Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lessons of Yore - A Staff Pick

Evelyn Fischel, readers' services staff member at Bernardsville Public Library, has written the following comments about this recent memoir:

In the Christmas rush to clean the house and hide extraneous stuff, I came upon more extraneous stuff I had hidden from an earlier time. Surprise! I forgot I even had some of these things, including this book which I had started to read last year about this time - before it got the bum's rush into a closet.

This sort of behavior would never happen in Mildred Armstrong Kalish's memoir, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, selected by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2007. There would not have been any extraneous things and nothing was "stuff": everything had value and was used up, worn out or made to last...good words to live by once again in these times.

This is a charming recollection of multi-generational family life during the Depression, which was made a bit easier by the family's self-sustaining farm. Great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings all banded together for support, entertainment, worship and work. Neighbors and townspeople added flavor and variety to a simple, but rich life.

Filled with numerous stories about childhood in Iowa, Little Heathens also provides good insight into the self-reliant, but selfless attitudes of that time. Everyone had chores to do, lessons to learn, meals to prepare from scratch, farm animals to care for, and thrifty values to practice. For instance, the story about how socks were used up is most impressive, starting with the first hole in the toe. After numerous darnings and resizings of the sock by cutting off the toe and sewing it up for a smaller foot, the author's grandmother would cut off the ribbed end to sew onto coat cuffs for added warmth and then the rest of the sock was cut into little squares for polishing. Think about that.

If you're in the mood for a folksy, pleasant memoir with great spirit and inspiration, borrow this book from Bernardsville Public Library. You'll already be practicing thrifty ways!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seeing Stars at Saturday Crafters

Saturday Crafters, Bernardsville Public Library's craft group, will defy the odds and meet at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, December 20th, the final shopping weekend before Hannukah and Christmas. O come all ye faithful! I don't want to be the only one there, but I'll console myself with Hershey kisses, so you might as well join me. Bring along a project you are working on OR learn how to make Moravian paper stars with me. Years ago I made a huge quantity of them for my tree, and they really do look nice as an ornament. I will be attempting this feat of dexterity after a long spell of not making them, so we'll see how neat and tidy they look. It's like pancakes - the first few you throw out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And That Makes One Hundred

We've all been busy making our "lists and checking them twice," but here's a list that might help you with your other holiday gift lists - the New York Times 100 notable books of 2008. Are you looking for a recommended book of poetry, a great new piece of fiction, nonfiction or a biography for yourself or someone else? Simply click on the link above to see the annotated list from the NYT's Web site. It could make shopping and reading decisions that much easier. As usual, I was horrified to see all those books I hadn't read yet. Oh, well, that's what the year 2009 is for!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bernards High Madrigals to Perform

Bernardsville Public Library will once again host the Bernards High School Madrigal Ensemble performing here this Tuesday, December 16th, at 3:00 p.m. This annual visit by the ensemble has become a beloved tradition at the library. Patrons, guests and staff always feel uplifted by the glorious polyphonic music soaring within our high ceilings as the high school students sing a variety of holiday songs. The performance is free, no sign-up is required, and refreshments will be served.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Knit Up a Storm This Winter And Help Others At The Same Time

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

With winter just waiting to blast its way into our lives, it's time for all you knitters to whip out your needles and start the great cast-on! Bernardsville Public Library is here to help you find pattern books and great ideas. Just visit our display of knitting books in the nonfiction wing to find inspiration and instruction. You'll find a wide selection, including Nordic and Andean pattern books, as well as project ideas such as felted purses and doggie outfits.

If you love to knit, but have a closetful of woolies, why not turn your talents to great use by knitting projects for charity? A local group that gladly accepts knitted items for merchant mariners entering the Port of New York and New Jersey is the
Seaman's Church Institute. They will provide you with patterns via their Web site. Another great site is The Daily Knitter which lists many charities for which you can knit. If pictures help to spur you on, here are a few

from another organization, FireProject, based in Flagstaff, Arizona. They are promoting a hat knitting project for children in Mongolia and they provide free patterns on their Web site.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Can Still Donate to the Giving Tree

Bernardsville Public Library is collecting donations of new books until December 15th to be given to children in need throughout New Jersey. As you enter the library you will find not one, but two "giving trees" decorated for the holidays, and at the base of each tree is a collection box for your donations. Please consider developing a child's interest in life-long reading by providing an unwrapped book or two appropriate for children from toddlers to teens. You will be giving a very powerful and magical gift. Thank you so much.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

