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Showing posts from March, 2017

Books to Open Your Mind

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What makes books so magical is their ability to allow you to “experience” something outside of your normal daily life. Sometimes books let you escape into a world of fantasy. I think part of what makes the Harry Potter series so popular is that the characters and emotions are all so realistic, but it takes place in a world that’s different and magical. You can experience something by reading a story that you never could in real life.

While fantasy and science fiction are wonderful escapes, it can also be enlightening to read a book with real or realistic situations that are different from your own. This experience is especially valuable to children as they develop socially and emotionally. Sharing stories can assist children in learning about differences and recognizing similarities between themselves and others, helping them learn to accept and appreciate others. Stories can give kids new perspectives and new appreciation of the diversity in our world. How are people’s lives d…

Books to Get You Thinking

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Since 1987, March has been designated as National Women’s History Month. March 8 also marks International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It is a good time to look back in history and take inspiration from the many extraordinary women over the centuries who, defying all social norms and constraints, made substantial contributions to the fields of science, engineering and mathematics. Their triumphs and accomplishments have frequently been overlooked. Dating back to the nineteenth century, Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, was a key figure in the invention of the computer. In 1911, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics. Her fascinating story, as well as the inspiring profiles of other women equally remarkable for their dedication and contribution to science, are covered in the selection of books this month. All titles can be found at the Mercer County Library System!

Ada's Algorithm:…

LGBTQA+ Themes

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The need to collect diverse titles is important to keeping a well-stocked library. As such, we at the Hopewell Branch have decided to make browsing our Young Adult/Teen books a little easier for anyone looking for LGBTQA+ themes. Realizing there was not an easy way to browse for books containing these characters or issues, we decided to add a new sticker to make quick selection easier for our patrons.
If LGBTQA+ books are what you are looking for, there are also numerous infographics online though sites like Epic Reads and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to help readers find just what they are looking for. Genres in our collection include, but are not limited to, science fiction, contemporary fiction, magical realism, romance, and memoirs. We are lucky to live in a time where there are constantly new stories being told, and new avenues in which we may walk a mile in another’s shoes! So, even if you do not identify on the LGBTQA+ spectrum, picking one of thes…

Written in Verse: Verse Novels for Young Readers

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Not all novels are written in prose. Although they may be few, novels in verse for young readers are often the most critically acclaimed and accessible, especially for reluctant readers. What exactly are novels in verse? They are narratives that are written in poetry form. Most often this poetry is in the form of free verse. Verse novels are not to be confused with a collection of poems or epic poetry, but rather they have a distinct narrative style.

For struggling or reluctant readers, verse novels are less intimidating than chapter books, as there are fewer words and sentences on each page. This type of poetry also allows young readers to think in a way that is different from reading your run-of-the-mill chapter book. Verse novels can present readers with abstract concepts and introduce them to an abundance of literary devices. As an art form, poetry is powerful and makes these novels successful and no less engaging than a lengthy chapter book. In the case of verse novels, less is m…

Thoughts on College Panic…I Mean Planning

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During each stage of parenthood, I say to myself “this one is the hardest”. In reality, as your child grows, there are many different issues, each hard in its own way. When my daughter was very young, it felt like her teenage years were an eternity away. Right now, she is in her junior year of high school and I will say it again . . . definitely the hardest stage! Who is with me? Tutors, ACTs, SATs, college essay, college applications, financial planning—not to mention your child leaving home—how do you prepare for that? 

It has been said that the difficulty of the teenage years helps you to let them go. I am not sure I agree with that, but I am counting on the MCL resources below to ease this transition. I hope they will help you too! By the way, if you figure any of this out, please let me know. I will be at the Robbinsville reference desk, sitting right next to our college planning section, cautiously optimistic that somehow I will get though it!

Be as prepared as you can be wi…

Tech Tips: Come into Our Parlour ... MCL's New Website

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In the past week or so, the Barcelona Football [Soccer] club completed an incredible and unprecedented comeback to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the EFEA Champions League quarter finals; and the Mid-Atlantic region of the country experienced multiple 60-degree days in the middle of winter (but as I type this, we are awaiting a blizzard that promises 12-16 inches of snow). These are both important, note-worthy stories, in their way.

But if you are reading this post, you are almost certainly from Mercer County, NJ. And if you are from Mercer County, neither of the stories listed above was the top story of the week for you. For you, the undoubted top story (not just top tech story; but rather top story FULL-STOP) of the week was: The Mercer County Library System, quietly and without fanfare, launched its brand-spanking new website on March 2, 2017.

So for the benefit of the two or three of you (at most) who haven’t already heard this news, I will herewith point out some of the more sali…

The Most Magical Place on Earth

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Hi! My name is Dana and I love all things Disney! From my very first visit, I fell in love with Disney and each visit since is just as special and magical as the first. My passion for Disney started with my first trip at 4 years old. Since then, I have been to Walt Disney World close to 40 times and even graduated from The Walt Disney World College Program. Let me share with you why Walt Disney World truly is the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Disney has always been a constant in my life. Disney has given me joy and has always been my happy place. Whenever I am feeling down or need inspiration, I listen to Disney music to lift up my mood again. Disney is what inspired me to fully follow my dreams, to believe in myself, and to love who I am. The song “Be True to Your Heart” is what gave me the strength to go to school for what I truly wanted to do, to not be afraid to fall in love, believe in friendships and know that the ones that we love will always be in our hearts (“You’ll Be …

Indomitable Women in Fiction

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In the introduction to the book Herstory: Women Who Changed the World, Gloria Steinem states “Human history isn’t accurate or complete without women’s history. It’s for all year, and must be integrated into every course. But even reading one book that describes the world as if women mattered can change the rest of your life.” This nonfiction book contains brief biographical sketches about remarkable women, some famous and some not so well-known. From heroic warriors, brilliant scientists and mathematicians, to dedicated teachers and political leaders, this book is a catalog of women’s achievements throughout history. Herstory is a great book that invites shared reading, perhaps with your kids or grandkids; it lends itself to creating great memories and teachable moments. There are, of course, any number of terrific biographical books in our library about inspirational women who have made a difference—notable women who have made significant contributions in the sciences, music, litera…

7 Debut Novel Discoveries

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It is thrilling when one of your favorite authors has a new book out. Right now I am biting my nails waiting to read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and Swing Time by Zadie Smith. As I placed both books on hold, though, I realized that a few months had gone by since I had last taken a chance on a brand-new author who had just published his or her first book.

Sometimes I can get stuck in my own readerly comfort zone. Sometimes books by first-time writers fly under my radar, especially when I get busy (hello, holiday season!). But there is nothing I love better than discovering my next favorite author, so what was I waiting for? Maybe some chilly days, perfect for curling up with a book?

Well, those days are here. And here are seven terrific new debut novels worth trying, all published within the past year.
1. Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves
Set in 1920s Alabama, this lyrical novel was long-listed for the Booker Prize. It tells the story of an electrician, Roscoe…