Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Favorites

How do you spend the month of December? Does your family celebrate Christmas? Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Winter Solstice? Do you bake special cookies or cakes that have been passed down from one generation to the next?

Here at the Pottsville Free Public Library, we have resources to help you enjoy and make the most of this most festive of months. Whether it's movies on DVD to relax with the family, cookbooks for the celebratory meals, or novels to help you escape from the rush, visit us for some holiday helpers. The titles listed below are just to give you a start!

Great books:
Christmas with Paula Deen (641.5686 D36)

Mrs. Fields Cookie Book: 100 recipes from the kitchen of Mrs. Debbie Fields (641.8654 F46m)

It's a Gingerbread House: bake it, build it, eat it! (j 641.86 W)

Celebrating Holidays Scrapbook-Style (745.593 C392)

Christmas Crafts from Around the World (j 745.59 S)

How to Spell Chanukah: 18 writers celebrate 8 nights of lights (296.435 H83)

The Stone Lamp: 8 stories of Hanukkah through history (j 811.54 H)

Seven Spools of Thread: a Kwanzaa story (jE M)

The Complete Kwanzaa: celebrating our cultural harvest (394.261 R451)

Songs of Joy and Peace (CD R MA SJP S42) -- Christmas songs plus music for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

Wintertime: the United States Air Force Band (CD H United W U01) -- Seasonal samplings include English carols, Hanukkah songs, and Gregorian chants

The Night Before Christmas... and more Christmas stories (j DVD-118)

White Christmas (DVD-550)

The Little Drummer Boy... and 4 more holiday stories (j DVD-245)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great New Encyclopedias

When you think of reference books, you probably think of things like a basic dictionary and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, right? But the Reference Department has thousands of titles, so we’d like to introduce you to some of them. Here are 10 of the newest or oddest encyclopedias in our collection!

The Anime Encyclopedia: A guide to Japanese animation since 1977 (2006), Ref 791.43 C591

The Atlantis Encyclopedia (2005), Ref 001.94 J774

The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The definitive guide to the characters of the DC universe (2008), Ref 741.5 D339

The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine (2008), Ref 973.7 Sc76

The Encyclopedia of Crime Scene Investigation (2008), Ref 363.25 En19

The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, handguns, and ham sandwiches (2008), Ref 782.42 Si47

The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool: A celebration of the grooviest people, events, and artifacts of the 1960’s (2007), Ref 920.02 St872

Encyclopedia of Stress (1999), Ref 155.9 M179

The New Encyclopedia of Flower Remedies: The definitive practical guide to all flower remedies, their making and uses (2007), Ref 615.321 H262

Science in the Ancient World: An encyclopedia (2004), Ref 509.303 L446

Come in to take a peek at these great titles, or check the library’s catalog to find out if we have any other encyclopedias you might be like.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Updated Pottsville Republican Obituary Index!

For all you genealogy buffs out there, this one is for you! We have placed an updated obituary index on our genealogy page for the Pottsville Republican newspaper. How is it bigger and better than what we had before?
  • Corrections to entries from previous index;
  • More years covered;
  • Over 100,000 names on the list!
Yes, that's right, we've gone over the 100,000 mark. In plain text format, that translates to over 1850 pages if you were to print it out.

Go to the Pottsville Library website at and click on the link for "Genealogy and Local History Materials". There you will see a link for the Newspapers section and can view this wondrous list for yourself.

We do accept entries from genealogy researchers, so if you'd like to add to our list just let us know. We prefer to have the entries reflect the dates and pages the obituaries appeared, rather than the date of death, and we can use information for the three newspapers in our collection (Pottsville Republican, Shenandoah Evening Herald, and the Ashland Daily News).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ways To Save At The Library!

Experts may say the recession is ending but we are all still feeling the pinch. Let the library help you! Take a look at these books and magazines for ideas to help you save your money in these difficult times.

The 21st Century Economy: A beginner’s guide, with 101 easy-to-learn tools for thriving in the new global marketplace – 330.9 Ep74

Home Energy Diet: How to save money by making your house energy-smart – 644 Sch21

Yankee Magazine’s Living Well On A Shoestring: 1,501 ingenious ways to spend less for what you need and have more for what you want – 640.41 Y169

Budget Travel – “Vacations for Real People” – How to find everything from great trips for less to where you can find the best food along the way.

