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!