Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bad Arguments

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments is an entertaining and instructive website.  It is also a book you can print or download.  It is, as one comment put it, a "flawless compendium of flaws".  The book is an introduction to fundamental principles of logical discourse.  It is written by Ali Almossawi who also provided the creative and art direction.  And it is elegantly illustrated by Alejandro Giraldo. 

Ali Almossawi writes:

This book is aimed at newcomers to the field of logical reasoning, particularly those who, to borrow a phrase from Pascal, are so made that they understand best through visuals. I have selected a small set of common errors in reasoning and visualized them using memorable illustrations that are supplemented with lots of examples. The hope is that the reader will learn from these pages some of the most common pitfalls in arguments and be able to identify and avoid them in practice.
The illustrations are partly inspired by allegories such as Orwell's Animal Farm and partly by the humorous nonsense of works such as Lewis Carroll's stories and poems.
It you have spent time perusing the internet, particularly any areas of comment or discussion, you will have seen most or all of the bad arguments illustrated here. Even if you are not new to the principles of logical reasoning the book is instructive and entertaining. Each illustration of a bad argument has a brief explanation of the argument next to it.  Below are pictures from the book of some popular bad arguments you will encounter frequently.  Follow the link to An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments to see more and read the explanations.

Argument from consequences


Appeal to Fear

Straw Man



Ad Hominem

You will recognize these and many more reading through the book, which is very short and to the point.  One of the particularly nice features of the book is its creative commons license:

... this work is shared under a Creative Commons BY-NC license, which means that you can freely share and adapt it for non-commercial use with attribution.

I think this book might prove delightful for use with high school, college, and even middle school students. It can help anyone be more careful in their thinking and their arguments.  The author quotes Richard Feyman:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

If you enjoy An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, you may also enjoy these books from the MCPL collection.

Plato and a platypus walk into a bar : understanding philosophy through jokes by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein.

Aristotle and an aardvark go to Washington : understanding political doublespeak through philosophy and jokes by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein.

Nell M.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What are your family foodways for the winter holidays? 

Gingerbread, fruitcake, a Feast of Seven Fishes? Latkes, Lutefisk or Shortbread and Haggis?

Gingerbread HouseWhether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Festivus or Hogmanay, everybody has special foods that just mean ‘the holiday’ to them or to the family. I was looking for information about fruitcakes last week (I know, Johnny Carson used to make fun of them, but it’s my son’s favorite) and while perusing the catalog, found a great website for baking called Joy of Baking.

What’s that you say? You didn’t know web sites were included in our library catalog? They are and they can be a terrific resource for you.

LatkesJust looking at the subject of cooking (I used ‘cookery’ as the term to search the catalog) we find 90 entries that will take us to external web sites, each of which has been reviewed by a librarian and found to be dependable and appropriate. 

Not all of them will help me turn out that luscious fruitcake or help you refine your recipe for latkes, stollen or tamales, but what a find when you just want to stay home without venturing to the local branch for a browse through the 641 (cookbook) section of the stacks.

We also can provide you with cooking DVD’s from America’s Test Kitchen, if you are a visual learner. Not to mention Julia Child and John Shields.

Gingerbread Cookies
Oh, my family’s favorite fruitcake? It happens to be Alton Brown’s ‘Free Range Fruitcake’ which I copied down while watching ‘Good Eats’ years ago.

Excuse me, I hear  the cookie cutters calling my name.

Jan D.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's beginning to look....

Photo: Sister72/Creative Commons
Reindeer! Snowmen! Carollers! Giant snow globes! Lights of every hue and description! Santa in an inflatable NASCAR with elves as pit crew! Santa in a plane with spinning propeller! Santa Homer! Santa Grinch! Wooo!

All of the above and much, much more can currently be seen in yards across the country. For many Americans, outdoor holiday decorating is a serious business. Usually on the weekend before Thanksgiving homeowners begin the process of setting up elaborate displays, and the competition is fierce in my small town.

Strings and strings of glittering lights outline fencelines, outbuildings, rooftops and any architectural feature that can be reached. Giant inflatable figures that rival the balloons in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade loom over sidewalks.The amount of time, effort and money that go into the creation of these winter wonderlands is truly amazing. Some impressive and famous spreads can be see in "Merry Christmas, America: megawatt displays across the U.S.A.".

