It’s that time of year again, and for many of us it’s not quite the “most wonderful time of the year.” It can be a time when the accumulated losses of life hit us the hardest. If you’ve been on the Earth for a while, chances are you are missing some very special people who have either passed away or moved away. At the same time you’re being bombarded with media images of intact, ‘happy-all-the-time’ extended families in beautiful settings with piles of gifts and tables laden with elaborate dishes. Despite the pervasiveness of these glossy images, it’s not the reality for many who may be feeling overworked, under-financed, unwell, stressed out, or sad about missing loved ones. Just because you or your family have always celebrated the holidays in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing what no longer works. You might want to try something new. It helps to spend time on activities that feed your spirit and increase your focus on experiences instead of things. Maybe you can cancel some time sucking activities that you don’t enjoy in order to free up time for the things you do enjoy! If you have kids, what they really, really want is your time and attention, not more stuff - no matter what they say! You could create some crafts, take a hike, attend a free program or performance at the Library, volunteer your time to a good cause, play a game, do a puzzle, visit an elderly relative or neighbor, check out some Library books, read aloud, or deliver gifts to people who actually do need stuff.
The Library is collecting toys and items for kids and teens through the Family Service League’s PROJECT TOY. We’re also hosting a family community service event - The Gift of Giving, on the evening of December 20 to create toiletry bags to be delivered to guests at a local soup kitchen.
There’s a special volunteer opportunity for teens on December 15 - the teens will be wrapping gifts that patrons bring in to the Library. It’s free and we supply the paper and ribbons too!
Two special (free of course) performances are happening at the Library in December: For kids and families there’s Once Upon a Snowflake by Plaza Theatrical on Sunday, December 9. For everyone, there’s the Long Island re-Sound Handbell Ensemble performance on Sunday, December 16.
Bring your child to the Library to read aloud to a therapy dog on December 20. Animals have a special non-judgmental way of slowing us down and keeping us grounded.
Don’t miss meeting Mary Poppins herself as she makes a special appearance at the showing of the Mary Poppins movie on Saturday, December 22!
Stop in to see the Polar Express train set that will be gracing a large table in the Children’s Room during the month of December – magical!
As always there are many free programs to attend at the Library including some new drop-in programs for kids.
Take advantage of the Library’s Museum Pass program. Passes are free. Enjoy a fun, educational day. Reserve a pass from our website: www.isliplibrary.org
Stretch your gift budget by visiting the Library’s sale shelves to buy some gently used, very inexpensive books and DVDs.
Take a look at our newsletter for more information about Library programs.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” - Jennifer Dukes Lee
The Islip Public Library is collecting toys and other items for children and teenagers again this holiday season for the Family Service League’s PROJECT TOY program. You can help to make a family’s holiday brighter by donating new and un(gift)wrapped toys, books, clothing, etc… for a child or teenager. The collection box is located at the Adult Reference Desk. Donated items need to be received in the Library by Thursday, December 13 please. The items will be made available to families in need by The Family Service League at their annual December event.
Check out The Family Service League website at www.fsl-li.org to learn more about all the programs and services that this not-for-profit human services agency provides to families on Long Island.
Also, look for other giving opportunities at the Library later this winter. We’ll be collecting winter coats as well as mittens, hats, and scarves for those in need. See our January-February newsletter for details.
Sometimes it can feel like a cold and difficult world out there, let’s stick together! Thank you in advance for your generosity!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.
Throughout October there is an exhibit in the Islip Public Library’s display cases presented by the Islip Breast Cancer Coalition. Take a look at the photos and learn more by stopping by to see the exhibit and pick up a brochure.
“To provide direct services and support to breast cancer patients, as well as patients with other women’s cancers, to present educational programs and outreach within the community, and to encourage scientific and environmental research.”
The Islip Breast Cancer Coalition was founded in 1996 by a group of women committed to helping people in our community diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2015, the group expanded to include all women’s cancers. IBCC is an independent, grassroots, not-for-profit organization serving the residents of the Township of Islip including areas of Bay Shore, Bayport, Bohemia, Brentwood, Brightwaters, Central Islip, East Islip, Fire Island, Great River, Hauppauge, Holbrook, Islip, Islip Terrace, Islandia, Oakdale, Ronkonkoma, Sayville, and West Sayville.
