Monday, December 29, 2014

Guest Post: NCLS Road Trip!

Two of our fearless library directors, Noreen Patterson  (Phoenix) and Betty Maute (Fulton), had the idea to visit all 65 of our North Country libraries in one year. They hope to gain a better understanding of each library, and by writing about their travels, help bring our large system closer together - in spirit, if not in distance. Today's guest post is written by Noreen Patterson, with photos by Betty Maute.

Friday morning when I met Betty Maute and Doug Moore (her new children’s librarian) at the already bustling Fulton Public Library, the weather was overcast but we were excited about starting the adventure of visiting all of the 65 libraries in the North Country Library System.

None of us had ever been to the Hannibal Free Library but the blue library sign pointed us in the right direction. We found a lively community center (residents have reclaimed a retired Baptist church and worked some magic) hosting the library, a senior center, the historical society and a preschool.

Stained glass windows original to the church overlook the public computers.

Shelly Stanton, the director, was away on unexpected business but we were welcomed by Wendy Johnson with warm smiles and lots of information. The library has the church's original stained glass windows and lots of comfortable seating scattered throughout. A patron followed us in to settle at one of the public access computers. We found a charming “secret” corner seating arrangement for children to curl up with a book. A display of lovely bookmarks made by a patron sits for sale on the circulation desk near a book purchase signup sheet for a local author’s new title. The Christmas decorations included a Wish Tree for the library - a small tabletop tree with paper ornaments has notes like “stamps” written on the back for patrons to donate a gift of supplies truly needed by the library.

There is a room above the library that is used for story time and children’s activities and (on alternate days) for the nursery school. It is a bright and cheery space for local children. We watched the nursery school class perform an animated Christmas song during our visit. The homeschoolers and the Historical Society meet there as well - a great multi-purpose room.

Downstairs, a door connects the library with the senior center, a large room with a mounted flat screen TV and an alcove holding a kitchen. Seniors meet there for lunches and activities. The center’s staff were very friendly and very proud of all the amenities the center has to offer.

(Check out more photos of the Hannibal Free Library!)

We next headed to Mexico Public Library to congratulate Dorothy Dineen, the director, on her $50,000 grant from Senator Patty Ritchie.

The front window at Mexico Public Library.

Mexico Public Library is a store front library that is warm and welcoming. The entrance lobby has the door to library, the stairway access to the community room upstairs and a great selection of used books for sale. On this day, the front window held a charming book sculpture Christmas tree complete with lights. Six public access computers are the gateway to connected rooms full of books. Laurel Vanderver and Nancy Nicholson, employees of the library, welcomed us at the front desk.

The children’s room has story book character murals including a Shel Silverman poem and drawing, a rocking chair, children’s table and chairs and stuffed toys. The walls are warm colored or brick and currently display artwork from local schools. We loved the old card catalog as a stand for the computer catalog.

While we were visiting the library, the yoga class finished and we headed upstairs to the community room. This large carpeted room handles most of the library’s programing and is available for rent to the community. The walls have shelves of kid friendly craft supplies and long folding tables also used for adult programs including a recent learn to sew class and water color painting classes. The room is used for “Wild and Wacky Wednesdays” during the six-week summer reading program where special programing is provided for participants. One summer Mexico hosted The Reptile Lady and her 40 snakes! (Dorothy is not only innovative but brave.) When asked what she liked most about the library she mentioned the community aspect of it. Her programs certainly reflect the great connections she has in the community.

Thank you to both Hannibal and Mexico Libraries for being so welcoming and gracious, especially as the first visits in our grand plan. As advocates for libraries and library systems, just these two visits have validated that libraries are strong resources for their communities.

(Check out more photos of the Mexico Public Library!)

And thanks to Noreen and Betty for sharing this project. Follow their continuing adventures here at The Frozen Librarian!

Christmas, with books!

There is nothing like a five and a half day Christmas break - especially when those days are filled with books. Because, yes, of course I'm the auntie who gives books for presents. Like you need more toys? Please. In my day we played with glass soda bottles and wooden napkin rings. And Cabbage Patch Kids. And Barbie. And My Little Pony. And Legos. And I was trying to make a point, what was it.

