Monday, December 7, 2015

Re-post: December Holiday Thoughts at the Library

Friday, December 19, 2014

Our blog's December holiday posts over the years:

The one in which Ellen listens to Dylan Thomas' 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' and tells us the Berkeley Heights connection with the author.

The one in which Anne tracks Santa Claus using the NORAD website. I am sure there is an app now, right?

The one listing a few of the library's MANY holiday craft books. 
It is probably too late to make crafts for gifts now, but you could start for next year or just enjoy looking at the pictures and then enjoy shopping online on Etsy letting someone else do the hard work of crafting.

Favorite Holiday Books gives you a small reading list for the season.

And feast your eyes on 'The Best Christmas Board' on Pinterest
and Hanukkah Card Ideas on Pinterest

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Post-daylight Savings Monday Blues, but 3 Good Books Save the Day

Forgive me for ranting for a few sentences before I get to the book portion of this post.  It is Monday.  It is not just any Monday, however.  It is the Monday after Halloween so everyone is carefully avoiding the candy in the staff room.  It is the Monday after the end of Daylight Savings so everyone is already cranky anticipating the drive home in the dark.  Also, for me, it is the day to retrieve the October statistics, download the bank statement, and check the bills to be paid.   This is too much pressure for one day – especially Monday.  On a positive note, I have just finished reading three really, really good books.  Does this qualify as a trifecta, Triple Crown, hat trick, or bases loaded?  Or, is it just good luck? 
When I first saw the title of The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks I thought of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and, of course, had to find a recording.  The secret chord in the title is the same secret chord that “… David played and it pleased the Lord.”  The narrator is Natan, David’s prophet and confidant.  The story, from David’s youth through the end of his reign, is filled with family, battles, power, betrayal, love, loss, music, more battles, and spiritual visions.  As David’s biographer, Natan sees David as both a great king and a flawed man.  Geraldine Brooks has also written Year of Wonders and People of the Book.  She remains in my top five favorite list.
Loretta Young will be remembered as the epitome of beauty, elegance, and grace.  Adriana Trigiani captures the glamour, as well as the dark side, of the Hollywood studios by following the fictionalized career of Loretta Young.  All the Stars in the Heavens tells the story of how movies were made before special effects and animation.  She gossips about famous and infamous love affairs.  Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and David Niven appear, disappear and re-appear throughout Miss Young’s life.  Her career takes her from Hollywood movies to success on the radio to the still early days of television.  Her story is not always happy and several of her decisions must be viewed in the context of a different time in this country and very different standards of how movie stars were expected to behave.  I raced through this book.
Sarah Vowell, in Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, describes herself as a “… historian-adjacent, narrative nonfiction wise guy.”  How true!  I recommended this book to a friend by saying that the author’s attitude is flippant and occasionally borders on being disrespectful to the Founding Fathers.  I love it!  I am reviewing history that I had forgotten and receiving a much more comprehensive overview of the participants in the Revolutionary War.  I’m glad that I know the ending in advance or I would be seriously nervous about the outcome.  Comparisons to the current political situation are timely and, at times, too accurate to be funny.  I am looking forward to reading Vowell’s earlier books.

