Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's Not Called SafeTrack, But It's Back. Red Line Closure Ahead

Outdoor Metro rail station with a train running through the station. Beginning Saturday, November 25 through Sunday, December 10, Metro will close the Red Line between the Silver Spring and Fort Totten stations. The Tacoma Park station, including all of its parking facilities, will be closed during this time.. This closure will allow Metro to completely replace a "mainline interlocking," where trains cross from one track to another. Limited free shuttle buses will be available between the Silver Spring and Fort Totten stations.

On the weekend of December 2-3, the work will be extended to the Glenmont station. The Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, and Silver Spring stations will be closed during this weekend.

For more information, see the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Red Line closure page. This WMATA page includes more details on the work being done during this closure, as well as alternative transportation options commuters may use during this time.

Have you considered telecommuting during this Red Line closure? MCPL library card holders will find the following telecommuting resources in our branches -
The following resources are available online to MCPL card holders -
Get your library card today to enjoy these and many other MCPL resources and services.

The words #MCPLTelecommute over a background of public library computers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

National Book Awards 2017

Today is the day! I know everyone is as excited as I am... right?

Save the Date Sixty-Eighth National Book Awards November 15 2017
OK, I guess I'll save you flipping back through your calendar and trying to remember what you've forgotten about today and just tell you: it's the 68th National Book Award Ceremony. For those who are excited about this event, you can stream it live.

I've been following the National Book Awards since I started working on social media for libraries five years ago. Don't get me wrong, I loved books long before that, but literary awards were only something that I was vaguely aware of and rarely rose to the level of active consciousness, at least in advance of the ceremony. I'm not sure I even knew that the lists of nominees (for most awards an initial "longlist" and then "shortlist" or list of "finalists") were announced publicly months in advance of the ceremonies themselves.

The National Book Awards, presented by the National Book Foundation every year since 1950, are specifically open to authors who are US citizens and published by a US publisher. The eligibility period is a publication date between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the award year. Books are nominated by their publishers. (Read more.)

Over the years, the National Book Awards have honored a diverse group of authors and styles from Flannery O'Connor to Ralph Ellison to William Faulkner, among many other notable names. The awards ceremony itself has elicited many moving moments, such as Congressman John Lewis's speech after winning the 2016 award for Young People's Literature for March, Book 3. In his speech, he shared a story of being refused entrance to a segregated library as a child and reflected on the path that had brought him to that award.

This year's awards season has been especially exciting for me because one of the fiction finalists, Carmen Maria Machado, has been my friend for over a decade. Carmen and I met as undergraduates and have kept in varying degrees of touch over the years as our lives have moved us around the country and through a variety of career and life transitions. I've followed her writing career and been aware of her collection of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties, since it was first accepted for publication. However, despite all of that, I wasn't anticipating seeing a familiar cover in the National Book Foundation's longlist announcement:

Perhaps you can understand how this changed my interest in the awards season? I started emailing and texting other friends, tweeted at our alma mater, and immediately memorized the announcement dates for both the finalists (October 4) and the award announcement (today, November 15). Needless to say, we'll be following the awards ceremony closely tonight.

Want to find Carmen's book or the other 2017 National Book Awards finalists? Check out the full list.

Happy reading!

Lennea smiling at the camera holding a sign and sitting next to a tablet

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Veterans Day

Image of marble statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln in the interior of the Lincoln Memorial
In the United States, November 11 is a national holiday, Veterans Day. It is a day for honoring all those who have served in the American armed forces. It is different from Memorial Day, which is set aside to remember those died in military service. Veterans Day is for all US military veterans.

Some federal holidays, such as Columbus Day and Presidents Day, are officially observed on a Monday, to give everyone a long weekend. Veterans Day is different. Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11 because of that date's historical significance. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I. That war's fighting officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, or 11:00 AM, November 11, 1918. After World War II, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars. Despite the name change, Veterans Day remains linked to its historic origin. 