Consumer Reports – Not just about car ratings, this old standby often has articles on topics like easy ways to cut your energy bills, which (cheaper) store brands are better than name brands, and other ways to save your hard-earned cash.

Mother Earth News – “The Original Guide to Living Wisely” – Offers tips from living simply to ways to make your home powered by alternative energy. This magazine is not just for farmers and hippies!

Workbench – Ever watch “Trading Spaces” or HGTV and wish you had someone to show you how to do those quick and easy projects? Start with this magazine, which includes lots of inexpensive craft and organization solutions, tool guides, and larger projects like furniture.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Approaching Flu Season

The H1N1 (swine) flu is in the news, and as we get closer to regular flu season things become a little more complicated. Where can you get the information you need from a source you can trust?

There are lots of web sites out there, and we’ve identified some of the best. Start with the web sites below to find out what you need to know. – An official US government website, this resource gives you useful tips like how to keep your kids flu free, what vaccines are out there, and what to do if you get flu-like symptoms.

Influenza: Evidence-Based Information Portal -- This site from a respected online and reference publisher provides reliable facts for health professionals and patients. Resources are for both H1N1 flu and seasonal flu.

More local information and guidelines can be found at the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health and Schuylkill County Preparedness sites.

Popular health sites like WebMD and Mayo Clinic have excellent sections for hot topics, and flu is no exception.

Of course, there are some things that everyone should do to help prevent the spread of the flu: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And get vaccinated for both seasonal flu and H1N1 flu.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Writing A Blog About A Writing Blog

Yes, that title is correct: today our blog post is about a blog. Not just any blog, but a blog all about writing.

Jodi Webb brought our attention to The Muffin: Fresh News Daily from the bakers of (Click here to visit the blog.) The blog has a number of contributors, and is one of the communication forums for the WOW! website.

The post for Sep. 21 features an interview with a woman who is launching her blog tour for her newest book, "The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body". Author/poet Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg answers a variety of questions about her book and her writing.

Interviews aren't just with women writers, however, so men shouldn't be scared off! Comments about interviews are encouraged; in fact, they have contests for copies of the books just for those who submit a comment.

You can also find links for the WOW! eZine, contests, workshops, and classes.

So head on over to The Muffin for perspectives, news, and encouragement in the world of writing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To Tweet or Not To Tweet, that is the question!

The Pottsville Free Public Library recently started a Twitter account. If you already tweet you can find us by searching for PottsvilleRef (capital letters are important).

Twitter ( It’s been called the most significant major innovation for rapid brief communications to ever come along, the newest killer app.

Here is how Twitter works: you compose your message in 140 characters or less, so it keeps you focused. You can direct this message to one specific individual or broadcast it more widely to target specific subject interest groups, but they must be already enlisted in Twitter. You can report on your breakfast, break news stories, promote your event, blow the whistle on social injustice, report your new discoveries, find your lost dog or a home for the dog that found you, respond and participate in radio and television talk shows …

Is Twitter the new anarchy that’s rapidly destroying the English language and all of civilization with it? Or do you think it’s a new kind of poetry?

If you use Twitter, please let us know: What do you tweet about? What do you want to hear from us?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Budget Struggles Continue

You've seen it on the news: local, county and state agencies face money problems if the legislators don't pass a budget soon.

So what can you do about it? Call, write, or email your representatives. Ask them to put pressure on the budget committee to come up with a fair budget and to do it soon. Urge them to support level funding for public libraries, because more people than ever need the resources only a public library can provide.

And don't forget to thank your representative for supporting public libraries in the past!

Names and addresses are below if you need them, or contact the Reference Department at and we can help you identify the right person to contact.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Public Libraries Still Need Your Help!

The budget isn't done yet, so we still need you and your voice! A small committee is in the process of deciding the budget, and we need to get our message to that group.

Please write, call, or email your senator and representative. Thank them for supporting public libraries in the past and urge them to contact the budget negotiators. Ask them to urge the budget negotiators to make libraries a priority for level funding in the final budget deal.

