One of the joys of reading a book is to be able to travel anywhere in time and space inside of your mind. By extension, the library is the best TARDIS ever--full of books and electronic resources with facts about history geography and space, as well as stories that can take you back in time and beyond this universe.
Want a map of a historical time period? Visit the “historical” tab of our Maps LibGuide. You can find roadmaps on that same LibGuide, or information on how you can make your own maps. From our links to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, you can go to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture or the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World or books about travel in other countries, and much more.
There are many travel books in our libraries but, because of my penchant for the strange, one of my favorites is Weird Maryland: Your Travel Guide to Maryland’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. If you don’t know about the Goat Man, you will after you read that book. If the book is checked out, however, after you’ve put your hold on it, go look at a fun website, Roadside America. There you’ll find links to the weirdest tourist attractions across the United States, from the World’s Largest Office Chair to the Miracle Horny Toad of Eastland Texas. If you want to find giant lumberjacks and Dinosaurs, this is the place for you. You can search by state, or by themes such as "Pet Cemetery" or "Big Fruit". They will even point you to hotels near these marvelous sites.
You may enjoy perusing the copies of National Geoographic in your local library, but pull a seat up to one of our public access computers and look at their website. There you can not only find the beautiful photos you have come to expect, but also stunning videos of places and people around the world. Check out the daily news features, too. Of course. If you want something a little more obtuse, navigate to Atlas Obscura. On that site you can read articles on such things as figurative coffins in Ghana, explore an attractive index of unusual places, or click for a random selection and find yourself in The Boiling Lake or The Heidelberg Thingstatte, a Nazi edifice built on a sacred mountain site used by various German cults. This website sponsors local events if you want to join up with other fans in real time and space.
We’re now just days away from yet another new year (and the last one according to the Aztec calendar). If 2012 really is the be all and end all, why not let your local MCPL branch help you make the most of it? Here are some surefire ways to get the most out of the new year.
1.¡Aprende un nuevo idioma! (Learn a new language!)
Mango Languages offers online courses in over 44 languages (plus English learning courses for speakers of over 13 different languages). Believe it or not, they can even teach you how to speak like a pirate. Ahrrr, matey!
iPad and iPhone users – there’s an app for that too, just visit the website and set up your account before going to the App Store and downloading the app. (Android users, a Mango app for your device is currently under development.)
Both of our eLibrary resources also offer downloadables fopr language learning. EBSCOHost Audiobooks has downloadble versions of the popular Pimsleur Language Learning series. However, you must have a PC with Windows Media Player to listen to them. The Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium has several language learning e-books and eaudiobooks which are compatible with several portable or smart devices.
And of course, you might find the language learning textbook or CD Book that you’ve been looking for on the shelves at your local branch.
2.Visit an uncharted territory!
Make use of that new language you just learned by planning a trip to somewhere new. The 914s-919s offer an array of guidebooks to help you on your way. Some of the more popular guides even have online equivalents (these include http://www.fodors.com and http://www.lonelyplanet.com). Check out http://www.tripadvisor.com to get the lowdown on places from your fellow travelers.
3.Discover a new you!
Did you eat too much of the local cuisine on your travels? Did that hike in the mountains show you just how out of shape you really are? Visit the 613.71s for fitness ideas and 641.563 for healthy cooking tips. Be sure to check out Montgomery County’s RecWeb (http://www.recweb.montgomerycountymd.gov) to sign up for a heart-pumping aerobics class or to make a splash in your local pool. For technophobes, limited copies of the Department of Recreation’s print course guide are available at most library branches, community recreation centers, and county aquatic centers. If you’re free on a weekday afternoon, why not take in a session of Bone Builders at Potomac Library. (If exercise isn't your thing, you can also learn a new skill or augment an old one. The Rec Department offers arts & crafts and cooking classes, among many others. )
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. www.sheepandwool.org.
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.
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.
I can’t stand cold weather. I don’t know about you, but Winter is a tough time; being a native Washingtonian doesn’t make it any easier. I’m counting the days until June, until we get 90 degree heat and a minimum of 110% humidity. Or at least, this Friday’s anticipated balmy 70 degrees will be a welcomed change. What’s a person to do during those awesome hot days of Summer? When was the last time you explored some of Maryland’s wonders?
Sharpsburg: Antietam National Battlefield, site of one of the most pivotal and devastating battles in the Civil War, is in Sharpsburg. After 12 hours of savage fighting on September 17, 1862, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or left missing -- it was the bloodiest day of the war. About 87,000 Union troops commanded by Gen. George B. McClellan had intercepted 40,000 of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s invading Confederate troops. The Union victory led to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Three national parks and two state parks are within a dozen miles of Sharpsburg. The 184-mile long C&O Canal towpath passes near the town.
Cumberland: Located in a river valley in “Mountain Maryland” – the Appalachians in Allegany County – Cumberland is an historic town (27 listings in the National Register of Historic Places) that has evolved into a vibrant arts community. A new Arts and Entertainment District is the cornerstone of a revived downtown section.
National Harbor: Located on the banks of the Potomac River, the Harbor has an assortment of entertainment venues and panoramic views of the Washington, D.C. monuments. And if you’re looking for outdoor fun, the Capital Region has ample opportunities for hiking, biking, boating and golf.
Benedict: A chief port on the Patuxent River, Benedict was one of the first designated ports established by the 1683 Act for Advancement of Trade. Storehouses flourished near the wharves and ship building began earnestly in the late 1600s. Between 1817 and 1937, steamboats carrying freight and passengers stopped at Benedict en route to Baltimore and ports on the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers. Benedict was the landing site in August 1814, for 4,500 British troops who marched to the nation's capital. After capturing and burning the city, the troops returned to Benedict carrying their wounded and supplies. Two of the British soldiers who died were buried at Old Fields Chapel cemetery in Hughesville. During the Civil War, Camp Stanton was established in Benedict for recruiting and training a black infantry to serve in the Union Army.
Cedar Island Wildlife Management Area, Somerset: Because of its nearly 3,000 acres of tidal marsh, ponds and creeks, black ducks flock to the island located in Tangier Sound near the town of Crisfield. Other tidal wetland wildlife species are also attracted to the area, but its attraction for black ducks is legendary. In the 1960s, wildlife biologists became concerned about the black duck, which seemed to be declining in numbers. Loss of habitat was thought to be the primary cause. Today, black duck populations are on the mend and Cedar Island WMA is one of Maryland's best winter habitats for these beautiful birds.