Who are America's veterans? Here are some figures from the US Census.
  • There are about 18.5 million American veterans
  • 1.6 million are women
  • Over 9 million are age 65 or older. 1.6 million are younger than 35
  • 7.1 million living veterans served during the Gulf War, 6.7 million during Vietnam, 1.6 million served during the Korean War, and 768,000 served during World War II. 
View of rows of soldiers in uniform. If you want to learn more about our veterans, MCPL has many fine non-fiction books and videos about veterans.  I was particularly intrigued by the book Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel, which follows the lives of several members of an infantry battalion after they return home from a 15 month tour of duty in Iraq. This book has been made into a movie, which was released in theaters on October 27, 2017.

A wide variety of novels feature veterans as prominent characters. These books range from literary fiction to thrillers, historical fiction, and even romance novels. The Whiskey Rebels by Davis Liss, for instance, is a historical fiction novel that follows the lives of two Revolutionary War veterans struggling to establish lives amidst the turmoil and intrigue of our nation's early years.

MCPL has many resources for veterans entering the civilian workforce. Our Jobs and Careers page has links to career and self-assessment tools, as well as resources for creating resumes and cover letters. MCPL also offers online courses and tools to help veterans prepare for entrance and vocational tests such as the SAT, LSAT, NCLEX and many more.

Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services has a page dedicated to local veterans. This page offers information about local events of interest to veterans, as well as information about community organizations such as Serving Together that help veterans access local resources.  In addition to local resources, Maryland has a state level Department of Veterans Affairs that supports Maryland veterans with employment services, training, health services, and financial programs.

Finally, among its many services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Returning Service Members section dedicated to military personnel transitioning to civilian life from service in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

We thank all veterans for their service and appreciate the contributions they continue to make to our community.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Black and white feather pen with the words "Come write with us this November!" around it.
Are you a writer?

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In this month, participants from around the world compete (against themselves) to write a novel of at least 50,000 words.

Participants can elect to register for free on the official NaNoWriMo website. NaNoWriMo offers additional fun resources for participants, including special pep talks from published authors, regional forums and events, and theme-based communities.

Whether you are participating in the official program or just trying to improve your writing, we want to help!

In November, we are offering writing events for customers of all ages. These include
More of a solitary writer? Come write in one of our branches. We offer:
  • WiFi;
  • Public Computers;
  • Electrical outlets; and
  • Writing resources in our collection;
Our Gale Courses database includes many writing classes, and they're all online! These writing classes include Write Fiction Like a Pro, Writing the Fantasy Novel, Mystery Writing, and more. Ready to move to the next step? Check out our valuable publishing resources!  

Already published? Find information for authors wishing to be considered for our collection.

Whether you're participating in NaNoWriMo 2017 or not, let us know how your writing's going this month! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

STEM is Everywhere!

Words STEM with STEM icons surrounding it
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is everywhere! Sometimes people think of it as something kids learn in school or something that doesn't have anything to do with them, but it does. STEM shapes our lives and our everyday experiences.  From the weather that surrounds us (science), the smartphones we use (technology), the bridges we drive over (engineering), and the money we use to pay for our groceries (math). That's why STEM is for everyone! It's for all ages. It's for children to be able to be successful in school and potentially establish a career in a STEM field. And for everyone it's a chance to understand the world around us. We invite everyone to go on an STEM exploration journey with us this month and beyond!

Maryland STEM Festival logo
MCPL is thrilled to be part of the Maryland STEM Festival for the third year in a row. The festival runs from October 31 - November 12. The festival's mission is "To encourage students of all ages, regardless of background and experience, to take a greater interest in STEM with the hope they will pursue a STEM based job or career." MCPL is excited to be offering STEM Festival events for all ages at multiple locations around the County. Events range from LEGO® and Duplo® building events and storytimes for young children to chess clubs for older children and adults. Let your inner architect design at cup challenge events. Learn fun math concepts with boxes. Try 3D printing. Learn coding. Make recycled paper and more on Science Saturdays at the Olney branch. Love transportation? So do we! We have events on flight, rockets, boats, and trains! Adults and seniors can learn about computers, downloading e-books and audiobooks, and more at our technology programs.

Two sisters coding with an ozobot
Looking for authoritative and free science information online? From applied science to space, you can find science articles and biographical information from Science in Context and Science Reference Center. If you know your child's Lexile number you can limit the content searched in both databases by your child's reading level. Science Reference Center also offers lesson plans and worksheets for teachers. 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.