The Coalition has created a Garden of Hope next to Islip Town Hall. Please consider a donation by ordering a Garden Butterfly to be displayed in the Garden in October by calling 631-968-7424. The butterflies may be placed in honor or in memory of someone you know who has been affected by breast or ovarian cancer. The cost to place a butterfly is a $10.00 donation to this not-for-profit organization.
For more information about services, or about making a donation, and/or volunteering to help, please visit the website: IslipBreastCancer.com
You can also email the group at: email@example.com
Demonstrate your love of democracy – VOTE!
The midterm elections are coming in November and every voice needs to be heard. Whatever you believe, whoever you support, it is your right and responsibility as a citizen to vote! The Library has Voter Registration Forms available at the Adult Reference Desk. Stop in and pick up yours if you are not yet registered.
Click on the link below for detailed information about voting in New York State.
National Voter Registration Day has volunteers out en masse with voter registration activities at school, in the workplace, and in your neighborhoods. For one whole day, volunteers and various organizations collaborate by setting up registration tables, knocking on doors or producing social and mass media awareness campaigns over the importance of registering to vote. National Voter Registration Day makes an all-out effort to register the tens of thousands of Americans who can make a difference at the ballot box.
National Voter Registration Day discourages political voter rage in favor of voter celebration. Imagine over 10,000 volunteers working together one full day to educate Americans on one of our most precious rights — the right to vote. In 2016, 750,000 voters registered on National Voter Registration Day. With so many world citizens denied this basic right, promoting our core democratic values, voting, should give all Americans something to cheer about on National Voter Registration Day.
National Voter Registration Day reminds and educates American on the voter requirements. You must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a current resident of your state. When you see a National Voter Registration Day table or volunteer, you can do more than just register. You can confirm your polling place, and update your registration information.
To learn more, visit the website https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/
Or the NYS Board of elections website cited above.
Back when I was a kid almost no one had air conditioning. We lived on Long Island, and as we all know, August on Long Island is soupy and swampy - a sauna. My childhood home wasn’t anywhere near the water where one could find a breeze - our house was smack in the center of the Island. On the rare occasion when you actually felt a breeze, it was newsworthy. There was not a breath of air - no relief from the dogdays of August. Sure, we went to the beach sometimes, but there were days when it was actually too hot even to do that. You could cool off in your backyard pool if you were lucky enough to have one, but sometimes the sun beat down so hard on the water that it provided little relief. Watering the plants with the garden hose and running through the sprinkler worked pretty well, but how long could you do that? We could have visited the public library to get cool, but our library was located in a small storefront with one wholly inadequate window air conditioner. Not much relief there, though I do remember that it offered a water fountain with icy cold water. A trip to an air conditioned store was a very exciting proposition, but you had to endure the car ride there and back. Needless to say, almost no one had a car with air conditioning either – we certainly didn’t. By the time you got back home any cooling effect you may have enjoyed had been completely eliminated - along with your hairstyle - since the car windows were rolled down all the way. (Kids, we used to roll down the windows by hand). Sometimes, if you were on a highway, you thought you would get blown right out the car window. (There were no seatbelts either, but that’s another blog post for another month.)
As many overwrought and overheated moms did back then, my mother instituted occasional deli nights in the summer. We had salads, cold cuts, and rolls from the deli – a special treat indeed since it was, as my mother would say “rather dear” and necessitated cuts elsewhere in the already strained household budget.
Clearly, the moms of the 60s and 70s were way ahead of their time, because only three years ago, in 2015, Ziggy Gruber (aka the “Deli Man”) designated August as National Deli Month. Check out the article at this link.
Ziggy instituted this month as a way to promote and expand awareness of Jewish delicatessens and deli food, but I can’t help but think that he chose August for the celebration because he remembered sweltering summer days from his childhood too.
Many of us now enjoy air conditioned homes (and cars) so we could in fact continue to cook in August. But it’s National Deli Month, so who needs to?! Besides, who doesn’t love a nice pastrami on rye with coleslaw and a pickle on the side?! Enjoy!
(PS – the Islip Public Library has excellent air conditioning – stop in and stay awhile)
Refugee – A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country due to persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The persecution of a refugee experiences may include harassment, threats, abduction or torture. A refugee is afforded some sort of legal protection, either by their host country’s government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or both. In the U.S. refugees are hand-selected by the U.S. government and are screened in advance. They are subject to background checks and security screenings by multiple U.S. agencies. Only after everything is approved are they brought to the U.S. to reside permanently.
