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Washington D.C. – National Museum of Natural History September 28, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Community, Director's Comments, Recommendations.
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As part of my Washington trip, we also went to the natural history museum. My main focus was to see the extraordinary collection of gems and minerals as I have been fascinated with them since I was a child. Of course, no visit would be complete without visiting the Hope diamond- which started out as 112 carats and was cut through the years to its present 45 carat size. For more information about the Hope diamond visit the Smithsonian’s website and encyclopedia that will satisfy your curiosity about the history and legends of the diamond.

The other main reason to go is the David Koch Hall of Human Origins– that tells the story of human evolution and how humans evolved over six million years in response to a changing world. The exhibit allows those who choose to visit the chance to explore the evidence for human evolution, come face-to-face with unforgettable representations of early humans, and arrive at a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

While there I came across an exhibit regarding an incident that I had largely forgotten about- the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped in the San José mine after it collapsed on August 5th, 2010.

For 68 days family, friends, and the world waited to hear of what could only be described as beyond belief. More than two months after the mine collapsed, the world watched as the men emerged one by one from a specially designed rescue capsule, aptly named the “Phoenix.” This capsule, symbolically painted red, white and blue to honor the flag of Chile, was equipped with an oxygen supply, communications equipment, and wheels that would retract as needed to provide a smoother ride through the half mile of solid rock it was passing through.

Despite the ability of rescuers to provide oxygen and food to the trapped miners, it was an especially memorable moment as each of them stepped from the capsule looking healthy. The credit for this must go to the extraordinary team of experts and officials from Chile and around the world.

Washington, D.C. – The National Archives September 24, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Community, Director's Comments.
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During my recent visit to Washington, D.C. my son and I had the chance to visit our nation’s records keeper- the National Archives. If you have never been there it is a place I highly recommend.

During our visit we had the opportunity to see two special exhibits. The first was a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta, one of only four originals believed still in existence. The document, which is on loan from Mr. David M. Rubenstein, was on display in the West Rotunda gallery. Mr. Rubenstein also underwrote the conservation treatment of the document and the fabrication of its special air tight case machined out of two solid blocks of aluminum. The case is filled with the inert gas argon as oxygen would be a detriment to the condition of the document. I was thrilled to be able to see it on display as I had watched the documentaries regarding the preparation of the exhibit several months ago.

The other special exhibit was in the East Rotunda and was the “Resolution of Transmittal to the Continental Congress” often referred to as the fifth page of the Constitution. This document, on display for the first time, was only on view from September 14-19. It provided the procedure for making the Constitution the law of the land. Each State would call a convention, whose delegates would be elected by the voters. After nine of these groups ratified, the new Government could begin operation.

Of course, not to be overlooked was the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom- the permanent home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights. These three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of the American people for more than two and a quarter centuries.

As an American, I was humbled to be in the presence of such a collection of documents that provide for the basic rights and liberties of all. The Magna Carta established important individual rights that have a direct legacy in the American Bill of Rights. Throughout our history these rights have been expanded through amendments to the Constitution and the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. However the constant theme has been the protection of individual freedom through the due process of law.

Washington D.C. – The Pentagon September 20, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Community, Director's Comments.
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This past weekend I visited my son in Washington, D.C. where he is working as an intern with a non-profit organization that deals with stability operations. For those of you who don’t know- stability operations are the various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.

As my son is a political science major focusing on international relations, and I spent approximately 20 years in Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations it is a topic that we can enjoy discussing in detail.

I was especially looking forward to the visit as we were going to the Pentagon. A few quick facts- the Pentagon is the world’s largest office building. It has approximately 30,000 military and civilian workers. Ironically, construction started on September 11th, 1941. Legend has it that the small café in the center courtyard was mistaken by the Soviets for the main headquarters as they noticed people constantly going into and out of the building.

Several of my friends from the Army work in different areas of the Pentagon. It was good to see them again and we had a great time talking about the things we had done throughout our careers. There is a special bond that is formed when you share experiences with a select few who can truly comprehend what you felt at the time. After reliving a lot of the really humorous incidents the discussion turned serious as we started to reminisce about good friends we have lost throughout the years.

