Friday, December 27, 2013

More New Magazines Have Arrived!

More of the new magazine subscriptions have arrived. Today we'll look at some of the health-related titles you can find at the Pottsville Free Public Library.

First up, Arthritis Today. This title has three main sections: Your Health, which includes things like eye health, recent studies, working with kids, and losing weight; Your Self, which can include tips like feeling better in little ways, or healthier food choices; and Your Lift, which has interviews with people dealing with arthritis every day and how they manage. Foot pain and keeping warm in winter are just some of the topics in the January/February 2014 issue now at the library.

Gluten-Free Living is mostly packed with recipes, for adults and for kids. Beyond just recipes, however, there are also articles about living with celiac disease, different kitchen tools that can make life easier, and information from recent studies. The January/February 2014 issue has a Valentine's Day menu featuring Strawberry Salad and "Guilt-Free Brownies" the whole family can enjoy.

Yoga Journal is more than just the poses. The December 2013 issue includes an article about how to avoid catching a cold, non-alcoholic mixed drinks for get-togethers, new cookbooks, and reviews of books, CDs and DVDs. The Practice section focuses on one or two specific poses, such as the corpse pose (which is all about the subtleties).

Don't forget, there are other health-related magazines at the Pottsville Library as well! Titles like Prevention, Health, Weight Watchers, WebMD, and Diabetes Forecast all have useful articles to help you have your healthiest year in 2014. And all magazines can be checked out for one week, except the current issue.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Magazine Subscriptions Have Started!

We try to keep up with what our library patrons want to read. This year we have dropped a few magazine subscriptions that weren't getting much use, and we started several new subscriptions we think you might like to read. And the new 2014 subscriptions have already started to arrive, so let's get to know them a bit.

First up is Autism Spectrum Quarterly. This is shelved in the Parenting Collection area of the Children's Room, so be sure to look for it there. Articles about evidence-based research, management strategies, and how to deal with common issues can all be found in this journal. Take a look at the Winter 2013 issue, which has a holiday gift guide and tips for the holiday season.

Next up is Family Tree Magazine, with tips and guides to help you research your own family tree. The December 2013 issue features the best free websites to trace US ancestors, how to plan a trip to an ancestral homeland, and tricks to working with a research partner. There is also a section on holiday heritage activities, how to trace Filipino roots, and a glossary of genealogy-related acronyms and abbreviations.

More Magazine focuses its stories on women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Articles might look at avoiding burnout at work, age-appropriate fashions and styles, medical issues (what medical procedures are over-prescribed?), and similar topics. The Dec./Jan. issue even has a cheat sheet so you can understand some of the buzz terms being used by younger people at holiday parties.

And the last title for today, Motorcyclist, well, that's pretty much self-explanatory! Reviews of street and off-road motorcycles and "superbikes", gear guides, stories of races, and personal trips make up just part of this magazine.

Many of the new titles will be featured on the display rack at the front of the Reference area in the near future, so keep your eyes open for them. In the meantime, they can be found in their boxes in the Magazine room. More titles are expected to arrive soon, and we'll talk about them here when they do. Have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What Do You Want From a Book?

What do you think of when you think "book"? Is it words in ink on paper, compiled into bound portable reading units? Is it words on a screen (e-reader or tablet), a file that is downloaded from a seller or from a free site? Is it words spoken into your ear, a printed text read by the author or a performer, allowing you to "read" on your hour-long commute every day? All of these things qualify as a "reading a book" today, and each has its fans and detractors.

The question that frequently pops up, however, is what else a book SHOULD be. Should a book take advantage of today's constant connectivity to allow you to see a video that is relevant to the paragraph you just read? Should a book be something you can jot notes in and have those notes immediately available for other readers to see? Should a book include music inspired by or part of the story or text? Some of these things already appear in "books" aimed at beginning or struggling readers, children, and others trying to connect a printed word with its sound and meaning. (Take a look at BookFlix, part of the POWER Library Network, available to anyone with a Pottsville Library card.) But a number of articles over the years have tried to explain how books for the general adult reader could be made so much better if only authors and publishers would make use of the various technologies and social networking options available to us today. And yet, many of the proposed changes to books just don't seem to catch on.

