Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Goodbye, BHPL App. Hello, BHPL Mobile Web Site

The Berkeley Heights Public Library launched its own app back in late 2011.  Back then our catalog was not easy to use on a smartphone, and neither was our web site.  After six years, the app is in need of technological updates, but upgrading doesn't make sense now that both the library's web site and its catalog have a mobile version that is designed to be displayed on small screens.

Old BHPL app

As of October 15, the Berkeley Heights Public Library app will not be useful anymore.  We wish it would self-destruct, but it won't - feel free to delete the BHPL app from your phone or tablet.  We can help you with that if you stop by the reference desk with your device. Or, you can just ignore BHPL app if you prefer.

So how do you search the library's holdings, renew your books & DVDs and check out our hours, upcoming events, etc. when you're not near a computer?  Open up your phone or tablet's browser (for example, on my iPhone I would use Safari) and navigate to the library's web site at http://bhplnj.org. This is what you will see:



If you'd like to make an icon for the library's web page on your iPhone or iPad, tap the blue square with an arrow coming out of the top (I've circled in red, above). Then tap Add to Home Screen.  Voila - you can pretend it's a library app.

If you liked checking out ebooks and e-audiobooks using the BHPL app, your best bet is to download the Libby app in the app store.  It's easier to get started with than the old Overdrive app, and it lets you check out ebooks and e-audiobooks, plus read them, all within the same app.

Libby app

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Climbing Over the NY Times Paywall. Also: Newspaper Sticks

Are you tired of getting the message that you've reached your limit of 10 NYTimes.com articles this month? The Berkeley Heights Public Library now offers one-day passes to the New York Times web site.

To get your free access, go to the BHPL web site and click All Things E, then click the link to the New York Times.  You will need your library card's barcode number, and you will also need to have a login for the New York Times web site.  I had one from back when the New York Times was free as long as you logged in, but if you don't have a login, just click Register.

Of course you may also read the New York Times or another newspaper here at the library in one of our comfortable chairs.


The New York Times Book Review is kept on a stick. Fun newspaper stick fact: you are allowed to take the publication off the stick while you read it. Fun newspaper stick fact 2: our library regulars are evenly divided between those who leave the stick on and those who take the newspaper off. Which side are you on?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cataloging: or why librarians love Melville Dewey


Melville Dewey
Okay, librarians have a reputation for following rules.  How else would we be able to find books, DVDs or audio books?  The public doesn’t understand that Mr. Dewey and his cataloging system takes us only so far and then we start bargaining and, on rare occasions, arguing.  Mr. Dewey would frown on the amount of creativity that sometimes creeps into cataloging.  Here are several examples that may never be decided to everyone’s satisfaction or comfort level:


Books on famous gardens appear in both the 700’s (art and architecture) and the 900’s (travel) –be happy they aren’t also in the 600’s (gardening, pets, cooking, etc.)  


Should a book detailing the London known by Dickens be on the shelf next to a London travel guide? Where would you place a memoir of a year living in a foreign country?  Biography or travel literature? 

       
Due to the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, those books appear in both the travel section and a more specific U.S. history classification.


There is not enough space on any blog to describe the various ways to catalog Shakespeare and confuse everyone searching for a regular version, annotated version, graphic version, or a version plus criticism


If an author has written 57 mysteries, should his one novel sit alone and forgotten on the fiction shelves? Perhaps this non-mystery shares the same characters as the mysteries.


What makes a book a mystery?  Does it require a dead body or just a puzzle to be solved?


Science fiction vs. fantasy vs. dystopian? Please...


The 920’s are the place where collective biographies go to be ignored and forgotten.


Although I could continue this list of the vagaries of cataloging, the answer is fairly easy.  The books should be placed where the public expects to find them.  If you think that clarifies the issue, guess again.

- S. Bakos
Where's That Book?

