Blog Entries

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Staff Member

A Look Back at Virtual Program "Third Thursday-Exploring the Outdoors"

In a time when most of us were spending more time with friends and family outside thanks to COVID-19, The Friends of Handley Regional Library System brought us a multi-part virtual series titled "Third Thursday-Exploring the Outdoors". Each month featured a different outdoor enthusiast presenting their story and sharing tips to enjoy the outdoors. While this program will take a break for the month of August, it will be back in September! Here's a look back at past sessions:

January 21, 2021-The premier featured two Appalachian Trail hikers, Rose "Comics" Turner...

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20 Years At Bowman Library

July 16th marks the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Bowman Library! The library was the culmination of years of planning and work on the part of library staff, county administrators, and dedicated volunteers.



In August 1998, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted to fund the new library for the sum of $4 million dollars. By October of that year, the Lakeside site on Tasker Road in Stephens City was selected for the location of the new library and design plans were underway by the architects. In April of 1999, the library boa...

Blog Type: Homepage Adults
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What Makes a New York Times Bestseller?

Most of the players involved (authors, publishers, agents, book sellers) agree that the New York Times Bestsellers are the most well-known and prominent lists of books shared on a weekly basis. The list provides a common talking point for clubs and readers. They connect us on a social level supporting the “water cooler” discussions in person and virtually. Making the list is not that big of a deal for established bestselling authors but for the unknown or first time author it is a great benefit.



When I was assigned the task of curating the New Y...

Blog Type: Adults
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New Virtual Exploring the Library Adult Summer Reading Series

In conjunction with the 2021 Adult Summer Reading Program, library staff held a series of virtual workshops about Exploring the Library to help patrons best utilize the library and its resources. 

Programs in this series focused on Library platforms that provide digital content to our patrons including eBooks, Audiobooks, Magazines, Music, Comics, and streaming video. The three platforms explored were Libby (for iOS and Android, Hoopla, and Amazon Kindle).

Below is a list of the workshops with a link to the video recordings of each.

Workshop 1: Blog Type: Adult Program Page Homepage Adults News

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Winners! Adult Summer Reading Program 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 Adult Summer Reading Program. We had over 600 people sign up for this years program. We hope everyone will join us next year.

Here are this years prize package winners!

Exploring the Outdoors Prize Package Winner - Rachel Novick

Prize package includes: America the Beautiful annual pass, Mountain Trails gift card, America the Beautiful: A story in photographs

Valley Locals Package - Edward Heddinger

Prize package includes: Museum of Shenandoah Valley Family Membership, Winchester Ciderworks g...

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Genre Spotlight: Science Fiction

Science fiction is often a misunderstood genre. It's assumed to be universally chock-full of inscrutable scientific or technical jargon (no offense to those who enjoy such things, you are far more powerful than I will ever be), and lacking in things one usually likes to find in stories such as relatable characters, well-plotted stories, and readable prose. But it’s hardly true that such science fiction (often called “hard science fiction” or “hard SF”) offers nothing in the way of enjoyable stories and characters. 

There’s also a huge range of subgenres within science fi...

Blog Type: Homepage Adults
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What's New? Your Guide to the Libby App Update

If you’ve been using the Libby App recently within the past month, you may have noticed some changes in how the app looks. The app recently underwent a major update that not only looks a little different, but it also has some updated and newly added features. Below are some of the highlights with this update:

New Layout
Libby has redesigned the look of the homepage to make it easier to navigate. At the top of the homepage there are filters you can tap on which allow you to browse just added titles, popular titles, what’s available to borrow right now, a randomized view of t...

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Database Spotlight: Mango Languages

You can find our latest "Database Spotlight" on our YouTube channel. In April we highlighted "Mango Languages", an online language learning tool that offers courses in Spanish, Polish, English, Mandarin, and over 70 other languages. You can access "Mango Languages" free with your library card though our website. Learn key phrases, watch movies in the language you are learning and use the online translator. This website is best for families and upper elementary school age students and would be great for keeping up your language skills over the summer and brushing up right before go...

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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22nd – come celebrate with us! Whether you are interested in the latest science and conservation efforts; want to discover ways – both big and small – that you can help to preserve our planet; or simply want to bask in the beauty and diversity of life on Planet Earth, we’ve got an array of items to choose from.

On the shelves we have so many books containing lush, gorgeous photography featuring plant life, ocean life, birds, insects, land animals – including many intimate portraits of endangered species. If you're planning some outdoor exploring, consi...

Blog Type: Adults
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April Is National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month!  In April of 2019 I created a poster (from clip art) and selected books of poetry to display in the Bowman branch of HRLS. Sixteen books of poetry got checked out! In April of 2020 I wrote a blog to commemorate National Poetry Month. I thought I would take a year off from the topic in 2021. But it is April, a very poetic time of year. Also, the one-year anniversary of April 2020 when it became clear that the Shenandoah Valley would not escape Covid-19. As April 2021 rolled around, I remembered that I had written a poem in 2020. A rare occurrence, but a p...

Blog Type: Adults
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Try Some Citizen Science!

It used to be that many scientists did not want help from non-scientists. They thought that a typical person/citizen did not have the skills, knowledge, or training to make a meaningful contribution to their discipline. Wrong! This was a common attitude even though history is littered with self-taught or non-professional people who did make important scientific contributions. The hundred plus years of data from the Christmas Bird Counts would never have been possible only relying upon scientists.

Fortunately, few scientists now need convincing that there is an important role for o...

Blog Type: Adults
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This Blog Is For the Birds: Part II

Part I of This blog is for the birds focused on the Great Backyard Bird Count that takes place each February. In Part II, I want to share with some you of the new titles (about birds) that have been added to our collection in the past year and remind you of related selections in our DVD collection.

During the past year, we have acquired new books about birds. David Sibley created one of the best field guides for birds (trees too!) and a book on bird behavior. His newest: What it's like to be a bird: from flying to nesting, eating to singing--what birds are doing, and why, answers ...

Blog Type: Adults
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This Book Club is for You!

Have you ever joined a book club? Wanted to but never had the opportunity? Never wanted to but thought you should? Still don’t want to but I am making you feel guilty?

Whatever the case, Brown Bag with Books is for you (it’s for everyone!) You can sit back quietly and listen in or talk as much as you want. Believe it or not, friendships have been created out of this club.

We meet monthly via Zoom, on the first Wednesday of the month at noon.  All you need to do is check our website for the book of the month and read it! It’s a great way to push yourself to try a new...

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3-Part Virtual Series: Exploring the Library

We held a special series designed to educate the public on different ways to use library services in March  titled Exploring the Library.  These virtual sessions offered through Zoom were ideal for new, prospective, and current users of all library system locations – Bowman Library, Clarke County Library, and Handley Library. 

Topics included tips and tricks on using the online catalog to access materials and online content, hidden treasures on the library website, and a deep-dive session exploring the 24/7 Digital Library.  To view video of the recorded progra...

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This Blog is for the Birds: Part I

I admire birds. They can fly under their own power and I cannot. In many ways I find them beautiful and in many more ways fascinating. Each February since 1998 Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society have sponsored the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC.) This is a citizen science effort, created to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time.

The count takes place over four days: this year February 12 -15. The protocol for counting and submitting your results can be found on the website.  You can visit a park, count birds in your neig...

Blog Type: Adults
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