Friday, April 25, 2014

Farewell for Now, but Not Forever.

It is with a bit of sadness that my time as an virtual intern for the Saranac Lake Free Library is coming to a close. And to that I'd like to say that I am grateful to the SLFL, its director Peter Benson, and all its staff and community that made the library a very welcoming place. In keeping in touch with the announcements, the photo proof of how certain events went and were going brought delight to this old heart all the way in Korea. I really learned a lot in such a short time. Learning about the different reading groups, therapy dogs and the way they benefit many people, the different authors and speakers that represent all that is good and fascinating about the Adirondacks, I really enjoyed it all and I learned many things. And perhaps knowing that I may have helped the community through this internship is my fuel to press on a be a good librarian to many someday. In spite of my distance on what is literally, the other side of the world, all I want to say is, thank you for this experience, from the bottom of my heart.

I will subscribe to this blog with my regular e-mail, so if you have any questions or comments you would like for me to specifically address or answer, just comment this post and it will notify me via e-mail. It's been a pleasure everyone. I hope to someday visit the SLFL in person next time I find myself in the area. Thank you all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

National Library Week: North Korean Libraries

Contrary to what the title may cause some to speculate, I have never set foot inside of North Korea. There was a time in the mid 2000s when both North and South Korea were on more amicable terms and in addition to increased goods trading between the two countries, there was also special economic zones that included opening up limited tourism to South Korean citizens. Not surprisingly, after a tourist was shot dead in one of these special tourist zones, things started falling apart. Trade decreased. The tourist visitations by South Koreans were shut down to a grinding halt, and after the sinking of a battle ship and an assault on a South Korean island, that was the last straw. My biggest regret was not taking advantage of a trip to North Korea when it was more feasible to do so at that time.

Anyways, in spite of what anyone might think of North Korea and it's leadership, they do have some pretty breathtaking libraries.

Image credit: Mark Kociejew

This is the Grand People's Study House, and it was one of those places one could have visited if they were fortunate enough to sneak a tour during the friendly years window of opportunity (2005-2008). Since I was not one of those lucky people, I invite everyone to read about this unusual and interesting library through the blog of Marc Kociejew here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Library Week: the Colorful History of Korea's Old Libraries

This is a picture of me standing outside of one of Korea's oldest libraries. This is the Outer Kyunjanggak Library, located on Ganghwa Island, which is on Korea's western coast, not far from the city of Inchon, where General Douglas MacArthur infiltrated the North Korean supply line during the Korean War in 1950, turning the tide of war. This particular area of Korea has historically been a landing ground by various invasion forces in its long and turbulent history. This particular island saw Japanese invasions, Mongol invasions, French invasions and even a minor skirmish between Civil War battle-hardened soldiers and Korean troops. This particular library is actually a rebuilt replica of the original Kyunjanggak Annex, which held many records, archives and books of the Choseon Dynasty (line of Korean monarchs). This annex does not contain any books; most are actually kept at Seoul National University as well as in other locations throughout Korea for research purposes. The original annex was looted and burned to the ground by French forces in an expeditionary battle. Although the French were defeated, they were able to retreat with many of the library's possessions, including the Uigwe, which are volumes full of royal "how-to" instructions, records and decrees of the Choseon monarchs and one of Korea's most prized possessions. For many years, this set has been sitting in French museums, and only until recently have the governments of both countries come to an agreement to return the volumes to Korea.

More information:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

For the Month of April

We have lots of exciting stuff happening this month at the SLFL:

Artist / Poet Nadine McLaughlin Gallery and Visit: If you haven't stopped by, be sure to come and check out “DOUBLE VISIONS” prints & poetry by Nadine McLaughlin in the Cantwell Community Room. Her gallery opens today, April 1st. Ms. McLaughlin is a prolific illustrator, poet and author; many of her works are inspired by the beauty of the Adirondacks.
Ms. McLaughlin will also come to the SLFL! On April 3rd, come to our Meet the Artist Reception, where Ms. McLaughlin can answer questions and talk about her poetry and art in the Cantwell Room from 5-7 pm

Therapy Dogs International: Therapy Dogs are back again! Join is for a super-fun time at the Elinor B. Preis Children’s Room. The fun starts on April 5th at 10:30 pm.

Fiction Book Group: The fiction book group will meet on April 8th at 2 pm in the Dickert Room to discuss Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. If you would like to join this or any reading groups, call us for more information. 
Low-resolution book art is copyrighted by the respective owners. Fair use rationale for non-free, low resolution images for use by the SLFL are to discuss the works and/or authors in question, which according to U.S. Copyright Law constitutes Fair Use. "Golden Retrievers" by Akaporn Bhothisuwan:
(CC BY-2.0)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Earth Will Suspend Gravity on April 4th! You Can Float!

