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Showing posts from July, 2016

Pokémon Go

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Hi. My name is Amelia. I am a [redacted] year old adult and I play Pokémon Go. I might be slightly addicted to the game. I’m not playing all day every day, but I have been known to go for a walk at lunch just to hunt Pokémon and visit a few PokéStops. Maybe you’ve seen some of my fellow players out and about; you know those groups of kids you see walking around in packs, the parents out with young children on long walks in the park or around the neighborhood, or even those two complete strangers who both recognize a fellow gamer and stop to compare their game play.
What is Pokémon Go?Pokémon Go is a game where players capture creatures called Pokémon and then evolve them and train them to then battle. The game is free to play but does support in-app purchases (but you don’t really need those). What makes this game different is the need to get out and explore the world around you; the game uses your mobile device’s GPS to track your location and alert you to Pokémon in your area.

The …

Under the Boardwalk

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...down by the sea, on a blanket with my books is where I'll beNote 1Lyrics modified from the original. The Drifters. "Under the Boardwalk." By Kenny Young & Arthur Resnik. Under the Boardwalk. Atlantic, 1964. Single.. Of course, my version of a perfect summer vacation involves sitting by the sea with a tote bag full of interesting books, rather than engaging in a secret seaside tryst! The thought of reading without any interruptions or guilty thoughts of unfinished chores, emails waiting to be answered, or plants needing to be watered is enough to make me swoon!

While vacation reading is hardly a new concept, I am reluctant to use the ubiquitous term beach reads for the books I am recommending. Somehow, the term brings to mind books that are poorly-written—mere fluff—not nearly interesting enough to hold your attention nor significant enough to leave you thinking long after you have finished reading them. Instead, I am recommending books that are too well-written to…

The Secret Side of Collection Development

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One of our goals in the Mercer County Library System is to have up-to-date materials available for our patrons. I do not think there is a librarian alive who does not thrill at the thought of seeing wonderful new books arrive and go straight into the hands of eager patrons. However, as we continually acquire the newest James Paterson novels, the latest season of Game of Thrones, the most current volumes of medical information, and DVDs and Blu-Rays of the most recent superhero movies, it becomes a question of…Where can we put it all?

I am going to let you in on a little library secret that covers both our need to have current items and a place to put them.

Shhhh! Sometimes we remove books from the collection. It is called weeding.
And here is how and why we do this:

We look at a number of factors. One is how often an item circulates. When a new blockbuster bestseller comes out, a medium-sized branch, such as the Hickory Corner Branch Library where I work, may have eight or ten copies…

Books to Get You Thinking

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As the United States and nations across the globe continue to struggle under stagnating rates of economic growth, unemployment and rising inequalities, attention is turning towards analyzing historical trends of income, employment and structural growth of economies in search of answers that might provide us with economic remedies and policy tools that could help break the cycle. Two recent outstanding books, the first authored by Robert Gordon and the second written by Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson, do an excellent job of tracking down output, income levels and income distribution as well as patterns of economic growth dating back to the nineteenth century. Fundamental differences in these economic variables are detected when compared to current day economic conditions, this being attributed to the different stage in the development cycle that most countries find themselves in, as well as to steadily rising income inequalities that have resulted from technology development an…

Le Tour de France @ Your Library

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The month of July is here! We are officially in the thick of summer. The masses are gearing up for trips down the shore, barbecues in the backyard, fresh vegetables and fruits from local farm stands, and … the Tour de France. Well, maybe not everyone automatically associates July with the Tour de France as I do. I became a fan of the bicycle race when, one Sunday back in the early 1980's, my mother, a high school French teacher, casually flipped the TV channel to catch the highlights from the past week of “The Tour.” My siblings and I became enthralled with the team strategies, the route’s different stages, and riders’ backstories.

The race, first held in 1903 to promote the struggling newspaper, L'Auto, has changed greatly from its original six-stage race. The route for 2016’s event holds true to its nickname, Le Grand Boucle (The Big Loop). The Tour’s website maps out the 21 stages, totaling 3,519 kilometers (approximately 2,187 miles). Through this year’s combination of i…

Road Trip Audio: Audiobooks for Long Drives

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Some of my favorite summer memories are of piling into the car with my three sisters and parents to visit our family up and down the east coast. My mom was never a fan of flying so I was used to long car rides by the time I was in kindergarten. Looking back, I am not sure how my parents dealt with four girls chatting, fighting, and getting carsick for hours at a time… I loved being cozy in the backseat and playing “I Spy” or “I’m Going on a Picnic”. This was before cars came equipped with DVD players so our family spent a lot of time creating our own fun.

As I got older, I carried on the road trip tradition with friends, partners, and even alone. I look forward to each trip with the same enthusiasm as when I was a kid, but being stuck in a car for too long still requires some form of distraction. As you are heading off in the car this summer, whether for a short weekend or cross-country, you are bound to get bored of the radio. Instead, try listening to an audiobook to keep you enter…

Considering Backyard Chickens? Chick This Out!

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Have you ever thought of getting fresh eggs from your own backyard chickens? Have you ever considered hatching baby chicks? Keeping chickens is starting to become more popular here in the Garden State. If you are considering getting backyard chickens or are interested in introducing your children to the wonder of seeing a baby chick hatch, then the library is the perfect place to get more information!

Recently, the Hickory Corner Branch incubated eggs and it was a wonderful experience. Children and adults alike were in awe of the miracle of life! Incubating eggs is a great project for libraries and schools, but it is also something that families can do at home. Of course you cannot just reach into your fridge and incubate those eggs, so how do you go about finding fertilized eggs? At the Hickory Corner Branch, we worked with a local affiliate of Rent-A-Coop. They provided the eggs, incubator, and other accessories. There are other companies that provide similar services or you could e…

Superhero Fatigue: Fatal Condition or Imaginary Illness?

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Amidst all the enormous buzz that comic book movies have generated over the past few years, many critics have begun to ask the question: How long will the massive popularity of superhero movies continue? By the end of 2016 alone, Marvel Studios will have released two movies based on their Marvel Comics properties (Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange) while Warner Bros. Pictures will have also released two movies based on properties from DC Comics (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad). 20th Century Fox will have released two Marvel Comics adaptations of their own as well (Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse), making for a grand total of six comic book movies; the most ever released in a single year.

Some believe that number is too high. With so many movies based on comic book characters coming out throughout the year, how will these movies continue to make the incredible business they usually do at the box office while having to simultaneously compete with one another? Co…

2016 Marks the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Frankenstein’s Monster

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While summering in Lake Geneva, Switzerland with a writers' group, Mary Shelley, along with her fellow scribes, was issued a challenge by Lord Byron: Write a ghost story to tell the others for fun. She conceived of the character and the story during a waking dream in the early hours of June 16, 1816.

Although there is only one Frankenstein, Shelley’s classic has spawned several books and movies featuring the infamous monster created by the title’s eponymous character.

Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
A masterpiece of nineteenth-century Gothic horror, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein also has the distinction of being the first science fiction novel. Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young scientist, is consumed by a fanatic desire to create a living being. He fashions an eight-foot creature and succeeds in animating him but, horrified by his visage, perceives his creation to be a monster and frightens him away. The monster, wandering in searc…