Archive for the “Main Floor Musings” Category

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!

Comments Comments Off

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 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.

Comments Comments Off

Now that spring has arrived, those of us who garden entertain thoughts of preparing and weeding beds for flowers and vegetables. Just like a garden, a library needs to be weeded to remain healthy and vibrant.

Because there is a finite amount of space on the shelves and because materials are added weekly, outdated and obsolete items must be discarded to make room for the new. The process of removing books and other materials from the library’s collection is called weeding or if you prefer, spring cleaning. Though weeding is a continual process, the main floor staff is conducting an extensive evaluation of all the collections. This involves removing each item from the shelf and evaluating it based on factors such as age, condition, relevancy, and accuracy and then determining if it should remain in the collection. Anyone who has walked among the stacks on the Main floor in the last two months may have noticed a little more room on some of the shelves and more books on display. We are about one-third of the way through the process and hope to have it completed by November.

Some areas, such as poetry, literature, self-help and cooking remain relevant much longer than books on medicine, politics, and science. Certain items are replaced yearly and include study guides, income tax aids, almanacs, and encyclopedias. Some books, unless their condition warrants removal, are not discarded. These may include local history and local authors.

You may ask, what does the library do with discarded material? If an item is in good condition, it more than likely will end up in one of the library’s book sales or on Amazon’s Marketplace. Be assured that many of the books which are removed from the shelves do find new homes. There are some items however that do not find new owners and are recycled. So if you have a favorite book that is not in the library any more, you may find it at the next book sale.

Please stop by the Main Desk to say hello and let us know how we are doing with our spring cleaning.


Comments Comments Off

Spring in Pennsylvania means different things to each of us. For some it is sunshine (on occasion), for others, warm weather, rain or flowers. For Meadville Public Library it is the anticipation of another decrease in funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The reduction in the library subsidy will affect the library’s budgets, but until the final proposal is passed, the impact will not be known. Our patrons have shown overwhelming support for the library through the years and I am sure it will continue during these unsettled times.

On a more positive note, with spring comes the preparation of flower and vegetable gardens. I will not mention specific titles but suffice to say we have added new books on both topics. Remember that new books (those purchased within the past six months) are just inside the doors under the windows and across from the main desk.

We have added many new movies to the DVD collection, including the following: Black Swan, Chasing 3000, Downton Abbey, Echo an Elephant to Remember, Get Low, Howl’s Moving Castle, Nowhere Boy, Pillars of the Earth, Secretariat, The Social Network, and Waiting for Superman.

These and many more are available at the main desk. Please remember that an adult library card is necessary to check out DVDs and videos. Hope to see you @the Library.

Comments Comments Off

As many of you are aware, the library has had to reduce hours, cut materials budgets and furlough staff as a direct result of decreased revenue from the Commonwealth. Even though the library is not able to purchase everything we would like, Crawford County residents have been generously donating books and movies. Items that are not added to the library collections may be sold at either the spring or fall Friends of the Library Book Sale to help fund special projects. Because of these donations, we have added books on kitchen and bathroom remodeling, flowers and flower gardening and current non-fiction bestsellers. Among the DVDs added to the movie collection are the first three seasons of 24 with Keifer Sutherland, seasons one and two of Smallville, and the original Star Trek television series on video.

Although the library is buying fewer new items, the main floor staff is committed to providing our patrons with continued access to quality print and audio books, DVDs, videos, ILL (interlibrary loan), reference service and internet computers. In fact, two more internet computers have been added to the main floor for a total of nine.

We thank all of you for continuing to support the library. Please stop in to say hello and check out what we have to offer the community.

Comments Comments Off

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!

Comments Comments Off

Fall has arrived with glorious colors, stunning sunsets, and crisp mornings. Of course along with the beauty of the season comes all of those tasks that we do in order to prepare ourselves and our homes for what will follow. After the gardens and flower beds have been tidied, the lawn mowed, and the leaves raked one more time, settle into your favorite chair with a cup of tea and a good book or movie. We have just what you are looking for on our shelves.