Asylum Seeker – An asylum seeker is a person who has fled persecution in their home country and is seeking safe haven in a different country, but has not yet received any legal recognition or status. Every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.
Migrants – A migrant is a person who chooses to move from their home for any variety of reasons, but not necessarily because of a direct threat of persecution or death. Migrant is an umbrella category that can include refugees but can also include people moving to improve their lives by finding work or education, those seeking family reunion and others. Migrants become immigrants when they enter into a new country.
Interested in learning more? For more facts about refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and immigration please also refer to these resources:
(.ORG INDICATES A NOT-FOR-PROFIT)
“Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.”
“Groupthink occurs when a group with a particular agenda makes irrational or problematic decisions because its members value harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. Individual members of the group are strongly discouraged from any disagreement with the consensus and set aside their own thoughts and feelings to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and other group members. In a groupthink situation, group members refrain from expressing doubts, judgments or disagreement with the consensus and ignore any ethical or moral consequences of any group decision that furthers their cause. Risk-taking is common, and the lack of creativity and independent thinking have negative personal and political implications for both group members and outsiders. Groupthink decisions rarely have successful outcomes.”
Groupthink - you’ve probably heard this term before - it gets bandied about in the media with some frequency - but have you thought about what it really means?
Groupthink is not the same thing as collaborating with others in a group to form a consensus. Groupthink is characterized by conformity and blind obedience due to coercion and pressure from the group’s leadership. When individual opinions and creative thought are suppressed by a group, poor - even dangerous, decisions are often the result. When members of a group seem fearful of sharing an alternative idea or disagreeing with others in the group it is not a healthy group.
History teaches us that Groupthink and blind obedience can produce disastrous results: slavery and ‘Jim Crow’ laws, the Holocaust, the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, McCarthyism, the massacre in the Jonestown Cult, the massacre in Tiananmen Square, and recent massive separations of children from their parents by the U.S. government are just a few examples that come to mind.
We humans have the power to think – to reason, analyze, weigh evidence, consult various sources, and to logically evaluate facts in order to make decisions. It can be an enlightening exercise to consult various news sources, especially ones that offer viewpoints that seem different from what you usually hear. If you generally only read one newspaper, or listen to one radio station, or watch one TV network it’s quite possible that you are getting a biased presentation. Try listening to what multiple sources are saying about the same event, then do some fact checking* and form your own opinion! Be prepared to express your viewpoint and make your case. Support your opinion with solid arguments and examples from multiple and varied sources. Then, the next time you find yourself in a group in which everyone is agreeing but you feel differently, speak up! If we do not exercise the power of our minds, we risk becoming “sheeple” – no better than a sheep who would follow the one in front of him straight off a cliff or into the clutches of a hungry wolf. It can be scary to express an idea that is unpopular with your group, or “tribe” – but it’s necessary for all of us to hear other ideas and to expand our minds. Respectful civil discourse, varied ideas, and thinking voters are the necessary ingredients of a healthy democracy.
Listed below are some interesting books in our collection at the Islip Public Library on becoming a more logical, individual thinker. Check one out today – exercise your mind by reading, analyzing, and thinking for yourself!
Fact Checking Sources:
The Summer Solstice arrives this year at 6:07 am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on Thursday June 21st! It’s the beginning of summer….finally. After a long, cold, snowy, rainy winter and spring, I know we are all hoping for a nice stretch of beautiful weather.
Each year, the date and time of the Summer Solstice varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on when the Sun reaches it northernmost point from the equator. Summer Solstice is the day we enjoy the greatest number of daylight hours of the whole year – the longest day. It’s also the day with the highest sun intensity so you’d think it would also be the hottest day of the year, but of course we know that’s not the case. It takes the land and the oceans a bit longer to warm up. That usually happens toward the end of July or the beginning of August in our Northern Hemisphere.
Much interesting folklore surrounds the Summer Solstice. Since ancient times, people have celebrated the magnificence of the Solstice in a variety of ways. The Summer Solstice is associated with a renewal of mind, body, and spirit. In fact, the ancient Greeks counted the Summer Solstice as the first official day of their new year. The Mayans and Aztecs honored the day by building new structures employing the specific alignment and shadows produced by the Sun on that date. The ancient Chinese celebrated by paying tribute to the Earth, femininity, and the yin energy of yin/yang philosophy. Today practitioners of yoga (which is defined as a blending of mind, body, and spirit) congregate in New York City and spread out their yoga mats in Times Square to practice together en masse! One of the grandest celebrations of the Summer Solstice happens every year at the ancient archaeological site of Stonehenge in Great Britain, where druids, mystics, and thousands of Sun worshippers witness the golden sunrise as it perfectly aligns between these mysterious ruins.
