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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Books about Books by Jay

Book lovers are always on the lookout for new, exciting and highly recommended titles.  One fun way to find these is in books about books.  We have several fantastic new ones that can help you find out about great new reads.  One of my favorites,

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan, illustrates the power of books.  This book shows what happens when the full force of Google’s servers are pitted against book readers trying to solve an age-old mystery.  Other novels highlighting the power of books in peoples’ lives include:

Firmin” by Sam Savage- a rat learns to read causing him to become alienated from his rat family, but he is incapable of communicating with the humans who love literature as much as he does.

About the Author" by John Colapinto - a mystery set around a New York book store, the publishing industry and authors.

Utopian Man” by Lisa Lang - an award winning book set in the gilded age of Australia that describes literature in a fast changing world.
Non-fiction books about books are also great sources for reading suggestions and for tales about the power of books.  

Joe Queenan’s “One For the Books is funny and insightful and explains his life immersed in books.

The Child That Books Built: a Life in Reading by Francis Spufford is a wonderful evocation of a child’s reading life and the importance of books for children and young adults.  Nancy Pearl is the master of book recommendations and any of her always entertaining books about books will keep you reading for years.  

A deep and meditative look at the power of literature in shaping a moral and full human is When I Was a Child I Read Books” by Marilynne Robinson.  

John Leonard collects his reviews of a lifetime of reading to understand our world in "Reading For My Life”.

Three new books about books are more lighthearted and funny while also giving an interesting take on reading. 

In Seeds :one man's serendipitous journey to find the trees that inspired famous American writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton” by RichardHoran, the author visits other authors’ homes to collect tree seeds to plant, and to think about the context of each author, their writings, and American history and geography.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading” by Nina Sankovitch chronicles her attempt to read a book a day, while raising her family and working.  Last, Lauren Leto writes a tongue-in-cheek look at books, readers, and their possible love-lives.  The book, 

Judging a Book by Its Lover: a field guide to the hearts and minds of readers everywhere is both a funny and serious love letter to books, reading and book lovers of all kinds.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why? By Mary

“Why is…?” “How does…?” What makes…?”  If your children have presented you with the previous questions, then you have a good foundation for having scientific discussions with them.  Science is all around us—in the things we see, in the things we use, in the things we dream.  Children are naturally curious about all things in their world and they want to know why!  An easy answer is “BECAUSE”, but a better way to explain is to create an experiment.  For some assistance in this task, several authors have compiled some fantastic and easy experiments for you to try. 

“What? Experiments for the Young Scientist”by Robert W. Wood provides experiments for young engineers, astronomers, chemist, meteorologists, physicists, and biologists.  

Another favorite title I discovered is “Homemade Slime and Rubber Bones” by William Wellnitz.  How fun does that sound?  

Janice Van Cleave has several books with fun and easy science experiments on all sorts of topics. 

“The Big Book of Nature Projects” produced by the Children’s School of Science; and 

Questions your children raise may also be answered by observation.  Help your child become a citizen scientist, a backyard observer of both plants and animals.  Keep a journal of your observations and then discuss these notes.  Use your senses to learn.  

To read about actual scientists and what they do to learn, the series “Scientists in the Field” is very informative.  

I also discovered a delightful poetry book titled “Spectacular Science,” by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  The first lines of one poem ask-“What is science? So many things.”  The last line of the poem states, “We question the how the where when and why.”  So please, go out and discover the where, the when and the why by stopping by your public library.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Testing Resources by ReShicka Hawkins

As we get closer and closer to the summer, a lot of people are getting excited and spending time day dreaming about enjoying some well earned pool time, going on a fun vacation with their family or even being able to flip some burgers out on the grill.  Well, snap out it!  Although summer is so close, we have to get serious because a lot of important deadlines are approaching, especially in the education world.

Some of you may be students or parents of students and know that we are nearing crunch time for studying for the ACT, SAT, AP, CLEP or GRE exams. Lucky for us, we have a fantastic library with all sorts of different studying resources.  Of course, when you think about materials at the library, your first (and maybe only) thought is books. Well you are correct (partially); this library has many test prep books, but we also have a great computer resource as well. 

But first, the books.  One book in particular that I have used is called “GRE: Strategies, Practice, and Review.”  This book gave me a walk-through of what the exam should look like, how to approach certain sections of the Graduate Records Exam with detailed explanations, and most importantly, a review of the exam with multiple practice questions. 

Some of our other practice exam books include “The Princeton Review: Cracking the ACT,

 “Cracking the LSAT,” just to name a few.

However, the best resource is now online and accessible from your home. Our online testing database, Testing and Education Reference Center (TERC), is located on our webpage ( and you just need to have a library card to use it.  TERC has many tools to help students succeed, including ebooks, study courses, practice tests and even a resume builder.  It covers many tests such as AP Exams, ACT, SAT, TOEFL, federal job tests and many graduate school tests. This reference center is something I wish I would have known about when I was in high school and college.

Since you now have so many resources for test preparation, you can relax a little and look forward to the summer!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Communities Matter @ Your Library by Stacy

Attending a volunteer fiesta were (back row from left) Olen Thomas, Gwen Piersall, Nicole Sump-Crethar, Misty Smith, Martha Dean, Debby Houk, Sheryl Shutt, Michael Shaw, Pam Brown, Barbara Adams and Linda Tinney. (Front row from left) Theo Yoast, Arlene Smith, Rose Edwards, Dorothy Carmain, Patsy Bostick and Robin Cornwell.

Last week we had a celebration to recognize the volunteers at our library and all the hard work they do.  Right now, we have thirteen long-term volunteers who altogether donate 50-55 hours of work each week doing tasks like shelving, processing books, preparing displays, blogging, teaching computer classes, assisting in genealogy and much more.  Eight of our volunteer earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award for working 150 hours or more each throughout the year.  In addition, we recognized our amazing volunteers on the library board, trust board and Friends of the Library. 

Our library could not run without these volunteers, but it also couldn’t run as well without many of our supporters and partners in the community.  The theme of National Library Week two weeks ago was “Communities Matter @ Your Library.”  There are many ways to interpret that phrase, but in OUR community it means that many, many people and groups lend a hand to make sure we have the best library possible.  This is a great time to thank them!

Thank you to the Boy Scouts who do a ton of work helping us set up the book sale and recycle books after the sale.

Thank you Oklahoma Quality Printing which provides us with thousands of free bookmarks throughout the year.

Thank you to Stillwater Schools for providing volunteer help and partnerships with local children and teens.

Thank you to all of the area’s media outlets, including Stillwater NewsPress that help keep the community informed about our news and events.

Thank you OSU Arts and Sciences Outreach, Meridian Technology Center, OSU Payne County Extension and Oklahoma Workforce for providing excellent programs for us.

A big thank you to OSU’s Edmon Low Library for years of wonderful partnerships and mentoring.

And a really big thanks to our fellow city departments for helping us with everything from providing barricades for events to publicity to recycling bins and a great deal more.

But the biggest thanks goes out to our library users for making our jobs wonderful!  Thank you Stillwater!