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Showing posts from May, 2012

Books to Get You Thinking

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The Pulitzer awards in journalism, letters, drama and music have long become a mainstay in the world of publishing.  Each year, months before the official announcement of the awards there is widespread speculation about the winners in different categories. On April 16th Columbia University announced the much awaited 96th Pulitzer Prize awards for journalism, as well as for books spanning different genres.  The big disappointment this year was the conspicuous absence of a winner for the first time in 35 years in the popular category of fiction. Though three novels were declared finalists, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, Swamplandia!by Karen Russell and The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace, none of them garnered enough support from the Pulitzer Board to be declared a winner of the prestigious award.   Readers can delve into each of these titles, all owned by the Mercer County Library and decide which of them should have been the winner …..  For other categories here are the 20…

2012 Green Earth Book Awards

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Since 2005, the Newton Marasco Foundation has been recognizing and honoring books that “inspire a child to grow a deeper appreciation, respect and responsibility for his or her natural environment,” making the Green Earth Book Awards the first environmental stewardship book award for children and young adult literature.

In a public statement released last month, the Newton Marasco Foundation announced this year’s winners, complete with a short summary of each winning title.  The four titles (no winners were selected in the Young Adult Fiction category) to win the Green Earth Book Award in 2012 are:






Picture Book Arthur Turns Green written and illustrated by Marc Brown
Arthur comes home from school and begins sneaking around the house, taking notes and talking about a Big Green Machine. D.W. is suspicious of her brother's weird behavior, but when Arthur shows up late for dinner with green hands, she really gets the creeps! But it turns out Arthur is working on a class project all abo…

Ideas Worthy of Sharing

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Have you ever had one of those dreary days when your brain feels fuzzy and you’re just unmotivated?  How about a day that you find there is nothing on TV worth watching? It’s on days like those that I like to watch a few TED Talks.

TED conferences started in 1984 to bring together people from Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  Since then it has grown to include two annual conferences and a number of ‘spin off’ talks, programs, awards, and grants.

Their newest project is TED-Ed, education based videos that teachers can turn into lesson plans for the classroom.

TED-Ed is great for teachers.  I recently watched the videos in the Literature & Language Section, these included, Insults by Shakespeare and The Power of Simple Words.

I’m a subscriber to TEDtalks, the best ideas of the conferences uploaded onto YouTube.
One of my favorite talks was given by Malcolm Gladwell called “What we can learn from spaghetti sauce”

My new favorite is called “How To Use One Paper Towel”

The TED Y…

Dystopian Reads for Teens

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Looking for your next great read?  Did you finish The Hunger Games and you’re looking for more?  Like other dystopian stories, The Hunger Games takes place in part of a repressive and controlled society that may or may not appear to be a utopia.  Take a look at these suggestions below for other Dystopian novels that’ll grab you.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Legend by Marie Lu
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

The Maze Runner by James Das…

Before you Click Send: Email Etiquette

Have you ever received an email with glaring typos, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors? Struggled to decipher a poorly written email that just makes you furrow your brow in confusion? Searched in vain for that elusive email that contained some critical information?  Maybe, you deleted that all important message inadvertently? And oops! Sent an email to the wrong person? If you’ve encountered any one, or all of the above, then this blog is for you.

In both our business and personal lives, email has become a ubiquitous communication tool. Whether we are using email for business reasons, or personal ones, it pays to cultivate some good email habits and follow standard, professional email protocol. Sometimes it is simply a matter of using commonsense: we all know not to reply to spam, not to send chain letters, or forward junk mail, to only CC (carbon copy) people directly involved with the given matter, etc.

As I wrap up my series on Outlook email here are some obvious and, som…

China Bound

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There are many aspects to China including its long history, vast territory, and large population.

These days, we often hear news about China because the country recently became the second largest economy in the world. Many of us have Chinese colleagues, neighbors, and friends. If you are interested in learning more about Chinese history and culture, several books at the Mercer County Library System provide an introduction to the history of the country as well as China’s role in international economics and politics including the relationship between China and the United States. These books may not be an exact reflection of current situations in China, but will provide insight to get you started in learning more about this diverse country.

Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan
In February 1972, Richard Nixon, the first American president to visit China, and Mao Tse-tung, the enigmatic Communist dictator, met for an hour in Beijing. Their meeting changed th…

Raising Their Voices: Teens Have a Say in Best Teen Reads

Teens are often guided by adults in their reading choices, yet have their own motivations for the books they choose to read.  Adult recommendations come from a variety of perspectives – a desire to protect, an inducement to learn and explore, a means of sharing what the adult once loved – all with the best of intentions. For teens who want to make their voices and choices of what they WANT to read heard, there are a variety of ways to do so – nominating, voting, and using social media.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, has created two avenues for teens to express their reading wants – Teens Top Ten and the Readers’ Choice List. Teens Top Ten is nearly completely student-run. Fifteen to sixteen teen book groups moderated by a librarian who is a YALSA member receive galleys of recent titles from publishers. The teens review the titles and are responsible for creating the national list, posted on Support Teen Literature…

Books to Get You Thinking

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April 15th 2012 marked the centennial anniversary of the Titanic shipwreck - one of the greatest disasters in maritime history. RMS Titanic, England’s biggest luxury cruise liner of its time, set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton on April 12th 1912 with 2200 people on board heading out to New York. An architectural and technological marvel, the Titanic was furnished with lavish opulence and many of its passengers belonged to the rich and famous. On a clear starry night of April 14th tragedy struck when the Titanic collided into a giant iceberg about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.  Within two and a half  hours the ship sank, plunging into the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic, carrying with it  more than 1500 people. The few, who were rescued, lived to tell the story of those terrifying last hours on board the ship.  Despite the passage of time, the fascination with the beautiful ship and its catastrophic end lives on… perhaps it stems from the realization that …