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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sound Recordings

Library of Congress caption: President Harding's voice has been preserved in phonograph records in the government archives.

Music has been around for thousands of years, but sound recording has only been around for a relatively short time. In that time, recording has gone from wax cylinders to digital. The Library of Congress is doing its best to archive many of the recordings so that years from now they may be studied and enjoyed. This is from a recent LOC press release:
Congress established the National Recording Registry with the passage of the 2000 National Recording Preservation Act. Along with mandating the development of a comprehensive national program to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound-recording heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress, after reviewing public suggestions and consulting with the NRPB board, to select up to 25 recordings each year for inclusion in the registry.

The 250 titles named to the registry thus far illustrate the dynamic variety of recorded sound, ranging from groundbreaking pop hits and radio broadcasts to field recordings and seminal jazz and blues albums. Presidents, sportscasters, gospel choirs, rock bands and the sounds of Americana all share a place on the list. Visit www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/nrpb-masterlist.html to view the full list and descriptions of all recordings named to the registry.


A Century of Recorded Music: Listening to Musical History by Timothy Day [780 DAY] is a scholarly study of musical recording in the twentieth century for those who may want an in-depth look at music. A recent addition to our collection is a more general guide to music, 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List by Tom Moon [780.266 MOO]. Each of the 1,000 recordings is analyzed briefly. Here's part of the one on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens:
Written and recorded by a South African entertainer named Solomon Linda in 1939, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is the prototypical simple song that quickly becomes an "ear worm"--first its wem-oh-weh baritone chant lodges in your cortex, followed by that soaring falsetto theme. You can find yourseld singing the song even if you haven't heard it in years.
The writing is accessible, and I love the album covers and performer photos that accompany the short entries.

"In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..." Enjoy the ear worm. Heh, heh, heh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back from D.C.

I'm back from our visit to the National Book Festival in Washington. It was fabulous!

I had my picture taken with the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Billington (I guess only a librarian would be excited by that). We saw football star, Tiki Barber. And yes, he has written a book, several in fact. We have three in our children's room: Game Day [J 796.332 BAR], Teammates [J 796.332 BAR], and Kickoff! [J BAR].

We ate lunch across the street from the Mall at the new National Museum of the American Indian.


The reason I mention our lunch spot was because I was incredibly impressed by the offering of items (I was less impressed by the chaos and lack of signage in the cafeteria, but that's another story) at the Mitsitam CafĂ©. Mitsitam means "Let’s eat!" in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples. Items arranged by the different native cultural groups offered an amazing variety of new foods for us to try. I chose several sides dishes including one made of cabbage and large black beans (by large I mean bigger than a lima bean), which if I remember correctly, came from the Northern Woodlands section. All were delicious. Other choices included pumpkin or rabbit soup, bison, and more beans than you can shake a stick at! If you're curious about American Indian cooking, try one of these: Enduring Harvests: Native American Foods and Festivals for Every Season by E. Barrie Kavasch [641.59 KAV] or Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions by Fernando Divina [641.592 DIV].

I hope to put a few photos up on the blog within the next few days, so check back.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Poetry Friday--Postponed


I won't be doing Poetry Friday this week since I'll be in Washington, D.C. Forgive me for a little shameless self-promotion, but I'm heading down to the National Book Festival being held on Saturday on the Mall. The book I co-wrote with six writing buddies, Women of Granite: 25 New Hampshire Women You Should Know [J 920 BUE], is the NH book being featured by the NH Center for the Book in the Pavilion of the States. We feel quite honored!

My writing buddies and I go under the name of The Write Sisters. We started as a critique group of children's writers and ended up co-writing books about notable women. Women of Granite was released in the spring, and we are finishing up Women of the Bay State: 25 Massachusetts Women You Should Know, which will be out in the spring of 2009. If we continued at this rate, though, it would have taken us another 48 years to get through all the states! Our publisher, Apprentice Shop Books, has assigned other writers the task.

Visit KK'sKK next Friday when Poetry Friday will back!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bond, James Bond


Ian Fleming has been gone a long time (he died in 1964), but that doesn't stop the character of his imagination, James Bond, from continuously reappearing!

