Posts

ProCRAFTination

Image
Do you find yourself realizing, after two hours working on an art or DIY project that you found on Pinterest, that you should have been doing your load of laundry the whole time? Have you ever found yourself working on a crocheted, knitted, or stitched project when you should be washing the dishes in the sink? If you answered “yes” to either one of these questions, you’re a lot like many creative people. Congratulations! You’ve discovered the art of proCRAFTination: crafting instead of doing all the things you actually need to get done today. There’s no need to feel ashamed, as there’s a large population of creative souls who feel and always do the same thing…myself included. As the librarian-in-charge of Robbinsville’s adult craft programs, I’m always on the hunt for new creative projects to try and share with my patrons. This results in searching Pinterest for my work, but I am always fighting the urge to become distracted by ideas for my own crafty pursuits due to previous search

Planning a TrashedArt Contest Entry

Image
Choosing what to make can sometimes be the biggest challenge when it comes to art. What materials should I use? What techniques? For the last 15 years, patrons have been turning to their recycling bins for art materials to enter in our annual TrashedArt Contest . Patrons have developed many strategies over the years to turn trash into treasure. Here are a few highlights: Paper Paper is one of the most commonly used materials for the TrashedArt Contest as many patrons accumulate paper they wish to recycle. Paper is also a fairly flexible material that works well in many different types of projects. It can be used for traditional art techniques, such as drawing or watercolor. It can also be used to create papier-mâché sculptures, origami or even bookbinding.  In 2023, Audrey Jakab won Honorable Mention from the Hickory Corner Branch for “Elephant.” Her artwork was made out of a tin can and papier-mâché. It was a small, delicate elephant that was definitely a crowd-pleaser. For artists

Anti-Loneliness Club

Image
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash Loneliness has been on my mind since 2020 – yes, because of the isolation of lockdowns, but also because I moved to Mercer County from New York in January 2020. When we arrived, my husband and I spent each weekend exploring, signing up for library cards, looking for community events, and gradually meeting our neighbors. Then, we all know what happened in March 2020. I’ve lived here ever since, but in some ways, because of the strange, stressful pause, I still feel brand new. Last year, the Surgeon General published a report on loneliness. The full title: Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community . Why is the Surgeon General issuing an advisory about loneliness? Is it a medical problem? The report demonstrates that it is. I was shocked to read that “(l)acking social connection can increase the risk for premature death as much as smoking up to 15 cigaret

Library Lovers Unite!

Image
February is National Library Lovers Month, and the perfect opportunity for all library lovers to celebrate, explore, connect, and share their love of the library! At Mercer County Library System, there’s a lot to love. From the range of programs offered, to the services and accommodations available, to the vast collection of books and media—there’s something for everyone! I thought I’d take a moment and spread some library love by highlighting a few of my favorite resources and offerings available at MCLS! Take a look… Headspace - Headspace offers science-backed meditation and mindfulness techniques online so you can experience the benefits of meditation anytime, anywhere. I found the website and app very easy to navigate, and it offers hundreds of meditations and exercises for sleep, focus, and movement. MCLS patrons can experience Headspace for free by signing up with their library card! Job Interview Practice & Resume Review - Prepare for an upcoming job interview by virtua

The Common Thread of Walter Isaacson’s Biographies

Image
Biography readers will not be strangers to Walter Isaacson’s string of well-researched and well-written biographies of unique figures, some alive and some departed. There’s Leonardo DaVinci , Benjamin Franklin , Albert Einstein , Steve Jobs , Jennifer Doudna and, now, Elon Musk . There are many commonalities between these figures. The main one is: science. There is also the commonality that all of the biographies are available through the Mercer County Library System in multiple formats. Initially, one might look at the names above and see a diversity of interests and that each one is or was an innovator in some capacity. Then again, one might think of each icon in a more obvious fashion. For example, think of Leonardo DaVinci and the Mona Lisa may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, one then might neglect DaVinci’s intense study of anatomy and engineering, among an array of other subjects. Likewise, when considering Benjamin Franklin, one might think of his part of the

Proud Parent of a Potterhead

Image
Hi, my name is Andrea and I am the proud parent of a Potterhead. For those that are not familiar with the term, it is used to refer to individuals who are super fans of the Harry Potter series. Some of you reading this may already be acquainted with my daughter. She had her 5 minutes of fame on the MCL YouTube channel a few years back when she helped me make videos during the library’s temporary shutdown  and I wrote a blog post almost exactly 7 years ago about how much she loved books . Well, sadly that love of books did not last…until she found the Harry Potter series this school year. My daughter’s road to becoming a Potterhead was not a straight path. We went through a period of time when she struggled with reading. Her teachers said she was a good reader and her test scores were showing her reading level was well above that of students her age, but I could not get her to read at home for enjoyment and her assigned 20 minutes of reading per night was turning into a nightly battle.

Adult Romance

Image
Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the air! While I personally believe any time of year is the right time to read a romance, reading romance fiction in February is a fun way to celebrate the Valentine season. Romance fiction has many subgenres: contemporary, fantasy & paranormal, and historical romance are only a few of the numerous categories the genre has to offer. Below are a few selections of recent releases in those genres. Take a look, maybe one will catch your eye! Contemporary Romance The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest "A shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he's the obscure author she's been corresponding with, in this sparkling and heart-fluttering romance by Kristina Forest.” Provided by publisher Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura A merry and bright hockey romance about finding your place, finding your people and finding your way back to the one you love the most.” Provided by publisher Red

Celebrating Langston Hughes, the Harlem Renaissance Writer

Image
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.” ― On Dreams by Langston Hughes On February 1 st we celebrate the birthday of our prized Harlem Renaissance author, Langston Hughes, who was born on this day in Joplin, Missouri in 1901. He lived until 1967, passing away in his beloved New York City. Langston is best known as a 20th-century literary innovator who popularized Jazz Poetry and theater which embraced the colloquial language of African Americans. He was controversial for his writing on the very real lives of African Americans and, at the time, literature written in everyday speech was looked down on by many. However, through his writings, he shared with his audience his own struggles and his love of the vibrant cultural life of Harlem. The accessibility of his work has made it popular for acquainting students with the rich literary art of African Ame

App-less in Mercer County

Image
Dear Tech Guru, The mobile app has been out of service for months. Is there any timeline for when this will be resolved? From, App-less in Mercer County Hi App-less (and all our patrons), I understand your frustration with the MyMCLSNJ app being unusable. As we have shared, there is a contract conflict between our main vendor and the software vendor. They contracted to initially create the software called BLUEcloud Mobile. This software is what our app, as well as many other apps used by libraries around the world, is built on. The contract between these two companies was not renewed and the software vendor said they would continue to allow our main vendor to use the one piece of software they provided for a set period of time. This piece of software is what connected our library information to the software that runs the app.  In November of 2023, the software vendor stopped access to their software. This made all the apps that run on BLUEcloud Mobile stop working. At this time,