Do You Know About Playaways?

By now, most of you have probably heard about ebooks and audiobooks, but you might not know about Playaway books.

Playaways are devices that already have audio books pre-loaded. All you need is a set of headphones and you’re ready to go!

The Watertown Library has been lending Playaways for over 2 years now and we have 318 titles just in the adult  department alone! Our children and teen departments also have playaways and we are all busy with plans to purchase more.

The devices themselves are smaller than a deck of cards, so they’re great for when you have to ride the bus to work, or for evening walks!

Wondering what we have available? Check it out here. You’ll notice we have lots of language learning titles, but if you look down the list, you’ll find novels and all sorts of offerings.

Check it out!

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Job Searches – Daunting, But Libraries Can Help!

No one likes to look for a job (or, at least, no one I’ve ever met).  And while the Internet is an important resource, do you know the best ways to search for information? And, even more importantly, can you tell which sites are ones to trust?

The Watertown Library is trying to help. We started by setting up a display of books we felt were good resources for those on the hunt. If you’re at the library, this display is located behind the reference desk, before the stairs to the gallery.

In addition to our display, we’re also offering a number of classes that might be useful for those looking to brush up on their skills. Most importantly, we offer a workshop specifically about the online job search once a month. We also cater to those who are not yet comfortable with computers with our “Intro to Computers Class,” and for those who want add some technical skills to their resume, “Intro to Word,” and “Intro to Powerpoint.” These classes happen monthly, and are popular. Space is limited, so be sure check out information on our homepage and sign up before they’re full.

We also have many public computers available to help you with your search. If you’re at the library and the computers are all full, you can make a reservation and one will be available to you in just 5 minutes!

If you’ve had experience with certain programs, like Word and Excel, but haven’t used them in awhile, a good way to remind yourself of what you already know is to check out something like the Step By Step books Microsoft offers.

Are you writing your resume and having a hard time describing your proficiency/skill levels with certain tools, be sure to look at Learning Library Express, one of our databases you can use while at the library. This incredibly helpful site offers practice tests, skill-forming exercises, and courses to increase your knowledge.

Are you not even sure what field you want to work in? Another database we offer, that you can even use from home, is Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. This site explains what jobs are in high demand, what categories jobs fall into, and even what skills are required to obtain certain jobs in the field you would like to work in.

If you’re not able to attend one of our classes, and want to use the internet for help, just remember, before you spend tons of time writing your resume or cover letter, to take your time and read over lots of good examples, not just one.

If you’re from the area, be sure to use local resources, like Mass Resources, which offers links to employment assistance and job training. Also, check out CareerOneStop for great advice and links on the job search.

If you have a favorite resource, please feel free to share it in the comments, so others can check them out!

Most of all, stay positive and GOOD LUCK!

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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Banned Books Week Begins!

Sept. 26 – Oct. 3 marks this year’s Banned Books Week.

It may not come as a big surprise that Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were all challenged or banned in the past. Would it surprise you to know that they were each challenged or banned this year as well?

What else have you read this year that some might consider inappropriate? You can see this year’s list of banned and challenged books here, in the catalog of banned and challenged books of 2008-2009.

Who challenges books? Why? These graphs, from the American Library Association break down some of those statistics.

What do you do when you read something strikes you as objectionable? This article, The Secret Life of Book Bannersfrom the September 27 Chicago Tribune, discusses one woman’s experience from childhood to adult with banned material.

UPDATE: check out this interactive map of banned books in the US! Banned Books Map!

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gwendolyn Hallsmith Speaks at the Library

Gwendolyn Hallsmith

Gwendolyn Hallsmith

For the kick-off event of this year’s One Book, One Watertown series, Gwendolyn Hallsmith will be speaking about community sustainability and local environmental issues. Ms. Hallsmith is the Director of Global Community Initiatives, and is the other of The Key to Sustainable Cities, which discusses new approachies to city planning.

Her writing and speaking share many common themes with this year’s selected book, Hot, Flat and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman.

Published in: on September 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

5 Ways to Organize Anything

LorenaPrimeJoin Lorena Prime at Tuesday, June 23 at 7 PM in the Lucia Mastrangelo Meeting Room for a workshop on how to keep organized.

Ever wonder how some people can be so organized? Being disorganized is not a character flaw! As a child you may not have learned the skills to be organized, but you can learn them now.

With the 5-step “C.L.E.A.R.” methodology, you can organize anything at work or home including your papers, things, and space. It’s easy once you know how. Through this 45-minute workshop, you will discover new abilities that you can apply immediately to your life and reap the rewards of a more calm, productive, and enjoyable day.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers to help solve your own hot areas.

Please register for this free workshop by stopping by or calling the Adult Services Department, 617-972-6436.

Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Children’s Book Illustrator Ilse Plume May in the T. Ross Kelly Family Gallery

Ilse Plume's Dancing Frogs

The library welcomes Ilse Plume, a local illustrator of children’s books, to the T. Ross Kelly Family Gallery for an exhibit that will last the entire month of May. Plume’s delicate illustrations practically leap off the page, showing both her deftness with bold and bright colors, and her skill with capturing motion and rhythm. And her little frog subjects will charm any viewer, child or adult.

