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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The library anytime, anywhere

This past year, Stillwater Public Library has been working to make it easier for you to use the library when you are outside of it. Several elements have been added so that you can better access the library 24 hours a day, anywhere.

The first change will be a relief to eBook users who have encountered an expired library card at the most inopportune times. The nightmare of being on a long trip with no reading material, then trying to download a book at night, only to find your card is expired, is over! You can now renew your own card anytime and anywhere just by logging into the library catalog. 

When your account appears, you will see an option on the right side of the screen that will allow you to renew your library card. Please keep in mind, that if your contact information has changed, then you must email or later call the library, so that we can update your account. And don’t forget you can also renew your hardcopy library material in the space place. The easiest way to get to your account log-in is to click “RENEW” on our homepage at

The second addition will be a big help for mobile device users, especially those who use the library on a phone. While you can certainly see our catalog on a small phone, it hasn’t always been very easy. However, we have now added the BookMyne app, which will display a simple, streamlined view to look up books, check your account, and even download eBooks right from our catalog.

Be sure to check our Apps page which provides information about other library services that can be used through an app. Just scroll to the bottom of our homepage and click the “Apps” link under “Online Tools.” You’ll find apps for magazines, learning a language, car repair and more.

Last, everyone will be excited to hear that we are currently working toward online bill pay! We do not yet have it, but are looking for services that will let us provide that option.

If you have suggestions that would make using the library remotely easier for you, we want to hear them! Just email, click the “Comments” link on our homepage or call the Help Desk at 405-372-3633 x8106. Your opinions matter to us.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Supernatural Stillwater

Halloween has become one of many people’s favorite holidays, especially over the last ten years. Several suggest that Halloween’s increasing popularity is due to the chaos happening in the world around us. As we perceive the world becoming scarier and more out of control, we escape through the one night when we enjoy being afraid, knowing that our fears will disappear at the end of the night.

Another way of controlling the unknown is to investigate it. Instead of fearing strange occurrences, many people have started investigating them. One of those groups is the Oklahoma Paranormal Investigation Syndicate (OPIS). On Halloween Day, from 2-4 p.m., OPIS founder, Clint Hancock, will be at the library to present “Paranormal Investigation 101.”

Clint will be teaching supernatural enthusiasts how to track ghostly activity, while demonstrating how to accurately collect information using specialized equipment. He and other investigators from various paranormal research teams in Oklahoma will share stories about their scariest experiences in the field.

Obviously, most of us want to know if there is any paranormal activity going on here in Payne County. Clint says there are several “hot spots” right here in the area, including one particular place just outside of town—somewhere that most of us have visited.

If you are interested in these types of phenomena and want to learn more about investigating their origins, then sign up now for the class at, or you can call the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106.

If you’d like to read more about paranormal investigation, check out our display filled with books on the subject.

“The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult” provides photos from archives and museums across the world that seem to have captured a paranormal presence. Most of the photos are from the 1800s to the mid-1900s. Of course, even then, before Photoshop, photographers were experimenting with ways to alter what was captured on film, but the volume still provides a fascinating chronicle of paranormal photography through history.

Another good choice is “The Oxford Book of the Supernatural,” which provides some of the best writings on ancient and modern phenomena across the world. All items in the displays are available for check out.

When I first started working at the library, one of my colleagues told me that the north building was haunted. It’s true that when we go over to close the meeting room wing, we hear strange creaks and unexplained noises. I don’t believe that any paranormal activity is going on, since the building is, after all, very old. But, when I am alone over there late at night and those clicks, pops and creaks start up….well, let’s just say I don’t mind having my radio with me, just in case. I’ll be interested to see if we can learn a little something about our own library “ghost.” I hope you’ll join us.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Surprising Sherlock Holmes

We are so excited to be celebrating Sherlock Holmes throughout the month of October. You grow up watching and hearing about certain characters so much, that you think you know all about them. However, I never actually read any of Doyle’s work. To prepare for the series, I dove into the Sherlock stories and some interesting articles and found that a lot of what I thought about our second favorite detective (everyone knows Nancy Drew rules) was not even true (well, “not true” in the sense of not being in the original stories, because of course we all know that Sherlock is fictional)!

For Sherlock buffs, the info below is old news. But others, here are some interesting tidbits:

·   Real-life Sherlock - Doyle was inspired to create his famous character by his medical school professor. University of Edinburgh’s Professor Joseph Bell was said to possess the ability to diagnosis his patients’ illnesses, nationality and occupation solely through observation. Sound familiar?

·   Cruel addiction - I was vaguely aware of Sherlock’s predilection for drugs, but I did not realize its severity. At times when his intellectual ability failed him, Sherlock turned to morphine and cocaine. In “The Sign of the Four,” Doyle describes the detective as having forearms scarred up and down with needle marks. But, in 1890 England, the use of these drugs was legal and even Queen Victoria was said to partake now and again.

·   Not the man we thought he was – We all think we know how Sherlock looked, acted and sounded, but most of what we think we know was born in the movies, not the stories. For example, Sherlock’s most famous exclamation never appeared in a Doyle story. It was in P.G. Wodehouse’s 1915 novel that we first read the line, “Elementary, my dear Watson!” And! Sherlock hardly ever wore his ubiquitous deerstalker cap AND his pipe was straight, not curved---I feel as though I never even knew the man!

