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Reading Your Mind

No other country in the world matches the scope of America's freedom of speech.  The free and open exchange of ideas, the ability to make up your own mind and then speak it, and to publish without fear of government reprisal or censorship, sustains the very foundation of our democracy.  Librarians have long been ardent advocates of free speech (though sometimes we frown on REALLY LOUD free speech).

Over the coming week, New City Library will be joining with other libraries and booksellers across America to take part in the 30th annual celebration of Banned Books Week.  This last week in September is set aside every year to promote the benefits of free and open access to information, and to underscore the dangers of censorship.  Banned Books Week honors a right we never, ever want to lose-- our Constitutionally guaranteed freedom to read.

Better Than Google

This month, I want to highlight one of our newest databases, Financial Ratings Series Online. You will find it under the business tab of our database page.  It is a reliable source for checking on investments, banks and insurance companies. Stocks and mutual funds are rated as a buy or sell, and  they are clearly explained. Banks and insurance companies are given a letter grade and a lengthy, but clear, explanation.  The user interface is intuitive and easy to use, in fact, Library Journal called it "delightfully simple and straightforward".  Updates are done on an ongoing basis, making it a timely source you won't want to miss.  The convenience factor of remote access cannot be beat, either.  Roll out of bed in the middle of the night, log-on to our website and there you have it.  No more waiting for Morningstar and Value Line to be filed, the information comes to you.  Don't despair, print Morningstar and Value Line users, we still have our print copies waiting for you at the reference desk.

Space Opera: Or, It's Not Over 'Til the Fat Venusian Sings

Astounding Science Fiction, May 1947Okay, so I'm kidding about the Venusian-- the term "space opera" doesn't actually have anything to do with singing (though it could).  It's a subgenre of science fiction that originally gained its name from a similarity to the melodrama of soap operas and "horse operas" (westerns). 

The phrase has had something of a mixed history.   Space opera as we define it today was once the meat and drink of the science fiction pulps-- magazines such as Planet Stories, Weird Tales, and Astounding Science Fiction.  In the late 1920s and early 1930s, they began publishing exciting tales of space-going derring-do like E. E. "Doc" Smith's Skylark of Space, Edmond Hamilton's The Star Stealers, and Jack Williamson's Legion series that were an immediate hit with the public.

What's Cooking?: A Birthday Tradition

 

A tradition I’ve created in my family since my children were young was to let them request a special menu for their birthdays. They looked forward to suggesting dishes they would like to have for their birthday dinner.  When they were young, the menu was simpler like fried chicken, pizza, lasagna or noodles.  As they grew up, their palates and food selections also did, with the exception of my youngest who still requests lasagna.  

New City Takes First Place

 

In a tense competition, New City Library took first place in the Ramapo Catskill Library System's Battle of the Books.  With over 100 spectators cheering on their teams at the Haverstraw Library, our teens won by an 8-7 victory over Livingston Manor.  The very last question clinched the championship.  Members of our Book Battle group include from left to right: Susan Zollinger, Alex Borovoy, Shawna McKivergan, Chanda Bhandal, Rathna Ramanathan, Rachel Borovaya, Marie Yatsky, and in front Nicholas Procino and Ben Eisenberg.  Our team displayed their extensive knowledge of the eight titles selected this year. 

Keeping It under Our Caps: Bonnet Fiction

I was very tempted to do an entry on "tempest-tossed romance" today, but I suspect you'll be getting enough of that on your own this weekend.  Instead, I thought I'd offer something more in the way of a comfort read.  There's a category of romance that's been steadily growing in popularity as our own lives have gotten more stressful and technologically complex: "bonnet" fiction.

"Bonnet fiction" refers to romances set in Amish or Mennonite communities; the term comes from the depiction of characters in their ever-present "kapps" on the front cover.  (If you don't see a bonnet, the character is probably an "English," or outsider).  Sometimes, you'll see the term expanded to include pioneer and prairie romances also, or other "simple living" groups like the Shakers.  Beverly Lewis, herself the granddaughter of an "Old Order" Mennonite woman, is often credited with founding the genre with the first of her Heritage of Lancaster County series, The Shunning, based loosely on her grandmother's life.

All Aboard! Storytime - at the Congers Train Station

No registration necessary -- just come on down for this new event on whichever dates work for you!

 

Join Mrs. B for preschool storytime at the Congers Train Station.  Each child needs a carpet square or cushion for sitting on the floor.  Adults need to stay close at hand in case they are needed.  Restrooms are available, and there's plenty of parking.  About 25 children ages 3 - 5 will fit comfortably.  The storytime will last 30 minutes or so.

Planned dates for this program are

    Tuesdays - September 20 & 27

                     October 4, 11, 18, 25

Upstairs, Downstairs

What is going on?  Did you do a double take when you saw a familiar face from 'downstairs' working at the Circulation desk? Perhaps you saw some unfamiliar faces behind the AV desk.  Your eyes did not deceive you.  In June, AV and Circulation became one team known as Circulation Services.  We are working together to improve our service model and hope to be up to speed soon.  There is so much to learn, but cross training will give us the flexibility to provide staffing where needed at any time.  So whether we are upstairs or downstairs our focus remains on you, our customers.

Beyond Books

I have been working at this library for many, many years (too many to actually give you a number!).  It always amazes me however, when I tell people who I meet in the community, about the wealth of materials available to them in their own library's Audiovisual Department and they have no idea that we are even here, tucked away on the lower level.

We not only have current movies, we get these movies on their "streetdate".  In other words, as soon as Netflix or Blockbuster has them, so does the New City Library.  I buy multiple copies of the most popular titles to keep the wait time short. The same holds true for our children's current movies.  We receive our copies on their streetdate so that the children in our community will get to see their favorite screen characters.

We also have thousands of music CDs covering all different genres.  Classical, pop/rock, R&B. gospel, world music, jazz - the library has it all.  We also have a large selection of children's music including the popular Kidz Bop series.

Better Than Google

Libraries have changed quite a bit over the last decade or two due to the Internet and the advent of electronic databases.  In olden days, librarians relied almost entirely on reference books to answer questions.  Now the information has been transformed from print to electronic resources.  Sadly, our print reference collection has shrunk and continues to get smaller.  Happily, the information is still available and in a more accessible and convenient form.  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the electronic library never closes, and the information you need is always there for you.

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