Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scams and Spams

We all know there are a bunch of scams going around on the Internet, some more easily perceived as such than others.

The U.S. State Department has a very good article on "how to" identify or deal with or report these Net Crimes. Just click on this link to read about International Financial Scams.

Maybe by becoming more aware and pro-active, we'll eventually be able to rid ourselves of these netsharks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poetry Contest for Berks County Students

The Young Poets 2009 contest is for any student in grades 1-12 enrolled in a Berks County School (Boyertown Area School District is eligible) or is Homeschooled and uses a Berks County Library (e.g. Boyertown Community Library).

Poems may be written on any subject but must be only one page in length. Complete rules and submission instructions are available at the library. Entry forms are included with the rules. Poets are encouraged to ask for help with their final draft from myself or any other staff member before submitting their work.

Prizes: Three winners (1st, 2nd, & 3rd place) will be chosen for each grade level. Three Honorable Mention winners will be chosen for each grade level. Each First, Second, & Third place winner will receive a monetary award, certificate, ribbon, and a copy of the Young Poets 2009 published booklet.

Poems must be submitted to a BCL librarian by Saturday, January 24, 2009.

Boyertown has had one winner so far in this writing contest (John Repsik, 2002, third grade – Lion in Space, 1st Place). Who will be next?

Essay Contest for High School Students

Here’s your chance to write a new profile in courage.
Enter the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest!

1st place wins $5,000 and a trip to Boston to accept the award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 2nd place wins $1,000 and up to 5 finalists will win $500.

Students are encouraged to write an original essay about an elected official who has demonstrated political courage. The contest is a companion program of the Profile in Courage Award, named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Complete information on how to prepare and submit (online submission only) is available at the library’s official website. Once at the JFK Library website mouse over the link box at the right titled Education and Public Programs and select the Profile in Courage Award link. Then click on the link in the left hand column for the Essay Contest. Be sure to read ALL the information including the portion about what teachers can and need to do.

This contest takes a good amount of research and has very specific presentation guidelines. Be sure to read all about it, but please DO consider entering!

The entry submission deadline is January 10, 2009.

Writing Contest - "Letter About Literature"

Read. Be Inspired. Write Back.

This is a great contest for kids age 9 and up, whether they are interested in writing or need to be encouraged to write. It is not at all like writing an essay or a paper for school. It is pretending to write a letter to an author and the entrant expressing themself about what they have read through the letter.

Entrants select a fiction or nonfiction book, a short story, poem, essay or speech they have read and about which they had strong feelings. Then they are encouraged to explore those feelings and why they reacted as they did during or after reading the author’s work.

There are three levels of competition...
Level 1 – Grades 4-6, no less than 100 words and no more than 400 words
Level 2 – Grades 7 & 8, no less than 300 words and no more than 600 words
Level 3 – Grades 9-12, no less than 500 words and no more than 800 words

For complete rules and entry forms stop by the library and ask or go to Winners at the state level receive a $50 gift card for Target and will advance to National Level Judging. National level winners receive a $500 Target gift card and a $10,000 Reading Promotion Grant for their community library!

Entry deadline is December 6, 2008.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jasper Fforde AND Charlotte Bronte

Many ask me, “What are you reading?” At this time I must answer that I am not reading something I have never read before, but that I am re-reading a book by an author introduced to me a couple years ago by one of my fellow co-workers.

The book? – The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. In fact I have almost finished the re-reading but have now paused to pick up a book (also one I have previously read) which is frequently referred to in Mr. Fforde’s work – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. In fact, I plan on reading other books referred to within the spell-binding plot of Mr. Fforde’s Sci-Fi/Mystery work (which is filled with literary allusions, puns and twists) – especially Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.

The Eyre Affair is the first in a series starring Thursday Next, a woman employed by the LiteraTec division of Spec Ops in an England not exactly the same as the England of our world. History has been changed (the Crimean War still goes on, Wales is a separate Republic, and Zeppelins are the usual mode of air-transport) and people can change the great classics of literature by erasing lines or characters from the original manuscript thereby causing all copies and versions of the same title to be affected world-wide –hence the need for the LiteraTec Operatives.

