Thursday, December 14, 2017

Before & After

This week someone called the library and asked if we had a book on our shelf. Well, no. We don't have any books on the shelves anymore.  Everything was boxed up and items not going with us to 110 Roosevelt Ave. were moved into storage.

While packing up the library, we ran across the photographs below, taken of the library when it was still new. I retook the same photos today for comparison.

Do you remember the old date due cards and the sound of the Gaylord machine stamping the dates?

 Circulation desk: late 1950s 

 Circulation desk today

The children's department used to be located in what is now the basement meeting room:

 Children's department in the late 1950s

What is now the meeting room (as it looks today)

And here is a side-by-side look at the staff room. 

Staff room in the late 1950s

Staff room today

Want to know more about the move? Check out director Stephanie Bakos' YouTube interview and a letter she wrote to TAPinto Berkeley Heights.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! It's BHPL's Last Day Till January

Today is the last day that BHPL will be open, until sometime in January when we reopen at our new location at 110 Roosevelt Ave.

Come in and take a last look at the library before we close at 9 p.m. tonight. If you are a Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! fan, and even if you're not, read host Peter Sagal's lovely essay about his memories of the Berkeley Heights Public Library, which was published in "This is What a Librarian Looks Like."

"That stairway. It was a dark upward passage into mystery, replete with Freudian and Jungian meanings, which I couldn't understand because all the books about that sort of stuff were upstairs. . . " - Peter Sagal
How to return your books while we are closed:
If the item is due in December or January, you have three options:
  • return it to the bookdrop at 290 Plainfield Ave. by December 20 
  • hold onto it and return it by February 1st, fine-free, at 110 Roosevelt Ave.
  • if you are using another local library, you may return BHPL items there also. (Remember to take ID and your BHPL card with you if you want to check out items there.)

If the item was due in November or earlier, fines will stop accumulating while are closed, and begin again when we reopen.

Please keep visiting the library blog - not only will we be posting information about the move, but we also have an author interview coming this month with Linda Raedisch about her book The Old Magic of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Era Ends on Monday

With the library board's announcement that the library is closing at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 4, 2017, it's officially the end of an era.  The Free Public Library of Berkeley Heights has been located at 290 Plainfield Avenue ever since it first opened to the public on September 20, 1953. Parts of the library building go back even further, as it was originally built in 1925 as the first Mt. Carmel Hall. The township purchased it from the Mt. Carmel Society in 1952 for $10,000.

Getting back to 2017: library staff are preparing for a move to 110 Roosevelt Avenue, which was the rectory of the Church of the Little Flower, and before that, a convent.  The Library Board said in an announcement yesterday that "there is considerable work to be managed and completed in order to make the property at 110 Roosevelt Avenue suitable and safe for use as a public library building (construction, permits, approvals, moving library property, moving and reconstructing network and Wi-fi access, etc.)" 

However, 110 Roosevelt Avenue is just a waypoint on the library's itinerary. A new municipal complex is being planned for Park Avenue, with a new library located on the second floor, but it is still in planning stages.

Moving a collection that is in flux is not a simple thing.  Some things you need to know:

  • You may no longer place reserves (or "holds") or interlibrary loan requests.
  • The book drop will be available until Dec. 20. After that, you can return items to other local libraries.
  • If you return items by February 1, you won't be charged overdue fines, as long as the original due date was December. For items due before December, fines will not accumulate while the library is closed.
  • Please don't donate books to us. Please do come buy something from our book sale - $0.50 a book or $5 for a bag of books.
  • Electronic resources (databases, ebooks, etc.) will still be available. However, in late December when the network components are moved, ebook access may go down for a time.
  • Your Berkeley Heights Library card can be used at these local libraries. Please note, you will need to take your library card and driver's license with you. Please come in ASAP and pay any fines and renew your card if it's expired or expiring soon, if you plan to use other libraries. The expiration date can be found on a sticker on your library card.

The Free Public Library of Berkeley Heights' goal is to reopen as soon as possible.  Keep an eye on the Library's home page or Facebook page for a reopening announcement.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Eels, Lobsters and Turkey: “The American Plate” by Libby O’Connell

I’ve been taking “bites” from Libby O’Connell’s “The American Plate: the History of American Cuisine in 100 Bites” for a couple of years now. I first heard about the book over the radio when Leonard Lopate was interviewing Dr. O’Connell, chief historian at the History Channel.  When I tuned in, the author was telling Leonard Lopate how the Puritans enjoyed eating eels, and they used lobster, which they found bitter, as bait to catch the eels.

It’s hard to read “The American Plate” straight through, as it’s a combination encyclopedia-cookbook. But I have enjoyed reading an occasional chapter on my Kindle. Syllabub anyone?  The book goes from maize and squash up to sushi and super foods.

The chapters called “Turkey” and “the Rise of Thanksgiving” are so interesting. For example, although turkey is native to North America, its English name reflects the fact that Turkish traders were the first to bring turkeys to England. The Turks imported the turkeys from Spain, which got their birds from their American colonies.

I also had no idea that Thanksgiving used to be political. In the Northeast, where Thanksgiving was primarily celebrated at first, abolitionist speeches were made on Thanksgiving. So one Virginia governor (Henry Wise, 1856-1860) refused to let his state observe the holiday. Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, right after Union victories.

If you want to find out what was served at the first Thanksgiving feasts - not just in Plymouth but at earlier ones in St. Augustine and Virginia too - read “The American Plate”. Hint: it may not have been turkey. And no, not cranberry sauce either. (Although we don’t have this book at BHPL, we can borrow it for you from another library.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BHPL's "Bestsellers"

Wondering what your neighbors are reading in Berkeley Heights? These "BHPL bestseller" lists are based on circulation statistics and current holds. 

Most Popular New Fiction at BHPL

Top Four Novels
1.   Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
2.  Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
3.  Camino Island by John Grisham
4.  Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Tied for Fifth Place
5.  The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
5. The Duchess by Danielle Steel
5. Secrets In Summer by Nancy Thayer
5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
5. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Tied for Tenth
10. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
10. Dangerous Minds : a Knight and Moon Novel by Janet Evanovich
10. The Store by James Patterson
10. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
10. Origin by Dan Brown
10. The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
10. The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson

Most Popular New Nonfiction at BHPL

Top Nonfiction (books by and about Hillary Clinton and possibly what she's reading)
1. Shattered : Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen
2. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
3.  Option B : Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg
3.  What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Next Three Nonfiction:
5.  Astrophysics For People In a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
5.  Killing England by Bill O'Reilly
7.  The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down : How To Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Hyemin

Tied for Eighth Place: Food and Wine Books
8. Cork Dork : a Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker
8. Christopher Kimball's Milk Street : the New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimball
8. Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker and Instapot by Melissa Clark
8. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman
8. The Mother-in-Law Cure : Learning to Live and Eat in an Italian Family by Katherine Wilson
8. Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

More Nonfiction Books Tied for Eighth Place (Geez):
8. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
8. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? by Alan Alda
8. Confessions of a Wall Street Insider by Michael Kimelman
8. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
8. Sisters First:Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush
8. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks