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.