Plume herself says that illustration is “a journey that takes you to many places—and sometimes creates adventures along the way—and often leads to surprising, unexpected results. The main thing is to continue to dream and to explore your artistic visions and to work hard.”

The opening for this exhibition will be held on Sunday, May 3rd, in the gallery.

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Computer Basics

computerThe library will be offering free introductory computer classes for beginners on Thursday mornings in April from 10 AM to 12 PM on the following dates:

  • April 2nd
  • April 9th
  • April 16th

Space is limited, so stop by the second floor reference desk to sign up for one of the dates above.

Classes will cover the following topics:

  • Types of Computers
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Parts of the Computer
  • Computer Terms
  • Parts of the Desktop
  • Working with Windows
  • Internet searching
  • Creating an online email account
  • Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm  Comments (1)  

    Thriving in Stressful Times

    Combat the stress in your life with help from the library’s four part series on Thursday nights in April:

    April 2: Mind/Body Approaches to Recognizing and Managing Stress

    Watertown Center for Healing Arts

    A panel of four practitioners from the Watertown Center for Healing Arts – psychotherapist Michael Keane, acupuncturist Jeff Matrician, yoga therapist Edi Pasalis and master herbalist Tommy Priester – will explore different mind/body strategies for recognizing and managing stress to create health and well-being.

    April 9: Herbal Remedies for Stress Relief

    Tommy Priester, Master Herbalist

    Reclaim your natural health through the mindful use of plant medicine (herbs), nutrition, flower essence, Heart Mind Integration Method and homeopathy. Identify practical life style changes needed to bring the body, mind, spirit, emotions and soul back into balance with Tommy Priester, master herbalist.

    April 16: Yoga and Meditation for Stress Relief

    Edi Pasalis, RYT

    Learn to use basic yoga and meditation techniques to feel more calm and positive about life even in the face of challenge or difficulty. No experience necessary. Beginners welcome!

    April 23: Back Care Basics

    Phoebe Barnes, RYT

    In these uncertain times many of us take on the stress and it lives in our bodies as back pain or neck soreness. Yoga and breath work can help us here with simple exercises that take tension out of the body and help us center on what’s most important. Come to this workshop with Phoebe Barnes RYT to learn skills and stretches to take home to help with back and neck care.

    Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Reading by Award Winning Local Poet

    Award winning poet, Andrea Cohen, will be reading her poetry at the library on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:30 PM.

    Andrea Cohen

    Andrea Cohen

    Andrea Cohen is the author of the poetry collections Long Division and The Cartographer’s Vacation. Her poems and stories have appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, Glimmertrain, The Iowa Review, and Ploughshares.

    Her awards include the Owl Creek Poetry Prize, a PEN Discovery Award, Glimmertrain’s Short Fiction Award, and several residencies at the MacDowell Colony. She directs the Blacksmith House Reading Series and writes about marine research at MIT, where she also edits the online literary journal Sea Change.

    Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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    Farewell, John Updike

    John Updike (1932-2009) died last week.

    It is hard to imagine “The New Yorker” without him. By the magazine’s own count, he published in it 146 short stories, dozens of short essays and over 500 poems and critical reviews from about 1954 through the fall of 2008. He wrote nearly 60 books–novels and criticism–and hundreds of book reviews and essays for other periodicals. All were elegant and observant, carefully structured and insightful. He chronicled an America where its people seemed to replace values and faith with materialism and a yearning for status, yet he did it gently, with understanding, patriotism and love. Updike will be very much missed by all of us readers who anticipated regular pieces in New York literary magazines and expected a book a year. He was part of New York, yet he lived on Boston’s North Shore–a sophisticate whose roots were popular and grounded.
    I cut my professional teeth as a librarian on the controversy over “Couples”, Updike’s racy 1968 novel of contemporary mores that divided library patrons in the upstate New York university town where I worked.
    My public library did buy the title, but we were careful about lending it from the bookmobile when it traveled to rural areas! I read “Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories” (1962), and that began a life-long appreciation of the short story. I read the “Rabbit” novels (1970s-1980s) and saw folks I knew in the perfectly and gently captured characters and scenes. I read “The Centaur” (1963), “The Witches of Eastwick” (1984) and “Gertrude and Claudius” (2000) and was struck by the breadth of Updike’s imagination, interests and knowledge. His art criticism and baseball essays were still other facets of this complex, funny, and perceptive author. His 1965/1999 children’s book of seasonal poems ” A Children’s Calendar” was our family’s favorite. Every work surprised and delighted; I was often caught by the unexpected and immediately recognizable wisdom and truth therein.

    Some humorous lines from an early poetry collection called “Telephone Poles” (1963) is my parting salute to John Updike. Many great tributes to him are pouring in, but it is in the hearts of his millions of readers that his memory lives.

    “In Upperville, the upper crust
    Say “Bottoms Up!” from dawn to dusk
    And “Ups-a-daisy. dear!” at will–
    I want to live in Upperville…

    Depression never dares intrude
    Upon thy sweet upswinging mood;
    Downcast, long-fallen, let me go
    To where the cattle never low.

    I’ve always known there was a town
    Just right for me; I’ll settle down
    And be uplifted all day long–
    Fair Upperville, accept my song.

    Beverly Shank
    WFPL Assistant Director

    Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment