Author Archives: Sarah Cross

Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity

 

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Thanksgiving gives us a chance to pause and be grateful for an abundance of food and other good things in our lives.

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the harvest in colonial times. Today it has evolved into being a holiday involving turkey, family, football and the serious beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  For me it is an opportunity to stop and think of how very much I have to be grateful for. After counting my blessings, I have the role of creating a somewhat traditional dinner. Yes, the meal will feature roasted turkey with stuffing, of course. Also pumpkin pie for dessert is a must. In planning the rest of the dinner, I have a little more leeway. I usually prepare one or two of my old vegetable standbys but then I like to include a new recipe. Ah, the search for a new recipe gives me chance to head to the library’s cook books located in the 641 area of the Dewey Decimal System.

As I looked on the cookbook shelves to see what I could include in this blog, I came upon these “interesting” instructions in The American Heritage Cookbook ( 641.5973 Am).  They have instructions from 1890 on how to prepare a turkey for Christmas dinner. They tell you that the turkey should be cooped up and fed some time before Christmas. Three days before it is slaughtered, it should have an English walnut forced down its throat three times a day and a glass of sherry once a day. They claim that the meat will be deliciously tender and have a fine nutty flavor.  Am glad these directions are for a Christmas turkey rather than Thanksgiving bird, although I know it makes no difference at all! If instead of following their directions, you decide to purchase a turkey from the grocery store, I agree with your decision!

Perhaps you find the idea of preparing something to contribute to the Thanksgiving dinner overwhelming. You don’t need to start with gourmet offering but you can browse the cookbooks to find an easy appetizer or veggie. You can also look for recipes for using some of the wonderful leftovers in the days after Thanksgiving. The people who have been in the kitchen much of the day on Thanksgiving will be more than grateful to hand over the reins to someone else to create a post-Thanksgiving meal.

Check out the cookbooks in the 641 area of the library. You will find a wide variety of recipes for Thanksgiving and also for everyday cooking.

 

The impact of Harry Potter

harry-potter-1640525_640The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in England on June 26, 1997.  So this year marks Harry’s 20th birthday. When it was released in the United States the next year, it received a slightly different title, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. There are now 8 books in the Harry Potter series. The Central Penn Library has all 8 titles both as books and DVDs. We also have additional titles about the politics of Harry Potter and the psychology of Harry Potter. If you prefer listening to a book, we have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on CD. To locate the items in our collection, do a keyword search in our online catalog for Harry Potter.

What can we learn from the publication of Harry Potter?

Never accept rejection. Joanne K. Rowling, Harry’s creator, had the manuscript rejected by 8 other publishers for being too long before Bloomsbury Children’s Books was willing to publish the first of the series.

Harry, OK, really Joanne K. Rowling, taught us that as long as books are GOOD, kids will read them, no matter how long they are. Before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a 700 page children’s book was unheard of.

Harry Potter books showed us that children’s books are not just for children. The series attracted readers of all ages. The books were geared for upper elementary students and young adults but adults discovered the series. It was no longer mildly embarrassing to be caught with a children’s book. Harry led to an explosion of popularity for children’s and young adult literature.

Harry Potter books captured our imaginations and added words to our vocabulary.  Muggle and Quidditch have both magically made their way into the prestigious Oxford Dictionaries. Other Harry words being considered for addition into the dictionary are Potterhead (a fan of Harry Potter books), Bellatrix (a name of a character) and Wrock ( short for Wizard Rock, a genre of Harry Potter related music).

If you haven’t read the entire series or if you care to reread them, or if you want to escape with one of the Harry Potter DVDs, come to the library to check Harry out.

 

 

 

Required Reading

 

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When I named this blog “required reading”, I was referring to the books you may have been required to read in your high school English class. I am not saying this blog is required reading but hopefully you will continue reading!

When you were in high school were you required to read certain titles for English class?  The philosophy behind requiring an entire class to read a particular title is that it forces the student to sit down and read and in turn they will develop reading skills they will need in life. It is said that the readers will see the similarities between problems of the past and the present. Do you agree that the reading of the titles helped you develop as a reader and person?

OR

Did required reading just turn you off to reading?  Did you feel that you couldn’t relate to the times and characters in the required reading titles. Did you feel that an old teacher, who knew nothing about you, knew enough to select reading material for you?  Do you feel that any of the titles listed below have any relevance to life in 2017?