About Neil Gaiman

photo source - Kimberly Butler, 2005
Neil Gaiman will be the featured author at this month's meeting of Saturday Samplers, a Bernardsville Public Library book discussion group, taking place today at 3:30 p.m. The book group will be discussing Neverwhere, which the author turned into a novel after first writing the story as a screenplay for the BBC. Gaiman started his writing career in England as a comic book writer who developed a world-renowned graphic novel series, The Sandman, based on the earlier D.C. comics character of the 1930's and 40's. He collaborated with Terry Pratchett to write the wildly hilarious apocolyptic book, Good Omens, and he has branched out to write both adult and children's books which have been critically acclaimed. Among these publications are Coraline, a frightening children's story, as well as American Gods, Stardust, and Anansi Boys. Neil moved from England with his wife and children to settle in Minneapolis where he said he wanted to live in a Charles Addams-style house. He found one complete with turret and possible ghostly history!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Neverwhere: London's Alternate Reality

Saturday Samplers, one of Bernardsville Public Library's book discussion groups, is now reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for its next meeting on Saturday, December 6th, at 3:30 p.m. in the library. This urban fantasy takes place in "London Below" where the city's noted underground stations comprise part of Gaiman's alternate universe. Memorable, original characters inhabit this dark and menacing setting in which an everday Everyman from "London Above" suddenly finds himself. Forced by situations out of his control, this "normal" main character must undergo a quest of mythological proportions in order to save not only the damsel in distress, but ever so much more. This is an exciting, imaginative book which nicely balances darkness and light, good and evil. Copies of the book are available at the circulation desk.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Make It "Handmade" For The Holidays

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Why not "make it yourself" this holiday gift-giving season? There's nothing cozier than snuggling up to a good ball of wooly yarn (at least for the knitters/crocheters among us), and making something for someone else definitely gives you warm fuzzies on the inside, too!

If you like to do handworking, please join Bernardsville Public Library's new crafting group, Saturday Crafters. We meet monthly at the library, and our next meeting is this Saturday, November 22nd, at 3:30 p.m. in the Community Room. All crafters are welcome, and there is no sign-up required.

Please bring your own project and share your helpful tips with this friendly group. Last month we had knitters, a needlepointer, a paper crafter and a handsewer gathered together for a very cheerful afternoon. On Saturday staff member Evelyn Fischel will showcase library books featuring holiday gift-making ideas. This holiday season, say "I made it myself!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Library Display Magic

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Does this look familiar to you? Well, yes, it's a huge, stylized globe, and it's also the centerpiece for our new display celebrating Bernardsville Public Library's slogan, "A world at your doorstep."

But it is also a cleverly reworked prop from our National Library Week book display earlier this year. Please refer to the April 9, 2008, posting for information on how the large wire construction above, symbolizing the tree of knowledge, was created by staff member Shelley Jones. To solder and construct this wire tree was a daunting task, and Shelley hoped she would never have to see it again.

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
Nonetheless, the wire orb "called" to her when we needed a large world globe for the new slogan display. A little blue paint and an extended decoupaging session turned a green tree into "a world at your doorstep." How's that for magic? Our display features selections from some of the library's most popular collections, including hobbies, travel, and self-help. Please feel free to check out any of these books.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Book News And More" Celebrates A Year Of Blogging

Book News and More, Bernardsville Public Library's blog, celebrates its first anniversary today. We hope you have enjoyed the postings over the past year, and we look forward to your continued readership. Please feel free to make comments on the posts of interest to you, as this is your means of communicating with us. Your comments also provide us with feedback that will lead to more of the kinds of features you want to see in the future. Thanks for helping us to light our first candle!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hitch Your Wagon To Our Little House On The Prairie Display

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

The children's fiction of Laura Ingalls Wilder has captivated readers for over 75 years now, and Bernardsville Public Library is celebrating the author's charming frontier stories with a special display. Here you'll find a wagonload of books and dvds related to the theme of The Little House on the Prairie. Look for the three-dimensional wagon located adjacent to the entry to the Fiction Wing. Even more items are included than pictured above.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once Upon A Time, Once Upon A Town