  
             

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Art Books at the Library Have Their Own Room

What Does This Sign Mean?
Art books, or as we in the library biz call them in Dewey Decimal-ese, the 700's, have their very own room at Berkeley Heights Public Library. If you are browsing in the non-fiction stacks and have wandered from the 010's (Bibliography, not to be confused with Biographies), through the 100's (Philosophy and Psychology) and so on through the 600's, ending up in the 690's (Buildings), you will jump right into the 800's (Literature.) So we put up a sign explaining where in the world the 700's are. See photo. But you might wonder what a 'Circ Desk' is. Again with the Library Land Lingo. Circ is short for Circulation which refers to the library department whose intrepid staff members are the front line in library customer service; they check books in and out all day, put books on hold for patrons, create library cards, shelve new materials, find lost books, send out overdue notices, create book displays, and collect fines :-( among many, many other responsibilities. The closest I can describe working at the Circ Desk is that it is a cross between working retail and being a bartender, but without the fun of serving beer. We take your fines, but you do not get beer. We do listen to whatever stories you may have while we wipe down the counter with seltzer, or at least we wipe down the computer monitors with anti-static cloths.
So anyway, BHPL has a terrific collection of art books, craft books, books on knitting, holiday crafts, hobbies and collecting of all kinds and at the end of the 700's are books on photography, music, sports and games. So come on in and browse in the 700's room which is the room behind the big glass window near your friendly library Circulation Staff.

Related websites:
The Dewey Decimal System explained 

Library Terminology Glossary  

Do you like those quizzes on Facebook? Do you like libraries? Try these fun library quizzes.


Staff Picks or What to Read Next

The library staff has an ongoing display of our favorite books for readers to choose from, because finding the next good book to read is always a challenge and a familiar question at the library. In fact, when librarians go anywhere and admit to being a librarian, that is among the first questions we get.
"Can you recommend a good book?"
To which we answer, "it depends, what do you like to read?"
The other common question is, "I thought libraries and librarians were unnecessary now that everything is on the internet."
The answer to that is, "Why, no, we're still here."

My favorites from the shelves above are 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' by Bill Bryson, the author's really funny memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa. We recommend this title often and almost everyone reports back that they loved it. 'The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry' by Gabrielle Zevin is a short, sweet love story about a bookstore owner. Each chapter begins with a quote from a short story which will lead you to more good authors to read.  Spencer Quinn's series about Chet the Dog are excellent for dog lovers and mystery lover and are very funny, as told by the dog Chet. Follow Chet on Facebook for more canine hijinks and fun.
In this shot above, my pick is 'Merry Hall' by Beverley Nichols, a 1950's memoir by an avid English gardener who buys an old manor house and revives its garden with the help of his skilled, but opinionated gardener. Lovers of P.G. Wodehouse will like the whole series.
'Packing for Mars' by Mary Roach is the very funny and determined science writer's research into what it will take to put a person on Mars. Ms. Roach tries the zero-gravity experience at NASA with predictably nauseating results and stores her own urine in the frig to her husband's disgust. She discusses the realities of what a body must endure for such a long space voyage. 'Pompeii' by Robert Harris is a terrific book of historical fiction about the destruction of Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. You will notice another Bill Bryson book: 'A Walk in the Woods.' This is laugh-out-loud funny and the audio version is terrific. Be prepared to be caught laughing while you commute and listen to it. Speaking of humor, but of a slightly more farcical, hyperbolic (I'm trying not to say raunchier) type, Carl Hiaasen is a friend of Dave Barry, enough said if you like the really crazy humor coming from Florida's journalists-turned-novel-writers, which I do. And you will notice another book about a bookstore owner, 'Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore' for fans of 'A.J. Fikry' (see above) but with a slightly techy/fantasy/futuristic plot twist.
Happy Reading.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Librarian Terrarium

Fleur Reading
Is that a frog reading a book on a mossy bank near a miniature Jade Tree? Why, yes. It seems that over the winter one of our reference librarians made a half-dozen terrariums and documented them in her crafting blog.  The Librarian Terrarium with a figurine of yours truly, Fleur the Frog Blogger, really caught my eye.
For more terrarium information, try our library books:
The New Terrarium, Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature by Tovah Martin (call# 635.98 MAR)

Fairy Gardening, Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden by Julie Bawden-Davis (call # 636,977 BAW)

Search for related subjects like 'Bonsai' and 'container gardening'  in the library catalog.

Follow the Crappy Crafters blog for more terrarium pictures and other easy crafting and upcycling projects. There is another terrarium with a frog figure, see if you can spot that in the slide show on the blog.

