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Did you know that your public library is a vacation planner’s paradise? April 14, 2014

Posted by cclddirector in Community, Director's Comments, District News, Recommendations, Reference, Technology.
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About a year ago my daughters and I were in the process of planning for their first trip to Europe. Seeing that all three of us were recent college graduates we balked at the thought of signing up for a group tour package. Deciding to set our own itinerary meant we would have a whole lot of work ahead of us.

Fortunately my daughters figured that since dad was paying for the trip they wouldn’t complain at where he wanted to go (amazing how that works out). We decided to use library materials as our “travel agent” to give us tips on where to go and what to see. So for a few months prior to our departure I checked out travel guides, books and DVDs to learn more about Europe. And borrowing from the library helped us save money. After all who can’t use extra cash when they are going on vacation?

In addition, the suggested itineraries helped us focus our sightseeing on the places we really wanted to visit while making sure we didn’t overextend ourselves. We also had copies of important phrases from different guide books so we could at least say “please” and “thank you” in the language of where we were (a hint- the good guide books will have an index of common foreign language phrases).  I had also checked out a French CD to brush up on my skills as well as used our Mango Languages program to make sure the phrases we were trying to use sounded reasonably close. If you are not familiar with Mango Languages, it is an online language-learning system, teaching conversation skills for over 30 languages including English. Mango uses real-life situations and actual conversations to more effectively teach a new language. Once again, this is a free database available at CCLD.  All you need is your library card and PIN to access Mango Languages.

We used the library computers to research the State Department website to make sure where we were going was safe, checked on flights and trains, and researched tricks to help save money on airfare and hotels. Fortunately, we had also downloaded a few library eBooks prior to departure which gave us something to read during the long flights and delays we encountered.

So the next time you are going on vacation come on in and give us a try. You will find a variety of resources to help make your trip more enjoyable.  Also, make sure to sign up for our vacation planning class next month at the Central Library:  Roadtripping – May 21 at 6pm.  Learn to plan, organize, and discover great places to visit this summer using roadtrippers.com and more. The Tech Lab Class is limited to 12 participants. Call today to register 733-9175.

Ronald W. Shaw
Director, CCLD

New cookbooks at the Central Library April 1, 2014

Posted by CCLD in Recommendations.
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stuffedThere is definitely a science to cooking, measuring ingredients, heating at the perfect temperature, blending ingredients to make sauces, and the timing involved in preparing a recipe. But cooking is a lot more than just a science. Cooking is an art form! The fact is, cooking impacts all of our senses. The aromas of the carefully chosen seasonings, the sounds of chopping as we prepare ingredients or that hot sizzling in a pan, and there is the visual presentation of complimentary colors and textures. Then of course is the finale, the wonderful tastes and textures of your creation!

Our library has so many wonderful cookbooks that can take you around the world on any given night or perhaps for a special occasion. There is Italian, Mexican, or Thai cooking; or you can find books on dietary styles such as vegetarian, low-fat, or gluten free. Whatever cuisine you fancy, I’m sure you will find it in our library’s cookbook collection. Even if you’re not a cook, you have to appreciate CCLD Central Library’s beautiful collection of cookbooks! Here are some of our newest titles…..

Cooking for two : more than 130 delicious recipes to enjoy together Edited by Jeff Nowak Healthy – sensible small batch cooking with the nutritional information provided.

Grain Power By Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming – over 100 easy to make recipes featuring gluten-free ancient grains.

Lidia’s commonsense Italian cooking : 150 delicious and simple recipes everyone can master By Lidia Mattichio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali – easy steps to wonderful recipes, plus tips for choosing and preparing ingredients.

New Middle Eastern street food : snacks, comfort food, and mezze from Snackistan By Sally Butcher – a variety of Middle Eastern snack recipes for those who love this exotic cuisine.

Stuffed : the ultimate comfort food cookbook : taking your favorite foods and stuffing them to make new, different and delicious meals By Dan Whalen – some fun and different recipes, taken to the Extreme!

Connie Ogilvie, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

Mrow! New non-fiction books about cats… March 4, 2014

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Guys Can Be Cat Ladies TooIf you Google “cats” you can find the definition of cats, advice on health care for cats, cat quotes, cat blogs, and of course cats on YouTube. I noted “Adopt a Cat Month”, which is June, “National Cat Day”, October 29th, and don’t forget “National Hug Your Cat Day” which is celebrated on June 4th. I understand cats make wonderful pets and I know there are many cat lovers out there. This entry is for those who are already cat lovers, as well as those who are intrigued by our furry feline friends.

