Showing posts from June, 2019

Find Something New In The Catalog

For years, Mercer County Library System has subscribed to the NoveList Plus databases and offered NextReads newsletters to help you find the latest books by your favorite authors or explore new options based on the titles you liked to read or listen to.  Now we will be bringing both of these wonderful resources to you right in our catalog.  While we will still offer the database and newsletters, you now have the convenience of seeing the same content in our catalog while you search for books and audiobooks.  Here is a primer on how to get started using the new features.

Like the NoveList Plus databases, the enriched content on the catalog page will direct you to authors, titles, and series that are similar to the item you searched for.  It is essentially a way to get suggestions based on a title you have already read and liked, or to suggest alternatives if the title you are looking for is checked out.  To get started, visit our catalog page and search for a book.  If there is an auth…

Ten Easy Crafts for Fun and Decor

A top library trend is crafting and at least half of our branches offer classes. If you’d like to try it, ask at your local branch for the nearest class or check our website!

As a crafting coordinator, I’ve had the opportunity to make a wonderful variety of crafts to share with you.

Making nail polish mugs was exciting because the results were unpredictable. We used large containers of water, floated several colors of nail polish on top of the water, and swirled them together. Then we dipped our dollar store mugs into the nail polish, emerging with an unplanned mix of bright colors and pattern. Surprise! It’s called a marble effect.

This picture displays two crafts - paper flowers and a striped tissue paper vase. The flower directions can be found on page 54 in Paper Blooms: 25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make for Weddings, Celebrations & More by Jeffery Rudell. All you have to do is cut circles with eight radial cuts and then a do bit of finger-creasing.

The blue and yellow striped …

Hug a Tree or the Health Benefits of Nature

In recent years there has been a growing body of literature demonstrating that nature has a host of beneficial effects on humans.  Hiking, gardening, a walk in the park, even just looking at trees through a window can make us healthier, happier and promote physical and emotional healing.

I became interested in this subject after reading an essay entitled “Positive Effects on Mental Health of Visiting Botanic Gardens” by Sylvia Shaw and posted on the Chicago Botanic Garden website.  Shaw, the former president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, writes about her first visit to a public garden, the Lincoln Park Conservatory. She was seven or eight at the time, and her family was going through a very difficult period.  In the conservatory she experienced great comfort, reassurance, and relief from her sadness and uncertainty.  At a botanic garden, she writes, the healing power of nature is evident every day, calming the spirit, and nurturing the body and mind.  Shaw’s essay goes on to …

Take Another Spin

Summer vacation is just around the corner and that means amusement parks are opening once again for the season! Besides the crowds, the taste of cotton candy and funnel cakes, and the sounds of screaming roller coasters, there are the brightly-colored family and children's rides.  One of my all-time favorites is the carousel or merry-go-round. They were my first “horse” rides outside of real ponies at the zoo. The carousel horses were so beautiful, and it was so hard to choose between them. Then there were all the other animals...who wouldn't want to ride a giraffe or a lion?!!

Recently the carousel at Seaside Heights, New Jersey has been closed and will be sent away for repair in the fall of this year.  I hope they can get it up and running again soon! 

Did you know there are three different poses for carousel horses? 1) Standers are found on the outside row of carousels and are usually the biggest and have the most decorations and frills. They have three or four feet on the g…

Mysterious Ladies of Victorian England

Light, adventurous, engrossing: these describe a number of recent mystery series that focus on women in Victorian England. Some of them have supernatural aspects and others are strictly realistic. A few of them feature characters from beloved fiction of the past. They’re all light, sometimes humorous, takes on the mystery form—with a feminine and feminist bent.

Explore the list I’ve compiled, and be sure to comment and let me know what I’ve left out!

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, by Dianne Freeman, is the first book in the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries.

Wealthy young widow Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, is newly out of mourning. With her young daughter, Frances moves to Victorian London and welcomes her sister Lily, arriving from New York for her first London social season. When mysterious burglaries start plaguing London's elite, an anonymous tip to the police implicates Frances in her late husband's death. Frances rallies her wits, a circle o…

Composting 101

Are you looking for ways to reduce your household waste?  The EPA tells us that composting organic waste can reduce your household garbage by as much as 30%.  Trying to reduce your carbon footprint?  Carnegie Mellon University states that more than 20 million tons of compostable food waste is created annually.  If that was composted, it would reduce greenhouse gases so much that it would be the equivalent of taking approximately 2 million cars off the road each year.

Do you just want to be a little bit more environmentally friendly?  According to the EPA, almost 60% of landfill waste is compostable.  Imagine if everyone composted just a little bit of that.  If you’re interested in any of these things, and have about 10 minutes of time a week, then composting may be a great fit for you.

There are several types of composting.  The method that is best for you will depend whether you live in an apartment or have outdoor space for a compost pile.


Vermicomposting uses red wig…

Saying Goodbye: Using Books to Help Children Cope with the Death of a Pet

Life as a children’s librarian usually deals with happy things – finding books about a child’s favorite character, dancing around in story-time, or having fun with a messy art project.  Sometimes we have to deal with more serious topics.  I have had several patrons ask me for books about helping a child who is grieving the loss of a loved one or pet.

We went through this first-hand in my family.  A few months ago, our dachshund, Domer, passed away.  He was the baby of our family before we had kids.  At 16 years of age, he had slowed down a lot and my husband and I knew what was coming.  My sons, ages 10 and 4, reacted very differently when the time came to finally put him down and relieve his pain.  My older son has been through loss before and knew what it meant for our dog to die.  He was visibly upset about it, as were my husband and I.  But my younger son did not completely understand.  He thought Domer was just sick and would come home when he got better. He tried to “fake” cry b…