-Best Regards,

Fleur the Frog Blogger

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Alan Alda's Latest Book

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating by Alan Alda was just reviewed in The Star Ledger, and so the holds list at the library is now growing for this title. Famous as 'Dr. Hawkeye Pierce' in the television series M.A.S.H, Mr. Alda is also known for hosting the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers and has had a lifelong interest not only  in the sciences, but also in how scientists can better communicate their knowledge to the layman. This interest led him to found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Drawing on his theater background and natural curiosity, the author discusses how theater techniques such as improvisation exercises can improve empathy and create a better rapport between scientists and layman or between doctors and patients. Would scientists who could communicate more effectively be able to get more research grants and public understanding of their work? Would a doctor who could communicate more clearly with his patients contribute to his patients' well-being? How can we all listen more and increase empathy which would lead to better communication? What is 'theory of mind' and what happens if we don't have that understanding of 'being in another person's shoes?' How does telling a story rather than giving a dry recitation of facts affect a person's memory? All of these points for improving human communication are considered in this book.

I just finished the book and would like to go back and read it again in order to understand all the research and studies the author covered about improving human communication of all kinds, but the book is due today and library readers are waiting for it. How could I have written a better review that would really grab you? Well, for that you will have to read the book and let me know.Did I mention that a huge, scary, hairy bear is first on the holds list? No? Well, just see if that image in your mind makes you remember this book and review.







Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Staff Summer Picks

This Saturday a few of us who have had many years' experience working at BHPL - please call us the A-team, not old-timers, please - are filling in a few gaps on the "Summer Staff Faves" display bookshelf.


"The Summer Guest" by Alison Anderson is Urmi's favorite. Novelist describes the premise: "After a diary documenting a friendship between a young Ukrainian doctor and author Anton Chekhov is found, Katya Kendall believes it may be the key to saving her struggling publishing house." If you enjoyed "The Optimist's Daughter," "All the Light We Cannot See" or "Napoleon's Last Island" you may enjoy this one as well, according to Novelist.    

I chose "Hypothermia" by Arnaldur Indridason for the display. It's been five years since I read this Icelandic mystery, but I still think about it.  It's haunting and deals with a sinister plot behind a presumed suicide at a lake house, plus the reopening of the cold case of a young couple who went missing one summer day.




"A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka" by Lev Golinkin is Alice's selection.  It's a wonderful memoir about a boy and his family immigrating from Russia in the 1970s which is both comic and touching.  If you are wondering about the title - Lev's family left with his teddy bear in his backpack, plus eight crates of vodka to grease the bureaucratic wheels for their escape from Russia.

"Villette" by Charlotte Bronte is another one of my picks. Pretend you are a kid on summer break who's been assigned a classic, but this time read the one that's better than Jane Eyre. Gentlewoman Lucy Snowe becomes penniless in England and decides to look for a governess position in a Brussels-like city in Belgium, but soon finds herself teaching English at a girls' boarding school.  This semi-autobiographical novel is almost 700 pages long, so clear your reading calendar.

Monday, June 5, 2017

More Memo Fun

How would any organization run efficiently without the time-honored memo? Here at the library, each department has a memo clipboard and the staff table is littered with memos. Today's memo concerns the main printer which the public computers print to. The big printer had a hissy fit over the weekend and we apologize to any patrons who did not get their printouts on Sunday. On Monday morning, the printer spat out all those homework assignments and other things you needed so badly the day before. Again, we apologize. This called for a memo. Sometime printers just like to hoard printouts, only to regurgitate them later en masse. Sometimes printers like to chew up paper and get all jammed up. Sometimes printers only print in black and white, or, as with ours a few months ago,  print everything with a jaunty slash of pink ink. We cured the printer of the pink problem. It doesn't jam if we only feed it the exact kind of paper it likes. But sometimes, it still hoards. We could read it Marie Kondo's 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up,' but you know, printer storytime would only mean we had let the printer win by driving us totally into fantasy land. Printers can do that. Remember the scene from the movie 'Office Space' where the cubicle dwellers take the bad printer outside and beat it to death? Watch that scene on You tube here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjsSr3z5nVk

The library staff did not smash the printer to smithereens with a baseball bat. We wrote a memo. By the way, not so long ago there were no printers in libraries, only clay tablets and little reeds to make wedge-shaped marks. It's true, you needed a strong arm and a sturdy book bag to take home your borrowed clay tablets, but they never jammed up :-)

For more thoughts on memos from our blogger, go to Memo Memes: Passive Agressive Memos at the library

