Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It's Science!

science information
One of the best scifi shows I have binged watched lately is Orphan Black. Tatiana Maslany is an absolutely amazing actress who has played, at this point, so many clones of herself that I've lost track. Growing up (and even now!) I tend to gravitate toward tv shows that have a science fiction bent because they tend to have intriguing characters, fascinating story lines, and they make your imagination expand and grow, Which is why I am so thrilled that this month we are promoting science to enable us all "to boldly go where no one has gone before!"

electricity books
Looking for authoritative and free science information online? You can find science articles and biographical information from Science in Context and Science Reference Center. If you know your child's Lexil number, you can limit the content searched in both databases by your child's reading level. Science Reference Center also offers lesson plans for teachers and worksheets to test your knowledge. World Book Online is a great encyclopedia database with science information for all ages. If you are looking for biographical information on famous and fascinating scientists, be sure to have a look at Biography in Context. You can browse or search under scientists or under specific occupations such as chemist, engineer, or mathematician.

Looking for science e-books to read? Gale Virtual Reference Library has always available e-books on subjects such as the environment, medicine, science, and technology. Safari Books Online also has a wide variety of always available e-books on computer technology, software development, information technology, engineering, math, and science. Maryland's Digital eLibrary Consortium (Overdrive) is good source for computer technology and science e-books to check out and read.

LEGO world
Want to engage your child with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fun? Looking for science experiments to try at home? Science in Context, Science Reference Center, and World Book Online all have exciting science experiments to learn from. We have print science experiment books on a variety of topics, as well as science fair project websites. Looking for STEM e-books for your kids? We've got those too. And, of course, don't forget to visit our branches for exciting STEM programs that allow children to explore and discover the science of the world around us.

Your kids will be fascinated and intrigued by the programs we are having as part of the Maryland STEM Festival! We'll have STEM-y storytimes, show you how to connect electronics and circuits in creative ways, how to create cool art with floppy disks, a stop motion animation workshop, potions that bubble, and many more exciting STEM events! These events will run all through November, but some require registration.

chemistry teacher teaching kids
A great way to also explore STEM topics with your children is to check out a Go! Kit. The kits are designed to encourage the parent/caregiver and child to actively explore the world around them.  Each kit contains several books, science tools, a mini- iPad with preloaded apps, and a list of the contents of the kit.  Each kit can be borrowed for 2 weeks. We have Little Explorer Go! Kits for ages 3-6 and Young Voyager Go! Kits for grades 3-6.

Interested in trying out new technology? Come to our Digital Media Labs where you can learn and create digital photography, storytelling, video production, graphic design, music videos, social media, animation, computer programming, art, and more. Digital Media Labs are designed for teens and adults.

home and energy efficient symbols
If you're like me, you are looking to ways to save money when it comes to energy costs. October is Energy Action Month and we've got a series of energy exploration events where you can discover tips and projects to save energy and money at home! Topics will include weatherization, lighting, heating/cooling, and energy-efficient appliances. Bring a copy of your utility bill to these programs and you can be entered to win a sustainability kit! This series is co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection, Pepco, and the Department of General Services.

We invite you to explore and discover science and technology at MCPL!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Library Card Sign Up Month

September is National Library Card Sign Up Month! Do you remember getting your first library card? What did it feel like to realize for the first time that you could take home one of the beautiful, colorful childrens' books, for free? Or maybe you got your first card as an adult and used the library to find a job, find your next car, or learn a new recipe. I remember wandering the stacks of my hometown library, looking for books our teacher had read to us in class.

Libraries have come a long way since I combed the childrens' stacks for the latest Encyclopedia Brown book. MCPL now offers e-books, e-magazines, audiobooks, online classes, downloadable and streaming music, online articles, test preparation, and STEM Go! Kits for kids. You can use your library card to learn to play a musical instrument, sing, or make art, or even earn your high school diploma!

Want to learn more about what a library card can do for you? Here's a list of 20 free library resources and services that might be new to you.
  1. Earn your high school diploma.
  2. Check Consumer Reports from home.
  3. Learn to play a musical instrument, sing, or make art through ArtistWorks.
  4. Learn a language online.
  5. Find a musical score online.
  6. Stream one of 250 performances of the world's leading plays.
  7. Borrow books from libraries across the country.
  8. Prepare for the SAT, LSAT, NCLEX and more.
  9. Search your family history with HeritageQuest Online.
  10. Take an online technology, business, or creative class with Gale Courses.
  11. Download e-books.
  12. Start your own business.
  13. Download music from Freegal.
  14. Renew your materials online.
  15. Download audiobooks.
  16. Read an e-magazine from home.
  17. Discover your next favorite book
  18. Check out exercise videos.
  19. Find articles, encyclopedias, and biographical information for your school project.
  20. Put a book on hold online.
Library cards empower their users. So tell your family, tell your friends! There's so much you can do with a library card. Sign up for one today!. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Outside the Lines - Libraries Reimagined

Montgomery County is changing and your libraries are changing with it. MCPL is a proud participant in the innovative, worldwide initiative Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines is a week long (September 11-17, 2016) celebration of how libraries are expanding their roles beyond traditional services to embrace cultural programs, STEM activities, and other initiatives that engage people beyond the walls of the library.

