Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Around Town" in the Children's Room

Children's Room end panels
reflect a storybook village
"Around Town" is the design theme for the children's room at the Silver Spring Library.  Now that many new artist-created end panels for our bookcases have been installed, the 5th floor really does reflect the liveliness of downtown Silver Spring and its surroundings creating a more distinct sense of place and identity.  The end panels are also an homage to the library's location within the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District.

On one side of the children's room is an array of enlarged photographs of Silver Silver Spring landmarks, buildings, and urban spaces.  The pictures will no doubt be familiar to many.  The views are from many perspectives and are infused with a soft but urban light.

Bookcases with photographs of
Silver Spring landmarks
Find the library lion. Find Acorn Park.  Find the Discovery Channel building, the Majestic Theater, and more.  Come in to see what locations you can identify.

On the other side of the room, where younger children search for picture books, simple frame houses and buildings evoke a storybook town.  Together with the tall towers of our Early Literacy Center, and skyscraper book display shelves, imagination is encouraged. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Teens Get Creative

I've always admired just how creative teenagers can be.  They often surprise us adults with their talent and determination, even though we shouldn't be surprised at all.   Sometimes teens surprise themselves, too, when they try new things. Perhaps teens are less inhibited and more open to new ideas than grown ups are. If you are a teen, you are welcome to join other teens at one of the Silver Spring Library's special creative programs this fall. If you are lucky enough to have a teen in your life, please clue them in to the following opportunities.

Photograph of a hedgehog in orange flowersSilver Spring Teen Photography Club  

Learn the basics of photography, including equipment, composition, and software. Ages 13 to 16. Meet other teens with an interest in photography, too. The club meets from 2:00-3:30 PM on the first and third Sundays of the month beginning October 4.
The word Design strewn across blue pink and yellow shapesBasic skills of Photoshop and Illustrator for high schoolers presented by Gandhi Brigade Youth Media. This project based series will result in individually created posters inspired by World War II-era propaganda. Basic principles of effective strategic messaging, too. Mondays at 3:30 PM beginning October 5 in the Library Media Lab.  Space is limited.

pen writing words "I am a writer" on paperTeen Writers Club

Writing the next bestseller? Love blogging or creating poetry? Join other teens and develop your writing voice. Friends, advice, and constructive feedback. Co-sponsored by the Maryland Writers' Association. Ages 13 to 18. Two Thursdays a month from 6:30-8:00 PM beginning October 8. 3rd floor Meeting Room.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Beginnings

The new Silver Spring Library's first summer is drawing to a close. There was lots of good feeling and good music to end the summer as Incwell performed out in our courtyard. Fans of reggae/hip hop fusion listened, and some toddlers got into the beat by dancing right up front. September brings new beginnings—back to school and back to work. Our brand new building means we can start off the fall with a wealth of programs and events, such as our book discussion groups. Check them all out on our branch webpage.

Book Discussions for Adults

The Evening Book Discussion Group generally meets at 7:30 PM on the first Monday of each month, although September's meeting happens the Tuesday after Labor Day. The first selection is One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus.

The Afternoon Book Discussion Group meets at 2:00 PM on the second Thursday of the month. Its first selection is The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's darkest journey by Candice Millard.

The African-American Book Discussion Group meets at 6:30 PM on the first Wednesday of the month (except January and July.) The first selection is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

And more . . .

September is also Library Card Sign Up Month! What's free and offers infinite opportunities for entertainment, recreation, information and education? Your library card! Sign up for a card today; visit any MCPL branch or apply online.

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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Get to Know Silver Spring

Are you excited about the Grand Opening of the Silver Spring Library this Saturday, June 20? So are we! Visitors will recognize many faces from the previous Silver Spring location on Colesville Road, but we are thrilled to also recognize new staff to Silver Spring. Some have previously worked at other MCPL locations around the County, while a few are new to Montgomery County.