Do you want to have a video, music, or another reader play or talk to you while you are reading? Do you read to escape interruptions and the constant clicking that we do when using a computer? When does a book cease to be a book, and become a movie, or a game, or a conversation? Maybe the answer lies in what kind of book it is: a biography of a musician might make sense to include samples of songs he or she recorded; a book about birds might want to include the bird songs or videos of birds in flight.

In the meantime, print books continue to be produced and read in large numbers, showing that some people still just want to shut out the rest of the world while they immerse themselves in a story. E-readers serve the same purpose, focusing on the story without lights flashing or bells whistling. And if they want to talk to others about it, readers join book clubs or start conversations with their friends. Here's to hoping we will always have the option to read a book in whatever way we prefer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tis the Season for Giving... What?

As a library, we often promote the idea of giving books as gifts any time of year, but especially in December. Books are a way to bring people together to share a story, or to help a child develop their imagination, or to share cherished traditions. We argue that reading expands minds, helps the armchair traveler explore new cultures, and provides escape and leisure in a hectic world.

If you are thinking about giving someone a book as a gift, here's a thought: is it the right gift for that person? Maybe a book isn't always the best idea. Beth Carswell of AbeBooks posted a thought-provoking article a couple of years ago that is still relevant, "The Best Book Gifts, And When Not To Give A Book." She lists ten situations where giving a book as a gift may not be the best idea, like for college students who already are overwhelmed with course reading and may not have time to enjoy "fun" stuff.

If you still really want to give someone a book as a gift, what format is the best? So many people have switched to ebooks, and you need to know what kind of device they use to read their ebooks. Do they use a tablet with an app from each major ebook retailer? Do they have a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo ereader and buy only from that company? Are they anti-Amazon, or anti-DRM? (This is really, really important to know when you want to give an ebook to someone.) How does one even give someone else an ebook as a gift? Juli Monroe over at TeleRead has a good description of how you can do this: "Giving eBooks as Gifts."

Don't forget that a great opportunity to support local authors is coming this Saturday, November 30. The Local Author Showcase at the Pottsville Library is part of the national Small Business Saturday event going on in downtown Pottsville. More than 25 authors from Schuylkill County will be at the library from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., selling print copies of their books (and some might have other media formats as well, like musical CDs). You can read the Republican Herald's story about the events for more about other businesses taking part in the event. Saturday is also the day of the Santa parade in town, the lighting of the city's Christmas tree, and the children's Christmas party at the Humane Fire Company.

Let the holiday season begin!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Today in History: Silly Edition

It's Friday, and sometimes even adults have to be a little silly.

Today (November 15) is the birthday of author Daniel Pinkwater. Haven't heard of him? Your children might have. He's written such wonderful books as Fat Camp Commandos, Fat Men From Space, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, and The Neddiad: How Neddie took the train, went to Hollywood, and saved civilization. All of these titles are in the children's fiction collection here at the library.

Not so silly: Today is also the birthday of American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. You can look at some of her works in The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum here at the library (759.13 G296, on the second floor).

In the mood for some music? Celebrate Kevin Eubanks' birthday by listening to his CD, Zen Food, available at the library (CD MJ EUBA ZF M 54; sorry, that's a long call number!). He was born in Philadelphia, making him one of our many regional artists.

Back to being silly, here's some theatrical history for you. On Nov. 15, 1886, Charles A. Gardiner's play "Karl The Peddler" used the name "George Spelvin" as one of the actor's names, to hide the fact that one actor was playing more than one role in the play. The female version of this name is "Georgina" or "Georgette", or something similar. It's said that "George Spelvin" has appeared in more than 10,000 Broadway performances since then. The Pottsville Library has a number of books about the history of Broadway, both reference and those that can be checked out, if you're curious to read more.

The final silly fact for the day: Tomorrow, November 16, is the annual elephant roundup in Thailand. With elephant demonstrations, tug-of-war between an elephant and 100 men, and elephant races, who could pass up such a day? Don't believe me? You can read the Wikipedia page about it here:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tis the Season to Make Some Memories

As our society gets more and more consumer-driven (stores opening on Thanksgiving, anyone?), some people are fighting against it by trying to make more of their own items or making gifts for others. Whether you want to give cookies or candles, knitted scarves or painted ornaments, we have books that will help you create memories for everyone on your list!