MCPL's Outreach team at an elementary school
A vital part of libraries' expanded mission is serving the people where they are. San Francisco Public Library, for instance, participates in Sunday Streets, a series of neighborhood festivals during which some city streets are closed to auto traffic, allowing people to bike, walk, run, dance, do yoga, and otherwise enjoy a large, temporary public pace. Aarhus Public Libraries, in Denmark, will celebrate Outside the Lines with a traveling mobile library on a blue Piaggio motor scooter. The library will set up 3 "pop-up" libraries in a supermarket, a dormitory, and community center to reach people where they live and work.

MCPL has an entire Outreach team devoted to engaging residents where they live and work. Our Outreach team will be engaging the community at two events this Saturday -  the Teaching Africa Day event at the Silver Spring Civic Center and the Poolesville Day celebration.

In addition, MCPL is celebrating Outside the Lines with an incredible variety of nontraditional programs. We have events focused on health, such as the Bone Builders classes for seniors. Bone Builders is a fun, evidence based bone building and fall prevention program. MCPL also offers yoga and Tai Chi classes at branches throughout the county.

We also celebrating with a series of multicultural music programs. Our Twinbrook branch will host a Salute to Duke Ellington, the world renowned African American composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader Tuesday evening. Branches throughout the county are participating in the John E. Marlow Guitar Series, a celebration of the rhythms of Brazilian music.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are increasingly important in today's technological era. MCPL is doing its part to prepare our young people for exciting career opportunities in STEM with a variety of programs. Our Girls Just Want to Compute program, for instance, offers the opportunity for teens to learn computer programming.

Certified therapy dog Katey loves a good story.
MCPL addresses the needs of our diverse community in other innovative ways as well, such as our citizenship preparation classes. We also sponsor programs that provide free legal assistance to low income residents. We have partnered with AARP to offer a Smart Driver Safety Course and with the Alzheimer's Association to provide social events and information sessions for people living with memory loss. School children who want to improve their reading skills can read aloud to one of several certified therapy dogs who visit several of our branches.

The world is changing and libraries are enthusiastically changing with it to better serve and engage their diverse communities. MCPL is proud to join with other participants in the Outside the Lines initiative to lead the way by boldly moving services beyond our walls.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Refreshing Our Davis Branch

Davis Library
Davis Library
You may have heard that our Davis branch is being refreshed and wondered what exactly it means to "refresh" a library.

A refresh project is a new Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process approved by County Council and the County Executive to allow library buildings to get significant and timely updates without having to close for the lengthy time it takes for a full renovation. The Library Refurbishment CIP funds programmatic, cosmetic, and service impact updates to two to three libraries every year.

What will be done to Davis during the refresh project?

In addition to new paint and carpet, the Davis refresh project will include:

an enhanced area for children
a substantial increase in seating space with power for electronic devices
two reservable collaborative workspaces
comfortable lounge seating in several areas
a total renovation of our restrooms
digital signage
and more

How long will the Davis refresh take?

Davis' last day of public service was July, 16. We anticipate reopening the branch in February 2017.

What happens to the branch staff during the refresh?

The staff are temporarily reassigned to other branches of MCPL, except for the branch manager and library assistant supervisor, who will remain at Davis to deal with any questions or issues that come up during the refresh.

Will we pack up all of the books?

No, for the most part the books will stay on the shelves. The shelves will be wrapped up in what looks like giant cling wrap, to keep everything protected during the project.  Items that are being relocated to a new spot in the building will be boxed and stored until they can be put back on the shelf.

What will you do with new books meant for Davis that MCPL receives while you are closed?

These items will be boxed and stored until we are ready to reopen.

What's happening to the KIDMuseum in the lower level of Davis?

The KIDMuseum will be open and fully operational while the library is being refreshed. Please do not try to return our materials to the KIDMuseum.  Although they will be open, they are not a part of the library system and can't accept returns.

Can I return my books to Davis after you are closed?

No. The Davis book and media depositories will not be available until the branch reopens.

Where do I pick up my holds?

During the refresh project, Davis is not available as a holds pickup location and cannot be selected as such in our catalog.  If you have outstanding holds with a pickup location of Davis, please change the location by logging in to your account; or you may call any branch to have staff make the change for you.

If you do not make this change, and your holds arrive at Davis, you will be contacted by phone and asked to select another location, which will delay your pickup.

Davis opened in 1964. It was featured in a short film produced by the American Library Association in 1965. Take a look and see what's changed. From then to now, MCPL has been dedicated to adapting and enhancing our libraries to serve you better. We look forward to reopening our Davis branch - refreshed, renewed and revived!