“Once upon a time," the spirit of American volunteerism inspired a wildly successful war effort project. Women from the region of North Platte, Nebraska, organized a canteen at the North Platte train depot to provide refreshments and entertainment for World War II service personnel who deboarded while the trains had their scheduled servicing. At the height of this effort, over 3,000 service people were treated to nourishing homemade goods every day. Bob Greene's book, Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen, chronicles this story and will be discussed at Memoirs and Coffee, a Bernardsville Public Library book group, on Tuesday, November 18th, at 10:30 a.m. in the Community Room. Copies of the book are available at the circulation desk.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Passing of Michael Crichton and Studs Terkel Noted

Bestselling author Michael Crichton died yesterday at the age of 66 after a long illness. Famous for such clever fictional works as Jurassic Park, Congo, and The Andromeda Strain, Crichton had a talent for great storytelling which could turn implausible themes into vibrant, frightening reality. Bernardsville Public Library has set up a display of Michael Crichton books alongside those of Tony Hillerman, also recently deceased. You'll find this display just inside the lobby on the right.

To remember Studs Terkel, who died October 31st at the age of 96, we have included several of his works in this same display. A man of many talents - interviewer, tv and radio personality, chronicler of 20th century life, and Chicago's number one fan - Studs Terkel carved a special niche for himself in American culture. He requested that his epitaph read, "Curiosity did not kill this cat."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Comment on The Red Tent

Saturday Samplers, Bernardsville Public Library's book discussion group, shared a number of interesting discussion points on Anita Diamant's The Red Tent last Saturday. We compared a reading from the book of Genesis to the main character's storyline, learning just how divurgent the two stories of Dinah actually were. We considered how people of different faiths might react to this story and whether the reader's gender affects perceptions and appreciation of the book.
Since this has been such a widely-read and popular book in the United States, I am inviting comments on The Red Tent here. You don't have to be a member of the library to post your comment, and we'd love to hear from people all over the world who have read the book and have an opinion about it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman, 1925 - 2008

Tony Hillerman, prolific author of American Southwest fiction, died yesterday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 83. Known for his mysteries featuring characters from the Navajo Tribal Police, Hillerman called upon his extensive familiarity with American Indian life to give authenticity to his novels. The New York Times obituary today provides a very interesting profile of his life, including the fact that as a child he attended St. Mary's Academy, a school for Potawatomie Indian girls in Dust Bowl-ravaged Oklahoma. Hillerman maintained a lifelong and respectful relationship with Navajo communities, and he stated, "I think it's important to show that aspects of ancient Indian ways are still very much alive and are highly germane even to our ways." A beloved icon of American fiction, Tony Hillerman had many fans among the patrons at our library. If you would like to give his works a try, Bernardsville Public Library offers a large collection of Hillerman fiction in regular and large print as well as audiobooks on cd and cassette.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Halloween MySpace Playlist

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Well, the picture is a whole lot clearer on our MySpace page, but here's a facsimile of the big, shiny red Halloween playlist now appearing on Bernardsville Library's MySpace. To get your fill of creepy music without the usual Halloween kitsch, push the play button once you visit our page. You'll find such chilling classics as the themes from The Exorcist and Halloween as well as the fantastic theme music to The Shining. Do you remember those great opening aerial shots from The Shining that took you over woods and lakes and up winding cliffside roads to the mountaintop hotel? Remember the scene's accompanying music with its unnerving hints of otherworldly souls crying out? That song is number one on our playlist and waiting to give you the chills. There's an eclectic mix of other haunting tunes as well, including pieces by Disturbed, AC/DC, Eric Burdon, Talking Heads, and yes, Bach himself! Give it a try.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ahoy, Avast, Aweigh, Awash!

Get your sea legs the easy way! Amble on over to Bernardsville Public Library's new display, Seaworthy Tales, for some exciting nautical stories. An enticing collection of booktapes, book cds, novels, and dvds have been grouped together in the video section of the library and feature some of the great sea sagas of all time. C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels, for instance, are showcased here along with the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, of which Master and Commander is the first book. In addition, you'll find the tales of Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, and Nathaniel Philbrick. For these authors, life at sea proved to be the true test of character and grit. Ah, can't you just smell the salt air from here?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Crafters Group To Meet at the Library

Used with permission - "Janice G. Fischel: An Uncommon View"
Calling all knitters, sewers, and crafters! If you enjoy doing handwork, please come to a new library group, Saturday Crafters, meeting at Bernardsville Public Library this Saturday, October 18th, at 3:30 p.m. You are invited to bring your own projects to the Community Room where we will enjoy pleasant conversation while sharing creative tips. Staff member Evelyn Fischel will feature both the latest library books for crafters and new project ideas. Meeting one Saturday afternoon each month, Saturday Crafters is a fun, easy-going gathering, so please join us. Bring a project and a friend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are You Finding Enough Romance at the Library?