Right! Books! For presents! Easy to store, easy to wrap.

I also made sure to hit up the library before they closed for the holiday to pick up - among other things - my hold of B.J. Novak's The Book With No Pictures. I figured it would be a good read for my five-year-old niece who would be old enough to appreciate the humor.

And did she ever.

She giggled throughout the first reading, and then asked me to read it again, giggling in anticipation of the parts she had already laughed at once. The next night, she asked for it again, and by the third night, she was reading it to me. (With help from her mother. She is, after all, only five, and the book does include words a bit beyond her current vocabulary.)

There was something kind of amazing about seeing that happen, about watching a child's enthusiasm for a story translate into the desire to want to read herself. On the smallest, most individual scale, I had just witnessed in practice the theory that I preach to all the youth services librarians in my system - that to encourage pleasure reading is to help develop a love of reading in children. Part of that is letting kids pick out books that appeal to them, but another part of it is throwing books in their path that they might not have picked out on their own.

In many communities in my rural system, the library is one of the very few places that kids can even lay their hands on a book, so having the opportunity to expose children to titles that they might not see at school or in the magazine aisle of their local grocery store is just so important and awesome.

 Or at least I think so. But then, I would. I'm the auntie who gives books for presents.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS!

My Pet Book, by Bob Staake.

Most pets are cats and dogs, but what happens when a boy wants a different kind of pet, one that doesn't meow or bark? Bob Staake's exuberant tale of a little boy and the pet of his dreams will appeal to anyone whose best friends are . . . books!

Books make the perfect pets, the boy decides, and chooses a bright red one. When it goes missing, a lively adventure is in store for readers who love a happy ending. Soon kids everywhere will wish for a pet book of their very own.

Absolutely Truly (Pumpkin Falls #1) by Heather Vogel Frederick.

Now that Truly Lovejoy's father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy's Books, a struggling bookstore that's been in the family for one hundred years.

With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy's Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edtion of Charlotte's Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What's inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.

The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection. (Narrated by the author.)

Four of beloved author Neil Gaiman's delightfully scary, strange, and hilarious children's tales read by the author, now available unabridged. This collection includes:

"The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish": An unforgettable story that will take readers on a journey into the murky mind of a young boy and the perils of striking a bargain.

"The Wolves in the Walls": Lucy is sure there are wolves living in the walls of their house - and, as everybody says, if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. Her family doesn't believe her. Then one day, the wolves come out.

"Cinnamon": This charming fable of an exotic princess who refuses to speak currently exists only on Neil's official website and has never been published in print or any other format.

"Crazy Hair": Bonnie tries to comb the narrator's crazy hair - where gorillas leap and tigers stalk - and is in for a surprise in this delightful rhyming tale.
(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

North Country library voices: Noreen Patterson

Our very own Noreen Patterson, the director at Phoenix Public Library in Oswego County, wrote an editorial that appeared in the Watertown Daily Times yesterday.

Noreen Patterson of Phoenix Public Library.

Here's my favorite bit: "When local communities invest in their libraries, they make their communities stronger with programs for children and adults, with computers for job searches and homework assignments. But mostly, they make the statement that they value lifelong learning and the opportunity to access so much information from alternative sources."

True story.

Thanks, Noreen, for being a library advocate!

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

Guys Read: True Stories, by Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka's Guys Read anthology series for tweens turns to nonfiction in its fifth volume, True Stories. The fifth installment in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading features ten stories that are 100% amazing, 100% adventurous, 100% unbelievable--and 100% true. A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every reader.

Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, how-to guides, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.

The Mystery of the Missing Lion (Precious Ramotswe #4), by Alexander McCall Smith. (Also available in audio, narrated by Adjoa Andoh.)

Precious Ramotswe gets a very special treat. She gets a trip to visit her Aunty Bee at a safari camp. On her first day in camp, a new lion arrives. But this is no average lion: Teddy is an actor-lion who came with a film crew.

When Teddy escapes, Precious and her resourceful new friend Khumo decide to use their detective skills to help track him. They will brave the wilds of the bush--and its hippos and crocodiles--as they try to find where Teddy has gone.

