Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Let's Talk About It - Book Discussion Groups at Silver Spring Library

Silver Spring Library hosts some lively book discussion groups open to all.  There's likely one you would like!  Check out our calendar of events for future upcoming discussions.

African-American Book Discussion

We discuss a wide range of fiction and nonfiction relevant to the African American experience.  At our next meeting on December 7 at 6:30 PM, we will talk about Sula by Toni Morrison.  This is the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio and take widely different paths in adulthood.   Can their friendship endure a dreadful secret and an unforgivable betrayal?  Copies of the book will be available near the DVDs on the library's 3rd floor while supplies last.

Please come to discuss Chinese literature written in the Chinese language.  Meet with other lovers of Chinese books.  On December 6 we will discuss Wan Nian De Mei Xue (Enjoy Your Golden Years) by Sono, Ayako.  7:15 PM on the library's 3rd floor, Meeting Room 2.  Please visit the Customer Service Desk on the 3rd floor of the library to check out the reserved books.

Friends of the Library Book Discussion Group

Join us on the first Monday of the month to discuss contemporary and classic works of fiction and nonfiction.  Our next meeting is Monday, December 5 at 7:30 PM when we are discussing The Evolution of God by Robert Wright.  Copies will be available on the 3rd floor near the DVD dispenser while supplies last.

Please come for a lively discussion of Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Cornelius Lehane on December 8 at 2:00 PM on the library's 3rd floor.  Ray Ambler, the New York Public Library's crime fiction expert, joins forces with NYPD to bring a murderer to justice.  Copies will be available on the 3rd floor near the DVD dispenser while supplies last.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Storytimes - Let Us Count the Ways

We have a very active children's staff here on the 5th floor of Silver Spring Library.   Among other things, they are busy preparing and presenting the many storytimes held in our special 5th floor space.  You can find more information on the library's events calendar.  Take a look!
Silver Spring Librarian at Baby Storytime
Babies:  Yes, babies.  That's the little ones 0 to 18 months old.  It really is never too early to begin getting ready to read!  This is a special program designed for both baby and grownup to participate.  There are songs, rhymes, short books, tickles, and bounces.  Lots of fun!  Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM. Tickets given out starting at 11:00 AM.

stroller parking lot on the 5th floor of Silver Spring LibraryBaby and Me Meetups:  A weekend program for those with children 0 to 3 years old and their families.   About once a month our librarians present a short storytime and an opportunity to meet and share time with other parents (grandparents, caregivers) of babies.  Next meeting is Saturday, November 5 at 11:00 AM.

Toddlers:  A storytime for children 18 to 36 months old and their adults.  Lots of activity for these wiggly ones--stories, fingerplays, stretches, songs and more.  Remember--as recent research shows, the more language and words very young children hear when you read, talk or sing to them the better they will be prepared for reading when the time comes.  It matters!  Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 AM.  Tickets given out starting at 10:00 AM.

Pajama Storytime:  Children can come to storytime in their pajamas if they wish!  Once a month at 7:00 PM we hold an evening storytime for 4 to 7 year olds.  Come listen to stories and songs at the library before heading home to bed!  Next program is Monday, November 7 at 7:00 PM.

Preschool STEM Storytime:  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Join us once a month for a Saturday storytime with a science slant.  Ages 3 to 5 years.  The next on the schedule is on November 19 at 11:00 AM -- a special Dinosaur storytime.

Spanish Storytime:  About once a month we have a Saturday bilingual storytime in Spanish for ages 2-5.   Lectura de Cuentos y canciones en espanol para ninos de 2 a 5 anos de edad.  The next program is November 12 at 11:00 AM.

Amharic Storytime:   A bilingual storytime in Amharic and English for children 3 to 9 years old.  The next program is Saturday, October 22 at 1:30 PM on the 3rd floor.

Special Programs:  The Friends of the Library help us from time to time to bring in professional storytellers.   Our next special program is "Sciencetellers present Dragons".  In a faraway world with castles, kings and an Evil Ice Sorceress, two brave villagers take a daring journey to release the dragon and save the kingdom!  Take a journey through the states of matter with bubbles, rockets, and dry ice.  Geared for grades K-5.  Saturday, October 29 at 11:00 AM.  Free tickets given out 30 minutes before the program starts on the 3rd floor.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Pokemon Good Time

Library Associate Jennifer Smith and Poke Ball
Library Associate Jennifer Smith and her Poke Ball
On a recent Saturday, Silver Spring Library set off a "lure" to entice virtual Pokemon critters to wander by.  They came, along with over 100 library visitors set to capture various Pokemon in the library, train them, meet other enthusiasts, and play Pokemon games.  It was a great afternoon for all ages.