For most of us, the Summer Solstice simply marks the beginning of that wonderful time of year when we can slow down a bit and soak up the warmth of the Sun once again. Long Island is a wonderful place to spend a summer day. There is no shortage of beaches, parks, trails, and adventures to enjoy!
Please put the Library on your list of places to visit this summer. Check out our summer programs, borrow a free museum pass, or investigate the many local attractions you can explore this summer. We also have discounted tickets to several places of interest: the Riverhead Aquarium; the Long Island Game Farm; and the Museum of Natural History. Newsday produces the jam-packed Fun Book each spring with a wide variety of ideas for summer fun, including listings of places to boat, swim, fish, surf, hike, play sports, and see shows, as well as listings of museums, shopping areas, restaurants, B&Bs, wineries, and special events. Ask to see the newest edition at the Reference Desk! While you’re in the Library stock up on some good beach reads to tuck into your beach bag as well as some audio books or music CDs for your next road trip, and DVDs for a rainy (or too hot!) day. Spend some time perusing a newspaper, magazine, or book in one of our rocking chairs under an umbrella on our new outdoor Library Terrace. Join one of our Summer Reading Clubs - there’s one for children, teens, and adults too! Learn how to download free library ebooks, audio books, and magazines onto your electronic device. Speaking of electronic devices, did I mention there’s wifi on the Terrace?! We even have iPods and laptops that you can check out to use while you’re here.
For more suggestions of fabulous, nearby summer fun check out these websites:
Have fun and stay safe this summer!
The 2018 Theme for National Women’s History Month is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” Check out The National Women’s History Project website at http://www.nwhp.org for more information!
“Throughout this year, the NWHP honors fifteen outstanding women for their unrelenting and inspirational persistence, and for understanding that, by fighting all forms of discrimination against women and girls, they have shaped America’s history and our future. These 2018 Honorees refused to be silenced. Their lives demonstrate the power of voice, of taking action, and of believing that meaningful and lasting change is possible in our democratic society.”
Come in to the Library and check out some books about women’s history and the state of women’s (and girls’) rights in the world today, or read biographies about some inspirational women who have made and are making history – actually, make that Herstory!
Below is just a sampling of some of the more recent titles on the subject. The Islip Public Library owns all of them!
“Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.”
“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.
I love these quotes by Ann Patchett, author of, The State of Wonder; Bel Canto; Commonwealth and many other books. She is also the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville Tennessee where she devotes her time (when she’s not writing) to promoting reading.
In a world filled with sound-bites and simplistic responses to abstract and complicated issues, how refreshing it is to know that people still read, think, and feel. Readers know that it is through experiencing another person’s inner world that we grow to be the best kind of humans we can be – compassionate and empathetic. Reading fiction (or autobiography) is especially compelling because as you enter the world of the story, you also enter into another’s life experience. When the writing is good, the experience is extraordinary - expanding our world, piquing our curiosity, softening our hearts, and getting us to think.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they had read at least one book in the past year. That’s good but not good enough, because the flip side of that means that 24% of Americans did not read even one book in the past year! Why not?! Money is not required to read, the free public libraries in the United States are extraordinary. Not every country in the world has library systems with free and open access to books and information as we do here. No time? Try listening to a book during your commute, or try getting away from all the screens in your life. Voilá, more time! Not a great reader? No worries, the best way to become a better reader is to read more.
At the Islip Public Library our shelves are packed with books, and if you want to read something that we do not own or is already checked out, we will get it for you. In Suffolk County alone there are over 60 public libraries! A delivery system operates 6 days each week and delivers books back and forth among the libraries. Your (free) Islip Public Library card provides you with free access to some of the collections in all of these libraries, and to everything in our collections here at the Islip Library. If you prefer to read on an electronic device, you can use your library card to download ebooks and audiobooks onto that. Yes, downloads are free too! Don’t know what to read? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. We will share our personal recommendations with you as well as lists of award winning titles and authors.
So get a library card if you don’t already have one, bring it with you to the library, and for goodness sake, just check out a book! Sit down and read it today! Further test your powers of concentration - put your phone away, step away from the television, the radio, the video games, the tablet, the computer. Good for you - you’re reading a book!