From NewsHound:
It has been revealed by the British astronomer Patrick Moore that, on the morning of April 4th 2014, an extraordinary astronomical event will occur. At exactly 9:47 am, the planet Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the Earth. This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth's own gravity and making people weigh less. Moore calls this the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect. Moore told scientists that they could experience the phenomenon by jumping in the air at the precise moment the alignment occurred. If they do so, he promised, they would experience a strange floating sensation. Astronomers have long been aware that there would be an alignment of the planets on that date, when Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun, within an arc 95 degrees wide. But now the effect could be expected as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth’s crust is maximum even at their closest approach. If you think you will be able to float around your house then you will be mistaken. BUT if you jump in the air at 9:47AM local time on April 4th 2014, it should take you about 3 seconds to land back on your feet instead of the usual 0.2 seconds. April 4th 2014 will be a popular day for crazy stunts going on YouTube. Do you have any ideas for stunts?

JUST KIDDING!  No one is going to float. That would be really nice though!

This is an example of the many hoaxes that occur around April Fools' Day, April 1st.  Dating back hundreds of years, many hoaxes and practical jokes occur on this day. Have any practical jokes or stories you'd like to share? Tell us about it. Some recommended reading on this very topic for younger readers:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Last Week of March

We hope you can spare some time to catch some exciting events next week at the SLFL:

Muslim Journeys Reading Group: The Muslim Journeys Reading Group will get together and discuss Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis next Monday, March 24 at 2 pm. The group shall meet in the Cantwell Community Room. Join us!

Library Lunch Series: Join us this Tuesday as Nancy Bernstein talks about her experiences in Nicaragua using natural materials to build. 12 pm in the Cantwell Community Room. Desert and refreshments provided by the SLFL Hospitality Committee.

Hardcover vs. Paperback vs. E-reader

Not that long ago I was looking at my own personal bookshelves and I realize that I had three copies of the same book. One copy is a hardcover book, the other is a paperback, and then I also remember having an e-book copy I downloaded for free via Project Gutenberg. This got me thinking about some of the ups and downs of the different types of book media out there.

Pedia Press (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Hardcover: Hardcover books tend to look very elegant, they last longer because they are usually made with high quality and durable materials, and they line up nicely on a bookshelf. Some disadvantages to hardcover books though is that they tend to be expensive, heavy, and bulky--making book owners less prone to reading them.

Paperbacks: Paperback books are usually cheap, it is very easy to curl up with a nice paperback book and on the go, and their smaller size can make it super easy to throw them into most any purse or backpack for a spot of quick reading here and there throughout our day. Some disadvantages to paperbacks include the fact that they are very easily damaged; and unless one treats it well, they don't look very appealing on the bookshelf as time goes by, nor do they stack up as nicely as the hardcover books. For treasured or favorite keepsake books, paperbacks are not the best idea unless one does not mind replacing them fairly often.
NotfromUtrecht (CC BY-SA-3.0)

E-readers / Mobile Devices: E-readers are the digital mark of the 21st century technology, and for the first time ever, can one cram dozens, hundreds or even thousands of titles into one single portable device. Runaway bestsellers like the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Amazon Kindle Fire are redefining ways that people consume books these days. In addition to storing digital copies of books as well as acquiring and purchasing books in mere seconds, these devices let us do many other things as well, such as listening to music, watching videos, playing games and so on. Some disadvantages of e-readers however is that they may cause eye strain, especially at night, the electrical radiation might have some health consequences (especially at night), the initial cost of an e-reader tends to be extremely expensive, and sometimes, e-copies of books are not that much cheaper than the available paperbacks. Moreover, not every age and / or social group has the means, desire, or know-how to handle e-book technology.

What about you? What is your favorite book type? Do you find some more advantageous than others? Tell us in the comments section.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Did you know? That even though the shamrock (i.e. Irish clover) is a popular symbol of Saint Patrick's Day, it is not a popular symbol of Irishness or even Ireland. The harp is actually an even more famous symbol of Ireland! Stop by the SLFL today and check out our selection of books about the Irish heritage and its influence on the U.S. popular imagination.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy March15th!

Did you know that March 15 is famously referred to as the "Ides of March" by William Shakespeare? On this day, the course of Western civilization took a historic turn as Julius Caesar, arguably the greatest Roman Emperor in antiquity, was betrayed and assassinated by his inner circle of aristocratic politicians.

 If you are interested in learning more about this infamous historical event, here are a few titles you might find interesting. Click on any of them to check their availability at the SLFL:

Julius Caesar - by William Shakespeare
How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous - by Georgia Bragg
Julius Caesar - William Crompton
Caesar; Let the Dice Fly - Colleen McCullough

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Science Book Group

The Science Book Group will discuss Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. The meeting will be on March 18 in the Dickert Room at 2:00 pm. For more information or if you would like to be a part of this or any reading group, please call us at (518)891 - 4190 and we'd be more than happy to provide you with this information. See you there!

The Korean Public Library Experience

Many people were wondering how Korean libraries stack up to their American counterparts. Well, over the weekend I went to a local public library, the Nowon Digital Public Library in Northeastern Seoul to find out.

Like American libraries, Korean libraries will showcase local elementary school children's art. Here hangs a whole class, right above their colorful aquarium in the lobby floor.

Book shelving in the children's wing of the library. Very colorful and uniquely shaped bookcase layouts. One cannot say that their children's library is boring. 

