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Showing posts from July, 2011

Can children’s music appeal to adults?

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There are soundtracks, lullabies, nursery rhymes, and educational songs, but another trend in children’s music is to assert that it will be palatable to the whole family. And if you’re getting tired of the Elmo’s World theme song, you may want to give these a listen.

Grown up bands play for kids:

Part of this trend comes from adult bands (mostly from the 90s) trying their hand at family friendly music in response to having their own kids. These are some highlights:

They Might Be Giants write songs for Mickey’s Clubhouse and Handy Manny. They also have own albums which are catchy and silly. Their latest, Here Comes Science make concepts like photosynthesis fun and easy to remember.




Ziggy Marley has written music for Dora the Explorer and Arthur. Family Time is filled with collaborations with everyone from Jack Johnson to Laurie Berkner.





Barenaked Ladies: Their kids’ album Snacktime! includes high energy songs great for jumping around.






Verve Pipe' Family Album (remember the song “the…

Books to Get You Thinking

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The past decade has witnessed an unprecedented rise in global connectivity and the flow of information that have largely been facilitated by technological advances and the spread of the World Wide Web. Social networks have transformed the way we think, communicate and connect with each other. Using Facebook and Twitter people can connect anytime anywhere. Twitter has played a definitive role in the popular uprisings that recently swept parts of the Middle East. Consumers now have the ability to be involved in, and directly influence the development of products and services through social networking sites .Twitter, You Tube, blogs, and wikis have turned the news media into a collaborative, diverse medium that allows mass participation. Technology holds immense promise of bringing about positive social changes in a world where network connectivity has removed all boundaries between countries and opened up channels for individuals and groups to interact and exchange and shape ideas.

The …

Golden Anniversaries, Childhood Idols & Generations Connected Through Pinstripes

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Each year, many statistical, historical and biographical books are written about our National Pastime. The year 2011 is no different, though one team is prominent with the publishers this year – the New York Yankees.

What makes this summer’s Yankees-themed books special is the way that almost three generations of fans can be tied together. Below are four titles that are readily available at our Mercer County Library System Branches:

The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy

Jane Leavy does a fantastic job of portraying one of baseball’s most popular players ever, really detailing Mantle’s youth and inner workings from his beginnings in a mining town in Oklahoma all the way to the City That Never Sleeps. It’s a read that doesn’t really feel like a biography, but more like a classic novel.



1961*: The Inside Story of the Maris-Mantle Home Run Chase by Phil Pepe

Pepe chronicles one of the greatest seasons in the history of the game, the race for 6…

Book Clubbing with the Samovar Society: Crime & Punishment

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We three brave members of The Samovar Society have been meeting this summer to read and discuss Dostoyevsky's classic Crime and Punishment.

Following the novel’s original publication in parts in 1866, we chew over sections with sandwiches and soda at our local eatery.

Right now, we are plunging into the final sections: the double homicide crime has been committed (ax murder of a local senior citizen, a pawn broker, and her younger sister); there is absolutely no doubt who did it (Raskolnikov, the handsome, starving, confused college dropout). Yet questions remain: why did Raskonikov carry out such a cold blooded, heartless, pre-mediated act? Had the poverty and suffering of his fellow St Petersburg neighbors – the impoverished serfs, the child prostitutes, the tubercular women raising families in warren like tenements, the rampant alcoholism of the poor– lead him to rebel against society? Or does Raskonikov just want to see if he is a kind of superman – above the common morality and…

Summer Backyard Fun for a Crowd of Kids

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Summer time offers many opportunities for kids to get together and have some fun.If the neighborhood children are at your house today or you are planning a backyard picnic, here are some ideas that guarantee that the kids will have fun in the sun!Bountiful Bubbles!With a wading pool, bubble wands (big and small), a hula hoop and the following bubble solution young children preschool and up will stay busy for a very long time.The solution: 4 gallons water (preferably distilled), 48 ounces dishwashing liquid (preferably Joy), 6 tablespoons glycerin, 1 ¼ gallons (or 5 quarts) good quality bubble solution.This all goes into the clean wading pool, mix well, cover with a plastic table cloth or tarp and let sit overnight to allow the ingredients to come together well.This solution stands up well with big or small bubbles.The leftover solution can be stored in an airtight container to be used again in the future.Kitty Wants a CornerThis is a twist on 2 well know games, “Musical Chairs” and “T…

What is an extremely useful and often overlooked tool in the Microsoft Office Suite? Format Painter, of course!

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The Format Painter is a quick and cool way to copy formatting from one place and apply it to another. It can be used to apply the same formatting to multiple places within the same document or you can copy the formatting from one document to another. The icon looks like a paintbrush and resides in the Clipboard group in all five of the Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access. Since Publisher 2007 did not get the Ribbon makeover and still contains toolbars, à la 2003 MS Office applications, the Format Painter icon can be found in the toolbar.

Say you are writing a report in Word and you want the title of your document to stand out. So you choose a different font for the heading, you increase the size, center, and bold the title, change the font color and add some nice shadow effects. Once you finish your report you realize that your document contains fifteen section headings which you would like to format just like the title. Instead of manually selecting …

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

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With July 4th just passed, there’s never been a better time to ramp up your knowledge of our country’s history. Here are some new books owned by the Mercer County Library System that can help you do just that!

The American Revolution: A Concise History
By Robert J. Allison
“In a ‘concise’ history of a seminal episode, there is always the danger of a narrative that is a mile wide and an inch thick. Allison, professor of history at Suffolk University, generally avoids this pitfall by effectively concentrating on the major issues and events of the American Revolution. In describing the political context of the British Empire in the 1760s, he wisely indicates how peripheral the 13 colonies along the Atlantic seaboard were to colonial officials in London; their attention was focused on the sugar islands of the West Indies and on India. As tensions rose, Allison illustrates the legitimate concerns of both sides. The military struggle cannot be covered in detail, but he covers the major campaig…

Content Rules in the E-World

The boom in the e-book industry has caused libraries and library users to take a good look at how new formats change the way the library functions in terms of offering and lending material.Books and DVDs are fairly straight-forward in that if a library wants to loan a title, they just buy a copy or, if the title will have a high demand, multiple copies.The transition to e-books seems like it would be an ideal fit for the library world, as electronic versions should alleviate issues such as shelf crowding and the need to stockpile enough copies to meet the demand for a new bestseller.But, as the industry is still relatively new, content providers are still trying to figure out a model of sale and delivery that works best for both producer and consumer.Most of the issues that the library and a library user face stem from this evolving system, as the rules governing content are set by the copyright holders.Here are a few questions we frequently get about our electronic resources, which i…

It’s Summer Reading Time!

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It’s June, and school is finally over.At the library, we’re excited about our Summer Reading Program.The theme for kids this year is

We’ve got some great ideas for you to celebrate this year’s summer reading theme!Did you know that your Mercer County Library card can be used at all nine of our branches?Why not take a field trip and visit a different branch of the library?If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can visit all nine!

Have you ever wondered what kids eat in other countries?Check out Let’s Eat: What Children Eat Around the World by Beatrice Hollyer.










Do you like to cook?Why not try cooking food from different countries? Our library has lots of kid-friendly cookbooks from around the world.



If you’re interested in food from a specific country, like Thailand or Spain, you can check out these books:




There are always lots of bugs around in the summer time.Have you ever thought about eating them?Take a look at the maps in these books to find out where bugs are part of the meal!



Of co…