Posts

Adventures in Outdoor Programming

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In the beginning of March, we had an early taste of spring with some beautiful weather and I was R.E.A.D.Y. to get outside and start doing some in-person programs! The virtual programs on GoToMeeting and YouTube have been a nice alternative when in-person programming was not an option and the library system will continue to offer them, but I really missed seeing the kids at my branch! The main reason I love my job as a youth services librarian so much is because of those kids. Seeing more and more families returning to the library over the past several weeks for outdoor programs has been a breath of fresh air (pun intended). There is nothing quite like reading a book or singing a song and seeing the kids’ faces light up. However, during my first outdoor story time, I was a big ball of nerves. Even though I have been a youth services librarian for over 16 years, this was a whole new world for me. There were many new things to keep in mind like worrying if the weather was going to coope

American Cheese Month

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Not to sound cheesy, but did you know May is American Cheese Month? I have to admit, when I first learned that, I was a bit puzzled. A whole month dedicated to American cheese? I know many love the processed cheese, but it’s definitely not my favorite. After some investigation, I discovered that American Cheese Month is so much more than 31 days celebrating only one type of cheese. According to the American Cheese Society, “American Cheese Month is a grassroots celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers, and chefs who bring them to your table.” Cheese has a fascinating history, dating as far back as 10,000 years. Ancient cultures all over the world developed their own methods of making cheeses and these techniques eventually spread to early America, where the passion for cheese has endured to this day. Whether you are a casual cheese lover or an artisan cheese connoisseur, celebrate American Cheese Month with o

Biographies Are Not Boring!

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Recently, it seems as if everyone has decided to write an autobiography or biography about either themselves, or a person of interest and importance. The biography shelves at the library have more choices than ever before and there are interesting reads for just about every age group. Choose from a range of rock stars and celebrities to political figures, as well as people of historical importance who have spurred major changes in the world. There are amazing and inspiring stories for all. The biographies written for our youngest audience are illustrated and open the door to some of the most influential characters in history. In the past, biographies have been a dry recollection of facts. I remember being assigned projects where I would have to research a particular person's life story and have to do a report or presentation. The only biographies I read were boring. This is not the case anymore! Biographies are often filled with details that were previously unknown. The readers ar

The Highest Kind of Poetry

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On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden's Inauguration Day, the twenty-two year old poet Amanda Gorman was invited to read her poem "The Hill We Climb". In a calm and clear voice, the former National Youth Poet Laureate connected millions of people's hearts through those powerful lines: "When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry. A sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. ... ..." When a poem is recited in front of a worldwide audience through television and the internet, it is a high-profile example of a 21st-century “occasional poem”. When it gives hope to all, unites people from left and right, and has the power to heal different kinds of wounds, it is truly as what the great German poet Goethe declared - "Occasional Poetr

Verbing Words and Weirding Language

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Although it was probably over forty years ago, I remember the first time I heard “gifted” used as a verb. I was living in Tel-Aviv and an Israeli friend, Toma, commented that someone had “gifted” something to him. This was like a jolt to my ears, it sounded so wrong. I wanted to explain to him that “gifted” was not a verb, and using it that way was ungrammatical. But not wishing to give the impression that I was a pedantic nitpicker, I restrained myself. Toma was a self-described anarcho-pacifist (the only one in Israel who I was acquainted with, not that there were many others). He was secretary of the Israel Section of the War Resisters International, spoke Esperanto , was a strict vegan, and had very long hair. He was also a devout secularist who opposed the Israeli law which did not permit civil marriages to be performed in the country, and so had married his partner in Cyprus. As Toma’s English was quite good, I was puzzled as to why he would do such a thing as use gifted as a v

Trainspotting

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I have lived near train tracks my entire life. Multiple times during the day and night, freight trains rumble past. The tracks used to be Conrail, now they’re CSX. I remember when the locomotives started going by with a new name on their side. Now, I have even started to see some from Norfolk-Southern and BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). A couple of weeks ago I even saw Union Pacific cars. As many people who live in the area can attest, a great majority of train cars now consist of matte black tanker cars – probably transporting crude oil. “Trainspotting” as a hobby isn’t always held in the highest esteem in popular culture. There is a particularly good bit of British slang that could be used to describe a trainspotter – an “anorak” – meaning an obsessive fan of a niche subject. I wouldn’t say I go that far – after all, most of my trainspotting has been by default. Who wouldn’t think it’s cool to see the Barnum & Bailey circus train going by? The sound of a train up close is a

Giving Our Least Favorite Subjects Another Try

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When I first started at the Twin Rivers branch, our book discussion group usually chose a fiction title for each month’s pick. At some point we decided to switch things up and focus on non-fiction titles. We have read memoirs about newly-initiated morgue attendants and falconers working through their grief, a book about the Ebola virus and a book about disconnecting from technology and finding peace and quiet. After making that switch, no topic was off-limits when it came to the books we read. Of course, not every member of the group enjoyed every book, but we often found ourselves saying things like, “Well, I would never have thought to read a book about that .” We all agreed that was a good thing, even if a particular book was a bit of a letdown. Over this past year, we have not been able to meet for our book discussions - but that hasn’t stopped me from reading. While I have not stuck strictly to non-fiction like our book club did, a majority of the titles I have read would have ma