SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
Friends of the Library
Keeping you up-to-date on what's happening at your library. We invite you to join in the conversation!
AUGUST 31, 2009
It’s school time again! Most children began school last week or will start this week. For weeks now we’ve been seeing the back-to-school advertisements and sales in stores which means lots of new clothes for many children.
I was surprised to learn a few weeks ago that the middle school of the neighboring community now requires its students to wear uniforms. This is a public school, hence my surprise, but many public schools are beginning to implement uniforms. I attended private Catholic schools for both junior high and high school and so had many years of wearing uniforms. I can’t say that I was happy about this but by my last few years of school, I had begun to appreciate the benefits of wearing a uniform.
For children, wearing a uniform evens the playing field, if you will. There can be little competition in your manner of dress when you’re all wearing the same thing. Wearing a uniform can disguise a lack of means – perhaps your parents can’t afford to buy you an entire wardrobe of fancy brand names. This is going to be much less obvious when wearing a uniform. Being a girl, there is a whole let less time worrying about how you look and what you’re going to wear each day. All of this can really help with the self-consciousness teenagers suffer from.
As a parent, I can really see the beauty of uniforms in the amount of money one saves on clothes. Unless your child is going into a new size, you only really need to purchase a few items each year, and some of the less-used items perhaps only need to be purchased. My school blazer, only worn for certain events, was purchased my freshman year of high school and worn through graduation.
Certainly wearing uniforms can be boring and doesn’t allow for much creativity, so accessories help. The library has many books on making your own accessories from knitting, to jewelry, to duct-tape wallets, so check out one today!
AUGUST 28, 2009
My dad does NOT do computers, he doesn’t like them, he doesn’t use them in his free time, and he doesn’t care to learn to. Having said that, to my great surprise he actually goes online once in while and reads this blog. (Hi Dad!)
Last Sunday morning I meet my parents out for coffee and my dad turned to me and said, “Was that your blog on Friday? The one about the butterflies?” Well it was, so I replied yes. Next he says, “Was that reeeally your best effort??”
HA! No. The answer was no. That was SO not my best effort. But I gotta let you non-bloggers out there in on a little secret. It’s not so easy coming up with something to blog about every week. Now sometimes something interesting has happened, or I’m reading something great and then the writing just flows out. But, often times I turn to Su on Friday and say, “um, I can’t think of anything to write about…”
So now I feel like I have to redeem myself. Make up for my semi-pathetic attempt at a blog from last Friday. But, I think I have blogger’s block.
In searching ‘writer’s block’ online I came up with a ton of results…but most interesting was the “cures” that I found. Here’s a short list of some of the suggestions I came across:
Talk to a monkey - Explain what you’re really trying to say to a stuffed animal or cardboard cutout.
Write from a persona - Lend your voice to a writing personality who isn’t you. Doesn’t have to be a pirate or anything—just try seeing your topic from someone else’s perspective, style, and interest.
Get away from the computer; Write someplace new - If you’ve been staring at the screen and nothing is happening, walk away. Take one pen and one notebook, and go somewhere new.
Listen to new music - Try something instrumental and rhythmic that you’ve never heard before. Put it on repeat.
Make a pointless rule - You can’t end sentences with words that begin with a vowel. Or you can’t have more than one word over eight letters in any paragraph. Limits create focus and change your perspective.
Work on the title - Quickly make up five distinctly different titles. Meditate on them. What bugs you about the one you like least?
Write five words - Literally. Put five random words on a piece of paper. Write five more words. Try a sentence. Could be about anything. A block ends when you start making words on a page.
Lastly, write about having writer's block.
Ok, so I made the first step. I wrote about having writer’s block. Maybe next week I’ll be completely entertaining. And, maybe not…you’ll have to read and see.
AUGUST 26, 2009
The best thing about book groups
It is rare that I read or listen to a book that I have approached with trepidation and find it so utterly wonderful that I don’t want it to end. But this is the case with Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
The book was selected by the Beckish Senior Center book group, the Book Worms. It is our first read this year. We will be meeting to discuss it on September 24, so I must be careful to not include any spoilers here.
Although this book came with strong recommendations from people I trust, I was a little skeptical. The title was odd… I understood it to be historical… I just wasn’t sure it was ‘my kind of book’. But within a chapter I was hooked. The characters are charming, the book delightful and while I have learned interesting historical facts, it is far from a historical work.
This book has prompted me to research – Where is the island of Guernsey? Was it really the only part of England to be occupied by the Nazis? Did they really create tunnels? The book and what I’ve learned have prompted me to want to go and visit this unique place full.
More over, the text, a series of letters, has made me feel a part of this fictional family. There are not distant characters, but friends that are merely away, keeping in touch by post.
So often people, my self included, gravitate to thing we know we like: favorite authors, writing styles, genres. It’s nice to change paths and nice when the new path becomes a wonderful adventure.
For me, that’s one of the most exciting things about book groups – one gets to read things one never would have found otherwise. And in the case of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, we have found a treasure.
I know this book will end soon, but I am so glad to have discovered it… thanks to the book group!
