Libraries, like so much else in the age of the Internet, have had to reach out in ways they never imagined even 20 years ago. Meadville Public Library has been exceptionally good at finding creative ways to further its mission and engage the Meadville area community.

First, we have a new way for you to give to the library just by making a purchase through Amazon. The company launched a new initiative, Amazon Smile, which will donate a percentage of your purchase to MPL. Register your account with smile.Amazon.com, choose MPL as your selected charity and 0.5 per cent of eligible purchases will go to MPL. Please consider registering and using the Amazon Smile program – funds will be used for our materials budget. There is no fee to register and I can’t think of a better bargain.
Second, we have started circulating Sony Readers. Visit the library’s Fiction Desk and check out an e-reader for two weeks. These devices are handy to take on vacation or try one before you buy one. Sony Readers are easy to use with our Overdrive program and we also offer classes periodically on how to use the devices.Third, MPL is making a significant investment in our e-books program and adding more e-books to the library’s collection every month. The CCFLS Overdrive website has also been enhanced to make searching and downloading materials a much easier process. If you found it too complicated in the past, try again – I think you will be impressed.

Considering the high prices publishers charge libraries for e-books (we have to pay, on average, four times the price an individual pays) MPL is expanding its free e-book program (these are e-books you can keep). Right now, if you search for free e-books through our online catalog, you will gain access to more than 20,000 titles available from Project Gutenberg. We have enhanced the catalog so you can now download items much more easily. In the future, we plan to expand the free ebooks to include more than 50,000 titles, some of which will be new, nonfiction titles.

As you can see, MPL is not resting on past accomplishments but embracing current technology trends to enhance our services. Our way of proving that MPL is keeping up with the times!

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A new Seed Lending Library will be available this spring at Meadville Public Library. Seed libraries are not new, but have been increasing in popularity over the past few years. MPL was approached earlier this year by an Allegheny College student who planned a Seed Lending Library as her senior project.
We are very excited about getting this venture started. There will be packets of heirloom flower and vegetable seeds available to check out at the Main Desk.
How will it work? Library patrons will check out packets of seeds, take them home, plant them and at the end of the season, harvest the seeds. After seeds have been harvested and dried, we only ask that when this process is complete, you save some seeds for yourself and donate a portion back to the library to share with others for next season. By doing this, we will be able to keep the Seed Lending Library self-sustaining for years to come.
Meadville Public Library also has a large collection of gardening books both on the main floor and in the Children’s Department. Also available for checkout are a number of gardening magazines including Garden Gate, Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening and others. For a fun read, try the magazine Green Prints’ “The Weeder’s Digest,” which contains light stories and poems as well as some gardening information.
So come in, check out some seeds for growing, and borrow a few magazines and/or books to learn and enjoy. Happy gardening!

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Quick Response codes – QR codes for short – are cropping up all over the place. A QR code is a special type of barcode that can be read with an image scanner, such as the camera on your mobile device, with a QR reader application. The device scans the code and takes you to more information, perhaps a website or other content.
You’ll find QR codes all over the Meadville Public Library. We’ve added them in the stacks and on bookmarks in the Children’s Department to help you find ebooks through Project Gutenberg. They also appear in the Reference Section to link you quickly to some of our resources in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. Try it!

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It seems like spring and warm weather are slow to arrive this year and everyone is looking for something to do. While you wait, the Fiction Department has some new items to help pass the time. Newly added to our collection are the Sony Readers for e-books. Adults, 18 and over, may borrow a Reader for a period of two weeks. Fiction and non-fiction titles for adults, young adults, and children, can be downloaded to the Reader through the Overdrive website. Stop by the Fiction desk for more information.
We have recently added Xbox 360 video games to our young adult collection. Currently 40 games are available with more being added all the time. Anyone 12 and over can borrow one game at a time for four days.
This year, the theme for the young adult Summer Reading Club is “Spark a Reaction.” We will be exploring everything from science to science fiction with crafts and demonstrations using everyday household items. Some of our projects will end with a competition and prizes for everyone! This promises to be a busy and exciting summer, so please bring the kids and let them “Spark a Reaction” with us!
Dates to keep in mind for young adult summer fun:
June 2 – SRC Pre-registration
June 9 – SRC Begins
June 16 – Catapults/Make Your Own Slime-2 p.m.
June 18 – Book Review/Puzzle-Prize Drawing
June 23 – Stepping Stones-2 p.m.
June 30 – Star Wars Finger Puppets-2 p.m.
July 7 – Robots-2 p.m.
July 9 – Book Review/Puzzle-Prize Drawing
July 14 – Sun-Sensitive Paper Images-2 p.m.
July 21 – Hoop Gliders/Start Wookiee Bird
Feeder-2 p.m.
July 28 – Star Wars Wokiee Bird Feeder-2 p.m.
July 30 – Book review/Puzzle-Prize Drawing
August 1 – SRC Party-Games, Prizes, Food & Fun-2 p.m.

