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71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
Ph: 631-581-5933
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Mon-Thu: 9am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: 12pm-4pm
71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
Ph: 631-581-5933
Fax: 631-581-8429

Mon-Thu: 9am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: 12pm-4pm
71 Monell Ave., Islip, NY
Ph: 631-581-5933
Fax: 631-581-8429

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All posts by Lauraine Farr

Jump on the DIY Bandwagon at the Islip Public Library

Have you noticed how popular crafting and the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement seems to be lately? You’re right! Many people seem to have a desire to be more self-reliant and are getting more creative. In addition to crafting and projects, there is also a greater interest in sustainable living – like growing and canning your own food, raising livestock for milk and eggs, and using wind and solar power. This trend is especially noticeable among millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000). To a greater degree than the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) the millennials are embracing all things DIY!

Perhaps it’s a reaction against technology or a response to difficult economic circumstances - exorbitant college loans coupled with fewer employment opportunities - whatever the reason, DIY is a definite millennial trend.

Here's a list of popular DIY topics you might find of interest:

  • Woodworking - furniture, cabinetry, decks, musical instruments, boats, garden structures….
  • Sewing / knitting / crocheting
  • Upcycling and repurposing great finds from thrift shops, flea markets, and yard sales
  • Building and living in tiny houses / using solar and wind power
  • Making your own gentle soaps, bath and cleaning products
  • Brewing your own beer
  • Making jewelry
  • Photography / scrapbooking
  • Drawing, painting, coloring, creating homemade greeting cards
  • Journaling, blogging, creating collages and homemade books
  • Making pottery
  • Cooking and baking – especially “slow foods” and healthy options
  • Growing vegetables / canning and preserving fruits and vegetables
  • Raising backyard chickens and building chicken coops
  • Yogurt and cheese making
  • Drying herbs / wreath making
  • Brickwork
  • Candle making
  • Macramé
  • Painting and refinishing furniture / creating mosaic tabletops
  • Bicycling instead of driving

At the Islip Public Library we have books on all of these subjects! Stop in and peruse our non-fiction collections – in the adult, teen, and children’s sections. You’re sure to find something to pique your interest even if you’re not a millennial! Looking for more ideas? Check out Pinterest or Etsy online.

Jump on the DIY bandwagon!

An interesting note - the millennial generation is also more apt to utilize public libraries than those in any other age group, according to a recent Pew Research poll from 2016:

  • “87% of millennials say the library helps them find information that is trustworthy and reliable, compared with 74% of baby boomers who say the same. More than 85% of millennials credit libraries with helping them learn new things, compared with 72% of boomers. And just under two-thirds (63%) of millennials say the library helps them get information that assists with decisions they have to make, compared with 55% of boomers.” (www.pewresearch.org)
  • Also - the millennial generation tends to favor print books over ebooks.
  • “A Publishing Technology survey of 1000 millennials in the U.S. found that 79% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 read a print book in the last year, while 46% had read an e-book on a tablet, and only 31% had read an e-book on a dedicated e-reader.” (www.shelf-awareness.com)

These millennials are on to something – stop in to the library today and check out some books!

September is Library Card sign up month - if you don’t have one get yours today!

Graduation Leads to Lifelong Learning | May 2017

Are you looking for an inspirational message for a recent graduate, or maybe for yourself, about living your best life? Perhaps one of the following will inspire you or someone you know to reach higher and pursue lifelong learning!