AUGUST 24, 2009
A scoop of history
I love ice cream. In fact I love it so much that I have a small dish of it almost every night. Bad habit, I know, which is why I buy light ice cream. In my quest for light ice cream in many flavors, my favorite brand has proven to be Edy's. This ice cream maker has many flavors of light ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt and they actually all taste good!
This weekend I was picking up some ice cream (buy one, get one free) and found a flavor I had not seen before - Red, White & No More Blues. It's a light vanilla ice cream with swirls of strawberry and blueberry. Sounded good so I bought it.
After bringing it home, I looked more carefully at the carton. As you can see from the picture, the graphics are very patriotic and there's a small tag line reading, "Recovery never tasted so good." Curiouser and curiouser. Here's what Edy's website has to say:
At Edy's®, we have a history of lifting spirits. In 1929, we introduced a new flavor of ice cream to bring a smile to people during the dark days of the Great Depression. That flavor was Rocky Road. Now 80 years later, we’re at it again. To brighten the summer, Edy's is proud to unveil a new Slow Churned® Light Ice Cream Limited Edition Flavor: Red, White & No More Blues!
It seems that William Dreyer, founder of Edy's, added walnuts and marshmallow bits (by cutting them with his wife's sewing scissors) to chocolate ice cream. Nowadays Rocky Road is made with almonds instead of walnuts but the idea is still the same. It made me pause and think a bit. I've eaten plenty of rocky road but never thought about how it might have been created or why it was called what it was. It was a fun insight into history.
Now I don't know if Red, White & No More Blues! ice cream is going to bring about a great economic recovery for America but I do know it sure was tasty. And nothing tastes better than ice cream on a hot summer day!
AUGUST 21, 2009
Butterflies in the library...soon
Technically, right now we only have caterpillars in the library. Five 'painted lady' caterpillars to be exact. They came in the mail on Monday and they were tiny little things, they've grown about three times their size since then. Here's a glimpse of their little home:
The brown stuff on the bottom is their food. In the next day or so they will form chrysalides on the top of their jar, then I will but them in the butterfly habitat that we bought last summer. Our patrons will be able watch them grow and hatch over the next few weeks, and I will release the butterflies 'into the wild' during a story time. We had butterflies last summer as part of our "Catch the Reading Bug" program and they were a big hit.
Here is what the caterpillars will look like as butterflies:
So, if you're interested, stop by sometime during the next few weeks and see how our little critters are doing!
AUGUST 19, 2009
Too Many People Don’t Read!
Today is a frustrating day. For a couple of weeks now on various fronts, various issues have arisen. Silly things really, surrounding mundane items. Most of them have been addressed via e-mail, some out of necessity, some out of perceived ease and some because this is required by the other parties involved.
Frustratingly, in four separate instances the processes have been drawn out, aggravating, time consuming events. Why? Because people do not read things in their entirety, if at all.
A while ago there was a far side cartoon, ‘what dogs hear: bla bla bla Spot, bla bla’. I am reminded of this. Some people seem to look at the subject only and presume they know the detailed contents. They are wrong.
This makes it that much harder, as then they reply based on their ideas instead of content and the originator of the whole must now not only re-explain their original problem, but also politely explain why the responder didn’t ‘get it’. Sometimes not an easy task.
Some days, I find this amusing. Today is not one. So, for those of you actually reading this, I say: thank you. There is at least one person in the universe that greatly appreciates you for this and is trying hard to be right there with you.
Note: responses about audio books and/or circulation statistics will be ignored!!!
AUGUST 17, 2009
Have I got a
Book For You!
I love our Friends ongoing book sale located in our lobby and called The Book Nook. You never know what gem of a book you'll find. And you can't beat the prices.$1.00 for hardcovers and trade paperbacks, .50 for regular paperbacks and kids books are just a quarter; bargains galore.
300 pages of useful advice for historic situations...
AUGUST 14, 2009
Carol shared the above video with the staff this morning. YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT! It's a very funny clip from the Colbert Report on a little boy who was banned from the Nazareth, PA library once they found out he was coming from out of town. Now, remember this was on COMEDY Central...so the facts are iffy. Google 'Nazareth PA Library' if you want to read official statements and reactions from the staff. Regardless, it makes you thankful that here in Connecticut you can use your local library card at ANY public library!
If you watch it, we'd love to hear your comments!
AUGUST 12, 2009
You must remember this...
Memory is a human’s mental ability to store and recall information. It sounds so easy… and yet….
I must apologize: last Wednesday, my day to Blog, here… I forgot. In my defense I was arriving home from vacation and spent most of the day in the air or airport, but in truth, this is really a lame excuse. Sadly, I did not forget about this venue or my commitment to write… I forgot it was Wednesday.
As much as I would now like to blame this displacement in time on my travels, I can’t. In fact, my world and relationship to memory is dualistic. In the abstract, I have an amazing memory. I consider it a gypsy curse. I can recall images of being less than a year old in my crib. I can with little effort remember conversations, things seen, what I wore, ate, did at most times. I can picture a calendar and with a little work, recreate the events of a given week.
