Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Make a Plan for SafeTrack

Mark a Plan for SafetrackSafeTrack is WMATA's accelerated maintenance and repair plan to improve the Metrorail system's safety and reliability. WMATA will be working on Red Line portions of the system in Montgomery County during the first half of August.

  • From August 1 - 7, trains will be single tracking from the Takoma to Silver Spring.
  • From August 9 -18, trains will be single tracking from the Shady Grove to Twinbrook.

Travel time along the Red Line will increase significantly. Metro recommends finding alternate travel options, including telecommuting, during this time.

MCPL library card holders will find the following telecommuting resources in our branches -
The following resources are available online to MCPL card holders -
Get your library card today to enjoy these and many other MCPL resources and services.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Legal Fiction

Sometimes you can get into trouble writing about the law. A few weeks ago, my coworker wrote an excellent post about MCPL's many books and online tools for legal research. I thought I'd supplement her post with one about our many legal fiction books. After all, who doesn't love a good John Grisham novel?

But then I ran into a problem. It seems the term "legal fiction" means something very specific to lawyers, and that meaning does not include novels about lawyers.  So instead of writing about legal fiction, I'll use the approved literary term and tell you all about MCPL's great collection of legal thrillers. What makes a book a legal thriller? Generally speaking, these are books in which the main character is a lawyer or works in a law firm.

Book cover for The Gods of GuiltMany of you are probably aware of the well known legal thriller authors, such as John Grisham, Lisa Scottoline, Marcia Clark, and Michael Connelly. These are the mainstay, bread and butter types of fiction focused on the law. They feature corporate malfeasance as found in The Firm, overzealous law suits and domestic violence, as in Save Me, and murder investigations by lawyers desperate to uncover the truth, as in The Gods of Guilt. Legal thrillers cover a lot of ground and easily blend into other types of books such as mysteries and general thrillers. A subject search of legal stories in our catalog will provide a long list of legal thrillers and related works available at MCPL. For a less expansive list, try this Top 10 Legal Thrillers of All Time from the mystery book website Mystery Center.

Legal thrillers aren't the only books that feature lawyers. The late English author John Mortimer wrote a humor series beloved by many lawyers called Rumpole of the Bailey. Rumpole is a stubborn London barrister who doggedly defends his usually poor clients and finds too much pleasure in arguing with judges and poking holes in their pride. In addition to the books, there have been various television and radio iterations of Rumpole of the Bailey as well.

Author Bruce Alexander wrote a historical fiction series. set in the late 18th century London, featuring the the blind magistrate Sir John Fielding, whose 14 year old assistant, Jeremy, helps him investigate cases brought before him. And of course, there's the iconic figure of Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, which in the sometimes nebulous world of book genres, is probably better considered a courtroom drama than a legal thriller.

There's even a series written for children, Theodore Boone by John Grisham. The main character, Theodore Boone, is the son of 2 lawyers. Boone's first adventure begins when a man in his town is accused of murder.  Boone learns there's a witness, an illegal immigrant, who may be able to save the accused, but is too scared to come forward and testify.

Finally, there's one last series about a lawyer I feel obliged to mention. I'm not familiar with the series myself.  I don't know how much there is in it about courtrooms, trials, investigations, etc., but technically, the main character is a lawyer, at least by day. His name is Matt Murdock, but he's better known as Daredevil.

Mark S.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On The Road

The Golden Age of the Automobile, when families explored the countryside on weekend afternoons and took long summer vacations driving on iconic highways like Route 66, is long gone. So are the classic roadsters and station wagons of the era. It is a past bathed in a romantic glow, before anxieties about global warming, traffic gridlock, and crumbling infrastructure sucked all the pleasure out of driving. Here are some books to take you on a nostalgic road trip into the past:

This companion volume to a PBS documentary includes many vintage photographs.

Covering the years 1893 to 1908, “a page-turning story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the 20th century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters.”

The Lincoln Highway by Michael Wallis.
A lively history of the first coast to coast highway, from Times Square to San Francisco, completed in 1913.

But is there perhaps a renaissance underway for the motoring holiday? Low gas prices, the hassles of air travel, and fear of terrorism making foreign travel less appealing may be “driving” a new enthusiasm for taking to the road. Whether you want to travel near or far in the U.S. here are some resources to get you started:

Covers over 400 sites divided into ten weekend trips.

Live Your Road Trip Dream by Phil and Carol White.
Aimed at retirees, this book explains how you can travel on the road for a year at the same cost as staying at home.

Facts and activities for places to visit in every state.

27 road trips not too far from home.

Includes two day to two week routes on scenic roads from the Rockies to New England.

Useful Websites:

This easy to use site offers classic routes like Route 66, the Pacific Coast, and the Oregon Trail, or you can map out your own custom trip.

Popular routes and helpful information from a reliable source.

Or if you’re planning a staycation this year you can always take one of these virtual road trips from the comfort of your own armchair or hammock:

A 57-year-old widow leaves the corporate world to travel 2,500 miles of the Pacific coast on a Harley.

Cross Country by Robert Sullivan.
A humorous account of “fifteen years and ninety thousand miles on the roads and interstates of America with Lewis and Clark, a lot of bad motels, a moving van, Emily Post, Jack Kerouac, my wife, my mother-in law, two kids, and enough coffee to kill an elephant.”

In June 1953 ex-President Harry Truman and his wife Bess went on a road trip to visit old friends. Just the two of them, no Secret Service, unimaginable today.

