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!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What We're Reading

Staff members here at Silver Spring Library are by and large great readers with varying tastes.  Here's what we're reading now that we recommend.  Just click on the title to be taken to our catalog for availability and holds.

Book cover of David Ignatius' The Director
Our Branch Manager is reading a David Ignatius thriller, The Director.  "He came to speak" at the libraries, Uzo says.  "I've read all his books."  Ignatius writes about the Middle East, spies, covert operations, and politics.  Our catalog has this teasing description of the opening:  "Graham Weber has been director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents' names to prove it."

Book cover of Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Oscar, Library Assistant is reading:
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.  According to our catalog, the book is "A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation's sharpest comedic voices." Ansari talks with scientists on what love and romance were like before and today and mixes scientific opinion and his own take on things.  "Educational and funny," says Oscar.

Book cover of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Michele, Children's Librarian is reading:
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this year's One Maryland One Book selection.  Read more at our Reader's Cafe site.  People all over Maryland are encouraged to read this book this year.   The author will be appearing at Gaithersburg High School on September 26.  MCPL is one of the hosts for this event. More event information. Michelle isn't ready to pass judgment yet, but says that the book is extremely well-written so far.

Book cover of Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Judy, Children's Librarian:
"I just read Once Was a Time by Leila Sales, a lovely time travel book for upper elementary readers. It really grabbed me and I read about 2/3 in one sitting. This book is about World War II, secret scientific investigations, a portal through space and time, a small town library, and a missing and very missed friend. Oh, and a favorite book (A Little Princess)."

Book cover of The Store by James Patterson
Kristina, Library Assistant  (and Sarah, Library Desk Assistant):
Kristina is reading the very latest by James Patterson,  The Store.  She calls it a great mystery that also contains a love story.  As someone whose first language is not English, she says the mystery gives her the incentive to keep reading to find out what happens.  In the story, the Store IS WATCHING YOU!  Jacob and Megan are writing a book to expose the store...a dangerous, forbidden book.  If the Store finds out they will need to run for their lives, if they can.

Book cover of Born a Crime: stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah
Margo,  Adult  Librarian likes:
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, currently host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central.  Margo listened to the book, read by the author, on CD.  Born a Crime is a highly popular title in Montgomery County Public Libraries, and you may need to place a hold on it. Born to a white father and a black Xhosa mother, Noah's birth was an actual crime. Margo finds the stories from Noah's childhood fascinating as they often contain cultural clashes and actual peril under Apartheid.  "Noah weaves together a moving yet funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time."

Book cover of The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty
Will, Library Page:
"I like some fantasy and good humor in my books."  The Shambling Guide to New York City is an urban fantasy story from podcaster Mur Lafferty.  It's all about a travel writer who must write a guide to the city for zombies and vampires ... all the undead.  "An easy and quick read with a fun, compelling story," says Will. This book will appeal to adults, but also teens.

Book cover of Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
Levertes, Adult Services Librarian:
He is reading Underground Airlines by Ben Winters.  Levertes writes: "Ben Winters recreates an America in which the Civil War never occurred. It's the 21st century, and there are four Southern states where slavery continues. A black bounty hunter named Victor has been working for federal law enforcement in return for having his freedom. He goes undercover to infiltrate an abolitionist cell up North in Indianapolis to find a most wanted runaway named Jackdaw.  The unfolding of events are replete with suspense. It's a book that's keeping me intrigued with how events will continue to unfold."

Book cover of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Tom, Library Associate is reading:
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  This book returns to the character and setting of King's famous book and movie, The Shining.  Now middle-aged Dan Torrance must save a young girl from a tribe of murderous paranormals.  Tom says he'd never read King until recently and that his books, including this one, are very readable and enjoyable.

Book cover of The Telomere Effect
Carolyn, Senior Librarian:
Carolyn is listening to the audio CD version of The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary approach to Live Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn.  "The book's premise is supported by scientific research performed over many decades, and offers useful tips  about how to improve health, avoid stress, and live a longer, happier, and more balanced life.  I like the audio version so much, that I am planning to purchase a copy for my home library."

