Off The Shelf
As always at this time of year, I start revving my engine to let parents and caregivers know the importance of reading during the summer. The school year is very busy and the summer is a welcomed break from all the activity. I believe most parents intend to keep their children reading over the summer. For some parents, that first week off slides into the second and soon the month of July is over and then August is here and so quickly it too is over. Since, the time flies so quickly, it doesn’t seem that it would matter so much to a child’s future, but it does. Unfortunately, the loss in reading cannot be made up in September. The reading skill loss does add up, however. So a student that does not read in the summer has a two year lag in reading by the time they reach middle school.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to have visits from all the first grade students. Most were excited to be in the library and seemed enthusiastic at the chance to read. Out of all the classes, only a handful had been in the West Winfield library before. They may have been in other libraries but most did not think they had ever been in a library before. They didn’t know how easy it was to get books. How it was free to order books if we don’t have them or just to make it faster to pick books up. I did tell them that I was working on an online portion of the summer reading program so if they could not get here regularly they could still participate. It was exciting to see how eager they are to read. Near the end of the week, I was invited to visit some of the 6th grade students. I showed them how to use the online catalog, how to download e-books, audiobooks and e-magazines as I struggled with the Smart Board. They asked me all kinds of questions about borrowing books and how the library works. We have some smart children in Mt. Markham. When asked if they would read over the summer if they could get to the library, only two or three seemed not so excited about it. Then their teacher asked them why they don’t go to the library. One girl said she would rather buy the books, but the majority said their parents don’t take them and their parents were too busy. I was left speechless, amazing as that seems. Now, I am a parent of four, I know how crazy it gets, I know that my children didn’t always voice their desires, and how I sometimes had the best of intentions, but it didn’t always work. I know parents are busy and it is hard to find the time, but I was surprised these children felt they couldn’t ask. It is so important to keep children reading over the summer. If you have internet access, you can browse the catalog and request books ahead of time. Then, when they are ready for you, you just stop in, hand us the library card, the books get checked out, and you are on your way again in minutes. With internet access, books can be downloaded in e-book or audio form. There are no overdue fines on digital items and you can do it any time of night or day. No internet, no problem, just give us a call and we will place a hold for the items you want. It is easier if you have your library card available. Need help starting out, call, or email (email@example.com) the library. If it is another problem, please let me know and I will do my best to help you out.
This article has gotten a bit lengthy but I hope everyone realizes we will help the best we can to get children items they want to read, that also goes for adults. I don’t mind helping you out, if you need it. I know all of you are waiting on the edge of your seats to find out what I have planned for the summer but that will have to wait until next time. Until then, hope to see you (and your children) in the stacks!
Off The Shelf
I have not been keeping up with the library news and I have so much to tell you. I finished the annual report. As many of you know, I do not like doing it. It always seems like I am desperately trying to get it done on time. We don’t get to see the questions until they open it up for us to submit the information to the state and then it is a race against time to get the information and submit it before the deadline. I always find some interesting things that I didn’t know, though. This year, we have about 100 more people using the library compared to last year. Circulation for adult fiction books is about the same but nonfiction is little lower. Children borrowed a little more fiction books than last year, about 500 more items. The thing that really surprised me was the borrowing of eBook’s. We had twice as many eBooks borrowed this year compared to last year. Since, people can do this at home I do not see this activity. In case you didn’t know, you are also able to borrow eMagazines. Those are great because you don’t have to worry about accidently recycling one and you have access to the ones you borrow long after you first borrow it.
As you drive down Main Street, you may see a new item at the edge of the village green. It is a Little Free Library. Little Free Libraries are worldwide. Little Free libraries are basically a box of books where anyone can stop by and pick up a book. They do not have to worry about returning it or returning it on time. You do not have to be a resident so it is a great place for visitors to get books to read. The books are free and available 24/7. Our Little Free Library is a very attractive red barn that Abraham Dibble made for us as part of his Eagle Scout project. We really appreciate his attention to detail and how well he worked with us and the village on this project. I hope to get it on the map soon, so when people are searching for a Little Free Library; they will be able to find ours. Thank you Abraham for all the time you put into this project.
Basic computer classes will be starting soon, March 16. You need to sign-up ahead of time because space is limited. Classes will be on Mondays at 2 pm. In general, we teach what people what to learn. So if you want to learn how to attach something to an email that would be the next week’s lesson. If you are interested please call the library.
Barbara Linsley will be doing a book talk and signing on March 11 at 7:00 pm. She is an award winning author and her newest book, ‘My Life in Dogs’ is full of pictures and stories. These moving stories are told from the author’s and the dog’s perspectives, some are heart-rending and others are heartwarming. She will also be selling her books and a part of the sales will go to the West Winfield Library. I hope you can join us.
