Showing posts from December, 2018

A Reader's Vicarious Approach to New Year’s

The new year is upon us. This is a time we tend to reflect on the past year and think about what we want to do better or change about ourselves in the new year. It is also a time where traditions are a large part of the festivities. I have friends and family who absolutely love New Year’s traditions -- the noise makers, watching the ball drop in Times Square, the fireworks, the resolutions, “Old Lang Syne,” making predictions for the upcoming year, the Mummers Parade, college football, etc.

You may, however, not want to take part of all the hoopla. At the same time, you may not want to necessarily dismiss the whole New Year’s experience. There are some wonderfully appropriate movies to fill the New Year’s celebration niche (e.g., Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Apartment, and When Harry Met Sally). If a good read is more your speed, however, there is a diverse selection of titles with a New Year's setting from which to choose.

Below are books that have plots that either revolve around or …

For Cinephiles

Cinephile noun cine·phile | \ˈsi-nə-ˌfī(-ə)l  \ : a devotee of motion pictures (From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

This will be an occasional blog dedicated to the cinephiles amongst us; those that love the movies. Not because they are works of art (although some films definitely are), not because they are “socially important” (although, again, some are), but because they are just so much fun to watch.  And not necessarily watch alone, but with other people and then discuss filming techniques, acting techniques, directing techniques, stories about the production or casting.  Maybe there is good gossip about how the actors and director got along, or how the actors got along.  There could be little in-jokes the writers or director put into the movie.  If you get the drift of the above, then you are the kind of “cinephile” I am talking to.  You call them movies not “films.”  You would rather watch a Hitchcock film over the latest artistic trendy film, you know that Swedish experimenta…

Keeping Your Tech Safe in the Winter

While many of us will be spending the next few months curled up inside with hot drinks, cozy blankets and big books or a show to binge watch, many of you will be heading outside to take in winter sports and fun.

Back in June, we warned you to keep your tech cool so your devices don’t over heat in the hot summer sun.  We have a similar warning for you now - don’t let your tech get too cold in the winter.  Your tech does not like to be out in weather below freezing. If you do plan on having it on you in lower temps, it is best to keep it in a zipped pocket or as close to your body as possible to keep the device warm.  Don’t leave your devices in the car overnight or even for a few hours.  Freezing temps can cause problems with your device’s battery and screen.

If your phone gets too cold, your battery will start to drain faster than normal or your device can go dead even if you have ample power.  If you want to keep your device on you but don’t need to have it on, you should turn your …

A Holiday Gift for Your Loved One

The holidays are here again! Create your own magical gift for a loved one to make your holiday celebration even more special and meaningful. Here are simple instructions kids can follow, with adult supervision, to make a beautiful bracelet.


Faceted beads – clear, 8mmMemory wireWire cutterRound-nose pliers


First, decide how many coils you would like (the more coils, the thicker the bracelet). Have an adult help cut and fold the memory wire.

Use the round nose pliers to hold the end of the wire and bend it inward to make a loop.

Start adding beads to the opposite end of the wire.

Push the beads to the end with the loop.

When you are almost towards the end of the wire, ask an adult to use the round-nose pliers to make an inward loop.

The bracelet is now ready to give as a gift.

Enjoy! And Happy, Happy Holidays!

The Mercer County Library System has a vast collection of holiday craft books. Check out these books and make wonderful crafts for every occasion!

Origami Ar…

The Frozen State: Outdoor Winter Fun in New Jersey and Beyond

Growing up in New York’s Hudson Valley, I felt the same way as many New Jerseyans probably feel about winter: it was a long cold slog between fall and spring.  Especially after the holidays, it sometimes seemed the only fun thing about winter was the occasional snow day, announced in our town with a designated code blared by the massive horn above the firehouse on Main Street.  (It was 6-6.  I’ll never forget it!  The other codes referenced neighborhoods where a fire was burning, so you had to listen closely.)  When I went to college in Maine and then married a Mainer -- a northern Mainer at that -- I learned how much winter has to offer in the way of outdoor activities that can’t be enjoyed any other time.  When winter lasts half the year, people find ways to make it fun!  While I have never lived full-time in New England and I haven’t tried all of the activities listed below, I have learned to welcome cold weather with anticipation here in New Jersey, and to actually wish it could …

Books to Get You Thinking 2018 Holiday Edition

The year seems to have flown by exceptionally fast and we’re back to cool crisp days of December ushering in the festive atmosphere of the Holidays!   Now would be perfect time to wrap up your shopping and get the perfect gift for everyone on your list - and what could be a more perfect gift than books!  Ernest Hemingway put it so succinctly, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” This year there was an outstanding selection of new books covering a rich and wide variety of subjects, and rarely a day passes when I don’t come across a new and fascinating read in the library’s New Books Area.  For just about everyone on your list, from science enthusiasts, history buffs and current affairs followers, to the nature and animal lovers, it will be easy to find a book that they would enjoy!  You might even be tempted to check out some of these fascinating reads - all of which can be borrowed from your closest branch of the Mercer County Library System! From all of us at the library, we wis…

Time to Craft and Learn

Fall brings chillier weather and shorter days, both of which are great reasons to get crafty indoors! Make this upcycled alarm clock craft from an old CD and learn a bit about telling time while stretching your creative muscles.

You Will Need:

An old CD

Markers/crayonsCraft foam or construction paperPushpin or brass fastenerScissorsGlue 

What to do:

1.Create a “barbell” shape out of construction paper or craft foam to be the two bells on top of the alarm clock. Cut out and glue to the back of the CD (the non-shiny side) at the top.

2.Cut out 12 small circles from craft foam or construction paper to create each hour on the clock. Write numbers 1-12 on the circles and place in numerical order on the CD. Optional: I used circular stickers or you can write the numbers directly on the CD in permanent marker.

3.Draw and cut out the hour and minute hands from construction paper or craft foam. Have your child color or decorate these as he/she wishes.

4.Cut out a square of craft foam, cardboard…

All Trees Great & Small….

I have always loved trees. My family accuses me of taking more vacation photos of trees than of them (they may have a point).  I also tend to collect leaves, pinecones and nuts when on a walk.

From the time I was small, the idea of living in a tree has held great appeal and I was always delighted to find treehouses in my reading - starting with Owl’s house in the Hundred Acre Wood and the tree house built by the Swiss Family Robinson, then on to Tolkien’s flets.

Treehouses are still enchanting, however, living in a tree has never proved possible so I console myself by living with trees, both great and small.

My personal great tree is a Dawn Redwood or Metasequoia in my back yard – it is big (101 inches around) and getting bigger. This species is considered a living fossil and was thought to be extinct until a few were discovered in China in the 1940s. A wonderful way to ‘meet’ a Dawn Redwood is to visit the Morris Arboretum, both the West Windsor and Hopewell Branche have Museum Passe…