Kids and teacher learning about how beans transform into chocolate
Looking for a 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.

We've got online resources and more to engage your children's minds with STEM. 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 science experiment books on a variety of topics as well as online science fair project resources. Looking for STEM e-books for your kids to read over the summer? We've got those too.

Go! Kit with backpack, playaway launchpad, DVD, book & folder
Another great way to 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 tablet device 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 ages 7-12.

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.

We invite you to explore, discover, learn, and invent! Discover the world around them through STEM with MCPL!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Visit to Ireland

Irish field filled with sheep
View of Ben Bulben from Drumcliffe, County Sligo
This summer I visited Ireland, the home of my grandparents, for the first time. The experience left me wondering why I had waited so long. The beauty of the landscape and the welcoming kindness of the people were overwhelming. We stayed in the small village of Drumcliffe, north of Sligo, in the west of Ireland. This is the country beloved by W. B. Yeats, the subject of many of his poems, and the place where he is buried. It was an emotional experience to visit the great poet’s grave in the churchyard of St. Columba’s. The simple stone bears the epitaph he wrote himself in one of his last poems, Under Ben Bulben.

Quote - "Cast a cold on life, on death. Horseman pass by. W.B. Yeats June 13, 1965 - January 28, 1939

To prepare for my trip, I brushed up on Irish history with The Story of Ireland by Neil Hegarty and read the new two-volume biography of Yeats by R. F. Foster. My own college copy of Yeats’ poems, The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats edited by Richard J. Finneran, was so battered and falling apart that I had to get a new one to take with me. .

Celtic cross at ruins of an Irish abbey
Ruins of an abbey on the island of Inishmurray
Once in Ireland, we were so busy visiting ancient Celtic sites, ruins of medieval abbeys and castles, stunning scenery on the Wild Atlantic Way, and of course pubs, that I had little time for reading. But since returning home I’ve extended my visit vicariously by reading some new Irish novels. Here is a sampling:

Eggshells by Catriona Lally
This debut is a finalist for Irish Book of the Year. Lonely Vivian wanders the streets of Dublin longing for a friend. Told by her parents that she was a changeling “left by the fairies,” she has never quite fit into the real world. In desperation she advertises for a friend, who must be named Penelope. When a Penelope answers the ad, Vivian is drawn away from her search for a portal to the fairy world. Whimsical and touching.

Book cover of Grace by Paul Lynch
Grace by Paul Lynch
This historical novel is not for the faint hearted. It is a searing journey through Ireland at the time of the potato famine in the company of Grace, a teenage girl whose mother sends her away from home dressed as a boy so she can get work and perhaps survive. Told in a lyrical language with the weight of ancient myth, this is an unflinching portrait of the sufferings of the Irish people and their desperate struggle to survive.

The new novel by the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is the story of one man’s life in Ireland from the 1940’s to the present. We meet Cyril Avery before he is born, when his teenage pregnant mother is denounced by the priest and banished from her village. In Dublin she gives her baby up for adoption to the Averys, an eccentric couple who constantly remind Cyril that he is not a “real Avery.” Dickensian in scope and spirit, brimming with irreverent humor and pathos, this is an indelible portrait of Irish life through decades of change.

Himself by Jess Kidd
The comic tale of an orphan’s quest to find the truth about the mother who may or may not have given him up willingly. Mahoney returns to his birth village of Mulderigg, unleashing a chaotic blend of gossip, intrigue, murder, and hauntings.  A very Irish mix of humor, eccentric characters, and unexpected plot twists make for a completely captivating read.

A Prayer for the Damned by Peter Tremayne
For mystery fans I can recommend two wonderful, though quite different, series set in Ireland:

Peter Tremayne is a pseudonym of Celtic scholar Peter B. Ellis. He writes the Sister Fidelma series, set in ancient Ireland. The heroine and amateur detective is a nun trained in the 7th century Brehon law system. Readers can learn about ancient Ireland while enjoying these well-written and intricately plotted mysteries.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and Ken Bruen’s hard edged series that has been dubbed “Hibernian Noir.” The protagonist Jack Taylor, fired by the Garda, the Irish Police, for drinking, is now a private detective in Galway. These mysteries take us into a world of gangsters and murderers far from the cozy image of tourist Ireland.

