Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is National Poetry Month!

Today begins National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poems and poets past and present. There are a number of ways you can take part!

The Academy of American Poets has two web pages to help get you started. What Is National Poetry Month? answers some of the questions you might have about NPM specifically, such as who started it, why April, and how groups can get involved. 30 Ways to Celebrate gives some ways you or your group can take part in the celebration, such as using chalk to write a poem on the sidewalk, some classic poems to read and share, how to start a poetry group, and more.

You can find many, many poems and poets at the Poetry Foundation website, including a variety of poems specific to a season, occasion, or even region (like poems by poets from the Mid-Atlantic region).

If you are trying to find out more about a particular poet, you might try using your Pottsville Library card in the POWER Library Network, and explore the Contemporary Authors database there.

If you enjoy short, funny poems, why not attend the Pottsville Open Writers (POW!) meeting this Saturday, April 5? The topic for the day is "a funny short story or poem". Everyone shares what they came up with, then there is another writing assignment during the meeting on a topic chosen by that day's leader. POW meetings are open to anyone age 18 and older, new members are always welcome, and there is no fee to join! POW meets on the second floor of the Pottsville Library from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

And, in hopes we've seen the last of the winter weather, a haiku from the Reference Desk:

Winter is now gone
Cool wind blows across blue sky
Slowly Spring arrives.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Annual Update to Obituary Index

Great news for genealogy researchers: the annual update to the Pottsville Republican obituary index has been put up on our genealogy page! You can find the index here:  http://www.pottsvillelibrary.org/genie.htm#news .  The list is now more than 3,700 pages long and includes more than 178,000 names. It covers 1884-1894, 1950-mid1982, 2008-2013, and any names we find as we answer requests for copies of obituaries, plus names and dates provided by other genealogy researchers. As you can see, we have a long way to go, but every name we add (and we add names on an almost daily basis) helps it grow.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Take Part in Read an E-Book Week, March 2-8, 2014

E-books: they seem to be everywhere, talked about by everyone, argued about, loved, hated, cheered, ignored. If you haven't tried reading e-books yet because you don't want to spend the money on a tablet or e-reader, we have some great news for you: you can read e-books on your computer, laptop or smartphone. Here are some great places to find free e-books, most of which can be downloaded and read without any special software or devices.

Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) is the original source for free e-books on the Internet. (I read my first e-book, "Herland", from this site more than 20 years ago!) These are all books that were previously published and are now in the public domain. Great place to find the classics, most of which can be downloaded for use on most devices and computers. (Parents, keep this site in mind for your kid's summer reading assignments!)

The Online Books Page hosted by the University of Pennsylvania (onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu) has gathered together the records for more than one million free e-books from all over the Internet. Here you will find non-English language e-books, banned books, featured women writers, and other collections. Where else could you stumble on Haunted Houses: Tales of the Supernatural, With Some Account of Hereditary Curses and Family Legends (London: Chapman and Hall, 1907), by Charles G. Harper?

Read Easily Online Library (www.readeasily.com) focuses on providing more display options for e-books. The site allows you to change the font size, as well as font color and background color, with the options based on research for what works best for those who are partially sighted and old age readers. The files are also formatted to work with text-to-speech software for the blind and visually impaired.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, DigiLibraries, Feedbooks, and Smashwords are all sources for more free e-books, both classic and current, as well as e-books you can purchase. If you are looking for e-books written by Schuylkill County authors, these sites are the best places to check.

So, if you've been one of those who have ignored e-books, thinking there was nothing you wanted to spend money on, this is the time to give e-books a chance. And if you are a fan of e-books, and we left out one of your favorite sources for reading, please share that site with us!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Celebrating African American History Month!

There are so many ways to celebrate African American History month, so many reasons to celebrate it, and so many people to celebrate, it can be a little overwhelming where to start. Whether you are cheering on Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams in the women's bobsled event at the Winter Olympics, or you've been following speedskater Shani Davis over the years; whether you were alive when the Civil Rights Act was passed 50 years ago; whether you listen to music, read history, or watch films; all of these are reasons to celebrate this month.

One of the great places to start learning more is at the African American History website created by the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, and several other federal agencies. From here you can learn more about the Underground Railroad through the National Park Service's Network to Freedom. Or visit the Exhibitions and Collections section to view some of the art and learn about some of the artists featured in the National Gallery of Art.

If you have a Pottsville Library card, you can use it to access some of the ebooks in the Reference Collection. From the library's homepage at www.pottsvillelibrary.org, click on Infobase eBooks to read "African Americans in the Military", or "Encyclopedia of Free Blacks and People of Color in the Americas".