Logging into your Library Account

The Berkeley Heights Public Library upgraded the software used for our online catalog and patron accounts at the end of April 2017. To log in to your account from the catalog, click on 'Log in' which is on the upper right of the catalog screen. You will have to enter your barcode from your library card and your pin, which is the last 4 digits of your phone number. If this information was remembered/saved by your computer or device previous to a month ago, you will have to enter it once again and ask it to remember the information. When you have logged in once, your computer should remember your login credentials going forward. If you see the message saying that the connection is not secure, you can log in anyway. We are in the process of getting an HTTPS website, a secure website, like a bank or online retail store. You can recognize secure sites because there will often be a little padlock in the upper left of your screen in the address bar. Because libraries do not take credit cards or handle financial information, having a secure site is not something that most libraries in New Jersey currently have. Because patrons have expressed concern about our site's security, we are going ahead with getting a secure website soon. Meanwhile, you can ignore the security warning on our login page, or not, depending on your concerns about online security. If you would prefer for the staff to place holds for you and answer questions about materials you have checked out, just call us.

To login into your account, go to our home page

http://www.bhplnj.org/

Click on 'My account'

Enter your credentials to access your holds and checked out materials.

Or call the library with your questions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Should I Read Next? the Podcast

Audiobooks used to be my go-to listening on commutes, but then I had too many accidents of the bibliographic - thankfully not automotive - kind.  For example: I finally reached the last CD of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, disc 22, and it was too scratched to play. The book was not readily available to me at that time so I'm still fuzzy on the ending.  Then there was the time I listened to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall with the chapters mixed up, because the CDs weren't loaded in order. . .  and the time that I was told by a friend that I missed a lot of important photographs that were in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, including the crucial flipbook at the end.

http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/


So lately I have been listening to podcasts while I drive. I have a lot of favorites (The Moth, This American Life, TED Radio Hour), but the one that I have been listening to without fail for the past couple of months is What Should I Read Next.  Anne Bogel, who blogs at Modern Mrs. Darcy, cheerfully interviews one guest each week and they talk about what the guest is reading now, three books the guest loves and one book the guest hates; then Anne recommends more books that she thinks the guest will like. If you, like me, love to listen to conversations about books, tune in.  

You can't go wrong with the episode where Anne interviews Kathleen Grissom, author of the Kitchen House; or the episode entitled The Library Is Running My Life with Carolyn McCready, an acquisitions editor at a publishing house; or Episode 60 with cookbook author Melissa Joulwan.  I like hearing Anne's logic for why she selected her particular recommendations for that guest, and I usually end up adding a title or two to my own TBR (to be read list) too.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nine Truths and a Lie

Today I'm playing along with the latest Facebook meme, by listing ten live concerts or documentaries you can watch on Qello Concerts - the library's newest online offering - except for the one that I am lying about. Can you guess which?



1. Bruce Springsteen Live in Barcelona, 2002. The first concert released in its entirety, with a "deliriously insane" crowd.


2. The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, Festival Express, 1970.  For five days, the bands and performers traveled by train across Canada, performing at each stop.

3. Joey and Rory Country Classics: songs and interviews with the couple, before Rory's tragic diagnosis.

4. Beatles Beat Box. A 15 minute film with press interviews and worldwide footage documenting the rise of Beatlemania.
  
5. Coachella: a documentary about the music festival, 1999-2005.


6. Queen at Rock Montreal, 1981. The only Queen concert ever recorded.

7. Rage Against the Machine's Battle of Mexico City, 1999. As Rage Against the Machine supported political causes in Mexico, this concert attended by thousands in Mexico City was especially electric.

8. Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Written after his earlier works displeased Stalin, did Symphony No. 5 with its rousing final march appease the Communist Party, or is it a secret protest?

9. Audioslave Live in Cuba, 2005. The first American rock band to perform in Cuba, in Havana's the Anti-Imperialist Plaza, whose frontman was the recently deceased Chris Cornell.

10. Prince's music album Love Symbol Album: you will need a special key on your keyboard to search for this one.

OK, obviously number 10 is false: Qello does not have any Prince videos yet. But it was difficult to find something Qello didn't have, as there are more than 1500 music videos/concerts/documentaries available in dozens of genres, from the 1920s to the 2010s, Duke Ellington to Tiesto.