Linda Assistant Branch Manager
Linda is the Assistant Branch Manager at the new Silver Spring Library. Linda has been with MCPL for over two years. Before joining MCPL, she worked for the Detroit Public Libraries for 12 years. Linda's interests include reading, writing, health, cooking—she is an avid foodie!—and helping teens succeed. This means she's especially excited that the new library includes a teen space on the third floor, as well as a Digital Media Lab. Be sure to check out Silver Spring's teen-focused events. Linda's favorite book of all time is Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Ryan Library Desk Assistant
Ryan is a part-time Library Desk Assistant. He has been working for Montgomery County Public Libraries for seven years. He started out as a page, then as a substitute Library Desk Assistant, and now in his current position here at Silver Spring. He's a junior at UMBC where he's working towards a degree in Biology and Pre-Dentistry. Ryan's favorite book is The 500 by Matthew Quirk.

Linda and Ryan will be at the Grand Opening on Saturday, and they hope you'll join them there. Whether you make it on Saturday or not, be sure to stop and say "Hi!" the next time you are in the library.

Friday, June 12, 2015

7 More Days Until Grand Opening - Take a Sneak Peek Inside

Montgomery Community Media recently took a tour of the new Silver Spring Library. Here is a sneak peek video tour of their visit.
Also, here are some photos taken at the new Silver Spring Library this past week.
Bike racks outside of the entrance.

Digital Monument Sign

Studio i Digital Media Lab
Wayne Ave. Entrance

Friday, June 5, 2015

What's New This Week (June 5)

Hard to believe that it's only 15 days until the Grand Opening of the new library!

green roof at Silver Spring LibraryThe corner of Fenton and Wayne has been a whirlwhind of activity as contractors and library staff make sure the library is ready to hit the ground running on June 20.

As some of you may know, the new Silver Spring Library will include a Green Roof. The Green Roof is part of the LEED Certification requirements for sustainable buildings. MCPL Director Parker Hamilton got a chance to tour the roof this week. With the wet weather, it was a pretty cold trip, but she took the time to send us this photo. We can't wait to see what the roof will look like once those plants have had a chance to grow a bit more—and we wouldn't object to a little more sun.

Silver Spring Library sign being put up
Today, Friday, contractors began putting up the sign on the side of the building. No longer will visitors to Silver Spring have to wonder what that giant building is.

In the midst of all the excitement about the new Silver Spring Library, June 1 was also the system-wide kick-off date for Summer Reading. Parents and caregivers can sign-up their children (0-12) for the Every Hero Has a Story. Teens (13-17) can sign up for "Unmasked!"

Silver Spring children's staff
Silver Spring children's staff
plan for Summer Reading fun!
Both programs offer great incentives to encourage reading during the summer and help students be prepared for the next school year. If your reader just can't wait for June 20, you can pick up your badge books (while supplies last) and any earned incentives at a nearby library, such as Long Branch, Wheaton or White Oak. Also, be sure to check our website for Summer Reading programs across County.

In addition to the efforts to finish off construction details and get all the books onto the shelves, staff are also hard at work planning exciting events once the library opens. Whether you'll be at the Grand Opening or not, be sure to put a visit on your calendar. We can't wait to introduce you to your new library!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Books on Shelves

Staff have moved to the new Silver Spring library building at 900 Wayne to beginning preparing it for the grand opening on June 20. In addition to training on new equipment and the continued work on the building, preparation includes installing shelving and arranging new and existing collections. Take a sneak peek inside as staff begin to put the collection together.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grand Opening Scheduled

Save the Date! Grand opening June 20, 2015 at 11 am
We are very excited to announce that the grand opening of the new Silver Spring Library has been scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015! The grand opening will begin at 11 AM.

We hope you will mark your calendars and plan to join us as we celebrate the opening of the newest addition to the Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What's Going To Happen to My Holds?

The current Silver Spring Library is closing March 15, and we’re taking some time to pack up and get our beautiful new building ready for service. Our book drop closes on April 5. In the interim, customers are asking us: “What’s going to happen to my holds?” and “What about the items we need to return?” We have you covered. MCPL and the Silver Spring staff want to make the transition as smooth as possible for customers.

Whether you’ve made a special request or you’re moving up on that waiting list, we will make sure you get your holds. Nearby branches such as Long Branch, Wheaton, and White Oak, of course, will remain open. Holds can be sent to one of them or to any MCPL branch you choose.