In May of this year, the novelist, Sebastian Faulks came out with the latest James Bond novel, Devil May Care [F FAU]. The book is summarized as follows:
James Bond is recalled from sabbatical in Rome in the late 1960s after the brutal murder of an Algerian drug runner throws suspicion on the activities of Dr. Julius Gorner, a pharmaceutical magnate whose intense interest in opiate derivatives is setting off alarms in Britain and around the world.
It has been out frequently since we added it in June, but I haven't heard anything from readers who have returned the book. The customer reviews on the Amazon site were mixed. Still, James Bond lives on and a new film, Quantum of Silence, starring Daniel Craig, will be released in November. A preview of the movie theme song is available on the BBC site.

I imagine there will be a renewed interest in all the James Bond movies once the new one is released. We own 20 of them, starting with the very first Bond film, Dr. No [DVD DR] from 1962. In all, there have been six actors who have played Bond, the most famous and favorite being Sean Connery. The others are George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and the latest, Daniel Craig.

The Ian Fleming Foundation is a California based group that is attempting collect all things Ian Fleming! It's fun to see what they already own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Official State [Fill In the Blank]

Yesterday I gave you a little quiz on NH that included a question about the state bird and the state amphibian. There are a whole bunch of other official state emblems. These are found in the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (ASAs) which can be read here in the library in a multi-volume set of NH laws [R 348.742 NEW], or, you can read them online.

We have an official state rock (granite, of course), mineral (beryl), and a gem (smoky quartz)! We have an official butterfly (Karner Blue), and, an official state tartan in recognition of the state's strong Scots heritage! But, I'm sad to report, we don't have an official state poem! There are only 5 states with official state poems!

We have a state poet laureate, although the position isn't recognized by law. Our present poet laureate is Patricia Fargnoli. The Poetry Society of New Hampshire is talking applications for the next poet to assume the position in March 2009. If you'd like to nominate someone, click here for more information.

Another official state emblem that is lacking is an official state snack! Utah has one, Jell-O, why don't we? I'd like to nominate fair food. Any of the wonderful treats you can get at the upcoming Deerfield Fair will do! I'm partial to mile high apple pie, but others like fried dough.

Check out the fair this weekend and have a piece of pie for me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Do You Know About New Hampshire?


Here's a little quiz for you:

1. What is the state bird?

2. How many counties are there in NH?

3. What were the first four towns to be settled in NH?

4. What are Sokoki, Cowasuck, and Pocumtuc?

5. What is the state amphibian?

The answers to all these questions can be found in a skinny little book that we have on our shelf, New Hampshire Atlas [917.42 NEW]. It's great for reports or if you're curious about this state of ours. Within its 24 pages are maps of the counties, landform regions, railroads (then and now), population, and other topics. My favorite is "Major Agricultural Products." Who knew that flowers were a product of the state? Not me. The map shows Belknap County as producers of flowers.

Ready for the answers to the quiz?
1. purple finch 2. ten 3. Hiltons Point (Dover), Strawberry Banke (Portsmouth), Exeter, Hampton. They were settled between 1623 and 1630. 4. Native American tribes that once occupied NH (there were 10 more) 5. spotted newt

Monday, September 22, 2008

Birthday Books

Today's the day to talk about birthday books. Why? Because it's my birthday!

I'm digging way back to 1932 for my first suggestion, Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack [JP FLA]. You may recognize the name, Flack also wrote The Story About Ping [JP FLA], the much loved tale of the duck who gets separated from his family on the Yangtze River. Ask Mr. Bear is a simple story of a boy, Danny, who doesn't know what to get his mother for her birthday, so, he asks his friends. His friends happen to be farm animals. Everything the animals have to give, Danny's mother already has (eggs, wool for a blanket, etc.). Finally the animals suggest asking Mr. Bear. Unfortunately, no one wants to go with him to find the bear, so he ventures into the woods alone. I won't spoil the surprise, but considering this book is for 2-4 year olds, it shouldn't be too much of a mystery!

