Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September (this year, it's between September 21 and 27), it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The American Library Association keeps records of challenges to books in schools and libraries across the country. The 10 most challenged books of 2013 were:
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
The top 25 from the ALA's 100 most frequently challenged books between 2000 and 2009:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan

Among the other notable books on the list:
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

During Banned Books Week, we're displaying books that have been banned and challenged at the end of the new book shelves, just inside the Main Street entrance. Celebrate your freedom to read by reading one of the books on display or from the lists above.
Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lost in Central Park?

When visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I often do, I usually walk through Central Park. Until I read Seeing Central Park: The Official Guide to the World's Greatest Urban Park by Sara Cedar Miller (which NMPL doesn't own, but which is available through interlibrary loan), I would almost always get lost. Fortunately I learned from this book how to find my way:

"Almost every lamppost in Central Park has an embossed label that displays a four-digit number. The first two numbers indicate the closest cross street in Manhattan, and the second two numbers are oriented to either the east or west side of the Park (odd numbers are closer to the west side, and even numbers are closer to the east side). For example, lamppost number 7314 indicates that the closest cross street to you is 73rd Street, and the 14 indicates that you are standing near the east side of the Park. The labels on lampposts located from 100th to 110th Streets still have four digits, but they drop the first digit (number one). Thus, lamppost 0107 is nearest 101st Street (01), and the 07 indicates that you are closer to the west side."

We do, however, own another wonderful book by Ms. Miller about Central Park, Central Park, an American Masterpiece.

Enjoy your visit!
Molly Uskudarli
Public Services Page

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Connecticut Job Search

There was an interesting discussion recently on Where We Live on WNPR about how working in Connecticut has changed over time. 

For those that didn't catch it, a main point made by Joe Carbone, guest speaker and CEO of The WorkPlace, was that companies now see hiring as the last resort when looking to fulfill one of their needs, with technology often seen as a plausible alternative. 

This, paired with the amount of competition in the job market translates to job seekers needing to focus on what "added value" they can bring to the company, which is different to how job searches have been in the past. It's no longer just about whether you can do the job, it's about how you can bring them more than anything or anyone else can. All of this can be overwhelming for people looking for work, but for New Milford Library patrons, we have a new service to help people put their best face forward when applying to jobs. 

You can now get your resume and cover letters professionally reviewed for free with a New Milford Library card.

Free templates to update the look of your resume are also available, and live chat with job coaches online 7 days a week from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm. There's more information in the flyer below.

Click here to launch JobNow.
Erin Johnson
Digital Literacy Associate

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self-checkout is here!

We're proud to announce the arrival of the library’s first self-checkout station. Located on the left-hand side of the circulation desk near the rear entrance doors, this TechLogic equipment enables our patrons to check out their own materials in just four quick steps.

Erin Johnson, Digital Literacy Associate, uses the library's
new self-checkout station at the circulation desk.
The unique combo station includes dual back-to-back monitors, one a touchscreen facing and used by the patron, the second facing and used by the library staff. That dual-monitor design enables staff to assist patrons without leaving the circulation desk, which is necessary with free-standing self-check kiosks. Patrons scan their library card and then choose English or Spanish instructions. At this point they'll see a list of all the items that they currently have checked out. Next they scan each of the library items they wish to check out; and when the transaction is finished, they may print a date-due receipt.


We’re very excited about this new self-check equipment; and we know that after one or two uses, anyone who wants to will be able to use it easily. It will cut down on the wait time for checking items out when the circulation desk is especially busy, and it will allow Public Services staff members to help patrons in other ways.
Come in soon and give this first-of-its-kind-in-Connecticut self-check a try!

Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director

Friday, August 22, 2014

"The New York State Thruway's closed, man!"

If you recognize that quotation from Arlo Guthrie (It wasn't true, by the way), then you might also know that Friday, August 15 marked the 45th anniversary of the first day of the most famous rock festival of all, Woodstock. Officially known as "The Woodstock Music & Art Fair - An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music," it was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskills near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York, from August 15 to 18, 1969. The festival featured 32 acts who performed for 400,000 people over the course of its four days.

Many of the performers, although not all (some because of technical problems with the audio recording and/or filming; Creedence Clearwater Revival, the first major act to sign, was always annoyed that they weren't included either on the CD or in the movie until the expanded 40th-anniversary DVD), are featured in the CD set and in Michael Wadleigh's Oscar-winning documentary. Famous acts, such as Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the aforementioned CCRSly and the Family Stone, and The Band, shared the stage with newer artists, some of whose careers were just starting, such as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, or took off after their appearance, such as Santana, Joe Cocker, and Ten Years After.

The library also has five books about Woodstock, including one by Michael Lang, one of the festival's co-founders.
So whether you were there, wanted to be there, or weren't even born yet, there's plenty of good music and great stories about this defining moment of rock music and the 1960's counterculture..
Mark P. Hasskarl
Library Director
(who wasn't there but had hoped to go until he saw the news stories Friday night)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IRS Withholding Calculator

If you got a larger refund or owed more tax than you expected when you filed your tax return, you may need to change the amount of tax taken out of your paycheck. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool can help you complete a new Form W-4: Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate to give to your employer.

Read more here:
Joan McManus
Library Bookkeeper

Are Slow ILLs Making You Ill?

Are you wondering why the interlibrary loan (ILL) request you placed is taking a long time?

There could be different reasons for this. Requests for new materials owned by us might have a long waiting list. Your request might also be on order or in processing. If it’s a request for something new that we don’t own, it’s not being sent because other libraries don’t send out their new materials; this would cause your hold to sit until libraries change their status to no longer new. If you would like to request something new that we don’t own, or if you’re not sure that we own it, fill out a white request form at the Circulation Desk. We will consider purchasing it. (New Milford Public Library can only purchase new materials for New Milford residents.)

Have you requested a DVD, music CD, or recorded book not owned by us? Some other libraries don’t send out their media, causing your request to sit. If you’re not sure if we own the item you would like to request, fill out a white request form or visit the Reference Department. They will look for libraries that will fill your ILL request. (This service is available to everyone. You don’t have to be a New Milford resident to request ILLs.)

Another possible reason why your request is not being filled is the item might be lost or missing from this library or the library where the hold was attached. If that happens, we can look for another library that can fill your request.

We have a monthly computer-generated report that shows us unfilled two-month-old ILL requests that we examine for the reason why you haven’t received your request, but that’s a long time to wait. Feel free to call the Reference Desk at 860-355-1191 x207 if you would like to check the status of your ILL request.

Cathy McGrath
Public Services Associate