Our non-fiction collection boasts a treasure trove of books about cats, including raising a cat, cat first aid, and training your cat. There are also a number of books that contain anecdotal or humorous stories about cats. The Dewey decimal number to look for is 636.8, our selection is abundant, and you won’t be disappointed!

This month as I perused the New Book non-fiction section at the Central Library for inspiration to write about, I came across four interesting and different books about cats that caught my attention.

The Complete Cat Breed Book Edited by Dorling Kindersley, a beautifully illustrated book describing
100 cat breeds and information on caring for your cat.

The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider, practical and effective strategies for solving a wide range of feline behavior problems.

The Big New Yorker Book of Cats Foreword by Anthony Lane, a stellar collection of writers contributing stories about our feline companions from the archives of the New Yorker.

Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too: A Guidebook for Men and Their Cats by Michael Showalter, a one of a kind guide to help a guy understand and ultimately bond with the felines in his life. Educational, and definitely humorous!

Connie Ogilvie, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

The Creepy and the Ghoulish February 24, 2014

Posted by poppendeckc in Horseheads, Recommendations.
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Ghost HuntersWe at Horseheads Library recently added some ghost hunting series DVDs to our collection. For those of us who enjoy a spooky, spine-tingling adventure, we now have Ghost Hunters, with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. This show currently has the most episodes for borrowing, so you can really immerse yourself in the chain-rattling thrills. We also have the spinoff show, Ghost Hunters International. Visit ruined castles and experience hauntings from around the world!

The Cream of the Creepy Award has to go to Syfy Channel’s Paranormal State, with Ryan Buell, an amazing cast of paranormal researchers, and great psychics, including the astounding Chip Coffey, who is right from Elmira, NY! I personally hang on every word and every gesture from Chip. His input in any case is fascinating.

Also featured here at Horseheads Library is The Discovery Channel’s A Haunting. This series has fewer episodes, but are worthy of your time. They are re-enactments of eyewitness accounts of the paranormal. These have the entertainment quality of a good ghost story. You can watch the haunting as it unfolds by actors, with interviews from the eyewitnesses.

It doesn’t have to be Halloween to have a scare-a-thon. Try one this weekend!

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
CCLD, Horseheads

New Year, New You! January 21, 2014

Posted by CCLD in Recommendations.
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Unclutter your lifeAs I have been newly assigned to take charge of this vast sea of books called the Non-fiction Collection, I have also been given the daunting task of writing the “Librarians Picks” column. Much like the collection, there are so many incredible subject categories to choose from, to write about, and to recommend. Even if you are not a regular non-fiction reader, in order to counteract the winter blues, broaden your spectrum of knowledge, or just read something different you should give one of our non-fiction books a chance. Walking down the aisles, I see books on Cookery for preparing every food imaginable, and books for improving your health or organizing your home. On the first floor of Chemung County Library District-Central Library, just past the Customer Service desk, you will find the newly purchased non-fiction books readily available for browsing.

Our Adult Services Department has been doing Adult programs in the library themed “New Year, New You.” So in keeping with this theme I chose three new books that might interest you for those New Year resolutions.

Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 Just Desserts by Lisa Lillien, recipes for decadent treats all under 200 calories.

Unclutter Your Life In One Week written by Erin Rooney Doland, practical steps to organize your home, your office and even your life!

Quit Smoking For Life A Simple, Proven 5-Step Plan by Suzanne Schlosberg lays out a plan to finally beat the smoking habit.

Connie Ogilvie, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

50th Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination November 7, 2013

Posted by roganp in Recommendations.
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These Few Precious DaysNovember 2013 is the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the publishing world has jumped on the bandwagon to print several new books on the topic. Everything is discussed and rehashed about the entire Kennedy Family and the assassination as well conspiracy theories about the assassination which are always a popular topic. We have bought several new books, fiction and nonfiction; we also have several in the regular stacks:  biography, true crime, and history sections.  Anyone with an interest can find lots to choose from. Some of the new additions are:

History will prove us right : inside the Warren Commission report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Howard P. Willens

