Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Celebrate Women's History Month

Women's History Month
Did you know that March is Women's History Month? MCPL has free online resources and books to help you learn and celebrate!

women WWII pilots
If you're looking to explore and research online, we've got some wonderful, authoritative resources for you! Get started with History in Context and History Reference Center. They have information from the U.S. and around the world gathered from reference and primary sources as well as news and multimedia. You can browse and search on a wide variety of topics such as the Women's Rights Movement, women's suffrage, women during the world wars, and many more fascinating topics.

Malala Yousafzai
If you are looking for biographical information, you should have a look at Biography in Context. There you can browse and search for information on notable women throughout history. You can also search by gender, nationality, ethnicity, and occupation. They have information on historical women in many fields and occupations from abolitionists to zoologists. The site provides articles from reference works, academic journals, magazines, and newspapers as well as images, audio clips, and videos.

African American women marching - civil rights
Looking for historical information on African American women? The Oxford African American Studies Center online database is focused "on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture." It is a place where you can read articles, primary sources, maps, timelines, and biographical information.There are also many images included on the site that you can view.

You can discover history though song as well. Listen to streaming music from America's past, including songs about the suffrage movement and more, with American Song. From Freegal you can download music (five songs each week) from women artists singing in a wide variety of genres from a capella to zydeco, and many others in between.

Two Chinese women in the 1800s
Looking for a good book instead? We've got some great reading suggestions for kids, teens, and adults on women's history. Don't forget to explore our wide variety of e-books and audiobooks that also have fascinating books about women's history, women's biographies and memoirs. Ask any of our librarians for help finding titles or get e-mail suggestions from our What Do I Check Out Next? online service.

We're happy to help you start your journey exploring Women's History today at MCPL!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Winterize Your Exercise

If you don't mind my asking, how's your New Years exercise resolution going? It's tough in winter. If it's not raining, it's snowing. Even when the sun is shining, it's cold. At least the sun is shining more. According to the U.S Naval Observatory's daylight duration table, we'll have 10 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight today, February 17. In a month, that will grow to over 12 hours!
Corner snowmound

I'm a runner myself. I feel your pain. There are still street corners in my neighborhood with mounds of snow on the sidewalk. I've taken to running around my quiet block 5 or 6 times to get my miles in.

Thankfully MCPL is here to help. Not ready to face the cold and dark of winter? Exercise inside! Our branches have a wide variety of exercise books and videos to help you keep fit while the weather outside is frightful. We have videos for cardio work, as well as strength training. We also have more focused material, such as our therapy exercise books for those with arthritis, osteoporosis and other medical conditions. We even have exercise videos just for kids. Ask your librarian for suggestions. Whether you're looking for an intense 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels or something more mellow like The Pain Free Program, we can find something to keep your winter active.

If you're looking for peace of mind as well as fitness, a number of our branches offer yoga programs. Of course, we have many yoga books, for adults and children, as well as yoga DVDs.

Perhaps you view winter as more opportunity than obstacle. Judging by the number of skiing books we own, it's a popular pastime. My one experience on the slopes didn't go so well, so I'll read about it instead. Two Planks and a Passion: a Dramatic History of Skiing may be worth a look for the title alone.
Work It Out book cover

If you prefer skates to skis, we've got you covered. Whether you're a hockey player, figure skating or beginner, we've got plenty of books and videos to smooth your glide. Montgomery County doesn't have any public ski slopes, but we do have two very fine ice rinks, at Cabin John and Wheaton. While you're there, tell the Montgomery Parks folks we said hi.

As for me? Well, our Canadian neighbors say it's still possible to run in winter, if you're well dressed and careful. Or, there's always the treadmill...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Read Local

It has been a little bit more than one month since we first posted about our 2016 MCPL Reading Challenge, and it seems like a good time for a check-in.

photo of reading challenge list with handwritten titles
My Challenge List
How are you doing on the Challenge? If you haven't started yet, or don't know what I'm talking about, it's not too late to get involved. Find out more about our 2016 Reading Challenge, and download the full list of challenges.

Thanks to a big boost to my reading time provided by our recent snow event, I have gotten through several of my challenge books. I also have ideas in mind for several of the others, but that could change—a glance at my messy Reading Challenge list will tell you I've changed my mind several times already!

Today, however, I really wanted to focus on challenge #1: "A book by a local author or set in the DC/MD/VA area."

We are lucky in this area to have a large number of fantastic local authors, writing in a variety of genres from YA to history to self-help. Any of them would fit the bill for a local author.

the white house
Hint: There are a lot of books set at this place
Alternatively, you could choose from the large number of books, written by authors all over the world, set at least partially in our area.

In short, a world of (local) choices. I can already spot three books on my list that might fit.

We've been recommending local author and local setting books on our Pinterest board (look for #localauthor or #localsetting), and we've also gotten several suggestions for this category from customers, including via our submission form on the Reading Challenge page (also available at the bottom of this post) and via social media.

A few suggestions from Reading Challenge participants, both MCPL staff and customers:

Have a book to suggest for Challenge #1? Submit it here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Homework Help

Cover image for Scholastic explains writing homework.When a homework crisis hits, your library can help to restore some sanity. In addition to books on many topics, such as animals, experiments, history and geography, there are many other resources available.

Some libraries sponsor homework help sessions, where students can drop in to get assistance. At the Marilyn Praisner branch, the Paint Branch H.S. Honor Society sends out members who can help elementary, middle or high school students. At the Aspen Hill branch adult and teen volunteers work with students individually. Explore all our Homework Help Events for a complete list of libraries with this service.

For something a little less structured, you might want to try "Read to a Dog." Children who are reluctant to read out loud at school often are willing to practice with an accepting, adorable dog. Branches with visiting dogs are also listed in the Homework Help Events page.

ThumbnailIf you can't come to the library, there are other ways to get library help. You can also explore our terrific Kid's Homework Help resource page. It lists several kid-friendly databases, such as Searchasaurus, which has articles from over 80 magazines for children. With a library card you can log into any resource.

HomeAnd if that homework crisis still persists, you can always use your telephone to Ask a Librarian. at 240-777-0001. Even when when the libraries are closed, you can get immediate answers from Ask Us Now, a 24/7 chat assistance line. So there's no excuse—don't stress, do your homework right now with the library's help!

Barbara S.