Why read Jane Eyre before finishing The Eyre Affair? Well, first of all remember this is a re-reading of both for me. Then consider that in Jasper Fforde’s novel, Miss Bronte’s novel is slightly different from our true Jane Eyre. Also things start happening to it and within it that, well, suffice it to say I just wanted to see the differences and make comparisons between the two books. Since I don’t have a copy of Jane Eyre, though, I am reading it online from the Project Gutenberg free access. ( or just Google any classic title and look for the listing for your title with the Gutenberg URL.)

While you are online and after you have enjoyed reading The Eyre Affair or any of the subsequent books by Jasper Fforde, I highly recommend checking out his website. You will find a whole realm of interesting tidbits including supposedly deleted scenes, Goliath Corporation ads (inside joke), etc. to tickle your grey cells. How he finds time to create a website as complex as his books and still write is beyond me.

I really enjoy Jasper Fforde’s style of writing. His wit combined with his amazing imagination makes it difficult to stop anywhere while reading – in other words he writes a real page-turner. I do strongly recommend that you either read Jane Eyre or view one of the many film versions of this great classic novel before reading The Eyre Affair. But -if you enjoy British authors, their humor and style; if you have read any of the classics; or if you just enjoy a good alternative history, Sci-Fi Mystery you ought to try The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. It will certainly make you smile if not laugh out loud.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grand Prize - Laptop Computer Winners

This year was the first year a grand prize for two age groups was provided for participants of the Berks County Summer Reading Program.

A Sony Vaio Laptop Computer was provided by the Friends of the Reading/Berks County Libraries for kids aged 13 to 18 and for ages 12 and under who turned in at least one reading log entry form. All the entries from all the system libraries of Berks County were entered into two giant containers (two? one container for each laptop!).

The winner of the 12 & under group turned in reading logs at Exeter Community Library.

And the teen winner was our own Heather Gahler, one of the Raffle Drawing winners here at Boyertown. Heather came in to pick up her brand new laptop and get her picture taken last week.

There was one other prize winner not mentioned....
To make things fair, children of library staff members were not eligible for the laptop computers, so a special prize of a $100 Barnes and Noble bookstore gift certificate was provided. The winner? Marie Albiges, daughter of BCL's own Children's Services Coordinator, Jeanine Albiges. Marie is thrilled and excited to begin spending her gift... she LOVES books and reading.

Congratulations, Heather and Marie!

What Non-Fiction is Being Read? (A-D)

Here are a few of the books being read by our patrons. The comments/reviews were submitted during our 2008 Adult Summer Reading Program.

Tracy Acost, DVM, “Your Dog’s Life”, 1999. …I learned a lot to teach our new ‘naughty’ J puppy. – Michael S.

Stephen Ambrose, “Citizen Soldiers”, 1997. …An interesting and informative account of the conditions endured by soldiers during WWII. – Frank D.

Valeri Bertinelli, “Losing It”, 2008.
…At times a little too much of a ‘tell-all’ but interesting how she is turning on a positive track. – Dawn A.
…Quick read and pretty well written. – Sue A.

Rick Darke, “The Encyclopedia of Grasses”, 2007. …Interesting read, lots of pictures, descriptions, and knowledge packed into this book. – Cheryl B.

Howard Dayton, “Your Money Map”, 2006. …This book provided practical financial guidance in the areas of spending, saving, & investing. – Kendra M.

More reviews are forthcoming. If you would like to submit your own review or even comment on the books already reviewed please feel free to do so.

Remember - not every submission may appear.

What Fiction is Being Read? A-D

Here are a few of the books being read by our patrons. The comments/reviews were submitted during our 2008 Adult Summer Reading Program.

Mitch Albom, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, 2003.
…Interesting - It was interesting to see the connection of the 5 people you meet once in heaven. –Connie J.
…A very simple read in a day. Made me think about my actions in life. – Meghan B.

David Baldacci
Camel Club”, 2005. …I found Oliver Stone & his 3 friends an interesting group of old gentlemen. – Donna R.
The Collectors”, 2006. …This was the second in the Camel Club series. Annabelle Conroy is an exciting character. – Donna R.
Stone Cold”, 2007. …Another Camel Club story. Sorry to see the death of ___ [spoiler]. – Donna R.
The Whole Truth”, 2008. …What a web we weave – very good intrigue – however hard to read. – Betty S.