To get to Qello (pronounced Kwel-oh), go to the library's website, bhplnj.org and click on All Things E, then scroll down to Qello Concerts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reading Ulysses by Bloomsday

Regular listeners of WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show on 93.9 FM will know that Leonard's book club is reading Ulysses, with the deadline of Bloomsday - June 16, the day on which the James Joyce novel takes place, 113 years ago. There's no way I will finish by this Bloomsday, but at least I've cracked open "the greatest novel never read" and gotten started.

In college when I was studying abroad, I visited Dublin with friends, one of whom had read Ulysses and dragged us across the city tracing Leopold Bloom's route. Now Ulysses is haunting me the way the stories of Flannery O'Connor niggled at the back of my mind after I sat in a rocking chair on her front porch, until I gave in and read A Good Man is Hard to Find. 


The Leonard Lopate radio show has had several Joyce scholars on to speak about Ulysses recently, and you can listen to them here.  Professor Michael Groden recommended listening to Ulysses; you won't get bogged down by points you don't understand because the audiobook will go on. BHPL has the complete audiobook on CD - all forty discs of it - along with a shorter audiobook that was adapted for BBC Radio. A dramatized reading of Ulysses that was originally broadcast on Irish radio is also available free online.


I am tackling the book, not the audio, but I'm taking it slowly.  After all, Ulysses was first published in installments over two years in the American journal The Little Review (March 1918 to September 1920). The publishers lost an obscenity trial after that and could not print the last four episodes of the novel. Read more about the banning of Ulysses in the 2014 book The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for Ulysses.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Consumer Reports & People magazine on your iPad/PC

If I had to name the two most in-demand magazines here at the library, it would be Consumer Reports and People magazine.  In fact, we have to keep the latest issue of People behind the circulation desk to safeguard it from a persistent thief.  And we often get calls or visits from residents looking for Consumer Reports, whose independent ratings are the mainstay of residents shopping for a new appliance or device or car.







It's very easy to swipe through a digital version of People or Consumer Reports now, even if the library is closed. Simply download the Flipster app from the app store.

If you'd rather read the magazine on your computer, go to the library website and click All Things E (E for electronic), then click on Flipster.

Either way, you will need your library barcode number handy once you open up Flipster.





Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Captain Obvious at the Library

Captain Obvious, the spokesperson for Hotels.com, is known for stating the obvious, obviously.
I was oblivious to Captain Obvious until I said something obvious to my son and he said,
"Thank you, Captain Obvious." Which got me thinking, We could really use this plain-speaking military type at the library. Just think, I thought, it's so obvious that libraries can save you money, we need this fellow as our spokesman. I really think the American Library Association should jump on this idea. Maybe Captain O. would even do some public service announcements for American libraries. Suggested scripts for Captain Obvious to recommend public libraries to the public:

Captain O: The Berkeley Heights Free Public Library is free, so it saves you money!
Captain O: If you borrow a book from a library, you don't have to pay for it, so it's free and that saves you money!
Captain O: Don't buy ebooks, borrow them for free from the library. It will save you money not to buy them!
Captain O: Don't buy DVD's, borrow them for free from your library to save money!
Captain O: A library card never charges fees like a credit card! That saves you money.

Thank you, Captain Obvious!

How do libraries save you money?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Software Upgrade at the Library Scheduled for this Friday

Happy Library Staff Awaiting Software Upgrade
Thursday night, April 27, in the quiet and darkest part of the night, while library staff and patrons are home sleeping soundly, the library servers in the basement will be upgraded! A new and completely different-looking catalog and circulation system will be loaded overnight, somehow magically and remotely, by our software vendor. When the librarians arrive for work on Friday morning and boot up their computers, they will be confronted by... something unlike what the library has been using for years and years. The staff has been feverishly practicing on the new system and feels ready to go, or as ready as we'll ever be. ------------->
For our library patrons, when you use the online catalog, it will look more colorful. If you need help, be sure to ask at the reference desk. We will be open as usual during the upgrading process. Please bear with us while we curse and swear, er, fumble, um, patiently tap, tap, tap, brows furrowed while we search for and check out books and so on.

Vocabulary Quiz for Library Software Upgrade:





Why do we want to go from a 'client-based' to a 'web-based' system?
What is our 'ILS' and why are they making us upgrade?
How does 'TLC', our ILS, get into our server room in the middle of the night for the upgrade?
Can we lock them out?
What is the difference between an OPAC and a PAC and what did they do with the card catalog?
What happened to Melville Dewey and his Decimal System?
Would Mr. Dewey like this upgrade?