Bernardsville Public Library would like to know if we offer enough titles and resources to keep romance readers happy. Tell us what you are looking for in the way of new authors or types of romance. Do you have a favorite series or author that you think the library should add? Would you be interested in meeting with fellow romance readers to share reading lists? Simply click to give us your opinion in a brief survey. Remember to click the "done" button when you are finished with the survey. Thanks for your input.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't Let Stress Suck You In

Dare I say we live in stressful times? Between illiquid markets, tanking investments, and contentious presidential campaigning, you may be feeling a wee bit stressed right about now. While you can't do much about these global and national issues, you might want to visit Bernardsville Public Library for a friendly greeting and a few books on stress relief. There's a new display in the nonfiction wing (by the oversize books) which will point the way to peaceful thinking in difficult times. Our Turn Over a New Leaf display showcases books on health, meditation, and coping skills. We hope you'll find contentment at the turn of a page.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Next Book for Saturday Samplers

Saturday Samplers, one of Bernardsville Public Library's book discussion groups, will be reading Anita Diamant's The Red Tent for their next meeting in November. Please note that this is a change in the reading selection for that month. Bernardsville Library owns several copies of The Red Tent, and additional books are being ordered from other libraries. Led by staff member Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers will meet in the Community Room at 3:30 p.m. on November 1st for an afternoon of good discussion. For upcoming information about this book or about the book group itself, refer to the
Saturday Samplers blog. Please feel welcome to attend our group.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Library Display "Breaks the Chains" on Banned Books

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Bernardsville Public Library is observing Banned Books Week (Sept. 27-Oct. 4) with an eye-catching display of titles which have been challenged or banned at some point in their published history. This display includes such renowned books as Beloved, Lolita, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Satanic Verses. In the past, some school libraries and public libraries censored these books because of their perceived obscenity, profanity or blasphemy. Even the countries of France and Argentina got into the act, branding Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece, Lolita, as obscene and banning it in the 1950's.

Banned Books Week is observed during the last week of September under the auspices of the American Library Association. To learn why the books in our display were challenged or banned at some point in the 20th century, please ask the library staff to show you our information sheets on this topic. The display, located next to the circulation desk during the month of October, is marked by an oversized model of a book and a large broken chain. Why not grab a formerly "chained" book and read it with a 21st century point of view?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Make "Friends" With Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

We're on MySpace and invite you to be our friend! Check out Bernardsville Library's MySpace page to see a kaleidoscope of colorful images and regularly updated features showcasing what's great about our library. You'll find banners and headlines informing you about upcoming programs, cool pictures of some of the books, movies and music we offer, a playlist or two which will rotate with the seasons, YouTube selections of note, a rather unique blog, and a long list of interesting friends who've already joined our page. Why not give us a look, and if you have a MySpace page of your own, why not add us to your friends?! Our MySpace address is

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Political Choices Display

Does the General Election slugfest have you sick, sick, sick of TV, yet you still hanker for more? Well, turn off the boob tube and breeze on over to our Political Choices display in the nonfiction wing of Bernardsville Public Library. There you'll find an interesting and balanced selection of reading and listening material authored by political figures, pundits and commentators focusing on politics in the United States right now.

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

On a similar front, do you ever wonder how you can verify the accuracy of what you read, see or hear in political ads or on blog and internet sites? Simply go to, a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to get a non-biased assessment.

Annenberg Political Fact Check, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, is a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center which was established by philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994. As their mission states, "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."

Monday, September 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008 - Extraordinary Author, Victim of Severe Depression

The literary world is saddened and reeling from the news of David Foster Wallace's suicide this past weekend in Claremont, California, at the young age of 46. Numerous tributes to this noteworthy American author may be read on the internet and online newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

The New York Times' article notes, "A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing — in his fiction and nonfiction — about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve." "He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane." Today's New York Times'
obituary adds that "Mr. Wallace was a maximalist, exhibiting in his work a huge, even manic curiosity — about the physical world, about the much larger universe of human feelings and about the complexity of living in America at the end of the 20th century."

