Is This Real?

Pointers for raising a Red Flag on internet news

When surfing through the internet  especially when trying to unwind after a stressful day it is easy to be duped by false and incorrect information. This guide will be helpful as you read through articles to be wary or wise.



Coming to PBS – Victoria


Photo courtesy of

If you are still mourning the end of Downton Abbey, take heart!  Victoria, the highly anticipated eight part Masterpiece drama series about the epic life of Queen Victoria, will take over the Downton Abbey time slot starting Sunday, January 15th, 2017.  The drama follows Victoria from her coronation at age 18 through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.

Jenna Coleman stars in the title role, joined by a stellar cast of PBS and motion picture favorites and the series comes to us from the same people who brought us Mr. Selfridge, Home Fires, and Poldark.  The costuming and scenery alone should be worth the price of admission!

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’tis the season….to read a holiday novel!

 Stressed out during the holiday season?   Unwind while staying in the spirit with a holiday novel!  Here are some of the new December 2016 books:

joanne-fluke-christmas-caramel-murderChristmas Caramel Murder
by Joanne Fluke
During the town’s production of A Christmas Carol, Hannah helps her friend Lisa, who has been implicated in the murder of her husband’s ex-girlfriend.  More than 20 holiday-themed recipes are included.

Winter Stormshilderbrand_winterstorms
by Elin Hilderbrand
The Quinn family’s efforts to reunite for a long-anticipated wedding during the holiday season are overshadowed by a health scare, addiction problems and commitment issues.

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Know More, Rant Less

Now, more than ever, we have to beware of misinformation. The trend is to get information from social media.  Millennials, (ages 18-34) “do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out news in great numbers” (   Many have been “unfriended” when differences of opinion lead not to discussion of facts and perspective, but to personal attacks. We are turning to unreliable sources for information, and shutting out people who don’t agree with us. When we shut our minds to other’s perspectives, we further the gap of understanding, and increase the possibilities of marginalizing others. We lose whatever influence we might have had and close ourselves off to new insights.

Follow the tips below to gain confidence in your beliefs, and your ability to discuss them.  If you’re a student, you will appreciate the improved grades on papers and presentations, as you thoughtfully consider, not rant.

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3D Printing from home!

Yes, it’s true! The North Castle Public Library now has one of these:3d-printer

Actually, we’ve got two! My colleague, Gabrielle Madera, has been running a 3-D printing class in the teen room for awhile now. Patrons in 3rd grade and up have come in to create their own three dimensional toys and other objects. Now you can print from home! Here’s how:

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How Do You Find a Book?

Here are some tricks that librarians use to find books.  I have non-fiction books in mind, but most are also applicable to fiction books.

  1. Get the correct spelling of the author and title. For this, Amazon search engine is more forgiving than the library catalog, so it’s a good idea to cut and paste from there.
  2. Westchester Library System, controlled Subject terms: Once you find a book in the catalog that looks like it fits your criteria, and you want to find more like it, click on the subject links. This is “controlled language” that has been sorted out for you, by librarians, by specific subject headings, so you get rarely false hits.
  3. If you don’t find what you want in our system, go to  You can click on subjects on worldcat, too, (see number 2 above). Worldcat will tell you what libraries in your area have a copy of the book you’re looking for.
  4. Interlibrary Loan service. Ask your Reference Librarian to get a book from outside the Westchester Library system (after you find it on Amazon or Worldcat).
  5. Get an ebook from our catalog. Read this article, “You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Digital Platform”  to find out how to get an ebook from our catalog.
  6. Get an ebook from Google Books.  Google has scanned books, from title to index at the back of the book.  You may full text search them.  I mention the index because if you are looking for information on topic, it’s better to use the index than to full text search, because indexers, aka humans, have gone through the book for you to look for your topic under different names, and made sure that it is not the same words interpreted differently.
  7. Go to  Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is similar to Google Books, except that these books are “peer reviewed” (aka the kind that teachers like students to use in college).  Remember to check the index, even if it’s full text searching, because the humans who make those indexers find your topic under different names.
  8. Health Resources: Our Health Resources page, accessible from, has specialized databases on Chronic Illnesses, Disabilities, Older Americans, and Pediatrics.  These databases pull together many resources other than books, but the websites and articles are all vetted, and you can look at the websites and articles list of sources to get more books on the topics.
  9. Other sources: even if you use a site like Wikipedia, you can always check the source list and look for the books that they list as a source.
  10. Project Gutenburg  “offers over 53,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.”


Mind Mapping


Mind mapping is being used by CEO’s, librarians, students, and basically everyone.  My 15 year old daughter introduced me to this method of organizing thoughts.  Anyone can make a mind map, out of any of the traditional materials such as pen and paper, so why didn’t I learn this when I was in school?

Maybe because doing it online allows for so much more (I’m old enough to have used a typewriter).  For instance, colors for different branches of ideas, ability to move things around easily, and re-prioritize without re-drawing everything.  Online mindmaps give you the ability to add pictures, which makes things much more memorable, and websites, to quickly add links to sources.  And whether in print or online, it is a helpful to get a bird’s eye view of a project or presentation, so you can note the connections between ideas.  Online, you can share your ideas with others by pushing a button.  No wonder it’s being taken by storm.

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