Many families take an evening during December to ride around and enjoy their neighbors efforts. Back in the  60s, my mom, dad and the six kids would all pile into the station wagon and drive around Silver Spring. The high points back then were one house off of University Boulevard outlined in blue lights, Mrs. K’s Toll House Restaurant, with wooden elf figures all over the roof, and the Bishop’s house on North Portal Rd, just inside the DC line (not the present extravagance, but still exceptional for the time).

If driving around the neighborhood seems too random, there are two parks in Montgomery County that offer beautiful light displays.
Brookside Garden - the Gazebo
Brookside Gardens hosts the Garden of Light walking tour, featuring over 700,000 lights throughout the grounds of the arboretum.

The City of Gaithersburg sponsors the Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek State Park . This one is a driving tour, with over 400 displays through out the park.

A longer drive, but an experience not to be missed, is a trip to the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore. The amazing displays on the facades of traditional rowhouses in one city block draw visitors from across the state.

Street in Hampden Photo: ©
The library has plenty of help for those who’d like to join in on the fun, but without risk of electrocution or rooftop pratfalls. "Holiday Hero, A Man’s Manual for Holiday Lighting" is suitable for all skill levels from can’t change a light bulb to electronics wizard.  If you need some inspiration, try "Holiday Lights Brilliant Displays to Inpire Your Christmas Celebration".

As for me, I stick to a modest string of lights, and an illuminated horse figure.  Not much, but at least I do my bit.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Off To Tokyo And Back

I was visiting my family in Japan a few weeks ago. While on the subway, fellow riders’ conversations used to entertain me. Somehow eavesdropping was easier in my native tongue.  I was not being nosy, but conversation just floated into my ears. I loved hearing about other people's lives, listening to school kids chat and laugh. I loved getting my street-level education and catching up on what's going on in Japanese society.

Not any more, though. Nobody talks on trains now. Most riders have their faces fixed on their mobile devices, or they wear ear buds. Every car seems to be a quiet car these days. Even I find myself automatically reaching for my cell phone. Times change.

When I'm not riding a train, one of my favorite activities in the city is to visit my favorite bookstores and used book stores. Now that I am back from Japan, I am curious about what MCPL acquired recently in English translation. 

Here are some well-received titles in the MCPL catalog:

Shipwrecks, Akira Yoshimura

Asleep, Banana Yoshimoto

Stones Cry Out, Hikaru Okuizumi

And, of course, Haruki Murakami and many of his books including Norwegian Wood, now also a film (2010)

-Megumi L.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It hasn't happened since 1888, and it won't happen again for another 70,000 years, (depending who you listen to) so pay attention because Thanksgiving 2013 converges with Hanukkah 5774, and Jews and Non-Jews alike will all observe Thanksgivukkah.

Here are some links for more information:

So check out these Hanukkah materials from your MCPL library:

Hanukkah in America: a history - Diane Ashton
Ashton shows the different ways we celebrate Hanukkah, not only between the United States and other countries, but among the many regions of our country.

Jewish holiday cooking: a food lover's treasury of classics and improvisations - Cohen, Jayne.
Divided into chapters covering specific holidays, Cohen provides recipes for both traditional and new dishes, all kosher, and even vegan dishes. She includes important rituals and personal reminiscences. Perfect for the newly converted!

How to spell Chanukah : 18 writers celebrate 8 nights of lights - Franklin, Emily.
On this happiest of Jewish holidays, writers wax nostalgic about past Chanuakahs, whether they actually celebrated Christmas as well, how much weight gain is involved in eating pounds and pounds of latkes and much more. This is a good book to pass around the Thanksgiving table this year.

The lights of Hanukkah : [a book of menorahs] - Rush, Barbara.
You cannot imagine how many types of menorahs there are as Rush shows menorahs throughout the years.

H̲anukkah : the family guide to spiritual celebration - Wolfson, Ron.
The second edition of this classic manual to help families celebrate this holiday in a memorable way.

Oy Chanukah! [sound recording] - Klezmer Conservatory Band.
The Klezmer Conservatory Band delivers a rousing musical accompaniment to candle lighting. You’ll be dancing around the Thanksgiving table this year as well.

And while you're at it, learn about the real history of Thanksgiving as well:
Thanksgiving 101 : celebrate America's favorite holiday with America's Thanksgiving expert - Rodgers, Rick
A go-to reference for experienced as well as novice Thanksgiving planners.

