Showing posts from September, 2019

Baby Dance Party! : The Benefits of Music and Dance for Young Children

Rattle, rattle, bang, bang, bang!The sound of maracas, shaky eggs, drums, and other instruments may not be what you’d expect in a library… but they should be, especially in the Children’s Area!Libraries are places of learning where we have access to stories that help us learn the patterns of language, see different points of view, and experience different emotions.Music and dance provide those same qualities and more and are natural additions to library youth programming.

The benefits of music and movement are well-documented.Many studies of children focus on the school-age set, but there are also a number of studies and articles that deal with babies and toddlers. Eight of these benefits are listed below: Helps with bondingEveryone enjoys listening to and making music, even if there are differences in style and taste.  Children are no different, and we can connect over that shared love. A fascinating study of 14-month-old babies found that when they bounced in time to music with anot…

Books to Get You Thinking

Today our planet faces an impending crisis - global warming causing extreme climate changes is a phenomenon that has grown in severity over the years. Widespread deforestation and large scale use of fossil fuels has occurred over the past few decades following the increase in world population, as well as a rapid growth in overall consumption levels. These have resulted in higher carbon emissions and steadily rising temperatures on Earth.  The consequences of the gradually rising temperatures are evident today in melting ice caps and changing patterns of sea currents, which has lead to dramatic changes in climate that include more violent and frequent hurricanes, floods, droughts and famines.

Global warming has also become a major driver of wildlife decline, according to a New York Times summary of the recently released 1,500 page report by the United Nations1. The local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants need for survival are shifting or shrinking. When combin…

Happy Birthday to Me!

September brings to mind leaves changing colors, apples, and… birthdays! Well at least my birthday, which I share with Johnny Appleseed (along with a love of all things apple!).

When I was a child, all of my birthday parties were at home. My whole family would get together and I was always thrilled to see my cousins and eat cake!
Now, when we celebrate my nephews’ birthdays, the family still gets together but each birthday seems to be centered around a specific theme. We have had parties based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Little Blue Truck, dinosaurs, construction, and of course superheroes!

Planning these thematic parties can be a lot of work. Searching sites like Pinterest will give you many ideas for party games and decorating. In addition to checking stores like Party City and Party Fair, you may also want to explore online stores like Etsy. There you could find costumes/clothing (T.J. is wearing a pair of The Little Blue Truck shorts in honor of his first birthday), t-shir…

Databases – They Are More Than You Think

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL) recently announced the addition of the HeritageQuest genealogy database to the list of resources offered to New Jersey residents through their JerseyClicks website and your local libraries.  This got me to thinking about how the word databases can sometimes conjure up thoughts of boring hours spent combing through journal articles and government documents in a last minute effort to finish a school report.  What the word may not relay to the typical library user is a portal to a world of verified, reliable information that can be used in everyday life – from researching childhood illnesses to fixing that annoying noise your car makes.  Yet today’s databases do just that, go beyond the usual research topics.  Between the NJSL and MCLS, we provide our patrons with databases that can help you land a new job, brush up on you language skills before a vacation, find the next best book to read, or even learn some basic life skills.

Let’s take a look at som…

Opening that NEW BOOK

Ok, so you bought a NEW BOOK. Yes, it does deserve capital letters because someone wrote it and you were intrigued enough to buy it. Ok, perhaps it belongs to a library. The Mercer County Library System catalogs over 45,000 NEW BOOKS each year!  That’s correct. Over 45,000. As a library patron you are able to have up to 75 items checked out on your card!  Pretty cool. They are available for you, your friends and your neighbors to read and enjoy. All we ask is that when you do check them out, please treat them with respect. We want as many people to enjoy the collection as possible.

Now, the way you initially open a book will determine the life of that book and your enjoyment of it.

Is that a sweeping generalization? Nope. You and your book can grow old together if you open it with a bit of care, caution and affection.

So…given that you love to read and you love books, here’s a way to initiate a beautiful relationship with them…

Place your new friend spine down on a flat surface with the s…


I have been thinking about rules lately. It seems to me they get a bad rap, but in truth they make life a lot simpler.

For instance, if you make a rule for yourself it can save you tons of time and aggravation on a day-to-day basis. The rule could be as simple as ‘I don’t eat chocolate’ – now every time chocolate turns up in the lunch room you don’t have to think, or agonize because you don’t eat chocolate.

A slightly bigger rule like ‘I will not shop and will only replace items when they wear out’ means you can recycle all the catalogs that arrive in the mail, delete marketing emails unread, walk past stores, and save time and money.

There are also all the positive rules – the ‘I will rules’ - often about exercise. These can make your life easier because they tend to create schedules …. ‘It’s 10 o’clock and it’s time for me to ……’

You can call your rule a resolution, or intention, or practice, but when you come right down to it they are still rules.

Which brings me to that part of th…

Victory Day

Victory Day, or V-J Day, is September 2, 2019.  This marks the anniversary of the date of Japan’s formal surrender to the Allies in 1945, effectively ending World War II.  To be honest, I have never been a big fan of history, but I have found that I am getting more interested as time goes on.  One reason is the quality of documentaries, television series and movies that have come out recently.  Seeing the story on the TV has made me curious for greater detail.

In May, I read the book Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent.  I - like many others - first heard a little about this in the movie Jaws.  A Japanese submarine sank the U.S.S. Indianapolis while it was on its way from Guam, just four days after delivering enriched Uranium and other bomb parts to Tinian Island for the Little Boy atomic bomb.  Due to mistakes made in keeping track of ships’ arrivals and departures, no one k…

Happily Strumming a Tune!

Ukulele music first had its heyday nearly 100 years ago in the 1920s. In the last 20 years, it has had a resurgence.Maybe you saw George Harrison & Paul McCartney strumming ukuleles in the Beatles’ Anthology extras as they harmonized together in song? Or you heard that Eddie Vedder released an album of ukulele songs in 2011 (an album that won a Grammy)? Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro made a name for himself after posting a video in 2006 on the then-new site,, playing an enchanting instrumental cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” (As of this summer, it has had more than 16 million views.) I have spotted photos of many celebrities sporting ukuleles: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Taylor Swift, Pink, and Johnny Depp to name a few. I’ve even seen photos floating on the internet of former president Barack Obama strumming one!
For those of us who are not famous, there are the many ukulele festivals across the country, including the annual August Ukefest…