Director's Blog

Q: How to Avoid Online Criminals and Surf Safely?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | December 10, 2012

The holiday season is commonly associated with ideas of sharing and community, but in our increasingly technological lives, those concepts may not mean quite what they used to. How many of us will make an online purchase in the coming month – and how many will reflect on just how much personal information we are sharing, not just in terms of our credit cards, our location and banking or credit card details, but also our personal tastes, whether in books, music, clothing or cookware... read more

Q: Help! The end of summer's Daylight Saving Time is always strangely disorienting: it's cold outside, and seven o'clock feels like nine o'clock. What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | November 5, 2012

The end of summer's Daylight Saving Time is always strangely disorienting, particularly in the evenings, which suddenly seem wintrier and certainly a lot darker than only a few days before... read more

Q: Are you looking for a special reason to celebrate every month of the year?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | September 5, 2012

It can be hard to keep track of all the days, weeks, and months dedicated to particular causes, so chances are you don’t know that September is the official “Library Card Sign-up” month. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of books suited for every month of the year... read more

Q: I enjoy the idea of another author picking up a character from a "classic" and running with it. Any recommendations on literary sequels and spin-offs?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | August 6, 2012

Have you ever loved a book so much that you just didn't want it to end? If so, you're not alone. People have been riffing on popular stories for as long as storytelling has existed; after all, written texts that were originally part of oral storytelling traditions (e.g. The Odyssey, Beowulf, and The Epic of Gilgamesh) were altered and retold multiple times before being set down on paper in the forms we know today... read more

Q: Any really good Russian films, most preferably contemporary?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | July 16, 2012

When it comes to foreign-language films, it can be hard to know where to begin. So few of these movies are released in the United States that it can be a challenge to even find out about them, let alone have the chance to actually see them. This is particularly true of countries not widely recognized for their cinematic achievements, like Russia... read more

Q: Looking for a great summer read?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | June 26, 2012

Even if your days of mandatory summer reading are long gone, summer is still a great time to indulge in a new book or two. The long, hot afternoons of July and August have a way of making work or chores unthinkable, so if you’re feeling lazy, what better way to relax than by kicking back in a hammock with a glass of lemonade and a good story... read more

Q: What books can I share with my father?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | June 6, 2012

With Father’s Day approaching, now is as good a time as ever to check out one or two of the many books that explore the dynamic that exists between fathers and their children... read more

Q: What was Memorial Day originally called?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | May 29, 2012

Memorial Day has rolled around again, and while it’s a holiday that traditionally marks the start of the sunny, carefree days of summer, it’s important that we not forget the day’s deeper meaning. With that in mind, here is a brief rundown of the history of Memorial Day... read more

Q: Are feelings of empathy innate or learned? Are humans the only species capable of feeling compassion?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | May 16, 2012

Our last round of recommendations focused on books that celebrate compassion and understanding. This week we will be continuing that theme, but with a bit of a twist... read more

Q: What is compassion and how can it improve my life?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | May 8, 2012

Compassion is something that we could probably all do with a little more of, whether that means volunteering at a local soup kitchen, learning to accept someone else’s religious beliefs, or simply putting more effort into your personal relationships. And while you could simply make a promise to yourself to be more empathic, we all know that resolutions can be hard to keep. Sometimes, you need a little something extra to make the resolution stick, and what better than a book... read more

Q: How to impress a girl?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | April 23, 2012

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but that’s no excuse for slacking off in the romance department. And yet, if decades of male grumbling are to be believed, women are difficult to please. Even pop culture teaches us that it is virtually impossible for the average Joe to understand the intricacies of female thought... read more

Q: Where do you go after you've read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? My knowledge of foreign authors is very limited.
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | April 9, 2012

We live in an increasingly global age; with the advent of social media, it is easier than ever to connect with people all over the world. Books, though, have largely been left behind in all of this; only 3 percent of the books published annually in America are penned by authors writing in French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, or any of the other 3,000-odd written languages in use today... read more

