Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crowdsourcing

Maybe you're retired and are looking for a project. Maybe you're a college student without a job this summer. Or, maybe, you just have some extra time and you're looking to volunteer, but, without leaving the comfort of your own home. In all these cases, you should look for a crowdsourced project. First, what is crowdsourcing? Here's a definition from IDEA:
Crowdsourcing means involving a lot of people in small pieces of a project. In educational and nonprofit outreach, crowdsourcing is a form of engagement, such as participating in an online course, collecting photos of butterflies for a citizen-science project, uploading old photos for a community history project, deciphering sentences from old scanned manuscripts, playing protein folding games to help scientists discover new ways to fight diseases, or participating in online discussions.

Now, how about a project! One that I have been aware of for at least three years, is the World Memory Project that seeks to
allow anyone, anywhere to help build the largest free online resource for information about victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II. Even a few minutes of your time can help families discover what happened to their loved ones and restore the identities of people the Nazis tried to erase from history.

If you're involved in a genealogy project of your own, you may find that crowdsourcing is a way of getting some help. Look for Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G. Morgan [929.1 MOR] in our collection, for more information.

A very successful project is ongoing at the New York Public Library. The "crowd" is transcribing menus from a century ago, and making the information available to to the world (thinks chefs, food historians, foodies, etc.).

Courtesy NYPL.

There's lots of information available online for those who are interested in crowdsourcing. Go to Wikipedia, the most familiar crowdsourced project of all, for a listing of projects.

Have fun and do some good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep Sharp!

There's a very interesting article on keeping your brain active and the idea that doing so may delay the onset of dementia, to read it, click here.

The key to effectively exercising your brain is basically the same as exercising your body--make the exercise "stimulating, not frustrating." The article doesn't recommend the computer programs, such as Lumosity that are being advertised widely now. Simple things such as learning quilting or how to take photographs does the trick--and they're free with your library card! We have plenty of quilting and photography items in our collection, as well as other crafty type of activities such as jewelry-making and landscape design. Here are some items, published within the past few years, which should keep you sharp:

Carlsen, Spike. The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects. [690.892 CAR]

Crochet Critters and Bugs: 22 Great Projects. [746.434 CRO]

Curtis, Alice. Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles. [3M ebook]

Hamler, A. J. Birdhouses & more: easy-to-build houses & feeders for birds, bats, butterflies and other backyard creatures. [690.892 HAM]

Jeppsson, Anna. Simple & Stylish Backyard Projects. [690.89 JEP]

McNeill, Suzanne. The Beauty of Zentangle: Inspirational Examples from 137 Tangle Artists Worldwide. [741.9 MCN]

Rudell, Jeffery. Paper blooms: 25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make for Weddings, Celebrations, & More. [745.5943 RUD]

Wiese, Kelly. A Beaded Romance: 25 Bead Weaving Patterns & Projects for Gorgeous Jewelry. [745.5942 WIE]

Also recommended is learning a new language, even for older folks--yes, you can teach an old dog... The Library has a subscription to Mango Languages, which you can access through our website.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sing! Sing! Sing!

There appears to be some evidence that singing, and especially singing show tunes, is beneficial to Alzheimer's patients. I don't find that hard to believe since music can be inspiring, evoke memory, it encourages sharing, and, can be a delight to the listener as well as the performer. To learn more, click here for an article from The Guardian, that was published last fall.

We have an extensive collection of movie musicals for you to borrow, and share, and sing along to:



Friday, July 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Moon Flowers"

Here's a poem from Michael Hettich's Flock & Shadow: New and Selected Poems [811.6 HET].
Moon Flowers

This is the hour when opossum shuffle
up to our back door to poke around

in our garbage and teach their pouched kittens how
to play dead; this is the hour when worms

pull themselves from our apples, to slide
across our counter tops, when foxes

comb each other's tails beneath
the yellow lights in our alley, and snails

take the slow journey
across our front porch;

this is the hour when flowers shaped
like baby's fists or ears open

their faces and sing, in voices only
the lightest of human sleepers can hear.

What a simple poem, yet so effective. I want to stay awake tonight and watch and listen!

Here are moon flowers opening. You can see what you may have missed by not being out at day's end:



Visit my friend Tabatha Yeatts for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Living in a Shoe

Nobody really lives in a shoe, but if, as a child, you ever visited the old Benson's Wild Animal Park, you might remember the red shoe, which to a kid, looked big enough to live in!

Despite the fact that the Animal Park is gone, the area has been made into a lovely park great for strolling on a bright, sunny day. If you have kids or grandkids, head over to Benson Park in Hudson. You'll find the shoe proudly standing, completely restored. (The park hours, and a map, can be found here.)

How well do you remember your nursery rhymes? If your memory is foggy, come borrow one of our many collections or picture books, including these newer ones published within the last four years:



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dead Parrot

Okay--any excuse to watch a Monty Python sketch is always welcomed! The perfect one showed up yesterday in The Independent with the news of a gigantic "dead parrot" being briefly suspended over London.

Photo courtesy The Independent.


After that perfection lead in, and without further ado, I give you the "Dead Parrot Sketch":



We have the complete Monty Python's Flying Circus [DVD MON] in our DVD collection (14 disks). You can watch all the sketches uninterrupted by tv or YouTube commercials!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Online Payments

Until recently we have been unable to take credit card payments for overdue fines and other charges, however, as of June, we have that capability. Library card holders can pay their charges from their own computer or device! (No credit card payments will be taken at the Library's check-out desk.)

Here's how to make a payment:

1. Log in to your account (go to www.nesmithlibrary.org, click on "Catalog," then from the drop-down under "My Account" click on "Log In").

2. On the right hand side you will find any charges.


3. Check off the fines you wish to pay. Then click on "Pay Fines Now."


4. Read the policies and then click "Accept." (Please note: there are no refunds of payments, or the $2. convenience fee.)


5. You will find a summary of charges. If you wish to pay, click on "Continue."


6. You will be taken away from the Library catalog and directed to an eCommerce site for payment. At this point you will have 2 minutes to complete your payment. The space for "eMail Address" should be filled in if you wish to receive a transaction receipt. It is important that the credit card expiration date be entered MMYY, for example, August 2014 would be entered 0814.


We hope our users will find this an easy and convenient way to pay!