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Why Native Plants?

Why Native Plants? 

You may have heard the term “native plants” and seen books or articles devoted to the subject. For us, a native plant is one that was growing in our area before humans began introducing plants from other parts of the country and other parts of the world (exotics). Our native plants evolved here and are an important part of our ecosystems, providing our native animals food, host plants and habitat. Oaks, Redbuds, Dogwoods and Pawpaws are examples of native trees that support our local animals and insects.  Just as the Monarch Butterfly needs milkweed t...

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Marvelous Us! Part III

In Marvelous Us! Part I and Part II we explored books related to our marvelous human bodies. Although popular culture over-emphasizes how our bodies may look, we often fail to appreciate how our bodies function. Whether or not you are happy with the way your body looks, the way it functions is truly marvelous. We take for granted the complex inner workings of the human body until something is out of balance, then we cannot stop thinking about it.

We are all familiar with the foundations of good health: eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly. A bit easier said than done, but t...

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Marvelous Us! Part II

Part I of Marvelous Us! got us started on an exploration of the human body by examining some recent titles added to the library’s collection. The subject is so large and rich that we need three parts to cover our recent acquisitions on the topic.  In Part I we looked at our skin, microbes, bacteria, hearts, blood, transplantation, and an overview of the human body.

Now we come to hormones in the book Aroused: the history of hormones and how they control just about everything.  This book is “a fascinating look at the history and science of some of medicine's most import...

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Pushing My Shelf During the Bingo Challenge 2022: Lisa

In this installment of the Pushing My Shelf  blog series, Lisa talks about some great and some not so great movies based on books.

This month we thought we would do a blog series for the Push Your Shelf Bingo Challenge. The challenge is to complete Bingo squares that “push your shelf.” In other words, read or try something that you might not ordinarily consider; something not typically found on your bookshelf. Find out more here.

To cheer you on some participating staff members* are contributing short blogs that recount their experience completing a Bingo challenge ...

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Our Feathered Friends

February is a good time of year to turn our attention to our local birds. With the leaves off the (deciduous) trees, birds cannot hide from us as easily. We are more likely to spot birds and be able to look for field marks to identify them. February is also when the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place. The GBBC provides an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to contribute to our knowledge of birds. Each February, “citizen-scientists” from all over the world count their local birds and submit data via the internet. This year’s GBBC runs from February 18th to the 21st. Blog Type: Homepage Adults News

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Marvelous Us! Part I

 

 

Marvelous: superb; excellent; great: a marvelous show.  Such as to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; surprising; extraordinary; improbable or incredible. That is us alright. The human body is a marvel. If you really think about our bodies, they should cause wonder, admiration, and/or astonishment. The human body is surprising, extraordinary, improbable, and incredible. Scientific research continually expands our knowledge of the human body and makes for some interesting reads. Here are a few recent titles that feature aspects of our marvelous ...

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November is Native American Heritage Month!

 

In recognition of the original inhabitants of America, November has been designated Native American Heritage Month. President George H. W. Bush signed a joint resolution in 1990 establishing the month-long celebration of indigenous culture and contributions to the United States.  When we think of First Nations we often consider them in a historical context, but there are 574 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages in the United States today, with about 2 million members, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Af...

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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...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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What's in a Beer?

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying: “Beer is proof that God loves and wants us to be happy.” It is a good story even if it may not be true. I am happy with the rise of microbrews and craft breweries, favoring hoppy ales or IPAs over the typical American lagers. Not surprisingly (since we cover almost everything) we have books on beer (not to mention wine and other spirits) in the library’s collection.

My Google Maps search shows four breweries in the Winchester area that continue to serve the community despite current conditions and I am sure our lo...

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Watch the Skies This Month for the Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminids are a favorite meteor shower, with the peak occurring this year on Sunday December 13. Undoubtedly, it was a Geminid meteor I saw one December night as a child, with my brothers, walking around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Several characteristics help to make the Geminids a favorite. This shower can produce several meteors per hour, it is second only to the Perseids in August. Here, in August, the sky can be hazy with humidity impacting the view. December brings crisp air and the possibility of clearer skies. The other appealing aspect of the Geminids...

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Enjoy the Harvest!

This time of year is ripe with fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden, famers’ markets and farm stands. So delicious! You can save a taste of summer by making preserves or jellies, pickles, drying or freezing this summer’s bounty. The library has an extensive cookbook section which includes books on canning and preserving such as: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, Better Homes and Gardens You Can Can, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving and Foolproof Preserving 

 

Our non-fiction books are arranged by number (Dewey Decimal Classifica...

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On the Move!

Maybe you have seen them too? Orange and black; flitting from flower to flower or gliding on the breeze, the Monarch Butterflies are beginning their annual migration. One of nature’s great mysteries, the Monarch Butterflies that migrate from the eastern U.S. and Canada have never visited their winter destination. They are several generations removed from the butterflies that over-wintered in pine forests located in the mountains of Mexico. Yet somehow they find their way. Chasing monarchs: migrating with the butterflies of passage is about monarch migration and the west-coast populations th...

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