The Great Courses – Available Digitally Here at North Castle Public Library

Did you used to get those delicious looking catalogs in the mail from The Great Courses?  Maybe you still do.  I used to look through them and wish that I could buy them all – the topics, ranging from the Bible to Astronomy, History to Economics, Self-Help to Leisure and Hobbies and everything in between were all so enticing.  And I had my choice of videotape or CDs!

Well, did you know you can now find The Great Courses, digitally, right here at the North Castle Public Library website?  Under the heading Your Virtual Library you can find a link to just over 200 Great Courses and a wealth of other resources available to you for free just because you have a library card!  You won’t find a better bargain anywhere!  Start here and keep learning and exploring.  And then sit back and relax and enjoy your guilty pleasure – some Acorn TV.

Book Clubs – There is an Easy Way!

Do you hear your friends talking about their book club and even the way they talk about it you know it is closed to new people?  Have you often wanted to be part of a book club but don’t know how to start one and none of your friends read anyway?  Do you want to belong to a book club that spends more time discussing the book than drinking wine, eating snacks or discussing the latest episode of The Bachelor?  North Castle Public Library has the answer for you!  And it’s easy.  Just read the book and show up!

There are currently two active book clubs at the main library in Armonk and a brand new club just started in October at the branch library in North White Plains.

The Armonk Readers Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Armonk branch.  The selection for November 19th (at 6:45 PM) is Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro.  Ms. Shapiro, on a whim, submits her DNA to a genealogy website and receives life-changing results.  Her father is not her father!  Now what?

The Current Events Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Armonk branch.  The selection for November 12th (at 6:30 PM) is The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America by Daniel OkrentThe anti-immigration movement of the early 1890’s, based on eugenics, “began a three-decade campaign to close the immigration door.  By 1921 the acceptance of eugenic doctrine enabled Vice President Calvin Coolidge to declare that ‘biological laws’ had proven the inferiority of southern and eastern Europeans; the restrictive law that remained US policy until 1965 was enacted three years later.” (book jacket)  What?

The Non-Fiction Book Club meets on the third Thursday of each month at the North White Plains branch.  The selection for November 21st (at 6:30 PM) is American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante.  “The seeds of the American struggle for women’s and human rights can be found in the story of this one woman’s courageous life. American Jezebel illuminates the origins of our modern concepts of religious freedom, equal rights, and free speech, and showcases an extraordinary woman whose achievements are astonishing by the standards of any era.”  (Amazon) Wow!

All are welcome.  Please join us for lively and spirited discussion for any or all of these relevant and interesting topics.  The books are currently available for you to check out and read at the library where the club meets.  Check the book out, read it, and stop in on the designated night.  And feel free to bring a friend.  No themed snacks to worry about, no wine to distract you, and a moderator to keep everyone on topic and away from The Bachelor!  It’s easy!  Chances are good that you will see me at two of these discussions next month.





Curbing Access to E-Books?

The policies of the major publishing houses are probably not something the average reader thinks about all that often and, in general, there is no real reason that they should.  Until now.  If you are an e-book reader or an e-audiobook listener, you are among the growing trend in library circulation statistics and you are going to need to sit up and take notice.  MacMillan Publishing Company recently announced a new and extremely restrictive policy regarding the sale of bestseller e-books and e-audiobooks to public libraries and public library systems.

For a thorough understanding (in layman’s terms) of how MacMillan’s policy will affect public libraries and their patrons’ extended wait time, please read either or both of these articles.  The first article was written for CNN by Jessamyn West, a librarian from Central Vermont and the second article appeared in Publishers Weekly and was written by Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cayahoga County Public Library System.

According to Alan Inouye, senior director of Public Policy and Government Relations in ALA’s (American Library Association) Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Macmillan is expected to make an announcement about its ebooks by the end of this summer.  He goes on to say, “An embargo policy is contradictory to the library mission of equitable access to information, and ALA is unequivocally opposed to the practice.” You can find his article here. And read The American Library Association (ALA) president Wanda Brown’s statement here.  ALA urges you to tweet why we need #eBooksForAll. “Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers who are most dependent on libraries. @MacmillanUSA’s new policy is unacceptable, John Sargent. Cancel the embargo. #eBooksForAll.”