The day was made even more somber when we paused for a few minutes in the chapel that was built on the site of the 9/11 attack. Later we went to view the Pentagon Memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the western side of the building, killing 189 people (the five hijackers, 59 others aboard the plane, and 125 working in the building). Seeing the displays of that dreadful day and the portraits of those who have lost their lives since only served to further my belief in one main constant-

During both my time in the service and in the past few years since I retired, what sticks with me the most is looking in the eyes of a warrior and knowing they are prepared to execute any mission and give it their all in defense of the United States.

Ronald W. Shaw

So I’m Retiring or Retired, Now What? September 17, 2012

Posted by CCLD in Programs, Steele.
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Merrill and Sally FrankQuestion: Are you retiring or already retired; what to do?

Answer: Trap pythons in Florida, or document water resources in New Mexico, guide tours at Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, or collect environmental data in Alaska.

It’s easier than you may think. Join Merrill and Sally Frank in the Steele Memorial Library Auditorium on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm as they present how to plan a fulfilling, adventurous life after retirement.

Maximize your time, at the library! September 10, 2012

Posted by patchettd in Recommendations.
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Several years ago while on a road trip with friends, we were captivated with the audio book, “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. Not only did we enjoy the story, we were drawn in by the author’s reading.  He really is a masterful story teller.

So when his latest book, “The Time Keeper”, was released, I checked it out.  It is quite different from what I usually choose to read so I read it through twice.

Near the beginning of the book, the author invites you to try to imagine a life without timekeeping.  He notes that “Man alone measures time.  Man alone chimes the hour.  And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures.  A fear of time running out.”   (page 8)

I heard so many people say that they do not know where the summer went.  It seems sometimes that “time flies.”  But I think there are ways that your library can help you maximize the time you do have.

How about a book on time management like “The 8-Minute Organizer” by Regina Leeds or “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time” by Paul Graves Hammerness?

You can renew, check your account or reserve a book from home.  Staff is on hand to help you find what you are looking for as quickly as possible.  And e-books are available so when you finish the first in a series, you can download the next one without leaving home.

We often have the privilege of deciding how we will “spend” our time.  With Fall right around the corner, I think I will take the kayak and head out on one of the many beautiful waterways in this area.  And by the way, we have  good books about that too!

Dianne Patchett
West Elmira Library

Thermopylae September 7, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Director's Comments, Recommendations, Reference, Steele.
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At Thermopylae in the late summer of 480 the Spartan king Leonidas held out for three days with a mere 300 hoplites against thousands upon thousands of the best of the Persian Empire of Xerxes I during the second Persian invasion of Greece.

Romantic notions of the battle praise the sacrifice and discipline of the Spartan hoplites, citizens renowned for their lifelong combat training and almost mythical military prowess. While the crucial role of the Spartans cannot be denied what is often lost in modern depictions- in movies such as The 300 Spartans and 300 is the fact that after Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army there remained 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, most of whom were killed.

Thermopylae’s location was of great strategic importance as it was a chokepoint of the coastal road that allowed travel. Leonidas believed that the narrowness of the pass could negate the numbers advantage of the Persians (between 100,000 and 300,000 troops) and that holding the pass would delay the Persians long enough for other Greek city-states to prepare for battle or even keep the Persian at bay long enough so they would have supply issues If the position had been held for even slightly longer – the Persians might have had to retreat for lack of food and water.

Scholars may debate the actual strategic results of the battle, but anyone with a passing interest in history no doubt knows the result of the battle. Leonidas and the troops with him held for three days but were eventually overrun and killed. Militarily, the battle was actually not decisive in the context of the Persian invasion, but is of great significance on the basis of the first two days of fighting.

The inspirational example of the rearguard as it unwaveringly faced certain death is used to this day as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers.

