Showing posts from July, 2013

Avoiding Virus Infestations

One of the most common computer problems all users face is infection from viruses, malware and adware.  Given the wide variety of security options available, it is baffling that so many infections still take place.  But, the main reason viruses still invade our PCs is simply because they act a lot like their biological counterparts and mutate to adapt to the defenses we have developed against them.  Much like the common cold or flu, the best defense then becomes good preventive measures. The most basic thing you can do to protect yourself is invest in an anti-virus or security program.  There are several big name options on store shelves and available for download that all work very well.  Take a look at PC Magazine’s recent article comparing and rating the 2013 versions to find the one that works the best for you.  If you have limited funds or are not sure what to buy and want something to install now, you cannot go wrong with any of the free versions listed on the website’s rev

YA Books to Movies: Coming to a Screen Near You!

Think of the most popular movies from the last few years.  Which would you say are the top five?  Do the Hunger Games , the Twilight series, and/or the Harry Potter series feature on your list?  If so, you have discovered the same emerging trend as the movie-makers: that some of the highest-grossing, biggest draws are based on popular YA (young adult) novels!  With such huge box office successes, movie-makers have started mining the YA lit field, sometimes buying movie rights before the books have even been published.  Not all these titles actually make it to the big screen, but the ones listed below are definitely set to be released.  Stop by the library to check out the books so you will be ready! *Soon-to-be-Released:* 1.   The  Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson series, Book 2)  by Rick Riordan Plot summary: In order to save their dying safe haven, demi-god Percy Jackson and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece and stop an ancient

Books To Get You Thinking

Five years following the outbreak of one of the world’s most serious financial crises since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the economic outlook in the US and the world continues to be dominated by stagnating rates of growth as well as high rates of  unemployment and rising levels of public debt. Some recent books on the subject available at the Mercer County Library do an outstanding job of providing a comprehensive picture of the diverse factors leading to the 2008 financial debacle and the unique and important role played by the Federal Reserve in the US in curtailing the damaging effects of the crisis. The critically important question of what lies ahead and the policies and institutional changes we need to prevent such a crisis from reoccurring are also discussed by eminent authorities in the field. After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan Blinder Alan Blinder, one of the country’s leading economists, Professor at Princeton U


Early in June, librarians from all over New Jersey converge for the New Jersey Library Association conference.  Through a series of workshops, we learn new ways to connect to our communities, search the web, create programming – everything that libraries and librarians are involved with on a day-to-day basis… I know you are getting worried this might be a post about the library conference – instead it is about where the conference was held – Atlantic City!  If you have not visited, or just have not been in awhile, it is time to go back.  The beach looks wonderful.  Little of the tourist area was directly affected by Hurricane Sandy and the city is more than ready to entertain.  Plus, if you have watched HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, it is the perfect time to see modern-day Atlantic City. For finding official tourism information, Atlantic City’s own site  is an easy way to start.  There is even an online visitor’s guide .  You will see it is not just for grown-ups.  Atlantic City is be

Yes, We Have No Cicadas

We heard the hype, we waited to be deafened by the noise, but we are surprised by the silence.  What happened? Well, it looks like Edison, Staten Island, and other points north saw the emergence around mid-June.  But our half of the state?  Nada, for the most part.  Unfortunately if you have not seen (or heard) them yet, you probably will not as they are pretty much done.  A good visual reference is the map over at .  While there may have been Brood II (this particular species) in our area previously, pesticide use or weather events (drought/flooding) could have negatively affected the local populations. Had your hopes up for the songs of cicadas?  Fear not, we could always get one next year.  Dan Mozgai over at points out that sometimes broods will appear in areas where they are normally absent, a ‘surprise emergence,’ so to speak.  And there is always the yearly “ dog day ” cicadas that show up in late summer and early autumn.  The next big emergence

Ocean-in-a-Bottle Craft for Kids

Enjoy the beach without the crowds! Bring fun-in-the-sun to your home with this easy-to-make ocean-in-a-bottle craft. What you will need -           A clean bottle with cap -           Water -           Glue -           Clear vegetable or mineral oil -           Blue food coloring -           A funnel (or small paper cup) -           Glitter -           Sand -           Various charms, small shells, etc. What you will do: 1.        Remove all labels from the bottle. 2.        Fill the bottle half-way with tap water. 3.        Add 2-3 drops of blue food coloring and swirl gently to mix. 4.        Using the funnel, add glitter. 5.        Add charms, sea shells, etc. 6.        Using the funnel, add the sand. 7.        Using the funnel, fill the rest of the bottle with the clear oil. 8.        Put glue around the rim of the bottle and seal on cap. 9.        Once the glue is dry, turn bottle on the side and gently rock it back and f

Back to Work After Baby….13 Years Later!

OK, so that is not entirely accurate. Truth of the matter is, I have been working at the Robbinsville Branch for six years and was getting my masters online for three of them. Just recently, I became a full-time Reference Librarian.  Some of you may be thinking… “What is the big deal? She has been working for a while now.”  Point taken; however, the last two months have shown me otherwise. As hard as I tried to act like this was not going to be a big deal but just an extension of what I was already doing, I discovered acting is not my thing. So how do you handle going back to work full time after being home to cook, clean, shop, drive carpools, attend recitals, host sleepovers, etc. etc? I have no clue, really. I have tried to figure out a schedule that works for me—still working on that. In the meantime, here are some of the things I have discovered that help me balance my home life with my new work life: Cooking I enjoy cooking. I like to read cookbooks and magazines and l

Happy Birthday, America!

Celebrate the birth of our nation with these recently-published books owned by the Mercer County Library System: The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States By Gordon S. Wood A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution--from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment--and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. “[A] series of cogent, beautifully written essays.”— Booklist (Starred Review) “ Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Wood challenges the popular view that the war for American independence was fought for practical and economic reasons, like unfair taxation. In this exceptional collection of essays (some previously published and others originating as lectures) he argues brilliantly to the contrary, that the Revolution was indeed fought

More Then Megapixels, Part 3

In May and June we looked at how to use the automatic settings or adjust the manual settings on your camera to take better pictures.  This month we focus on some helpful tips that every photographer should know. Buy a remote control and a tripod , they will be your two favorite accessories, even if you do not use them a lot.  Most cameras that offer a remote option do so at a relatively low cost, sometimes under $20.  If you have a remote when you use a tripod for fireworks, catching wildlife or taking family portraits, you will reduce the amount of times the camera shakes (and blurs the image) because you touched it.  Plus, you can look normal in family pictures instead of setting the timer and making a mad dash to dive in between Granny and Aunt Flossy. Example 1: Fireworks can require some trial and error in terms of the settings, but always require a tripod and, if you have one, a remote, for the best results.  Typically, you want to use an ISO between 200-400, an aperture be