The Oxford Christmas Book for Children (j 394.268 O) has crafts that kids can make, along with games, recipes, and stories.

Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts (745.594 St49) has Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's crafts to try (not to mention holidays from the rest of the year, too).

Feeling a little broke? Holiday Crafts Under $10 (745.5941 H717) can help you figure out things to make that won't empty your wallet.

Christmas Comfort & Joy: 501 Crafts, Decorating, and Food Ideas to Make Your Holiday Unforgettable (745.594 C464) might seem more ambitious, but who says you have to try all 501?

Beautiful Beads (j 745.58 R) has some great ideas for projects that kids can make for each other.

Or you can give EcoArt! (j 745.5 C) a try, helping kids ages 3 to 9 create with recycled materials.

Want to learn how to paint? The 751 section on the second floor has a wide variety of books on how to use watercolor, oil, or acrylic paint to express your creative side.

Or, teach yourself how to knit, using Getting Started Knitting (746.43 W892) as your guide. There is even a book just for kids who want to learn, Kids Knit! (j 746.43 B).

Don't forget all the magazines that put out Christmas cookie specials, often starting with the November issues. Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living, and Taste of Home are all great places to find new cookie recipes to celebrate the season.

Did we miss something? Contact the Reference Department and we'll help you find information on the craft you want to explore.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Events at the Pottsville Library

The Pottsville Library will be offering a new computer class this month. "Perils of the Internet; or, There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!" will be on Tuesday, October 29 at 2:30 p.m. The class will also be offered on November 19 at 6 p.m. if you prefer evenings. The class is free, but class size is limited and you need a valid Pottsville Library card to sign up. Call the library at 570-622-8880 to register, or stop by the Circulation Desk next time you come in. Henry's discussion of spammers and hackers is sure to be entertaining and informative!

On October 31, from 4 - 6 p.m., the Children's Room will be hosting a haunted house open to all ages. This will be taking place during the downtown Pottsville merchants trick-or-treating. Come in to the library to find out what kinds of scares the Teen Advisory Board has come up with this year! City-wide trick-or-treating will be from 6 - 8 p.m. that evening.

Looking further down the road, don't forget the Local Author Showcase from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. here at the Pottsville Library on November 30, during Small Business Saturday activities in downtown Pottsville. Almost 20 authors will be on hand with their books on a wide variety of subjects, giving you a great opportunity to pick up some holiday gifts and support Schuylkill County people at the same time. The city will be hosting the Santa Parade at 5:30 p.m. that day, followed by the lighting of the tree in Garfield Square at 6 p.m.

Questions about things happening at the library? Please call us at 570-622-8880 to find out what else is going on at your public library!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month

Recent years have seen a big increase in the number of foods being sold and advertised as "gluten-free". Most people understand this refers to wheat, but many aren't sure of the purpose. October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, to help people understand what celiac disease is and how gluten is involved.

According to the definition by the Celiac Sprue Assocation (, celiac disease (or CD) is not an allergy or an intolerance. CD is an autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine and make it difficult for people to absorb nutrients. The reaction is triggered by eating certain grain-based products, such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats, all of which contain gluten. CD is not something you can catch; you have to be genetically disposed to it, and experience some kind of trigger (which could be environmental, emotional, or physical), and have a diet that includes wheat, or barley, etc. You can find out more information at "Celiac Disease Defined" or at the Mayo Clinic's page, "Celiac Disease".

The Pottsville Free Public Library has several books available to help you manage a gluten-free diet. Below are some titles and and their call numbers to help you find them. All of these books, plus others, are available to be checked out:

Celiac Disease: a hidden epidemic (2006) -- 616.399 G825

Cooking for Your Gluten-free Teen (2013) -- 641.5 B453

The Dairy-free and Gluten-free Kitchen (2012) -- 641.3 J284

The G-free Diet: a gluten-free survival guide (2009) -- 613.2 H276

Gluten-free Girl (2007) -- 615.854 Ah34

The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking (2012) -- 641.5 R275

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Affordable Care Act and Ways You Already Benefit