If you wish to read more about the battle, I highly recommend the following books available to our patrons- Thermopylae : the battle that changed the world by Paul Cartledge; Thermopylae : the battle for the West by Ernle Bradford; or The Spartans : the world of the warrior-heroes of ancient Greece, from utopia to crisis and collapse by Paul Cartledge

Ronald W. Shaw

The Return to School September 5, 2012

Posted by poppendeckc in Community.
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Despite the upheaval in what families are used to in the Elmira school system, school will start. Students will get supplies, attend class, make friends, be challenged. School represents a rite of passage for children; acknowledges their entitlement of education, and mental and intellectual growth.

The teachers may be different, the classrooms may seem foreign, the route to school unfamiliar, but whatever the outcome, students will face the time-honored trials of conquering the next level of knowledge presented them, mastering the grade they are in, and successfully finishing in June.

During this school shakeup and rearrangement of classes/students/teachers/curriculum, we need to be supportive of the primary focus – our children. Give them courage to face the new and unknown, empathy if they miss friends or beloved teachers, and praise for forging ahead despite the wavering circumstances with which they begin the school year.

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
Steele Memorial Library

Retirement Adventures September 4, 2012

Posted by roganp in Recommendations, Steele.
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Merrill & Sally Frank

Merrill & Sally Frank

Here at Steele Library, we have all been fascinated by Librarian Owen Frank’s tales of his father and stepmother’s latest adventure, so we are very happy that they are willing to come to Steele to tell others how to plan a fulfilling, exciting life in retirement. They will be here on September 26, 2012 at 7 pm. Don’t miss it!

While you wait to hear Merrill and Sally Frank, we have lots of books to give you some ideas about retirement.  A few are: The Retirement Maze What You Should Know Before and After You Retire by Rob Pacale, Retire and Start Your Own Business, by Dennis Sargent and Smart Women Don’t Retire–They Break Free : from Working Full-Time to Living Full-Time by Gail Rentsch. If travel is in your thoughts of retirement, we have 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz in book form and on DVD. And if volunteering is for you – remember the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Chemung County.

Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Steele Memorial Library

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month! September 1, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Big Flats, Bookmobile, Community, Director's Comments, District News, Horseheads, Programs, Steele, Van Etten, West Elmira.
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When you go out to dine you might use a credit card to pay for your food. When you get gas for your vehicle you may use a debit card. But did you know that, when you want to pick up some brain food or fuel your imagination, you can use your library card? In fact, you can use your library card to go everywhere, meet everyone and do everything. There are no limits to the usefulness of a library card.

The Chemung County Library District is joining libraries nationwide in celebrating September as National Library Card Sign-up Month. Chemung County residents are invited to stop by their local branch and, if they don’t have a card, and get one. After all, they’re free to citizens of Chemung County.

As part of the activities for the month, patrons will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for an iPad, Kindle Fire or Kindle Touch. Entries can be made in any of three ways- get a new card, update your current information, or sign up for our electronic newsletter.

New York State residents, ages 5 and older, who come to the library qualify to receive a free library card. In order to get a library card, applicants are required to complete and sign an application signifying their agreement to adhere to CCLD policies. Children age 5 – 15 years must have their application co-signed by their parent or guardian.

Applicants must present identification before being issued a library card. Parents or guardians of children age 5 – 15 years must present proof of address on their behalf. The most appropriate form of identification is a New York State driver’s license. Also accepted will be a NYS auto registration, a personal checkbook with printed current address, a letter postmarked to one’s current address, or another official document with one’s current name and address.

Your library card allows you to partake of all the services CCLD has to offer—online database usage, eBooks, free entertainment and educational programs, homework and business help, and, of course, DVDs, CDs, print and audio books.

Another added benefit is that your library card may be used at any CCLD branch- the Central Library (Steele Memorial), Big Flats, Horseheads, West Elmira, Van Etten, and The Bookmobile. Your library card also allows you to access materials at all Southern Tier Library System Libraries throughout Alleghany, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties.

Call or visit your local branch for information about programs scheduled in celebration of National Library Card Sign-up Month! To find your local branch, visit http://ccld.lib.ny.us./index.htm. Stop by your local branch during the month of September and get a library card—then you can stop by every month for the rest of your life to use it!

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