Showing posts from February, 2016

What Your Library Has Been Up To ...

It is the beginning of a new year – besides looking forward to everything that will be happening in 2016, it is also a time to look back on the past year. Each January, I go through all my notes to remind myself how much has gone on at the Hopewell Branch the year before. The branch where I work is only part of a much larger system; Every one of the nine branches of the Mercer County Library System has a similar set of accomplishments. We measure our success based on the service we provide to everyone who walks through our doors or accesses our resources from home. Whether you were one of our 1,404,589 visitors or just getting to know the library system now, I think you will be pretty amazed with what we accomplished in 2015!

One of the most obvious services the library provides is circulating materials. A great number of patrons come to their local branch or visit the website specifically to check out books, videos, music and audiobooks. In 2015, there were 1,830,814 circulati…

And the Oscar Goes To ...

The winning picture in the Best Picture category at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony will mostly likely be based on a book.

Out of the eight nominated films, five are based on books:
The Big Shortbook by Michael LewisBrooklynbook by Colm TóibínThe Martianbook by Andy WeirThe Revenantbook by Michael PunkeRoom – book by Emma Donoghue One is loosely based on a book:
Bridge of SpiesStrangers on a Bridge by James Donovan Then there are three movies nominated in other categories which are also based on books:
The Danish Girlbook by David EbershoffSteve Jobs – book by Walter IsaacsonCarolThe Price of Salt, or Carolby Patricia Highsmith Hollywood has had a love of films based on books since the beginning of the award ceremony with 1929/1930’s Outstanding Production winner All Quiet on the Western Front based on Erich Maria Remarque’s novel. Some of these book-to-movie adaptations have been more than just great movies - they have helped usher in changes to the motion pic…

Host a Successful Event Like a Youth Services Pro!

Nearly every day an activity is going on in the youth services departments at the Mercer County Library System’s branches. Programming increases the use of our collections, boosts circulation and encourages early literacy and lifelong learning. Youth librarians regularly conduct story-times but also hold many seasonal and special events. Monthly music performances are held, community partners share their expertise, and quiet play sessions are available for independent play and socializing. A creative variety of teen programming is offered within the library as well as through take-out projects that can be done at home. Many of our events attract whole families and are multi-generational. Our annual summer reading program is a huge seven week long celebration which encourages literacy among youth of all ages via reading logs, prizes, free performances and educational workshops. Last year, Mercer County Library System youth services program attendance reached 88,829 and 4,577 prog…

Discovering the Great Russian Authors

For people who like to deal with the “big questions,” like Love and Death, Russian authors have always held a unique fascination, especially the great novelists Leo Tolstoy and Feodor Dostoyevsky (also transliterated as Dostoevsky in many book titles) and the playwright Anton Chekhov. The Russian literary tradition begins with Pushkin in the early nineteenth century, and Russia produced some of the world’s greatest novels, stories, and plays in the century that followed. These works continue to attract and fascinate today’s readers. Below are some ways to get to know the great Russian authors using the resources of the Mercer County Library System.


Russian literature became more popular in the English-speaking world in the early twentieth century, when Constance Garnett and others translated such masterworks as War and Peace by Tolstoy and The Idiot by Dostoyevsky into English for a wide audience. Although these were the standard translations for many years and are stil…

Timeless Love Stories

Moving shadows write the oldest magic word.
I hear the breezes playing in the trees above
while all the world is saying you were meant for love.

-Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, in their song “Isn’t It Romantic?”

February 14th was first associated with romantic love during the High Middle Ages, as Chaucer wrote “For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate." Valentine’s Day, as we know it, is a huge commercial success but love stories are no less compelling now than they were in the 1400s. Why do we enjoy reading love stories? What exactly is their appeal? Perhaps it is that love stories offer us a retreat from reality and escapist fiction can definitely be a stress-reliever in our overly busy lives. Love stories may allow us to experience romance vicariously, feed our idealistic notions about relationships, and may well be invigorating as we journey with our hero and heroine to a satisfying and blissful conclusion. Many of our formative…

The Deep Web

If you watch CSI: Cyber, you may be asking, as my mother does, what, exactly, is the deep web? Well, to answer yours and mom’s curiosity, the deep web is a part of the internet that is hidden, but in plain sight. As the show has often featured in its story lines, the deep web can be a place for nefarious activities, such as the selling of illegal drugs or black market weapons. While that type of activity leads to interesting TV shows, it is not the entire deep web, nor is it the reason the deep web exists in the first place.

In simplest terms, the deep web is a set of websites that are not searchable by using Google, Bing, or any other search engine. There are essentially two parts to the deep web: the hidden web and the dark web. The hidden web is mainly a set of websites that the owners do not want to make fully available to the general public, while the dark web is harder to find and is where those CSI characters look for illegal activity. In both cases, the website owners h…

Music in the Library

Most people think of libraries as a refuge from the hum of the outside world where nothing but the gentle turning of pages is audible. What most people do not realize, however, is how thoroughly music is integrated into the library community. In addition to musical programs such as the Victoria Sadowski piano recital this past December at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch, music information is available in a rich variety of formats for patrons to peruse. Sheet music ranging from Christmas music to folk music to rock ‘n roll for many different instruments can be found in the stacks along with biographies on different musical artists. Databasessuch as Freegal Music and hoopla offer downloadable streaming music services, in addition to the vast CD collections found at each of the branches. The World Almanac for Kids database even offers brief biographies on musical artists written specifically for children. So much is available if you know where to look.

In honor of David Bowie’s passing…

Books to Get You Thinking

Each November, there is much excitement and anticipation in the literary world as the National Book Foundation announces their annual literary book awards in the four categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. The Foundation also awards a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to an author for a lifetime of literary achievement. The 2015 recipient was Don DeLillo, author of fifteen novels and a novella, including the 1985 National Book Award Winner White Noise. As one of the most prestigious awards honoring the best literary works published in America, the National Book Award winners are selected by four different panels of judges that include authors, research scholars, university faculty and other icons of the literary world. November 2015 marked the sixty-sixth year of the National Book Awards ceremony and winners in each of the four categories were announced from the shortlisted finalists. This month’s Books to Get You Thinking fea…