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

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

Click on 'My account'

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

Or call the library with your questions.