Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Legal Information

legal gavel and books
Finding legal information seems like a serious topic for July, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is the perfect time. The United States celebrates Independence Day, its birth as a new nation, on July 4. A new country needs to make its own laws to protect its citizens and ensure them of their rights. And while we can't offer any legal advice, we are happy to help you locate the legal resources, or find the legal referrals, you need.

Want to search Montgomery County, Maryland, or the U.S. Codes? Have a look at our Codes & Cases guide to legal information on local and federal codes. There you can also find links to search Maryland and Federal Case Records. There is a lot of other great links to legal information as well such as the Maryland Building Codes, Maryland Register, Federal Register, and more!

Looking for legal e-books like Filing and Winning Small Claims for Dummies or The Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law? Have a look at the Gale Virtual Reference Library where you'll find e-books that can be read online and are always available!

lease agreement
Looking for Maryland legal forms? Try Legal Forms from Gale. They have a great variety of legal forms. You can find legal forms to help you with Affidavits, Civil Actions, Divorce, Elder Law, Landlord Tenant, Loans and Lending, Real Estate, Trusts, Wills, and many more. A great addition is that if you get stuck understanding some legalese, there's a legal definitions section you can browse or search. Links to tax forms for each state are included. If you need an attorney but don't know who specializes in a specific type of law you need, try the Attorney Directory. You select the state you are looking for and then legal specialization.

Thinking about going to law school or getting ready to take the LSAT? The online Testing and Education Reference Center provides a LSAT test prep e-book, a complete subject review, and test-taking strategies, It also include practice tests.

Looking for legal aid, referrals, or mediation services? We've gathered some resources to help! We have a list of legal aid organizations that offer help to customers who meet their income specifications. There are directories and referrals to lawyers and organizations that provide mediation services.

law library books
And we can't forget about law libraries! Law librarians, although not lawyers, are experts at finding legal resources you need. Who better to ask for help than the people that help lawyers find their information? Our closest law library, the Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library, is located in Rockville and is open to everyone. In Annapolis, an equally great resource is the Maryland State Law Library. If you can't go there in person, you can chat online, email, or call the law librarians there. The Library of Congress also has its own Law Library, the world's largest!

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Ours is a government of liberty, by, through and under the law. No man is above it, and no man is below it." At MCPL, we're happy to help you find the legal information, resources, and referrals you need!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A High School Diploma with Your Library Card

Career Online High School DiplomaBy now most of you are aware of the infinite opportunities for free entertainment, information, and education that come with an MCPL library card.  You probably aren’t surprised to learn that with your library card, you can get unlimited downloads of your favorite magazines on your phone or tablet, periodicals in Spanish, French, or Amharic - or even that your card allows you to register for a free class on, say, the fundamentals of accounting. But what if we told you that your public library card also offers access to an accredited high school diploma. Yes! That’s right. You can earn a high school diploma with your MCPL library card.

As public libraries everywhere take on new roles as agents of transformative social engagement, MCPL is raising the bar as the first library system in Maryland to offer Career Online High School, a nationally accredited, online, career-based high school completion program. This program will support positive change in our community by offering the opportunity of a second chance to the over 60,000 adults in Montgomery County who lack a high school diploma.

Career Online High School ProgramThe courses in this program are designed to reconnect adults to learning with a built-in student support system (students get ongoing guidance from assigned academic coaches) and a curriculum that lets students master skills at their own pace.  Since classes are web-based, students have anytime access to courses, ideal for those busy with jobs and families.

With the launch of Career Online High School, the MCPL community embraces the opportunity to help residents transform their lives and broaden their career and educational horizons.  Learning takes place in our libraries every day through online courses, maker sessions, and various programs for kids, teens, adults, and seniors.  Career Online High School students will experience MCPL’s supportive learning environment, replete with homework help, quiet study rooms, wireless internet access, and desktop computers.  Laptops for loan are available at our Kensington Park, Long Branch, Silver Spring, and Twinbrook branches.

So maybe you or someone you know (a friend, relative, colleague, employee, family member of an employee) left high school early without getting a diploma. MCPL wants to help re-write your stories. We’ll help you pick up where you left off with 3 easy steps: 1) Complete an online self-assessment; 2) Pass a 2 week prerequisite course; and 3) Interview with our enrollment team. After completing these steps, your application will be considered for a seat in the program. It’s that easy!

To better prepare all of our library customers for today’s workforce, we offer a range of programs and courses.  Improve your English by participating in one of our conversation clubs. Register for the Computer Skills for the Workplace course and learn the basics of Microsoft Excel, Outlook, and formatting documents.  Check out the other wonderful courses listed in our Gale course catalog that also come FREE with your MCPL card.

Need to revitalize your career?  Use our career resources - also available en espaƱol - to get tips on job hunting, resumes, cover letters and interviewing. Take the Resume Writing Workshop
to transform your resume into a powerful tool that will get you interviews.  Or write resumes for profit and start and operate your own business.

We’re excited about transforming lives through our Career Online High School program and the other learning and educational programs and opportunities that come FREE with your MCPL library card! Learn more. Visit our new and improved website.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Absolutely, Unequivocally, Embarrassingly, True Confessions of Olney Staff's Pets

The staff of our Olney branch share true tales of their furry friends' mischief and mayhem. This post originally appeared on the Olney branch blog May 12, 2016.