Q: Why do so many foreign remakes fail?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | March 12, 2012

If it's a truism that the movie is never as good as the book, then it’s almost as true that the Hollywood remake is never as good as the foreign film, isn’t it? So why do filmmakers do it... read more

Q: Help! I keep trying to explain something, but nobody understands! What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | March 5, 2012

Have you ever considered that the reason you can’t quite explain yourself is that you don’t have the right word? Even worse...have you ever considered that the right word isn’t in your language, but in another language entirely? Or that it doesn’t exist at all?... read more

Q: Help! Spring isn’t here yet. Or is it here yet? Now is spring here? How about now?!?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | February 27, 2012

Traditionally, people have been both stricken by Spring Fever (a surfeit of energy during late winter) and Spring Tiredness. Spring Tiredness, or Frühjahrsmüdigkeit in the German tradition, is a period of low energy and weariness that traditionally happens with the change of seasons.

How is it that people can be both energetic and exhausted because of Spring?... read more

Q: Help! Mardi Gras is here, but I can’t escape my hometown to go to New Orleans. What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a traditional Christian feast that doesn’t just start with Mardi Gras day itself, but on the Christian holiday of the Epiphany (January 6th). It runs until 47 days before Easter (the actual Fat Tuesday). Easter is a moveable feast (or a feast whose date changes every year) that falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, or April 8th this year. The date has to move because Easter happens a week after Passover, which is a Jewish holiday, and the date of Passover is calculated according to the traditional Hebrew calendar—which is based on the cycles of the moon instead of the sun (with our calendar)... read more

Q: Help! I know that tea is supposed to be good for you, but there are so many kinds! And how am I supposed to drink it?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | February 15, 2012

Tea (that is, the hot beverage made from actual tea leaves rather than other herbs, like chamomile, which is more properly called a tisane than a tea) has long been held to be an excellent pick-me-up because of its caffeine content. However, more and more benefits of tea have been discovered, from age-fighting antioxidants to providing manganese (maintains blood sugar and helps synthesize cholesterol) and potassium (maintains nerve health and helps muscles contract and relax). Tea’s good for you, but what kind of tea should you drink? Whatever you find most delicious! (All tea varieties have excellent health benefits.)

How should you drink it?... read more

Q: Help! I’m looking for a specific ebook, but the library doesn’t have it! Why not?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | February 6, 2012

Although at times it seems like ebooks are just another format for reading books, they have caused problems as libraries, booksellers, and others try to catch up with the new technology.

One of the problems is converting books into ebooks. More recent books are usually produced using electronic files, which are relatively easy to convert, taking only a few hours. With books published before computers were used for setup, a physical copy of the book has to be scanned and the type corrected before formatting can be done--and scanning a book introduces lots of typos, spacing problems, and alignment problems. Converting a paper book is a serious time investment... read more

Q: Help! The Oscar nominations are out, and I’m behind on my book trivia! Which nominations are based on books, and are they better than the movies?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | January 30, 2012

Well, everyone knows that most books are better than movies (ahem, we may like movies at the library, but we know where our loyalties lie), so that’s an easy question to answer—the books are better!

Like the old saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman,” behind almost every successful movie is a book! Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, only three of them weren’t based on books, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, and The Tree of Life... read more

Q: Help! I’ve been doing all this exercising for my New Year’s Resolution, but I’m bored! What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | January 23, 2012

One of the great advances in book formats has taken us back to our storytelling roots. No, we’re not talking about ebooks—we’re talking about audiobooks.

Before the invention of computers or printing presses or even writing itself, the story existed in spoken form, as storytellers and their audiences sat around a campfire and passed down all kinds of tales. For a long time, auditory storytelling was more limited in use, mostly being involved in family histories and reading to children... read more

Q: Help! I'd like to read some historical fiction set in a particular era, but historical fiction is all over the place, and I can’t find it! What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | January 18, 2012

This one area where the online library catalogue is your friend, but first you must make sure you know how to describe the era you’re looking for.

