Showing posts from December, 2019

Isaac Asimov’s 100th Birth Anniversary

January 2020 marks the 100th birth anniversary of noted science fiction and popular science writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1992). He was born on January 1st, 1920, in Russia, but his family emigrated to America three years later. Asimov spent his childhood working in his parents’ candy store in Brooklyn, where he developed the habits that allowed him to write almost 500 books during his lifetime. It’s also where he had the opportunity to read science fiction pulp magazines such as “Amazing Stories” that would inspire his career - first in science fiction and later in popular science writing. You can read more about his early life in his autobiography I. Asimov.

Asimov earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in the 1940s and was a college professor in the 1950s but continued to pursue his writing career, making his first sale of a story in 1938. He continued for the next two decades to write such seminal science fiction works as Foundation and, in a collection of robot stories called I, Robot

Hurray for Grandparents

The last line in the recent book The Truth about Grandparents by Elina Ellis captures the true spirit of grandparents. “Grandparents are AMAZING!”

I love to watch the grandparents who visit the library with their grandchildren. Whether as a full-time caregiver to their grandchildren or an occasional back up caregiver when needed, grandparents bring their grandchildren to the library to bond. During programs, they dance, sing songs, and make crafts together. Some grandparents will patiently follow their youngest grandchildren as they explore the library, introducing them to new words and concepts along the way. Other grandparents will get down on the floor with grandchildren to play with trains or build puzzles. Many grandparents will tirelessly read book after book after book to willing grandchildren. During all of these activities, these grandparents shower their grandchildren with love and acceptance helping build a deeper sense of emotional security in the children.

Grandparents al…

“Instant” Indian Food

I love Indian food – the variety, the spices, the vegetables! My husband and I make it a point to eat at every Indian restaurant we can, whether around the corner, in another state, or another country. The food and flavors are rich and enjoyable. My husband leans towards meat dishes while I prefer vegetarian ones (although I am not a vegetarian by any means – I just love the variety of vegetables and how they can be combined with fantastic spices to create so many wonderful dishes).

Unfortunately, eating out isn’t cheap so after I bought an Instant Pot, I was ready to finally try Indian cooking for myself! For those who do not know, an Instant Pot is a digitally programmable pressure cooker with multiple additional functions like a slow cooker and yogurt maker.

Wary of new and different ingredients and the amount of prep and cook time for some of my favorite restaurant meals, I was worried that my foray into Indian cooking would be a disaster. Thankfully, I had several cookbooks from …

LGBTQIA+ — It’s Not Just for Grown-ups

Recent generations of Americans were raised with stereotyped ideas of how their own children would look, dress, and behave.  Little girls in pink dresses with bouncing curls would grow up into slender, beautiful, makeup-and-fashion lovers, going out on dates with their handsome boyfriends.   Little boys in jeans and striped shirts would love sports and frogs, maturing into football, soccer, or lacrosse heroes with cute cheerleaders or field hockey players on their arm at the high school prom.

But the reality of who we are is much more complex than that.  Parents discover that their children are unique individuals, with interests, viewpoints, likes, and dislikes all their own.  Our culture today has experienced a major shift that has allowed children and teens to express or explore who they are, whether or not that expression conforms to past stereotypes.

Instead of finding out that Jenny wants to wear dresses and play with dolls, a parent may learn that Jenny would like to be called …

Winter & Holiday Cooking

Nothing brings comfort in winter weather like a warm homemade meal. Whether you’re cooking for two or cooking for a crowd, the books below will inspire you to try something new or give you a fresh twist on a traditional recipe for the holidays. From vegan to paleo to Christmas treats and Kosher delights…food and family are what connect us. The holiday season is upon us…start planning your menu and discover new recipes below to share with family & friends!

Vegan Holiday Feasts: Inspired Meat-free Recipes for the Festive Season
Whether you are vegan yourself or have a family member who is, include them in your holiday gathering with one of Vegan Holiday Feasts “clever plant-based recipes which are designed to be crowd-pleasing and properly festive and as well as being meat-free and dairy-free.”
Winter Stews & One-pot Dinners: Tasty Recipes that Fill Your Belly and Warm Your Heart
Instead of spending most of your time in the kitchen when you are entertaining for the holidays, why …

Doctor Who is Back!

Any Doctor Who fans out there? For those not familiar, Doctor Who is a long-running British science fiction television series which began broadcasting in 1963. The main character, called The Doctor, is an alien scientist and time-lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels in a ship called The Tardis, which looks like an old-fashioned British police box (similar to a phone booth). This gives him the ability to travel in space and time, usually with some human companions.  One of the Doctor’s special abilities is to regenerate into a new body (played by a different actor) when he passes away. At this point, there have been thirteen different Doctors. Many fans were shocked when he recently regenerated into a female body! This female Doctor is being played by actress Jodie Whittaker.

It has been announced that a new season of Doctor Who will begin in early 2020, starting with a Christmas 2019 special which will be broadcast worldwide in the evening on Christmas day. It has also been ann…

Homework Help, Resources for Kids, and Satisfying Your Yearning for Trivia

Last month, Tech Tips took a look at the business and investing databases offered by Mercer County Library. This month we continue the series by looking at databases that are great for homework help and a whole lot more – so do not stop reading, you might just find out how to locate some obscure fact to win a trivia bet with your buddies or even just explore a topic you have always been curious about but didn’t know where to look for more information. Each of the databases will allow you to explore a broader subject or narrow it down to a more specific sub-topic, making them ideal starting points even for adults or college students who want to get a grip on the basics.

The resources below are all listed on our website’s databases page, or you can click on the link below to go directly to the website. While this list is of databases designed primarily for early learners through high school, students should also take a look at our other subject databases as well.

ABC Mouse Earl…

Crafting: Paper Quilling

Crafting; a hobby of making decorative items by hand.  Paper quilling falls under the “crafting” category.  This may be the first time you are hearing about it, but it has been around far longer than you may think.  By definition, paper quilling is the art of rolling and pinching strips of long, thin paper into various shapes and sizes, then gluing these pieces to form a decorative piece of art.

The history of paper quilling dates back hundreds of years.  Nuns would create replicas of ironwork from buildings and use it to decorate books and religious objects.  Later, in the 18th century, paper quilling was a suitable pastime for aristocratic women.  Soon after, the practice spread to Colonial America and was used in a decorative manner.  It has since gained popularity and turned into the art form we know today.

Paper quilling is great for all ages due to the simplicity of the art form.  It is a low cost craft and can be used for decorating a variety of items including invitations, gre…