  • From Nelson Mandela:
    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • From Malcolm Forges:
    “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
  • From David McCullough Jr.:
    “The great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
  • From Doug Marlett:
    “Ease up on yourselves. Have some compassion for yourself as well as for others. There’s no such thing as perfection, and life is not a race.”
  • From Henry Ford:
    “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 80 or 20. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
  • From David Brooks:
    “You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success leads to the greatest failure, which is arrogance and pride. Failure can lead to the greatest success, which is humility and learning. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.”
  • From Samuel Johnson:
    “Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.”
  • From George Saunders:
    “Err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”
  • From Bradley Whitford:
    “Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance, or you can be the active hero of your own life.”
  • From Oprah Winfrey:
    “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.”
  • And on a lighter note, from Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss):
    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in and direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

Public Libraries are the ‘People’s University’ and the place for lifelong learning. Are you a curious person? Good for you! Curiosity leads to learning! If you have a desire to keep learning even if you graduated a long time ago, please visit us. We have books on a wide variety of subjects – “libraries are storehouses of knowledge and provide free and open access to the accumulated wisdom of the world.”* If we don’t have what you’re looking for we can usually borrow it for you from another library. In addition to books, we have subscription databases to a myriad of resources which are not available by “Googling”! They are resources comprised of documented facts, written by experts in their fields. If you need help in finding the information you seek, please stop by the Reference Desk and speak with one of the librarians – we will help you find it!

“The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.”
- Carl T. Rowan

*source: www.idealist.org The New York Public Library

Alternative Facts: How to Discover What’s Really True

What Do These Three Statements Have in Common?
Why They are Alternative Facts, Of course!

  • February has 31 days
  • 2+2=5
  • It never rains on Wednesdays

We seem to be bombarded with information at every moment. In addition to radio, television, and newspapers, the Internet feeds us information all day, and because we often choose sites that validate our own personal preferences, the news that is fed to us is increasingly one-sided! That’s why it’s so important to consult a wide variety of sources for news. Be on the alert for stories that “go viral” on social media like Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to make a post look like the real thing, but it may be a complete fake.

It’s never smart to believe everything you read or hear. You need to check and see whether or not it is actually a verifiable fact.

Librarians always verify the truth of information - so should you. When librarians do research we choose authoritative (credible) sources and if we do enter something into Google, we never assume that whatever it turns up is accurate. In order to determine validity we go to the source. What is this website? Where is it coming from? Who is contributing to it? Is it maintained by people who can submit whatever they like? Is it a for-profit/commercial sight? If it is for-profit then obviously a profit is being made from what appears on the site, and the agenda and motives of the site’s contributors will surely be influenced by how much money they stand to make. When searching for definitive, reliable information on the Internet always look for a domain name that does not end in .com. Instead, look for .org (a nonprofit organization) / .edu. (an educational institution) / or .gov (a governmental institution) sites. Then, be sure to compare the information you find on the various sites in order to confirm accuracy.

Rather than searching the Internet, librarians often use sources such as subscription databases of newspapers, periodicals, journals, and reference books whose contributors are professionals and experts in their fields. Their work is reviewed by their peers for accuracy. When you see that a source is “peer reviewed” you know that accuracy has been verified, and verified again by trained professionals.

Becoming “information literate” requires applying these practices when consuming information. Information Literacy is comprised of: reviewing information in multiple authoritative sources; using your critical thinking skills to study the context and history of the issue; and in areas of controversy, reading a variety of opinions on both sides of the issue in order to draw your own informed conclusion.

Once upon a time in this country there was something called the Fairness Doctrine - a former federal policy requiring television and radio broadcasters to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance. The policy was challenged and ultimately revoked in 1987, after Congress passed a resolution instructing the FCC to study the issue. The explosion of talk radio in the late 1980s and early 1990s is largely a result of the end of the Fairness Doctrine. There are pros and cons surrounding the doctrine and its revocation, but the fact that it is now permissible for only one side of an issue to be presented as fact on radio and on television has certainly escalated the political rhetoric in our country.

One Internet source to use when verifying what you hear is www.factcheck.org Note that this site is a .org site indicating that it is not for profit. “Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” That information is taken verbatim from their mission statement. The site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The fact checkers themselves are all trained and experienced journalists. Journalists and librarians have something very important in common – we check and re-check multiple sources in order to verify information.

