Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The month of May gives us multiple opportunities to honor and remember those who have valiantly served our country both at home and abroad. This Saturday (May 18) is Armed Forces Day
and of course, the last Monday of the month (May 27) is Memorial Day
. Please take a moment to check out the related displays of books and other materials at many of our branches
. If you would like to commemorate your service or that of a loved one or friend, share your story in the Veterans’ Memory Book at your local branch
Here are some reading ideas to get you in the mood:
Take time to pay tribute by visiting one of the many local sites commemorating our troops, including the U.S. Air Force Memorial
, the U.S. Navy Memorial
, the National World War II Memorial
, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial
, the Korean War Veterans' Memorial
, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)
, the D.C. World War I Memorial
, the "Tribute to Our Veterans" panels on Veterans' Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring, our own Rockville Memorial Library
which was renamed in 2010 to the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and, of course, Arlington National Cemetery
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Now that you're nearly finished digesting your luscious Thanksgiving meal, it's time to start thinking about the next round of holidays that are juat around the corner. (Though I'm sure some of you have been thinking about such things, willingly or otherwise, since at least Halloween.) Whether you're shopping your way through your family's holiday gift lists or lining up the menu for your perfect holiday meal, MCPL can help. Visit our Consumer LibGuide for reviews, tips to save money, and more. Use your library card to connect to our MasterFILE Premier database which contains (among other things), full text articles fro mseveral years worth of Consumer Reports. Of course, if you're still somewhat technologically challenged, you can still read the print version of CR at many of our branches. This LibGuide also contains links to an array of online consumer reviews from both professional reviewers, like Good Housekeeping, and the general public (like Amazon and Epinions). You can also check out Enoch Pratt Free Library's recession busting tips.
For those with holiday baking and cooking on their minds, MCPL has plenty to offer you as well. If you're looking for something different with perhaps a more international flair, check out the wide range of recipes in the the Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. This is just one of many resources contained in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. Of course, you can visit our our online periodical databases, MasterFILE Premier and General OneFile to search our extensive collections of online magazines and newspapers to find the perfect recipes for your holiday meal. Of course, don't forget to stop in and browse through the 641s for recipes for everything from apple pie to zucchini bread. Yum!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Every month has a holiday or two some well-known and some obscure. In March, for instance, we have: National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, simultaneously! And who could forget the Ides of March? Not Julius Caesar! (There is an Ides in every month, you know; right in the middle of each one.)
March also contains Dentist’s Day and Panic Day – but not at the same time.
National Pi day is 3.14, of course (think about it), but since 1918 March twenty-fifth has been Maryland Day – commemorating the settlement of the proprietary colony of Mary Land in 1634.
How about a terrific wallow in all things Maryland, in honor of the occasion? Books and audio books about Maryland, Maryland people, places and history? Books by Maryland authors? Crab cake recipes? The potential is endless!
Maryland authors such as: (click on the author photo to see our holdings of their works)
Why don't you check one of these out at your nearest branch, pour a glass of milk and settle in for a great read with a Berger's (made in Maryland) cookie or two. What a great place we live in!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Most of us are crazy busy at this time of year (including me). We're trying to juggle work, family, shopping, holiday parties, the budget and so on. To help keep some perspective, it's worth trying to carve out a little time to appreciate some of the literary and cinematic classics that bring the season to life.
Read or watch the wonderful Charles Dicken's tale "A Christmas Carol", the story of miserly Scrooge and the three spirits that bring him to a new sense of the joy and wonder of the Christmas season. You can do a chapter a night as a family read aloud in the week preceding December 25th, or you can borrow one of the several film versions of the story that the library owns.
MCPL can offer anything from the 1951 Alastair Sim's version (which set the standard for screen portrayals of Scrooge) to an expanded BBC production that includes ensemble versions of Dickensian pub songs. My personal favorite stars George C Scott as a particularly curmudgeonly Scrooge. Or, there's always "The Muppet Christmas Carol" - Kermit makes a wonderful Bob Crachitt. If you have time after the holidays, and are looking for an interesting read for a cold January night, you can pick up "The Man Who Invented Christmas" by Les Standiford to find out more about Dickens and his beloved story.
Another appealing short read is Truman Capote's autobiographical novella "A Christmas Memory". This gentle story decribes the Christmas preparations of a young boy and his slightly eccentric, elderly cousin in the Depression era South.
Frank Capra's classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" seems to be on continuous television play during December, but if you need to schedule your own showing, the library can provide a copy. Remember, everytime you hear a bell.....
Another lovely family read aloud is Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas". The library has many wonderfully illustrated versions of the poem, ranging from the intricate and playful work of Jan Brett, to Tasha Tudor's warm and homey pictures of an elfin Santa, to one in the distinctive style of beloved children's author Tomie De Paola.
So pop some popcorn, make some warm drinks for both the adults and kids, and gather everyone around to make some great holiday memories. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season this week. Here is my brief guide to weekend activity.
Give thanks (or just GIVE).
- Yes, it’s corny... At the risk of sounding like a mushy TV holiday special, telling the special people in your life that you appreciate them is always a good thing.
- Contact a local homeless shelter and volunteer as a family to help prepare and serve a meal. So many people like to do this on a holiday that centers sometimes have to turn away the overabundance of volunteers. Consider giving your time the week before or after the holiday instead.
- Organize a food or goods drive in your neighborhood. It is generally best to contact a local organization or charity group first to ask what types of donations they will accept. Make it a family affair by having children staple flyers listing the details on grocery bags to distribute to your neighbors. Plan to go back a week later to pick up the filled bags and deliver them to your charity of choice.
