Archive for May, 2006

A question I am frequently asked is “What will the library of the future be like?” If I had the correct answer I could patent it and make a fortune! What is clear though, is that the library of the future will be different from the traditional library of our recent past.

Until a few years ago, libraries were repositories of information. Today, libraries are information access hubs. In other words, we are moving from storing printed
information that can be accessed locally to accessing electronic information that is stored globally.

The downside to our new electronic world is that there is little guidance to what is reliable and what is bogus. Libraries will have to help manage and guide patrons through this brave new world of global electronic information.

During the past year Meadville Public Library has begun the process of building an infrastructure to provide an electronic community. MPL has introduced a new web site that can be easily updated by our staff to keep patrons informed of the latest resources we can provide and MPL has installed an updated wireless system so that anyone with a laptop can access the Internet from anywhere in the libary.

Now, in the next few months, MPL will be introducing the most important new service, our new web-based circulation system. In the past our circulation system was simply a record keeper. The program recorded and tracked what books we owned, who our patrons were and who had which book checked out. The new circulation system will be a complete on-line community. It will have the capability of providing real time access to your library account. Just by going to the web you will be able to see which books you have checked out, which books are overdue, even the status of your reserves and fines. In other words, you and only you will be able to see your account from home.

In the electronic card catalog portion of the circulation system, you will be able to search by various fields: keyword, title, author, subject or format. If found, a replica of the book’s cover will appear as well as applicable web sites and in some cases, the table of contents and pages from the book.Browsing through the collection will be as simple as clicking on the related links or browsing through pre-selected choices, just as you would in the real world. Since good communication is a two-way street, the new circulation system will eventually allow patrons to make suggestions for new books and even rate or review books they have read.

Some people fear the future because it means change. In the next few months MPL’s new
circulation system will usher in the biggest series of changes we have experienced in 12 years. The overall effort will result in services and features that will enhance and improve our ability to guide you through this vast new information universe. Happy traveling!

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As frequent visitors to the library have probably noticed, the changes to the Main Floor mentioned in the last two newsletters have not yet begun. There is a plan however, and as soon as the Director’s new office on the second floor is finished and the move completed, work will begin here. Be prepared for a chaotic summer. We are still taking suggestions for a mantra to replace “change is good.”

In the meantime we continue to add to our collection in a variety of genres. In addition to our regular large print books, we are adding books classified as Christian historical fiction, and Westerns and are increasing the number of our non-fiction titles. In addition to our books on
cassette and books on CD from Recorded Books, we are adding titles from Blackstone Audio and MicroMarketing which will broaden the range of selection. The DVD collection continues to grow with the help of donations and purchased titles. Recently added are several BBC productions such as ‘The House of Cards’ trilogy with Ian Richardson (a political thriller); ‘Ballykissangel,’ series four; ‘The Irish R.M.,’ series two and three; ‘The House of Eliot’ (good story, beautiful costumes). Also added are three of the world’s greatest operas: ‘Carmen,’ ‘ La Traviata,’ and ‘Aida.’

An exciting addition to our DVD collection is a twelve volume set of ‘In English on Your Own’ for use by those for whom English is a second language and who want to better their use of English. It is self-instructional and comes with workbooks.

For all the quilters or would be quilters, a donation has been made by Mr. Harvey Heath in memory of his wife, Nancy. Mrs. Heath was an active quilter and had an extensive collection of books about quilting. Space considerations make it necessary to add just a small part of her total collection. A few of the titles that are being added are ‘The Quilter’s Guide: Design Essentials by Lorraine Torrence;’ ‘ Fat Quarter Quilts’ by M’liss Rae Hawley; ‘Easy Pieces: Creative Color Play with Two Simple Quilt Blocks’ by Margaret J. Miller; ‘Curves in Motion: Quilt Designs & Techniques’ by Judy B. Dale; ‘Elegant Stitches: An Illustrated Stitch Guide and Source Book of Inspiration’ by Judith Baker Montano and ‘Razzle, Dazzle Quilts’ by Judy Hooworth.

Please stop by the Main Floor and enjoy our new selections and excuse the mess as the renovations finally begin (we hope).

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Spring is here and the staff in the Fiction Department is hard at work planning for this year’s Summer Reading Clubs. We will be offering an Adult Summer Reading Club, run much the same as last year, as well as a Young Adult Club with activities and prizes geared toward the thirteen to eighteen year old group. This summer as you are checking out books and entering our great summer reading club prize giveaways, you might consider some of these new titles: ‘The 5th Horseman’ by James Patterson; ‘Sea Change’ by Robert B. Parker; ‘Good Omens’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and ‘Two Little Girls in Blue’ by Mary Higgins Clark.

Arriving soon for young adults are the ‘Gossip Girl’ series by Cecily von Ziegesar; ‘Teen Idol’ by Meg Cabot; ‘Poison’ by Chris Wooding, and ‘I Am the Messenger’ by Markus Zusak. In non-fiction for young adults we have a new set of 6 books on American Popular Music. Each volume contains information on performers, musical genres, famous compositions, musical instruments, media and centers of musical activity. More new titles include ’101 Tips for Graduates: A Code of Conduct for Success and Happiness in Your Professional Life’ by Susan Morem and ‘Forensics: Solving the Crime’ by Tabatha Yeatts.

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Fun! Friends! Prizes! Reading with the Meadville Public Library is a four-star guarantee for the best summer ever. Read anything you like – adventure, graphic novels, travel, biography, poetry. There are books about sports, books about space travel, books about fairies, books about art, books about everything! Read to someone who doesn’t read yet, or have an older Book Buddy read to you. You have the whole world of reading to pick from.

We will have parties, prizes, special activities, and events – a non-stop good time. You may even get school credit next fall for books you’ve completed. This year’s theme is ‘Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales!’ We will have lots of books and activities about animals (including our annual Pet Show on July 8 in Diamond Park), but that’s just the beginning.

Sign up for Summer Reading Club 2006. It all starts June 5th.

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Publishers have discovered sneaky ways to teach science and history in their new nonfiction series.

Cartoon-style illustrations are always an attention grabber and Scholastic has taken advantage. There are currently 26 books in their “You Wouldn’t Want To…” series, with more on the way. So far they have covered American History (Civil War soldiers, colonists, pioneers, Apollo 13 space mission, the wild west); sailing on the high seas (the Titanic, the Mayflower, whalers, pirate ships); ancient history (Rome, Egypt, Greece, the Aztecs, Alexander the Great) and more. The texts are brief and fact-filled, but the captions provide those surprising and sometimes gory details that children love to know.

Picture Window Books recently joined the parade with cartoon illustrations for their books, but they are specializing in Greek myths. They currently have books on the Trojan Horse,
Perseus, Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus, Hercules, and Odysseus.

Younger children have not been neglected. Picture Window Books recently published two series of question and answer books. Do Frogs Have Fur? is an example of their Animals All Around series. Questions with obvious “NO!” answers encourage children to turn the page to find out what animal really does have fur. The second series, “Who Is It? Science,” features close-up cropped illustrations that feature one part of an animal – its tail, its nose, its ears, its feet, its eyes, its legs, its mouth, or its skin. The animals chosen are easy for young children to correctly guess before turning the page and learning how useful that body part is.

Making learning fun by making it child-friendly is what these series are all about.

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