- S. Bakos

Monday, October 5, 2015

What We Read in September

 Author, Title, Number of Checkouts for New Books in September 2015 at BHPL

Addison, Corban, 1979-    The tears of dark water : a novel /    1
Ahern, Shauna James    Gluten-Free Girl American classics reinvented /    3
Andrews, Mary Kay, 1954-    Beach town /    1
Arlidge, M. J.    Eeny meeny /    1
Atkinson, Kate    A God in Ruins : a novel /    3
Baldacci, David    Memory Man /    7
Barrett, Pearl    Trim healthy mama cookbook : eat up and slim down with more than 350 healthy recipes /    2
Beckerman, Hannah    The Dead Wife's handbook /    1
Belfoure, Charles, 1954-    House of thieves : a novel /    2
Berlin, Lucia    A manual for cleaning women : selected stories /    2
Blackwood, Grant    Tom Clancy under fire /    2
Blume, Judy    In the unlikely event /    10
Bollen, Christopher, 1975-    Orient : a novel /    1
Brooks, David, 1961-    The road to character /    2
Brown, Sandra, 1948-    Friction /    3
Caldwell, Ian, 1976-    The fifth gospel : a novel /    1
Chadwick, Elizabeth, 1957-    The summer queen : a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine /    1
Child, Lee    Make me : a Jack Reacher novel /    8
Coates, Ta-Nehisi    Between the world and me /    3
Coleman, Reed Farrel, 1956-    Robert B. Parker's the Devil wins [large type book] : a Jesse Stone novel /    2
Connolly, John, 1968-    A song of shadows : a Charlie Parker thriller /    1
Corleone, Douglas    Robert Ludlum's The Janson equation /    1
Coulter, Catherine    The end game /    2
DeCarlo, Melissa    The art of crash landing : a novel /    1
Deaver, Jeffery    Solitude creek : a Kathryn Dance novel /    2
Delinsky, Barbara    Blueprints /    1
Doerr, Anthony, 1973-    All the light we cannot see /    4
Doig, Ivan    Last bus to wisdom /    1
Donati, Sara, 1956-    The gilded hour /    1
Edwards, Martin, 1955-    The Golden Age of Murder / the mystery of the writers who invented the modern detective story /    1
Enders, Giulia    Gut : the inside story of our body's most underrated organ /    2
Faye, Lyndsay    The fatal flame /    1
Ferrante, Elena    The Story of the Lost Child /    2
Finder, Joseph    The fixer [large type book] /    1
Franzen, Jonathan    Purity /    3
Gazan, Sissel-Jo, 1973-    The arc of the swallow /    2
Goddard, Robert    The Ways of the World : A James Maxted Thriller /    1
Grafton, Sue    X /    5
Gregory, Philippa.    The taming of the queen /    3
Hannah, Kristin    The nightingale /    10
Hawkins, Paula    The girl on the train [large type book] /    1
Holsinger, Bruce W.    The Invention of Fire /    1
Jackson, Shirley, 1916-1965    Let me tell you : new stories, essays, and other writings /    1
Jacobsen, Annie    The Pentagon's Brain : An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency /    1
Jong, Erica    Fear of flying /    2
Kaling, Mindy    Why Not Me? /    2
Kearsley, Susanna, 1966-    A desperate fortune /    1
Kellerman, Jonathan    The murderer's daughter : a novel /    3
Kerr, Philip    The lady from Zagreb /    1
King, Stephen, 1947-    Finders Keepers : a novel /    3
Koryta, Michael    Last Words /    2
Krakauer, Jon    Missoula : rape and the justice system in a college town /    1
Lackberg, Camilla, 1974-    The Drowning /    3
Lagercrantz, David    The Girl in the Spider's Web /    5
Larson, Erik, 1954-    Dead wake : the last crossing of the Lusitania /    2
Lea, Sonya    Wondering who you are : a memoir /    1
Lee, Harper    Go set a watchman [sound recording] /    4
Levin, Mark R. (Mark Reed), 1957-    Plunder and Deceit : big government's exploitation of young people and the future /    1
Mallon, Thomas, 1951-    Finale : a novel of the Reagan years /    1
Mansell, Jill    The unexpected consequences of love /    2
McCullough, David G.    The Wright brothers /    2
McCullough, David G.    The Wright brothers [sound recording] /    1
Meltzer, Brad    The President's shadow /    3
Miller, Michael, 1958-    My Facebook for seniors /    1
Monroe, Mary Alice    The summer's end /    1
New Zealand (Eyewitness travel guides)    New Zealand.    1
Newman, Sandra, 1965-    The Country of Ice Cream Star /    1
Newton, Charlie    Traitor's gate /    1
Norris, Mary (Editor)    Between you & me : confessions of a Comma Queen /    2
Novik, Naomi    Uprooted /    1
O'Reilly, Bill    Killing Reagan : the violent assault that changed a presidency /    2
O'Reilly, Bill    Killing Reagan [sound recording] /    1
Paretsky, Sara    Brush back /    1
Patterson, James, 1947-    The Murder House /    1
Penny, Louise    The long way home [large type book] /    1
Quick, Matthew, 1973-    Love May Fail : a novel /    1
Reichl, Ruth    My kitchen year : 136 recipes that saved my life /    1
Roberts, Nora    The liar /    3
Rosenberg, Joel C., 1967-    The third target /    2
Rosenfelt, David    Lessons from Tara : life advice from the world's most brilliant dog /    3
Russakoff, Dale author.    The prize : who's in charge of America's schools? /    2
Sacks, Oliver W.    On the move : a life /    2
Sandford, John, 1944 February 23-    Gathering prey /    3
Scottoline, Lisa    Every fifteen minutes /    2
Shaara, Jeff, 1952-    The fateful lightning : a novel of the Civil War /    1
Silva, Daniel, 1960-    The English spy /    5
Simon, Marie, 1922-1998    Underground in Berlin : A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany /    3
Stephenson, Neal    Seveneves /    1
Symon, Michael, 1969-    Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for every season : 165 quick dinners, sides, holiday dishes and more/    1
Taylor, Brad, 1965-    The insider threat : a Pike Logan thriller /    1
Vincenzi, Penny.    A perfect heritage /    1
Waters, Sarah, 1966-    The paying guests /    1
Wax, Wendy    A week at the lake /    1
Weir, Alison, 1951-    The marriage game : a novel of Queen Elizabeth I /    2
Winik, Jay, 1957-    1944 : FDR and the year that changed history /    1
Young, Hester    The gates of Evangeline /    2
Zander, Joakim    The Swimmer /    1

