Showing posts from February, 2013

Mastering English as a Second Language @ the Mercer County Library System

After moving to central New Jersey from western Michigan almost 20 years ago, I quickly discovered my favorite aspect of life here.  It was the diversity.  The diversity of people here, both native and foreign born, gives New Jersey its rich flavor of life, including its food, dress, customs and economic vibrancy.  Today, I’ll focus on a critical need of our new immigrant population, English Language acquisition and how our library system can help fulfill the need. Today immigration is a prominent subject being discussed with widely varying opinions.   One thing that most of us do agree on is the importance of immigrants learning and using English once they are here.  English language skills help greatly in societal assimilation and economic success for immigrants.  Our communities benefit when individuals learn the skills needed to become part of society. Our libraries offer both materials for English Language study and classes too! At this time two branches offer ESL (English a

The Chinese New Year: Year of the Snake

The Chinese New Year, which has been celebrated for more than four thousand years in China, is now celebrated all over the world. It’s a great time to get together with friends and family. Because the Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, the cycle of the moon, the date the New Year begins changes from year to year.  The New Year generally falls between January 21st and February 20th.  The celebration, which lasts for the full 14-day cycle of the moon, begins each year on the Second New Moon after the winter solstice.  The celebrations end when the Full Moon commences. Every Chinese New Year party concludes with a dragon dance, as the dragon is a symbol of good luck. Red is a symbol of happiness and Chinese families hang red scrolls with good luck printed on them. Children receive money as a gift, usually an even amount in a red envelope, which symbolizes giving and receiving luck. The Chinese zodiac follows a twelve year cycle, with each year named for an animal. The Chi

Getting to Know Gale

Resources for business development, research on education, planning your vacation, local information… In the course of developing your family tree, have you ever had the need to try and find an obituary that may have appeared in a local newspaper?   Do you need information on events in a specific locality, or find out where’s the best place to advertise?  Have you wondered which companies have proven popular in response to surveys?  Are you looking for a wholesaler or distributor for a specific type of product? The Mercer County Library System database collection has an ensemble of directories available online that can be used from home or work , or at any of the branches in our system.   This sub-collection, Directories, contains four important titles with valuable information on education, business, media, and nonprofit organizations.  They are: American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media   National Directory

New Year, New You!

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been.”   ―   Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters Of Rainer Maria Rilke So how are you faring with your New Year's resolutions? Still abstaining from eating dessert as per your resolution? What about your resolution to be more organized this year? And, how about your pledge to exercise more in the new year? Ah, all those wonderful intentions that the new year brings out in most of us!  It is almost de rigueur to make resolutions for the New Year, and most of us have made New Year's resolutions at some time or the other in our lives. After all, why not? We are always seeking the new and the improved: whether it's a new and improved product that will make our grass greener, our floors look as good as new, or our hair shinier, our skin more luminous....  Well, you get the idea!  And, so we strive to improve ourselves. And, what better time than the new year to seek a fresh

Where Do Pros Turn for Help?

Working in an information technology department can be challenging since almost every device and piece of software comes with its own pitfalls for the end user and, ultimately, the people they turn to for help.  I have seen everything from marshmallows in a CD drive to the newest virus that has no known cure.  People often ask how I learned to fix all these weird issues and while experience plays a part, the secret is really to just know where to turn for help.  With that in mind, here are some places to turn when your PC (or other electronic device) decides to go a little crazy. Hardware Tips from TFS Networks – Before you get started on your quest for a solution, try to get an idea of what may be causing the problem.  IT pros often turn to each other and ask, have you seen this before?  One spot to start for the home DIYer is this well-arranged article by Greg Eddolls, an IT consultant who has listed the various PC components and the symptoms they exhibit when they fail.  The art

Why Zines and Independent Publishing are Important for Communities

My best friend Becky and I weren’t aware of the long history surrounding “zines” when we first started making our own. As described by Barnard Zine Library , “A zine is a self-publication, motivated by a desire for self-expression, not for profit.” Similarly, for Becky and I, zines presented a creative outlet, a module that provided space for our own writing, reviews and art. Additionally, the process of zine creation provided us with a productive way to spend time together, hang out, and process the world around us. They placed the power of publishing into our own hands. Using a sewing machine, we bound about 50 issues of our first zine, Grand, which we gave away to friends and family. Becky and I didn’t expect fame and fortune through the publication, but in Grand ’s finished pages, we encountered something much more valuable – the realization that power of publishing can belong in the hands of individuals possessing paper, a pair of scissors, glue and of course, the will to creat

eBook News

OverDrive recently updated the eLibraryNJ website , adding some new features, including OverDrive Read.  Searching and the My Account page received updates to make them more user-friendly and checkouts are now one-step, so you do not need to pick the eBook format (Kindle, ePub or PDF) before you check out (you just need to select audio or eBook).  Unlike the ePub, Kindle and PDF versions of eBooks previously available on the site, users do not need to download any software or large files to their system to use the Read version of an eBook.  Instead, the OverDrive servers link the title to your library card number so you can begin reading right away and even sync multiple devices.   You can start reading on your laptop and then pick up at the same spot on your tablet just by logging on to eLibraryNJ.  For those who prefer a traditional download for their eBooks, the same titles are still available in ePub and Kindle format, per publisher restrictions. Searching is more visual than

Super Bowl!

America’s biggest unofficial holiday, Super Bowl Sunday, is February 3.  In my last blog post, I talked about two local football teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.  Although neither will be playing in the Super Bowl, both true and casual football fans across the area will be watching. In fact, almost everyone will be watching.   ESPN reported that, according to the Nielsen Company, 111.3 million viewers watched 2012’s Super Bowl – setting a record for the third time as the most-watched television show in United States history.  It’s not only the game, but the commercials that people are tuning in to see.  If you missed last year’s or just want to see them again, take a look at the Huffington Post’s Super Bowl Commercials page . CNN reports that this year, ads cost an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of air time – the most expensive they’ve ever been.  For the latest news and venue information, take a look at the National Football League’s Official Super