When a politician or a candidate makes a statement and presents it as fact, you should always check to see if it is really true. Don’t believe everything you hear! Be a critical thinker and learn to question everything.

A democratic society relies on educated voters who make informed decisions for the common good of the people. Libraries are the backbone of a democratic society because we provide free access to reliable information for everyone.

The catchy sound bites that are presented on newsy talk shows are designed to grab your attention and to tap into the basest of human emotions - fear and anger. Instead, use your brain to investigate and learn the facts.

The Library has many resources that are available in the building as well as from your mobile device or home computer. If you’d like help in accessing these resources call us at 631-581-5933 or stop by the Adult Reference Desk to speak with a librarian.

Be an informed citizen and voter – check the facts!

Get the Facts on Immigration: 9 Myths About Immigrants & Immigration

Listed below are some common myths about immigrants and immigration to the United States.

Source: The Anti-Defamation League​ - http://www.adl.org

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." Now the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, and protects civil rights for all.

Myth #1: Immigrants are overrunning our country, and most are here illegally.

Fact:

The percentage of immigrants in the overall population is about the same as it has been at many other times throughout U.S. history. Today immigrants comprise approximately 13% of the total U.S. population. From 1900-1930, immigrants comprised between 12% and 15% of the U.S. population, and similar spikes occurred in the 1850s and the 1880s.

Of the 41 million immigrants in the U.S. in 2013 (the most recent year for which there are statistics), close to 47% were naturalized citizens. Among the rest, many immigrants are here on temporary work and/or student visas, some are refugees and people seeking asylum because of dangerous conditions in their home countries.

Undocumented immigrants comprise about 3.5 % of the total U.S. population.

Myth #2: Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.

Fact:

Although immigrant population (including those who are undocumented) rose sharply between 1990 and 2010, the violent crime rate in the U.S. during that same time period plummeted by 45%, and the property crime rate dropped by 42%. Studies consistently show that crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.

Myth #3: Immigrants hurt our country by taking jobs and services without paying taxes.

Fact:

Immigrants actually help to create new jobs. In addition to buying American and local products, immigrants often start their own businesses. Immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as citizens born in the U.S. and companies owned by immigrants are more likely to hire employees than companies owned by native-born citizens.

Immigrants collectively pay between $90 and $140 billion each year in taxes. Everyone living here pays sales taxes and property taxes (whether living in purchased or rental homes), and more than half of all undocumented immigrant households file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers.

Myth #4: Immigrants get Welfare and other Benefits

Fact:

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Federal public benefits such as welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps. Victims of human trafficking can however get access to emergency medical care. Additionally, most immigrants, even those with lawful status, are not entitled to these benefits until they have been here for at least five years. Immigrants’ paychecks include deductions for Social Security (as do those of any other worker) even though they are not entitled to actually receive these benefits themselves.

Myth #5: Immigrants come to U.S. with the sole purpose of having their babies born here.

Fact:

If this were so, we would expect to see at least the same number of women coming into the country as men. There are many more young immigrant men coming into the U.S. than there are young women. Research consistently shows that the vast majority of immigrants come to the U.S. for economic opportunity or to flee violence or poverty in their birth countries.

Myth #6: Immigrants bring diseases in the U.S.

Fact:

The vast majority of immigrants arriving in the U.S. have been screened for health issues. Also, interestingly, the vaccination rate in Mexico is 99%, while the vaccination rate in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is 93%. The vaccination rate in the U.S. is 92%. According the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that immigrants have been the source of any modern outbreaks in the U.S.

Myth #7 Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the Mexican border.

Fact:

The vast majority of U.S. residents linked to terrorism since 2002 are U.S. citizens. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, “There are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico.” Additionally, according to the Department of Homeland Security, “the suggestion that individuals that have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or facts on the ground.”

Myth #8: All undocumented immigrants sneak across the Mexican border.