Ask Mr. Bear is a winner for story hour since it contains a child-sized problem, a little drama (the woods and a possibly scary bear), and a simple, but satisfying ending. Also, it invites after-reading activity since Danny and the animals skip, then hop, then gallop, then trot, then run to find the special gift. It's the perfect way to get the wiggles out of a group!

For a little older group, look for Deborah Lee Rose's Birthday Zoo [JP ROS]. This cute little book introduces some new and interesting animals through its use of rhyme. For example,
"What do we do?"
Asked the emu.
"Make everyone happy,"
said the okapi.
"But where to begin?
asked the shy tamarin.
"Blow up balloons,"
puffed the raccoons.

Forcing a rhyme by using an exotic word doesn't usually work, but it does here! The illustrations by Lynn Munsinger are delightful, and she even adds a little lesson by including a recyling bin in with the party mess.

My final birthday book recommendation is Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson and Will Hillenbrand [JP WIL]. It's Grandma's birthday and
While Grandma runs some errands,
Granddad ties his apron tight,
props the tattered cookbook up,
and sets to do things right.
(Right odd, that is...)

Of course Granddad is an experimenter, if 2 cups of sugar are good, then 23 pounds of sugar must surely be better. As you can imagine the resulting birthday cake is enormous and must be eaten by everyone in town.

A little older group of listeners, first or second grade, would love this, because by that age, they usually understand the humor of incongruity. Wilson includes a recipe for a normal-sized chocolate birthday cake.

We more "sophisticated" birthday people get margarita cheesecake for our birthday. You'll find the recipe here. (Hint: save yourself the bother by purchasing a graham cracker crust!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poetry Friday--Haiku, Animated

I am a BIG haiku fan and also a big YouTube fan. I was quite pleased to come across the 14 second video below.



I love its brevity--just like a haiku--short. Actually, I would classify it as a senryu rather than a haiku. If you don't know, a senryu deals with human nature whereas a haiku deals primarily with nature.

The only complaint I have is the cartoony music, but overall, I still think it's fantastic.

Next time you visit, pick up The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English [808 HAI] for a great collection of these "one-breath" poems.

Near Death Experiences

I heard a report on the BBC today about a research project that looks into the science of what happens to people when they have a near death experience.

Near death experiences are sometimes referred to as clinical death. No matter what they are called, they seem to be of interest to many people, thus, we have a number of books in our collection on the topic including these:

Cox-Chapman, Mally. The Case for Heaven: Messages of Hope from People Who Touched Eternity [133.9 COX].

Dougherty, Neil. Fast Lane to Heaven [133.901 DOU].

Rommer, Barbara R. Blessing in Disguise: Another Side of the Near-Death Experience [133.9 ROM].

We also have a DVD called The Search for Heaven [DVD 133.9013 SEA]. This is from the back of the DVD case:
What if there is proof beyond faith that Heaven exists? Do scientific discoveries and cutting edge research actually prove the existence of Heaven? Some believe there is now proof that the place we call "Heaven" actually exists.

We'll examine scientific studies, personal testimonies and experience of those who say they've had a Near Death Experience in which they've been to Heaven and back.

And of course, novelists have their own take on the subject! The publisher's synopsis of Alice Hoffman's The Ice Queen [F HOF], gives us this intriguing taste of what's in store for the reader:
Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.

(How can you go wrong picking up a book about a librarian?)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Big E & Other Things

The Big E as seen by Kurious Kitty.



Today, September 17, is Constitution Day! There are several sites to visit for more information including: http://constitutioncenter.org/ConstitutionDay or the U.S. Dept. of Education. You may be interested in knowing that there is a mandate regarding Constitution Day!
September 17 is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This day commemorates the September 17, 1787, signing of the United States Constitution.

The U.S. Department of Education has responsibility for implementing the Constitution Day legislated mandates. Among these is the requirement for educational institutions that receive Federal funds to hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year.

The Dept. of Ed site has many links to the Constitution and its history, so I'd recommend this site for one-stop shopping!