Many of their shelves have curvy and squiggly shapes. Again, very appealing for the children that use the room.

A different view of the place. 

Korea is a culture like in most of eastern Asia in which shoes must be removed to enter homes, or any other type of room or business in which the wood-finished floor is used for sitting. Floors in Korea tend to be heated, using an ancient floor heating system called ondol, in which child patrons and their parents can sit cross-legged on the warm floor to read books. The floors tend to be extremely clean, often you will find library workers constantly wiping them with disinfectant, and thinking of tromping around with shoes on these floors is taboo.  

The facility is a 8-story building. In spite of the fact that this may make it sound like a huge library, it actually is not that large. The actual square footage per floor is only about 2,000 square feet of floor, and only two of those floors house stacks of books. The rest of the floors are devoted to multipurpose and multimedia activities, such as study rooms, digital media floor, and a multipurpose auditorium. One of the reasons for this is that Seoul is an incredibly crowded city. With more than 10 million people spread into 233 square miles (2/3s the land size of NYC), there is no choice but to build upward instead of out like many libraries in the U.S. 

Like most American public libraries, Korean libraries also use the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

However, (for the librarians and staff at SLFL and elsewhere nearby), Korean public libraries use Korean cuttering tables according to Korean letter scripts and local customs. 

In Korea, many areas do not allow patrons to bring in bookbags or other materials in, but temporary holding lockers are provided free of charge. 

The multipurpose auditorium routinely has movie screenings in which patrons can go in at certain hours and watch a variety of movies or live shows for free. Here are some flyers to promote free screenings for The Pursuit of Happyness and The Little Prince

The top floor of the library is a converted green space, in which patrons can go out, read books and just relax around the wooden walkways and enjoy the gardening and landscaping. It is winter at this time, so the grass is not gree and the trees have no leaves. But I imagine it must look fantastic up here in the spring and summer. 

Street view of the front.

Back view.

Korean libraries also have problems with vandalism, like anywhere else. 

Lobby view above. 

Featured book selections mixed in with some local art dioramas

Local artists can also use library spaces to showcase their artwork.

Korean libraries also have learning programs throughout the year. The basement floor of the library has an area reserved for studying English language materials as well as practicing conversation.  Volunteer native speakers from North America, Australia, and the U.K will sometimes come in a volunteer to lead English speaking sessions for the local community here. 

This concludes my post on a Korean public library. There was so much more I wish I could have photographed and explained, but the library director here allowed me to photograph provided that no identifiable pictures of patrons were to be taken with my visit here, so in order to comply, these are but a few photographs of the library. If you have any questions about Korean libraries, please ask in the comments section and I will be happy to answer them. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Final Week of February

Here is what's happening this week at the SLFL: 

The Tooth Fairy is Coming! In order to raise awareness of National Children's Dental Health Month, Suzanne Snizek, the Saranac Lake Central School District's dental hygienist, will star as The Tooth Fairy this Thursday February 27. Be sure to stop by as Ms. Snizek will read stories and educate children on how to think about dental health.

Library Lunch Programs: Mr. Brian Mann will present "How the Prison Boom Changed the Adirondacks" this Thursday February 27 at noon in the Community Room. Desserts and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of the Hospitality Committee.

Art Exhibition: Be sure to stop by the Community Room to marvel at the art exhibits on display, courtesy of the Paul Smith's College Art Club. For more information, please contact our gallery coordinator Jill Wenner,at jkwenner[at]gmail[dot]com. These exhibits will run until March 7, 2014.

For more information about these and any other events, please call us at (518) 891-4910

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Club Meetings for This Week!

This week, the following book clubs will meet to discuss the works indicated. Click on the book covers for more detailed information in our catalog.

The Muslim Journeys: Connected Histories Reading Group will meet on Monday, February 24 to discuss Amitav Ghosh's book In an Antique Land.
Fiction Book Group Meeting: The Fiction Book Group will meet to discuss Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on Tuesday, February 25.

For more information about the meetings, or on how you can join these and other reading groups, please call us at (518) 891-4190.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Children's Story Time!

Bring your little ones to our weekly Thursday Story Time! We meet every Thursday at 10:30 am.

"Goings On" Next Tuesday at the SLFL

Hello again SLFL Friends!

Here is what's in store at the SLFL on Tuesday, February 18:

Science Book Group Meeting: The Science Book Group will gather together to discuss Oliver Sacks's Hallucinations. The meeting is at 2 pm.
Tuesday Evening Story Time: Join us this Tuesday (and every third Tuesday of each month) for our Tuesday Evening Story Time! Children of all ages are invited to enjoy stories about "Making Friends." The fun starts at 5:30 pm

For more information, please call us at (518) 891 – 4190.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Presidents' Day

The SLFL will be CLOSED on Monday, February 17 in observance of Presidents' Day. We will resume normal operating hours the following day. For anyone who is interested in learning a little bit more about U.S. Presidents, we have these selections below and others on our shelves for your reading / learning pleasure. Stop by sometime this week before then to check out our selections.

(Click on any of the titles below for information and availablity in our library catalog)