A group of boys celebrate a Pokemon capture
Yes, we caught one!

Raffle Prizes and absorbed Pokemon Go! fans
Many of you may have heard of the Pokemon Go! craze.  But if you haven't, it's a game played through a smart phone app.  Pokemon are small imaginary creatures with individualized special skills and personalities.  In the game they can be hunted with your phone and found and caught at real world locations.  As one online commentator said, "It's a free-to-play, location-based, augmented reality, multiplayer online mobile game..." Phew!  And it's also great fun. Pokemon critters can be collected, trained in skills, and pitted against each other in battles.  Fan teams can pit themselves against other teams.

Tickets were given out for raffle prizes.  Various items, including figurines and key chains that were made on the library's own 3-D Printer.  Of course, library visitors could check out the library's Pokemon books and Pokemon DVDs, as well.  Happy hunting!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Let's Talk RFID

Silver Spring is the one branch in the MCPL system that uses RFID or radio frequency identity tags in its books and other library materials.  The tags use radio waves to automatically identify an individual item for our check out and return systems.  This helps us speed your checkouts and keep our records accurate,

RFID return machine
Sara de Nieto  monitors returns on our RFID machine
When you use our self-check machines to check out your books, the sensing pad receives the unique radio signal of each item and checks it out to your account.  Similarly, when you return your items, our futuristic RFID machine scans each item to automatically check it in.  The RFID return machine identifies each item with a tag and also sorts returned items into categories: best sellers, children's picture books, non-fiction, etc. This makes getting materials back on the shelves easier and faster.  Items returned from other branches and triggered holds are separated and sorted manually.

How to Check Out at Our Self-Check Stations

self-charge machine
Self-charge machine
Self-check stations are located on all three floors at Silver Spring.  First, scan your library card with the barcode reader.  Your name will appear on the screen.  Unlike at other library branches, you do not need the barcode scanner to check out the books and materials.  Instead, place your items, one at a time, on the RFID "pad," a black rectangle on the table in front of the screen, and wait until your item registers as checked out.  When you are done, click "Finished" on the screen, and indicate whether or not you would like a receipt.  That's it.  You're done and ready to leave the library.  If you have any account questions or issues or need to renew books, please ask our staff at the customer service desk on the 3rd floor.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Read & Learn

A clown entertains on the plaza outside the Silver Spring Library as children sign up for our Summer Read and Learn program.  Young Daniel Weaver signed up and received a great big popsicle from the Friends of the Library, who sponsored this special sign up event.  Children of all ages, teens, and adults can register for the Summer Read and Learn program online or at the library any time between June 1 and August 10.

Children earn badges while reading and doing other activities.  You can read and do the activities by yourself or with others.  Keep track of your progress with your online log. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Learning About the Chesapeake Bay

Tessa Barbero wears a snail costume to help Andrew Wilson explain about animals of the Chesapeake Bay
Tessa Barbero wears a snail costume to help
Andrew Wilson explain
 about animals of the Chesapeake Bay
Andrew Wilson from Under the Sea, a marine education organization, recently presented a program at Silver Spring Library all about the Chesapeake Bay. We learned a lot about the Bay's ecosystem and the critters who call it home.

For instance, did you know that the bay is made up of brackish water, a mixture of fresh water and salt water?  Did you know that animals and plants interact to survive in the Bay ecosystem? Some animals have seen a steep decline in their populations.  For example, the number of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay today is only 1% to 2% of what it was when Jamestown was settled.

Hermit crab and other crabs in observation tank
Animals include a hermit crab (on the left)
 and its friends.
Mr. Wilson brought live crabs with him to show us:  a blue crab, a spider crab, a horseshoe crab, a mud crab, and a hermit crab.  He also brought oysters, toadfish, eel grass, and a whelk,  Children and adults had a great time observing them and even touching some.

The library has lots of books you can read to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its animals.  You also might want to look them up on the library's Kids InfoBits site.

Friday, May 13, 2016

中文讀書會 Chinese Book Discussion

Participants at table discuss Daughter's Taiwan, Father's China by Chen Hao
The first meeting of our Chinese literature (written in Chinese) book group was a big success. Participants gathered to discuss Chen Hao's Daughter's Taiwan, Father's ChinaAt the end of the meeting, there was a special tour of our new library building and our world language collections.

Our second meeting is June 2 at 7:00 PM, when we will discuss Start from the Heart by Chen Yueqing.

Customers can visit the 3rd floor Customer Service Desk to check out copies while available.  