There is so much confusion being spread about what the Affordable Care Act does and does not do, that it can be hard to know whether it's worth it all or not. Here are some ways many people already benefit from this important law:

  • Students up to age 26 can remain on their parents' health insurance plans. Many young adults just getting out of college struggle to find a full-time job which provides health benefits, so in one stroke the law increased the number of people with health insurance. This started with plans beginning on or after September 23, 2010.
  • Uniform Coverage Summaries for Consumers requires all plans to provide a uniform summary of benefits and coverage, making it easier for individuals and businesses to compare plans and to understand what is and is not covered by the plans. Kind of like making sure that you are comparing apples to apples, and not apples to lemons. This went into effect in 2012.
  • Children cannot be excluded from a parent's health coverage because of the health status of that child. This went into effect in 2010, and meant that thousands of children with chronic health conditions like juvenile diabetes would not be without health insurance.
  • Starting in 2010, new health plans had to provide certain preventive services without "cost-sharing" for patients. These preventive services include recommended immunizations and screenings, as well as preventive check-ups for children.
More changes (and benefits) are coming in the very near future:

  • Starting in 2014, adults cannot be denied health insurance because of pre-existing health conditions. Those with pre-existing conditions also cannot be charged more for health insurance than those who are healthy. So, say you have Type II diabetes and you decide to change jobs: if your new employer offers health insurance to the other employees, you cannot be denied the same health insurance coverage, nor can you be required to pay more for your insurance than your coworkers (if employees contribute to their health insurance coverage).
  • Starting October 1, 2013, you can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace to find a health insurance plan that meets your needs. All plans in the marketplace will be required to meet minimum levels of coverage. Some states have created their own "exchanges", others use the federal "exchange". Visit and click on the "See Your Options" button for more information, even before Oct. 1.
  • Starting in 2014, even "grandfathered" plans must eliminate annual limits for coverage; lifetime limits were eliminated in 2010. Grandfathered plans are employer health insurance plans that were in place on March 23, 2010, and are restricted in what changes may be made to the plans.
For even more information about the Affordable Care Act and how it's changing health insurance for everyone, visit either's "How does the health care law protect me?", or the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Reform site.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New School Year Means Science Experiment Time!

"Hey Mom, I forgot to go to the library to do my science homework!"

If you've heard this line too many times to count, we have some good news for you: The Pottsville Library has some online science resources you can use from home, any time of day or night. These materials don't count as "Internet resources" in teacher's instructions, which usually means the kids can't use Google to find their information. The online resources from the Pottsville Library are authoritative reference materials appropriate for school kids to use for homework assignments.

The Reference Department has purchased a number of science experiment ebooks, available for you to use from your home computer. Just go to the library's home page at, click on the link that says "Infobase eBooks", and enter your Pottsville library card number. There are a number of subjects available here, in addition to the 12 books just on science experiments. Is your son or daughter interested in Forensics? Biology? Weather? We have books with experiments in these fields!

Additional ebooks are available from the Britannica collection. From the library's home page, click on the link that says "Britannica E-Books", and enter your Pottsville library card number. There are several ebooks dealing with specific parts of the human body, as well as books on fossil fuels and renewable energy.

And if your student needs more information to go along with their project, you can also access the POWER Library, a collection of reference materials available to residents of the state of Pennsylvania. From the Pottsville Library's home page, click on the link that says "POWER Library Network", and enter your Pottsville library card number. Elementary school students can use the "Kids Search", "Primary Search", or "SIRS Discoverer" databases. Middle school students can use "Kids Search", "SIRS Discoverer", or "Middle Search" databases. High school students should use "MasterFILE" (general topics), "GreenFILE" (for environmental issues), or "Newspaper Source Plus" (specifically for newspaper articles).

If you are really stuck trying to find something, and the library is closed for the day, you can also use the "Ask Here PA" service (on the Pottsville Library home page), available to all state residents. A librarian is always available to help you find materials that can be trusted.

Have questions about using online resources? Contact the Reference Department at, or by telephone at 570-622-8880.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Changes to the Way You Dial

Just a reminder to everyone that soon you will need to include the 570 area code when you dial local telephone numbers! Northeastern Pennsylvania will soon get a new area code, 272, which will cover the same area as 570. Starting on September 21, you will need to always dial ten digits to reach someone, whether they live next door or across the state. If you do not use all ten digits, you will hear an error message prompting you to redial correctly.