These books are often found on required reading lists.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1925

Lord of the Flies by William Golding published in 1954

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee published in 1960

1984 by George Orwell published in 1949

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne published in 1850

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger published in 1951

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck published in 1937

Animal Farm by George Orwell published in 1945

After I question the value of being forced to read any of the above titles, I will let you know that the Central Penn Library does have all of the titles. We also have DVDs of some of the books. If you did not have to read the titles in high school, you can rush to the library to catch up with them now. You can find most of the books in the 813 area of the library.  You may have no desire to catch up with the books listed above but please browse the 813 section for plenty of leisure reading. I hope that you can either continue your love of reading for pleasure or discover that reading is enjoyable and a great escape from your required textbook reading.

We would love to hear your thoughts about required reading vs. reading for pleasure? Are there specific titles you would recommend for required reading? Are there titles you would like to recommend for pleasure reading? Would love to do a blog on books recommended by YOU.

 

Coming to your sky on August 21st….

 

partial-solar-eclipse-1154215_640On Monday, August 21st, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth creating a total solar eclipse for parts of the United States. Here in the Harrisburg area, we will experience a partial solar eclipse. About 75% of the sun will be obscured by the moon. The partial solar eclipse is to begin here at 1:17 pm on August 21st. The maximum eclipse will be at 2:40 pm and end at 3:58 pm. Of course, we are at the mercy of the weather since heavy clouds would block out the event.
So what is the big deal? The last time the United States had a total solar eclipse was in 1979 and that was only visible in the northwestern corner of the country.
If you want to observe a total eclipse and not travel a great distance, you will have to wait until April 8th, 2024. Here in the Harrisburg area, about 92% of the sun will be blocked by the moon at 2:05 in the afternoon. If you travel to Erie, PA you will be able to see a total eclipse in 2024.
One very important thing to remember in observing an eclipse is to never look at the sun, eclipsed or otherwise, without wearing protective eyewear. The sun’s radiation can burn the retinas of your eyes leading to permanent damage. Sunglasses do not qualify as protective eyewear. I noticed that stores such as Walmart and Lowe’s offer special glasses for viewing an eclipse. Another option is to make a DIY card projector. It really is simple. You will need two pieces of stiff white cardboard such as two paper plates. You will also need a thumbtack, sharp pin or a needle for making a tiny hole in the center of one of the paper plates. Make sure the hole is round and smooth. Hold the paper plate with the pinhole above your shoulder with your back to the sun. The second paper plate will act as a screen for you to observe what is happening behind your back. Hold that paper plate in front of you so you can see the inverted image of the sun projected onto it through the pinhole. To make the image of the sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.

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Since the eclipse is an unusual event you may want to take a photo using your phone. You cannot expect to take spectacular pictures due to the limitations of the smart phone lens. Also remember not to look directly at the sun. It is recommended that you take photos of the projection that you have after making a pinhole projector. You will need to get a friend to help you unless you have more than two hands!
Let’s hope for clear skies on Monday, August 21st so we can observe a partial solar eclipse which is not an everyday event!

Dreaming of a New Library

 

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Talk about dreaming and dreaming BIG! Let’s imagine that a mysterious person walks into the library and presents the library with a check, a BIG check like the ones featured at golf tournaments. The check is large physically but it is also large monetary! It has lots of zeros on it after a large number as the first number. It is the real thing and now the library can start dreaming about a new and improved library for Central Penn College and your learning experience.
Where is the most convenient place on campus for the library to be located? What would you like to see in a new library? How can we improve the collection? Do you want to see areas within the library for group study that won’t disturb other students? I know we librarians do! Want an area that is super quiet so you can really study? Do you want to see more carrels (those individual study desks)? Do you want more and faster computers? Do you want a complete computer lab? Do you want a coffee bar?
We really want your feedback as we wait for the mysterious person carrying a large check!