First, determine the time period. Some common time periods in historical fiction are... read more

Q: Help! Someone gave me an ebook as a gift, but I can’t figure out how to get it on my E-reader!
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | January 9, 2012

If you just got an ereader, it can be pretty difficult to figure out how to get new books onto it, unless you go through the ebook store on your reader—if there is one. And sometimes people will send you gifts or word processor files that you want to read on your ereader, and you don’t know how to make them work.

Step one is always plugging your ereader into your computer, usually by a USB cable that comes with your device. Many e-book readers will support various file types—even Rich Text Format (RTF) files. You may end up with some weird page numbering problems, like page numbers that appear in the middle of the page or text boxes that appear in the middle of the text, but you may be able to read the book anyway... read more

Q: Help! I just got an ebook reader for Christmas, and I’ve already spent too much money on ebooks. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | December 27, 2011

Part of the magic of an ebook reader is getting free ebooks. Of course, there are all kinds of places to get free print books, especially if you have friends who are readers; often they will have a box or a shelf full of books with a sign reading: “Free to Good Home,” as if they were kittens.

However, with an ereader, the world of free reading material explodes. Not only is it much easier to pick up books that are out of copyright for free, but many authors publish free ebooks (both short stories and novels) as loss leaders to attract new readers and reward their regular readers... read more

Q: Help! I want to give a loved one a book...but I’m afraid they won't like it! What should I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | December 19, 2011

The best gifts have always been books (or scrolls or cave drawings or—now—ebooks). But how do you pick out a good book for someone else if you don’t have the same tastes... read more

Q: Help! I’m horribly stressed out about the holiday season; I feel like my smile fell off!
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | December 12, 2011

Smiling is essential to happiness, success, and good health—so this is a very serious problem. People who smile have higher levels of abstract thinking, tackle more new goals, and have lower blood pressure and levels of stress hormones.

So what can you do about it? Should you fake a smile... read more

Q: Help! I was reading a picture book to my child, and I read something I disagreed with. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | December 5, 2011

First: Take a deep breath.

Second: Talk to your child. This is a great time to get into the habit of talking to your children about what they see and hear--and read! The best time to get your two cents in isn’t when they’re teenagers, but while they’re sitting on your lap, helping you turn the pages... read more

Q: Help! What if the ebook revolution makes all the children’s picture books disappear?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | November 28, 2011

One of the few areas that hasn’t seen a massive rise in ebook sales (and a corresponding drop in print book sales) is in children’s picture books. According to an article in the New York Times, several publishers estimated that only about five percent of children’s picture books are sold as ebooks, compared with twenty-five percent or more for adult fiction categories.

Why? Two reasons... read more

Q: Help! I saw a librarian taking books off the shelves to get rid of them! What’s going on?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | November 21, 2011

The most dreaded job of a librarian is weeding, or removing books from the library collection.

At first, the idea of removing books from a library seems beyond comprehension. There was a reason that the library acquired the books in the first place, wasn’t there? Books don’t “go bad” or anything... read more

Q: Help! I love Les Misérables, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Scaramouche, but now I’ve run out of books. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | November 14, 2011

Romance...intrigues...revolution...hidden identities...

For a while, it seemed like my favorite books all belonged to the same genre of popular fiction, which nobody seems to be able to define (it’s not Romanticism, and it’s not Post-Romanticism) but everyone seems to love... read more

Q: Help! I tried to turn the page of my book, but it put me to sleep instead. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | November 7, 2011

Have you ever had that happen to you? You pick up a book that you’ve been promising yourself that you would read because it would make you more well-read, able to hold a conversation during a book club, or just a better person in general...and it bored you to tears?

