Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Music for You

music for you. download or stream today Music and books have more in common than you might think at first glance. Both are art forms and like art, we love books and music that speak to us. Books and music can give us that feeling that we are not alone in the universe. Sometimes we want a book or song that complements the mood we are in, that makes us think, raises our spirits, helps our children learn, is from our favorite genre, and sometimes we just want something that entertains us.

Most people think of books when they think of libraries but we also have a variety of choices for free music both to download and to stream. Here are some resources you can search or browse to find music you enjoy.


teens singing
With Freegal you can download five MP3 songs each week. The songs free and legal to download and the songs are yours to keep. You can choose from a database of over 3,000,000 recordings on Sony and independent record labels. Freegal works with any computer, any portable music player, and iTunes. It has apps for both Apple and Android devices.  Download limits are reset early Monday mornings at 12:01 am.


We also have a variety of streaming music you can choose from as well.  Try one of these exciting options.

Music Online. Search across all of the following music products at once. Plus almost 140,000 tracks of rock, pop, punk, new age, metal, holiday music, hip-hop, rap, electronic, film and theater soundtracks, and more.

American Song. Listen to music from America's past. Songs by and about African Americans, American Indians, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys. Songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests, and more.

Classical Music Library. Choral works, symphonies, operas, vocal and instrumental music, chamber music, and more. Ranges from medieval to contemporary music.

Classical Scores Library. Over 13,000 classical scores from both in-copyright and public domain editions. Scores span all genres and time periods from the Western classical canon.

Contemporary World Music. Reggae, worldbeat, neo-traditional, world fusion, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, and other genres such as traditional music - Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more.

Jazz Music Library. Listen to streaming music from thousands of jazz artists, ensembles, albums, and genres.

Smithsonian Global Sound.  Over 35,000 tracks of animal/nature sounds, dramatic performances, poetry, political speeches, war and protest songs, and traditional music performances from around the world.

Singing with Kids

singing with children screenshot
Did you know that in addition to being fun, singing with young children is a key element to get your child ready to read? Starting from birth, singing songs and saying rhymes increases your child’s awareness of the sounds in words. It helps break down words into syllables that your children hear when a word is sung. This helps prepare your child to sound out words when they read.

Music also exercises rhythm, word knowledge and memory skills, all crucial to becoming a proficient reader.  Children of all ages can enjoy music and we have some suggestions for children's music. Have a look at Freegal, Music Online, and American Song for some good selections that you can find by browsing or searching.


1,2,3 Con Andres at Chevy Chase
Looking to enjoy music with others? We have exciting music events for all ages! Since music is such an important part of getting kids ready to read it's a regular part of our storytimes. But don't forget that we've got great music performances for adults as well.

Holiday Music

With the holidays quickly approaching don't forget to start with Freegal and Music Online for seasonal music. Music is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to get your loved ones singing together in celebration.  Both have fun selections for the upcoming holidays as well as celebrations all the year through.

Find your music beat at MCPL today!  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Food for Fines

food for fines
You thought you’d return that book… until you found it on your bookshelf sandwiched between two other books. You thought you had gotten that movie back… before you realized it was still in the DVD player (computer, etc.).

Listen, fines happen. (They happen to me a lot more often than I want to admit.) We get it. And we’re here to help.

That’s why from now through October 30, every canned good or non-perishable food item you bring to your library will reduce your existing fines or hold fees by one dollar. Food for Fines program is part of our support for Montgomery County’s Community Service Week. Donations cannot be used towards other fees. Customers with no existing fines are also welcome to drop off donations at our branches during this program.

canned goods
Some donations at Rockville Memorial
All food will be donated to the Manna Food Center. Shelf-stable foods, such as canned fruits, vegetables and meats, dried beans, brown rice, quinoa, low sugar cereals, baby food, formula, and vegetarian items will be accepted as donations. Unfortunately, we cannot accept home-canned items, opened foods, or foods past their expiration dates.