Your Pottsville Library card also gives you access to the POWER Library Network. Need to find an African American author born in Pennsylvania? Contemporary Authors allows you to search by ethnicity, gender, and birth place. Need to find articles about civil rights, published within the last ten years? MasterFILE Main Edition allows you to search by subject and narrow it to just those dates you need, and only those articles that are available full text (so you can read the entire article on your computer screen). And SIRS Discoverer has some great resources for elementary and middle school school students who have a homework assignment due tomorrow!

And, if you have to come in to the library, we have a number of great reference, circulating, and children's books about African Americans in history and today. Library staff will help you get started in finding out more about this important group in our nation's history.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter Weather and Library Hours

The last few weeks have been brutal, haven't they? Snow storm after snow storm, with some ice mixed in there. Lovely. The Pottsville Library does try to remain open as much as possible, but we do sometimes close  for the safety of our staff and users. If you are hoping to come in to the library, and the weather is bad, please check our Facebook page to see if we're closed or closing early, or give us a call before you head out. We want everyone to stay safe this season!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tax Season Has Officially Started

So, the first day to file federal tax returns has come and gone (Jan. 31). The Pottsville Library has received some of the federal forms, such as the 1040A and the 1040EZ, but the main form has not yet arrived. As soon as the regular 1040 gets here we'll be sure to put it out! In the meantime, the other two have been made available in our lobby area (across from the Circulation Desk), as well as the state forms.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Carpet at the Pottsville Library

This week they started replacing the fire-damaged carpet in the library. And not just the section that was damaged: the entire first floor is receiving new carpet! So library staff and users alike have had to make adjustments as different areas were worked on (and thus unavailable to the public). The lobby and Circulation Desk area were finished before the library opened on Monday morning, and they've nearly finished the Reference Department, with one more section to be done after today. Next up will be the Children's Department and finishing the Magazine Room in the back. The project has certainly dictated how Reference service was provided this week!

Don't remember why there was fire-damaged carpet?

These photos were taken the morning of July 31, 2013, after the fire was put out and before the clean-up crew got started. The light fixture overheated, causing melted plastic to drip down onto the carpet, which then started burning. Fortunately, the janitor grabbed a fire extinguisher and was able to put out the fire before the firetrucks got there (all the gray powdery stuff on the floor is from the extinguisher). The fire and hot dripping plastic melted the floor mats to the carpet, which then cooled to a lumpy mess. We had to keep a step stool over that spot to keep people from tripping on it, and slightly rearranged the computers. Somehow the computers weren't damaged by either the fire or the extinguisher!

This photo shows the old fire-damaged carpet removed from the computer area. This was the first section worked on, even before the very front of the Reference Department. This meant that, just like right after the fire, adults had to use the computers in the Children's Department on Monday and Tuesday while that section of the library was worked on. Computers in the Reference Department were once again available to our users on Wednesday. But, once they start working on the Children's Department, adults will have to share their computers with the kids!

Look closely under the edge of the shelf on the right (on old carpet). See those round things? Those are sliders that the company slipped under the shelving units to shift them back and forth as needed. This was one of the lighter units, so they didn't have to remove any books before moving the shelving unit. 

The front section of the room is finished, but all tables (and other flat surfaces) are needed to hold reference books from the shelves in the back. So, Wednesday morning the computers were available for use but we couldn't provide anywhere for anyone else to sit and read the paper. Like the previous two days, newspaper and magazine readers were encouraged to take their reading material upstairs to the tables and chairs on the second floor.

 The grand staircase provided another safe place to put some of the reference books from the back of the room. As one of the movers put it, "That's higher education for you right there!"  :)  They also made use of the tops of the wooden shelves running along the wall, under the windows, as well as the tops of the Vertical File cabinets.

One of the toughest parts for the movers was dealing with the microfilm cabinets in the Magazine Room. The two newer cabinets do not have removable drawers, and weigh a considerable amount. To make matters worse, there isn't much space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling tiles (and lights!). Somehow, the three men got them moved. Don't think I want to see how they move them back when the new carpet is in place!

More photos will be put on the library's Facebook page as the work progresses, so if you're curious you can follow it better there. In the meantime, please forgive us if we can't get something for you, or your favorite space isn't available, or if the smell of the adhesive is too strong for you. They are finishing up as quickly as they can, and hopefully within the next week or so the library will be back to normal -- just with better carpet!