America's hidden history : untold tales of the first Pilgrims, fighting women, and forgotten founders who shaped a nation - Davis, Kenneth C.
Davis puts together a collection of stories surrounding the myth of the Pilgrims, their relationship with the Indians and many other surprising facts about American history.
Mayflower : a story of courage, community, and war - Philbrick, Nathaniel.
National Book Award winning author covers the Mayflower crossing and the hard, cruel life in early Massachusetts.

A great & godly adventure : the Pilgrims & the myth of the first Thanksgiving - Hodgson, Godfrey.
Hodgson reviews the real history of the first Thanksgiving and looks at the Pilgrims in a different light.

The Thanksgiving ceremony : new traditions for America's family feast - Bleier, Edward
A lovely idea to create a Thanksgiving ceremony around the table, including a little history and something for every member of the family. (Sounds almost like a Passover seder!)

And what would Thanksgiving be without a recipe for leftover turkey: Turkey Matzo Ball Soup!

Have a memorable Thanksgivingukkah!!

Lisa N.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Library Makers

Have you been hearing about Maker Spaces and STEM projects lately? These are the buzzwords for a growing movement to get kids and teens (and adults, too!) involved in doing things that encourage creating and building and experimenting and gaming in ways that lead to innovation and learning. Maker Spaces are about making things—using everything from craft sticks and glue to hammers and wrenches to sewing machines to 3D printers.

STEM refers to activities that engage students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Montgomery County Public Schools has a STEM based curriculum to help build skills and interest in these areas where many workers of the future will be needed. There was even a mini MakerFaire held in Silver Spring recently.

MCPL has also started blending STEM and Maker Spaces with library programs and events. Our MCPL Technology Plan describes the need for Digital Media Labs (see page 15) to help students learn and practice using the technology they need to succeed in the future. To that end,  a digital media lab will open in 2014 at the Long Branch Library. The library website will have news about this exciting venture once the lab is ready to open to the public. Even the youngest children can do STEM activities at a new program developed at the Wheaton Library.
Lego program 
On the more low-tech side, many of our libraries had mini Maker Spaces over the summer where children could make or do different projects: painting, building with Lego or Duplo blocks, simple science projects and more. Sound a lot like arts & crafts of yore? It is! But now the emphasis is on how these simple things relate to learning and how they can kindle a passion for doing something bigger later in life.

Today’s robot builder at the library could be tomorrow’s interstellar engineer designing life support systems on Mars! Today’s builder of the five foot tall tower of Duplo blocks might become tomorrow’s architect making earthquake and typhoon-proof homes!  (We like to dream big around here.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November

Historic print of Guy Fawkes and his accomplices
Guy Fawkes and his accomplices
Just about the time that Americans are eating the last of the Halloween candy and throwing away the rotting jack o’lanterns, the English are gearing up for a different fall holiday, Guy Fawkes Day.  “Remember, remember, the fifth of November” goes the traditional rhyme, “the gunpowder treason and plot.”  Guy Fawkes was a Catholic conspirator who plotted to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament in 1605.  The plot was discovered; Guy Fawkes and his accomplices captured and executed.  

Every year the English celebrate by setting off fireworks, lighting bonfires,
Burning the effigy of Guy Fawkes
Burning the Guy Fawkes effigy
burning Guy Fawkes in effigy, and eating candy.  It’s like a combination of July Fourth and Halloween. Today it is a secular event, the conflict between Catholics and Protestants that led to the plot long faded.  Many Americans only know about it from the movie V for Vendetta in which a freedom fighter wearing a Guy Fawkes mask battles a future fascist government.

The history of the 1605 plot takes us into a world not unlike our own, a world gripped by fear of terrorism, roiled by religious conflict, and where new ideas clashed with old superstitions.  Join me on a reading journey that will bring this distant past to life. 

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser is the best introduction.  Known for her biographies, including a popular book about the wives of Henry VIII, Fraser tells a gripping story and makes sense of the political and religious background for the general reader.  

God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot by Alice Hogge takes us into the clandestine world of the Jesuits who entered England secretly to plot the overthrow of the Protestant Queen.  They lived harrowing lives hiding in secret chambers in Catholic homes, constantly hunted by the authorities, facing gruesome torture and death if captured.  Some like Edmund Campion are saints still venerated by the Catholic Church.  Hogge brings some of the lesser known martyrs out of the shadows.

