Exercising with Electronics

Exercising and playing video games or watching TV initially appears to be in stark contrast of one another, right? Wrong! Several video games now encourage players to get up and interact with their video game consoles, resulting in imaginative and stimulating exercises. At the same time, fitness videos have long provided viewers with engaging instruction and guidance designed to maximize their fitness potential.
For example, the Nintendo Wii (2006) is a video game console featuring a multitude of video games that make use of the Wii Remote (also known as a Wiimote) and the Nunchuck Controller (both pictured below). The remote and controller allow players to virtually walk, throw, run and catch depending on the game’s instructions. The addition of this physical element to common gameplay mechanics is most noticeable in the Wii’s premier game title, Wii Sports (2006). Wii Sports offers players with a plethora of interactive sports, such as: Baseball, Bowling, Boxing, Golf, and Tennis. S…

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

The next time I walk into any of the branches of the Mercer County Library System, I will be a patron – on the other side of the desk. Of course, I look forward to being a patron at any of the MCLS branches: to be greeted by the welcoming staff at the circulation desk, who are happy to checkout my library items; to have access to the resources I may need, including the many books and DVDs I can take home; and to be able to ask just about any question and have staff at the reference desk find the right answer. But, I am also sad and nostalgic as I say my goodbyes to my staff and to all my colleagues and friends.

I have always believed that work was the panacea to all ills and saying goodbye to it is not easy, especially leaving a job I love. For a book lover, the library was the perfect place to be. In fact, one of the perks of the job was getting to see all of the new books and putting as many as I could on hold for myself. Working in the library suited me perfectly. It offered me amp…

Reading Challenges

In 2018, I challenged myself to read 150 books.  As of writing of this post, I have read or listened to 136 books and I’m currently reading 2 books and listening to an audiobook, which I hope to finish before the end of the year. While I’m not making my goal of 150 books, I came close again this year and read some really great books along the way, many of which I may not have picked up had it not been for the variety of reading challenges I took on during the year.

The last few years I’ve taken part in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  Though I have yet to complete it, it has expanded my book selection.  Each year the staff of Book Riot puts together a list of 24 book prompts for you to complete. Some of the prompts can be pretty easy to fulfill like reading a western or a bit more challenging like finding a book with a female protagonist over the age of 60 (this is not one I completed this year).

Since I don’t always complete my Goodreads Challenge or the Read Harder Challenge I …

Passings of 2018

With the start of 2019, let us look back at some of the notable people who passed away last year.  When possible, I have linked to works in our catalog for the individuals. 
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, two legends of comics, primarily known for their works for Marvel.  Lee was considered by many to be the face and voice of Marvel (“Excelsior!”). He created or helped create many classic super heroes—we would have no Marvel Cinematic Universe without him.  Ditko co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Lee, but also contributing to competing publishers Charlton and DC. 
The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was not only an amazing singer, she was an activist for civil, women’s, and Native American rights.  She had numerous hits throughout the years, and made appearances not only in shows and concerts, but sang patriotic songs for such varied venues as President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and Wrestlemania III back in 1989.  I will bet that you will hear her voice in your head should you…

A Reader's Vicarious Approach to New Year’s

The new year is upon us. This is a time we tend to reflect on the past year and think about what we want to do better or change about ourselves in the new year. It is also a time where traditions are a large part of the festivities. I have friends and family who absolutely love New Year’s traditions -- the noise makers, watching the ball drop in Times Square, the fireworks, the resolutions, “Old Lang Syne,” making predictions for the upcoming year, the Mummers Parade, college football, etc.

You may, however, not want to take part of all the hoopla. At the same time, you may not want to necessarily dismiss the whole New Year’s experience. There are some wonderfully appropriate movies to fill the New Year’s celebration niche (e.g., Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Apartment, and When Harry Met Sally). If a good read is more your speed, however, there is a diverse selection of titles with a New Year's setting from which to choose.

