Congratulations to the Women!

As I expect absolutely everyone knows, the U.S. Women’s team won the World Cup. We’ve got some terrific items to help you celebrate the victory, starting with a book about the women’s team of 1999.


On a blazing hot day in July, the United States and China face off in the World Cup. The review on Amazon states: “In The Girls of Summer, Jere Longman tells the story of the women’s team, their rise to world dominance, and their struggle with the United States Soccer Federation (U.S.S.F.) for the support, respect, and salary they deserve.”


Tony Di Cicco and Colleen Hacker were the head coach and the Sports Psychology Consultant to the 1996 Gold Medal Olympic team and also the 1999 World Cup team. Here, they tell how they coached the team to victory. Not only an inspiring story, but a useful book for adults coaching kids’ teams–and for everyone shooting for a difficult goal in life.


Another remarkable coach is Luma Mufleh, an immigrant from Jordan. When she moves to Georgia, Luma notices young teenage refugees playing soccer barefoot in a small suburb of Atlanta. She decides she’s going to help. This is the story of her team–boys from a dozen countries and different faiths, all of whom are escaping war, extreme poverty, or both. Their team is the Fugees, and they play, at first, without uniforms or even a soccer pitch.


And here’s something just for fun! 18-year-old Jess loves soccer, but her strict Indian parents won’t hear of her playing on a team. She’s supposed to cook, find a husband, and do what a good Indian daughter should–even though the family lives in London. One day, while she’s practicing in the park, another teen girl, Jules, asks Jess to play on her semi-pro team. Complications ensue! A heartwarming film about girl power.






Display Shelves in the Library

“Display Shelves” are one more thing that keep us librarians busy here at the North Castle Public Library.  We are constantly on the lookout for relevant subjects to highlight our materials to give our patrons a better idea of books, materials, and hidden gems they didn’t even know they were looking for!

The next time you come in, look around at some of our displays.  We are currently featuring a gardening display of many of our beautiful themed gardening books to get you thinking about your own yards or containers now that the nice weather is (finally) here.  May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month and we are displaying books and videos from that part of the world.  There is a display of photography books and an excellent display on Endangered Species for Endangered Species Day, May 19th.

Our last display is a rapidly expanding display of adult graphic novels, a hugely popular genre in the publishing world right now.  Our brand new collection includes fiction and non-fiction, comics, biographies and more.  Come in and tell us what you think!  And if you have a favorite genre or a cause or subject that is important to you, tell us and we can work up a display just for you (and all of our other patrons too!).

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day!

Give flowers or hugs or chocolate to the teachers in your life! Here are some classic stories written by teachers.

reading patrick

Kuo, an idealistic young teacher, and her relationship with one of her students–which continued after he was sent to jail. Library journal says, “A reminder of how literacy changes lives. Highly recommended.”

water is wide

Here, Pat Conroy recounts his experience teaching impoverished African-American students on an isolated Sea Island off the South Carolina coast.

one childA young special education teacher struggles to reach a little girl. A gripping story written in a clear, conversational style. Torey discovers the wild, filthy, angry little girl, Sheila, is brilliant–and has been abused.


In this book, Sylvia Ashton Warner takes us through one year in a classroom of five-and six-year-old children in rural New Zealand. Some of the children are white, some are Maori. Ms. Ashton Warner devised her own books and teaching method in order to reach her Maori students.

To sirThe classic story of a young man’s first year teaching in a high school in London’s dockland slums. This classic film is based on the autobiographical book by Richard Braithwaite, an engineer from Guyana who ended up teaching in the East End in the 1950s.

These are only a few of the films and books about teaching and learning you can find in the library. Don’t forget to check for streaming materials, too! All you need is your library card. 🙂

National Library Week!

Yes, it’s that time when we celebrate libraries and all they do. Here’s a celebratory little jingle. Enjoy! Library song by Cursor Miner

It’s also a great time to get a library card, if you don’t have one already. Libraries are terrific for kids and families, of course! But there are also things adults will love, including our free museum passes for all adult North Castle Patrons in good standing, our new seed library, our programs for adults, and streaming movies, TV, and music. We’ve got free e-books and audiobooks, too, as well as lots of databases from local history to career prep.

Here’s a link where you can apply for a library card!

And every resident of New York state can apply for a card from the New York Public Library, too. Get yours here!

The Benefits of Tea: Make Tea not War

April 17, 2019 at 2pm in the Gallery, we discussed the benefits of tea, and experiencing the benefits first hand by tasting them. Teas we tasted were from, namely:  Rooi Relief, Serengeti, Ginseng Boost, and White Sparkling Berry.  Serengeti was the favorite, but many people were torn between that and Sparkling Berry. One participant pointed out that different teas would be good for different moods or times of day.  

Before you throw away your heart medication or your child’s epipen, check with a health professional.  Tea and herbs definitely do have an effect on people and it may or may not be the effect you need, especially if you are on medication.