·   Not too good at the book learnin’ – Get Sherlock a library card quick, because this genius (“experts” guesstimate his IQ at 190) did not hit the books in school. In “A Study in Scarlet,” Watson describes meeting Sherlock, and in part, grades the detective’s knowledge thusly: 1. Knowledge of Literature-Nil. 2. Philosophy-Nil. 3. Astronomy-Nil. 4. Politics-Feeble. 5. Botany- Variable. 6. Geology-Practical, but limited. 7. Chemistry-Profound. 8. Anatomy-Accurate, but unsystematic. 9. Sensational Literature-Immense. Watson is especially astonished to find that Sherlock has no idea the earth circles the sun. Astounding!

If you have more fascinating facts to add, then I highly encourage you to email ( or call (405.372.3633 x8106) us for an invite to join our SPL Sherlock discussion board at There, you can discuss your favorite Sherlock stories, show-off your Sherlock trivia, argue over symbolism and themes and talk Sherlock 24/7 through the entire month.

The Sherlock series starts Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. with an English Tea and Costume Kick-off hosted by scholar Dr. Bill Hagen. To see all of the events, visit or pick up a program listing when you come to the Used Book Sale Sept. 24-27.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Science fever @ the library

It makes me so happy to see how excited the community is about science right now. I hope this trend, which began when schools started emphasizing more science, tech, engineering and math, becomes permanent. The library loves science and technology because it leads to innovation and creativity and because it fosters so much more curiosity, which leads to bunches and bunches of reading!

Science fever is running throughout the library. We just had a great sci-fi based fandom event and introduced our new “Take It-Make It” invention kits, which will be ready for checkout in mid-Sept. We are also starting back up with the Lego Club and S.T.E.A.M. laboratory for kids and Video Game Programming Club for teens. Plus, we’ve been lucky to find several great ways to partner with our friends at the Oklahoma WONDERtorium, including during our next big series, “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”

Even my reading has been influenced by Science Fever. I absolutely love detail and realism in my fiction. I definitely prefer to read about things that really happen or could happen. Because of that, I thought that I did not like sci-fi/fantasy books, but reading “The Martian” by Andy Weir changed my mind.

Speculative sci-fi details events that have not happened, but they mostly, realistically COULD—which meets my reading needs perfectly. So, I was in reading bliss when I recently picked up “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson.

I am completely obsessed with this very long book that details plans to save the Earth’s heritage after the Moon breaks into pieces, heralding a 10,000 year firestorm across the globe. There’s not a bunch of character development (same issue with Weir’s book but still loved it), but the story is exciting, suspenseful, and is really making me think about what I would do in similar circumstances. I will be picking up many more sci-fi books at the Fall Used Book Sale, Sept. 24-27.

If adults want to get in on the science fever fun, check out the library’s latest Sci-Fi Film Discussion Series, “Close Encounters of the UnKind.” Local sci-fi film buff, OSU Visiting Professor of English Tim Prchal, is leading us through several classic films about alien species invading Earth.

After watching the film on the big screen, Tim leads a discussion on the films’ story elements and themes, sci-fi film history and determination of which parties were truly unkind in these close encounters.
The series takes place the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The next one will be on Sept. 2. Participation is free (including the popcorn and sodas!).
What could be cooler? Science + book club-like discussion + popcorn and a film!

If you’d like more info about any of these events or help finding a good sci-fi book, visit our website at or contact us at or 405-372-3633 x8106.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Do-It-Yourself with CHILTONLibrary

In this climatically challenged and widely dispersed part of the country, we have to have our cars and we have to have them working. We’re lucky to have a bus here, but it doesn’t run all day or go everyplace that we need to go. So when your car is on the fritz, it can feel like a crisis situation. No worries though. Among all the other things the library offers, we also provide a fantastic car repair database. It is all yours with a few taps on your keyboard, if you have a Stillwater Public Library card.

Last week, we replaced our old car repair service with a new one, CHILTONLibrary. The impetus for the change was the hub’s continuous grouching about how bad the old database had become. He couldn’t find any meaningful car repair instructions on the old service, and I started noticing that more and more of the most useful info was disappearing (and yet the price kept going up).

After looking for some alternatives, we called in the help of several library users who work on their own cars and had them try out both services. All involved agreed that the CHILTONLibrary service was superior.

CHILTONLibrary provides expert advice on repair, maintenance, and service for cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. The information is continually updated and includes step-by-step repair procedures, diagnostic trouble codes, wiring diagrams, and troubleshooting for most vehicle makes, models and years. The instructions often include easier to understand photos, diagrams and videos.

The database is still accessible on the same page at You can access the service online from anywhere and use it at any time. It you want to put the app on your phone, I’ve got it listed on our “Apps” page--that way, you can pull up the repair info right under the hood.

It’s a pretty good tool for do-it-yourselfers, but it’s also good for professionals. CHILTONLibrary includes short sample tests with content approved by master technicians that provide an assessment of your overall readiness to pass an ASE certification exam. Use this option to get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses before you take the test.

Now then—for those of us who can barely figure out how to get gas in our cars? CHILTONLibrary provides a tool to help estimate repair time. So, the next time you go to get your car fixed, you can run the estimating tool to see whether you are getting a fairly standard labor price or not.

If you need help using the service or just want to know more about, let your librarian at the Help Desk know.