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Monday, April 22, 2013

Tornado Season- Have a Plan by Naomi

 The dreary weather at the beginning of this week is a good reminder that we are in the heart of tornado season.  Nebraska, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas make up Tornado alley, where tornadoes strike regularly in the spring and early summer.  The U.S. has an average of 800 tornadoes every year, and dozens of lives are lost.  Sometimes the difference in surviving a weather event depends on preparing in advance. 

For example, do you know where the public shelters are in Stillwater?  Stillwater’s public shelters are the Ag Hall building (corner of Farm Road and Monroe) and the EngineeringSouth building (east of the OSU library).  The Stillwater Public Library is NOT a public shelter, but in the event that you are at the library when there is severe weather, we have a plan to keep staff members and library users as safe as possible. 

Do you and your family have an emergency plan?  If not, the library can help.  We currently have several handout sheets that will help you make an emergency kit and show you how to practice tornado drills as a family.  These handouts also discuss other types of disasters and attacks and how to be ready for them. 

We also have informative books and videos that explain why and how severe weather occurs.  The books “Twisters” by Lucille Recht Penner and “Twisters and Other Terrible Storms” by Will Osborne are great choices to help you discuss your plans with your children.  Adults will appreciate “Tornado Alert” by Wendy Scavuzzo and “Storm warning: the story of a killer tornado” by Nancy Mathis.  The whole family will enjoy DVDs such as “Storm Chasers” and “Tornado Alley.” 


So come on in the library this week, to pick up some of these great resources and get prepared!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Booksale of the Future by Stacy

Our spring book sale is coming up Thursday, April 18 through Sunday, April 21.  For many of us, it’s the highlight of the year.  It’s not every day you get to pore through 20,000 fascinating or obscure or popular or heartwarming books that you get to take home for a little pocket change.  But I’ve been wondering what these massive book sales will look like in the future?  With more and more people purchasing digital content, will book sales even exist?

In 2005, I was at a national library conference where the keynote speaker was a well-known library expert.  At that time, he said “eBooks are dead.”  The prohibitive cost of reading devices was the reasoning behind his statement.  At that time, readers were well over $500 compared to now, when prices begin around $50.  Since then, of course, prices dropped and ereading exploded.  Many avid readers who can afford it have purchased an ereader and gone almost completely digital.  

One of the biggest concerns I’ve had as a librarian is NOT whether libraries will remain alive with the digital novel revolution (libraries are actually information brokers, not book brokers, so the media on which the information is placed is largely irrelevant to us), but how our book sale will fare.

Having successful book sales is a huge concern because we use proceeds to supplement a bare bones budget that would typically allow for just physical books and staff.  Without supplements, we would not have been able to start our ebook service or have genealogy and testing databases or hold events that attract people to the library like summer reading.

The main concern is the people who often purchased full price books at a store are also those likely to have been able to purchase an ereader.  That means the books they were buying and donating to the library book sale no longer exist in a form in which we are able to take as donations and then resell.

Lately, each time the sale approaches, I wait with bated breath to see whether or not the book storage room is filling up fast enough.  If there is a time when the number of boxes entering the room stalls, I become very anxious.  But so far, we are seeing just as many, if not more books being donated.  This might be because as people go all digital, they are clearing out their physical collections.  Whatever the reason, it is making book sale shopping all the richer.

I imagine the future holds sales where electronic books are donated, stored and purchased online, probably all year around.  Perhaps smaller physical sales will still take place where the books sold are super rare and hard to find.  I won’t miss all of the work that goes into the giant sales, but I will miss the distinctive smell of thousands upon thousands of delicious books.  At any rate, we’ve still got the big ole sales for now, so come on over and shop, shop, shop!

Monday, April 8, 2013

For the Birds by Carline


Spring is finally here!  I have been looking forward to warmer temperatures, the budding trees, shrubs and flowers.  I also really look forward to watching the birds in my yard as they build their nests and raise their families. 

Over the years, my husband and I have put up several types of bird houses and have been lucky a few times when birds have actually nested in them.  Mostly though, we have had birds build nests in our hanging ferns, in the large hosta pots on the front porch, in various types of hanging flower pots, and even in a woodpile!  This has created somewhat of a problem because when we go in and out of the house we usually scare the “mamas” off the nest.  Fortunately, they come right back and we have enjoyed watching the nesting, hatching, feeding and fledging process!

This year we decided to try to build some bird houses ourselves and place them around the yard in out-of-the-way places.  I found a wonderful book at the library, “Bird-Friendly Nest Boxes and Feeders” by Paul Meisel, that is full of different kinds of nest boxes and feeders for a variety of birds, along with detailed diagrams on how to build them.  There is also useful information on feeding habits, ranges, etc.

There are quite a number of books about building bird houses and feeders available at the library.  The Big Book of Bird Houses & Bird Feeders” by Thom Boswell, Bruce Woods and David Schoonmaker is all about unique, whimsical type houses and feeders with building instructions; “The Backyard Bird Feeder’s BIBLE, the A-To-Z guide to feeders, seed mixes, projects and treats” by Sally Roth is another very informative book.  Most books on this subject can be found in the 500-700’s at the library.

If you love watching birds and listening to their beautiful songs, try putting up nest boxes, feeders and birdbaths.  This will attract birds to your yard and you can have hours of enjoyment watching and learning!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gardening with Kids by Levonn


When spring brings warmer weather, many people start digging around in their gardens.  Some are serious gardeners that have long range plans and fully expect a return on their efforts, some are more fly by the seat of their pants, and they just want to brighten up their front yard or maybe try a few containers for vegetables and then are pleasantly surprised when they harvest anything.  Whatever type of gardener you are you should try to include the children in your family. 
Kids learn so many lessons from a garden: identifying plants and to respect them as living things; understanding the growth cycle of plants, identifying necessary ingredients for growth and possibly an understanding of the connection of our food and how we get it.  They also can learn the rewards from hard work and patience.  It is a great time to spend one-on-one with a child.  A time to talk and share without a lot of pressure.  Of course fresh air, sunshine and exercise don't hurt those kids any either.
If you're not sure where to start, we have great some books that will be a big help:

  "Water,weed, and wait" by Edith Hope Fine – a lively picture book about Miss Marigold, the garden lady, who visits Pepper Lane Elementary to help them transform a weedy, rocky patch of ground into a garden.

"Ready,Set, Grow"- photographs take young gardeners through gardening process step by step.

 "A backyard vegetable garden for kids" by Amie Jane Leavitt - Presents information and advice on choosing vegetables, preparing a place for them to grow, and then planting and caring for them.

 "Grow it, Cook it" - Shows how to grow plants and then how to use them in delicious kid-appealing recipes, involving kids in food right from the start!

"Young gardener" by Stefan Buczacki – a hands-on gardening book that combines useful information with fun projects that can be done by children, alone or with adults.

For more helpful material about gardening with children, come by the Children’s Help Desk.