1. I stole Mom’s barbeque chicken wings from the bed when she went to the bathroom.  So yeah, I had the chicken wings for dinner and Mom had celery with ranch dressing.  –Sassy the dog


2. I love gardening with Mom.  In particular, I like to dig holes in various spots in the garden.  Seems to stress Mom out, but I think it adds interest.  –Fred the Dachshund

3. I am a collector.  I maintain my collection under the bed in the guest bedroom.  I like to keep it secret.  Through circumstances I still cannot determine, a viewing of my collection was held by my family.  My socks, pencils, chapsticks, flipflops, and rocks were ooohed and aaahed over.  I was proud.  They were perplexed.  And for reasons I still cannot determine, my collection was confiscated.  I have every intention of starting a new one.  –Chrissie the Basset Hound

4. I love pizza night!  I know when it’s pizza night.  I know the hum of the delivery man’s car, I know the aroma, I know how Mom exchanges green paper for the cardboard box.  I know the pizza man isn’t too bright.  Who exchanges a pizza for green paper?!  Anyhoo, I appreciate Mom ordering extra large to make sure I have my fill of that yummy crust!  –Sunny the Australian Shepherd

5. I’m always hearing about some so-called “Napoleon Complex.”  Something about those of us of short stature being overly aggressive and domineering to compensate.  What brouhaha.  I’m KING and I know it.  Sometimes I have to give a little warning snap, so people don’t get confused about who is in charge (me).  It’s all good. Just don’t cross me.  –Brownie the Chihuahua

6. We hate it when Dad has the nerve to wash his barn coat.  Smells so strange and un-goat like.  Smells something like “mountain breeze.”  EEECCHHH!   What’s a goat to do, but knock Dad down and rub on him until that awful smell has been replaced by good old traditional, classic goat smell.  –Jake and Buster the Goats

Jake and Buster

Despite all of the confessions and indiscretions, the Olney Library Staff members love their pets.  May is National Pet Month.  Olney Library wants to encourage you to come and attend our wonderfully informative and fun pet-centered programs.  A Montgomery County Humane Society volunteer will be with us on May 14 at 1:00 pm to answer all pet questions during “What Owning a Pet Is All About.”  Every Thursday, elementary age children benefit from our “Read To a Dog” program.  And on August 11, 2016, we’ll be welcoming Mario and Bella – two amazing Jack Russell Terriers – who will be performing “Amazing Dog Tricks,” a great family program.

–Carol R.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


To be quite honest, when I first heard the words maker and makerspace, I wasn't really sure what they meant. Now, several years later, I know that, yes indeed, I am a maker (even though I didn’t know it) and you are likely one too. June 17-23, 2016 is the National Week of Making, and we have some creative programs planned for the maker in everyone.

#weekofmakingBefore we highlight our National Week of Making programs, let’s answer the question, who is a maker? A maker is a person, a child or adult, who creates or makes things. Those things can be anything from a painting, a knitted baby blanket, a wood carving, a handmade book, a 3D water bottle, a music video, computer program, and so much more. As you can see, this is a very broad definition, and it covers a wide range of hobbies and interests, from technical to handmade.

What is a makerspace? A makerspace is a place where makers come to create. Makerspaces can be anywhere, but libraries in particular are ideal spots for makerspaces since we are community spaces of knowledge, learning, and creation.

During June 17-23, all of our branches are hosting programs and activities for all ages, whether you are techie or not. Here’s a sampling of what is going on:

In addition to these programs, several of our branches offer special maker services.

Silver Spring and Long Branch have digital media labs that offer open lab time and programs. Both labs are equipped with Apple computers and a full suite of Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop and Illustrator. Long Branch also has a green screen and video cameras to make videos.

Kensington Park, Long Branch, Silver Spring, and Twinbrook all have 3D printers available. Visit any of these branches to see a 3D printer in action. You may also submit designs in advance and our staff will print the objects for you.

Happy Making!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Read and Learn

Are you ready for Summer Read and Learn 2016? We are ready to get in the game and hope you are too! It's a summer challenge of fun celebrating books and learning.

Kids, teens, (and yes, this year you too, adults!) can sign up online or at your local branch anytime between June 1 and August 10. You'll have until August 31 to finish up the program.

Each age group has exciting read and learn track challenges. You earn online badges as you complete each track. Complete all the tracks in your age group and you complete the program. You can keep track of your progress online and go for your virtual trophy!

Music, magic, science, sports, as well as animals who walk the earth and those that swim. These are a few of the exciting kids' programs we have this summer. Young women ages 13 - 17 can register for one of our FIT (Financially Independent Teens) programs. We have a variety of awesome programs for teens and adults. Be sure to join us for live music and dancing at our kick-off event with Grammy award winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer at Rockville Memorial on Saturday, June 4 at 2 pm.

Not sure what to read this summer? We've got thrilling reading suggestions for kids and teens by grade! Looking for more suggestions? Try our Kids and Teens pages. Adults can find book suggestions to complete their tracks on our Reading Challenge 2016 Pinterest board. Need more help finding books? Just fill out our What Do I Check Out Next? online form and we'll email suggestions just for you or ask any of our friendly librarians at your local branch.

Ready to play? Sign up today for an amazing summer of reading and learning fun! Summer Read and Learn 2016 - It's for everyone!