Showing posts from April, 2019

Calling all Sci-Fi Geeks: 2019 Hugo Award Finalists, Part 1

The Hugo Awards are the most prestigious award given in the fields of Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction and have grown since its start in 1953 to include not just books but films, television series, graphic novels, illustrators (e.g. book covers), magazines and several fan categories (e.g. best fanzine).  The award is named after Hugo Gemsback, an editor of the pioneering Sci-Fi magazine Amazing Stories. You can read more about Gemsback and the awards on the Hugo website. The awards are based on votes by members of the world-wide World Science Fiction Society, which by the way, is open to all people willing to pay the annual membership fee! This year’s finalists have been announced and we will be providing a list of these finalists in two blog posts highlighting the nominees.  This post covers novels and Young Adult Fiction, with the next one covering the movies & television and graphic novels categories.  To be eligible, a work needs to have been published (or released) in 2018…

Don’t know much about….

Yes, an extremely overused lead-in, but it fits.

I have recently undertaken running a Citizenship Test Prep class – which required preparation on my part – which in turn led me to think about American History.

A candidate for naturalization has to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly. The ten questions are drawn from a list of 100 questions covering the history and government of the United States. Of course, I have been randomly asking my co-workers questions from the list and while nobody (including me) got every question right, we all could probably pass the test.

Here are 10 randomly selected questions from the Citizenship test – can you get six right? The answers are at the very end of this post.

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
11. What is the economic system in the United States?
14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
21. The House of Representatives has how many voting membe…

Traveling the World through the Mercer County Library System (or at least the Tri-State Area)

When first introducing the library to patrons, one of my favorite things to highlight is our museum pass program. Everyone is always amazed that you can go to quite an extensive list of museums for free! You can thank your local Friends of the Library group for the passes, as they are the main sponsors of the program. Contact your branch library to find out more about their Friends group.

This year, I decided that instead of simply telling patrons how great the museum pass program is, I should experience it for myself. I decided I would take a trip to Philadelphia to get a taste of the museum pass offerings, and have some fun along the way. I ended up reserving passes for two museums: the Museum of the American Revolution and the Mütter Museum.

I had been excited to see the Museum of the American Revolution because the former Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, Robert A. M. Stern, designed the building. The building was beautiful. The museum is relatively small, but the grand, ci…

Green Thumb Not Required

I am not a gardener.  My husband is the one in our family who likes planning, seeding, tending to, and harvesting our home garden.  He enjoys the whole process and he encourages the rest of our family to get in on the fun, producing vegetables, herbs, and flowers for our home.  I certainly appreciate the end results, especially when I see all the time and effort he puts into the garden.  I can honestly attest that a there is nothing like the flavor of a homegrown tomato.

When a patron inquired about starting a Gardening Book Club at the branch, I was hesitant, especially due to my lack of horticultural knowledge.  Little did I know how much I would enjoy the titles we’ve read thus far.  We have covered a selection of non-fiction, as well as fiction, and each book has truly been a fascinating experience in it’s own right.  A majority of the regulars are accomplished gardeners, but even with my lack of gardening skills, I would highly recommend any of the following titles to anyone look…

Midnight Rides In April

With April being National Poetry Month, I always like to revisit some of my favorite poems.  One of those is “Paul Revere's Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It starts:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five: Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.
The poem goes on to tell how Revere waited for a signal of lights in the Old North Church belfry to show if the British Army was advancing by land or by sea.  With the lights in place, he took off riding to alert the members of the militia so they could be ready.  The poem tells he left at midnight and by 1 a.m. was in Lexington and by 2 a.m. he was in Concord. Because of Revere, the militia was ready to stop the advancing British Regulars.

As beautiful as that poem is, history tells us that it didn't happen quite as Longfellow writes.  Revere was joined by another rider that night, William Dawes.  The two of them set out o…

Take Your Search to the Next Level: Finding Books by Reading Level

I am currently enrolled in the Master of Information program through Rutgers University so that I can become a librarian (yes, being a librarian requires a master’s degree!) I’m very excited to complete my degree, not just because it will allow me to become a librarian, but also because my husband will never win another argument once I am a MASTER OF INFORMATION. I mean, for real, that’s a cool title. Well, maybe not superhero-level cool, but still cool nonetheless. So what does it mean to be a Master of Information? Basically that librarians are experts at finding and evaluating information. We don’t just know where to find books in the library, we can find all sorts of helpful information for patrons. Working on a school project and need help? Ask a librarian. Starting a business and want to know about the programs available for entrepreneurs or the demographics of your area? Ask a librarian. Want to know where to find a specific tax form? Ask a librarian. You get the picture. Libra…

Books To Get You Thinking

The history of human civilization is a subject that holds endless fascination, inspiring a continuous search for answers to some of the most mystifying questions of existence - what are the origins of our earth and of life? How did the human species come into being and what were the  physical forces and evolutionary events that have shaped the emergence of the world as we know it? Scholars and scientists have studied and researched such questions in depth and over the years we have gotten a clearer picture of how we reached where we are today. Knowing and understanding our past and where we came from helps us gain an appreciation for both our place in the universe and what the future might hold for us. This month we highlight some outstanding books on this subject offered by the Mercer County Library System: 

Origin Story: A Big History of Everythingby David Christian

The author, David Christian, a professor at Australia’s Macquarie University, presents a cohesive history of humans - …