It only takes a few minutes to read through the Bill of Rights--but it's worth the effort--so celebrate!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Put Lipstick on a Pig

I've always had a fondness for quotes, proverbs, sayings, etc. Now that there's a big brouhaha over "put lipstick on a pig," and everyone is talking about the use of the phrase, I feel a little less odd sharing some of the books that look into the English language.

Garrison, Web. Casual Lex: An Informal Assemblage of Why We Say What We Say [422 GAR].

Leedy, Loreen. There's a Frog in My Throat: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me [J 428.1 LEE]. This book is fun since it is written and illustrated for kids and takes a rather lighthearted approach to the sometimes weighty topic of language.

Spears, Richard A. NTC's American Idioms Dictionary [423 SPE].

Spears, Richard A. NTC's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions [427 SPE].

Terban, Marvin. Marvin. Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms: More Than 600 Phrases, Sayings and Expressions [J 423.1 TER].

You may ask, "what's an idiom?" According to Dictionary.com,

id·i·om [id-ee-uhm]
–noun
1. an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one's head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.


And, "what's a colloquial expression?"
col·lo·qui·al [kuh-loh-kwee-uhl]
–adjective
1. characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal.

ex·pres·sion [ik-spresh-uhn]
–noun
2. a particular word, phrase, or form of words: old-fashioned expressions.

Back to the phrase "put lipstick on a pig." Wordwizard takes an indepth look at it here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Harvest Moon


Today is the harvest moon, so, if the sky is clear, go out and look for the moon tonight.

To learn about the harvest moon, visit EarthSky for a little info and a gorgeous photo.

To find out more about the moon in general look for The Once and Future Moon by Paul D. Spudis [523.3 SPU].

To find out more about the moon and astrology consult Your Secret Moon: Moon Signs, Nodes, Eclipses, and Occultations by Anne Christie [133.5 CHR].

This will be a short post today as I'm taking the day off and heading out to Springfield, MA, for my annual trek to the Big E with my kids. See you tomorrow!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Poetry Friday--Butterfly Eyes

Poets for kids are lucky in their choice of subjects for their poems. They can write whole books about everything from colors to dinosaurs to pizza.

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman [J 811.54 SID] is one I recently came across. There are many things going on in this book that makes it a more interesting collection of poems than most. For example, each poem concludes with a question such as "Who is he?" or "What are we?" This invites the reader to be an active participant. Sidman includes two poems then follows them up by paragraphs of prose explaining the topics she just celebrated in verse. The poems come in a variety of forms such as a pantoum or a shape poem. The book concludes with a glossary of some terms that might be unfamiliar to the reader, such as "spume" or "ultraviolet". Overall, this is the perfect book for a classroom--just think of all the curriculum that can be covered--poetry forms, science concepts, and vocab.

This is from "In the Almost-Light"

In the dark,
in the night,
in the almost-light,
in the leaf-crisp air just before sunlight,
sprouts a secret, silent, sparkling sight:
berries grown on the vines of night.
You'll have to borrow the book to read the rest!

I'd be amiss if I neglected the awesome illustrations that accompany the poems. They are by New Hampshire's own, Beth Krommes! Pictures from the book are currently being shown (through October 10) with the work of several other illustrators in a gallery in Concord . It's worth a trip north!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The New Deal

This is the 75th anniversary of The New Deal, the economic program started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to counteract the depression in the U.S. The term came from Roosevelt's acceptance speech for his nomination for president in 1932, "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people."

Following his inauguration on March 4, 1933, Roosevelt met with his advisors and started to create a number of government agencies designed to help America work its way out of a desperate economic situation. A few of these agencies were the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Public Works Administration (PWA), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).



We just added a colorful new book to our collection called The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration by Kathryn A. Flynn [973.917 FLY]. Besides being a fact-filled documentation of the period, it also is full of black and white and color photos, and illustrated posters that give a real feel for America in the 1930s.

Another way to explore the New Deal is on YouTube! Yes, there's a whole collection of short videos at the newdealtrail Channel. Or do a search at the main YouTube page for topics such as the dust bowl. You can't possibly watch the dust bowl video below without running your tongue over you teeth looking for the grit!