Someone asked me the other day what do you have to do to join one of the book clubs. I told them they needed to come. Books that we will be discussing are available beforehand but if you are just curious, you can just come. We read a wide variety of titles. If you want more information please stop in or give us a call. There is still plenty of winter left to curl up with a good book. I hope to see you in the stacks.
Off the Shelf
The holidays are nearly here and we have been busy at the library. I tried to get this article in last week but the days have been busy and the deadline was passed before I knew it. Some of the things you may have missed are the 13th annual “Cookies by the Pound” sale. The tables were once again brimming with cookies. Preorders were taken and boxes were filled with a nice selection. Then the sale started and people came in and picked from a variety of cookies, two of this kind or maybe four, whatever they wanted. They filled up a box and weighed it to check out. Once again, I have to thank the fabulous bakers. I am tempted to list them but I am afraid I might miss someone and they all deserve credit for their baking delights. Then, I have all the people that helped at the sale. I want to say thanks to all, those that helped at the sale and those that baked. You all made this, another successful fundraiser.
Then, there is the gorgeous quilt that so beautifully hung in our library. It was donated by the Winfield Quilt Guild and they did a wonderful job hand piecing and hand quilting of the jewel box pattern. The colors were a pleasure to look at. We held the raffle on Saturday and the lucky winner was Charles Denton. He bought his ticket at Davis Hardware. I want to say thank you, to Dick for making room on his counter for our tickets and to all those that took the time to sell tickets. Most of all, thank you to the ladies of the quilt guild. They made another remarkable piece of art for someone to enjoy .
Right now, our Christmas tree is decorated with handmade ornaments that can be purchased. They make a nice gift or are cute topping a nicely wrapped gift. Now, I know you are wondering what the library crafters came up with this year. This year’s ornament is made out of wine corks, beads and a pretty charm and cost just $3.00. I did have to sacrifice many summer nights drinking wine to get all those corks. Of course, I am joking … it wasn’t a sacrifice. Seriously, most of them were donated. I think they turned out cute and we have sold allot but we still have some it you would like one. The sale proceeds are going to purchase nonfiction items.
Christmas is almost here and Santa’s elves have been stopping in to pick up letters for Santa. Time is running short to get a reply from Santa, so get those letters in. Originally, the due date was Wednesday, the 17 but a note was left on the mailbox letting us know that the elves will pick up letters until Monday the 22. The mailbox is just inside the door of the library and its child height so they can put the letters in the mailbox themselves.
We have a few closed dates I want you to know about. For Christmas we will be closed on December 24, 25, and 26. For New Year’s we will be closed on Wednesday night and on January 1. Do you believe it will be 2015 in about 2 weeks? Where did this year go? And yes, I have been planning for the new year. Computer classes will begin again in January if there is enough interest. Please call the library at 822-6394 if you think you may be interested. Story Time will begin again. Please call the library if you want a child involved. I want to make the time convenient for caregivers so I am leaving the time and days open until I hear what the best time would be for them and the children.
Well, I hope to get a few moments when we are closed to curl up with a book. I am sure my husband will be borrowing a movie or two from the library to watch. So stop in early for the best selection. I would also like to suggest calling us before you try and come down if it is storming, just in case we are closed. I wish you all the Merriest of Christmas’ and hope to see you in the stacks in the New Year!
OFF THE SHELF
It is that time of year again, when students start thinking of summer vacation. It is great for students to be able to kick back, relax and explore things they may not have time for normally. For me, this is a time of year that I worry about children not reading. It’s not because I know more readers mean more activity in the library, it is because of the summer reading losses or summer reading slide. When children don’t read in the summer they lose some of what they have learned through-out the school year (about two months’ worth). Unfortunately, those losses add up and they can be years behind their peers in reading skills before they get out of middle school. Low income children are hit harder than those children that are well-off. After the age of eight, children’s reading frequency decreases dramatically. The highest decreases are seen in boys. So what can we do? Children need to keep reading over the summer. Make a schedule or special time for your child to read. Fifteen minutes a day is fine, more is better. Make it fun! Have them pick out subjects they want to read. Remember if we don’t have it, it usually can be ordered, for free. No time to get to the library when it is open? Then download an e-book or audio book or magazine, right from home, again for free. Play board games that use their skills such as Scrabble or Trivia Pursuit Jr. So far, board games are still better than their digital brothers. As time goes on our brains may rewire a bit but for now the written word stays in our brain much better than the digital. So please, help me out, help the teachers out but most of all help out your children by continuing their reading over the summer.
For summer, we have lots of activities. I will go into all the details more next month but we have special programs on Tuesdays at 2 pm starting on July 8. We also will have preschool programs in July on Thursdays at 1 pm. Sign-up sheets, reading logs will be available soon.