If you like football, check out Mark Bowden’s book The Best Game Ever: Giants Vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL. For you non football fans, we have Falcon Fever: a Falconer in the Twenty-first Century by Tim Gallagher; Brian Donovan’s Hard Driving: The Wendell Scott Story, The American Odyssey of NASCAR’s First Black Driver; and Chuck Culpepper’s Bloody Confused! A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer.

The holidays may be months away but we all know that time seems to move quickly this time of year. For those of you who are thinking of giving handmade items but need some inspiration, check out A is for Apron: 25 Fresh & Flirty Designs by Nathalie Mornu. Her designs are pretty, functional, and for many of us evoke fond memories of past holidays. Marilyn MacEwen’s Woodworking 101 for Women; Quick & Clever Christmas Cards by Elizabeth Moad, and Make It in Minutes: Party Favors & Hostess Gifts by Roxi Phillips are sure to make your gift giving more personal and fun.

For all of you true crime fans, check out For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder that Shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz and Kathryn Harrison’s While They Slept: an Inquiry Into the Murder of a Family. The Middle East continues to serve as a topic for debate. The library has added several new books to the collection that are sure to generate discussions, including: Basrayatha: the Story of a City by Muhammad Khudayyir; Sarce Makdisi’s Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation; Muhajababes: Meet the New Middle East -Young, Sexy, and Devout by Allegra Stratton; and Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape.

The following are additional titles to consider: The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane; The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant; David Kaufman’s Doris Day: the Untold Story of the Girl Next Door; The Beautiful Struggle: a Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates; and, on a lighter note, Bruce Patterson’s The Walking Tractor & Other Country Tales.

We continue to add new DVDs to the collection on a regular basis. For those of you who enjoy foreign films, we have added the following: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; The Lives of Others ( winner for best foreign language film); Under the Same Moon; and The Year My Parents Went on Vacation. These and many others are available free of charge to our library patrons. Please stop in the library and check out what we have!

Comments Comments Off

We have an exciting new addition to our collection of books on CD. Recorded Books has a line named Modern Scholar which is a collection of college level courses taught by great professors who are enthusiastic about their subjects and have reputations for being great lecturers. Thanks to a one time bit of extra money, we are adding thirteen titles. The courses include Ethics: A History of Modern Thought; Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry; The American Presidency: From Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan; Journeys of the Great Explorers: Columbus to Cook; Rethinking Our Past: Recognizing Facts, Fictions, and Lies in American History; Take Me Out to the Ballgame: A History of Baseball in America; World War I: The Great War and the World It Made plus six interesting others. These are currently on order and we hope to have them available soon.

All the lists for the best this and thats of the previous year are published in December and January and that is true for lists of best books, also. Some of the best known lists are The New York Times Best Books and Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year. I also look at Booklist Editors’ Choice and a best books list fromLibrary Journal. For fun, this year I also looked at a list from EW. com (Entertainment Weekly) and one from Hudson Booksellers. While the goal of perusing all these lists is to see how many of the titles the library has, the most interesting aspect is that there is not a lot of overlap of titles among the lists. Some of the most interesting sounding books that are here in the library appear on a single list. For example, The New York Times has Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. Hudson Booksellers has Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott, and Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre and David Michaelis’ Schulz and Peanuts are on the list. Publishers Weekly lists Touch and Go: A Memoir by Studs Terkel; Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron; American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion by Paul Barrett and Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Donald Kraybill. A few of the books that appear on more than one list are Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944; How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman; Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee; Jeffrey Toobin’s The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court; A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah; The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Storyby Diane Ackerman; Walter Isaacson’s Einstein; Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner; and The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. These are all books that the Library has, along with lots of other books on various lists and worth reading–something for everyone.

I can’t finish the Spring newsletter without mentioning that Spring is finally here and along with it is the urge to be outside and dig in the dirt, at least for a lot of us. As most of you know, we have many gardening books, ranging from the most basic “how and where to plant a seed” to “how to create a professional looking landscape” to “going green” to “how to make compost”. A lot of these books will be on display as well as on the shelves, so come in and browse.