I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster.
“Thirty games in thirty days on the best worst baseball road trip ever.”

For more reading suggestions check out this list from Goodreads.

Whatever your plans this summer, here's wishing you Happy Adventures and Happy Reading!

Rita T.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Legal Information

legal gavel and books
Finding legal information seems like a serious topic for July, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is the perfect time. The United States celebrates Independence Day, its birth as a new nation, on July 4. A new country needs to make its own laws to protect its citizens and ensure them of their rights. And while we can't offer any legal advice, we are happy to help you locate the legal resources, or find the legal referrals, you need.

Want to search Montgomery County, Maryland, or the U.S. Codes? Have a look at our Codes & Cases guide to legal information on local and federal codes. There you can also find links to search Maryland and Federal Case Records. There is a lot of other great links to legal information as well such as the Maryland Building Codes, Maryland Register, Federal Register, and more!

Looking for legal e-books like Filing and Winning Small Claims for Dummies or The Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law? Have a look at the Gale Virtual Reference Library where you'll find e-books that can be read online and are always available!

lease agreement
Looking for Maryland legal forms? Try Legal Forms from Gale. They have a great variety of legal forms. You can find legal forms to help you with Affidavits, Civil Actions, Divorce, Elder Law, Landlord Tenant, Loans and Lending, Real Estate, Trusts, Wills, and many more. A great addition is that if you get stuck understanding some legalese, there's a legal definitions section you can browse or search. Links to tax forms for each state are included. If you need an attorney but don't know who specializes in a specific type of law you need, try the Attorney Directory. You select the state you are looking for and then legal specialization.

Thinking about going to law school or getting ready to take the LSAT? The online Testing and Education Reference Center provides a LSAT test prep e-book, a complete subject review, and test-taking strategies, It also include practice tests.

Looking for legal aid, referrals, or mediation services? We've gathered some resources to help! We have a list of legal aid organizations that offer help to customers who meet their income specifications. There are directories and referrals to lawyers and organizations that provide mediation services.

law library books
And we can't forget about law libraries! Law librarians, although not lawyers, are experts at finding legal resources you need. Who better to ask for help than the people that help lawyers find their information? Our closest law library, the Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library, is located in Rockville and is open to everyone. In Annapolis, an equally great resource is the Maryland State Law Library. If you can't go there in person, you can chat online, email, or call the law librarians there. The Library of Congress also has its own Law Library, the world's largest!

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Ours is a government of liberty, by, through and under the law. No man is above it, and no man is below it." At MCPL, we're happy to help you find the legal information, resources, and referrals you need!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A High School Diploma with Your Library Card

Career Online High School DiplomaBy now most of you are aware of the infinite opportunities for free entertainment, information, and education that come with an MCPL library card.  You probably aren’t surprised to learn that with your library card, you can get unlimited downloads of your favorite magazines on your phone or tablet, periodicals in Spanish, French, or Amharic - or even that your card allows you to register for a free class on, say, the fundamentals of accounting. But what if we told you that your public library card also offers access to an accredited high school diploma. Yes! That’s right. You can earn a high school diploma with your MCPL library card.

As public libraries everywhere take on new roles as agents of transformative social engagement, MCPL is raising the bar as the first library system in Maryland to offer Career Online High School, a nationally accredited, online, career-based high school completion program. This program will support positive change in our community by offering the opportunity of a second chance to the over 60,000 adults in Montgomery County who lack a high school diploma.

Career Online High School ProgramThe courses in this program are designed to reconnect adults to learning with a built-in student support system (students get ongoing guidance from assigned academic coaches) and a curriculum that lets students master skills at their own pace.  Since classes are web-based, students have anytime access to courses, ideal for those busy with jobs and families.

With the launch of Career Online High School, the MCPL community embraces the opportunity to help residents transform their lives and broaden their career and educational horizons.  Learning takes place in our libraries every day through online courses, maker sessions, and various programs for kids, teens, adults, and seniors.  Career Online High School students will experience MCPL’s supportive learning environment, replete with homework help, quiet study rooms, wireless internet access, and desktop computers.  Laptops for loan are available at our Kensington Park, Long Branch, Silver Spring, and Twinbrook branches.

So maybe you or someone you know (a friend, relative, colleague, employee, family member of an employee) left high school early without getting a diploma. MCPL wants to help re-write your stories. We’ll help you pick up where you left off with 3 easy steps: 1) Complete an online self-assessment; 2) Pass a 2 week prerequisite course; and 3) Interview with our enrollment team. After completing these steps, your application will be considered for a seat in the program. It’s that easy!

To better prepare all of our library customers for today’s workforce, we offer a range of programs and courses.  Improve your English by participating in one of our conversation clubs. Register for the Computer Skills for the Workplace course and learn the basics of Microsoft Excel, Outlook, and formatting documents.  Check out the other wonderful courses listed in our Gale course catalog that also come FREE with your MCPL card.

Need to revitalize your career?  Use our career resources - also available en espaƱol - to get tips on job hunting, resumes, cover letters and interviewing. Take the Resume Writing Workshop
to transform your resume into a powerful tool that will get you interviews.  Or write resumes for profit and start and operate your own business.

We’re excited about transforming lives through our Career Online High School program and the other learning and educational programs and opportunities that come FREE with your MCPL library card! Learn more. Visit our new and improved website.