Spend Time With Family.
- Break out the board games! If you really MUST include shopping on your post-feast to-do list, thrift shops always have board games for sale. Maybe you can find a favorite from your childhood to share with the next generation (and remind them that not all games are played on a screen!).
- Take an easy stroll with the entire family around Brookside Gardens for the Garden of Lights display beginning Friday, November 25. Wind down the night with a cup of hot chocolate or tea in the Visitor’s Center while watching a local act (see website for schedule).
- Dust off your ice skates and glide on over to one of the area’s many indoor or outdoor ice rinks.
- Black Friday shopping? Ugh. Many years of retail management make me a homebody for the biggest, baddest shopping day of the year. Yes, you can snag a great deal if you pay attention to ads and plot your itinerary well, but more people are choosing to…
- Shop Small. Support your local independent business owners! Small businesses are a great place to find unique or hand-crafted items.
- Cyber Monday is the new Black Friday. With more people choosing to click from the comfort of home, online shopping is a great way to surf more options without fighting the crowds. The Washington Post recently offered tips for safe online shopping.
Whatever you do, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
May is jam-packed with festivals and outdoor events for the whole family.
The first full weekend in May is the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in nearby Howard County.
My husband calls this “The best free show in the state of Maryland”, and he doesn’t even particularly like sheep! Their web page gives you an idea of what's going on, but you may want to read
Wool by Annabelle Dixon to the children before setting out. Or Judith MacKenzie's Intentional Spinner for an adult's eye view of the process.
Why don't you check out the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival on the following weekend?
All kinds of art and fine crafts will be on display and for sale, as well as free entertainment. Does it make you want to try your hand at making art? Read David Sammiguel's Complete Guide...or try ArtStarts with your children.
For the third weekend, you don't need to go far. Gaithersburg is hosting its second annual Book Festival http://www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org/ with authors and activities for all.
How about making a book of your own?
If you are an author in search of a publisher, the 808 location in our reference collections hold lots of ‘Writer’s Market’ –type guides. They will tell you how and where to find a publisher, editor or agent.
But what about actually making your own book? Shades of Inkheart! Try McCarthy's Making Books by Hand .
Or, for a look into the actual mind (or brain) of a writer, examine Alice Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease for a look at the process of writing (or not) as viewed by a neurologist.
You can make books with the kids, too. Susan Kapuchinski Gaylord teaches book arts for children and shares her wealth of knowledge through text, pictures and video. http://www.makingbooks.com/freeprojects.shtml
Or read together:
The young author’s do-it-yourself book by Guthrie, Bentley & Arnsteen Or Making Books that fly, fold, wrap, hide, pop up, twist and turn by Gwen Diehn; two great viewpoints on what it takes to 'make a book'.
The last weekend in May is Memorial Day, of course. Since we have three days, why not go a bit farther afield? Chestertown, just across the Bay, commemorates and re-enacts a great moment in Maryland’s Colonial era – The Chester Town Tea Party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestertown_Tea_Party
Every year on this weekend Chestertown hosts thousands of visitors to stroll, eat, drink and cheer. There are races to view or enter (including a raft race!) crafts to buy and a re-enactment of a famous ‘tea party’ that may or may not have happened in 1774.
For more great astonishing information about America in its infancy, check out the Library of Congress.
Phew! Festivals can be exhausting! Gotta rest up before I start my Summer Reading!
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
This is carnival week, an excellent time to visit the digitized Carnival Collection
of the Louisiana Research Collection
Tulane University. Below you will see a selection of costumes from the 1873 Mistick Krewe of Comus "Missing Links" parade
designed by Charles Briton.
All the illustrations below, costume and float designs, are reproduced with permission. Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection
. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.
This collection is the complete set of costume design drawings for the 1873 Mistick Krewe of Comus "Missing Links" parade. It was an important event in New Orleans' Mardi Gras history, becoming one of the first major parades to use satire and political commentary. Many of the images depict figures related to the Civil War and Reconstruction, such as Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Butler, and Louisiana Governor Henry Warmoth. Also depicted are notable figures such as Charles Darwin, and Algernon Badger (head of the Metropolitan Police).
The following are float designs by Jennie Wilde for the Mistick Krewe of Comus parades. The years for each design are shown after the title. The inspiration for the name came from John Milton's Lord of Misrule in his masque Comus. The first Comus parade was held on Mardi Gras 1857, and this became an annual event. Other organizations sprang up in New Orleans in the 19th century, inspired by the Comus model, and also came to be known as "Krewes". Parading on Mardi Gras night, Comus was the final parade of the New Orleans carnival season for over 100 years. It was much smaller and more sedate than the other parades of the day put on by Rex and the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The Comus parades became known for their sometimes obscure themes relating to ancient history and mythology. While other New Orleans parades might have themes like "Foods of the World" or "Broadway Show Tunes", Comus would present themes like "Serpent Deities of the Ancient Near East". The following designs are from different years with different themes.
St. George and the Dragon 1909
Legend of Eyla 1910
Dragon Watch 1906
Fu the Celestial 1912
In Xanadu Did Kubla Khan 1911
The Garden 1910
The Cock 1910
The Kraken 1907
Comus in a carriage drawn by swans leashed with golden collars. The carriage is made of, or emerging from, banana plants, with bananas and banana blossoms in the lower right. 1910
Libraries let us enjoy these pictures for decades and centuries.
Hat tip to Bibliodyssey
, where I first saw these illustrations.
Montgomery County Public Libraries