 

Memorial Day— something to think about…

 

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Memorial Day- ahhhh the unofficial start to summer! The grill is fired up and gets used to cook hot dogs and hamburgers and maybe some corn on the cob. Perhaps you will watch a Memorial Day parade that includes bands and firetrucks. Swimming pools open. Maybe you will visit the ArtsFest along the river in Harrisburg. The evening may have you seeing fireworks lighting up the sky. Memorial Day is a great day to celebrate the American way of life.
But wait— let’s give some thought as to why we are able to celebrate the freedom of being Americans. Our freedom is challenged when we participate in wars. Fortunately, our victories preserved our freedoms. Unfortunately, the wars also resulted in the loss of lives. The celebration of Memorial Day began in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. It was suggested that the graves of Civil War casualties be decorated with flowers each year on May 30th. May 30th was proclaimed to be “Decoration Day”. For the first observance, about 5000 people were present at Arlington Cemetery near Washington, DC to decorate the soldiers’ graves. Later the name of the day evolved into being Memorial Day, a day to remember the causalities of the wars.
In Nicholas Hobbes’ Essential Militaria: Facts, Legends, and Curiosities about Warfare, he has statistics concerning the percentage of soldiers who were killed and the odds of death during the war. Remember if you weren’t actually killed in battle, you also faced the possibility of dying from various diseases. During the War of Independence 2% of the patriots died; that translates into 1 in 50 dying. During the Civil War 6.7% died and it had the high odds of 1 in 15. During World War I, 1.1 % of American soldiers died which is 1 in 89 and World War II had 1.8 % and 1 in 56 dying. Statistics can be boring but if you look around you and consider that in the Civil War out of 15 of your college age friends or younger— one would be the recipient of flowers decorating his grave on Decoration Day.
Yes, enjoy the long weekend and all the fun that is associated with it but take a moment to remember the sacrifices that have been made so we can have Memorial Day and our freedom.

Earth Day 2017 Saturday, April 22nd

 

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One of the goals of Earth Day 2017 ( www.earthday.org) is to have citizens learn more about the concepts of climate change and be aware of the unprecedented threat to our planet.
As I read their mission, my mind began to address what I could do to be more environmentally kind to this planet. I found a list of suggestions on various sites but realized that many of the suggestions aren’t practical for students living on campus; such as doing an energy audit of your home. So I am presenting some of the more doable ideas.
1. Get a reusable water bottle. According to www.globalcitizen.org, 50 billion plastic water bottles are tossed annually. Most of them end up in a landfill or in the ocean. Just creating the bottles uses 17 million barrels of gasoline which is enough to power 1.3 million cars for a year. Staggering statistics! Note there are places on campus to refill those bottles such as in the Underground and in the Health Sciences Building.

From www.rustletheleaf.com come these suggestions.
2. Use both sides of the paper. The pulp mills that make paper use over one trillion gallons of chlorine-tainted water to produce paper. Use the other side and the pollution is almost cut in half. You get extra Earth Day points if you can find and use chlorine-free recycled paper.
3. Have less meat for dinner. Once a week plan a meal that does not include meat. Go with pasta, soy crumbles or other veggie options. Reducing meat consumption conserves fresh water and reduces air pollution.
4. Walk to nearby errands. Many of you have no other option than walking. If you do have a car, do you really need to use it to go to the Summerdale Plaza for a trip to Mickey D’s? It is estimated that if people walked or biked on nearby errands, 70 million gallons of fuel would be saved– each year. A bonus is that the trek up the hill is good exercise.
5. BYOB. Of course, you know that means Bring Your Own Bag. When you are shopping, bring a reusable bag to save on the use of plastic bags. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic bags that the U.S. uses every year.
6. If you are fortunate enough to have a car on campus, make sure it is in good shape. Americans waste over 700 million gallons of gas each year just because the tires aren’t properly inflated. Also make sure your car is properly tuned up. You will save money and reduce emissions.
7. Enjoy nature. This one is my favorite! Go for a hike or just sit in a park and appreciate the moment.

Appreciate the Earth and be kind to it. It is the only home we have.

Escape with a Book

On March 2nd, we celebrate reading awareness with Read Across America.
March 2nd was selected since it is the birthday of beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Here at the Central Penn Library, we will not be donning our Cat in the Hat hats, nor will we be serving Green Eggs and Ham, but we will be celebrating our love for books all month long. We are hoping that you will come by the library and take out a book and escape from your studies for a mini-vacation. On the display shelf on your right as you enter the library, we have books for your escape reading. The librarians can help you find more in our stacks. If you know that there is no way you can take time from your studies between now and the end of the term, ask us about borrowing items over the term break.

