Showing posts from July, 2018

Is That Still A Thing?

Last year, when Facebook was mired in the political brouhaha that involved user privacy, many late night comedians joked that it was time to go back to MySpace.  While the internet’s first bona fide social platform is still pretty much DOA somewhere in cyberspace, there are two other forms of media that seemed to be on their way out but have sprung a newfound “cool” the last few years – blogs and podcasts.  This month and next we will look at these lasting technologies, starting with blogs.
Blogs were the hot internet destination in the early- to mid-2000s, then started to move aside with the rise of social media.According to an article on the Web Designer Depot, there were over 50 million blogs in 2006.Various statistics indicate blogging peeked around 2011 with close to 200 million before starting a down trend but, because of the way the software used for blogging lent itself to be used to create easy-to-update websites, developers continued to improve the software despite the drop…

Notes from a Hula Girl

Okay, so I am not Hawaiian and my knowledge of luaus is limited to what I can pick up at my local party supply store. That said, with the summer reading theme “Libraries Rock,” I thought it might be a good time to try out a new instrument – the ukulele. The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, played one in Blue Hawaii after all. When I expressed my interest in learning to play the ukulele, someone generously gave me one (thank you so much!). I can play piano, or at least play a decent version of Disney’s “Let it go,” so, since I already knew how to read music, I figured how hard can it be?

Well, there are a lot of differences between a piano and a ukulele. Obviously, one is a stringed instrument, and the other is not. Well, actually this is not entirely true. A piano is a stringed instrument, but when you hit the black and white piano keys everyone is familiar with, those keys activate miniature hammers inside the instrument that plays the strings. On a ukulele, my fingers interact…

Inviting & Anecdotal…Essays

Looking for something good to read? Have you thought of reading a book of essays? You may well ask: why read essays when there are plenty of novels? Why not read the compelling nonfiction book that explores a subject that interests you and is sitting at your bedside table? If you have never read a collection of essays, let me persuade you to give it a try. Entertaining and enlightening, essays can be a fun and satisfying read; we can learn a lot from reading a well-crafted, informative essay without feeling that we are reading a boring text-book; and, much like short stories, we do not have to finish reading the entire book. Due to the very disparate subject matter in any compilation of essays, we can pick and choose the chapters we want to read without feeling that we “missed out” because we did not read the book in its entirety.

Essays are not always about weighty subject matters such as race, religion, politics and politicians or even literary criticisms. Read Christopher Hitchens …

It’s Time to Start Planning Your Fall and Winter Garden

While the fireworks have barely faded and the long, hot summer days are at their peak, it is not too early to start planning your fall and winter gardening tasks.  For most gardeners, mid-summer is a time to maintain and harvest what was planted in the spring.  Gardeners who wish to have an extended growing season can begin now to start plants from seed, cultivate new areas, or at least begin to look at their space and see where you might be able to squeeze in some fall vegetables or what could use some repair work before the weather starts to turn too cold for plants to take root.  Here are some general ideas to think about for fall and winter gardening, but you can get plenty more by checking our shelves, particularly in the 635.9 (gardening) and 712 (garden design) areas.

Fall Vegetables

While some of the other chores for fall are only in the planning stage at this point, fall vegetables are in a more active phase as many can either be planted or started from seeds in late July and …

I Made It By Hand!

What activities do you think of when you hear the term “arts and crafts”? I immediately think of painting, knitting, and decoupage. You may be familiar with other handiwork, such as macramé, origami, and sculpting. Or, how about metal forging, tie dyeing, or batik?

The arts and crafts movement originated in late 18th century Britain because of the dissatisfaction with the quality of mass-produced goods. People set out to learn various skills to handcraft items for decoration and practical use, such as blankets, clay pots, earrings, tapestries, and many others.

Doing arts and crafts has numerous benefits. Many people craft as a way to relax. Think of tending a Zen garden. I have recently taken up crocheting—again—and I find it very relaxing. It is one of those activities that you can enjoy while doing something else, such as listening to an audiobook or chatting with a friend. Many arts and crafts offer a social component. It is quite easy, for example, to find knitting, crocheting, an…


In 2004, I went on a trip encompassing Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  One of the places we stopped was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  I am not a big history buff and, although I enjoyed watching The Civil War when it first aired on PBS, I did not remember much about Gettysburg except for the Gettysburg Address.  Because we were only there for a day, we just saw a
few specific sights – the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the Pennsylvania State Memorial, and the Eternal Light Peace Memorial – as we walked and drove around the area.  I was happy to have been there but, to me at the time, it was just one of the spots we saw on the way.  Unfortunately, the photo with this post was the only one I took while I was there – it was pretty rainy and back then I had a camera that used film.

Fast forward 14 years…

I had seen Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels on many reading lists and always meant to read it.  I knew generally that it had to do with the Civil War and that it was …

Memoirs of a Public Librarian

I have wanted to work in a library since I was in middle school. I loved visiting the main library in Washington, DC where I grew up and marveling at the architecture and the volumes of books. My grandfather’s personal collection of classics like Huckleberry Finn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,David Copperfield and many others sparked my love of reading and I would spend countless hours lost in the pages. Books opened a world far beyond my small bedroom - shared with my sister - and nourished my imagination. So, to no one’s surprise, I majored in English Literature with a minor in Classics when I went to college. I then went on to obtain my Masters in Library Science and specialized in Special and Public Librarianship. My first job was in a large corporate library for a Fortune 500 company.  I was responsible for reading articles from a variety of business journals, then indexing and writing summaries of the articles to be put into an internal database. This was all pre-Internet, of cou…

Music, Dancing, and Song in the Mercer County Library System

Most people would agree that music enhances their quality of life.  Music can relax us, or it can make us want to dance.  It can stimulate our imagination, make us laugh, make us cry, and bring us joy.  But how important is music to the healthy development of every human being, especially children?  If it is important, should we be looking for ways to incorporate music into our lives and the lives of our children?  What do you think?  Can the library help?

Many articles have been written on the importance of music in early childhood education.  Some of the benefits that I have read about include:

Exposure to music is beneficial to the left brain where language processing takes placeMusic fosters creativity, self-expression, and self-esteemMusic promotes parent-child bonding through rocking, swaying, singing and dancingMusic encourages movement, rhythm and timing, which aids in gross and fine motor developmentMusic fosters complex listening skills.

These are just a few of the benefits t…

Summer In The City

Alternative sightseeing, green space, and lesser-known museums…I love researching relatively unknown places to visit in New York City and I have come across some that I am definitely adding to my list of spots to explore! Here are a few of those places that I have found beyond the city’s more famous attractions:

A city like New York has many sightseeing opportunities but who wants to deal with the crowds? Or maybe you think you have seen it all. Trust me - there are endless quirky and unique spots to visit. I am always intrigued by the places that tell fascinating stories of a city with such a rich past.

What happens when land owners refuse to sell their plots to the city? Well, not many have done what David Hess’ heirs did. In 1910, the city wanted to demolish a number of buildings to make way for a new subway line. Instead of selling the tiny triangle of land, the Hess family estate decided to make a stand and fight back against eminent domain by installing a plaque on the site, dec…