On Wednesday, June 25 we will have a couple from across the country, who are writing a series of books all about the history of Route 20. William and Mary Lewis will be talking about their research into U.S. 20 and their book series “Through The Heartland On U.S. 20”. We have some of their books on display, if you want to take a peek. They have fun and interesting facts about the towns that they have passed through. Their presentation should be amusing and engaging and starts at 6:45 pm. on Wednesday, June 25.
Hope to see you in the stacks!
Off The Shelf
I have put of writing this ‘Off The Shelf’ article because I knew I would be asking for more funding and I hate to ask for more money. When you go to vote for the school budget there will also be a proposition to vote for an increase in library funding. The West Winfield Library is asking for an additional two thousand dollars and Bridgewater free Library is asking for one thousand dollars. Both libraries are asking for an increase because minimum wage went up and Bridgewater Free Library is also hoping it will help with the increase in the cost of oil. Since, we both cover the Mt. Markham school district our proposition is together. When minimum wage went up in January, I took some of the budgeted money out of book purchasing and some out of computer equipment and used it to cover the increase in salaries. Hopefully, if you, the taxpayers, vote yes, I can put those funds back to their original uses in December when we will receive the funds. I understand the reasoning behind the increase in minimum wage but for at least a year we will be behind. So, I hope that when you go to vote and see $50,481.00 for the West Winfield Library and Bridgewater Free Library, you will know that we are asking for $2000 and Bridgewater Free Library is asking for $1000, mostly to cover the cost of the minimum wage increase. I hope you will say yes to help us keep our services up.
Something that I have been waiting to be able to tell about you has finally happened. We now have over 1000 DVD’s for your viewing pleasure. We have been slowly building our collection and trying to purchase current movies. We cannot buy them all but we try and get some new ones every month. Most of our movies are able to be borrowed for one week. The newer ones only go out for two days to give everyone a chance to see it when it is still new. Don’t see what you want? It usually can be requested for you at no cost. I have to warn you if it is new and popular and we don’t own it, there may be a wait before it comes in. So, if there is nothing on TV and you don’t pay for Netflix, ‘check out’ what we can offer you.
Another exciting addition is digital magazines. Now, when you go to the catalog you will see Zinio. Zinio is a way for you to get digital copies of magazine on a computer, tablet or mobile device. So far there are 53 different magazines to choose from. You have to create a Zinio account but that is free. When you check out a digital magazine you do not have to return it. You can still view it any time. Zinio also has a paid subscription service but the library section is free. We still carry paper copies of our subscriptions so if you like to hold something in your hand, you can still do that. Right now gardening is the hot topic and they are flying off the shelves. Hope you get to read something good while enjoying this great weather and I hope to see you in the stacks!
Off The Shelf
The library’s annual report to the state is finished. They now know how much money we have spent on books, postage, movies and so on. They know how many items have been checked out of the library, how many programs we have had, what kind of programs and how many people attended those programs. I answered allot of questions on ‘how many’ and ‘how much’ and I now wonder ‘how’ I got it done in time.
Now, I am working on ideas for the Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is ‘Fizz, Boom, Read’. Traditionally we have a universal program that is open to all children on Tuesdays at 2 pm. During the summer program we have entertainers come; we make crafts or play games and of course read some books. We also try to have a book group for some of the older children. This year I was thinking of adding another day and time, just for preschoolers. But I did not know if families with different age children would come two days a week, for their different age children or even if there would be enough summer interest for a preschool program. Then, I was not sure what the best day and time to have a preschool program. I am going to post this question on our Facebook page and I would appreciate your opinions or you may email me at ’firstname.lastname@example.org’ or even give us a call at 822-6394. Your responses will guide what I decide do for this year’s summer program.
Story Time has begun again. It is on Tuesdays at 1 pm. I moved it up a half hour so people would have plenty of time between the program and school letting out. It seems our other time made it a little close for some people. We are hoping the worst of the weather is over so it isn’t as hard to bring the wee ones out to visit the library.
Sorry to say we have not seen any tax forms this year. This summer I sent a request to the state for forms just like always but we have not seen one form. We can still help you print out a form if you need help, though.
We have had a growing interest in downloading e-books from the website to your personal device. Many people give me a call and we set up a time and we work together so they can put an item on their device. I have considered a class and if there is enough interest I still may do that. But, I have found that the devices are different, and work differently. For example there are eight different Kindles being sold right now and they don’t all work the same. The library’s website does have some good tutorials. Some of the tutorials are in a document format while others are in video format but they all have good information. I have found that when I am searching for a book I still like to look using my computer vs doing that on my Kindle. It is just a personal preference because I like the bigger screen. Also, I have found that patience is worth having, since it sometimes takes up to 5 minutes for the e-book to appear on my Kindle after I have checked it out. It sure is funny that no matter how fast these devices are they still are not fast enough, sometimes.