The Daylight Gate, the new novel by Jeanette Winterson, is a vivid and disturbing account of the Pendle witch trials of 1612.  Pendle is in Lancashire, a Catholic stronghold where many of the Gunpowder plotters fled in the aftermath of November 5th.  Witchcraft and Catholicism were closely associated in the early seventeenth century in England; "witchery popery, popery witchery" was a popular saying at the time.  Where you find one evil, you'll find the other was a mindset that spawned hysteria and false accusations.  James I himself was obsessed with the dangers of witchcraft, even wrote a book about it, and ordered zealous witch hunts.  

Dr. John Dee is one of the historical characters who appear in The Daylight Gate. He also features in Prophecy, a historical thriller by S. J. Parris.  Dee sounds like a fictional character, but he really was Elizabeth I's official astrologer.  He was a necromancer who dabbled in alchemy, magic, and other dark arts, a gift to future historians and novelists.  Here he and Giordano Bruno, a notorious Elizabethan spy, investigate black magic and murder at the Queen's court. 

Shakespeare also makes an appearance in The Daylight Gate.  There is evidence that he spent time as a tutor in Lancashire and some scholars have even posited that he was a secret Catholic.  In Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare's Macbeth, Garry Wills argues that the play can best be understood in the context of the religious and political turmoil of Shakespeare's times.  First staged in 1606, the horror of the Gunpowder Plot would have been fresh in the minds of the audience.  Wills compares the national trauma with America's experience of Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination.  Like Macbeth, James I was Scottish; the witchcraft in the play no mere entertainment but the dramatization of a perceived real threat to the nation. 

So Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day, which don't seem to have much in common at first, are actually both closely associated with witches.  Once you've read The Daylight Gate, though, you won't think of witches as those cute pointy-hatted creatures in Halloween illustrations any more. The Pendle witches are all too human and their fate pitiful and tragic.

 Rita T.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fun With Books

The Librarian by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
The Librarian by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

People keep on saying that paper and board, dead tree, turn-a-real-page-with-your-fingers books are dying out. I don't think so. There may be fewer of them in the future--e-books are so much better for things such as text books, manuals, and ephemera--but I think there will always be a place for books as an art form and a tactile, low-tech, no-distractions experience. Maybe we will even see a return to the elegant book making of yesteryear to give us more bang for our buck.

Meanwhile, even the most solid of books that we own in the library can take on another enjoyable dimension when paired with other technology. A number of popular children's books have emerged in recent years that have an on-line presence in addition to the books: sites that expand and enhance the story with original content not found in the book, games, quests, character studies, and chat rooms, etc. Books like the 39 Clues series and The Infinity Ring.  Even books for preschoolers can prolong the fun via a website.  Check out Scaredy Squirrel.

Transmedia--the weaving of many strands into the same story-- can go as far as costuming, fictional characters posting on Facebook, and role playing adventures out in the real world led by clues on your smart phone.

Cover of The Divided Path by Nial Kent
Published 1949 by Greenberg
This treatment isn't just for children's books. There are sites such as TruLOVEstories, an online romance hub featuring e-books, casual digital games, customized avatars, licensed merchandise, and other features, as well as sales of hard copy books. The site also offers both vintage and original romance content.  So if you run out of library romance novels, all is not lost. 

I really enjoyed some of the old covers posted on that romance site. The course of true love never did run smooth, however, as attested by these books banned in Australia over the years.

I'm a big fan of book covers and also of websites that play with book covers. One website asks, "What if one letter were dropped from the title of a book?"  Another asks, "What if best selling albums were books, instead?" And I'm asking, "What if a genre was made into cakes?" because I'm hungry that way.  Luckily there is an answer.

Of course, some people play with the whole book not just the covers.

And books past their prime needn't go to waste, either. Artist Ekaterina Panikanova "creates densely layered paintings across large spreads of old books and other documents, resulting in artwork that blurs the lines between painting, installation and collage."

So, in one form or another, books will be around for a long time, and just because a new form exists, it doesn't mean that the previous form has to die out. The forms can supplement and enhance each other. That's my story, anyway.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings is a website collection of interesting things and interesting connections.

Brain Pickings logo
Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who has also written for Wired UK, The New York Times, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. 
Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are. Founded in 2006 as a humble email digest and eventually brought online, the site was included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012. 
Brain Pickings is a triumph of lateral thinking, letting the mind jump between items and topics and find connections between what may appear to be entirely disparate things. It is a fabulous resource to enhance your library experience. As it says, Brain Pickings brings you things you didn't know you were interested in - until you are.