CIS:E.349-2003Make Tea Not War

“Make Tea not War” says the sign in front Hayfield’s coffee shop in North Salem. If love can prevent war, why not tea? Tea, and it’s sisters, tisanes (herbal infusions that we usually call tea) seems to be able to prevent all kinds of bad things, and fix things that aren’t working right. But most of the studies are on rats, not people, and most of what we call “proof” is anecdotal.  What makes the purveyor of the coffee shop think that tea can replace war? What sort of benefits does this “elixir of life” (in the words of a 6th century Buddhist philosopher, Lao-Tzu) have in store for us today?

Tea’s Medicinal Beginnings

Anecdotal proof was enough for the Buddhist monks, who spread the use of tea from the camellia sinensis tree to monasteries throughout Asia for its medicinal value. They processed the tea differently, and so they had a much more bitter version, form the 3rd century BC to the 6th century AD.

Read on to learn what the healthy qualities are that live inside your delicious cup today. Continue reading “The Benefits of Tea: Make Tea not War”

Go Green! Tea Tasting for St. Paddy’s Day!

This month’s tea tasting featured 4 teas, 3 green teas and one Oolong known as Green Jade or Jade Cloud), and Da Hong Pao. All of them from China. Green Mint Jasmine was unanimously selected as the favorite, with Da Hong Pao next in line, and the small sampling of just 9 people attending. However, all the teas were deemed delicious. One of the participants noted that she did not agree with the suggested steeping times of some teas, which is 2-3 minutes for green tea.

My opinion is that no one can tell you what you taste. It is entirely up to the individual. So, it’s up to you to decide how you like your tea.

The nice things about all the teas we tried on March 18 is that all of them are good for multiple steeping. So, while the price tag may sometimes seem high, it is a gift to yourself all day long.  As we noted in the presentation, green tea especially took hold of Buddhist countries because of the humility- it can be enjoyed by the rich as well as the poor, and coincides nicely especially with the teachings of Buddhist philosopher Lao Tzu.

“Tea is the elixir of life”- Lao Tzu

The Mint Jasmine tea is made with Gunpowder Green tea. Gunpowder is the English name for the tea, given back in the 19th century by the British, who thought that the rolled grayish green pellets resembled the stuff they put in the earlier versions of weapons (not actually powder by modern standards). It seems appropriate to me that Gunpowder green tea would have a high level of caffeine in it. And, I recently read that it will keep much longer than the usual green tea (2 years versus up to 10 years!). However, once you put those nice herbs, jasmine and mint, you can count on the staying power to diminish, so don’t count on it lasting too long).

Green Dew Organic from the Hubei Province of China. This tea has a smooth, light body that stays nicely on the tongue that has an interesting combination of savory to start, then finishes sweet. If you’re looking for a green tea and want to expand your palate a little, this would be an excellent choice.

Finally, we tasted the Oolong. Da Hong Pao is the name of a small tea garden of about 25 trees. Original Da Hong Pao tea is the most expensive tea in the world, and given only to special visitors. Our Da Hong Pao is more likely to be a cutting from those original trees. One notices first that the leaves are huge, unruly things, difficult to measure and to put into a tea bag. The body is light, and smooth. It is a perfect afternoon tea, IMHO. Which is why I chose to finish the tasting with my personal favorite.

Due to time and equipment deficits, we didn’t get a chance to taste Japanese teas. Perhaps next St. Paddy’s Day!

A question came up during the program regarding proper tea preparation. Here are some guidelines:

  • Heat the pot and the cup with hot water before you begin.
  • Water for white and green teas should generally be between 170 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Oolong should be brewed between 180 and 190. And black and herbal teas should be brewed between 208 and 212 degrees.
  • Vendors usually provide the correct steeping time on the teas themselves.

The Chinese have another way to determining temperature, based on the look of the water:

  • Tiny bubbles that resemble “shrimp eyes” are good for delicate Japanese green teas. The temperature is roughly 160 at this point.
  • Slightly larger bubbles resembling “crab eyes,” with steam beginning to rise for Chinese green teas, white teas, and oolong teas. The temperature is roughly 175 Fahrenheit at this point.
  • When the bubbles look like “a string of pearls, then the temperature should be about 200 degrees, which is perfect for dark oolongs, black teas, or Darjeelings.
  • Finally, if you are making puehr tea, you want the water to be really hot, resembling a “raging torrent,” boiling violently. According to the Chinese, this is too hot for other teas because you run the risk of de-oxygenating the water.

Another time, we will go into why I think supporting fair trade is important. For now, let’s just get to the basics. Tea needs room to expand. Do not use the little ball infusers. Make sure you have plenty of space for your tea to unfurl. Otherwise, you’re cheating yourself of the aromas and flavors. I love the Finum brand large tea filters, which are biodegradable, unbleached, and without glue.

Where you sip your tea, and with whom you sip, will likely influence your taste of the tea. So, please keep coming back to sample more teas.

The next tasting is Wednesday, April 17 at 2pm. We will sample 4 teas and discuss the science behind claims of health benefits of tea.

See you there!