Book cover of The Fallen by Karen Slaughter
Ed, Adult Services Librarian:
Ed is listening to the audio version of Fallen by Karen Slaughter.  He describes the book as a compelling thriller about a daughter trying to save her former policewoman mother.  The daughter comes home one day to find her mother missing and dead bodies in the house and she must defend herself.  Be advised that the book is gritty and violent and has some bad language.

Carly, Children's Librarian:
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks.  Carly is listening and reading this fantasy romance.  She has enjoyed Sparks' vampire romance series and says that this book has an actual story and great character development.  "Hidden away because of her magic, Luciana is given an ultimatum by her father: marry the Beast of Benwick or stay in exile forever."  You can make a request for the book through Marina Interlibrary Loan, but Montgomery County Public Libraries carries a number of Sparks' books.

Book cover of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Christine, Children's Librarian:
Sometimes I like a good adult science fiction novel or in this case a science fantasy novel.   The first in a trilogy, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin won the Hugo Award for science fiction novel in 2016. Jemisin builds an intricate, exceptional world on a future Earth that regularly experiences catastrophic weather, earthquakes, and volcanoes.  This is a riveting and page-turning read with lots of plot twists.

Book cover of American Saint: the life of Elizabeth Seton by Joan Barthel
Charles, Substitute Librarian is reading:
American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton by Joan Barthel.  Charles calls her life fascinating.  In the 18th century, Elizabeth was born into a prominent New York City family.  When she was born Catholicism was illegal there.  "And when Elizabeth later became a Catholic, she was so scorned that people talked of burning down her house."  The book is "the inspiring story of a brave woman": the nun who made a name for herself in Catholic education in a world ruled by men."

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Notes from the Library

Here are some great events and programs that are coming up soon:


SCORE, the Senior Corps of Retired Executives, is now providing one-on-one counseling at Silver Spring Library to individuals who are starting or expanding a business.  Appointments are on Saturdays from 1:00 to 5:00 PM by calling 240-73-9420.  There is also more information on starting and running a business on the library's website.

Middle School Writing Workshop

Are you a middle school student who likes to write?  Silver Spring Library is hosting a four-session morning writing workshop where you will have the chance to write a lot!  Improvisational games and writing prompts are used to unleash creative genius.  Positive feedback to build skills.  The program is presented by Shelley Johnson Carey, educational publisher and author of Thin Mint Memories.  

Attendance at all four sessions is mandatory and registration is required.  The workshops will be held Monday through Thursday July 24 to July 27 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM in Study Room 3-01.  After registering, please write a brief note explaining why you are interested in the workshop and email it to Ms. Carey at Carey@aacu.org.

Harriet Tubman: Defender

A special theatrical presentation at the library...This one-woman play depicts Harriet Tubman at the age of 50 reflecting back on her childhood memories and proclaiming her future.  Through narrative, song, and visual projections, the performance describes her escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad and her emergence as one of the most famous Underground Railroad conductors.  Performed by Eunice Lewis Seagraves.  A question and answer session follows the performance.  August 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM on the 3rd floor in meeting rooms 1 and 2.  All ages.

Grandreaders...Help with Learning to Read

Could your rising K-3rd grader use a little extra help with reading this summer?  Senior volunteers from the Jewish Council on Aging Interages Center will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance.  No registration required.  Located in the reading nook on the 5th floor.  Please sign in upon arrival.  11:00 AM to Noon Mondays through August 7.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Special Programs This Summer at Silver Spring Library

Our summer reading program is now in full swing for children, teens, and adults.  Sign up online at home or in the library.  Children receive a game board of activities and can collect prizes.  Teens can review favorite books and earn online badges.  Adults, teens, and children can also join our Reading Challenge to read a book from each of twelve categories and be entered to win in a prize raffle.