 My favorite posts include:  100 Diagrams That Changed the World and  100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design which includes this elegant public service ad:

photographs of four human hands painted to resemble a toucan, and elephant, a zebra, and a tiger
Give a Hand to Wild Life (2008), by Saatchi & Saatchi Simko agency in Geneva, is a series of clever and beautiful photographs of human hands camouflaged as wild animals by bodypainter Guido Daniele.

The Daily Routines of Famous Writers, which includes Maya Angelou, Haruki Murakami, Joan Didion, E. B. White, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Simone de Beauvoir and more. As E. B. White said: "A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper."  

James Gandolfini Reads Maurice Sendak’s Most Controversial Book, In the Night Kitchen. You can listen to the recording right on Brain Pickings.

 Recently there was the post Letter to Borges: Susan Sontag on Books, Self-Transcendence, and Reading in the Age of “Bookscreens”. The letter was written on the 10th anniversary of Borges death. It is featured in Sontag's book Where the Stress Falls. It includes these lines:
Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. They also give us the model of self-transcendence. Some people think of reading only as a kind of escape: an escape from the “real” everyday world to an imaginary world, the world of books. Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human.
 Brain Pickings is a free weekly newsletter you can subscribe to on the website. There is also a Twitter feed @BrainPicker to give you little frissons of interestingness throughout the day.

cut paper sculpture in the shape of book with drawers
Thesaurus,' Pablo Lehmann, 2011. Paper cut out with text from 'The Unconscious' by Sigmund Freud. from: Carving Culture: Sculptural Masterpieces Made from Old Books

Nell M.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Frenzy!

Apples and Baseball
Apples and Baseball
Summer has sped right on by, the kids are back in school, and baseball season is winding down, which must mean that fall is here. I've decided to dig into the archives for some of this post, so if some of it sounds familiar,  I hope you'll indulge me.

Getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air is one of the joys of fall.  There are plenty of places in our area to take advantage of it too.  Climb up Sugarloaf Mountain and enjoy the scenic vistas while catching a glimpse of soaring hawks before they migrate south for the winter.  Closer to home, take a stroll or a ride on horseback through Wheaton Regional Park or Rock Creek Park.

  A Youtuber's Hike on Sugarloaf Mountain

Fall also brings with it one of my favorite childhood excursions....visiting the local apple orchard and picking (and eating) fresh, juicy apples.  My favorite orchard even has cute farm animals, including some acrobatic goats!   After you've picked your apples, come in and visit the library to find that perfect apple pie recipe.  Yum!
Here's to a leaf loving, apple munching, colorful autumn!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games


Monday, October 21, 2013

Welcome to the new Montgomery County Public Libraries blog!

You may have noticed that the Shout Out Blog has a new look and feel and home. We've moved the blog to Blogger, and we are excited to continue to bring you dispatches from roaming librarians in the world of information! Our team of librarians will write posts about happenings at Montgomery County Public Libraries, our collections, and resources. We hope you will like this new format.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do You Hear Something?

Last night, the owls were really going at it. There is a pair of Great Horned Owls living in the woods that border our place and they were calling back and forth for what seemed like hours. From time to time, a screech owl would chime in with his eerie little call.

I enjoy listening to the owls, but not so much at 12:30 AM, when I'm in the house alone, the moon is just a little past full, and the dogs keep pacing the house growling at things outside that I can't see.  The Great Horned's resonate "Hoo-hoo, Hoo-hoo" brings to mind entirely too many creepy movie scenes. The dogs probably see a barn cat, deer, possum, raccoon or fox, but I can't help getting a mild case of the heebie jeebies.

Maybe I'm susceptible since this is the time of year for spooks and spirits and shadowy shapes, with October 31 coming right up.  Halloween is a big money holiday in the US these days, with over $7 billion spent yearly on pumpkins, costumes, decorations, related paraphernalia and of course, candy.  If you enjoy getting into the spooky spirit, the library can help you get your shriek on.
Corgi Dog in Pumpkin Patch
The pumpkin is the centerpiece of any Halloween festivity, and finding just the right round orange gourd can take some careful selection. There are lots of pumpkin patches in the local area if you like to make your selection in the great outdoors instead of the supermarket.  
Once you get your purchase home, then the design debate begins. Funny or scary? Face or picture? Jack O' Lantern carving  can be a very elaborate process, or a simple as three triangles and a gap toothed grin.  The library has some titles to help you out, and there are plenty of websites too.