Fact:

Somewhere between one third and one half of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have overstayed their visitor, student, or work visas. That means that they entered the U.S. with lawful documentation and only later became undocumented.

Myth #9: We can stop undocumented immigrants from coming into the U.S. by building a wall along the Mexican border.

Fact:

The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain including mountains and deserts. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners in order to build a wall. Building such a wall would be extremely expensive and difficult as well as largely ineffective. History shows that people find ways to cross walls (examples being the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall).

The U.S. prides itself on being “a nation of immigrants” – almost everyone in the U.S. is here because their ancestors came to the U.S. from other countries, (the exception obviously being those few who are 100% native American). We are a nation of fairness and equality, it is possible to create a process for addressing immigration that treats immigrants with dignity and respect instead of as criminals.

Interested in learning more?

Check out these websites as well:

http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/20/news/economy/immigration-myths/

http://www.tolerance.org/immigration-myths

https://www.aclu.org/other/immigration-myths-and-facts?redirect=immigrants-rights/immigration-myths-and-facts

http://www.connectingourworld.org/get-involved/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-discussion-on-immigration/

You can also come into the Library and check out some books, or search our subscription databases by visiting www.isliplibrary.org (from home or in the Library) and clicking on Research. Inquire at the Adult Reference Desk if you’d like some assistance. Librarians are always happy to help you find the facts.

Don’t believe everything you hear – research the facts.

Source: The Anti-Defamation League - http://www.adl.org

HIT Collection

Have It Today Collection

Have you heard about the new HIT (Have It Today) Collection at the Library?! It’s a collection of some of the hottest new books, in multiple copies, that are available to check out for 1 week (there is no fee).

It’s a quick turn-around collection much like our ‘Quick Flix’ DVDs. The loan periods are shorter so that the copies keep moving quickly from one patron to the next. There are no holds lists for these materials – it’s strictly a ‘first come/first served’ service! This means that it’s easier to get the book or DVD you want, when you want it!

As always, if you’re ok with waiting, all of the books in the HIT Collection (and all of the DVDs in our Quick Flix DVD Collection) are also available from our general collections. If the item you want isn’t in, simply place a hold on it to receive a phone call and/or email when it’s available. Those items get checked out for the standard loan periods.

Your comments are always welcome as we strive to provide you with excellent patron service. If you would like to share your thoughts, please call the Library to speak with the Library’s Director, Mary Schubart, or the Library’s Assistant Director, Lauraine Farr. Thanks!

Got Empathy?

Got Empathy?

Do you have trouble “reading” the emotions, thoughts, or body language of other people? Is it difficult for you to imagine lives different from your own? Do you wish you could be less quick to judge and have more empathy for others?

Two recent studies show that reading literary fiction helps to increase your capacity for empathy. Wow! Besides expanding your mind, reading can also help you to become more compassionate!

One of the studies, published in the journal, Science (10/18/13) found that “after reading literary fiction people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence.” The researchers who conducted one study are social psychologists at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan; the other study was conducted by researchers in the Netherlands and produced almost identical results. They discovered that when you are engaged in reading literary fiction your brain is literally living vicariously through the characters. This is because literary fiction (as opposed to popular fiction or nonfiction) requires you to put yourself into someone else’s position. By contrast, in popular fiction, the author is in control; the story tends to center around plot, and the characters tend to be more stereotypical. Characters in literary fiction tend to be quirky and idiosyncratic, just like real people; they do not fit into a certain ‘type’. Because of that, according to one of the researchers, “each character presents a different version of reality, and they aren’t necessarily reliable. You have to participate as a reader in this dialectic, which is something that you also have to do in real life.”

If you already love to read literary fiction this is hardly news to you. One of the likely reasons that you enjoy doing so is because of the humanity and uniqueness of the characters. You can puzzle out psychological traits and motives and feel as if you are getting to know these characters as real people. You care about them and can imagine how you might feel or react if you were in their shoes.

