checked out. (Yes, that was a lame joke.)

Noodles have been around for a very long time, most cultures have them and most people have eaten them at one time or another. Noodles exist in just about every cuisine from the most exotic Asian dish to your Italian grandma’s favorite pasta recipes. Noodles come in a very wide range of shapes, sizes, lengths, textures, colors and ingredients. A few examples…

Hounds in Need of Homes

The day after Election Day last year, my daughter texted me about a major upheaval. Not a politician who was elected, but a ballot measure which passed overwhelmingly in Florida: Greyhound racing there will stop by the end of 2020. Florida currently has close to two-thirds of the active Greyhound tracks in the nation. Thousands of former racing dogs will need homes in the next two years. All the hounds who were in the breeding process for these tracks will also be out of work and looking for retirement homes.

Why did she send this to me? First, because we have adopted five retired racing Greyhounds since 1997, with the last one crossing the Rainbow Bridge in 2017. Second, even though we had said we weren’t ready for another hound, she knows I am the weakest link in our family - the one who sees a headline like this and will rush to adopt. She wants another hound, and now so do I!

The only problem is that since our last greyhound passed away, we’ve adopted another dog. Stella is a Bicho…

Top 10 Albums of 2018

2018 was another great year for music. I discovered new artists who I really enjoy, and some of my favorites released new albums. Below is a list of my personal top 10 albums of 2018, in no particular order. All of these titles are available from our library system, so if you see something that catches your eye, be sure to place a hold on it!

1. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves [Country Pop]
Kacey’s fourth studio album is the first of hers that I’ve listened to. Kacey first appeared on my radar when she opened for Katy Perry’s Prismatic Tour. Since she was labeled as “country,” I never really thought I’d like her - but I’m glad I gave Golden Hour a chance. This native Texan is fresh off a well-deserved “Album of the Year” win at the Grammy Awards. The music, not unlike the album title, gives me the feeling of lying out in a grassy field on a warm summer evening. The album opens with “Slow Burn,” a nod to Kacey’s love for all things steady and smoldering. She has said that she prefers a …