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Using Google Translate to Help Library Patrons

Google Translate Keyboard for Georgian Alphabet
Recently a patron came up to the Reference Desk and asked the librarian on duty to find an English as a second language conversation group somewhere nearby. What made this a challenging question is that the patron did not speak English, but he did know about a Google Translate feature which you can see in the image above. Go to Choose the language on the left that does not use a standard English keyboard (the Qwerty keyboard that English-speakers use) and select the language you want to translate to on the right side. So for example, if the patron speaks Georgian, he can type on the left side and the translation can appear in English on the right for our English-speaking librarians. By doing this, our BHPL reference librarian found a nearby ESL group for our patron.

Cool, right? Molto bene, non? Sehr gut! and so on.

If you like learning new languages, try our new language database and app 'Pronunciator.'

Related links:
Literacy NJ   
Google translate
Babelfish translator
LiveMocha online language learning

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Most Popular Books to Download from eLibraryNJ

Below is a list of 'The 50 Most Viewed Titles' on eLibraryNJ which Berkeley Heights Public Library offers to its patrons as a resource for free downloadable books.  I take this to mean that the following ebooks or e-audiobooks are also the most downloaded, or close enough that I won't quibble with their statistical vocabulary. Anyway, what follows are some popular ebooks at the end of the summer of 2015 in New Jersey. If you use eLibraryNJ to download books, you can put a hold on books that are currently checked out. eLibraryNJ has a free app from Overdrive (the parent company of this resource) for IOS and Android devices. search for Overdrive in your app store.