How often, as we go about our day, do we encounter people who seem to care only about things that directly affect only their own lives - who see things only through their own limited viewpoint? We encounter people who seem to have almost no capacity to imagine themselves living another kind of life - be it as a person who speaks a different language, is a different race or sex, practices a different religion, is living with a disability, has a different sexual orientation, is homeless or fighting addiction or mental illness, or countless other variations. Unfortunately, a deficit of empathy seems to be increasingly common in our world.

The studies that link reading literary fiction to an increased empathy quotient provide especially useful information for parents and teachers. By encouraging young people to read literary fiction, and speaking with them about it, we can help them grow into adults who have the ability to imagine how it might feel to be a person living a life different from their own. They could grow up to be kind, understanding, and compassionate instead of judgmental, critical, and hurtful. Now wouldn’t that be refreshing?!! It’s never too late. We can all become more empathetic. Read some literary fiction today!

Here are some suggestions of literary fiction for adults and teens:                                                                                        (For suggestions of Children’s Literature, please see one of the librarians in our Children’s Room!)

 Americanah

Adichie

Angela’s Ashes

McCourt

Angle of Repose

Stegner

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Diaz

Calling Me Home

Kibler

The Color Purple

Walker

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 

Haddon

Cutting for Stone

Verghese

Digging to America

Tyler

The Ghost at the Table

Berne

The Good House

Leary

The Grief of Others

Cohen

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Alvarez

The Invisible Bridge

Orringer

The Kite Runner 

Hosseini

The Light Between Oceans

Stedman

The Last First Day

Brown

The Lowland

Lahiri

Middlesex

Eugenides

Our Souls at Night

Haruf

The Piano Teacher

Lee

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Irving

Salvage the Bones

West

Snow Falling on Cedars

Guterson

The Space Between Us

Umrigar

State of Wonder

Patchett

A Thousand Acres

Smiley

Vaclev and Lena

Tanner

Waiting

Jin

White Teeth

Smith


best selling science books

These 20 Best Selling Science Books Are Truly Fascinating

When you think of best selling books, you probably think of novels, but many bestsellers are nonfiction. The NY Times compiles a Fiction list as well as a Nonfiction list each week for the NY Times Book Review.

If you’re looking for something interesting, factual, and informative to read try one of these fascinating books about science. All are available at the Islip Public Library and all are (or recently were) on the NY Times bestselling books list.

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

The Gene

Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Wright Brothers

David McCullough

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

Mary Roach

The Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

Being Mortal : Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Carlo Rovelli

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot

Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and Art of Battling Giants

Malcolm Gladwell

How Not to Be Wrong

Jordan Ellenberg

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Mahzarin R. Banaji

What If ? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Randall Munroe

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Sean Carroll

Lab Girl

Hope Jahren

Inside of a Dog

Alexandra Horowitz

The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports

Jeff Passan

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

Check the Facts: How to Discover What’s Really True

In this season of political primaries and conventions, when we are being bombarded by sound bites, how do we know that what we are being told is actually true?

It’s never smart to believe everything you read or hear. You need to check and see whether or not it is actually a verifiable fact.

Librarians always verify the truth of information - so should you. When librarians do research we choose authoritative (credible) sources and if we do enter something into Google, we never assume that whatever it turns up is accurate. In order to determine validity we go to the source. What is this website? Where is it coming from? Who is contributing to it? Is it maintained by people who can submit whatever they like? Is it a for-profit/commercial sight? If it is for-profit then obviously a profit is being made from what appears on the site, and the agenda and motives of the site’s contributors will surely be influenced by how much money they stand to make. When searching for definitive, reliable information on the Internet always look for a domain name that does not end in .com. Instead, look for .org (a nonprofit organization) / .edu. (an educational institution) / or .gov (a governmental institution) sites. Then, be sure to compare the information you find on the various sites in order to confirm accuracy.

