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Showing posts from October, 2009

Happy Birthday William Steig!

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William Steig was born on November 14, 1907 in Brooklyn, NY. He came from an creative family and often drew and painted as a child including creating cartoons for his high school newpaper. His career as a cartoonist began out of the need to support his parents and younger siblings during the Depression. The only thing he claimed he knew how to do well was draw. He sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1930 and went on to do more than 1,600 drawings for the magazine as well more than 120 of their covers. This is more than any other cartoonist associated with the magazine.

Steig did not start his work as a children’s author and illustrator until 1968 when, at the age of 60, he wrote and illustrated is first book, CDB! He then went on to have a very successful, award-winning career. His third book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, won him the prestigious Caldecott Medal and The Amazing Bone won him a Caldecott Honor. When he began to write books for older readers, he won the Newberry…

Databases @ MCL.org

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The Mercer County Library System subscribes to more than 60 databases, the majority of which can be accessed from your home or office using your library card. These databases contain the full text of articles from journals, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, and other reference works, and are excellent places to turn to for research help and personal fact finding missions. Here are just a few worth checking out:

Academic Search Premier: Contains indexing and abstracts for over 8,450 journals, with full text for more than 4,600 of those titles. Subjects covered include biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, psychology, religion, and theology.

MasterFile Premier: Contains full text for nearly 1,700 periodicals covering general reference, business, health, education, general science, multicultural issues and much more. This database also contains full text for nearly 500 reference books, over 164,400 primary source documents, and an Image Collection of over 460,000 photos, maps &…

Fun with Fall Leaves

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Whether hiking or playing in the park, it can be hard for kids to resist collecting the bright leaves as mementos. What should you do with all these leaves?
Read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert for inspiration. In it, she rearranges leaves and other common autumn objects to form people, animals, and landscapes. Glue or tape leaves, dry beans, twigs, nuts, or pebbles onto paper to form your own fanciful fall scene.
Other Easy Leaf projects:

1. Leaf rubbings: Use fresh, flat leaves with large veins. Place the leaves face down under regular printer paper, take the paper off a crayon, and rub. You can also take the paper and crayons on your next walk to collect rubbings of tree bark, car tires, and other textured objects.

2. Pressed leaves are great for decorating windows, homemade greeting cards, tables, or Christmas trees. On the gloomiest, grayest day of winter they are bright reminders of warmer times. The following website has four easy methods of preserving leaves, depending on the kind of leaf…

Books to Get You Thinking

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Technology has transformed the dynamics of business operations everywhere, and has led to the rise of a new world order where corporations and the workforce are no longer confined to the boundaries of a specific country. Last month’s book selections highlighted some aspects of globalization. This month’s picks continue this exploration. The books I selected for you this month discuss, analyze and focus on the social and cultural aspects of globalization and the implications for the world’s poorest nations.

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty - First Century Further Updated and Expanded by Thomas Friedman. This revised edition of Friedman’s original bestseller published in 2005, provides a lucid exposition of how digital technology advances in the past fifteen years, most notably the spread of the Internet to remote areas of the world, have transformed the way global business is conducted. By providing tools of communication it has broken down all barriers and empowered the…

Drugland – It’s Not Exactly Wonderland

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Drug abuse is one of America’s most serious health and social problems. While our news media may be preoccupied with politics, war, natural disasters, and the antics of celebrities, the scourge of drugs spreads quietly in our homes and streets. The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates that diabetes costs society $131.7 billion annually and cancer $171.6 billion annually, yet the bill for drug addiction is at least $484 billion per year. This includes not merely medical interventions, but the associated cost of lost earnings, crimes, and accidents. Everyone suffers – the abuser, his family and friends, and our community. One way to understand how we got to this point is to read some of the poignant and searing memoirs and studies at our library.

A book that has been on many must read lists, is Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addictionby David Sheff. Sheff, an accomplished and noted journalist, chronicles the devastating descent of his son, Nic, into met…

Halloween Fun for ALL Ages @ MCL Branches

It’s the one time of year people can get into the spirit, dress in costume, and pretend to be someone or something else for a day – no matter his or her age. The candy, the pumpkin carving, and the caramel apples are all memories from my childhood, and I attempt to keep them alive in my Halloween fun even as an adult. Mercer County Library System is getting in the spirit! Check out the Halloween-themed programs at the various branches; they’re not just for children:

West Windsor is hosting a Halloween Play Festival with three plays. Dollhouse Blues, Bloody Massie, and The Most Absolutely Amazing Halloween Party Ever, written by the branch’s Reference Librarian, Michael Kerr.

At Hickory Corner, Toma Jama Productions will perform, A Meeting of the Macabre, which brings to life the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker.

Hightstown’s Teen Movie for October is the film adapted from Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline (in 3-D!). Prepare to be scared by this fabulous film that is enjoyed by teen…

Museum Passes

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Mercer County Library System is pleased to announce a new service – free museum passes are now available for check-out. Patrons 18 years and older with a valid library card may check out a pass for a three-day loan period. Passes may be reserved up to 30 days in advance by using our online reservation page and can be picked up at the reference desk at the Lawrence Branch. For full details about the program, see our website. Museum passes are made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Lawrence Library.

Museums included in the program:

American Museum of Natural History
AMNH features exhibits and programs that chronicle the history of life on earth. Featured programs include an IMAX theatre, planetarium and a full schedule of special exhibits.


Garden State Discovery Museum
Voted one of the Top 20 Children’s Museums in the country, Garden State Discovery Museum has plenty to offer. Kids from infants to 10 year-olds can explore a variety of topics in the museum’s 20 exhibit a…

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

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Spice up your Microsoft Office documents and provide an added flavor or zing by including pictures. Whether it is a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation or a flyer on Publisher, adding pictures enhances your document’s visual interest.

Clip art offers a plethora of pictures for you to choose from. Whether you want pictures about line dancing or skiing, arithmetic or truffles, you can almost always find a picture that you can use. We all know how to access Clip art from the MS office applications so I won’t belabor the point but there are two ways to go directly to Microsoft’s Clip Art website where you will find a surfeit of riches as far as images are concerned. Cip art from office Online will allow you to search by keyword for a specific picture, or you can browse images by categories.
Every image will have these four icons below it:
Use the copy icon to copy and then the paste command to paste the image of your choice on your document.

Here’s how you can acc…

Halloween Costumes on a Budget

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Halloween is fast approaching and the kids are going to need costumes. Purchasing a Halloween costume at a Halloween specialty store can be very expensive and in these tough economic times, we are all trying to find ways to save money. Here are a few tips on how to keep the cost down.

1. Be Creative
Make your own costume. There are a lot of resources available to guide you in your costume making effort. Many of the costume ideas are quick, easy and require little to no sewing or crafting ability. Check out the following websites and books to get your creative juices flowing.

• Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas
• Halloween Costumes from Disney’s FamilyFun
• Last Minute Quick Costume Ideas
Glue and Go Costumes for Kids: Super Duper Designs with Everyday Materials by Holly Cleeland








Child’s Play: Quick and Easy Costumes by Leslie Hamilton








2. Shop Smart
You can purchase Halloween costumes and accessories and still save money. You just need to know where to look. Try the following:
• Thrift stores…