I hope that I get some answers to my questions and that I see you in the stacks.
‘Off The Shelf’ article for February 2014
Once again my hair is standing on end because it is time to fill out the annual report for New York State. So, if you hear growling from the back of the library don’t be afraid I am just trying to fill out the forms. There will not be any Story Times or computer classes until after the annual report is filed but I am always looking for ideas on what people want to learn. So, if there is something you would like to learn about, please give us a call or send us an email.
We have an art contest going on at the library. It is an Earth and Space art contest and was inspired by NASA. I was putting together a bulletin board with materials provided by NASA and the colors and images of space looked amazing and a bit like abstract art. They just screamed ‘ART CONTEST’! We have three age groups competing 5-7, 8-10, and 11-13. We are looking for the artist’s concept of a picture of space or of earth. We would like the art to reflect the colors, the shapes or the textures of that image. We are not looking for exact copies of an image unless that is what the artist wants to do. More details can be found on our website, (look under ‘What’s New’) or stop in the library and pick up a flier. There are lots of books available at the library with images that may inspire the budding artist. I cannot wait to see the art that is produced.
I was asked how I pick what books to buy. Since, we have a budget and I like to stay within that budget, I focus my purchases on items I think our patrons want to borrow. I cannot buy everything I think they want, but I try and get what I can. First, there are author’s that are very popular and I try and keep up with those, then certain subjects become popular and we try and keep something on those. Then there are the authors that may not be so popular but have great books. So, I try and buy a few of those and see how our patrons like them. Sometimes a great author will be found because someone donated a book and we put it on the shelf and our patrons like them. Charles Martin falls into this category. A patron donated a book and it kept going out. I purchased more of his books and we cannot keep them on our shelves. There are not allot of libraries that carry his books but he is very popular here. We do not get the books for free but from one of our suppliers, we get a discount so I purchase as much as I can from them. If you ever read an author you really like, let us know and I will see if we can put some of their books on our shelves.
Since, I am on the subject of authors, I want any local authors to know that if they are publishing a new book and would like to do a book signing here, to please give me a call so we can set up a date and time. I know there are people out there that get books published but we may not know about it. So even if we don’t call you, you are welcome to call or email us.
We are still looking for volunteers at the library. Some volunteers come in weekly, while others just once per month. Most of our volunteers put away items that have been returned but there are other things some of them do. We would not be able to maintain the level of service that we do without their help. They are so vital to our library. You would not believe how hard it is to find something that has been misshelved. Our volunteers do a wonderful job at keeping the books in their proper places. So, if you think you may be interested just give us a call.
Stay warm and I hope to see you in the stacks.
‘Off The Shelf’ article for January 2014
I am starting off the new year with an article and I am going to do my best to do one every month, crossing my fingers. The calendar on our website is back up and working and I hope to keep it current with events. The month of January will be fairly quiet at this point. This month, our book groups will meet like usual and so will the Mah Jongg group. The groups are open to the public. You can stop in and see what they are like and decide if you would like to join, later. The two book groups pick a particular title that they will discuss ahead of time. Copies of the books are available at the library so the members have a chance to read the books before the discussion. They both meet monthly. The first group meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 12:30 pm. This group reads a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. Right now, the group is small with only about 5 regular members. The second book group meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm. This group usually picks titles that have a thread of faith woven into the story. This group is the largest with about 9 members. Both groups welcome newcomers, and enjoy a good discussion.
The Mah Jongg group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursdays. Right now, they are starting at 1 pm and finishing around 3pm. If you know how to play and want to join in, or you want to learn how to play or you are just curious about the game, you can stop in. You don’t have to stay the whole time if you are not sure if you want to join them. It will exercise your brain but it is also lots of fun.
Many people may have received a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader as a Christmas gift. You can download a book to borrow from the library website for free. The book will only stay on your device for the loan period and then disappear. No late fees! There are directions on the website on how to borrow library books with your device. I am thinking of having a workshop on how to borrow items if there are enough people that are interested. If you may be one of those interested people, please let me know.
As you may have noticed, winter is here. There are times when the weather is a bit unpredictable or just plan nasty. If you are planning on visiting us by skiing down in a blizzard, give us a call first to make sure we will be open. You can always call to renew or renew items online if you feel the weather or road conditions are poor. This includes any items that you borrow such as movies, books or magazines. By the way, we have over 900 DVD’s in our collection. That is plenty of movies to watch during a snowstorm. Stay warm, curl up with something great to read and I’ll see you in the stacks.