To discover more Irish reading, check out this list of contemporary authors. And don’t forget the classics!

Léitheoireacht shona! (that's Happy Reading in Gaelic).

Woman looking over the top of a book
Rita T.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Food for Fines 2017

Fines happen. Whether it's a book that slid under the car seat during the drive to the library or a movie that never made it back into its case, many of us owe a dollar or two (or more!) to the library.

However your fines happened, we are pleased to be offering our third annual Food for Fine campaign!

Every canned good or non-perishable food item you bring to your library October 22–29 will reduce your existing fines or hold fees by one dollar. (Donations cannot be used towards other fees.) The Food for Fines program is part of our support for Montgomery County’s Community Service Week.

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.

No fines, but still want to get involved? No problem! All customers are welcome to drop off donations at our branches during this program.

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Montgomery County Public Libraries Have Something for Everyone!

Imagine your favorite thing about the library. Is it books? Magazines? Using the public computers? Now imagine your frustration if your aging eyes could no longer read the standard print in most books or if you used a wheelchair and the public computer tables were too low for you to fit your wheelchair under.

Libraries are gateways to information and ideas. At MCPL we are committed to offering all Montgomery County residents free and equal access to our services and resources. We recognize that things like small print and old, inhospitable buildings and furniture can act as barriers to service for people who have disabilities. We’d like to share with you a few of the ways we are breaking those barriers down.

In this post, we’ll focus on the fine print, so to speak.

Many books, newspapers, and magazines have small print that can be difficult, or impossible, to read. Even those of us lucky enough to enjoy 20/20 vision as youngsters will probably benefit from alternative reading options as we age, because our eyesight tends to change in ways that can make it difficult to read the standard size text in printed materials. Large print books, audiobooks, e-books, and E-magazines can be good options when standard print is too small to decipher.

Large print books feature type significantly larger than standard type, which makes for much easier reading. The MCPL large print book collection includes thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles, including bestsellers and award winners.

Side by side comparison of the standard text and large print of the same text from the book Ancillary Mercy
Standard print on left, large print on right, of the same text from the book Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

For those who like to read print books and magazines on a tablet, computer, or phone, we have downloadable e-books and e-magazines, many of which have text and images that can be enlarged.

And if you prefer to listen to your books, the MCPL audiobook collections include fiction and nonfiction books on CD, on Playaways, and through downloadable audio. Audio readers who enjoy a rousing book discussion are invited to join the Talking Book Club that meets monthly at the Rockville Memorial Library.

Desktop computer sitting on an adjustable height table and next to a desktop screen magnifier
Assistive Technology Workstation
If you come to the library to use a public computer and need to be able to slide your wheelchair under the table, or find the screen images too small to see clearly, or you want to magnify printed text you already have in hand, we’ve got you covered!

Each branch has a public Assistive Technology Workstation that features a height-adjustable table, a desktop magnifier that reads printed text aloud, and a computer with assistive technologies, including screen reading and magnification software. These features provide easier computer access for people who have low vision, are blind, have a reading disability, or use a wheelchair.

For more information about what MCPL offers for Montgomery County residents who have disabilities, visit our Library Services for People with Disabilities webpage or contact us at 240-777-0001.

Elizabeth L.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Get Fit. Be Fit. Stay Fit.

green apple with health terms
Most people associate October with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But breast cancer and other health issues are important topics to discuss and think about all year long. Just yesterday I was reading an article about how sitting is a silent killer. Sitting too long, even if you exercise, is detrimental to your health. I've recently enjoyed reading local author Florence Williams' book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, as well as other books about how to be healthier. I've added more walks to my day at lunch and with my dogs. I'm trying yoga. And I'm taking the time to make those preventive visits to the doctor! As Count Rugen says, from the forever quotable movie The Princess Bride, "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything," Here at MCPL we thought it would be a great time to show you all the fabulous health programs, books, and online resources we offer!