“Food for Fines is a great way for people to clear up their outstanding library fines while helping some of our neediest neighbors,” explains our Director, Parker Hamilton. “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Manna Food Center in this effort.”

Since the program started on October 16, we have already received very positive reviews from the public. “Just dropped off our canned goods & baby food what an amazing idea... feeling good and paying fines,” one customer said on Twitter.

Visit our website to find your closest branch and plan your donation.

Read the official press release.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dystopian Doom: A Reading List

Fahrenheit 451 Cover
I’d like to pay homage to Post-Apocalyptic Survival Month with some gloomy future scenarios.

Feeling down about the world’s current state of affairs? Cheer up! Things can get much worse, according to dystopian books. Twentieth-century classics like George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange set the tone for dystopian literature by devising nightmarish totalitarian societies.

More recently, Susanne Collins’s Hunger Games series is among a number of young-adult books that deal with a dark, difficult future. YA dystopian sagas include Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Veronica Roth’s Divergent and James Dashner’s Maze Runner books.

never let me go cover
Michael Grant’s Gone series begins with the premise that everyone over 15 has suddenly vanished from the face of the earth. In Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It trilogy, the lives of several typical teens are changed forever when an asteroid knocks the Moon off its orbit, triggering massive floods and other natural disasters. Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go follows a group of young clones whose only reason for existence is to provide organ transplants for their DNA twins.

Lest you think teens are the only ones struggling in the future. In The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, women have lost their civil rights. Atwood’s speculative Oryx and Crake trilogy also explores a post-apocalyptic world. Hugh Howey’s Silo series of novellas deals with a community living in a giant, underground silo, deep beneath the Earth’s ruined, toxic surface.

Perhaps the most depressing future imaginable is depicted in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Less grim, yet equally compelling, is Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, about survivors of a virus that wiped out most of the earth’s people.

overheated cover
And don’t forget about zombies! Experience the problems unleashed by the undead in The Walking Dead graphic novels and TV series.

Lastly, if you prefer facts about the future, nonficton books like Andrew Guzman’s Overheated and Mark Lynas’s Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet paint a worrisome portrait of encroaching climate change. Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction and Michael Tennesen’s The Next Species predict the next mass extinction and its likely aftermath. If all this apocalyptic angst and dystopian doom is more than you can bear, delve into Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us and enjoy thinking about the future of the planet after humans have vanished completely.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Star Wars Reads Day

Star Wars display
Star Wars on display
Do you love Star Wars? We do!

In the nearly four decades since the first Star Wars movie was released, the series has made a deep impression on generations of fans. But we probably don't have to tell you that. It is likely that you have seen—or even owned!—some Star Wars-themed items, which range from books and toys to bedspreads, mugs, and even phones! One of our librarians mentioned having the R2-D2 sound as her text alert.

Are you unfamiliar with the series, seeking to revisit old favorites, or are hoping to introduce Star Wars to a new generation of fans? You can check out Star Wars-related books, movies, and electronic resources for all ages in our collection.

Personally, I have fond memories of watching the Star Wars movies for the first time. My dad was a huge fan and couldn't wait to introduce me to them as soon as he felt I was old enough. (I have slightly less fond memories of watching them again on the bus during various school trips.) When Episodes I-III were released in the early 2000s, my father and I made sure to go to every one in the theater, even though we felt they didn't live up to the original.

Star Wars coloring
Star Wars-themed coloring
This Saturday, we're taking our love of Star Wars to a new level. Join us to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day with activities for all ages at multiple locations around the County. Children visiting can make a mini-lightsaber (while supplies last) at the Wheaton branch or participate in fun games and crafts at Aspen Hill, Silver Spring, and Little Falls branches. Costumes are also encouraged.

While adults and teens are welcome at all events, Silver Spring will also have adult-focused events, which include a screening of Return of the Jedi at 1 pm. They can also participate in Star Wars coloring for adults, as well as a trivia contest with an opportunity to win cool prizes.

See you Saturday—May the Force be with you!

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