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive, by Laura Hillenbrand.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary sagas of the Second World War.

The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will.

In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a man's breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and featuring an exclusive interview with Zamperini, Unbroken will introduce a new generation to one of history's most thrilling survival epics.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Favorite 2014 Reads

So, I've read a few books this year. Here are my favorites from 2014:

Picture Book

The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak.

One of the most amusing misconceptions about librarians is that we read all day at work. Hilarious! However, if a book is thin enough, and I find a good time in the afternoon to take a short break, I'm sometimes able to read one at my desk. When that book makes me laugh out loud at that desk, that book is a keeper. 

Middle Grade

West of the Moon, by Margi Preus.

Loved, loved, loved. Beautifully written and told with care. Of course, given that I'm a huge fan of stories about sisters, journeys, and the large gray space between right and wrong, this one was already starting out on a pretty good foot.

Young Adult

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, by A.S. King.

I don't typically read a lot of YA, but I put this one on my TBR list the day I first heard about it. Totally worth the wait, and now I have to go find everything else that A.S. King has written.


Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman.

There is a part of me that is always, always longing to be back on that round rug in my elementary school library and listening to someone tell me a story. Lucky for me, there's Neil Gaiman.

A disclaimer on my non-youth services reads: You will notice that they are not from 2014. Due to the boatload of children's books I read last year, I absolutely did not keep up with grown-up books. As a result, my nonfiction pick is from 2011, and my fiction pick is from 1855. Enjoy!


North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.

The problem I usually have after falling in love with a BBC adaptation of a 19th century novel is that when I go to read the novel, I rarely find it as affecting as the filmed version. Unless it's North and South. And then, yes. Yes, it is.


Destiny of the Republic, by Candace Millard.

I enjoy American history, and as a result, I typically steer toward the 900s when I'm looking for nonfiction. But I have to admit, rarely am I so engaged in a history book that even when I know what horrible, historical thing is going to happen, I keep praying that it won't.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

Dory Fantasmagory, by Abby Hanlon.

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she's too much of a baby for them, so she's left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister's favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.

With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

Flora and the Penguin, by Molly Idle.

Having mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other's graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results.

Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.

Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America's Presidents, by David Stabler. Illustrated by Doogie Horner.
The kids who grew up to be president were like a lot of other children. Some struggled with schoolwork and got into fights; others pranked their teachers and infuriated their parents. William Howard Taft was forced to take dance lessons. Gerald Ford struggled with dyslexia. Teddy Roosevelt had a bedroom "museum" full of dead animals. Kid Presidents features 20 captivating true stories from the childhoods of American presidents, complete with lively text and more than 200 cartoon illustrations. Laugh-out-loud funny and packed with cool facts, it's the perfect read for all young future leaders of the free world.

Pack of Dorks, by Beth Vrabel.

Lucy knows that kissing Tom Lemmings behind the ball shed will make her a legend. But she doesn't count on that quick clap of lips propelling her from coolest to lamest fourth grader overnight. Suddenly Lucy finds herself trapped in Dorkdom, where a diamond ring turns your finger green, where the boy you kiss hates you three days later, where your best friend laughs as you cry, where parents seem to stop liking you, and where baby sisters are born different.

Now Lucy has a choice: she can be like her former best friend Becky, who would do anything to claim her seat at the cool table in the cafeteria, or Lucy can pull up a chair among the solo eaters—also known as the dorks. Still unsure, Lucy partners with super quiet Sam Righter on a research project about wolves. Lucy connects her own school hierarchy with what she learns about animal pack life—where some wolves pin down weaker ones just because they can, and others risk everything to fight their given place in the pack. Soon Lucy finds her third option: creating a pack of her own, even if it is simply a pack of dorks.

The Witch's Boy, by Kelly Barnhill.

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

Meanwhile, across the enchanted forest that borders Ned's village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King, who is haunted by her mother's last wordsto her: "The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his." When Áine's and Ned's paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to stop the war that's about to boil over between their two kingdoms? 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)