If you'd like to see the result of one of the New Deal's agencies' projects, we have Hands That Built New Hampshire: The Story of Granite State Craftsman, Past & Present compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of New Hampshire [R 974.2 HAN]. This is from the chapter entitled "Spinning Wheel and Hand Loom":
A Windham woman, Agnes Hemphill, mother of eighteen children, set her ten daughters to spinning after her husband died. Each of the Hemphill girls had her own wheel upon which she spun yards of linen thread...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Titles

Sometimes the title of a book is more interesting than the book itself. A recent "contest" of sorts was held at the Frankfurt Book Fair and was reported on in the British paper, The Guardian. The Diagram Prize was looking for "oddest book title of the last 30 years." To see some of the contenders, click here.

One of the titles shown is Confessions of a Pagan Nun: A Novel, by Kate Horsley [F HOR]. I'm proud to say I've actually read this book and liked it rather much. It's a novel about Ireland during the days when Druids were being pushed out by the Christians. The reason I read it is not because I had seen a great review, or because it had been recommended to me, but simply because I found the title intriguing. That's "intriquing," not "odd." There's a difference.

I'm sure we have many oddly titled books here at the library, but, I'm going to tell you about some of the more "intriguing" titles I've come across over the past few days:

Carr, Josephine. The Dewey Decimal System of Love
. [F CAR]

Gould, Stephen Jay. The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities. [303.48 GOU].


Lancaster, Jen. Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, a Memoir. [F LAN].

O'Hare, Mick. How to Fossilize Your Hamster And Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist. [507.8 OHA].

Peterson, Chris. A Man's Whirled: Every Guy's Guide to Cooking with a Blender. [641.5893 PET].

Thayer, Nancy. The Hot Flash Club Chills Out. [F THA, or LP THA].

Come visit us and scan the shelves for more intriguing titles--we have about a gazillion more!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Link Between Public Libraries and Early Reading Success

"The Link Between Public Libraries and Early Reading Success" is the title of an article recently published in School Library Journal. I think it is of value to librarians, but also to the general public since the public votes! If people are convinced that there is value, beyond recreation, in maintaining a town's public library, then they will vote in support of library budgets and building projects. The Nesmith Library has always had the support of the townspeople of Windham, but it worries me that other libraries in the area may not have that support. So, I'm asking you, dear reader, to read the article and to let your friends in other towns know what you have found about the link between public libraries and children's reading. It is a benefit to all of us to have a nation of literate people! And don't forget to mention that you got the information from the library!

If you want a quick summary of the article, here it is:
There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between children’s services in public libraries and early reading success at school. In fact, there is even the probability of even stronger statistical evidence in the future, but first we need more ambitious research on the relationship between children’s services and early reading success. In the meantime, the evidence at hand suggests that the services of children’s librarians make a real difference in children’s lives.

It is also nice to know that libraries are important to people all around the world. It might be fun to read My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs [J 027.42 RUU] with the children in your life and discuss how important libraries are to you and them. In a few short years, these children will be voters, too, so it's never too early to build support!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sookie Stackhouse

Last night a new series debuted on HBO, True Blood. The series is based upon the "Southern Vampire Mysteries" books by Charlaine Harris about Louisianan psychic, Sookie Stackhouse.

We have the last four titles in the series, and have ordered the first four to fill in our collection. If you want to read in reverse, # 8 is From Dead to Worse [F HAR]. If you want to read from the beginning, the first one is Dead Until Dark (check back in a few weeks).

Vampire fiction is apparently a hot genre that over the past few years has been dominated by the young adult writer, Stephanie Meyer. Her series is called the "Twilight Saga." The first book was Twilight, and it was followed by New Moon, Eclipse, and concluded with Breaking Dawn [all YA MEY]. It's appeal to young adults was immediate, and now we have adults borrowing the series, too.

It might be fun to go back and read the original vampire novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker [F STO]. Dracula was published back in 1897 and has obviously withstood the test of time.

Just make sure you have a clove of garlic handy!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Poetry Friday--Internet as Poetry Tool

Do you write poetry? Are you stuck for ideas? Have I got a something for you! It's easystreet prompts. Rather than summarize the intent of the site, I'll lift the description directly:
Easystreet Prompts provides inspiring visual
ideas for writing and the arts. Use one of our prompts to get you started.