Come into the Silver Spring Library this summer for some extra special programs designed to educate, entice, and entertain you and your children.  Here is a sampling of the extraordinary programs associated with Summer Reading.  We have a wealth of stellar programs for children this summer.  There's truly something for everyone.  Click here to check out our events.
  • Blue Sky Puppet Theater presents "The Babysitter". Find out what happens when puppeteer Michael is suddenly asked to babysit two children. Will it be fun or a disaster? A program for preschool and elementary school children and their families. Saturday, June 17 at 11:00 AM. Free tickets available at the customer service desk 30 minutes before the program begins.
  • Energy Express presented by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.  Come learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency in a fun and interactive hands-on way.  For ages 6-10, no younger siblings.  Parents are encouraged to stay and help.  Tuesday, June 20 at 2:00 PM.  Register online.
  • Harry Potter Day: 20th Anniversary.  Witches, wizards, and non-magical folk are all
    welcome to join our drop-in activities and scavenger hunt.  A wand making craft will be held at 11:00 AM until supplies run out.  Costumes or house colors are encouraged but not required!
  • Maryland Zoo presents "Going, Going, Gone".  Every day more species and habitat vanish.  Find out how our actions impact our world and learn ways we can protect the richness of life on our planet.  Preschool and elementary age children.  Free tickets are available at the customer service desk 30 minutes before the beginning of the program.  Space is limited.  July 8 at 11:00 AM.
  • Keshius Williams.  Listen to this bubbly, energetic storyteller who engages children of all ages through sing-a-longs and interactive participation.  Children will learn about the meaning of friendship, how to treat people the way you want to be treated, and to love the skin you are in.  For all ages. July 13.
  • Margie Lynch the Bubble Lady.  The Bubble Lady creates smoke bubbles, square bubbles,
    and even bubbles surrounding audience members!  Fun for the whole family! Discover the science of bubbles!  Free tickets are available at the customer service desk 30 minutes before the program begins.  July 20 at 11:00 AM.
  • Magical Math Tour, with Brian Curry.  Energize your
    children with laughter, cheers and applause while they review important mathematical concepts.  In addition to great math content, this show helps relate math to their everyday lives.

     Preschool and elementary school children.  July 27 at 11:00 AM.  Free tickets are available at the customer service desk 30 minutes before the program.
  • How to Draw Cartoons.  For ages 10 to 18.  Teens and tweens! Do you like to draw? Do you want to be a cartoonist? Join cartoonist Paul Merklein as he shows you how to draw cartoons! Bring your imagination and be ready to have fun drawing!  Registration is required.  July 24 at 1:00 PM.
And More...
  • Pajama Storytimes.  July 3 and August 7 at 7:00 PM
  • Preschool Storytimes.  July 11 and August 8 at 2:30 PM.  For ages 3 to 5 years.
  • Baby Storytimes.  All summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM.   Ages 0 to 18 months.  Tickets given out starting 30 minutes before the program.
  • Toddler Storytimes.  All summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 AM.  Ages 18 to 36 months.  Tickets given out starting 30 minutes before the program
  • Amharic Storytimes.  In English and Amharic on June 24 and July 31.
  • Spanish Storytimes.  July 8 and August 5 at 11:00 AM.
  • Paperspace.  Come create!  Each week we'll have a new paper based project for you to make. Adult supervision is required for children 8 and under.   Friday evenings June 16, 23 and 30, July 6, 14, 21, 28, and August 4
  • Dance Your Fanny Off!  Come dance with us! Sing, dance, and play as you work on fine motor, listening, spatial, and social skills. For walkers up to age 5. Siblings welcome.  July 15 and 29.  August 12 and 26.
  • Grandreaders.  Could your rising K-3rd grader use a little extra reading help this summer? Senior volunteers from the Jewish Council on Aging, Heyman Interages Center will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance. No registration required. Located in the reading nook, please sign in upon arrival.
  • Read to a Dog.   Are you a beginning reader? Do you know someone who wants to improve his/her confidence and reading skills? Come read to a dog! They never correct, judge, or interrupt. Volunteers from the organization People Animals Love and their canine friends will be on hand to listen.  June 20, July 18, and August 15 at 7:00 PM.
  • Weekend Legos.   Children are invited to drop in for to build, create, and play with our
    DUPLOS (little ones) and LEGOS. We supply the blocks, so please leave yours at home. Your creations must be left at the library but, may be photographed before deconstruction.  Saturdays from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM and Sundays from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

Have a great reading summer!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fort Day

Wow, it was fun for the children who participated in our very first Fort Day at Silver Spring Library.  On Saturday evening (Yes, we're open during the summer on Friday and Saturday evenings) children and their grownups came to build reading forts out of old bedspreads and sheets.