Camelot’s court : inside the Kennedy White House by Robert Dallek

Interloper : Lee Harvey Oswald inside the Soviet Union by Peter Savodnik

Rose Kennedy’s family album : from the Fitzgerald Kennedy private collection, 1878-1946

These few precious days : the final year of Jack with Jackie by Christopher P Andersen

Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

Endangered Books October 9, 2013

Posted by roganp in Recommendations.
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Sailors' Journey Into WarI have been weeding the non-fiction collection, using a computer program that can generate a report of books that have not gone out recently. When we used to go to the shelves to weed the worn out, dirty out-of-date books, I enjoyed it. But now I keep finding books that I think would be so useful if someone just knew they were here! For example, one of the biographies on my weeding list is about a navy seaman’s experiences in WWII. The Title is A Sailors’ Journey into War by Robert A. Maher. It looked like a brand new book and wasn’t very old, as the author was remembering his past. I brought it home to my husband who had been on a destroyer in the navy (not in WWII – we’re old but not THAT old) and he read and loved it. He brought it to our daughter’s neighbor who was also in the navy and said it was the best book he ever read; really described what it was like to be on a destroyer in a hurricane. Do I weed it from the collection because it is not being checked out? How do I get these books into the hands of people who would enjoy them? How do I get people to come to the library and browse among the stacks, to find just that book that speaks to them?  Or get them to ask a librarian for suggestions as to what they would like to read about? It’s called Reader’s Advisory and one of the most fun parts of our job.  I would have thought books such as Everything you need to know about birth control or Understanding Weight Loss Programs would be helpful to many people but they don’t go out. Do they get used in the library? I don’t know. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

“Proof of Heaven” September 4, 2013

Posted by roganp in Recommendations.
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Proof of HeavenTo my surprise, I’ve had people ask me at the reference desk “what happens after death” or “what is heaven like?”. I’ve had to tell them I think there is no valid, provable answer, but we do have books on different religions that discuss their idea of the answer, as well as books on near-death experiences that claim to know the answer. Then, on television, I saw a brief interview with Eben Alexander who has recently written the book Proof of Heaven: A Neursurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.  He said that he always discounted near-death experiences until he was in a coma for seven days and, as a neurosurgeon, knows that it was not possible for it to have been a dream.  He now feels it is his duty to let people know what heaven is like; I couldn’t resist reading the book. I’m still not convinced that it wasn’t his mind creating impressions, but am certainly hopeful that Heaven is for Real, which is the title of another book by Todd Burpo, a little boy’s story of his trip to Heaven and back.

Ever since Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about Death and Dying: it has certainly been a popular subject. Raymond Moody is another author who has written about near-death experiences. We also have books that discuss the science of near-death experiences by medical doctors. Most of these books can be found in the philosophy section under the Dewey Decimal number of 133.901 or the religion section in 231.7.

Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Chemung County Library District

Dig into Historical Fiction for Youth July 15, 2013

Posted by ackermanj in Recommendations, Steele, Youth Services.
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It was with interest that I read CCLD’s blog entry regarding historical fiction by Caroline Poppendeck. I completely agree with her praise of this genre and would like to further “dig” into it, by including favorite historical fiction for Youth.

Recently, a family approached me at the desk and were headed to Gettysburg to view the Civil War re-enactments, honoring the 150th Anniversary of this famous battle (the young boy reminded me that it was the biggest and bloodiest battle fought on U.S soil).  We headed to our large juvenile non-fiction Civil War section where there is a wealth of material to educate children; the juvenile fiction section is full of stories of this time in our American history as seen through the eyes of a child.

Here are some recommendations for Civil War reads:

A great picture book for the 3rd-4th grade level is Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, based on a true story of a friendship between a young white Union soldier and a young black Union soldier; it is powerful and heart wrenching.

Chapter book selections for those in Grades 3-6 include the following series:  My America, Dear America, and American Girl. Good choices for Grades 5 and up, include Will at the Battle of Gettysburg by Laurie Caokhoven in the Boys of Wartime series which includes an appendix at the end on children’s roles during the Civil War, and The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, both hold real reader appeal, with loads of suspenseful action, as the boy narrators of the stories are torn between their glorious expectations of war and the cold reality of its’ cruelty and harshness.

A book written with some humor (a la Mark Twain) about this dark period of history, is The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick. Another Newbury Award Winning book is  Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, about a boy who comes of age during the war years.

