Showing posts from February, 2017

Books to Get You Thinking

In today’s competitive economy dominated by rapidly changing technology, global commerce and skill migration, attention is turning to improving individual performance and productivity. While acquiring the right skill sets and domain knowledge continue to be critical, it is also imperative to focus on mental attitudes that play a vital role in determining an individual’s ability to think creatively. The motivation to try out new ideas and a willingness to take risks lead to superior abilities and enhanced performance in life as well as in the workplace.

The physiological and behavioral dynamics which make people proficient are the subject of extensive research at the academic, business and institutional levels. Some thinkers approach from the neuroscience perspective, while others focus on “learning” through collaborative teamwork and personal empowerment as a fundamental element in driving innovation, growth and competitive advantage. A number of fascinating books have appeared that a…

Fact Checking 101

An old saying goes: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” With our constant accessibility to information via mobile devices, social media, and the Internet, a lie or a piece of misinformation can easily travel around the world numerous times before the truth can even make an effort to catch up. "Fake news" is not a new phenomenon. Just as Gutenberg’s printing press facilitated the distribution of news, it also contributed to the spreading of "spectacular stories of sea monsters and witches to claims that sinners were responsible for natural disasters."Note 1 Soll, Jacob. "The Long and Brutal History of Fake News." POLITICO Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. Additionally, current technology seems to have simply made it easier to spread misinformation with videos, animated GIFs, articles, memes, etc. with a quick clic…

A Deeper Glance at Music Appreciation: Baroque

I was reintroduced to baroque style music during my freshman year of college in music history class. In this class, the professor took us on a journey from Gregorian Chants to Rock. He lectured about how music in the past was used for religious expression and how it became secular. We learned about the different styles of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and then finally the Baroque era.

The professor started his lesson on Baroque with Bach’s Little "Fugue in G minor". I was immediately drawn to the rich sound of the organ, the complex melody lines, and the robust bass line. The many melody lines were busy—the tones dissonant, yet harmonic. All of the lines seemed to be independent of the others, but still needed each other to exist. It was then that Bach’s most popular fugue became one of my favorites from the era.

The term Baroque is derived from the Portuguese barroco, meaning irregular pearl, and is used to describe Western European music, arts, and architecture from 1…

2017 Youth Media Awards

What is the most exciting day of the year for Children’s Librarians?!! It happens in mid-January, when the 2017 Youth Media Awards are live streamed from the annual American Library Association’s Mid-Winter Conference at 8:00 am, announcing the best books and videos of the year for children and teens!

We are familiar with the Newbery & Caldecott Medals—awarded to the best written and illustrated books for children each year—but there are several other important awards not to be missed: the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpre Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video, the Sibert Informational Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award and YALSA Award in Nonfiction for Young Adults, among others.

Wonderful resources for parents, teachers and librarians alike, the awards showcase the best in children’s literature, audiobooks and videos of the year and are a great place to start when looking for a great book or video.

Here is how the awards are described:

Tune in Tuesday: Grammy Edition

Going into this past weekend’s 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards, everyone was buzzing over how many of her 9 nominations BeyoncĂ© was going to win. After Sunday’s show we know the answer is 2 (Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video for “Formation”). The big winner of the night was Adele, who walked away with five awards for her album 25and single “Hello.”

The four big awards of the night are Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

The winner of Best New Artist may look familiar to you, but you might not know his music. Chance the Rapper has been popping up all over the place this past year from Kit-Kat commercials to H&M ads. His nominations were history making, since his albums can only be found on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. You can find him appearing on other albums owned by the library system.

The other Best New Artist nominees were: Kelsea Ballerini (Country), The Chainsmokers (Rock/Dance), Maren Morris (Countr…

Things I Learned from My Children

I had 3 kids in 4 years. None are twins. Needless to say, I was in over my head and heavily outnumbered. They are all teenagers now and, thankfully, I can say that I have raised them to be well-mannered, productive members of the community. They are respectful and kind to others and most importantly, to each other. However, they have taught me way more than I could ever teach them...but please do not tell them I said so! They have taught me how to love another person more than I thought ever possible no matter how angry or upset at them I get. I have learned how to deal with the needs of another human being above my own. I have developed patience and acceptance within myself and with those around me (most of the time). I have experienced the unconditional love of a child for his mother and have learned that a hug is sometimes more powerful than any other form of communication.

My children have taught me self-acceptance through loving and accepting them unconditionally. If on…

Keeping Your Devices Clean

When I was asked to write this blog post I was at a loss for a topic. So I did a quick search for “tech tips” and found a number of posts filled with interesting ideas and hacks to better use your device or software. However, there was one post that caught my eye—its headline told me that I needed to clean my earbuds ASAP and now I am eyeing my lime green earbuds suspiciously. So I clicked the headline and saw that these little guys can carry a lot of bacteria and even cause ear infections. Yup, these things are going home with me to get clean!

Besides earbuds, there is a lot of technology that we touch on a daily basis that we do not clean as regularly as we should. A number of us spend all day with fingers tapping away at keyboards, clicking mice, and swiping around on smart devices. What germs are lurking on these devices? Let us not worry too much about that, because all these items are easy to clean. I am going to share with you how we clean these things in the Information…

Yuck Soup: Or, How My Daughters Taught Me to Cook

In my defense, I have to say, I could sort of cook. Eggs. Eggs were easy. To that, one can add bacon, ham, mushrooms, tomatoes. And that leads to bubble and squeak. Soup is simple, and if one can make soup, one can make stew. Somewhere along the line I learned to bake bread and make rice pudding, as well as roast a joint of meat to the point of over-doneness and boil some veg to go with it. Oh, and cauliflower cheese. I made a nice cauliflower cheese. My pride was tazlins, little pastry tarts made at Christmas in Derbyshire (where I was born) filled with raspberry jam, lemon curd, or mincemeat.

When my daughters were about two and four, as I worked my way through my limited repertoire week after week, they wanted to cook as well. I would give them a couple of wooden spoons and a large bowl, into which went water, eggs shells, used tea leaves, sometimes a drop of food coloring, and anything else lying about. My older daughter, Elizabeth, dubbed the dish yuck soup, and at the end of th…