The object was to have fun and spend that wonderful, magical childhood time reading secluded inside your very own fort.  Children were allowed to build their forts almost anywhere out on the children's 5th floor.  We hope the idea of "alone time" reading like this is one that translates to home.
Remember, too, that sign up for our summer reading program,  Build a Better World begins June 10.

Almost wish we were children again to be able to read inside our own special fort.  What the heck, maybe we will do it anyway!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Late @ Your Lilbrary

Silver Spring Library, along with Gaithersburg, Germantown and  Rockville Memorial Libraries are open extended hours this summer!  We'll be open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Our branch is located in a very lively section of downtown Silver Spring.  The area is usually hopping on Friday and Saturday evenings with people out to dinner, shopping, heading to the gym to work out, enjoying music or the movies.  Now you can add heading to the library to your activities list weekend nights.  Come checkout books, pick up a DVD, or use our Internet computers.

Come hang at the library.  Our new summer hours are 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Saturday and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sundays.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Notes from the Library

toy puppy reading The Hungry Caterpillar at library table

Recently, on a quiet and rainy Monday evening in the children’s room at Silver Spring Library, a very cute and uninhibited six-year-old girl ran up to the Information Desk.  She really needed some good books to read she said, so the librarian followed her back to the picture book section ready to make some recommendations.  What kind of book did she want?  "No, no," she said, the book was not for her but for the puppies.  The librarian followed her over to the area near our Early Literacy Center where she and her sister had commandeered a small table.  

Four of our plastic animal toys (which can be imagined as dinosaurs, dogs, horses, or something else) perched on chairs around the table.  I asked if the sisters were having a tea party, but no, they were reading to the “puppies”.  It was so adorable.  They continued reading for the next 15 minutes or so, and then played other games with the animals…taking them to the doctor, talking to them, making sure they behaved, and more.  A great night at the library.  Even their toddler brother wanted books, although he may have loved pulling bunches of them off the shelves the most!

We have real dogs in our library from time to time, too!  Children can "Read to a Dog" on May 16 at 7:00 PM.  It's great for beginner readers who want to improve their confidence and reading skills with no correction or interruption.  Dogs just don't judge.   No registration required.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Silver Spring Library Offers Homework Help

Cartoon pencil on paper
Would you like some extra help with your math homework?  Perhaps with a writing assignment?  Vocabulary and sentences or reading and English?  

Silver Spring Library is now offering drop-in homework help on Thursday afternoons for elementary and middle school students in grades K-8.  It is really wonderful to have students from Montgomery Blair High School volunteering to provide the one-on-one tutoring.  Sign in upon arrival at the study tables on the 5th floor.  Thursdays from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Boy at a desk writingLet's not forget that Montgomery County Public Libraries has lots of other help for homework, too! For instance, our databases can provide just the right article or image you need for that project or poster.   Here are some of the databases available for Homework Help:

  • Biography in Context.  Biographical articles from reference books and periodicals.

  • Explora Primary School.  Designed specifically for elementary school students, this database provides access to popular full-text magazines for elementary school research.

  • Kids' Ebooks from Gale Virtual Reference Library.  Many full-text reference ebooks on art, biography, general reference, history, and science for kids.

  • WorldBook Online.  Encyclopedia for students and adults, with multimedia content.  Includes research tools, biographical information, newspapers, and science project help.  Also includes Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos.

  • Many more connections to history, geography, science, reading, government, and current events.
Oh, don't forget that we also have lots of print books, DVDs, and books on CD!
Hope to see you at the library soon!

Friday, January 6, 2017

MoComCon is Coming!

MoComCo logo
We are very excited to have our very first comic convention, MoComCon, at the Silver Spring Library on Saturday, January 21 from Noon to 4:00 P.M.  This event is open and accessible to all.  All ages welcome.  Weather date is February 4.

The event will include a variety of adult/teen and children's workshops, panels, programs, displays, exhibitors, and a cosplay contest.  Register in person for individual workshops starting at 11:00 A.M.

Have some early fun and click this link for lead up events at many of our local library branches.

See you there!