Exercise and Events

hand with words about alzheimer's
Want to learn or try some new exercises but don't want to go to a gym? Have a look at our array of exercise DVDs. We have quite a selection of videos on fitness, yoga, tai chi, and more. If you find more motivation in group activities, come to one of our engaging and informative health or exercise programs. We have programs on yoga, tai chi, meditation, Alzheimer's, and bone building. Talking to doctors and trying to figure out Medicare can be intimidating and confusing. We have a program about how to speak up for yourself when talking to health professionals (registration required) and an information session on Medicare. With Halloween at the end of the month, we also have a Halloween safety event featuring Sparky the Fire Dog (limited seating).

Researching Health Topics

blackboard with health words written on it
Health information is vast, rapidly changing, and sometimes contradictory. It must be evaluated critically by the user, so it is vitally important to make sure you are getting health information from authoritative sources. We have gathered reliable resources to make this easier for you. The Health and Wellness Resource Center database is a trusted source for articles on health, medicine, and wellness from magazines, journals, and reference books. It also includes trusted health websites and a medical dictionary. Another great source of health information is Consumer Reports on Health, which you can access online in our Flipster database. This magazine provides informative articles on health topics and healthy living,

We have also gathered a list of trusted health websites. Three of them that I like to use to answer questions are MedlinePlus, the Mayo Clinic's Health Information, and PubMed. MedlinePlus and the Mayo Clinic's Health Information have user-friendly sites and information on health topics and drugs and supplements. PubMed provides a vast array of bio-medical research articles.

MCPL has many print books in the collection on health and medicine, so be sure to have a look in the catalog for specific subjects of interest. We also have many e-books and audiobooks as well. The opioid crisis has been in the news a lot lately and, if that is a topic of interest, be sure to check out our e-books and audiobooks on addiction

Finding a Doctor

health professionals
If you would like to learn the length of service, medical school attended, primary specialty, state of license, and board certification of doctors that you are interested in seeing, Reference USA is a good source. You can research physicians' state licences, including disciplinary actions, for Maryland and Washington, D.C. on our health resource guide. To find rated doctors, hospitals, and more, have a look in the Washington Consumers' Checkbook (in-library access only.)

Finding Health Services

Need health care? Have a look at Maryland Health Connection, Maryland's official health insurance marketplace. Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services also offers many health, disability, and crisis services, as well as services specifically targeted for children, teens, and seniors. InfoMontgomery is also a good resource for finding health services. It is a collaborative effort of public and private agencies to provide information about health and human service resources throughout Montgomery County. See our Health Services guide for links to even more health services.

For Kids

kids practicing yoga
A great way to introduce exercise and healthy eating habits is when kids are young. We have a selection of books and websites to get you started. The USDA's Choose My Plate website has information, games, activity sheets, online tools, recipes, and more. Don't forget to try our fun exercise DVDs geared toward parents and kids.

At MCPL we are happy to help you get fit, be fit, and stay fit!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To Boldly Go...

Customers viewing the partial eclipse outside Chevy Chase library
Viewing the eclipse outisde
Chevy Chase library.
It's been an exciting time for astronomy lovers. There was the solar eclipse last month. Residents throughout the county came together at several MCPL branches to watch this dramatic event. The next solar eclipse visible from America won't occur until 2024, when my 1st grader is 13!

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whiston
Earlier this month, American astronaut Peggy Whitson returned to Earth after spending 288 days in space, the longest single spaceflight by a female astronaut. That's not her only record. Having been on been on several spaceflights, Whitman's cumulative 665 days in space sets the record for most time in space by any American astronaut. She's also the only female astronaut to command the International Space Station twice and has accumulated more spacewalking time, 53 hours 22 minutes, than any other female astronaut. Finally, at 57, she is the world's oldest spacewoman. Want to learn more? MCPL has many books and some DVDs about astronauts and women in science for children and adults.

