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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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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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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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Series and Read-A-Likes in the Library Catalog

This blog is about another nifty feature in the library catalog that you may not have found yet. I will use two books as an example. The first book “The Sherlockian” is a historical mystery with parallel narratives. When I type the name in the search bar for the library and then click on the title, I see the page below. Notice the link on the left titled “Series & read-a-likes”.

When I click on “Series & read-a-likes” I get another page with lots of useful information. The top tab has similar books labeled “read-a-likes”. Beside that are authors whose writings are similar ...

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Using reference USA Part II

If you not have not read Job Searches Using Reference USA Part I, It would be good to familiarize yourself with that content, since it will not be repeated here. The previous blog may provide you with all you need to search for a job. Although we are in a pandemic with 20 million people unemployed, there are companies in our area that are hiring. A basic search (on August 11.2020) for the last seven days, within a 25 mile radius of the 22601 zip code results in 631 hits! This includes 500 full-time and 191 part-time (some are both which is why they add up to more than 663). It may sounds go...

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Civil/Legal Resources On-line

Sometimes we need the advice of a lawyer, but their services can be expensive. Sometimes our problems come from a lack of funds which makes hiring a lawyer that much more problematic. Fortunately, there are reliable legal resources online, that can provide us with forms, information and help us determine if we need a lawyer or not. This blog will introduce you to some of these online resources.

The Library subscribes to Gale Legal Forms which gives you access to the information on this website. To utilize Gale Legal Forms, you must enter from the library’s webpages.

&nbs...

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Check out the Library of Congress Website!

The Library of Congress (LoC) was established in 1880 to support the research needs of the United States Congress. Over time, its mission and reach broadened, allowing it to serve as the nation’s library. As you can imagine this is quite an undertaking, making the LoC the largest library in the world! Early in this century the LoC began to digitize collections and put them online. Recently, I attended a webinar that provided a tour of features on the LoC website. You can view this webinar by following this link. It is about 45 minutes with 15 minutes of Q&A. A few of the standouts from ...

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Stop and Smell The Magnolia!

Magnolia grandiflora (also known as the Southern Magnolia) is the tree species growing outside of the Bowman Branch of the Handley Regional Library. Its large white flowers, which are blooming right now, have the most delightful aroma. I encourage you anytime you are passing by the library, to stop and smell the magnolia. We are fortunate that our magnolia has branches with blossoms that are low to the ground so we can enjoy this fabulous scent of summer.

Did you know that the olfactory system (sense of smell) is intricately linked to memory? The human brain is an incredible organ...

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June is National Pollinator Month

Pollination is a process that transfers genetic material so a plant can reproduce. Why should we care about pollination? Plant reproduction involves the production of seeds, and some of those seeds are inside fruits like apples, cherries and peaches. Did I mention that strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, and coffee depend on pollinators too? It is estimated that 2/3 of crop species world-wide depend upon pollinators!

The most well-known pollinator is the (European) honeybee. The honeybee can be encouraged to nest in man-made hives allowing for the (relatively) easy extraction of...

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