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Showing posts from June, 2018

Books To Get You Thinking

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The Pulitzer Prize is one of the highest honors bestowed each year to outstanding works in journalism, the literary arts and musical composition. Its founder, Joseph Pulitzer, immigrated to the United States from Hungary and rose to become an eminent speaker, writer and editor, passionate about using the power of the press to launch a crusade against public and private corruption. Pulitzer had a vision that “the power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.” A year after his death, the Columbia School of Journalism was founded on Pulitzer’s ideals and the first Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 1917. Since then, prize winners in different genres of fiction, nonfiction, history, biography, and poetry are selected by the Pulitzer Prize Board and announced in a ceremony that has become a prestigious and highly anticipated annual event.  You can find many of the Pulitzer Prize winning titles in the Mercer County Library System!

Gulf: T…

Tech News You Can Use

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Technology-related issues have been in the news the last few months, so we thought we would get you caught up on what you need to know.
Router hacking – The FBI has released an advisory to check your home WiFi routers to make sure they have the most up-to-date software and then to reboot them.The advisory cameat the end of May and was the result of the discovery that Russian hackers had attempted to take over WiFi routers as a way to force issues with internet service in Ukraine.Fortunately, most people are not impacted by this issue.If you have a WiFi router that is provided by your service provider (Verizon, Comcast, Optimum, etc.) then you do not need to do anything at all, the companies already pushed out the updates and forced a reboot overnight before the news even broke.If you have a store-bought router, then you will want to check a few things.First, see if the automatic firmware updates are turned on.This setting can usually be found on your router’s configuration screen and…

What’s with all the slime???

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Every time I think the slime craze has passed, my kids come home with a new batch or start pulling out the glue and shaving cream to make their own.  Kids are making it, buying it and selling it to their friends or even on Etsy.  They are making it in different textures, colors and with extras added in.  I cannot help but wonder why this trend took off and seems to be staying around for a while.  Here is what I think: 


Most importantly, it is a pleasing, tactile experience.  Kids today spend more time interfacing with technology than I did as a child.  They use electronics for fun, communication, school work etc.  Slime gives them a different type of experience.  They are working with their hands in a different way than usual and there is something therapeutic about squishing that slime through your fingers.The ingredients are generally inexpensive and easy to get your hands on.  Many people already have what they need at home.  Ingredients usually include things like Borax soap, whit…

Hiking Adventures in New Jersey and Beyond

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Summer is a great time to go hiking in New Jersey - but how do you find the best places to go? You may have some favorite hiking spots nearby, but even in a state as small as New Jersey, you can find new places to explore. The articleThe Ultimate NJ Hiking Guide from the magazine NJ Monthly gives you 36 exciting hikes all over the state.

Want to find still more hiking spots? These books in our library collection may help:

Hiking New Jersey by Paul E. DeCoste selects some of the best hikes from all over the state, with detailed maps and directions. 50 Hikes in New Jersey by Bruce Scofield details fifty outstanding hikes in the state, rated by difficulty. Many are in the northern part of the state, but there are several in the south and center part of the state as well.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous, look for trails in nearby states. You may discover some good hiking places you never knew existed in New York, New England, and Pennsylvania. For example, Best Hikes near Phil…

Easy Chapter Books for Series Readers

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Recently, a patron asked me to recommend a new easy chapter book series that she could share with her kindergartener. This is a common request we hear at the library. Once a child finishes one series, they are eager to start a new one right away.  Easy chapter book series are a great option for children ages 4 to 8. At this age, children are ready to sit for longer stories but with fewer pictures and longer passages, easy chapter books can be more challenging for early readers to read alone. Therefore, these books are a great choice for reading aloud to your children.

When children read easy chapter book series they increase comprehension because each book in the series presents familiar settings and vocabulary. Children feel comfortable reading about the same people over and over and can build deeper connections with characters from book to book. Whether you are reading to your child or your child is reading on their own, easy chapter book series will engage your child in reading.

My…

The League of Lesser Known Heroes

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There is no shortage when it comes to superheroes today. Ask anyone to name a superhero and I would bet they would have little trouble coming up with at least one name. I would also bet that you would hear names like Batman, Superman, some of the more popular members of the X-Men, or any of those graced with their own film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That makes sense. Marvel and DC Comics are popular and well known for many reasons: Marvel and DC Comics have a long history - both companies really started to take off in the 1940s, which gave them ample time to refine and perfect their craft; both companies produce a wide variety of characters, genres, and art types, as well as stories aimed at different ages and reader demographics; both have expanded their offerings to include cartoons, live action television shows and movies, videogames, clothing and collectibles; and finally, one could argue that these superheroes are popular and well known because they come in the form of good…

How To Survive Cooking With Your Kids

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Involving my kids in the kitchen never really felt like a good idea to me.  Honestly, it seemed like it would create a big mess.  Aside from looking in the pantry for snacks or grabbing a drink from the refrigerator, they rarely even step foot in there (yeah, that Christmas card that showed my boys “baking” cookies was totally staged).  Recently, when my amazing cousin was babysitting for my two boys, she sent me pictures of them making cupcakes together.  Was she crazy?  But my kids were so happy and excited about it!  I figured I could try it out – we could pick out recipes together, write out a shopping list, cook something new, and maybe my completely picky kids would actually eat something.


The first step was to find some new recipes that would be kid-friendly and easy to prepare.  Of course, as a children’s librarian, my first resource is always the library!  Mercer County Library System has an abundance of cookbooks, especially those targeted to children.  My older son browsed…

What would you tell your younger self?

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Sometimes we find ourselves thinking about our past and the decisions we made.  Perhaps some decisions have had a huge impact on our lives.  Going into a particular field of study, getting married, taking a job, not taking a job, are just a few examples of decisions that impact our lives in big ways. Other decisions may have seemed inconsequential at the time but have led to a regret or two down the road.  It may not even be a decision itself but the advice you wish someone you trusted had given you.

During our teenage years, everything and I mean EVERYTHING, no matter how big or small, can seem to be a huge deal. The teenage years have been difficult and confusing for just about everyone throughout the history of mankind but it seems as if it is a stage in life that we all have to get through.  I
wish someone had just explained to me that these feelings are universal.  It is absolutely normal to be uncomfortable and feel like you don't really "fit in."

When you are a yo…