Make something. A new idea will post every day. All you have to do is respond to it, so write, photograph, draw, paint, sew, paste, or whistle a happy tune. After you create, share it with us or post a link. We want to see.

Every day there's something new, so you'll never have an excuse not to write! Look at the image (or the random phrases entries), brainstorm connections and perhaps come up with an idea or mind map, then go to it! (To learn more about mind mapping, look for this from our teacher collection: Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Mind Mapping by Nancy Margulies [372.8 MAR].)

Have you hear of Wordle? Wordle is a fun program for producing "word clouds." What's a word cloud? It's easier to show you one than it is to describe it! Here's a word cloud made from the sentence right before this one:


It might be fun to take part of an existing poem, create a word cloud from it, and then see if the new placement of the words inspires you to create a new poem. You'll never know until you try!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Screaming Guitars

Have you heard the expression, "screaming guitars"? Jimi Hendrix's guitar must surely have screamed after he set it on fire back in the late 60s. His charred guitar is now estimated to be worth about a million dollars! It is up for auction with other rock memorabilia, and is expected to be sold for 500,000 British pounds!

To listen to Hendrix's guitar work, borrow Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection [CD ROCK HEN]. Or, better yet, borrow Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music [DVD WOO] and watch Hendrix in action.

The video below shows Hendrix smashing his guitar, which I'm sure hurt almost as much as immolation!



We have a number of items in our collection that deal with guitars, look for them in the 787.87 section. We also carry the magazine, Guitar Player [YA MAG GUI].

Rock on!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Local History

We tend to look far afield for places to visit and often overlook the delights right under our noses. (Click here and here for previous posts on the topic.) The same is true for history. There are fascinating stories right here in Windham and the surrounding communities. Our town history is one place to look for stories of the people who came before us. We have several copies of the two volumes making up that history. They are The History of Windham in New Hampshire (Rockingham County), 1719-1883 by Leonard Morrison [974.2 WIN] and Rural Oasis: History of Windham, New Hampshire, 1883-1975 [974.2 WIN].

Now, we have an additional resource for stories with a local history connection, but without all the genealogy and house histories. The book is Nutfield Rambles: Stories from the History of Derry, Londonderry, and Windham, New Hampshire by Derry historian, Richard Holmes [974.2 HOL].

Holmes not only provides us with the history, he also engages the reader in his descriptions of his many quests for information. It's like listening in on an old friend's adventures.

I've been researching and writing books for children about accomplished, but often forgotten women, and I found one in Nutfield Rambles, a Derry woman named Bella Chapin Barrows. Barrows was the first woman to work in the U.S. State Department, and, she earned a medical degree and later became the nation's first woman eye surgeon. Her story would have been astonishing with just these accomplishments, but she went on to become an editor, the first woman professor at Howard University, a prison reformer, and more! Amazing, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Amendment

Every once in a while it is good review the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I was quite disturbed by the actions of St. Paul law enforcement officials who arrested several members of the press who were doing their jobs covering protests outside the Republican National Convention. One of those arrested represented the Associated Press, a supposedly neutral news source!

Perhaps you would like to read up on the First Amendment and the Constitution, and the freedom of the press. A good place to start would be with the words of the framers of these vital documents. Look for for two volume set, The Debate on the Constitution [342.73 DEB]. There was much debate in putting together the document that has survived for more than 200 years!

Let's hope that journalists will be permitted to do their jobs in St. Paul, and everywhere in the U.S.!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Labor Day!


The library is closed today so that its laborers can enjoy a lovely summer's day!

I think it would be a worthwhile effort to read up on the labor movement in the United States. Union membership is down right now, but with economic unrest, the wheel is turning once again. Here's a title that deals with the history of the labor movement in the United States: State of the Union: A Century of American Labor by Nelson Lichtenstein [331 LIC].

The most important thing we can do in this day and age is to educate ourselves beyond the 10-second soundbite. See you tomorrow!