One easy way to make that happen is to go online to Your Account on the Library Homepage. Just enter your card number and pin number (the four numbers of the year of your birth, usually) and change the library location of your holds to a convenient alternative branch. You can ask any Silver Spring staff member for help. Customers can also call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 to request hold pick up location changes. Beginning March 2, Silver Spring will not be available as a location when placing new holds.

Marina and OCLC holds will be diverted to other branches beginning March 2. Filled orders will be sent to the Silver Spring Library through March 6. After March 6, when interlibrary loan materials are received at MCPL, our ILL staff will contact customers to determine the branch where customers would like to pick up their items.

Although the branch will be closed, our 24-hour book drop will remain open for returns until April 5. We look forward to seeing old and new customers at our new library.

Christine Conway
Librarian I

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Silver Spring Branch will close March 15

In preparation for opening the new Silver Spring Library, the current library will close to the public on Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m. The branch will be open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. that day and will host a closing event for the Silver Spring community from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., commemorating 58 years of library service at the 8901 Colesville Rd. location.

More information on the closing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

24/7 Hold Pick-up

holds lockers at new Silver Spring Library
Holds lockers at the new library.
Photo courtesy of Chris Borawski
Recently, while walking down Wayne Avenue past the new library, I noticed that the RFID-equipped book return slot and the hold lockers are less than 50 feet from the sidewalk. Wow, I thought, these hold Lockers are easy to access on foot.

Imagine, it is very early in the morning; you are on your way to catch the train, Starbucks coffee in hand. As you pass the library you remember that you have received an email notice that the latest book, Girl On The Train, is ready for pick-up in the hold Locker. "Hooray!" you think. You walk towards the locker, slip in your library card, the locker opens, you retrieve your material and hurry to the train.

Customers both on foot and in cars will have 24/7 access to Holds. Access to the Hold Lockers is available by car through a small drive-way that you enter off Bonifant St. Once you insert your library card the latch is released, and the SIP Interface checks-out the item to you as you pull it from the locker.

Fast turnaround is crucial to the success of the service. With space for only 55 lockers, we will want materials to be picked up in a timely fashion. The hold notice will give you the range of dates for pick up.  When you return the materials, the book return slot located between the hold Lockers will check-in the items immediately.  This is great news for those of us on challenging schedules, needing instant results.  I think you will enjoy this new feature, and it seems perfect for downtown Silver Spring.

Fran Ware

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tagging the Collection

I will often tell people that the staff is busy getting ready to move. I can tell by the look on their faces that “move” to them means packing boxes and carting those boxes off to the new library. What it does mean these days is that the staff is tagging the collection. Many of you already know the new library will have an automated check-in and sorting system on the first and third floors. It is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology that allows this sorting to take place. RFID technology enables staff to know if a book is checked out or simply lost in the building. There will be gates on the first floor at the Wayne Street and Fenton Street entrances. Those gates will alarm if someone has forgotten to check out. Should this happen we will invite them to return to the self-checkout station. 

The check-in process is totally automated. The RFID tags are attached to the book, DVD or other piece of material and placed on a pad connected to a PC. The bar code on the items and the tag are linked together and entered into the computer. The books are returned through an opening where they are put on a conveyor belt, checked –in by a computer and sorted into a tub for shelving.  

The 2” x 2” tag is a small but important feature of RFID. For the first shipment we received 100,000 tags. Forty-thousand were sent to the processor for the opening day collection. The other 60,000 were left with us to put in each piece of library materials. We started in early summer and we have 3,000 left from the original shipment to apply to materials. We recently received another shipment of 40,000 tags and are busy getting ready to apply those tags.

It is a tedious job that takes time. Volunteers cut the tags and staff places the tags in materials. We have boxes of cut tags stored in the manager’s office. Right now we count the number of tags that we place in materials just to give us a count of the collection and see how closely that mirrors what we know to be the size of the collection. But the beauty is you will now be able to checkout more efficiently by simply placing a stack of books, up to fifty, on the pad and they will be checked-out instantly.   

While there is always an adjustment period, once customers and staff become acclimated to this technology, I predict we will enjoy the many benefits it offers.

Fran Ware