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This summer’s theme, “Fizz, Boom, Read!” will send readers into “laboratories” to enjoy a summer of scientific discovery. The Children’s Summer Reading Club begins pre-registration and first check-outs the week of June 2nd. The summer program runs from June 9 to August 1.
Artwork for this year was created by Dan Santat. His fans appreciate his art in such graphic novels as Sidekicks, and he is involved in creating new art for the re-issue of the Dav Pilkey series Ricky Ricotta.
The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving sixth grade. Incentives and activities will make this a fun nine weeks of scientific exploration.
Each craft activity will start with demonstrations by our resident “mad scientists” on topics such as density, air pressure and surface tension. Afterwards there will be crafts based on these principles including slime, paper aircraft, bubbles and marbles paper. Each arts and crafts program will have two sections – one for younger children and one for older elementary-aged children. The annual pet show, July 12, will be held in the library’s side yard near the Kiwanis Pavilion.
To participate, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors will receive a summer card. A special reading lab chart will be issued to record each reader’s and listener’s progress through the program.
For every library book read, children will get a stamp on their lab charts. Preschoolers must listen to two books to get a stamp. For every four stamps, a prize may be selected from the display case. When 12 stamps have been collected, participants qualify for two chances to win one of the Grand Prizes. The drawing for these prizes will be held during our Sumer Reading Club Party, August 1, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Summer Story Time Themes
Wednesdays: 10, 10:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m.
Thursdays: 10, 10:45 a.m.
June 4, 5 – Farms
June 11, 12 – Food
June 18, 19 – Frogs
June 25, 26 – Puppet Show

July 2, 3 – Giants
July 9, 10 – Gardens
July 16, 17 – Grandparents
July 23, 24 – Grab Bag
July 30, 31 – Puppet Show

August 6, 7 – Homes
August 13, 14 – Helpers
August 20, 21 – Holidays
August 27, 28 – Puppet Show

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Running a public library, especially a library located in a historic structure that is pushing 90 years of age is always a challenge. Considering that in 1925 no one imagined that a library would someday have to have computers, wireless Internet access (Al Gore wasn’t even born yet!), LED lights, handicapped entrances, air conditioning, elevators, etc.

Needless to say, while the outside of the library is not that different from 1925, the inside is a vibrant modern library that has capabilities that could hardly be imagined during the ‘Roarin’ Twenties.’ Of course, this type of evolution does not happen by accident. It takes a dedicated and flexible staff, a board willing to try new services and programs, and a community willing to use the library in new ways.

Right now the Meadville Public Library is in the beginning phases of creating a new master plan. One of the first steps in that process is participating in a new initiative from the Public Library Association (PLA) called the Edge Initiative. Twenty libraries in Pennsylvania have been asked to participate in this new project. Basically, Edge measures how well a library is offering the latest in new technology services using benchmark techniques. In other words, you compare how your library stacks up with the top libraries in the U.S. And though we are very honoured to be selected for this project, we also know that we cannot afford to offer both traditional library services and new innovative programs without cutting back somewhere.

Another step in the planning process is asking you, the public, for feedback on what you want to see in your Public Library in the future. Do you want a public library that offers the latest technology but fewer materials? Or a library that has the latest materials but does not have the latest electronic services? Or do we prioritize the electronics services and balance that with selective cuts in traditional library programs? I imagine that everyone has a different opinion on this topic. In order to get as much information as possible we will be asking our patrons to express opinions on these important issues. Sometime this fall we will be releasing a questionnaire concerning our current and proposed library services. There will be both electronic and paper-based questionnaires (we are trying to get an honest opinion here.) At that time we will also allow public comment on what we may be able to offer the public in the future.