Bernardsville Public Library has several collections of his writing available including Oblivion: Stories as well as Consider the Lobster, and Other Essays. Perhaps these books might interest you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Umm...I Think I'll Eat In Tonight

I just read Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by “The Waiter,” who also authored a notorious blog chronicling his life as a NYC server and restaurant manager. Ouch, there’s not much love here for the majority of his clientele unless they tow the line or charm him in some way. The entire book is written from his perspective, so you are duly warned about bad customer behavior, how much you SHOULD tip, when NOT to eat out (certain holidays must be avoided at all costs), etc. All this makes clear why you really don’t want to become a waiter or restaurant owner yourself. I’m down with that!

On the other hand, there is very little concern for the customer’s point of view unless he/she happens to be a well-tipping regular. It seems the primary purpose of a waiter’s evening shift is to survive it without blowing an artery in rage, burning an arm on sizzling platters or putting up with atrocious hazing and insults from fellow servers and kitchen staff. It also helps to maintain a Zen-like calm in the face of customer rudeness while hoping to come out of it with enough tip money to cover the bills. Whew! In his defense, the behavior of many of his customers (wealthy and full-of-themselves types) is to be despised. There are enough hair-raising, shocking stories to entertain the reader for the few hours that it takes to breeze through the book, and you will come out the other end with a heightened sense of the typical waiter’s daily grind. A little courtesy on both sides should make for a pleasant dining experience…if you’re lucky.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Give Our Reading Bugs A Good Home

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

The children's summer reading program at Bernardsville Public Library is a resounding success due in part to the presence of our charming "reading bugs," some of which are seen above. Located throughout the library, these bug sculptures set a great example for our young patrons to follow all summer long. Created by Keiko Matsuura, a library volunteer, Bernardsville Library's reading bugs have attracted the attention of adults as well as kids. In fact, numerous people have expressed an interest in taking these bugs home. In response to this interest, a silent auction for the reading bugs is now being conducted in the children's wing of the library and will continue until September 13th. If you would like a chance to take home one or more of these loveable, unique reading bugs, enter your bid on the clipboards located in the children's wing. You may continue to "up" your bid as necessary until the closing of the silent auction at noon on September 13th. What a great way to continue the reading fever at your house!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Read It Before You See It

Hollywood has been relying heavily on popular novels and nonfiction as subject matter for its new releases this year. According to the August 25th edition of Publishers Weekly, a number of upcoming movies will be based on such notable books as The Road, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Cormac McCarthy, and The Soloist, a memoir by Steve Lopez. Why wait until everyone else is looking for these titles once the movies are released? Visit Bernardsville Library's display, "Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You, " to find these books before they become hot again.

Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees will be released on October 17th.

Marley & Me, a heartwarming nonfiction story by John Grogan, will open on Christmas Day.

Robert B. Parker's western novel, Appaloosa, will be appearing in film on October 3rd.

You'll find an interesting selection of books-to-film on our display shelf located in the video section of the library. Look for the large red movie ticket sign marking the location of the display,
"Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Because Oprah Says So

Well, we have lots of books that Oprah hasn't anointed yet, but if you would like to browse her recommendations, please visit our display in the Fiction Wing. It features some of the titles that Oprah has put on her book club reading list over the years. Here you'll find Cormac McCarthy's 2007 Pulitzer prize winner, The Road, as well as the classic, Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. Come to think of it, I wonder how many people have ventured to read Tolstoy because of Oprah?

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Need This!

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Save the planet, support your library, and look stylish doing it! Come over to the circulation desk and purchase one or more of our new library bags imprinted with the sharp library logo seen above. The bags are capacious, measuring over 15x12x6 inches, and come with the bonus feature of three side pockets. Constructed of light-weight yet sturdy fabric, they will hold all your checked-out library items and still have room to spare! At a cost of $4.00, they will show that you are a well-read, civic-minded, environmentally classy person. What more could you want?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Be Careful Which Path You Take

After a summer break, the Saturday Samplers book group will meet next on Saturday, September 6th, at 3:30 p.m. to discuss two exciting selections:

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (fiction)

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (nonfiction)