Here is a list of books that are great for an escape!

 

Hawkins, Paula The girl on the train [ 823.92 HAW]

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A psychological thriller that has been made into a movie. Rachel observes something shocking on her routine train ride. She goes to the police and gets very much involved with the case.

 

Moriarty, Liane Big little lies [ 823.92 MOR big ]

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Recently released as a movie. A murder… a tragic accident… or just parents behaving badly? Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads of their lives. A good read!

 

Young, William The Shack [ 813.62 YOU]

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Another book that has just been made into a movie being released this month. Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend

 

Ackerman, Diane The zookeeper’s wife : a war story [ 940.531 ACK]

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Yet another book that has been made into a movie that is being released this month. Documents the true story of Warsaw Zoo keepers and resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of Poland saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens by smuggling them into empty cages and their home villa.
Patterson, James 15th Affair [813.542 PAT]

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On the New York Times Best Seller list from 2016 is this thriller. It is the newest book in the Women’s Murder Club series. No, the women involved in the club do not murder but solve murders. Our library has 10 books in the series. Really good escape reading.

 

Whitehead, Colson The Underground Railroad [ 813.54 WHIT ]

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Appearing on the New York Times Bestseller list for 28 weeks is this fictional account of a Cora, a slave from Georgia. She embarks on a harrowing flight aided by the Underground Railroad as she heads north state by state, seeking true freedom.

 

Moore, Christopher Lamb : the Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood pal [ 813.542 MOO]

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Presents a humorous imagining of Jesus Christ’s life, told by his longtime friend, Biff, taking a fresh look at his relationship with Mary Magdalene, the roles of the disciples, his crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

 

Sparks, Nicholas Safe haven [813.54 SPAR]

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When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards– and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven”

 

Green, John Looking for Alaska [813.6 GRE]

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Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

 

Adams, Douglas Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [823.9 ADA]

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Join Douglas Adams’s hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You’ll never read funnier science fiction.
Evanovich, Janet Stephanie Plum series [813.54 EVAN]

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Our library has 16 of these wildly entertaining books about Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. You will be laughing out loud reading these.

 

Billingsley, ReShonda Tate Mama’s Boy [813.6 BIL]

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When her son is in trouble, a heartbroken mother finds the courage and faith to save him. This is a drama filled novel.
Chernow, Ron Alexander Hamilton [ 973.4 CHE]

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A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton! Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. I will admit that this is not light reading but it is on my “want to read” list

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Thought that picture of money might get your attention! As a college student, do you feel you are broke and probably will be broke forever? There is help and let me share various resources the library has.
I just gathered some books on Financial Literacy for the library’s display shelf on your right as you enter the library. The National Financial Educators Council defines financial literacy as: “Possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.”
As I was gathering the titles, I was first struck with the fact that so many of the authors make the assumption that you have money to invest. Then I came across some titles that seemed more helpful. They suggest that you identify your goals and prioritize how you spend your money. Peter Sander, who wrote Personal Finance Handbook [332.024 Sander] wants to help you control day to day finances. Carl Richards who wrote The One-Page Financial Plan [332.024 RIC] wants you to be clear on where you are financially and where you want to be. He suggests that you prioritize your goals and realize that you will need to make trade-offs to realize those financial goals.
In my searching, I learned that April is Financial Literacy Month. There is a website at financialliteracymonth.com run by Money Management International. They offer a 30 step path to help you manage your money. The steps may be started at any time. I did peek and saw that the first step is to commit to change. Yes, change is good! If you do commit to change you will have more change in your pocket. Oh, that was poor but it is true!

 

 

Love your Library Contest

 

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I am going to assume that when you think of Valentine’s Day you don’t immediately think of how you love your library, but I am asking you to give it some thought.

What does the library mean to you?
How has the library/ librarians helped you?
What aspects of the library do you find helpful?

The questions are just to get you thinking about how you love your library.
Feel free to be creative and you can tell us in a poem or add an image to your love note to us
Post your entry on the library’s FB page https://www.facebook.com/centralpennlibrary/
Post it by midnight, February 10th
We will be selecting a post to win a $25 cash prize.