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Better Than Google

Thanks to the excellent schools in Clarkstown, we librarians have faced many challenges in helping  our students. We have dealt with numerous difficult assignments over the years, involving the Supreme Court, the penal code, shark taxonomy and those ever-popular math honor reports. An important part of a librarian's job is to see that we have sufficient materials to supply to students so that they can successfully complete their work.  It is important that we provide that support for students who come to us for help, and we take thiis responsibility  very seriously.

Arturus Rex: The Once and Future King

"And when they came to the sword that the hand held, King Arthur took it up."If Shakespeare is Britain's most enduring voice, surely this man is the heart of its most enduring story: Arthur, the legendary King of the Britons.  Arthur and his knights have inspired the pens of such literary giants as Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, C. S. Lewis, and Marion Zimmer Bradley... but they've also found their way into the adventures of Indiana Jones, Monty Python, and Sonic the Hedgehog.  (I find it intriguing that Shakespeare, who regularly borrowed from England's history and other stories far and wide, never once touched upon what became known as "the matter of Britain"-- the Arthurian mythos.  Perhaps he was leery of poaching in Edmund Spenser's territory.) 

Beyond Books - The Documentary

I used to have more time (or at least I think I did).  I used to have more patience (or at least I think I did).  I used to have more time to read....that I know is true.

I think most of us are feeling time, or the lack of time, pressing in on us.  We are living in an ever accelerating world of technology. Information learned is obsolete almost before it is totally absorbed.  How can we keep up?  One answer is the documentary film. 

From the Collins English Dictionary comes this definition: "a factual film or television program about an event, person, etc. presenting the facts with little or no fiction".  Where it might take us days to many weeks to read a book on a particular subject, the documentary film can cover the same material in two hours or less.

What's Cooking?: Cooking 101

Have you ever felt you were all “butterfingers” in the kitchen (excuse the pun)?  Is preparing a meal for yourself or others more intimidating than skydiving or bungee jumping?  Recently I watched a program The Worst Cooks in America on Food Network.   This series shows the learning progression of contestants who were selected as the worst cooks.  They were taught how to cook by two professional chefs in the show.  As competent as they were in their own professions, they were lost souls in the kitchen.   A professional ballet dancer who performs before thousands of people was terrified behind a stove.  An interior designer had a fear of knives.  A doctor was dismissed at the second show.  I must admit it was hard to watch.  At the last show, it was impressive to see the two finalists, who started out as bumbling fools, battle to become the best cook from this competition, preparing an exquisite 3-course meal judged by elite chefs.  Kudos to them!

Real Men Write Romance (Really!)

Romance fans tend to be voracious readers, always on the lookout for a new author to follow (or an author who's new to them).  With that in mind, I'd like to spotlight a few great romance writers you might not have picked up before.  Let me introduce you to Leigh Greenwood, Dale Cramer, Jessica Stirling, Naomi Neale, M. L. Buchman, Lee Carroll, Z. A. Maxfield, and Ilona Andrews. 

On the surface they don't seem to have a lot in common, aside from writing great romance.  Some are award winners, while others have seen more modest success.  They're all over the map, as far as subgenres go: western, inspirational, historical, chick lit, suspense, gothic, LGBT, and urban fantasy/ paranormal.  Oh... there is one other detail they all have in common: behind every one of their keyboards sits a male author.

With a little help from our Friends....

Have you noticed those new blue and white road signs directing drivers to the New City Library?  Thanks to the FRIENDS of the New City Library, annual membership dues offset the cost of purchasing the seven directional signs placed at key intersections throughout Clarkstown.

Please help FRIENDS with other projects on the Library's wish list and join us today or renew your membership.  Applications are available at the Library and there are several membership levels to select from.

Damaged? Check This Out

You've checked out some material and now you have time to read that book or magazine, listen to an audio book or watch a DVD.  What should you do if you notice a damage, perhaps a disc doesn't play or pages are missing, stained or torn?  We suggest you call Circulation Services (845)634-4997, ext. 124 and tell us about the problem you encountered.  You should also mention it to a staff member at the desk when the item is returned.  It benefits all our members when repairs are done promptly, or if need be the item is reordered.

"My child really enjoyed this book......

....can you tell me the title of a similar one?"  This is a common question asked of us here in the children's department.  If nothing pops into our heads right away, we often check in our database, NoveList K-8 Plus.  This database can be accessed from your home computer or here at the library.  Sounds great!, you say -- but how does it work?  Well, here is a brief introduction to this wonderful resource.  First go to our webpage.  Next, click on the "research" tab at the top.  When the drop-down menu appears, click on "databases".  On the next page there are more tabs!  Pick "literature" and it will bring you to the list of databases we have for that.  There you will see NoveList K-8 Plus. 

Better Than Google

Gale Virtual Reference Library is listed on the first page of our database offerings.  The description says that it is "a general interest database that integrates a variety of sources in one easy-to-use interface."  This rather bland explanation does not indicate the wonderful sources of information it contains.In fact, Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), was voted “Best Overall Database” by the readers of Library Journal magazine. GVRL’s user-friendly features include an interface that is available in more than 30 languages, ReadSpeaker technology (text-to-speech functionality) for 19 languages, article translation capability, a multi-page viewer for a book-like experience, and the ability to download articles as PDFs to ereaders or MP3 players.

The Weird, Weird West

It's been a few years since I blogged about the resurgence of steampunk, first popularized in the 1980s.  Today I can report that steampunk is not only still going strong in speculative fiction but has been adopted by other genres as well, notably mystery and romance.  Even the superhero cosplay community has seen an increasing number of "steampunked" takes on popular characters.

I'm not sure why, but London (or some alt-history version of it) seems to be the unofficial capital of the steampunk world.  Easily three-quarters of the steampunk I've read has been set there.  Mind you, I have nothing against England's capital city, but it seems a shame that so many other worthy venues are going untapped.  Happily, I'm not the only one seeking new frontiers for my historical-flavored speculative fiction.  The American SF community has been staking their own claim on steampunk by reviving a setting they've dabbled in before: the Weird West.

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