Archive for June, 2009

In today’s society, technical wonders
surround us. Since the Renaissance, we have been blessed with technology which previous generations would define as magic. This technology has occurred because of one thing—the printed word. Libraries have dedicated themselves to storing, organizing and sharing their information with everyone. The process of disseminating this information leads to knowledge, understanding and empathy.
There is nothing else on the planet that compares to this system which stores, preserves and shares knowledge. Just one example: a recent article in the New York Times described research into late 19th century medical procedures to see whether modern technology can use or improve upon those old, long-forgotten techniques. Where are researchers finding all this information? In libraries.

Meadville citizens realized as early as 1879 that libraries are important for any community to thrive. Before automobiles, radio and electric lights, the leading citizens of Meadville decided that a proper Public Library was needed. The previous public library was a disorganized collection stored in 12 cupboards and was continually moved to whatever building had a bit of free space available.

Since 1879, the Meadville Public Library has occupied two different buildings, has had 13 library directors, 42 board presidents, hundreds of employees, thousands of patrons, hundreds of thousands of books and millions of visitors. The accomplishments during the past 130 years would fill a very long list. We know that the library always has and continues to fulfill a critical role in the community.

In just the past 10 years library technology has moved from analog (book) to digital (computer screen.) What has not changed is the library’s goal to provide free access to the written word. Maybe computer screens and the Internet would seem magical to Benjamin Franklin, founder of the modern public library. He might remind us that the very existence of libraries can create magical experiences for its patrons. It doesn’t matter what form the written word takes as long as we are open-minded enough to enjoy the magic.

Because the library is so important to all of us, we are planning a small celebration to mark our 130th birthday. We invite all patrons, friends, board members and employees of the Meadville Public Library to share in celebrating 130 years of bringing magic to the region.

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Spring may officially be here, but as I write this the snow is blowing and the temperature is 28 degrees. There are signs though, the daffodils are blooming, the birds are singing, and the sun feels warmer.

This year many of you will be planting vegetable as well as flower gardens. The library has many wonderful books to help newcomers plan, plant, and harvest a variety of foods. If you think that a large space is a requirement for growing a vegetable garden, then please check out R.J. Ruppenthal’s book Fresh Food From Small Spaces. The author offers practical advice for gardening on porches, decks, balconies and window boxes. And what garden is complete without herbs? Essential Herbal Wisdom by Nancy Arrowsmith introduces readers to 50 herbs. She offers tips on planting, harvesting, drying and storing each plant. Newspapers Pennies Cardboard & Eggs for Growing a Better Garden by Roger Yepsen provides information on topics from composting to pests and weeds.

For flower gardeners, we have a variety of new books including Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces by Tracy DiSabato-Aust, P. Allen Smith’s Bringing The Garden Indoors: Containers, Crafts and Bouquets for Every Room, Tovah Martin’s The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature and Joe Eck’s Our Life in Gardens.

For many of us, spring means only one thing, Baseball. We have added several books about the game to the collection. The Yankee >Years by Joe Torre is on the Publishers Weekly and New York Times Book Review best-seller lists. In this book, the author writes about his years as manager with the team. Allen Barra has written a biography titled Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee that is sure to be a best seller. In Confessions of a She-Fan: the Course of True Love with the New York Yankees, Jane Heller chronicles her journey as she follows the Yankees to different baseball parks around the country. These and many others may be found on the shelves so please check them out.

Many people are coming into the library for help with resume writing and job searches. Several new titles have been added to the
collection that will be of help in both these areas. Ron Krannich has written three books for a very specific group of job hunters – ex-offenders. The author addresses the difficulties that many in this group face when re-entering the work force. Best Jobs for Ex-offenders, The Ex-Offender’s Job Interview Guide, and The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Success Guide will help prepare readers for a successful job search. 150 Best Jobs Through Military Training, 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs, Resumes for Re-Entering the Job Market, and Surviving a Layoff: A Week-By-Seek Guide to Getting Your Life Back Together by Lita Epstein are also valuable resources. For internet searches, try Margaret Dikel’s Guide to Internet Job Searches.

The library has approximately 1,000 DVDs in the collection and just recently added several wonderful titles including foreign films August Evening, Aviva My Love, Slumdog Millionaire, and Yella. Meryl Streep fans will not want to miss Doubt and for those who love Woody Allen, please check out Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Non-fiction titles include Autism: The Musical; Craft in America; Garden Story; NASCAR—The Ride of Their Lives, and The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Although the library does not purchase videos, we do accept donations and have added several Young Indiana Jones episodes to the video collection. Please stop in and browse the DVD and video collections. Remember there is no fee to check out DVDs and videos, however an adult library card is required.

The library is available for all to enjoy, so please take advantage of what we have to offer. Stop in and say hello!

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This is the time of year we start thinking about all the outdoor chores awaiting us and planning summer activities. While waiting for the weather to break and summer to arrive, here are few new books to peruse.

How about a debut fiction by the award-winning writer, Gerald Kolpan? His novel, about the infamous Etta Place (Etta: A Novel), is sure to spark your interest in this mysterious woman. Was Etta Place her real name and was she really the girlfriend of “Sundance Kid” as depicted in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Kolpan writes this story as he imagines what her life was like during the early 20th century. He includes many real people in his novel and gives us a glimpse of life during this era.