Below are books that have plots that either revolve around or …

For Cinephiles

Cinephile noun cine·phile | \ˈsi-nə-ˌfī(-ə)l  \ : a devotee of motion pictures (From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

This will be an occasional blog dedicated to the cinephiles amongst us; those that love the movies. Not because they are works of art (although some films definitely are), not because they are “socially important” (although, again, some are), but because they are just so much fun to watch.  And not necessarily watch alone, but with other people and then discuss filming techniques, acting techniques, directing techniques, stories about the production or casting.  Maybe there is good gossip about how the actors and director got along, or how the actors got along.  There could be little in-jokes the writers or director put into the movie.  If you get the drift of the above, then you are the kind of “cinephile” I am talking to.  You call them movies not “films.”  You would rather watch a Hitchcock film over the latest artistic trendy film, you know that Swedish experimenta…

Keeping Your Tech Safe in the Winter

While many of us will be spending the next few months curled up inside with hot drinks, cozy blankets and big books or a show to binge watch, many of you will be heading outside to take in winter sports and fun.

Back in June, we warned you to keep your tech cool so your devices don’t over heat in the hot summer sun.  We have a similar warning for you now - don’t let your tech get too cold in the winter.  Your tech does not like to be out in weather below freezing. If you do plan on having it on you in lower temps, it is best to keep it in a zipped pocket or as close to your body as possible to keep the device warm.  Don’t leave your devices in the car overnight or even for a few hours.  Freezing temps can cause problems with your device’s battery and screen.

If your phone gets too cold, your battery will start to drain faster than normal or your device can go dead even if you have ample power.  If you want to keep your device on you but don’t need to have it on, you should turn your …

A Holiday Gift for Your Loved One

The holidays are here again! Create your own magical gift for a loved one to make your holiday celebration even more special and meaningful. Here are simple instructions kids can follow, with adult supervision, to make a beautiful bracelet.


Faceted beads – clear, 8mmMemory wireWire cutterRound-nose pliers


First, decide how many coils you would like (the more coils, the thicker the bracelet). Have an adult help cut and fold the memory wire.

Use the round nose pliers to hold the end of the wire and bend it inward to make a loop.

Start adding beads to the opposite end of the wire.

Push the beads to the end with the loop.

When you are almost towards the end of the wire, ask an adult to use the round-nose pliers to make an inward loop.

The bracelet is now ready to give as a gift.

Enjoy! And Happy, Happy Holidays!

The Mercer County Library System has a vast collection of holiday craft books. Check out these books and make wonderful crafts for every occasion!

Origami Ar…

The Frozen State: Outdoor Winter Fun in New Jersey and Beyond

Growing up in New York’s Hudson Valley, I felt the same way as many New Jerseyans probably feel about winter: it was a long cold slog between fall and spring.  Especially after the holidays, it sometimes seemed the only fun thing about winter was the occasional snow day, announced in our town with a designated code blared by the massive horn above the firehouse on Main Street.  (It was 6-6.  I’ll never forget it!  The other codes referenced neighborhoods where a fire was burning, so you had to listen closely.)  When I went to college in Maine and then married a Mainer -- a northern Mainer at that -- I learned how much winter has to offer in the way of outdoor activities that can’t be enjoyed any other time.  When winter lasts half the year, people find ways to make it fun!  While I have never lived full-time in New England and I haven’t tried all of the activities listed below, I have learned to welcome cold weather with anticipation here in New Jersey, and to actually wish it could …

Books to Get You Thinking 2018 Holiday Edition

The year seems to have flown by exceptionally fast and we’re back to cool crisp days of December ushering in the festive atmosphere of the Holidays!   Now would be perfect time to wrap up your shopping and get the perfect gift for everyone on your list - and what could be a more perfect gift than books!  Ernest Hemingway put it so succinctly, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” This year there was an outstanding selection of new books covering a rich and wide variety of subjects, and rarely a day passes when I don’t come across a new and fascinating read in the library’s New Books Area.  For just about everyone on your list, from science enthusiasts, history buffs and current affairs followers, to the nature and animal lovers, it will be easy to find a book that they would enjoy!  You might even be tempted to check out some of these fascinating reads - all of which can be borrowed from your closest branch of the Mercer County Library System! From all of us at the library, we wis…