Comments Comments Off

Fall is here; the daylight hours are fewer and as we begin to prepare for the cold, gray winter days ahead, it is time to plan for some intensive reading. After a summer of listening to media sound bites we can increase our understanding of issues that are facing us by checking out what the library has to offer. We have been adding to the collection a number of books that provide an in-depth exploration of viewpoints on a variety of issues.

For example—global warming. There really are different ways of viewing our changing climate and what it will mean to us. We have Hell and High Water: Global Warming-the Solution and the Politics-and What We Should Do by Joseph Romm; With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear the Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce; An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere; two books by Bjorn Lomborg, Global Crises, Global Solutions: The Skeptical Environmentalist : Measuring the Real State of the World and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming; and Christopher Horner’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming.

Reading books about history is a wonderful way to increase our understanding not only of the past but also of current events. Try David Halberstam’s posthumously published book The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, or Greg Behrman’s The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time when America Helped Save Europe. The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan; The Berlin Wall: A World Divided 1961-1989 by Fred Taylor or Steve Vogel’s The Pentagon: A History might prove to be interesting.

As technology is making the world smaller, India and China are having an increasing impact on the western world. Several new books provide information to improve our understanding of these countries. Try The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: India, the Emerging 21st Century Power by Shashi Tharoor; Ramachandra Guha’s India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy and Insight Guides: India. As for China, try The Long March: The True History of Communist China’s Founding Myth or Harry Gelber’s The Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World 1100 BC to the Present.

Religion is always a topic to inspire discussion and there are numerous books being published to help the discussion along. Karen Armstrong has several well respected books and her latest is The Bible: A Biography. Another more general book is Discovering God: A New Look at the Origins of the Great Religions by Rodney Stark. Atheism is currently in the news and we have both Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything and Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. A new book is The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine by Alister McGrath.

On a lighter note, Christmas is coming and we are adding Georgeanne Brennan’s Christmas Sweets; I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers and Rebecca Rather’s The Pastry Queen Christmas, along with the usual Taste of Home Holiday and Celebrations 2007, Better Homes and Gardens Christmas from the Heart, Vol. 16; and Christmas with Southern Living 2007.

Several new DVD sets have been added including Roots : the 30th anniversary edition, a Nova series about ants, bees and the unknown world, and a two disc set about hurricanes. For the armchair traveler in all of us, there is a series including Mexico, the Northwest, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and China to the Max.

There should be something here for everyone to get through the winter. If not, come to the library and browse. We add thousands of books a year so there is sure to be something you will find interesting.

Comments Comments Off

Our anticipated renovation is well under way and our additional space should be ready in a month or so. The current plan is to move Large Print books to the new space. We will shift Books on Cassette to the original Large Print shelves and thus be able to spread out our new magazines and have more room for Books on CD. All plans are, of course, subject to change.

Fall is a wonderful time to travel-cooler temperatures, fewer crowds and beautiful scenery. We have added some travel books and memoirs to help plan your trip. Try Pennsylvania Wilds: Images from the Allegheny National Forest for inspiration, or Seasons on Harris: A Year in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides by David Yeadon. More traditional travel guides include Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids 2007; Rick Steves’ Best of Europe 2007; Mexico; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Alaska; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Washington, D.C.; Insider’s Guide to North Carolina Mountains; and Fodor’s Las Vegas. My vote would be for the North Carolina Mountains.

The history of wars is a topic of interest to many of our patrons. We have added some titles to consider. Try Donald Miller’s Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany; War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror by John Yoo; A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm; Lynn Homan’s Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen and The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. Another title to consider is Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian Toll.

The conventional wisdom is that if one wishes to keep the peace, one should not discuss politics or religion. However, if you decide to bring up these topics, we have several new books to add to the debate.

In no particular order, we have The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis Collins; Why the Christian Right is Wrong by Robin Meyers; Panja Idliby’s The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding; Hugo Chaves: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the United States by Nikolas Kozloff; A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity by Spencer Burke; Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon; Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris; The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America; Richard Posner’s Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency; Robert Price’s The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For?; and Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks. Several of these are bound to get the blood moving.

Stop by, between trips, to see how our renovation is progressing and to look over the new books and the older ones, too. We think you will be pleased by both.

Comments Comments Off