Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Building Codes and the Dreaded Deck Question

Faithful readers of this blog will know that the librarians in the Reference Department of this and other public libraries answer questions about any topic on earth to the best of our ability. Where is the 'Consumer Reports' issue about cars? How much is my used car worth? What is the cost value of this old stock certificate I found in my sock drawer? How can I open an offshore bank account to avoid taxes? (True question.)  If you click on 'Reference Questions' in the label cloud on the blog sidebar, you will find all the posts where we wrote about weird and interesting questions that we enjoy. The reference books you see in the pictures on this post are of local ordinances and rules about building codes. These books are used to help library patrons find information about building a deck or other construction issues. Truthfully, only a trained construction official can really slog through these codes without bursting into tears of frustration. These books will be going with the Reference Department to our new, temporary location because, much as we are perennially puzzled by the Deck Question, we can't go anywhere without our local building code books.

Laugh Out Loud

Our newest display, thanks to our Head of Circulation and Display Maven Extraordinaire, Ann-Marie, features funny books. If you are looking for something entertaining to read and to tickle your funny-bone, stop by the bookshelf near the Reference Desk and pick up a book by Bill Bryson, Erman Bombeck, George Carling, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, or other humorists.
Laugh Out Loud Book Display
The book 'Texts from Jane Eyre' looks interesting. The subtitle is 'and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters.' For example Edgar Allan Poe explaining to a friend by text why he can't leave the house because of some bird. Hamlet sending depressed texts to a friend. Jo and Meg from 'Little Women' have issues. From early literature to Harry Potter's Ron and Hermione texting each other, this book will make you wonder what people in history might have texted if they'd had a smart phone. J/K (just kidding.) IMHO funny books are the best things for tough times.
More Funny Books on Display

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Marian the Librarian Returns

This blog post was first published on October 21, 2009. It features our favorite, if slightly prim, librarian, Marian. Here at the Reference Desk, we rarely have this kind of biblio emergency, but you never know...

Is There a Librarian in the House?

People don't become librarians for the fame, fortune or excitement, but there's a little Walter Mitty in all of us...
Marian the Librarian is flying to a librarian convention, nodding off in her middle seat, which she has thoughtfully not tipped back to avoid annoying the passengers behind her, and trying not to snore or drool or touch either arm rest lest she infringe on her seatmates' personal space, she hears the P.A. announcement,
"Is there a librarian on board? we have a slight emergency in Business Class requiring immediate biblio assistance."
Marian jerks awake instantly, eye's pop open, she nods apologetically to the passenger in the aisle seat and indicates she needs to get by. Grabbing her bookbag from under the seat, she hurries up the aisle to the Flight Attendant and whispers,
"I'm a librarian. How can I help?"
"There's a passenger in extreme distress, hyperventilating over a book he's reading and looking pale and clammy, almost like he's in shock," the FA explains as she leads Marion through Business Class to a seat where, indeed, a male passenger, middle-aged, well-dressed, is breathing unevenly with his hands gripping the latest Dan Brown best seller tightly.
"Oh dear, that's the third case I've seen this week. Deadly Prose Syndrome with Implausable Plot Complications. We have to act quickly."
Marian carefully pries the stricken man's fingers from the Lost Symbol and places it in a sick bag for disposal.
"I'm afraid the only treatment for this patron, er patient, is an immediate infusion of The Classics or failing that, any book with sufficient character development, three-syllable words and dependent clauses to act as an antidote. I think this will work."
Marian riffles through her black bag and pulls out Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and places it gently in the man's hands.
"That should do it. I may have to read it aloud to him at first but then his ability to read on his own should kick in and he'll be right as rain."

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 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