Rather than searching the Internet, librarians often use sources such as subscription databases of newspapers, periodicals, journals, and reference books whose contributors are professionals and experts in their fields. Their work is reviewed by their peers for accuracy. When you see that a source is “peer reviewed” you know that accuracy has been verified, and verified again by trained professionals.

Becoming “information literate” requires applying these practices when consuming information. Information Literacy is comprised of: reviewing information in multiple authoritative sources; using your critical thinking skills to study the context and history of the issue; and in areas of controversy, reading a variety of opinions on both sides of the issue in order to draw your own informed conclusion.

Once upon a time in this country there was something called the Fairness Doctrine - a former federal policy requiring television and radio broadcasters to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance. The policy was challenged and ultimately revoked in 1987, after Congress passed a resolution instructing the FCC to study the issue. The explosion of talk radio in the late 1980s and early 1990s is largely a result of the end of the Fairness Doctrine. There are pros and cons surrounding the doctrine and its revocation, but the fact that it is now permissible for only one side of an issue to be presented as fact on radio and on television has certainly escalated the political rhetoric in our country.

One Internet source to use when verifying what you hear is www.factcheck.org Note that this site is a .org site indicating that it is not for profit. “Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” That information is taken verbatim from their mission statement. The site is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The fact checkers themselves are all trained and experienced journalists. Journalists and librarians have something very important in common – we check and re-check multiple sources in order to verify information.

When a politician or a candidate makes a statement and presents it as fact, you should always check to see if it is really true. Don’t believe everything you hear! Be a critical thinker and learn to question everything.

A democratic society relies on educated voters who make informed decisions for the common good of the people. Libraries are the backbone of a democratic society because we provide free access to reliable information for everyone.

The catchy sound bites that are presented on newsy talk shows are designed to grab your attention and to tap into the basest of human emotions - fear and anger. Instead, use your brain to investigate and learn the facts.

The Library has many resources that are available in the building as well as from your mobile device or home computer. If you’d like help in accessing these resources call us at 631-581-5933 or stop by the Adult Reference Desk to speak with a librarian.

Be an informed citizen and voter – check the facts!

What Are You Reading?

There are all different kinds of readers.

There are readers who read for adventure, fantasy, thrills and chills, a plot that keeps them on the edge of their seats - to escape from the challenges of daily life. There are readers who read science fiction perhaps to imagine what the future world, or some other world, might look like.

Some readers enjoy solving mysteries and studying the methods of clever detectives. Some readers read only non-fiction because they believe that reading anything that cannot be substantiated by facts is not a productive use of their time. Some readers like graphic novels best, some read cookbooks, self-help, art, or home decorating books for inspiration. Some people love to read biographies and autobiographies.

There are readers who prefer history or historical fiction. Some readers enjoy romance or contemporary stories that take place in a setting similar to their own.

There truly are all kinds of books to suit all kinds of reading preferences!

Reading tastes are as varied as are people and their assorted moods!

I read a variety of books and am usually simultaneously under the spell of at least two. Often one is a novel while the other will be nonfiction. Because I love stories, I love novels, and though they are fiction and so are not true exactly, the feelings they depict and evoke are most definitely true because they are, after all, written by real people with true feelings and experiences.

I gravitate to novels that are well-reviewed in the numerous reviewing sources that I read. I also love discovering new authors. My novel choices are often a bit ‘under the radar’ which contributes to my thrill of finding them!

Books that I especially enjoy are ones that I have come to think of as ‘quietly powerful’ novels. These are books in which very little actually happens. I know I’ve lost some of you already by saying that! Plot is definitely not their strong suit, but oh, the character development and the prose are exquisite!

Some writers have the gift of being able to craft sentences that truly transport a reader – thankfully, that kind of writing can be found in books of many different genres. Once you’ve had a taste of expertise like that, it is difficult to settle for anything that is less sumptuous.

