Showing posts from January, 2016

What Are You Reading?

If you watch television, you have seen numerous commercials and sitcoms mention getting together with your book club. We in the library system also encounter many patrons looking for books that they need to read “for their book club.” (This is often accompanied by either a big smile or a sigh depending on the excitement level for reading the chosen book!) There are many benefits to being part of a traditional book club - sharing your reading experience, socializing with friends - but often we do not have the time or cannot find a group that reads what we are interested in.

We have a solution.

Every Wednesday, stop by Mercer County Library’s Facebook page and post your answer to the question “What are you reading?” Share your thoughts on your latest favorite book, authors you like, books and authors you do not like, and/or DVDs and music you are watching and listening to. There is no pre-determined book to read and you can comment anytime it is convenient for you! Keep coming ba…

Time for a Change

January is a time for change. For some of us, it is a time to re-evaluate, and that may include our living space; out with the old and in with the new! The New Year is a great time to resolve to make some changes, and create a space that is more our personal style. For me, I am hoping that this will help me with my “try to relax more” resolution. Or for you, maybe it is just to forget those pesky promises you made to yourself.

If you are like me, you have been living with the same style for a while, too afraid to change anything, because that always leads to more changes. When I moved recently I was forced to do this. I had to pick new paint for an entire house, and I was overwhelmed. Did you know there must be hundreds of variations of the color gray? Essential Gray, Versatile Gray, Mineral Gray, Coventry Gray, Harbor Gray!! Yikes. Then there was new furniture to buy and styles to consider. While this was quite daunting, it was also liberating. It gave me a chance to mix the ol…

Exercise Options

For many people, cold weather outdoors means more time indoors. But this does not mean you will not be able to exercise and keep fit during those months when the weather is not agreeable to outdoor activity. The Library System can help you maintain an exercise program to keep fit, burn calories, and maintain muscle strength.

Beginning in January, the Lawrence, Ewing and Hopewell Branches will be offering periodic workshops on Active Aging Fitness, a program designed to present exercise techniques and recommendations. It will be offered in each of those locations by Bob Kirby, an American Council on Exercise Certified Fitness Instructor. For more details, including times, dates, and branch locations, see the Library System’s home page, click on the Programs button near the top of the web page, and then click again on Adult Programs to view a list of programs at all branches, which will include the Bob Kirby sessions.

Throughout the System, patrons can take advantage of an extensive…

Susan Wants a Dog(s)

Okay, so now you have your new pet dog. What should you know? How do you keep it healthy? How many times should you walk it? How do you discipline your new pet? There are endless questions for new dog owners.

When my children were small, I had a dog and the responsibility of walking and feeding him rested with me. Scotty, our apricot poodle, was put up for adoption by our family when we moved to our new home. Fifteen years later, with grown children living on their own, my husband and I adopted two Shih Tzus from an organization called Animal Rescue Farm of Mercer. There are other options for pet adoptions, such as town animal shelters, pet stores and local kennels.

Mercer County has great dog parks. Recently, I visited Rosedale Park in Pennington, NJ. There are two dog parks, one for dogs 35 pounds and under, and the other for those over 35 pounds. When I was there, I sat on a bench and watched my furry children play. It felt like 33 years ago watching my children climb o…

Living by the Book

Full disclosure: I am forever on a self-improvement quest, working on becoming a better person inside out. My pursuit of self-improvement is both external and inward-looking; superficial and profound. On a superficial level, I am always in search of that perfect lipstick, that ideal hairstyle or that ultimate black dress. However, striving to look better is not so difficult: get a beauty makeover by a makeup professional at any good department store and you can leave looking good (minus a few hundred dollars on all the lotions and potions to help the cause). On a deeper level, improving oneself and becoming a better person takes more work. While it takes much more time and effort than a quick stop at the beauty consultant's, the good news is that internal self-improvement does not cost a penny. Moved by a desire for self-betterment, I always turn to books that will inspire my personal growth, enhance my understanding of the world and help me lead a positive, more fulfilling life…

Exploring the Library Online

If you are reading this, you have already discovered one of Mercer County Library System’s (MCLS) online services. Our blog is a rich collection of information, written by our own staff members, and features articles that touch upon current events, explain how to use our databases, or offer extended information that relates to a library program. But the blog is far from the only service we offer that allows patrons to remain connected to the library 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The gateway to all of our online services is our website, which features announcements, library policy, and links to our catalog, databases, and program calendars. On the main page, our Featured Links section directs you to our most popular services. The menu at the top lets you access information about specific branches, jump into our databases, or search for information based on department. The branches section includes a page for each branch, with program calendars, GPS coordinates, and information sp…

Hamilton! The Man on the $10

“Just like my country
Young, scrappy and hungry”
– "My Shot", Hamilton the Musical

Did you just sing those lines? If so you might be caught up in the craze surrounding Hamilton the Musical.

If you did not sing those lines and are wondering what this craze may be, let me explain.

Hamilton is the new Broadway show that focuses on the rise of Alexander Hamilton, beginning with his arrival in New York from the Caribbean and his first meeting with Aaron Burr, to his role alongside George Washington and his work with the founding of America, and up to his famous duel with Aaron Burr. The music bridges the world of hip-hop and Broadway standards with catchy and informative songs.

You can listen to the soundtrack through hoopla or by checking out the soundtrack from one of our branches.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, was taking a vacation from working on his first hit, In the Heights, when he picked up Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. Miranda was impressed and inspire…

Books to Get You Thinking

As 2015 gradually recedes into history, it is a good time to take stock of the many excellent books published all through the year. Covering a wide range of genres and subjects, the outstanding books of 2015 will stay on our book shelves long after other memories fade away. In December each year, leading newspapers and journals share with readers their top picks of books published. This month we highlight a select group of titles from The Best Books of 2015 lists that have appeared in newspapers recently - all titles can be found at the Mercer County Library System!

New York Times

Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
The great polymath, Alexander Von Humboldt was one of the most prominent figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In this extensively researched biography, Andrea Wulf brings to focus the amazing life of Alexander von Humboldt. She describes in vivid detail his exciting expeditions, travels and exploits, and highligh…

Minecraft Madness

Minecraft madness has hit the library! Recently, I began hosting a Minecraft club for kids between the ages of 5 and 11. This program has been very well attended, no doubt because of the popularity of the game. I am definitely a novice Minecraft player and, each time I host a program, I learn a little bit more about the game. If you are not familiar with Minecraft, let me give you an introduction. Minecraft is a block-building video game where players can build anything they can possibly imagine. The game takes place in an open world and players have the freedom to explore and create. The most basic description of game play is that players need to mine for materials and then use these materials to craft their worlds. The world is formed with one meter cubes, called blocks, made from a variety of materials such as dirt, sand and stone. There is no storyline or set goals.

Minecraft can be played on many platforms including smart phones, tablets, game consoles and computers and has two …