Any cuts in library funding will result in libraries cutting down on hours, laying off staff, and reducing services you have come to depend on.

Please help us get the word to Harrisburg that we need level funding for public libraries to preserve services for those who need them the most.

Your voice is crucial to public libraries right now and can make a difference!

29th State Senatorial District -- The Honorable David Argall
Senate Box 203029
168 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029
Phone: (717) 787-2637

123rd State House District -- The Honorable Neal P. Goodman
House of Representatives
G-07 K. Leroy Irvis Office Bldg
PO Box 202123
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2123
Phone: (717) 787-2798

125th State House District -- The Honorable Tim Seip
Rm 115-B East Wing
PO Box 202125
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2125
Phone: (717) 772-5771

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Kind of Computer Classes Should the Library Offer?

The computer classes at the Pottsville Free Public Library are very popular and usually have a waiting list. But we want to know: What kind of computer class would you like to see us offer?

We will continue to offer the basic course (which covers how to use a computer mouse and how to start a program), as well as the basic course about the Internet. But are there other areas you want to learn about?

Some ideas we had were how to use Facebook, how to share photos online, and other topics like that.

Have an opinion? Let us know! We just need your name, your telephone number (if we offer the class you suggest, we'll call you to let you know), and the kind of computer class you would like to take here at the library. All computer classes are free, but you do need to have a valid Pottsville Library card in order to attend.

We can't promise to offer everything that is suggested, but we can't offer the classes if we don't know you want them!

Call the library at 622-8880 or email us at to give us your opinion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Daily Republican, Schuylkill Roots, and the Molly Maguires

Here at the Pottsville Free Public Library we have a unique collection of local history and genealogy materials. Local newspapers, census records, city directories and annual mining reports are on microfilm, while family and county histories are on our Local History shelves.

Looking for Schuylkill County obituaries? We have the Pottsville Republican newspaper from October1884 to the present time, and we are creating an index for it. You can view what we have already accomplished by clicking right here or by going to our “Genealogy and Local History Materials” page and click on the link for 'Newspapers'. We also have some microfilm of the Shenandoah Evening Herald (May 1891 - 1980 with some gaps) and the Ashland Daily News (1926 - 1950).

Our collection of graveyard, church, and funeral home records compiled by Schuylkill Roots is probably the most used part of the collection. An inventory of what we have is found on our Schuylkill County genealogy and local history page. These books are published by Jean Dellock and Philip Rice. Jean is now with the Historical Society of Schuylkill County; you can visit the Society at their website.

We have a number of materials pertaining to the Molly Maguires, ranging from a VHS copy of the film staring Sean Connery to a scrapbook on microfilm, and an ample collection of fiction and non-fiction books.

Have any questions? Give us a call or send us an email to find out more.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Library is Rearranging!

Have you visited the Pottsville Library recently? We've been rearranging several collections, all to serve you better.

Current magazines have been moved from the front area of Reference into the side room that also contains our microfilm machines and collections. If you need help finding it, just ask at the Reference Desk and we'll help you out.

The shelves that used to hold the magazines now hold the entire VHS tape collection. We hope this will help people find the video tapes they are looking for, compared to before the shift when they were in three different places in the library.

The spinners that held the VHS tapes are being moved around some, and will hold more of the music CDs and the DVDs.

Upstairs on the second floor, the science fiction, paperback, large print, and books on audio tape collections are being shifted around. Hopefully, with all this shifting, there will be more room for the books on CD collection which continues to grow.

Of course, anytime you have problems finding something, please ask one of the library staff for help!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

State Budget Cuts Will Hurt Public Libraries

We need your help!

The Pennsylvania Senate has proposed a state budget for 2009-2010. Their budget cuts the state funding for public libraries by 50%. In Schuylkill County, that kind of cut would be devastating: many local libraries will have to cut their hours, all will have to reduce purchases of new books and other materials, and some libraries may even be forced to close. The funding for the POWER Library would be cut completely, meaning our students will not have access to vital homework tools. Other cuts would reduce our ability to borrow materials from other libraries in the state. All of these at a time when many families need to spend less and are depending on their local public libraries more!