Ann Rinaldi is the author of many books  about the Civil War with girls as the main characters and they include: the suspenseful, An Acquaintance with Darkness, Come Juneteenth , My Vicksburg,  and Leigh Ann’s Civil War.

An audio book that we have at Central that is great to listen to as you travel to Gettysburg, or anyplace on your summer travels, is Don’t Know Much About the Civil War, by Kenneth C. Davis, this tells the human side of this war with humor and tenderness, as well as describing  the battles and tactics of this war in a whole new light…informative and interesting listening for Grades 7 and up. All of these titles are available at the Central Branch (CCLD).

Janet Ackerman
Head of Youth Services
Central Library, Elmira (CCLD)

The Fault in Our Stars July 10, 2013

Posted by patchettd in Recommendations, West Elmira.
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The Fault in Our StarsThere are so many advantages to visiting your local library.  One thing we see over and over at the West Elmira Branch is impromptu book sharing.  A patron comes in and mentions a great book they have read.  Another patron hears and asks to have the book reserved for them.  Recently, we found a book that holds appeal to readers across many age groups.

Ahnece, a staff member in the 25-35 age range, read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  She could not say enough about the book and mentioned it to several patrons.  This is what she says about the book:  “John Green weaves, throughout this story, the most human of experiences-fear, joy, faith-emotional twists and turns that kept me wondering what could happen next.  Under the shadow of inevitable death, Hazel, Gus, and Isaac experience sorrow, pity, laughter, injustice, love and ultimately, forgiveness.  The ways in which the characters deal with their mortality, in exceedingly positive ways, motivates me to aspire to the same maturity in my own life.

The title is Shakespearean (from Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2);   so incredible is Green’s writing that some of his lines seem almost Shakespearean in quality as well.  Although devastating in theme, The Fault in Our Stars is ultimately the most uplifting of Stories.  As Green writes:  ‘Grief does not change you, Hazel.  It reveals you.’”

Ahnece recommended the book to a patron, Mary Ann, who also felt it was one of the best she has read.  Mary Ann is in the senior age group and this is what she has to say about the book:  “I like novels that speak to me-that reveal verities, those enduring truths that are truer than true.  In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green speaks to me in poignant, understated language.

The main characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus, ages 16 and 17, meet in a support group for cancer patients.  John Green skillfully reveals their coming to know each other.  He does this with the subtle, but so effective use of young banter and observations of their world.

Early in the novel, when Hazel first meets Gus, she observes, ‘He smiles with half his mouth’.  Later, when talking with him on the phone, she says, ‘I could hear his crooked smile’.

At this first encounter, Gus is talking about his friend Isaac.  Hazel says, ‘I liked Augustus Waters.  I really, really, really liked him.  I liked the way his story ended with someone else’.

Later, she achingly wants to extend the day, ‘The sun was a toddler, insistently refusing to go to bed’.

With the same longing, she says, ‘I felt like Anna in the book, that feeling of excitement and gratitude about just being able to marvel at all’.

Gus’s character has a similar depth with a knack for saying something wise and dear.  He and Hazel are composing an ad to sell a swing set.  He remarks to her, ‘That’s why I like you…you are so busy being you that you have no idea how unprecedented you are’.

He also says that people might not realize how difficult keeping a promise can be, but they must keep it anyway.

Hazel Grace, who tells the story, speaks to my heart.  She is never maudlin or boastful; she is always true.”

Clarie, another patron, has recently begun to volunteer at the library.  When she heard this discussion she jumped right in with her thoughts:  “The Fault in Our Stars is an indescribably amazing book.  Its combination of humor, tragedy, and love draws you in and helps you connect with the characters in your own personal way.  In this book, two young people suffering from cancer meet, bond, and fall in love, unobstructed by their illness.   It is a must-read for teens as well as adults.  There will be a movie coming out with Ansel Elgort as Gus and Shailene Woodley as Hazel.  The author, John Green, said on YouTube that he watched the auditions and had a bit of say in the casting.  I doubt the movie will be as good as the book, however, I will definitely watch the movie.  I only reread my favorite books, and The Fault in Our Stars is certainly one of them.”   Claire is a teenager.

We hope this inspires you to try this much loved book before the movie is released.  We also hope this inspires you to join a reading discussion group, the CCLD Summer Reading Club, or the Online Book Club.  You never know what gem you will discover.

Dianne Patchett
Branch Manager
West Elmira Library


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