1,"The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series",Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,eBook,260
2,The Girl on the Train: A Novel,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,240
3,All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel,Scribner,eBook,182
4,The Martian: A Novel,Crown/Archetype,eBook,155
5,The Nightingale,St. Martin's Press,eBook,146
6,What Alice Forgot,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,137
7,If I Could Turn Back Time: A Novel,St. Martin's Press,eBook,132
8,"Alert: Michael Bennett Series, Book 8","Blackstone Audio, Inc.",Audiobook,130
9,Thrill Me,HQN Books,eBook,128
10,"Go Set a Watchman: To Kill a Mockingbird Series, Book 2",HarperCollins,eBook,128
11,Silver Linings: A Rose Harbor Novel,Random House Publishing Group,eBook,123
12,"Torment: Fallen Series, Book 2",Random House Children's Books,eBook,121
13,Wildest Dreams,MIRA,eBook,121
14,In the Unlikely Event,Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,eBook,119
15,Kiss Me,HQN Books,eBook,114
16,"The English Spy: Gabriel Allon Series, Book 15",HarperCollins,eBook,114
17,"Otherwise Engaged: Ladies of Lantern Street Series, Book 3",Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,114
18,"Beyond Shame: Beyond Series, Book 1","Tantor Media, Inc.",Audiobook,114
19,Purity: A Novel,"Farrar, Straus and Giroux",eBook,112
20,Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian,Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,eBook,112
21,"Nemesis: FBI Thriller Series, Book 19",Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,105
22,The Stranger,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,103
23,Who Do You Love: A Novel,Atria Books,eBook,103
24,Barefoot Season,MIRA,eBook,103
25,The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony,eBook,100
26,"The Girl in the Spider's Web: Millennium Series, Book 4",Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group,Audiobook,100
27,"The Heir: The Selection Series, Book 4",HarperCollins,eBook,98
28,"X: Kinsey Millhone Mystery Series, Book 24",Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group,Audiobook,94
29,Evening Stars,Harlequin,eBook,94
30,Circling the Sun: A Novel,Random House Publishing Group,eBook,94
31,The Rumor,"Blackstone Audio, Inc.",Audiobook,91
32,Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel,Simon & Schuster,eBook,89
33,"Ever After: Nantucket Brides Trilogy Series, Book 3",Random House Publishing Group,eBook,89
34,The Liar,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,89
35,The Girl on the Train: A Novel,Books on Tape,Audiobook,89
36,Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,eBook,87
37,X,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,87
38,"Hot Ticket: Sinners on Tour Series, Book 3","Sourcebooks, Inc.",eBook,87
39,The Marriage of Opposites,Simon & Schuster,eBook,87
40,"The Target: Will Robie Series, Book 3","Blackstone Audio, Inc.",Audiobook,87
41,The Confession: A Novel,Random House Publishing Group,eBook,84
42,"Dark Ghost: Dark Series, Book 27",Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,84
43,All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel,Simon & Schuster Audio,Audiobook,84
44,The Taming of the Queen,Touchstone,eBook,84
45,Wonder,Random House Children's Books,eBook,82
46,"Bared to You: Crossfire Series, Book 1",Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,82
47,The Aviator's Wife: A Novel,Random House Publishing Group,eBook,82
48,"Safe at Last: Slow Burn Series, Book 3",HarperCollins,eBook,82
49,Gray Mountain: A Novel,Random House Publishing Group,eBook,82
50,Me Before You,Penguin Publishing Group,eBook,82

Friday, August 21, 2015

What We Posted One Year Ago: Movies We Watched in 2014

Movies We Showed at the Library in 2014, a blog post from one year ago.

Did you miss one of our Third Thursday Movie Nights? All of the movies shown in 2014 are part of the library’s circulating collection and can be checked out.
January                       Shun Li and the Poet (Italian, Mandarin)
February                     Austenland (English)
March                         Aliyah (French)
April                            Broken (English)
May                             Clandestine Childhood (Spanish)
June                            Watchtower (Turkish)
July                              Son of the Bride (Spanish)
July                              Philomena (English)
July                              Barbara (German)
July                              The Hunt (Danish)                
August                        Caesar Must Die (Italian)
August                        Wadjda (Arabic)        
September                  The Lunchbox (Hindi, English)
October                      Chef (English)
November                   Words and Pictures (English)
December                   The Hundred Foot Journey (English)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Selecting Research Databases for the Library

