Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Library Card Sign Up Month

September is National Library Card Sign Up Month! Do you remember getting your first library card? What did it feel like to realize for the first time that you could take home one of the beautiful, colorful childrens' books, for free? Or maybe you got your first card as an adult and used the library to find a job, find your next car, or learn a new recipe. I remember wandering the stacks of my hometown library, looking for books our teacher had read to us in class.

Libraries have come a long way since I combed the childrens' stacks for the latest Encyclopedia Brown book. MCPL now offers e-books, e-magazines, audiobooks, online classes, downloadable and streaming music, online articles, test preparation, and STEM Go! Kits for kids. You can use your library card to learn to play a musical instrument, sing, or make art, or even earn your high school diploma!

Want to learn more about what a library card can do for you? Here's a list of 20 free library resources and services that might be new to you.
  1. Earn your high school diploma.
  2. Check Consumer Reports from home.
  3. Learn to play a musical instrument, sing, or make art through ArtistWorks.
  4. Learn a language online.
  5. Find a musical score online.
  6. Stream one of 250 performances of the world's leading plays.
  7. Borrow books from libraries across the country.
  8. Prepare for the SAT, LSAT, NCLEX and more.
  9. Search your family history with HeritageQuest Online.
  10. Take an online technology, business, or creative class with Gale Courses.
  11. Download e-books.
  12. Start your own business.
  13. Download music from Freegal.
  14. Renew your materials online.
  15. Download audiobooks.
  16. Read an e-magazine from home.
  17. Discover your next favorite book
  18. Check out exercise videos.
  19. Find articles, encyclopedias, and biographical information for your school project.
  20. Put a book on hold online.
Library cards empower their users. So tell your family, tell your friends! There's so much you can do with a library card. Sign up for one today!. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Outside the Lines - Libraries Reimagined

Montgomery County is changing and your libraries are changing with it. MCPL is a proud participant in the innovative, worldwide initiative Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines is a week long (September 11-17, 2016) celebration of how libraries are expanding their roles beyond traditional services to embrace cultural programs, STEM activities, and other initiatives that engage people beyond the walls of the library.

MCPL's Outreach team at an elementary school
A vital part of libraries' expanded mission is serving the people where they are. San Francisco Public Library, for instance, participates in Sunday Streets, a series of neighborhood festivals during which some city streets are closed to auto traffic, allowing people to bike, walk, run, dance, do yoga, and otherwise enjoy a large, temporary public pace. Aarhus Public Libraries, in Denmark, will celebrate Outside the Lines with a traveling mobile library on a blue Piaggio motor scooter. The library will set up 3 "pop-up" libraries in a supermarket, a dormitory, and community center to reach people where they live and work.

MCPL has an entire Outreach team devoted to engaging residents where they live and work. Our Outreach team will be engaging the community at two events this Saturday -  the Teaching Africa Day event at the Silver Spring Civic Center and the Poolesville Day celebration.

In addition, MCPL is celebrating Outside the Lines with an incredible variety of nontraditional programs. We have events focused on health, such as the Bone Builders classes for seniors. Bone Builders is a fun, evidence based bone building and fall prevention program. MCPL also offers yoga and Tai Chi classes at branches throughout the county.

We also celebrating with a series of multicultural music programs. Our Twinbrook branch will host a Salute to Duke Ellington, the world renowned African American composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader Tuesday evening. Branches throughout the county are participating in the John E. Marlow Guitar Series, a celebration of the rhythms of Brazilian music.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are increasingly important in today's technological era. MCPL is doing its part to prepare our young people for exciting career opportunities in STEM with a variety of programs. Our Girls Just Want to Compute program, for instance, offers the opportunity for teens to learn computer programming.

Certified therapy dog Katey loves a good story.
MCPL addresses the needs of our diverse community in other innovative ways as well, such as our citizenship preparation classes. We also sponsor programs that provide free legal assistance to low income residents. We have partnered with AARP to offer a Smart Driver Safety Course and with the Alzheimer's Association to provide social events and information sessions for people living with memory loss. School children who want to improve their reading skills can read aloud to one of several certified therapy dogs who visit several of our branches.

The world is changing and libraries are enthusiastically changing with it to better serve and engage their diverse communities. MCPL is proud to join with other participants in the Outside the Lines initiative to lead the way by boldly moving services beyond our walls.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Refreshing Our Davis Branch

Davis Library
Davis Library
You may have heard that our Davis branch is being refreshed and wondered what exactly it means to "refresh" a library.

A refresh project is a new Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process approved by County Council and the County Executive to allow library buildings to get significant and timely updates without having to close for the lengthy time it takes for a full renovation. The Library Refurbishment CIP funds programmatic, cosmetic, and service impact updates to two to three libraries every year.

What will be done to Davis during the refresh project?

In addition to new paint and carpet, the Davis refresh project will include:

an enhanced area for children
a substantial increase in seating space with power for electronic devices
two reservable collaborative workspaces
comfortable lounge seating in several areas
a total renovation of our restrooms
digital signage
and more

How long will the Davis refresh take?

Davis' last day of public service was July, 16. We anticipate reopening the branch in February 2017.

What happens to the branch staff during the refresh?

The staff are temporarily reassigned to other branches of MCPL, except for the branch manager and library assistant supervisor, who will remain at Davis to deal with any questions or issues that come up during the refresh.