Coincidentally, both these stories take place during the summertime, and to a degree involve an activity any one of us might consider; that is, taking a walk in the woods. We, of course, wouldn't make the same bad choices that the main characters made...or would we? It doesn't matter because these young characters quickly inspire our empathy as we realize their desperate situations even before they do.
Into the Wild is a true accounting of a young man's excursion into the wilds of Alaska, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a fictional story by one of the all-time great horror authors, Stephen King. Nature plays a prominent role in both books, and Stephen King's story has the added bonus of a baseball game sub-theme. These are truly engaging books which should make for a great discussion. Copies of the books are available at the circulation desk. Join us in the Community Room on September 6th. Here is the link to the Saturday Samplers blog so that you can keep up with the latest postings:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spare the Burn

The EPA's Web site offers a daily UV Index chart for the United States compiled from National Weather Service data. Here are today's pretty colors!
Take this link to learn about the index and to get the UV forecast for the following three days as well. As you head to the beach, pool or lake, enjoy the sun's rays, but take appropriate precautions. Also, don't forget to take your summer reading with you, so read on to the next posting below.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beach Reads

There's plenty of time left this summer to go to the shore, so why not grab some beach reading to take with you? BookReporter has an interesting search page for selecting beach reading by categories such as mystery, armchair travel, and pop culture. Try it at to find just the right book for you. In addition, on National Public Radio's Web site you can browse their own 2008 list of summer reading. Go to

While you're at the Bernardsville Library finding your summer reading, you might want to try the Jersey shore mystery series by Chris Grabenstein. These mysteries, set in the ficticious shore town of Sea Haven, NJ, feature the police team of John Ceepak, an MP just returned from Iraq and his young partner, Danny Boyle. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This Lecture Is For Your Own Good

The other day I sat down at my computer to view/listen to Professor Randy Pausch’s now famous “last lecture,” delivered in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, from which he retired after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A young man with a family and beloved by his students and faculty alike, Pausch entitled his lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” He spoke for 120 minutes with infectious, gleeful energy about his childhood, the achievement of his own dreams, and how to enable others to achieve theirs. His skills as a caring, inventive teacher were evident throughout the lecture, and I would say he is the kind of instructor we would all wish to have. Randy combined the use of humorous props with imaginative approaches to exhort us to break through the “brick walls” that hold us back, to always have fun in what we do, and to live life now. This was an inspirational talk, not at all morose, but, of course, quite moving. I accessed this lecture via from which point you can select several means to view it. I watched it by Google video, and this worked very well. You can even use the pause button and come back to it later. Randy Pausch’s recently released book, The Last Lecture, builds on his lecture and is available at Bernardsville Public Library in both audio CD and book format.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Coffee Drinkers To Try Tea

Memoirs and Coffee, the Tuesday morning book group at Bernardsville Library, will discuss Greg Mortenson's bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, on July 22nd at 10:30 a.m. in the library's Community Room. Copies of the book are available at the circulation desk.

Three Cups of Tea recounts Mortenson's efforts to encourage education among the youth in the remote Karakoram region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over a period of ten or so years, Mortenson built 55 schools, many of them for girls, as a humanitarian effort and as an act of gratitude to the mountain people who had befriended him after his failed attempt to climb K2, the second highest mountain in the world. This is an inspiring story promoting peace and generosity in today's world.

Please join the group, even if you haven't finished the book, for an enjoyable morning's discussion.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adult Reading Bugs Can Earn Prizes, Too!

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

The kids are busy collecting Bernardsville Library "bug bucks" for their summer reading program, but the adults haven't been overlooked. They, too, can join in the fun at Bernardsville Public Library by entering our weekly drawing for great prizes. All they need do is check out any three items at a time and fill out an entry form at the circulation desk. At week's end three names will be picked to receive three great prizes generously donated by local merchants and individuals. The prizes change from week to week and include such fabulous items as gift certificates to Williams Sonoma, Country Mile Gardens and Melan Shoes. The drawings will continue throughout the summer months, so stop by soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thank You, Keiko

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

Keiko Matsuura, a volunteer in the Youth Services department of Bernardsville Public Library, is responsible for all the charming "reading bugs" that have taken up residence throughout the library. These adorable insects, posed with their books and magazines, mark the beginning of the library's summer reading program called "Catch the Reading Bug @ Bernardsville Library."
Although Keiko has had no formal art training, she is obviously very talented and possesses an artist's eye and imagination. Michaele Casey, Youth Services Librarian, reports that Keiko took her inspiration from the drawings of illustrator, Harry Bliss, bringing his bug illustrations to 3-D life. Using styrofoam balls, corrugated paper, and even some special packaging paper from Japan, Keiko sculpted and formed a variety of insects, turning them into the kinds of bugs we would actually like to have in the library! Keiko carved and sandpapered large styrofoam balls to create the facial structure of each bug and then hand painted them with vivid, eye-catching colors. Posed at ease in beach chairs and on sofas, these larger-than-life reading bugs surely know how to pass a lazy summer day - with a good book, of course!