Librarians are raised on selecting books,but database selection is another kettle of fish entirely.    Professional journals contain reviews of new and updated online research resources and comparisons to similar products.  Some databases are necessary because they have replaced commonly used print resources.  Like books, new or recommended databases are brought to our attention by patrons, visits to other libraries, professional development webinars and advertisements. 
Our database subscriptions, other than those provided through the New Jersey State Library, are reviewed annually before it is time to renew.  We consider usage, upgrades, competition, overlap with other resources and price. When we purchase a new database we try our best to promote it through in-house demonstrations, word-of-mouth to patrons, website advertising and an article to the local on-line paper.  Classes are held periodically to introduce the public to our electronic resources.  We normally give a database two years to prove its worth. Depending on the outcome of the review, some databases are eliminated completely or, depending on the content, a similar resource may be considered.
We request a staff demo or trial when a new database is being considered.  Staff will then spend time navigating around, clicking on buttons, uploading or downloading, and following links.  They will consider if the product fills an informational or instructional need and if it provides what is promised.
First impressions are important – is the user welcomed in or overwhelmed. Ease of navigation is equally important so that no one will become frustrated and feel the need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs.  The information housed in a database is only as important as a user’s ability to access it. 
Purchasing a database is more complicated and labor intensive than simply placing an order and waiting for a box to be delivered.  During the implementation period we work closely with the vendor in hopes of a smooth roll-out.  Questions about SIP, patron authentication methods, our ILS provider, and firewalls must be answered.  Are we paying for a defined number of seats or unlimited concurrent users?  Can the database only be used in-house or is remote access available?  Will the database cooperate with our aging LINUX system or should we wait for the installation of a Microsoft based system?  What about the logistics of staff training?  All of these questions must be answered.
A final and very important consideration in subscribing to a new database is the cost.  As our annual budget continues to decrease, adding a new resource normally involves canceling an existing subscription.  As an example, I am currently researching a new resource for language instruction which, if successful, could replace two existing databases and save money.  That would be a win-win for the budget – adding one site to be used by both children and adults.  At this point in the 2015 budget year, that savings will help us plan and possibly increase what we can offer in 2016.

-S. Bakos

To use databases from the Berkeley Heights Public Library from home, have your library card handy and go to these pages on our website to see lists of databases:
Upcoming Databases in September 2015:
Language learning database will be available remotely
Streaming TV, movies, music, books and more

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Reading: a Summer trilogy, Books about Bookstores, turn back the clock a decade or two and more...

Summer Reading So Far

I have been remiss in writing a summer reading post this year.  My intentions were good, as usual, but the last few hot days have served as a reminder that I can’t ignore.  I always start with a summer/beach trilogy and Mary Alice Monroe’s Low Country Summer Trilogy is just right.  When the first book, Summer Girls, ended with a cliff-hanger, I was anxious to see how the second book, Summer Wind, would start.  Well, it started the next day.  No flashbacks or explanations, the action picked up right where it ended.  The last book, Summer’s End, ties up the loose ends and almost everyone lives happily ever after.  
Next, several staff members were excited about Cynthia Swanson’s The Bookseller.  I was a little reluctant after Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry and Sarah Jio’s Goodnight June.  Really, how many good books can you expect about bookstores? The Bookseller surpassed my expectations and returned me to an earlier time in the 1960s. 

To turn the clock back one more decade,  Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event  takes us back to the early 1950s in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Three plane crashes and many deaths brought the city to a standstill.  You couldn’t live in Elizabeth without knowing someone who had suffered a loss or been somehow impacted by the tragic accidents.  Newark Airport was closed during the investigations.  In the Unlikely Event offers a precisely cut slice of life in 1950s Elizabeth in the same way that Blume’s Wifey offered a slice of Plainfield in the 1970s. 
Many people know that TheGuernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is one of my favorite books.  I  found  it so charming that I couldn’t decide if I had high expectations or no expectations for The Truth According to Usby Annie Barrows, co-author of TGL&PPS.  Once again I was speeding back in American history and, this time, I landed in the late 1930s.  The characters are as quirky as the small town is pretentious. The federal government is busy employing people through the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to move the economy forward at the same time a local factory is squashing any attempts to unionize.  I enjoyed the fictionalized history lesson; I enjoyed the main characters; I laughed when appropriate; I pondered the mysterious fire at the factory; I enjoyed the parts of the story told by letters to people we never met; and, I sympathized with any and all affairs of the heart.  However, I was more confused than charmed by the story as a whole.  Although my praise is so faint it may disappear from  the screen, I am glad I finished the book.  
Although I never want summer to end, I am looking forward to The Girl in the Spider Web (David Lagercrantz continuing for Stieg Larsson) and The Secret Chord (Geraldine Brooks).  Fall always brings books to remind us that lazy reading is over and it’s time to get serious again.
- S. Bakos