The Governor’s proposed budget for 2009-2010 has smaller cuts, but any cuts right now will hurt Schuylkill County libraries. The House has presented their proposed budget, and it is similar to the Governor’s.

If all this isn’t bad enough, there is more: if the funding for public libraries is drastically cut at the state level as the Senate budget proposes, it will cost Pennsylvania millions of dollars in lost federal funds. It’s like a double whammy.

Please write to your state representative, your state senator, and Governor Rendell using the mailing or web addresses below and tell them about the importance of public libraries in your life. Tell them public libraries are needed by state residents already hurt by the layoffs and financial crises. Most importantly, ask them to support level funding for library services next year.

Your voice is crucial to public libraries right now and can make a difference!

The Honorable Edward Rendell
Governor of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120


29th State Senatorial District --
The Honorable David Argall
Senate Box 203029
168 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3029


123rd State House District --
The Honorable Neal P. Goodman
House of Representatives
G-07 K. Leroy Irvis Office Bldg
PO Box 202123
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2123

125th State House District --
The Honorable Tim Seip
Rm 115-B East Wing
PO Box 202125
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2125


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wind Energy: Clean & Endlessly Renewable? Part One

The first windmill used in the United States for generating electricity was patented in 1888 by George F. Brush in Cleveland, Ohio. There was a boom in small-scale electrical generation using the wind from 1890 until the 1930s, when the Rural Electrification Administration developed large power grids and huge power generators, and put an end to small farm or home-sized power generation.

Today there ae two kinds of wind turbines: vertical axis (shaped like egg beaters) and horizontal axis (shaped like pinwheels). The vertical axis type can handle wind coming from any direction, while the pinwheel model needs to be adjusted for wind variations.

Most of us have seen the huge turbines on hills and think, "Great! Cheap, non-polluting, renewable energy!" But there are a number of problems surrounding the wind energy issue. Some of these include variations in the wind speed and direction, the noise of the turbines, the amount of land needed, and the turbines' affect on bird and bat populations.

Find out more about the history, issues, and ongoing research in wind energy by using some of the books at the Pottsville Free Public Library. Here are some of the most current:

Alternative Energy: Volume 3 (2006) - Ref 333.794 Al794

Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound (2007) - 333.9 W676

Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy (2001) - Ref 621.042 M228

U.S. National Debate Topic, 2008-2009: Alternative Energy (2008) - 333.794 U17

Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business (2004) - 621.45 G44

Check back soon for Part Two and more resources on this topic!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everyone Outside!

The weather is finally warm, and the great outdoors is calling! But make one more indoor stop first: come in to the library to find out about all the great things you can do outside in Schuylkill County. The Reference Desk has a copy of the “Schuylkill County Outdoor Discovery” map which shows you where you can find hiking paths, golf courses, birding areas (Hawk Mountain isn’t the only place to go to see winged wildlife!), fishing spots,… The list is long.

You can also find outdoor activities on the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau website.

So why come in to the library when some of the information is available to you online?

Location, location, location. Looking at the map can help you find activities close together. The map will show there are picnicking, hiking, and swimming opportunities in the Minersville area; covered bridges and fishing near Rock; or environmental education and golfing around Valley View.

Either way, it's time to get outside and enjoy all that Schuylkill County has to offer!

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Code Books at the Library

This just in: the 2009 International Code Council books are at the Pottsville Library! Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. But if you are planning on building a home, renovating a downtown structure, looking for energy conservation guidelines, or just want to know the latest in fire codes, you need to look at the ICC code books. New buildings, existing buildings, plumbing, property maintenance, they are all here in the Reference Department.

Remember that if you are doing renovations to your home, you need to check with the Zoning & Code Enforcement Office for fees and permits. Click on the links to view the Pottsville City Code online and find contact information for the Pottsville Zoning & Code Office.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

POW! Pottsville Open Writers group

The next meeting of POW! will be at the Pottsville Library on Saturday, May 9th, 2009, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Group members were assigned to write about "With my magic glasses I can see...". Visit the group's web page at for more information.