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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Favorite Library Memory by Stacy

This week, our library will begin unveiling all our plans for National Library Week which will be held April 8 through April 17.  We’ll have fun events and several contests, one of which is an Adult writing contest.  We’ll ask you to write about your favorite library memory or why our library is so important in your life.  

Having worked in libraries over sixteen years and being an avid visitor all the rest of my years, I have a ton of great memories, but obviously, the one that stands out the most is a common rite of passage that (hopefully) every child gets a chance to enjoy:

I was five years old.  Turning five was a big deal in our household, mostly because five year olds no longer had to take horrible baby naps while Brother and Sister played.  Five year olds got to walk to school with Brother and Sister. Five year olds got their first bike.

On the morning of my fifth birthday, my very busy Father took me and only me down to Otasco to pick out whichever tricycle I wanted.  I’d never known that a kid was allowed to make such a giant choice. I picked the sparkling red one.  The day could not have been better.

But later, the unthinkably marvelous happened.  My parents packed me into the car and drove me to my favorite place in the world-the library.  Checking out a big pile of picture books would have been awesome enough, but this time, we bypassed the kid’s books, went straight to the checkout desk AND THEN MY MOM SAID IT!  “We want to get Stacy a library card!” 

I couldn’t believe it!  In one day I’d become a full grown adult!  First, my very own mode of transportation and now this--the coveted library card.  The card with shiny silver numbers that somehow made it okay for people to take home wonderful, delicious books that were not their own.  The pristine white plastic encased in its own crisp yellow sleeve with your very own name written on it in the librarian’s spidery handwriting. 

So, I thought, this is what it is like to be an adult…

I don’t remember much more about the day, but I will never forget how important getting that card made me feel.  It is one of my best childhood memories and one for which I will thank my parents for the rest of my life. 
This year during National Library Week, share with us your favorite memory.  And if you are a parent, give your children one of their best memories by bringing them to the library to get a library card.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Leaping Lizards! by Lisa

 Was your child born to be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Nye the Science Guy? Well then, the Stillwater Public Library has a program that they were born to do. “Born to Do Science” is a fun educational program for children in third through sixth grades.  The theme of the session this week was LIZARDS and everyone had a great time.  If you missed the program and need to freshen up on your reptile knowledge, here are a few good books you and your child should crawl your way into:

The Pebble First Guide to Lizards” by Zachary Pitts is a greater starter guide to skinks, geckos, anoles and many more varieties of lizards.  Lizards” by Nic Bishop is a photographic book with appealing facts on the life of lizards.  It’s just been ordered, so visit the Help Desk to put a hold on this one.  

 There are even some great mystery books written about lizards too! Geckos don't have eyelids, so try not to blink when you read, "The Mystery of Mr. Nice: From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye" by Bruce Hale. Hale has an entire series based on this slithering sleuth.  

Fiction lovers can put themselves on the hold list for the just out of the lizard hole, “Lizard Music” by Daniel Pinkwater.  In this book, a young boy meets a group of lizard musicians who just happen to also be aliens!  And speaking of musicians, why not check out the new Monty Harper CD “Songs from the Science Frontier,” to get you in the mood to do science.  Harper creates a new song for each Born to Do Science session and is sure to have a great new lizard tune to debut.

So keep an eye on our calendar, look for the monthly sessions of “Born to Do Science," then make like a chameleon, and try on the many colors of science.

** UPDATE** The April 23 "Born to Do Science" has been moved to April 9 (1pm to 4 pm) when we will celebrate "Nano Day" with The Wondertorium! **

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Disappearance of Books? by Summer

Recently a library patron asked me if I thought there would ever be a time when we no longer used books. Ten years ago, that question might have made me laugh. The idea of a bookless society was unfathomable. Now the idea of a bookless world seems at the very least plausible, if not a bit extreme as e-readers are beginning to change the way we read.

For their purpose, e-readers are great. Storing all my books digitally means I have the ability to carry my entire library in one small lightweight bundle that fits in my purse. This is extremely handy when traveling and would have been a godsend in college when I moved almost every year. Plus, most e-readers offer the ability to access your library from multiple devices, so even if I lost or damaged my e-reader I would not lose my entire library. For these two reasons alone, I think e-readers are definitely worth considering, but one more advantage tipped the scales to make me love e-readers. I can now access the Stillwater Public Library’s collection of e-books and downloadable audio books for free! Visit the library to find out how you can too!

Despite my excitement over e-readers, I still think books are here to stay. There are some pleasures of a physical book that an e-reader simply cannot replicate. I cannot feel the texture of an e-page on my fingertips, nor savor a new e-book smell, nor delight that my e-book has been personally autographed by the author. For the books I truly love, I will keep a paper edition around, but when it comes to trying new authors or reading popular titles, I am definitely going digital.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's an App for That! by Andrea D.


Technology has literally put the world at our fingertips, and these exciting advancements directly impact the world of books and libraries. In addition to a digital collection of “ebooks” and digital audio books now available at Stillwater Public Library, there are now other options for accessing your favorite titles. Smart phones are providing a variety of book-related and reading applications available for download, some for free! The types of applications vary from e readers for books, magazines, newspapers, and children’s titles to organizational apps to help you arrange your personal digital library collection. There are even apps that can assist with school work. Here are a few popular applications, but to find a complete list of apps for your particular phone, consult your phone app store’s website.

There are a variety of ebook readers available to Blackberry and Android phone owners. Aldiko, Kobo, Nook, and Kindle all offer feature-rich apps. iPhone users have a variety of ebook readers to choose from, too. iBooks is not only an amazing ebook reader, but it is also a great place to browse and shop for books. Stanza is another ebook reader that makes it possible to download from a selection of over 100,000 books and periodicals.  

BookBag is a complete book and personal library organization software for Blackberry devices. You can keep track of books, magazines, etc. that you own, that you have read, that you have checked out, that you want to read/buy, and more. For iPhone users, Goodreads now offers an app that allows you to get book recommendations from friends, keep track of current reads and what you’d like to read, form a book club, answer book trivia, or collect your favorite quotes.

And perfect for students, QuickCite is a new smart phone application that takes most of the work out of citing books in scholarly papers. It costs 99 cents and is available for both iPhones and Android-based phones; it e-mails you a bibliography-ready citation in one of four popular styles—APA, MLA, Chicago, or IEEE. Wow! I wish I’d had that in grad school!

Whether reading for pleasure, organizing your library, or getting help with that special project, there are hundreds of smart phone apps to choose from... so start downloading!