Marysville Library Blog

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Energy and the Climate

Scientists and politicians have been talking about climate change for a while now, but what is the latest news and information on the subject? How much scientific debate continues about this issue? As Congress starts to debate a new energy bill, here are two sites that can answer your questions:

The PEW Center on Climate Change was established in 1998 to provide credible and objective information on global climate change. With this site, you can follow state, national and international issues and policies related to climate change. Are you curious about the relationship between your local climate and global climate change? This is the site for you.

So you want to dig deeper and get actual facts and figures on energy use and emissions both internationally and in the US? Go to the website (http://eia.doe.gov/) that gives the official energy statistics from the US government. This site is data-driven, providing current and historical statistics as well as analysis of energy production, demand, trade, and prices.

Finally, Sno-Isle has a new book that pulls together the science with possible solutions: “The climate solutions consensus: What We Know and What to Do About It” by the National Council for Science and the Environment; David E. Blockstein, Leo Wiegman, editors.

These three credible resources will give you a lot to think about and explore.

Source: Library Journal April 15, 2010, Vol. 135 No. 7

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Delicious Spring Reads

Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons for reading. The longer days and warmer weather have me catching the reading bug. I am a browser when it comes to book selection, and find the best titles just by walking the aisles. I like bright colors and fun titles and if it's a trade paperback, then even better. One thing I like even better than trade paperback, however, is food. And books about food-especially baking.

Here are a few food-related titles that have my book palette watering:

"Let Them Eat Cake" by Sandra Byrd. Lexi Stuart is done with college, but still living at home with her parents in Seattle. What is a girl to do? She doesn't have a job, a boyfriend, or a place to call her own. But what she does have is a talent for baking and a love for french culture. Whip in one part french bakery, two parts handsome men and wait for the magic to begin. This is the first in a three part Christian series and is as addictive as a warm buttery croissant.

"The Sweet Life of Stella Madison" by Lara Zeises. This is a teen fiction title and follows Stella Madison, teenager to two amazing chefs whose favorite food is boxed mac n' cheese and hamburgers. Add one summer internship at a newspaper writing a food column she knows nothing about, slowly mix in one amazing cute older intern at her mom's kitchen, sift in a boyfriend that Stella's not sure is right for her, and you have a recipe for good reading. Quick, fun, and oh-so-sweet.

"Recipe for Disaster" by Maureen Fergus. Another teen title, this time we're introduced to Francie-baker extraordinaire. Helping her parents out at their cafe, and running a side bakery business, Francie is no stranger to the woes of teenaged life. Her best friend Holly is acting strange and siding with the annoying new girl, her old childhood friend Ricky has a knack for always being around when she makes a fool of herself, and she still hasn't won a baking contest from her beloved Lorenzo LaRue's show. Let's hope this baker can create a recipe for happiness, without a bad aftertaste.

"Confections of a Closet Master Baker" by Gesine Bullock-Prado. This is the memoir of Sandra Bullock's sister, Gesine, and her hidden passion for baking. From running her celebrity sister's production company, to moving to a small rural town to start a baking business, this is one scrumptious story I can't wait to dig into.

So whether you're a baker, a lover of food, or just in the mood for a good book, these titles are sure to satisfy.

-Mamie

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Value of Books and Reading to Society

I am currently listening to the book “Team of rivals: the political genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and I am struck by how books and reading were key to Lincoln’s life. He was raised in an environment on the frontier where size, strength, and hard physical labor were prized, and where intellectual work was considered weak and unmanly. His mother Nancy was his first teacher, but she died when he was 9. His father was uneducated, and grew angry when he found his son reading instead of doing his chores to keep the family going on the edge of the wilderness. In fact, there are hints that young Abe was beaten for it. His step-mother was also uneducated, but allowed him to read long into the night. Education in the area was available at subscription schools only, and even there the teachers were required to have few qualifications.

In this environment, where Abraham received less than a year’s equivalent of formal schooling in between farm work, he found what few books he could and read them so often he could quote whole passages years later. He read Aesop’s Fables, the King James Bible, and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He read excerpts from Shakespeare in a book on elocution, and loved the stories years before he saw an actual play.

When he grew older and escaped from the farm, he worked in the post office, in a general store, and as a longshoreman while reading law books. Most men “read the law” under the apprenticeship of an established lawyer, but Lincoln didn’t have that opportunity. Even after passing the bar, he read widely and studied intensely to make up for his lack of the college degree that his fellow lawyers had.

Who could have guessed from Abraham Lincoln’s poverty-stricken beginnings and many disadvantages that he would rise to the highest position in the land? His three rivals for the presidency in 1860, though all highly intelligent and ambitious themselves, had all had much more opportunities for formal schooling than he. If he had not been able to scrounge for books, had he not read them voraciously, who knows what would have happened to our country?

Working in a library full of books for all ages and interests, there is a very small chance that we are providing the education and sanctuary for a future president. But even if they don’t reach such heights, I expect that books and reading are still providing the escape and upward opportunities for all of the less-advantaged, just like Abraham Lincoln. Who knows what they will rise and do for our country?

-Kathy