Ann Brashares
The Last Summer (of me and you)”, 2007. …Not a bad book for her first adult novel. A story about a summer by the beach, family, & friends. – Treena F.
Forever in Blue”, 2007. …Another excellent installment of the [Sisterhood of the Traveling] Pants [series]. – Andrea F.

Wanda Brunstetter
Going Home”, 2007. …I really enjoyed this book set in the Amish Community. What a nice reminder that home is where the heart is! – Sabra O.
On Her Own”, 2007.
…Always a pleasure to consider a simpler life – even that has its ups & downs. Faith is key! – Sabra O.
…I enjoy reading the Amish romance stories. – Pat F.
A Sister’s Secret” (book 1 –Sisters of Holmes County series), 2007. …This book was a good mystery (although it was not solved yet – have to wait for the next book in the series). Good religious theme about forgiveness. – Sami Jo T.
A Sister’s Test” (book 2 –Sisters of Holmes County series), 2007. Always a pleasant escape into a “different world”. However, the mystery was not solved – I await the next book. – Sabra O.

Meg Cabot, “Size 12 is Not Fat”, 2006. …Good beach read! Funny parts. – Ursula G.

Jennifer Chiaverini, Elm Creek Quilts series
The Master Quilter”, 2004. …I enjoyed ‘catching up’ with these quilting friends. – Dawn A.
The Quilter’s Apprentice”, 1999. …I enjoyed how the 2 main characters’ relationship developed as they delved into the art of quilting. – Rachel F.

Ted Dekker
Black” (book 1 of trilogy), 2004. …The beginning was very confusing, but I couldn’t put it down. I read the book faster than any! – Diane F.
Blink of an Eye”, 2007. …Strange. – Janice B.
Skin”, 2007. …Almost too much thinking. – Janice B.

Christina Dodd, “Thigh High”, 2008. …Different!! Two old aunts robbed a bank only of a small amount of money once a year – at a bank their niece worked at. Occurs during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. – Hilda C.

More reviews are forthcoming.
If you would like to submit your own review or even comment on the books already reviewed please feel free to do so. Just click on the comment link below this blog entry to post a comment, submit your review by email from the BCL main page by contacting the Library Director, or drop off your brief review in person at the library.
Just remember - not every submission may appear.

Book Reviews Return

As stated in the introduction to this Blog, periodically I planned on posting some reviews of books by staff and by patrons of the library.

Events in the past few months have conspired to make this low on my “To-Do List”. But now I will revisit that intention and post a number of reviews received through the summer from our patrons. These were individuals who entered our Summer Reading Program for Adults by filling out a brief form with the title and author of a book they had read and added a comment or two about it. Not all the books were new and some were read by several people.

Maybe the comments posted here will help you make a choice on the next book you will read. I will not post all of them nor too many at one time.

Check the Blog periodically for a new posting with more reviews as the last few months of the year speed by.
…And Happy Reading to you!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Getting a Passport?

You can now apply for a Passport here at the library!
Be sure to call ahead to make an appointment and verify what you need to bring.

We are able to process your application for a new passport or the new passport card. We can also supply you with the proper forms for other passport business as well as help you find answers to your questions.

The most important thing adults need to know when applying for a passport is an official Birth Certificate with the raised seal plus a valid photo ID must be presented with the completely filled out application form.

For minors under 16 years, an official Birth Certificate must be presented and BOTH parents must be appear at the time of application with their own valid photo IDs. If both parents cannot appear, a consent form must be properly completed and presented instead.

More details about each line of the application, the form itself and other forms are available on the State Department’s website.

What is considered a valid photo ID? Here’s the list…
Previous U.S. passport (book or card)
Certificate of Naturalization
Certificate of Citizenship
Government employee identification card
Driver’s license (not temporary or learner’s permit)
Aircraft pilot’s license issued by the DEPT of Transportation, FAA
Official military ID card

We will make appointments beginning one hour after we open (meaning the first appt can be at 11:00am every day except Tuesdays. On Tuesdays the first appt could be at 4:00pm). The last appointment must be completed one hour before we close (meaning the final appt of the day on Monday through Wednesday can be at 6:30pm and on Thursday through Saturday the final appt can be at 3:30pm). The library is closed for all business on Sundays and Holidays.