Another new author, Philipp Meyer, writes about two naive high school friends who leave a small Pennsylvania steel town to embark on a cross country journey to California and the tragedy that follows. His book, American Rust, narrated by several of his characters, was even mentioned in, Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell’s latest novel. A Reliable Wife, the debut historical novel by Robert Goolrick, takes place in the early 1900s in a small Wisconsin town. This fast-paced novel will keep you on your toes until the very end.

For mystery lovers, Cursed, the new Carol Higgins Clark novel will soon be arriving. This is her twelfth book in the Regan Reilly series. Mary Higgins Clark’s new book, Just Take My Heart, is also due out this month. We can look forward to book 10, Tea Time the Traditionally Built, in a newly released No. 1 Detective Agency mystery by Alexander McCall Smith.

Douglas Preston’s Cemetery Dance, the ninth book in the Pendergast series, Iris Johansen’s Deadlock, Look Again by Lisa Scottoline and Bill Pronzini’s Schemers: A Nameless Detective Novel are some of the other new arrivals to help pass the time until the outdoor chores and summer activities begin.

For young adults many new fiction books are arriving this month. F. Paul Wilson has a new YA novel, Jack: Secret Histories, the first in his new series. P.C. Cast’s Hunted is the fifth novel in her Night series. Francisco X. Stork’s new book, Marcelo in the Real World, is just arriving. Or, read about Max and her friends as they try to discover why millions of fish are dying and hundreds of ships are being destroyed off the coast of Hawaii. Will they be able to solve the mystery or will they be stopped by Mr. Chu and his gang? Find out in Max, the exciting new Maximum Ride adventure by James Patterson.

Young adults will also find lots of new non-fiction books on music, art, and writing to go along with this year’s Summer Reading Club theme. Our summer fun will start June 8th and continue through August 7th. For more information stop by the Fiction desk or pick up a bookmark listing the season’s activities. You and your friends are invited to join us for another exciting summer as we explore ways to “Express Yourself at Your Library”.

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One of the benefits of the reference collection is that the books don’t circulate. That means when you come to the library, you’ll know the book you’re looking for is on the shelf. However, it also means you need to have a few moments to look at the information you need. While using electronic reference from home (such as the Power Library resources) gets around this issue, the vast majority of reference works are yet to be, or may never be, made available electronically.

A reference collection works because reference books, by definition, are books that you won’t sit down and read from cover to cover. We’ve probably heard about someone who read through the encyclopedia as a kid, but he or she is the exception to the rule. Reference books are here to help answer your questions or lead you to other sources of information. Most people come, find the information they need, and use it to get on with their lives.

From the practical to the whimsical, we add new and interesting items to our collection every month. Recent additions include: Profiles of Pennsylvania, which provides statistical information about cities and towns in Pennsylvania; GED 2009-2010 for test preparation; Volunteer Vacations which lists opportunities to do good while getting away; The USERRA Manual and What Every Veteran Should Know, 2009 for our servicemen and women who are returning to work or need to find help; Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2010 for yard-salers or auction-goers; and Hometown Declarations: America’s Self-Proclaimed World Capitals, in case you’re interested in visiting the Popcorn Capital of the World (VanBuren, IN) or the fireworks Capital of the World in nearby New Castle!

Next time you’re in the library, stop and look around the Reference Section. And, if you’re one of those
exceptional people who wants to read our reference books straight through, you’re certainly welcome to do that too.

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Award-winning children’s entertainer, Rachel Sumner will present a program as part of this year’s Children’ Summer Reading Club activities. Sumner has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe and is well known for her lively performances and audience participation. Singing songs and telling stories that teach as well as entertain, she has an enthusiastic following. She can be heard on children’s radio, satellite and airline programming around the world and The Learning Channel’s “Ready, Set, Learn.” Her recordings have won nine national awards, three finalist nominations and an international award given by a United Nations publication.

Sumner performs at festivals, museums, fairs, school, libraries, corporate and special events. Her concerts teach words in different languages including sign language and are intended to promote self-esteem while stimulating children’s imaginations.

Some of her award-winning titles include two recordings, I’ve Got Imagination and Join the Parade, and a book entitled Shapes With Squiggle Snake. The exact date and time of Sumner’s performance will be announced during the summer .

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‘Be Creative @ Your Library’ this summer in the Children’s Room and explore the arts, music, dance, writing, books and puppetry. Summer Reading Club begins June 8th and lasts until August 7th. Artwork for this year’s theme was created by a master of illustration mayhem and frivolity, David Catrow. His familiar works of art can be seen in books such as Stand Tall Molly Lou Milon and Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs.

Open to children from toddlers to those leaving sixth grade, the reading club provides incentives, activities and concerts to make this an inspiring nine weeks for the whole family.

This year’s reading club will also bring out the budding artist in children. All activities will have a “Be Creative” theme and will be divided into a session for younger children and one for older elementary-aged children. The annual pet show which is co-sponsored by Dad’s Products is scheduled for July 11th.

To participate, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors will receive a card good for the summer. Special notebooks will be issued to record each reader’s (and listener’s) progress. Prizes will be awarded for completing various requirements.

For every library book read, children will get a stamp in their notebook. Preschoolers must listen to two books to get a stamp. For every four stamps, a prize may be selected from a display case in the Children’s Room. When 12 stamps have been collected, participants qualify for two chances to win a Grand Prize. Drawings for these prizes will be held during our Summer Reading Club Party August 7 at 10 a.m.

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