Our old library has faced many challenges over the past 90 years. The next ten years will in all likelihood see more changes than in the past 90 years put together. When we release the survey this fall, please take a few moments and tell us how you feel the Meadville Public Library should proceed going into the future.

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While navigating the Internet, I happened upon an article about a library in Texas that, when it opens in the Fall of 2013, will have no books. Well, it will have books but only in digital format. Patrons will be able to download books onto their own e-readers or borrow one from the library. And while the Meadville Public Library may never go completely digital, like the Bexar County BiblioTech Library we will continue to change in order to meet the needs of our patrons. Even as the library continues to purchase hard and soft cover books, we will find other ways to provide access to information. Though record albums and music cassettes have been eliminated, MP3 audio books, online databases, and e-books have been added.

As most of you know, when new formats (e-books for example) are introduced, there is usually a need for education about and assistance in the use of these items. The Meadville Public Library will continue to offer free e-reader classes for those patrons who need help with their Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader device. Lacey has also informed me that the library will once again offer computer classes, at no charge, beginning this summer. Check our website at meadvillelibrary.org or call the library for further information.

And now an update on the weeding process that was begun last year. The non-fiction collection has been weeded through the 700′s and Jeanne is in the process of evaluating the reference collection. Once she has completed that task, we will look at the 800′s and 900′s. I hope to shift those books to make more room for the large print collection which is outgrowing its area.

Finally, I wish to thank all of our patrons who have donated books and DVDs to the library. Library budgets continue to suffer from political wrangling and because of your generosity, items that could not be purchased now sit on the shelves just waiting for someone to discover them.

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The Young Adult Writer’s Forum (http://ya.meadvillelibrary.org/forum) was set up as a place for teens to share their writing with other teens. You have to register to be able to enter all the sub-forums, but once you do you can participate in weekly writing prompts, read other teens’ stories, poems or skits and share your own. If you’re available on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m., you can join other teens at the library or any time online. Questions? Talk to Jeanne at the Main Desk (336-1773 ext. 303) or e-mail info@meadvillelibrary.org.

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With the weather finally turning nice, it’s hard to think about sitting down to read a good book, but as summer approaches, finding things to do to entertain the kids can be difficult. Consider coming to the library for a good book or bringing the kids to one of our young adult summer activities.

This year, the young adult theme is “Beneath the Surface” and we will be exploring land and water through various crafts. We will also have some great prizes to give away to everyone checking out fiction or young adult reading material. Entries can be made, at the Fiction Desk, from June 3rd through August 1st. We hope you can join us this summer as we discover things “Beneath the Surface”!

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“Dig into Reading!” this summer’s theme will send readers underground to discover all sorts of things – dinosaurs, buried treasure, burrowing animals, ancient cultures, gardens, caves, rocks and more. This year’s Children’s Summer Reading club runs from now through August 2.

Artwork for this year was created by Scott Nash whose fans will remember his illustrations for “Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp,” “Betsy, Who Cried Wolf,” “Oh, Tucker” and the new chapter books with Flat Stanley.

The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving sixth grade. Incentives and activities will provide fun the whole family can “dig.” Craft activities will include flowers from plastic bottles, a night-time diorama of a bat cave, pop-up puppets and more. Each arts and crafts program is divided into two activities – one for younger children and one for older elementary school-aged children. Our annual pet show will be held July 6 in the library’s side yard.

To participate, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors receive a summer card. A special reading garden patch is issued to record each reader’s and listener’s progress through summer reading pleasure and prizes. For every library book read, children receive a stamp on their garden patch. Preschoolers must listen to two books to get a stamp. For every four stamps, a prize may be selected from the display case. When 12 stamps have been collected, participants qualify for two chances to win one of the Grand Prizes. The drawing for these prizes will be held during our Summer Reading Club Party, scheduled August 3 at 10 a.m.  Let’s go digging!

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