It is easy to think that e-books are free.  They are not.  Libraries pay huge money for e-materials so that you, the reader, can have access to the best sellers for free in a reasonably timely fashion and are happy to do it.  This policy would turn reasonably timely into impossibly long in addition to further burdening your local library’s already stretched budget.  Read these articles or any of the others on the Internet and make your feelings known if e-books are important to you.  Or, at the very least, tell someone you know and tell them to tell someone else.  The word needs to be spread among the readership, not just the libraries.  While Tor Publishing was MacMillan’s test case, MacMillan could well be the other publishing giants’ test case.  Don’t let this happen.



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!).

Books to Movies in 2019

books-being-made-movies-2019I posted Books to Movies 2018 in March last year so I feel like I’m ahead of the game this year although we are already half way through January!  There are at least 20 books slated to become movies this year according to the Popsugar article I am quoting here.

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron is already in the theaters starring Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King and Edward James Olmos.  I don’t know about the rest of the movie but the puppy is just adorable!  And apparently this movie will be followed up in May by another W. Bruce Cameron adaptation, A Dog’s Journey starring Dennis Quaid.

February 22nd will see the release of The Rhythm Section based on the book of the same name by Mark Burnell.  The thriller will star Blake Lively and Jude Law and involves a plane crash and a revenge mission!  Another thriller scheduled for release on March 1st is Chaos Walking based on the novel The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a young adult science fiction fantasy about a world inhabited only by men and they have  the ability to hear each other’s thoughts.  It sounds more like the stuff of comedy to me but the description is quite dark.

In late March things lighten up with the comedy/drama Where’d You Go Bernadette? the 2012 runaway bestseller by Maria Semple.  This one stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, and Kristen Wiig.  It pains me to say that I listened to this one on audio a few years back and I really – let’s go with – disliked it.  But that should not discourage you from reading it or seeing the movie.  I think it was a book I should have read rather than listened to.  Lots of family discord and it just seemed that every time I turned it on someone was yelling!  I hope the movie is a bit less contentious. Continue reading “Books to Movies in 2019”

The Great American Read

Great American ReadDid anyone watch the two hour premiere last Tuesday?  I caught it on Wednesday night on another local PBS station and I’m sure it will be on again over the summer.  What did you think?  I thought it was interesting; I liked the trivia about the authors and the books and I thought it was fun that celebrities and authors defended their favorite books and begged for votes.  I thought Meredith Viera was not as engaging as I had hoped she would be but she didn’t really have a chance to interact with anyone and it is hard to stand in an empty room and be dynamic!  (Full disclosure: I may have nodded out once or twice so I might have missed some of the fun.)

Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems that they are now going to give us the summer to do some reading and the remainder of the series will air in the fall with the wrap-up and the announcement of America’s Best-Loved Book taking place in October.

In the interest of research I requested access to the Facebook site – I had to answer two questions, agree to their terms, and wait to be approved – and it is a jumping place!  Lots of reader initiated questions and discussion, favorite books, not necessarily on the list, being bandied about, and a schedule of their “Book Club” discussion dates among other things.  The Facebook site is certainly dynamic!  A lot of the discussion is about how the 100 books were chosen and why on earth isn’t this book or that book on the list, especially when a book like THIS is.  IMHO, it is time to move past that question and deal with the list as it stands and move forward.  Hopefully, if the current program is successful there will be lists enough for everyone in the coming years.  So, if you haven’t already done so, go to PBS and The Great American Read, pick a book and start reading!  They could be asking us to do worse things!

The Great American Read

PBS wants America (the world?) to read.  They have developed an 8-part series, designed to explore and celebrate the power of reading which will be  told through the prism of America’s 100 most loved books (as chosen in a national survey).  The Great American Read will premiere on your local PBS station with a two hour segment on May 22nd followed by five weekly one hour programs.  The finale will reveal which book has been voted America’s best loved book.  Meredith Viera, the Energizer Bunny of the talk show host/anchor world, and 14 time Emmy Award winner, will host the series so it promises to be upbeat, positive, and fun.

The 100 most loved books were released this week and can be found here so you can get a jump on your reading.  I was happy to see that I have read 38 of them if you count War and Peace which I am currently slowly (SO slowly)  wading through!  I should also confess that I read quite a few of them longer ago than I would care to remember but I guess the point is that I read them and I remember that I read them – they had an impact on me.

Browse through the website once you have looked over the books – there is information about the series, how the books were chosen, a trailer, and more.  “The series is the centerpiece of an ambitious multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign, designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.” (website)

The Great American Read!  Let’s do it!