Saturday, April 22, 2017

The White House Chef mystery series



This will be a short post about one of my favorite series.  Julie Hyzy started the 'White House Chef' Mysteries in 2008 with State of the Onion and ended in 2016 with Foreign Eclairs.  The seven other titles include: Home of the Braised; Affairs of Steak; All the President’s Menus; Buffalo West Wing; Hail to the Chef; Eggsecutive Orders: and Fonduing Fathers.  Olivia Paras, Head Chef in the White House kitchen, was in charge of all things food related from daily meals for the First Family to assisting in planning large scale events.  Checking dietary restrictions, allergies, and protocol for how and what to serve visiting dignitaries was crucial.  Making the Secret Service a little crazy was an added benefit of her job. Ollie had a knack of finding herself in the middle of espionage, sabotage and mayhem.  The books also included a little romance and a few recipes.

Moving on to the reason for this post, Ollie Paras and the White House Chef Mysteries, as written by Julie Hyzy, have come to last meal.  The author had been hired to write the series, but did not own the concept or copyright.    When the company that owns the series ran into financial problems, the problems quickly trickled down to the level of delayed payments to the author.  ReadJulie Hyzy’s blog to understand how little she was being paid for each book purchased.  If Work-for-Hire is a common publishing practice, I wonder how anyone can afford to write.  I understand that the company is spending money to produce and promote the books, assuming the risk of poor sales, and, generally, not making a fortune on the great majority of books published.  It is not my intention to question the convoluted contracts between authors and publishers, I am just expressing my disappointment that the Ollie Paras I have known and enjoyed may not be seen again.  Yes, a different author could be offered a similar Work-for-Hire agreement, but the pairing of Ollie and Julie was a good one.

"All Good Things..." , author Julie Hyzy's blog post about the end of her 'White House Chef' series.

Author Julie Hyzy's website listing her books including her other mystery series, 'Manor House mysteries.' 

All the President's Menus by Julie Hyzy is available to borrow as an ebook from eLibraryNJ.

- S. Bakos

Life and Death at the Library

Strains of bagpipe music filled the library this Saturday afternoon. A bagpiper was playing for guests leaving a wedding at the church next door. The library has also witnessed many funerals next door, also with bagpipe accompaniment.  When a library regular goes on to that great library in the sky, his or her obituary is printed out for the staff to reminisce over. 

Earlier today a pair of filmmakers identified themselves and said they hoped to film a short interview in the library at some future time, a time when the library is busy. I pointed this out and one said "But libraries are generally quiet, aren't they?" If only the bagpipes had started up then, but it was morning, and bagpipes in the morning means a funeral, so it was all for the best.

Now I can hear children's voices downstairs in the children's department. "Daddy! Can we have theeeeeeese?  Can we take them HOME?" I help an obstetrician download an audiobook while chatting about the c-section rate.  Someone from children's calls upstairs and says "Run this through your memory bank: a picture book told from the ants' point of view." This turns out to be Two Bad Ants.

Someone wonders where the Bill O'Reilly audiobooks are. As I'm busy with another patron, I give him the Dewey Decimal numbers and direct him "past the pink flamingo," a phrase that gives me endless satisfaction whenever I get to use it.  People are preparing for trips and vacations, which means they are willing to drive here from other towns to check out a copy of Fates and Furies and they need to be able to watch their Hoopla videos while offline.

Happy reading and have a good trip.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Not Too Old and Not Too New

It's me, Ellen. Thank you to all the patrons who have welcomed me back- some with candy. I swear, none of us have aged a bit while I was gone.

While getting back into the swing of things, I found this useful list from Reading Group Guides, the site for book groups: the books whose guides were most requested by book groups in 2016. I've reproduced the "new favorites" half of the list below.

Behold the Goldilocks zone - these books are not too old (leaving you nobody to discuss the book with) and not too new (does anyone enjoy waiting lists? Or not being able to renew a 500 page book?).  I have linked to the library eBook versions, many of which you can start reading right now using the Overdrive app. See also: library bookshelves.



THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead

"Ongoing favorites" requested in 2016 included The Book Thief, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Gold Finch, My Brilliant Friend, The Boys in the Boat, Me Before You, Big Little Lies, The Invention of Wings, Lila, and The 100-Year-Old Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, among others.