The Cassini space probe orbiting Saturn
The Cassini space probe orbiting Saturn
Finally, just last week, on Friday, September 15, the NASA spacecraft Cassini made its final approach to Saturn and plunged into the planet's atmosphere. Cassini was launched into space almost 20 years ago, in October 1997. It spent 13 years orbiting Saturn, adding immensely to our understanding of Saturn, its rings, and its moons. Cassini continued to function beyond its anticipated lifespan, enabling NASA to extend its study of Saturn for years. After 19 years of exploration, Cassini was almost out of fuel. Concerned that Cassini might crash into one of Saturn's moons and contaminate it with terrestrial microbes, NASA decided to fly the probe into the atmosphere of Saturn, where it would burn up and disintegrate. Faithful til the end, Cassini transmitted unprecedented data about Saturn's atmosphere in the moments before it was destroyed.

For more information about Saturn and our solar system's other planets, check out our many books and DVD's for adults and children. We also have several online science databases including Science in Context and Science Reference Center that are filled with magazine, journal, and specialized encyclopedia articles that have information about NASA's space probes, interplanetary missions, and much more.

Mark S

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Faces at MCPL

Joe-Edouard "Ed" Edmond
MCPL recruits a diverse workforce with a variety of skills and backgrounds. Sure, we've got plenty of folks who check out books or help customers find that picture book with the green cover their daughter loved. But we also have staff who specialize in human resources, serving people with disabilities, and other less traditional library roles. Here's brief introduction to some of our newer staff members.

Joe-Edouard “Ed” Edmond, joined MCPL on April 30, 2017. Before joining MCPL, Ed entered the county government workforce in October 2000 as a principal administrative aide in the Department of Finance. In 2005, Ed joined the Office of Human Resources (OHR) as a fiscal assistant. He was promoted to an administrative specialist I in 2010 with the Core/Records Management team of OHR. This experience enabled him to quickly transition to his position as the administrative specialist II in MCPL’s Human Resources unit. Ed is an easy to work with kind of person.

Patrick Fromm
Patrick Fromm joined MCPL as the branch manager of Little Falls in May 2017. Previously, he worked at Baltimore County Public Library for 10 years, starting as a page and moving through the circulation and information jobs to assistant branch manager. He geeks out about managerial topics like continuous improvement, cost-benefit analysis, and emotional intelligence, all of which makes him really fun at parties. He is super psyched to be working with the awesome Little Falls’ team! He lives in Catonsville with his one baby, one wife, and zero cats.

Cindy Gil is one of two senior librarians at the Silver Spring branch. Cindy joined MCPL in January 2017. Before joining MCPL, she was a senior librarian at the New York Public Library where she worked with children, parents, and teachers as the children’s librarian in the Bronx, NY. Prior to this, she worked at the Reference Department at the Bronx Library Center as a librarian trainee until she graduated from library school in 2002. She served in different capacities at other neighborhood branches since 1996. Cindy enjoys reading and singing to the kids during bilingual storytime at the branch, taking walks in the park with her family, and getting good bargains when shopping!

Elizabeth LangElizabeth Lang joined MCPL in 2016 as the assistant facilities and accessibility program manager. She assists with facilities and space management, and leads MCPL’s efforts related to accessibility services. She came to MCPL from the District of Columbia Public Library, where she served as the Manager of the Center for Accessibility. Before moving to the DC metro area, she was the deputy director for public services at Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library in Missouri, and before that worked in retail bookstores throughout the Midwest. She is a nerdy bookworm, and spends her leisure time reading, gaming, quilting, watching hockey, hanging out with her husband and kids, and dreaming of the day when she can buy a farm in rural Delaware and raise goats. She was recently a guest on MCPL's podcast, Library Matters, where she talked about MCPL's resources and services to people with disabilities.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Classical Music

Classical Music Month
Bach. Beethoven. Mozart. Chopin. Wagner. Vivaldi. Schubert. When classical music comes up, it is one of those subjects I wished I had taken a class to learn more about. Classical music gives us such an emotional experience and it is something (like art!) that I enjoy when I hear it but wish I knew more about. Well now is my chance! September is Classical Music Month and we've got some great free resources and programs to help you celebrate, whether you love classical music already or, like me, are excited to learn more about it!

Violin and keyboard
If you are looking to learn how to play classical music instruments we have a great online resource called ArtistWorks. It has self-paced video lessons from Grammy Award-winning music and artistic professionals for instruments such as piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, french horn, trumpet, and violin. It offers beginner through advanced lessons and is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. If you already know how to play an instrument and are looking for musical scores, try the online Classical Scores Library. This collection contains over 13,000 classical scores. The scores span all classical genres and time periods.

