Monday, August 17, 2015

An Amharic Good Time and More to Come

This past week Silver Spring hosted a bilingual storytime along with the Ethiopian Literary and Cultural Awareness Association. We are so fortunate that our community has people from all over the world. In Montgomery County, there are more than 58,000 residents who were born in Africa, and Ethiopians make up the largest segment of African immigrants in the county.  Many live in the Silver Spring area.  

The storytime was quite a hit. Over 175 people attended and it was gratifying to see so many children engaged with the stories, games, and crafts. An Ethiopian fairy tale, Silly Mamo (Mamo Killo) retold by Gebregeorgis Yohannes was read by Mama Kebebush and Lauren, our children's librarian. There was also  great excitement—shouts and hands in the air—during a Jeopardy-like answer-and-question game about Ethiopia.  

If you missed the storytimes, not to worry—more great events are coming! We invite everyone to join us on Saturday, September 12 at 1 PM, when we'll host a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.  

I discovered an interesting summary of the ceremony and information about the importance of coffee in the Ethiopian culture on Epicurean's web site.   We'll also have national clothes, arts, and musical instruments on display from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM. The event celebrates the Ethiopian New Year. Come on over to the library; everyone is welcome.  


Friday, July 24, 2015

Exercise Your Gray Matter

Have you, like many of us, been watching too much television?  A recent study explained in the Washington Post says younger and middle-aged adults who have a sedentary lifestyle and watch 4 hours or more of TV per day  have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia later in life.  Well, that’s not so comforting, especially to those of us who are getting closer to those later years.

But there’s an upside. The study suggests that the protective effects of learning may start decades earlier in life than we may have thought. So, exercise that gray matter. Maybe stop watching so many reruns of Game of Thrones. Think of taking that brisk walk to the downtown Silver Spring Library (exercise is good, too!). Check out some books on puzzles, crafts, games and more.

Hey, why not start learning a new language? You can, for free, with the library’s online Mango Languages Courses. I might try brushing up on my undergrad French, who knows?

Speaking of courses, why not try our free, high-quality, interactive, instructor-led Gale online courses and career training programs, too? Writing and publishing, computer applications, personal development, accounting, and other courses are available at the click of a mouse.

I think I'll time my television watching tonight and try something new.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Early Literacy Center

Colorful tent-like towers in the Early Literacy Centert
Early Literacy Center
The opening of the new Silver Spring Library brought the unveiling of our new Early Literacy Center. It's a fun custom-designed preschool play and learning area where preschool children can practice the skills that will ready them to learn to read. (Check out even more photos on our Flickr.)

Young children learn through play—it's their work. And parents are a child's first teachers. When parents connect with their preschoolers by playing, reading, writing, singing and talking together great things can happen. Children's vocabulary grows, they recognize letters and their sounds and the sounds within words. They become more and more familiar with language. It's a great head start for school. Parents can check out our early literacy tips online, too.

Stroller parking area at Silver Spring Library
Stroller Parking
Parents are also finding this part of the library a great gathering place. Part of MCPL's  motto is "where the county meets." Even in these early days of the new library, our preschool Early Literacy Center is becoming the place to meet. Especially during the morning, parents are parking strollers, reading and playing with their children, and conversing with each other around the center's tall, colorful towers and interactive panels.

Thank you to the Silver Spring Friends of the Library and the Silver Spring community for the generous donations that made the Early Literacy Center possible. Get Ready to Play, Learn, and Read!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Opening Day

ribbon cutting at silver spring library
Ribbon cutting at Silver Spring Library
What a day June 20th turned out to be. There was an overwhelming and astounding response Saturday to the opening of Silver Spring’s new library. As some of us watched from the 5th floor through the expansive windows to the street where opening ceremonies were concluding, we could see people stream in through the open doors and head up the two-story escalator to the library’s main floor. In a few moments, people were walking up the library’s wide interior stairway to the 4th floor and 5th floors, as well. There must have been 500 people there when we opened at noon. When we closed at 6:00 p.m. over six thousand people had come through the doors.

Over and over, people expressed amazement and gratitude at the library’s offerings and space. There was a general good feeling that the project was completed and pride that the new library had been accomplished and was open for them, for the community. Person after person lined up to get new library cards, to check out our new tech bar, to check out books and to use internet computers.  Teenagers discovered their own space on the 3rd floor.

The Early Literacy Center
On the 5th floor, which is dedicated to children, families played in the Early Literacy Center, pored through picture books, played educational games on early learning and elementary-age computers, signed up for the summer reading program and checked out every Go! Kit (science-themed filled backpacks). Parents, grandparents, and children settled in for reading in the comfy seats along the  windows.

For the staff, for the most part, it was a hectic, exhausting, cathartic, and ultimately joyful day. After all, providing library services, information, books, technology and more is what we do.  It was so good to see the hard work to prepare the library be so well received. We thank everyone who came and invite them to return—often.  Come visit us at 900 Wayne Avenue.

Friday, June 19, 2015

We Can't Wait to Meet You!

Hard to believe that the Grand Opening of the new Silver Spring Library is only 24 hours away! We are thrilled that so many County officials and library supporters will be joining us for this celebration. The creation of this library was truly an example of the community coming together, and the Grand Opening will celebrate those efforts.

The staff of Silver Spring have been working hard to get the library ready for the opening, including shelving books and learning to use the new technology that will be making it's MCPL debut at Silver Spring. Be sure to say "Hi" to them when you visit!

Jennifer, Library Associate
Jennifer is a Library Associate. Jennifer recently graduated from LATI (a special training for Maryland librarians) and works in adult and teen services. Her favorite authors are J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman. She is the proud owner of four rescued hedgehogs (yes, hedgehogs need to be rescued, too!). Jennifer is excited to be working at Silver Spring, and has been counting down the days until the opening.

Rachel is an Adult Services Librarian. Rachel joined MCPL in December of 2012 after working in a private ILS software company. When Rachel is not helping MCPL customers, she enjoys reading, playing with her son, and taking her dogs on hikes. Her new favorite book is Outlander, on which the popular STARZ television series is based.

Rachel and Margaret, Adult Services Librarians
Rachel (L) and Margaret (R)
Margaret is also an Adult Services Librarian at the new Silver Spring Library. Margaret joined MCPL in January 2015 after working in publishing and education. She loves cooking spicy food, traveling to the beach, yoga, and of course, reading. She's currently reading Dead Wake by Erik Larson, author of Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts.

Jennifer, Rachel, Margaret, and the other Silver Spring staff look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow! Attending the grand opening? The Silver Spring Library is accessible by Ride On Bus, Metrobus, and Metrorail. Parking is in the Wayne Avenue Garage at 921 Wayne Ave. See the branch page for routes, stops, and other details.