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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surin_Elephant_Round-up.

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.