Showing posts from September, 2013

Endeavor Morse

I discovered Inspector Morse in a very serendipitous and circuitous manner while watching a pilot episode of Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery. The lead character, Inspector Lewis’ remarks on the cryptic clues left by his predecessor Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Morse, got me intrigued.  I decided to check out the Inspector Morse DVDs at my library the very next day. Fortunately, the Lawrence branch owned all thirty-three episodes and I immediately checked out the first series containing three episodes. Needless to say, after watching the first DVD, I was hooked and became an ardent fan of the series. Every week I would check out five DVDs and would devour them in a fit of gluttony every evening. Sleep deprived, I would vow the next morning not to overindulge and stay up so late. Inevitably, I would fail in my resolve to ration myself to one episode!
What is so wonderful about the Inspector Morse series? A better question is, why should you watch the series? In this time of D…

Finding eBooks in the Catalog

MCLS recently added eResource Central from SirsiDynix to our catalog.  This software allows us to automatically import information from eBook and digital audio databases directly into the catalog, along with real-time availability information, which will make it easier for you to search all of the library’s print and digital holdings from one catalog.  If you prefer to search eLibraryNJ directly, you may still do so, as this is meant as a catalog enhancement and not a replacement for eLibraryNJ.

When you do a search in the catalog, two new formats will appear in the facets box on the left, eAudiobook and eBook.  You can select these as you would any other format to either narrow or exclude them from your results list.

In the results display list on the right, titles in the two formats will appear the same way as any other item in our collection, but they will not show a branch location.  Below, the top entry is for the eBook (has a down arrow icon) and the bottom entry is the digital …

Celebrate the Freedom to Read

It is my favorite time of the year. No, not back to school, although I am sure that if I had school-aged kids that would rank pretty high on my list! It is a librarian-ish kind of holiday – Banned Books Week, September 22 – 28, 2013.  Actually, Banned Books Week (BBW) is not just limited to librarians and libraries, it is a cause taken up by the entire “word” community – teachers, booksellers, publishers, authors, and journalists all have a stake in the movement that aims to eliminate censorship. BBW is about keeping reading options open for readers of all ages.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects freedom of speech – including the written word – but the United States Supreme Court has historically struggled with exactly what can and cannot be considered protected. Much of their struggle centers on defining the parameters of what is inflammatory, offensive, or obscene. People have different beliefs, experiences, and tolerances so there can be no one-size-fi…

Books to Get You Thinking

Two hundred years have elapsed since the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and yet time has not diminished the allure and unending universal appeal of Jane Austen’s books.  Avid admirers of Jane Austen have formed literary societies and book clubs, displaying timeless fascination with an author who, in her short lifetime, wrote six novels and left behind many letters, diaries and writings. There have been many fine biographies and literary criticisms related to Austen and her work, as well as sequels, spin offs, and a spate of gorgeous film adaptations.  Fans of Jane Austen, referred to as Janeites, have kept the memories of Austen alive through a variety of Austen and Regency themed paraphernalia: note cards, journals, picture hangers, and board games.

Readers can enjoy Mercer County Library’s comprehensive collection of Jane Austen-related literature and films, ranging from enthralling biographies to books about the historical period in which Jane Austen wrote. Many o…

How Dewey Decimal Classification Works

Have you ever come into a public library and searched for a book in the nonfiction section? If so, you probably encountered a confusing array of letters or numbers (or possibly both) on the spine of the book. These are called classification schema, systems that set a framework within which a library can work to order books in an organized, uniform way that is easily transposable between different settings.

You may see a series of letters and numbers such as A420.H36 (top picture, left). This is an example of Library of Congress Classification. On the other hand, you may see only a number, such as 822.33. This is an example of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC for short), the system used by the Mercer County Library System (bottom picture, left). In this blog post I will discuss the history and functionality of the Dewey Decimal System of Classification.

A Brief History of DDC

DDC was developed by Melvil Dewey in the late 1800’s while he was working at the Amherst College Library. Dewey…

Not Your Usual Things To Do In The Fall

I had this blog deadline due at the end of August, and I thought well, maybe I should talk about some seasonal activities. You know, like apple picking. Corn mazes. Hayrides. Pumpkin carving.

And then I thought: no, wait. INTERESTING. I said INTERESTING.

Not that I have anything against apple picking, corn mazes, hayrides or pumpkin carving.  I have done all these while my kids were little, and I enjoyed them. But I figure you guys already know about all that so I decided to cast about and find some activities that are, maybe, just a bit off the beaten path.

Here is my list.  Some of these suggestions are local, kid-friendly, and inexpensive; others, not so much. Some are directly related to the season; others just happen to be happening in the next few months.  I have tried some (marked with an asterisk) and can personally vouch for them (by that of course I mean that I enjoy them).  But there are others that are completely terra incognita, as far as I am concerned: if you try them,…

From Tea Parties to Luaus

Planning birthday parties, holiday gatherings, or any special occasion can be stressful.Youth Services librarians plan a number of special events throughout the year at the various branches of the Mercer County Library System. At the Robbinsville Branch, a few of the parties that I have planned include:
Tea PartiesStuffed Animal SleepoversCountdowns to the New Year Teddy Bear PicnicsLuaus

When I am looking for party themes or activities, I use a variety of sources including party planning books. Here are a few titles to help lower your stress level and make your next event extra special!
The Book of Wizard Parties: In Which the Wizard Shares the Secretsof Creating Enchanted Gatheringsby Janice Eaton Kilby and Terry Taylor - Provides directions for preparing invitations, refreshments, games, and favors for such parties as an Alchemists' Gathering, Chinese Dragon Fete, Merlin's Birthday Parley, and Wizard's Welcome Springtime Fairy Frolic.

FamilyFun's Partiesby Deanna F. Co…

Local Talent @ MCLS

The Mercer County Library System has, among its patrons, a number of authors who have written fiction and non-fiction works.   We are fortunate to have many of these works represented in the Library System’s collections.  Their work includes a wide spectrum of forms and genres, and topics that range from history, poetry, fitness and spirituality to original music.    
Just this past year, the Lawrence Historical Society relaunched a photographic collection entitled Lawrence Township Revisited  as part of the ‘Images of America’ series.  The work contains a number of vintage photos of people, places and events in Lawrenceville that are emblematic of its vibrant history and contemporary dynamism.    J. Robert Cleary and Richard J. Coffee co-authored Reflections: Fond Memoriesof Growing Up in the Village of Lawrenceville, which offers a descriptive and anecdotal sketch of Lawrenceville concentrating on the period between 1928 and 1945.
Another area of non-fiction that has benefitted tremen…