However, in specific, ask me what day of the week it is, what year it is, important dates, what is happening tomorrow, what I was about to go do when I was interrupted… I have to go look it up or reinvent the wheel. Consequently, each Wednesday it’s a surprise and the others here are often way too nice to say to me, ‘Hey Su, ah… remember its Wednesday??”
I’ve often wondered about memory. Why some things stick and others don’t. Why some times the information is just there, but not others. In particularly I am intrigued by the things I have forgotten.
There is a lot of research out there about memory, many theories, but still much that is unknown. Perhaps someday, I’ll have time to truly investigate this topic… if I only remember to do so!
If you’d like to explore the issue of memory
check out this material @ your library!
50 first dates [DVD videorecording] / Columbia Pictures presents a Happy Madison/Anonymous Content and Flower Films production, a film by Peter Segal ; produced by Jack Giarraputo, Steve Golin, Nancy Juvonen ; written by George Wing ; directed by Peter Segal.
AUGUST 10, 2009
One of the things I like best about blogging is that I never know exactly what I'll be writing about. Each of us has life stories, favorite memories that we share over and over again. You know the type I mean, the ones that as soon as you open your mouth, your spouse starts to roll his eyes. Here's one of mine.
If it had a horn it could have been a unicorn. I say this because unicorns are creatures of myth and if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. The surreal quality of this night had a mythical feel.
One muggy, humid evening, I was roused from a fairly deep sleep to an odd noise. Couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I knew it didn't belong. It wasn't frightening but I had to really concentrate to get the rhythm of the sound. Ah, there it was, clomp, clomp, clomp - fading and then louder, clomp, clomp, clomp. Curiosity got the better of me, so up I got, and tiptoed to the living room while everyone else was sleeping. Creeping to the window I stared out into the hazy, moonlit, quiet night. All of a sudden the silence was broken by a loud whoosh, when around the corner came the most beautiful white horse, running at breakneck speed, wild and free. Transfixed I watched the horse romp in my backyard and then believe it or not I whistled and it turned and pranced straight to me. I truly could not believe my eyes. And then as suddenly as it appeared off it went, jumping our stone wall and disappearing into the night.
If you'd like to read some special stories about horses try:
Chicken soup for the horse lover's soul : inspirational stories about horses and
AUGUST 7, 2009
Make your own YA book cover!
You know how some covers just jump out at you? Covers that will make you pick up a book you've never even heard of? Well now's your chance to try making your own debut book cover! And not just any book cover...a YA book cover. Think cropping, weird objects, interesting titles, think of the way Twilight and Gossip Girl series look....and you're on your way to making a YA cover!
I didn't come up with this idea or these instructions on my own. I was reading a blog about YA and children's book covers called 'Jacket Whys' (http://jacketwhys.wordpress.com/), that had a link to another blog, 100 Scope Notes, (http://100scopenotes.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/create-your-debut-ya-cover/) which is where this idea came from.
So, here are the rules...copied from Scope Notes:
1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/
The name that appears is your author name.
2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” http://www.websitestyle.com/parser/randomword.shtml
The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.
3 – Go to “FlickrCC” http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php
Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.
4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar, to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.
Here is mine:
I obviously didn't follow the 'person' part of Rule #3...but I couldn't resist the cow in the spacesuit.
If you do make one and would like me to post it here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your cover as an attachment. Let's see what you come up with!!
AUGUST 2, 2009
Author Jessica Speart Visits Tuesday, August 11th
Heads up! Join us on Tuesday, August 11th as we host Jessica Speart, as part of The Connecticut Author Trail. Ms. Speart is the author of the award winning mystery series featuring US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent Rachel Porter. Speart is an investigative journalist whose focus is on wildlife law enforcement, endangered species issues, and the environment which makes the series a natural for her.
"When a creature is endangered , it's usually for a helluva good reason. If something isn't smart enough to adapt and service, then it deserves to become extinct," Trepler lectured, building up a head of steam. "I don't believe in this do-gooder Endangered Species Act nonsense that's got every frog, gnat, and fish on a must-save list, no matter the cost Not if it means that a person can't do whatever he wants on his own damn land."
These are the words of one of the characters in Jessica Speart's mystery novel, Blue Twilight. US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent Rachel Porter's assignment this go round, finds her in northern California, trying to locate a biologist who has gone missing while searching for a rare blue butterfly that is possibly extinct. Makes you think. Speart offers up a tantalizing mystery of greed and corruption while painting a vivid picture of San Fransisco, butterfly collecting, and writes well developed characters. What you'll learn about butterflies alone is worth the read. Agent Porter refers to these beautiful creatures as bugs, which technically they are, but when you see a butterfly in all its splendor,"bug" is not the word that comes to mind.
Blue Twilight is just one of the Rachel Porter mysteries. Beginning with Gator Aide, published in 1997, to the most recent, Unsafe Harbor, Speart has a winning series.
Speart has lots of stories to tell. She might talk about her career as a soap opera star and then, later as a writer. Perhaps she'll even tell us a bit about the novel she's researching that recently found her in Japan.