There are those books, and then there are page-turners, the books that keep you up at night, make you miss your bus stop, and aren’t safe to listen to as audiobooks while jogging because you’ll run into a light pole... read more

Q: Help! A spooky snow storm caused power outages and I have to send an email right away. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian!

by Galina Chernykh | October 31, 2011

As much as libraries seem to be a place to collect books, now that they include everything from music to movies to video games to audiobooks to microfilm to maps to documents of historical interest and more, it’s more accurate to say that libraries have evolved to be collections of information instead.

In modern times, a place that holds a collection of information must have computers: computers that record what’s in the collection of information, computers that store part of the collected information, computers that allow library patrons to access information about the collection, and computers that allow librarians to answer questions... read more

Q: Help! I’ve wanted to be a writer for years but can’t seem to get off the ground. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | October 24, 2011

The library is a natural resource for writers, both in researching facts for their work and in learning how to write, using how-to books and other sources of inspiration.

Did you know that Joe Toplyn, one of The Library Board of Trustees members, is a writer? He has written and edited thousands of scripts, comedy segments, and jokes for a wide range of television shows. Most recently, Joe was on the writing staff of the hit USA Network show "Monk"... read more

Q: Help! I'm afraid that ebooks will destroy the way I like to read - with real books. What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | October 17, 2011

With more and more ereaders being sold, and more and more bookstores reducing the number of books they carry (and increasing the amount of “lifestyle items,” like toys, games, decorations, cards, wrapping paper, etc.), this isn't a bad question.

Many people have said, “I'll never give up on printed books,” read their first book on an ereader, and never look back. They're carrying whole libraries onto airplanes. They're wrapping their ereaders in freezer bags and reading in the bathtub by candlelight with a glass of wine. They're downloading countless samples like kids with their hands out in a candy shop. They're reading whatever they want, even if they need the large print edition: with an ereader, everything is a large-print edition... read more

Q: Help! I'm having a chocolate attack and I'm on a diet! What do I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | October 11, 2011

Note: This week's blog is all recommendations!

While there are hundreds of books about the history, making of, and culinary uses of chocolate (not to mention books on the health benefits of chocolate), especially near and dear to a chocolate-lover's heart are fiction books featuring chocolate. From kids' books to murder mysteries to romance, chocolate seems to inspire great more

Q: Help! My boy (or tomboy) won't read. What can I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | September 26, 2011

I know that a lot of parents feel that it's hard to get their sons to read. But before you panic, please stop and take a moment to consider that children with parents who like to read may not be as heavily into reading as their parents are!

If your child is consistently reading 15 to 20 minutes a day, he is probably doing enough reading to get significant benefits from it, over time—he'll develop good reading skills, and, if you participate with his reading by asking questions, develop good critical-thinking skills as he answers your curiosity about his more

Q: Help! I just learned how to program my VCR and now I have to figure out electronic BOOKS! What can I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | September 19, 2011

Have you ever tried to learn a new piece of technology that was supposed to be perfectly intuitive, easy to use, and user friendly...and had it turn out to be confusing, hard to use, and just plain annoying? If you haven't, have I got a computer for you! But the rest of us have learned to appreciate trying out new technology in a safe environment, in which all our questions are answered (but nobody's trying to sell us something).

The Harrison Public Library has just purchased e-readers for circulation at the library. That means that you can borrow a Nook Touch or a Nook Color from the library, free of charge, for three weeks. The staff at the Information Desk has been trained to show patrons how more

Q: HELP! I'm sinking in quicksand. What can I do?
A: Ask a librarian.

by Galina Chernykh | September 12, 2011

You're watching a TV show about a bunch of passengers on an airplane...when suddenly the engines fail, cabin pressure is lost, and the plane starts going down on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. The radios are out, cell phones aren't working, and the pilot's dead. Where are you?

If there had been a librarian on that plane, they wouldn't have been lost for six seasons, that's for sure. Librarians may not know everything, but they know how to find out, even when they're trapped in a jungle surrounded by polar bears, tigers, aliens, time more