書名: 從心開始,每天清除心靈癌細胞

Friday, April 29, 2016

Asian American & Pacific Heritage Month Programs

中文讀書會 Chinese Book Discussion:

Group of books on endCome discuss Chinese literature (written in Chinese) at this new Silver Spring Library program.  The first meeting is Thursday evening, May 5 at 7:00 PM.  Participants will discuss Daughter's Taiwan, Father's China by Chen Hao.   Customers can visit the 3rd floor Customer Service Desk to check out copies while available.  At the end of the meeting, there will be a tour of our new library building and our world language collections.


書名: 女兒的台灣,父親的大陸 作者: 陳浩

Our second meeting is June 2, when we will discuss Start from the Heart by Chen Yueqing.

書名: 從心開始,每天清除心靈癌細胞

Silhouette of tai chi pose

Tai Chi Demonstration & Workshop:

Join us Saturday, May 14 from 3:30 to 4:30 PM. Tai Chi Master Chung-jen Chang, who has taught Tai Chi for more than 30 years, presents a program for ages 14 and up.  Master Chang has won Grand Championship titles and also consulted on the Pushing Hands movie directed by Ang Lee.  Master Chang will demonstrate the unique Chen Style Small Form and Big Form, Tai Chi push-hands, Tai Chi sword and Yang style Tai Chi.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Digital Media Lab and 3-D Printing

MAC ComputerSilver Spring Library now has a Digital Media Lab.  What does that mean?  The Digital Media Lab is a creative and learning space with 7 MAC computers where customers can use advanced software to design, develop and innovate.  Computer coding? Yes.  Digital Photography? Yes. Animation?  Yes.  Web pages?  Yes.  And much more.  These aren't the computers you use just for email.  Come with your creativity.

Some of what's available:
  • Adobe Creative Suite includes InDesign (publishing software), Illustrator (graphics editor), and Photoshop (picture editing software)
  • Garage Band (helps create music and podcasts)
  • iMovie (video editing software)
  • Cura (3-D printing design software)
  • Xcode (coding software for Apple)
  • GitHub (coding software)
For individuals, lab computers are available on a first come, first served basis.  All Digital Media Lab users must be 14 or older, complete a user agreement, and have a valid library card in good standing. Teen volunteers are available most days after 3:00 PM to assist customers in the lab.

You might want to get ready to use the lab by taking some of the classes offered on Gale Courses which are available through MCPL.  Free courses in web design, digital photography, graphic design, and the Adobe Creative Suite are available. All you need is a library card.

Toy and light switch examples of 3-D printing

3-D Printing is the process of making a three-dimensional object from a digital design file. Successive layers of material are laid down until an object is complete.  Each layer is a thinly sliced cross-section of the object.  Customers must agree to the 3-D user agreement and submit a 3-D Printing request.  A $1.00 fee is charged for each file submitted along with a charge of 5 cents a gram for the filament used. The library uses Printrbot Plus printers with PLA (polylactic acid) filament, which is recyclable and biodegradable.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lego Weekends

It is so much fun to walk out onto the 5th floor of the new Silver Spring Library on weekends and see, first thing, children and parents hard at work -- usually together -- building free form with Legos blocks.  The creations are truly inspiring...and imaginative.  Barring space conflicts, Legos are available for play Fridays after 2:30 PM, as well as Saturdays and Sundays during library hours.

The children are usually energetic and talkative, often building together with parents.  It is so much fun to see the children using their imaginations not only to invent the structures, but also the play-along story scenarios to go with them.  And when playtime is finished, there's time for checking out books, some, of course, on ideas for building with Legos.

One recent weekend in the early evening, Mr. V. Kuroji Patrick and family stopped by to build and also created a short stop-gap animation that they agreed to share with us. Take a look:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Playing Games

NonTraditional Board Games Logo
Tired of playing all the old classic board games? While Scrabble or Monopoly or Scattergories are great fun, why not try the NonTraditional Board Games meetup at Silver Spring Library? This is a gathering for adults who enjoy a challenge, social interaction, and plain old fun. The organizer, known as "Adam Dork," sets up a different theme or free-for-all twice a month.

On one recent Saturday afternoon it was all about "Traitor-Mechanic" games. Players try to accomplish something in these various games, only to be undermined by a player with a hidden identity or agenda. So far, the group has tried various game genres: competitive, nothing but dice, no dice, space, world domination and more.

Boxes of board games on a table
Check out the next meetup Saturday, January 16 at 2:00 PM and meet some other board game enthusiasts. See the Silver Spring Library calendar of events for more information and future meetups.