Music score
If you like to listen to classical music we have that, too. You can download up to 5 songs per week through Freegal. There is a huge selection of classical music you can download to your computer or Freegal app for your Apple or Android device. From the Classical Music Library you can stream classical music. It offers choral works, symphonies, operas, vocal and instrumental music, chamber music, and more.

What about the fascinating lives of the individuals behind all this great music? We've got that covered! Try Biography in Context to find information about the lives of famous composers like Puccini, Strauss, Handel, and many others. We also have biographical books about composers for adults and teens as well as children.

What's a celebration without some live music? We've got some great music events this month. Our classical guitar programs will showcase music performed by  Beatty Music Scholarship winners and finalists. Songwriter's Toolbox will feature local musicians sharing their insights and a song circle in which people share their new songs.

At MCPL we're happy to help you find your classical music beat this September and beyond!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Library Card Sign Up Month 2017

Three students holding a big MCPL library card.
September is National Library Card Sign Up Month! Do you remember getting your first library card? Back when I got my first library card, the requirement was that you had to be able to write your name. As soon as I could, my mom took me to get my first library card. It was a special feeling and privilege to be able to use my own library card to check out picture books. I still remember my favorites like Corduroy and Make Way for Ducklings. Now there's no age limit to getting a library card! Anyone, at any age, can get a library card and start his or her life-long learning journey with free access to e-books, e-magazines, audiobooks, online classes, downloadable and streaming music, online articles, test preparation, and so much more! All you need is the most powerful card in your wallet - a library card!

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. Explore science themes with your kids by checking out a STEM Go! Kit.
  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.
You can also find engaging programs for you and your children in our Calendar of Events.

Library cards empower their users. So tell your family; tell your friends! Tell us how much your library card means to you by sharing a photo or story in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest using #MCPLCard. We'll be resharing photos and stories on social media and our website.

There's so much you can do with a library card. Sign up for one today!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Taking MCPL Back to School with You

Chalkboard surrounded by colored pencils with Back to School written on it
Montgomery County Public Schools students won't be back in the classroom for another couple of weeks, but as private and public schools around our region head back, you can't turn on the radio or the television without seeing a back-to-school ad or story. Yesterday, I got to spend most of my day with media specialists and other staff from MCPS discussing how the public libraries can support our students as they head back into the classroom. It seemed like important information that others might like to hear; so I am highlighting a few takeaways of our discussions.

two boys pose on either side of a large sitting dog.
Read to a Dog at Long Branch
First, we have a variety of events to support and supplement classroom learning. Several MCPL branches offer homework help programs. These programs range from teen volunteers assisting younger students with homework to writing clubs where teens and tweens can flex their writing muscle. We also have Reading Buddy and Read to a Dog programs at many branches. These programs allow young readers to practice and strengthen their reading by working with a non-critical human or canine volunteer. You can explore the full listing of homework programs.

We also offered special webpages to provide targeted information to different audiences. For parents and caregivers we offer our All Children Excel webpage. This provides tips and resources for promoting literacy at different ages from early literacy skills for babies and toddlers to homework and learning resources for elementary and middle school students. For kids who are old enough to explore the web more actively, our Kids page offers books lists, homework resources, and more (including our August poll: Who is your favorite book character turned TV star?). Our Teensite includes information about our Teen Advisory Group, homework resources, booklists, and links to programs.

The Montgomery Times An African-American Times Publication
After reading those descriptions, you might be asking yourself, "What the heck is a homework resource?" I'm referring to the wide variety of online databases available with an MCPL card. These databases include online access to a variety of major and minor national newspapers, including local African-American paper The Montgomery Times, later the African American Times, from 1992-1999. They also include online access to full current and back issues of popular magazines for kids, teens, and adults. We also have a variety of historical databases that are great resources for researching biographies of contemporary and historical figures from Presidents to artists to religious figures as well as historical events.

This is far from a full list of how we can support you or your loved one as you dive back into the school year. If there is something else we can do, please let us know—we're ready to help you. Happy studying!