A great costume is de rigeur for Halloween haunting.   We always spurned the "store bought" costume at my house when I was a kid, and making your own costume is really a big part of the fun.  Even with limited or no sewing skills, there are plenty of clever ideas that can be put together the evening of the party.  If you have more time and ability (or enthusiasm), try a book like this one.

For party activities, showing a creepy black and white horror classic is a fun idea for a small group. The library can offer such sure fire frightfests as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho or the Bela Lugosi Dracula.   Or you might want to try something more contemporary, like Fright Night.
More great party, decorating and menu ideas can be found in the selection of Halloween books at your local library.  For a more personal celebration of the spooky season, borrow a book or audio by one of the masters of horror writing.  The tales of Edgar Allen Poe are still some of the best for a quick shot of the shivers. Stephen King, Dean Koontz or Clive Barker can all spin a story that will have you, like me,  jumping when the dog growls at nothing.

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Anita V.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

MCPL is on Pinterest!

Are you hooked on Pinterest?  We are!  MCPL has just started pinning to Pinterest, and we are ready to share our boards with you.

For those who are not (yet) pinners, Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to create themed “boards” and “pin” websites, photos, or uploaded files to them.  The boards help to bookmark and organize all those neat websites you find online. You also can browse other people's boards for ideas and inspiration.

MCPL has a few boards already which tie together books, crafts, recipes, DIY, events, articles, and other findings of a shared topic. 

For instance, our newest board, Boo! Halloween, has links to craft and cooking blogs, DIY finger puppets for an at home Halloween themed storytime, and links to books in our catalog about Halloween fun for both kids and adults.  There is even a homemade donut costume link!

Another board gives links to New, On Order, and Bestsellers owned by (or soon to be owned by) MCPL.  Once you click on the picture, you’ll be taken straight to our catalog where you can check the availability of the book or place a hold on it.

Yet another board gives you information about all of our library branches.  Just click on the picture and you’ll get location, hours, and contact information.

We’ll keep adding boards as we move through the year with relevant information and fun materials, to boot!  Look for boards on library programs, learning materials, reading, books, baking and decorating, photography, Montgomery County, and book lists for kids, teens, and adults.

Happy pinning to you!

Follow us on Pinterest!

How to Use Pinterest for Beginners

Monday, October 7, 2013

Enter to Win Concert Tickets

Are you a P!nk, BeyoncĂ©, or Nine Inch Nails fan? Not only can you download their music for free from your library, but now you can enter to win concert tickets. Yes, you read correctly. Freegal Music is giving away tickets to see Nine Inch Nails, P!nk, and BeyoncĂ© in concert at the Verizon Center this fall!

Here's how to enter:

  1.  Login to Freegal Music with your Montgomery County Public Library card.
  2. Fill out the form information in the left column.
 Read the full contest details on  the Freegal Music site.

Good luck to all!

And here's how you can download from Freegal Music

Freegal is a downloadable music service from your library. There are about 3 million songs available from Sony Music with new songs added daily.

All you need is your Montgomery County Public Library card and PIN number to download up to 3 songs in MP3 format a week. You can download to your computer or use the the mobile app for Apple and Android. Find out more.

Be in the Picture on Snapshot Day, October 9

*** November 2013 update: On Wednesday, October 9, Montgomery County Libraries participated in Snapshot Day.  Snapshot Day is a nationwide initiative started by the American Library Association to take a “snapshot” of a day in the life of libraries.  Data is gathered statewide from all types of libraries.  Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has participated in Snapshot Day for the past three years and did so again this year.  MCPL staff and volunteers collected usage statistics, customer comments, and photographs depicting everyday activities in libraries on that day.

Many thanks from the Library Board and the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County to all the volunteers who lent a hand on Snapshot Day. Without your energy and enthusiasm we could not have had such success at branch events. You helped with programs, VIP readings, and handed out and collected comment cards.  Best of all, you greeted library users and spread the word that we have a terrific library system.  We look forward to working with you at future library events.

We want you in the picture!  Wednesday, October 9 is Library Snapshot Day.

We invite you to join MCPL; the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc.; local Friends chapters; the Montgomery County Library Board; and the Library Advisory Committees as we celebrate Library Snapshot Day: One Day in the Life of Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Sponsored by the Maryland Library Association, under the auspices of the American Library Association, Library Snapshot Day provides MCPL an opportunity to collect statistics, pictures and stories that show how people love and use their libraries.  A variety of activities, including VIP Reads, will take place throughout the day at all open MCPL branches.

Stop by your local branch and check out all MCPL has to offer.  Be in the picture!