Thursday, March 1, 2018


Exterior of Silver Spring LibrarySaturdays at the Silver Spring Library are really something. This past Saturday, I was struck by how much the library offers and how very much it has become a place of culture and community since our new building opened about two and a half years ago. 

First, as I helped out, I had the great pleasure of watching the world-renowned mime, Mark Jaster, perform for a room of about 95 people --adults and children.  You might think a mime performance would be cliché and boring and too old school to be relevant or fun. Not so. Besides being so very talented, Mr. Jaster engaged and entertained us by captivating the audience, communicating with us so well, and providing pleasure and surprise.  We chuckled and laughed throughout. Quite a few people had come to the library just to see him. For others this was serendipity and delight while out doing errands. Thanks go to the Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter for providing this special program.

Then, come early afternoon, the library was truly graced by the music of the Heritage Signature Chorale. The program, in celebration of Black History Month, was brought to the library by the Road to Carnegie Hall Winter 2017-2018 programs, Carolyn Scipio Glover Recital Series. The music was energizing, soulful, celebratory, and just plain beautiful. The Chorale sang from the raised platform in the library's 3rd floor open area. Music filled the 3rd floor and drifted up to the 4th and 5th, as well.  People stopped to take it in. The singing was transformative.

In the meantime, the 5th floor of the library was overflowing with children and their grownups reading, using computers, playing in our Early Literacy Center (especially around our "school bus") and checking out scads of books! The 5th floor program room was filled with children and their parents inventing and building with Legos. A Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) representative was meeting with local business people and potential business people over the course of the afternoon to offer free business advice. 

Of course, people filled our small study rooms. Some were studying while others were holding small collaborations for civic, personal, and business reasons. We have about 40 public computers. All were in use, of course, and were used all day. People came and went, checking out and returning books, DVDs, audio books, magazines, and more.  Others came by to use copy machines or work on their laptops.

A bit later in the afternoon came our monthly Amharic-English Bilingual Storytime. People from the local Ethiopian community gathered to read children's stories, sing children's songs, dance and teach the children about internet safety. It was great fun. As that was ending, a program for adults began,  Microsoft Office Specialist Word 2016 Certification Training.

Whew! I was just amazed at what was happening on that one Saturday at the Silver Spring Library.  There is so much going on here. I think this is what a public library was truly meant to be, a place of real service and education as well as a meaningful part of the community. So come in to the Silver Spring Library on a Saturday, but remember that there's plenty happening here the other six days of the week, too. Check out our Calendar of Events, find something to interest you, and come on in to see us!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Teens - You Might Be Interested in ...

Teens with an interest in current events, black history, writing, chess, or drawing, you may want to check out and participate in these February events. Hope to see you here at the Silver Spring Library!

I Am Not Your Negro -- Film and Discussion
I Am Not Your NegroI Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of Black Lives Matter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. Film screening and discussion led by Vivian Fisher, manager of the African American Department at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Thursday, February 1, 5:30 PM to 7:45 PM at Silver Spring Library. All ages. No registration required.

Writers' Bloc (for Teens)
Do you dream of writing the next bestseller? Love blogging or creating poetry? Join in and develop your writing voice. Co-sponsored by the Maryland Writers' Association. Meets every other Thursday, The next meeting are February 1 and February 15 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Ages 13 to 18. Study Room 3-01, 3rd floor.

Chess board
Chess Club
Come join or drop by our chess club! For elementary ages, teens and adults. Love to play or simply want to learn? You are most welcome to drop in for a few minutes or stay the whole time. No registration required. Most Tuesdays at 3:30 PM.  4th floor, Room 7.

Drawing Group
Colorful drawn bird next to color pencils
Are you a seasoned or developing artist? Come in to meet other artists twice a month. Draw and share ideas about art.  Devise projects to make in the first meeting of each month and bring them in for feedback at the third meeting. Jason Bunyan, presenter.  All ages. 3rd floor, room 3-01. Next meeting is February 7, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. No registration required. Learn more about our group on their MeetUp page.

Black History and Heritage
Attend this special event with keynote speaker H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union Ambassador to the United States. Thursday, February 8, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. All ages. Registration begins at 6:00 PM. All ages. For more information check out Black History Month at the Silver Spring Library.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MoComCon -- Can't Wait

MoComCon icon
Montgomery County Public Libraries is getting ready for its second annual comic convention, MoComCon. It will be held once again at the Silver Spring Library on January 27, 2018 ("weather" date February 10) from 11:00 AM to 4 PM. Doors open for registration at 11:00 AM.

Come one, come all. Open to the curious of all ages. Come if you are a seasoned comic conventioneer or a novice. There will be panels, workshops, programs, displays, exhibits, storytimes and cosplay -- all free of charge.

Register in person for our cosplay contest. Individual workshops and panel presentations will take place at noon. No registration required for workshops or presentations.

