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Libraries Closed October 29, 2012

Posted by CCLD in District News.
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All CCLD libraries are closing at 5PM today and will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday, October 30th), due to inclement weather.

Superheroes October 22, 2012

Posted by poppendeckc in Youth Services.
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My daughter is crazy about Spiderman. I have no idea where this came from. Suddenly, she responds to everything Superhero. She wants Spiderman sheets, Spiderman shirts, Spiderman novelties of any kind. I even spent the weekend making her Spiderman flannel pajamas, listening to her quietly singing the Spiderman theme song. No, I am not kidding.

AND she is in a friendly competition with her best friend who is crazy about Batman! I’ve known Alex since she was three, and never was there a Superhero reference between them. Now, it’s all they talk about.

This is all very illogical and out of the blue to me. What has happened? Is it the slew of Superhero movies that have come out that drives this? They both know all the movies and their chronological order, the stars and who was best, their favorite bad guys. They keep themselves entertained by imagining what their superpowers would be if they had some.

Thinking back critically, I remember how much my daughter and I enjoyed pre-Superhero entertainment. Teen Titans, and animated show with teen superheroes, was fun and very well written. Winx Club is about teen fairies keeping their world safe, and we never missed an episode. Totally Spies was another favorite – sort of like Charlie’s Angels in High School; not quite Superheroes, but a step above the ordinary for sure.

My guess is the girls have been primed for the recent Hollywood output of great Superhero movies from these early experiences, hence the current obsession with the heavy-hitters.

I guess it is a positive thing for them to immerse themselves in characters upholding mankind’s standards of what is right and noble. Holy Hollywood, Batman, we’re helping teach them what’s right and wrong!

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
Steele Memorial Library

A Call for Volunteers October 13, 2012

Posted by CCLD in Genealogy / Local History, Reference, Steele.
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The Genealogy Department at the Steele Memorial library is sending out a plea to all genealogists and others wishing to volunteer to help with our current project of  typing the names and dates of the newspaper obituaries from 1961 to 1975 into our catalog.

It is not difficult to learn to do this but we need volunteers who are accurate typists, responsible adults, willing to commit to at least two scheduled hours a week to this project, and willing to be trained to use a laptop and microfilm reader.

If you think you might be interested, please contact me, Phyllis Rogan, by email or phone. My email is roganp@stls.org; my phone number is 733-8603. If you call when I’m not available, you may leave a message. Please say you are calling about the newspaper obituary project and leave your name and phone number or email address so I can get back to you. Thank you for considering this volunteer opportunity.

History of the Bookmobile October 8, 2012

Posted by schoefflers in Bookmobile.
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First American Bookmobile

First American Bookmobile (1905)

Have you ever wondered where the Bookmobile originated? Bookmobiles have dated back as early as the late 1850s. It was a horse-drawn collection of books in the town of Cumbria, England that started its rounds to the community.

In 1905, Mary Lemist Titcomb, a librarian in Maryland, for whom the first bookmobile in the United States is attributed to, said, “Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship?” We have definitely benefited from the vision that several people have had for taking books out to the communities around them.

Bookmobiles are also made up of different varieties. In earlier times, a mule-drawn wagon would carry wooden boxes of books to its patrons. In many foreign countries today camels, elephants, and donkeys transport books to their respective villages. An excellent book in our collection for children, Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia, by Jeanette Winter, portrays the story about Luis, who buys two donkeys and takes books to children in faraway villages.

You may wonder how many bookmobiles are in existence today. All states today have bookmobiles, with the exception of Maine. Kentucky leads the way with 98 bookmobiles; New York State has 11 bookmobiles.

Yes, the service that the bookmobile provides now not only helps to “cement” friendships, but also brings books, audiobooks, DVDs, and periodicals to those who would not normally be able to come to the library. Visits to schools, day care centers, and assisted-living apartments, etc., make up a large part of our services. A variety of programming is available throughout the year along with participation in several community events.

Finally, for more information on the history of bookmobiles please visit the following websites:

Sue Schoeffler

“Weeding” Good for the Library October 4, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Community, Director's Comments, District News.
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When my wife and I started packing before we moved into our current house I used to think we had a couple boxes worth of books. I was wrong. When we finished packing everything, I discovered we had 39 boxes of books, books, and more books.

These days I try not to buy so many and, if I want to read something, I get it from the library. And if I can’t find it on the shelves here, I get it through interlibrary loan from a bunch of different libraries. Otherwise, I know that sooner or later I will once again have to carefully select those I truly need to have in my life to fit the available space. I hate that. I get enough of it at work.

Deciding which books not to keep is the most painful task a librarian faces. Most of us got into the profession out of a basic desire- our love of books. But unlike most everyone else, we don’t presume that once a book makes it to library shelves, it will be there forever. Our experience has taught us libraries not only collect books, but they have to get rid of them too.

We call this process “weeding,” and we do it for the same reason a gardener weeds. We need to make room for fresh, healthy growth. Just because a book makes it to the library shelves, doesn’t mean it stops getting old. Over time, and despite our best efforts, the paper yellows and turns brittle. The binding begins to deteriorate. Dust collects. The lettering on the spine starts to fade. Old books eat up shelf space. After a while, they actually scare people away from the new books.

Particularly in the non-fiction areas, we can’t afford to keep books more than 5-8 years. In some areas, even five years is pushing it. Old books, particularly medical and technical books, have outdated information in them.

How do we decide what goes? Well, it’s kind of like the electoral process- the people decide. Every time someone checks out a book, it counts as one vote. Popular books get a lot of votes. So whenever we weed, we re-elect them to our shelves.

But sometimes we find that a book hasn’t been checked out in a long time. And in the public library, as in politics, a book that hasn’t gotten a single vote in awhile gets kicked out of office. It’s democracy in action.

Even when the “People Have Spoken,” it doesn’t make it any easier on librarians. Some books – classics, for instance – we may choose to replace with newer copies. In our innermost hearts, we still believe that every book has its reader, and every reader his or her book. It’s sad when one of our books goes unloved.

But here’s the other thing, verified by countless libraries around the world. When we get rid of the older growth, the use of the newer material takes a big jump. Now patrons can find what they’re looking for.

So where do new books go when they’ve been weeded? Often, they wind up in library book sales. From there they pass to precisely the places that please us most. They find good homes, with people who will love them.

Ronald W. Shaw


Brains! October 1, 2012

Posted by roganp in Recommendations.
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The reference desk at Steele has had the pleasure of helping students to do the initial research for books and articles for term papers this month and so I’ve been reminded of an article in Publishers Weekly titled Genes Are in Season — Brains, Too.  PW thinks that Sam Kean’s The Violinist’s Thumb may be the most delightful book in the genetics category. Other books on the brain and genes that they like are: The Social Conquest of Earth by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward O. Wilson and  The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain by the Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer was on the NY Times Best Seller List this year and Free Will by Sam Harris examines whether our unconscious determines our actions. DNA USA: A Genetic portrait of America by Bryan Sykes is another important new book for those who want to understand the changing face of the American people.

Whether you want to understand the latest science about the brain or genetics or just want to understand why you are the way you are; you are sure to find a book at Steele library to answer your question.

Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Steele Memorial Library

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