Showing posts from August, 2013

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States.  It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations. In 2009, the most recent year statistics are available, 206,640 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 28,088 men died from the disease.  The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2013 there will be 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer and 29,720 deaths. The Mercer County Library System has several books to help you understand more about prostate cancer, including: Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer by Patrick C. Walsh, M.D. Incorporating the latest advances in treatment and diagnosis, a leading urologist presents an updated, authoritative guide to prostate cancer survival. Every aspect of the ailment is covered; from its potential causes and diagnostic tests to treatment,

Tech Help @ MCLS

September means back to school, so now is a good time to take a closer look at the many opportunities Mercer County Library System offers to those who wish to learn a little more about various technology and computer topics.  From classes to one-on-one help and special technology-based programs, MCLS offers something for everyone. The Lawrence Headquarters Branch has a full-service computer classroom that was recently refurbished with new computers and, starting this month, the branch’s computer classes will be based on Windows 8 and Office 2013.  Beginners can start off with a mouse basics class and work their way up to the Office programs.  Classes on using the internet and setting up an email account are offered each month, along with Microsoft Word and Exel.  Advanced classes such as Excel 3 & 4, Word 3&4, PowerPoint and Publisher are also offered on a regular basis, with special classes in topics such as digital photography or how to use the library databases offered

Mystery Books for Young Sleuths

Do you know a young person who likes to solve puzzles? Why not try a mystery or detective story? Mysteries are an excellent way for children to practice problem-solving skills and develop critical thinking abilities. Stories such as The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin require readers to decipher actual codes and puzzles. Other stories such as Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol place clues and hints throughout for the reader to find. Readers must pay attention to the details within the story in order to discover the final solution. Mysteries offer readers a chance to experience adventure and suspense in a variety of settings and time periods. One example is City of Orphans by Avi .  This historical mystery about thirteen-year old Maks Geless takes place in New York City in the year 1893.  After his sister is arrested for stealing a watch, Maks teams with a homeless girl to prove his sister’s innocence. Readers will enjoy the detailed account of what

Books To Get You Thinking

On July 9, 2013, Oliver Sacks, the eminent physician, neurologist and professor at NYU, celebrated his 80th birthday. A prolific writer and bestselling author, the New York Times calls him “one of the greatest clinical writers of the 21st century.” Oliver Sacks’ unique blend of medical knowledge, philosophical outlook and literary genius is reflected in the wide range of compelling short stories and essays in which he explores the many intricacies and profound mysteries of the human brain. The narratives largely originate from his decades of clinical experiences with his patients. Oliver Sacks has written twelve books and many more essays – all of them showcase his amazing gift of analyzing science through the lens of empathy and humanity. Mercer County Library offers our readers an extensive collection of Oliver Sacks’ writings. Hallucinations In his latest book, Oliver Sacks delves into the fascinating world of hallucinations, providing insight into the many different forms that

You’re Never Too Young to Appreciate (and Learn from) Art: Picture Books

In a recent blog post , I introduced a list of children’s books that incorporate basic education components, such as the alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes, into famous works of art. In addition to the books that blend “A-B-C, 1-2-3” fundamentals with art concepts and genres, the library's collection offers a variety of picture books that can be used to introduce young children to the world of art. These picture books allow children to experience popular pieces of art and learn about artists' techniques, all while enjoying a lovely tale with beautiful illustrations. For example, James Mayhew incorporates Pointillism, a technique used by artists such as George Seurat, Paul Signac, and Camille Pissarro, into his engaging picture book, Katie’s Sunday Afternoon . David Wiesner’s Art & Max takes readers on a whirlwind art lesson on different art media and genres through the antics of aspiring artist, Max. Dende Maro: The Golden Prince by Sally Mallam is a beautiful story,

¿Habla español?

With the United States being home to over 37 million native speakers of Spanish, learning the language is becoming important to many non-speakers.  I began studying Spanish a couple of years ago.  I realized if I were to meet the needs of many library patrons, I needed to bridge the communication gap with at least some knowledge of Spanish.  I studied Chinese in college but, due mostly to shyness, I never really obtained a working knowledge of the language.  Here was my second chance-- to jump in, apply myself to learn and use a second language! Today, I cannot say that I am a fluent Spanish speaker, but what I have learned has surely helped me working at my library in Hightstown.  I have found that people appreciate the effort that one makes to connect and communicate with them. Whether the reason you want to learn Spanish is because of work, travel, a desire for a mental challenge, cultural curiosity or friendship, the library has many high quality resources for self instruc


The tangram is an ancient Chinese geometrical puzzle with seven pieces that fit into a square. The Chinese name for this ancient puzzle is  Ch’i ch’iao t’u  which means “Picture Using Seven Pieces.” In the tangram, seven pieces can be cut out from a square. These pieces include two small triangles, two large triangles, one medium size triangle, one square, and one parallelogram. All the pieces are either right angles, angles of 45 degrees or angles of 135 degrees.  Each piece is called a tan. These seven pieces can be arranged into many different ways to make a figure. The rule of the puzzle is simple: You must use all seven tans They must lie flat They must touch They must not overlap Tangrams are beneficial for children as they teach how to play with geometrical shapes. They go a step further by stimulating the brain to figure out how to arrange the tans to form a particular character. The tangram teaches children the concept of angles, symmetry, areas and perimete

A Hitchcock Movie For Summer Viewing?

North by Northwest (1959) is Alfred Hitchcock’s longest movie, yet is also one of his most engaging and entertaining.  It begins by adman Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) being mistaken for a fictional government agent while having drinks with friends at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  He is then forcibly escorted to a Long Island estate where he meets foreign spy Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) who, with assistance, forces a bottle of liquor into him and puts him into a neighbor’s car to drive at night, which they hope will do him in.  It does not, of course, and the following scene in the local police station turns out to be one of the funniest of all time, with Grant trying to phone his mother (Jesse Royce Landis) for help in an extremely intoxicated state. Thornhill ends up tracking down the real owner of the estate, who is speaking at the UN.  During their brief conversation, this gentleman is mortally stabbed in the back.  Thornhill is framed and must get out of NYC; he does


“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring When we plan a trip, we usually reach for the indispensable travel books: the Fodor's, the Frommer's or the Eyewitness travel guides. I want to write about an entirely different kind of travel book: travel books that have no practical use to a traveler! These travel books are a genre unto themselves - travel literature, as opposed to travel guides. While there may be lots of information in these travel narratives, they do not recommend reasonably priced hotels with excellent service, first-rate restaurants with fine cuisine or notable must-see places. Neither do these travel books offer an iota of useful advice on what to pack or the amount of currency you should carry. The books mentioned here are travel narratives with vividly atmospheric prose, subjective and emotional, and every bit as satisfying as if you were experiencing it all first-hand: the sound