Getting Ready for MoComCon

Many MCPL branches are holding special programs leading up to MoComCon. Find superhero storytimes, interactive movie showings, magic shows, superhero crafts, fandom Jeopardy, and more.
Check this list.

MoComCon Art Contest 2018

Draw or paint your favorite comic book, television or movie character, or create your own!  Preschoolers may complete and submit a coloring sheet for display only. Submit your art at the Information Desk at any MCPL branch. Click here for more information. Images will be on display at the Silver Spring Library throughout the month of January. The deadline is Sunday, December 31 at 4:00 PM.

As You Wish

Silver Spring Library is screening The Princess Bride. Come dressed as your favorite character and shout out the lines in this audience participation event. January 6, 2018 at 3:00 PM. For adults and teens. 3rd floor meeting room.
Cosplay Contest
Kids WorkshopsAdult/Teen Workshops

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Computer Savvy

Desktop computerBeing computer savvy is a necessity in the modern world. We need it for commerce, our jobs, communication, shopping, applying for jobs, submitting government forms, searching for information, and on and on and on. What do you do if you need to gear up? About six months ago, the librarians at Silver Spring Library decided to begin offering a free computer class called Let's Start at the Beginning on Mondays at 10:00 AM. It's proven to be a welcome offering for our customers!

White computer mouseThe class goes over the real basics, such as the parts of the computer, how to use a computer mouse, getting on the internet, and the very basics of Microsoft Word. One of our instructors says the class is designed to be very flexible and to incorporate new people along the way while letting longer-term class members move ahead. And, she says, there is no such thing in this class as a dumb question. All computer questions are welcome. Also, the class is guided to a good degree by the questions and interests of class members. It's a diverse set of questions and interests.  Some class members want to communicate with grandchildren. Some need to get computer savvy with the thought of applying for jobs. Some want to improve their abilities at work.  Some just want to join in at using the technology for betterment and enjoyment.

Laptop with red mouse and white mug
Register by calling the library at 240-773-9420. Class is held in our 4th floor computer lab.  Drop ins allowed if space is available.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The World of Holds

Heart shaped frame with full bookcases within it. So, that popular book you've been wanting to read
  • has a waiting list
  • or that audiobook you want to listen to isn't at Silver Spring Library
  • or that next book in the series you love is on order and you are not sure exactly when it will arrive
  • or that 3rd season of your favorite TV series isn't in at Silver Spring right now.
What do I do?

Well, you can place a hold on the item. We have 21 library branches in Montgomery County, and it is routine to have items shipped from one branch to another for our customers.  It's a fairly easy process and you can do it yourself online or ask a librarian to help you.  Check out Placing and Managing Holds on our website.

How do I place a hold online?
  • First, look up the item you want from our online catalog and check availability. The catalog is
    available from our home page.
    Blue web button with the words Place Hold.
    Just click the blue Place a Hold button.  You will be prompted to enter your library card number and pin number to access your library account.
  • Then you can select at which branch you would like to pick up your hold.  
    • You have a choice when you pick up a hold at Silver Spring Library.  You may pick up your hold inside the library by selecting Silver Spring Library, OR you can select the Hold Lockers at Silver Spring.  See more information on that below.

  •  Remember, holds get pulled from shelves once a day.  If the item is available on a library shelf, it can take from 3 to 5 weekdays to transfer between branches.  If you need an item before that, come in to the library or call us at 240-773-9420.  

How do I pick up my hold?

If you have email notification with the library, we will let you know by email when your hold is ready.  If not, you will get a postcard by regular mail. Email is definitely faster, so think about requesting email notification. Email notification is needed to use our hold lockers and for e-book holds.  You can request email notification here.

Pick up your hold within 10 days of being notified. There is a $1 fee for items not retrieved or cancelled.  Holds are kept on the 3rd floor in the room with the DVDs. Just look under your last name, find your hold, and check it out!
How do I use Silver Spring Library's hold lockers?

Silver Spring's hold lockers are located on the south side of the library building, next door to Crescent Condominiums on the alley. You'll see them right on the wall, near our book drop. Items sent there can be picked up 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Items must be picked up within 3 days of notification.
It is so easy when you're out and about doing errands to do a quick pick up of your hold!

Enter the last 5 digits of your library card number into the keypad and your locker will open. When you take out your item, it is automatically checked out!
What about e-books?

Yes, even e-books have holds. For an electronic holds in Maryland's Digital eLibrary Consortium (Overdrive), RBdigital, or cloudLibrary, you will be taken to one of our e-book databases which may ask you to select Montgomery County Public Libraries and enter your card number and pin number. Once you are notified by email of the e-book's availability, you have 3 days to check out your hold, which you do within the app where you placed the hold.

What if I want something not owned by MCPL?

If we don't own it, you can try checking our Marina system which checks other public libraries in Maryland or our Interlibrary Loan services (accessed through Marina).
Exterior of Silver Spring Library.
Silver Spring Library

So get that item you want! Place a hold. Ask us at the library for more information on holds, too. We want you to have what you want to read, watch, or listen to!