Will we pack up all of the books?

No, for the most part the books will stay on the shelves. The shelves will be wrapped up in what looks like giant cling wrap, to keep everything protected during the project.  Items that are being relocated to a new spot in the building will be boxed and stored until they can be put back on the shelf.

What will you do with new books meant for Davis that MCPL receives while you are closed?

These items will be boxed and stored until we are ready to reopen.

What's happening to the KIDMuseum in the lower level of Davis?

The KIDMuseum will be open and fully operational while the library is being refreshed. Please do not try to return our materials to the KIDMuseum.  Although they will be open, they are not a part of the library system and can't accept returns.

Can I return my books to Davis after you are closed?

No. The Davis book and media depositories will not be available until the branch reopens.

Where do I pick up my holds?

During the refresh project, Davis is not available as a holds pickup location and cannot be selected as such in our catalog.  If you have outstanding holds with a pickup location of Davis, please change the location by logging in to your account; or you may call any branch to have staff make the change for you.

If you do not make this change, and your holds arrive at Davis, you will be contacted by phone and asked to select another location, which will delay your pickup.

Davis opened in 1964. It was featured in a short film produced by the American Library Association in 1965. Take a look and see what's changed. From then to now, MCPL has been dedicated to adapting and enhancing our libraries to serve you better. We look forward to reopening our Davis branch - refreshed, renewed and revived!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Classical Music

Classical Music Month
Bach. Beethoven. Mozart. Chopin. Wagner. Vivaldi. Schubert. When classical music comes up, it is one of those subjects I wished I had taken a class to learn more about. Classical music gives us such an emotional experience and it is something (like art!) that I enjoy when I hear it but wish I knew more about. Well now is my chance! September is Classical Music Month and we've got some great free resources and programs to help you celebrate, whether you love classical music already or, like me, are excited to learn more about it!

Violin and keyboard
If you are looking to learn how to play classical music instruments we have a great, new online resource called ArtistWorks. It has self-paced video lessons from Grammy Award-winning music and artistic professionals for instruments such as piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, french horn, trumpet, and violin. It offers beginner through advanced lessons and is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. If you already know how to play an instrument and are looking for musical scores, try the online Classical Scores Library. This collection contains over 13,000 classical scores. The scores span all classical genres and time periods.

Music score
If you like to listen to classical music we have that, too. You can download up to 5 songs per week through Freegal. There is a huge selection of classical music you can download to your computer or Freegal app for your Apple or Android device. From the Classical Music Library you can stream classical music. It offers choral works, symphonies, operas, vocal and instrumental music, chamber music, and more.

What about the fascinating lives of the individuals behind all this great music? We've got that covered! Try Biography in Context to find information about the lives of famous composers like Puccini, Strauss, Handel, and many others. We also have biographical books about composers for adults and teens as well as children.

What's a celebration without some live music? We've got some great live music events this month. Our John E. Marlow Guitar Series will showcase how popular music has influenced classical composers in Brazil. Add a little fairy tale to your classical music celebration with Cinderella, a Chamber Opera.

At MCPL we're happy to help you find your classical music beat this September and beyond!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Abysmal Addictions

Cover image for Appointment in Samarra
There’s no shortage of reading material on addiction and recovery. Alcohol and drug abuse figure prominently in classics like Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the mother of all family-derailed-by-addiction works, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Less well known is Appointment in Samarra, John O’Hara’s brilliant novel about a businessman’s senseless descent into drinking and ruin, which has been described as a counterpart to The Great Gatsby. Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver and John Cheever are other American authors whose writing (and personal lives) often incorporated hard drinking.
Cover image for A Drinking Life
Memoirs provide an effective way for authors to navigate the terrain of becoming sober. Some notable ones are Augusten Burroughs’s Dry, Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life, Mary Karr’s Lit, and Sarah Hepola’s Blackout. My personal favorite, for its moving portrayal of a woman coming to terms with her alcoholism, is Carolyn Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story. Finally, in Drink: The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol, Ann Dowsett Johnston blends her own recovery story with recent research about the health risks and current trends of women’s alcohol abuse.

Memoirs about drug addiction are also abundant. Joshua Lyons’s Pill Head explores the dangers of prescription medication addiction, and William Cope Moyers’s Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption describes how the son of broadcaster Bill Moyers disrupted his life and relationships with repeated relapses into cocaine use.

Addictions need not take the form of substance abuse. Lawrence Osborne’s Ballad of a Small Player addresses the author’s gambling compulsion. Internet Addiction, by Laura Perdew, deals with the problem of compulsive connectivity.

Beneath a Meth MoonYoung people may be particularly susceptible to drug and alcohol problems, and there are many cautionary tales involving youth. Go Ask Alice has been the standard bearer of teen drug addiction for decades, while Koren Zailickas’s Smashed follows the author’s early descent into excessive drinking. Nic Sheff’s, Tweak and his father David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy give two heartbreaking perspectives on Nic’s methamphetamine dependence.

Finally, for fictional portrayals of addiction, there’s Jane Green’s Summer Secrets, about a woman’s struggle with drinking, Dopefiend by JaQuavis, which explores heroin addiction, and Jacqueline Woodson’s Beneath a Meth Moon, about a grieving Hurricane Katrina survivor who escapes her pain with crystal meth.

Laura S.