Bernardsville Library has been so fortunate to have Keiko as a volunteer over the last two years. She moved to Bernardsville with her husband after leaving Japan, where she studied English, and it wasn't long before Keiko found her way to us. She has done children's programs on Japanese culture and origami and will be teaching origami in 3-D for teens on August 4th at the library.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reading Bugs Make Great Patrons!

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library

photo source - Bernardsville Public Library
Bugs of all kinds, gloriously colored and larger-than-life, have taken up residence in Bernardsville Public Library, marking the beginning of the library's summer reading campaign entitled "Catch the Reading Bug @ Bernardsville Library."
Children aged 2 1/2 years to Grade 6 may register to join the "Catch the Reading Bug" club where they will record their reading minutes, attend fun programming and earn exciting prizes. Teens entering Grades 7 to 12 are invited to participate in their own summer program, "Metamorphosis @ Bernardsville Library." Adults need not feel left out as they will once again be eligible for weekly gifts donated by local merchants if they check out three or more library items at one time.
While these programs begin this Monday, June 23rd, the library will celebrate the summer reading kick-off with a mime performance by Lluana Jones on Saturday, June 21st at 1:30 p.m. followed by an ice cream social sponsored by the Friends of the Bernardsville Public Library. Come join us and the "bugs!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Come to Our Book Group Fair

Are you looking for a book group to join? Would you like to start one yourself? Does your current book group need some helpful resources to make organization and book selection easier?

Come to Bernardsville Public Library's Book Group Fair tomorrow, June 12th, for some great ideas to make book group planning a breeze. The library's Readers' Advisory Team will be on hand in the Community Room to demonstrate online resources which will enable you to find background and biographical information as well as book reviews and author interviews. Packets containing helpful Web sites, reading suggestions and many other great aides will be given to each visitor.

Our new "Book Group Bags" will also be on display - each one complete with ten copies of a book as well as packets of reference material on the book and its author. These bags, made possible by a grant from Jean Horton, may be checked out for four weeks at a time.

There is no charge to attend this fair and refreshments will be served. Please come between 11 and 2 p.m. or between 6 and 9 p.m. tomorrow, June 12th!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grendel Invades the Halls of Bernardsville Library!

Saturday Samplers, a book discussion group meeting at Bernardsville Public Library, will take on Grendel, a masterpiece of modern fiction by John Gardner, at its next meeting this Saturday, June 7th at 3:30 p.m.

John Gardner was a medievalist, college professor, mentor to many authors, and a highly noted author himself. Some of his famous works include October Light, Nickel Mountain, The Sunlight Dialogues, and his last work, Mickelsson's Ghosts, written just before he died in a motorcycle accident while commuting to his teaching job in 1982.

The story of Grendel, while based on the poem of Beowulf, takes on its own narrative arc which divurges from the original Anglo-Saxon work. Here Grendel himself speaks his own mind while telling the story of his 12 years' war with the Danes. He is given a witty but cynical voice, and he is capable of great feeling and angst as he attempts to find his place in a world he sees as either "connected" or one of "mechanical nothingness."

Gardner wrote this short book with a great sense of imagery, humor, and a clever use of literary and philosophical allusions. Grendel is a one-of-a-kind, amazing reading experience. Join us this Saturday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Graphic Novels On Display

For something different to read, why not try graphic novels? They are becoming increasingly popular among all ages (not just teens) and are finding their way onto many best seller lists. Illustrated or graphic novels combine pictures with a small amount of text to create an enhanced reading experience. Anyone who tries a graphic novel will immediately apprehend how easily the images and the words blend together into a powerful new creation. If a picture is worth a thousand words, graphic novels communicate a lot in a very few pages.

Bernardsville Public Library is currently displaying an interesting selection of its graphic novels which can be found in the lobby next to the circulation desk. Look there for the classic Sandman series by Neil Gaiman or the deeply affecting 9/11 memorial, In the Shadow of No Towers, by Art Spiegelman. For those of you interested in other cultures, try Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, an autobiography of her childhood during the Iranian Revolution. Graphic novels for young readers and adults alike are available for check out. Please help yourselves to these items.