Reading great writing envelops you in a warm, restorative, and soothing cocoon, one from which you will be reluctant to take your leave. One trait that these quietly powerful novels all share is this kind of prose - oftentimes downright ethereal.

Another trait these books share is their humanity. The characters are flawed - none of their choices are right or wrong, good or bad, but rather they are complicated, with untidy outcomes – just like in real life. We see the flaws of the characters while we learn to accept and forgive our own and those of the real characters in our own lives.

My Top​ 'Quietly Powerful' Book Recommendations

Two recent quietly powerful novels that I loved are My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout and Someone by Alice McDermott. Both stories are about one woman’s inner life. Events are shared in both novels, but it isn’t the events that matter – it’s the woman’s thoughts and feelings about the events - how she grows, what she observes, what she perceives. We are invited to share her experience in a very personal way.

Annalisa Quinn, a book reviewer for NPR wrote this in her review of My Name is Lucy Barton:

“…a novel of gorgeous simplicity and restraint…some novels, regardless of their

relationship to actual events feel true. It’s like something gentle has taken you to one side, where things you already half-knew but couldn’t articulate are finally explained to you.”

“Our inner lives are unaccountable in so many ways…the heart is moved by a tiny kindness, a smell, a breeze, an impulse.”

Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman, a book reviewer for NPR wrote this of Someone:

“McDermott writes with spare poetry and deep compassion. Her prose is unhurried, sometimes elliptical — she trusts us to grasp the story as it unfolds. She mesmerizes with very little, taking readers in unexpected directions through familiar territory.”

“In Someone, nothing extraordinary happens to an ordinary woman. But McDermott's novel manages to be gripping and resonant.”

A selection of other books I place in the category of quietly powerful are: Brooklyn by Colm Toíbin; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf; The Last First Day by Carrie Brown, The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley, Florence Gordon by Brian Moore, The Odds by Stewart O’Nan, and the many delicious short stories of both Jhumpa Lahiri and Alice Munro.

Want To Discover New Books That YOU Will Love? Let Us Help!

What is your favorite kind of book? Stop by the Library and ask one of the librarians at the Reference Desk for some recommendations - we will help you find something you’ll love!

Poetry Month

April Is National Poetry Month – Poem in Your Pocket Day Is April 28th

Who needs poetry anyway? You do!

Not all poems are difficult to understand, many are quite accessible and inspirational.

You like music, right? What do you think song lyrics are?! Poetry of course!

Poetry calls us to slow down and listen. The language and rhythm of poetry invites us to break out of the trap of logical thinking, and to tap into our deep intuition - our inner knowing. A poem that really speaks to us can demand our attention in such a way as to offer us possibilities beyond what we have dared to dream of in our “real” life.

Here are a few short examples:

​Give me the pulse of the tide again
And the slow lapse of the leaves,
The rustling gold of a field of grain
And a bird in the nested eaves…

Alfred Noyes

​Dance me to the children who are asking to be born.
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn.
Raise a tent of shelter now though every thread is torn, and dance me to the end of love.

Leonard Cohen

'Hope' is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all

Emily Dickinson

And when you ran to me
Your cheeks flushed with the night
We walked on frosted fields
Of juniper and lamplight
I held your hand…

Simon and Garfunkel

Like those? I hope I’ve whet your appetite for more poetry!

Stop into the Library during the month of April and check out our display of poetry books.

Take it even further and celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day, by selecting one of the photocopied poems (or choose one of your own) from the table display. Keep the poem with you all day on April 28th and take time to read it to yourself and to anyone willing to listen throughout the day!

Poetry helps us all to be more fully engaged - more fully human.

Consider this quote inscribed on the headstone of the great artist Jackson Pollock in a cemetery on the East End of Long Island:

Artists and poets are the raw nerve ends of humanity. By themselves they can do little to save humanity. Without them there would be little worth saving.

Anonymous
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