If your cell phone is programmed with your contacts, you will need to make sure you add the area code to all your contacts' phone numbers.  You might have already received a reminder about this from your cell phone service provider.

The new area code will begin after October 21. Calls to both 272 and 570 numbers will be local if they are within your regular local calling area now. (Basically, what is a local call now will be local after the new number is put into use, regardless whether it is 570 or 272.)

For more information, check out Verizon's web page at

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace, and the Affordable Care Act

October 1 marks the beginning of open enrollment for those who do not have health insurance. Do you know what that means to you and your family? If you are not sure if you need to take part or not, start now by visiting  You can find answers to many of your questions on the "Individuals" page at, such as what the Marketplace is, what the insurance covers, what your rights are, what to do if you are self-employed. If you already have health insurance, there are answers about what the Affordable Care Act already does for you.

Some facts that everyone needs to know:

  • Pennsylvania residents will need to use to apply for coverage, compare available plans, and enroll. 
  • Starting in 2014, health insurance plans can't refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a pre-existing health condition. (Unless you keep your previous individual insurance, which is considered "grandfathered" in and does not have to meet this requirement. See the site for more details.)
  • Most health plans must cover a set of preventive services like shots and screening tests at no cost to you.
  • If you run an income-generating business with no employees, then you're considered self-employed (not an employer) and can get coverage through the Marketplace.
  • Some fraudsters may try to convince you to pay for help signing up.  The Marketplace has trained assisters in every state to help you at no cost. You should never be asked to pay for services or help. Double check any information that is confusing or sounds fishy. Call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 if something doesn't sound right.

By learning more now, you can be ready when October 1 comes around!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Library News/letter

Do you receive the Pottsville Library's newsletter? Did you even know one exists? If you don't get it in the mail, you can take a look at it from the library's website. Just go to our "Stacks of News" page at and click on the top link for the latest issue. Issues are in PDF format, so they look exactly like the printed pages we mail out.

Our next "1st Monday" used book sale, hosted by the Friends of the Pottsville Library, will be on Tuesday, September 3 from 12 to 2 pm. If you can't make that book sale, there will be another Book and Bake Sale on Saturday, September 21 from 9 am to 1 pm.  Book sale proceeds go to the funds used by the Friends to support library needs, such as the library's wi-fi network and printers for staff. Bake sale proceeds benefit the Teen Advisory Board, so they can do awesome things with their annual Halloween Haunted House in the library's basement.

POW, the Pottsville Open Writers group, will be meeting at the library on September 14 at 11 am. Participants should write about "the most memorable moment of your life." The session will include discussion of what people wrote on that topic (poem, prose, limerick, whatever works for you!), and then a half hour when participants write a paragraph or a poem on another topic of the leader's choosing. All aspiring writers are encouraged to attend, even if you've never been to a meeting or written anything before!

And along those lines, the Pottsville Library wants to encourage any writer in or from Schuylkill County to consider taking part in our "Local Authors Showcase" on Small Business Saturday (November 30), from 11 am to 4 pm. Anyone from our area who has written a book may sign up for a spot in the library. The downtown Pottsville area businesses will be offering specials to people who want to do their holiday shopping locally, and we wanted to give our local authors a chance to take part in this tradition. For a registration form or for more information, contact the Pottsville Library by email at potpublib at, or call the library at 570-622-8880. Registration must be made by October 1 so we can guarantee you a spot!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Let's Try This Again, Shall We?

It's been two years since we last posted on this blog. How time flies when the library is busy! But we'll try again to get this communication going. If there is something you want us to discuss, please let us know!

Upcoming events from the Reference Department:

Are you, your son, or your daughter planning on going to college? Trying to figure out how to pay for it? On Tuesday, September 17 at 6 p.m., a representative of PHEAA will be at the Pottsville Library to answer questions about finding financial aid for college. The program is free and open to anyone, adult or teenager, who is planning on attending college in the near future. Registration is not required, but you can contact the Reference Department at 570-622-8880 for more information about the program.