71 Monell Avenue
Islip, NY 11751

T: 631-581-5933

F: 631.277.8429

71 Monell Avenue
Islip, NY 11751
T: 631-581-5933
F: 631-581-8429

71 Monell Avenue
Islip, NY 11751

T: 631-581-5933 

F: 631-581-8429


All posts by Lauraine Farr

Our Brand Is Books

Our Brand Is Books

In the February 15, 2016 issue of Publishers Weekly, I read a short piece entitled, “Librarians: Stop the Book Shaming.” The author, Brian Kenney, maintains that librarians have increasingly become “like shame filled smokers standing outside of office buildings – apart, a little embarrassed and slightly defensive.” In a time when the media tells us more technology is better, and that traditional print books will be replaced by downloads in the form of ebooks and audiobooks, some librarians may feel it’s become old fashioned to sing the praises of traditional paper books. Yet, I find that most of our patrons still prefer the traditional book. This is not to say that ebooks and audiobooks are not popular – they are, especially for those who are frequent travelers. No one can dismiss the convenience of having multiple books, magazines, and newspapers loaded onto one small device. Still, most of our patrons seem happy to leave with several books in their book bags. Maybe they’ve got a fully loaded Kindle as well, but they still love traditional books.

Recent statistics show that there is a growing trend back to printed materials - even independent bookstores are making a comeback! According to the American Booksellers Association, the number of member independent bookstores has increased more than 20 percent since the depths of the recession, from 1,651 in 2009, to 2,094 in 2014. A report in February 2015 showed that the number of ABA member independent bookstores had increased 27% since 2009. E-book sales are actually now on the decline, while the sale of physical books is on the rise. To what do we attribute this trend? While many readers love the feel, convenience, and dare I say, the scent, of printed books, another reason for the uptick in the popularity of independent bookstores, appears to be the need for human connection. In an age when so many interactions have become automated, people crave more face to face interaction with other people. Many of our patrons enjoy the library as a destination place – a place to go and be with other people - have a chat, sit in our café area with a cup of coffee, and check out a book (or few) that’s been recommended by a live person! Independent bookstores and public libraries have much in common, the big difference being that at the library, the only reason to open your wallet is to take out your library card!

Which do you prefer? Books, ebooks, audio books? Do you like downloads or do you prefer the physical object? Do you like coming to the library just to be among other humans? All of these choices are yours at the library. Come in and check out some materials, or go online from our website and download materials onto your device. Whatever you choose – keep reading! An educated and informed populace engaged in civil discourse (even when we disagree) is the backbone of our democratic society. The public library, with its free access to both, is still the best place to continue your lifelong learning!

Our brand is books!

Celebrate women's history month

March Is Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month was established by Congress in 1987 to pay tribute to the generations of women whose “commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” (from www.womenshistorymonth.gov)

Some Landmarks in U.S. Women’s History:

1848: The first Women’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott (among others) were in attendance. The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law as well as voting rights for women was signed at this convention.

1872: Susan B. Anthony cast her vote to test whether the 14th Amendment would be interpreted broadly to guarantee women the right to vote. She was arrested and tried in June 1873; and convicted of unlawful voting.

1920: Women were finally granted the right to vote, 72 years after the Seneca Falls Convention. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was ratified.

1923: The First Equal Rights Amendment was introduced. It states: “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” The ERA was sent to the states for ratification in 1972 with a 7-year deadline. It quickly won 22 of the necessary 38 ratifications, but the pace slowed and even with the extension granted by Congress until June 1982, if fell short of votes. The Amendment was reintroduced in July of 1982 and has been introduced before every session of Congress ever since.

1932: Amelia Earhart made the first transcontinental nonstop flight by a woman

1933: Frances Perkins was sworn in as Secretary of Labor, and the first woman in the U.S. cabinet.

1934: Babe Didrikson pitched a full inning for the Philadelphia Athletics (vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers).

1941-1945: Millions of women entered the work force during World War II.

1963: The Equal Pay Act became a federal law, having been proposed 20 years earlier. The law states that employers must pay everyone equally for performing the same job duties regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

1965: The Supreme Court Issued a landmark ruling legalizing the use of contraceptives for married couples. The ruling was extended to include single women in 1972.

1972: Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments. The law requires that schools receiving federal funds provide equal access to educational programs for men and women. Title IX is credited with the growth of sports for women and girls at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels.

1973: Supreme Court established abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. Women were granted the legal choice of whether or not to continue with their pregnancy.

1973: Women-only branches in the U.S. Military were eliminated, integrating women into all branches of the U. S. military.

1978: Employment discrimination against pregnant women was banned. The Act ensures that employment discrimination on account of pregnancy is treated as unlawful sex-based discrimination.

1981: Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman seated on the United States Supreme Court.

1983: Sally Ride became the first American woman astronaut to travel into space.

1984: Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to run for Vice President of the United States on a major party ticket.

1993: Janet Reno became the first woman to hold the office of Attorney General of the United States.

1997: Madeleine Albright was sworn in as the first female Secretary of State.

2009: President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; this law changed the Civil Right Act of 1964 which said that discrimination complaints must be brought within 180 days of the discriminatory act; expanding workers’ rights to sue for pay discrimination.

The Islip Library has many books and some movies about women’s rights and achievements. We have biographies about amazing women of today and women in history for all age readers. You may enjoy watching Suffragette, a 2015 movie in our DVD collection, starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan to get a sense of what American women endured in order to claim their right to vote. Come into the Library to check out our March display of Library materials about Women’s History!

For some great fiction about women's interior lives try these titles:

  • My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  • The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce
  • We are not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  • Someone by Alice McDermott​

NY Times Article Review: “Addicted to Distraction”

I recently read an article in the N.Y. Times, titled “Addicted to Distraction”, written by Tony Schwartz. Fascinating reading!  He shares that reading books has been “a deep and consistent source of pleasure, learning and solace” all his life, and how, to his horror and surprise, he had found himself recently unable to focus sufficiently to actually finish a book! He attributes this lack of focus to an increasing need to check his email and to surf online.

Mr. Schwartz cites some interesting research:

“The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a ‘compulsion loop.’ Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect. Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates.”

Like Mr. Schwartz, I find that the Internet and its seemingly endless and myriad offerings can be the ultimate distraction machine! I too have been a voracious reader all my life and am always, and have always been, in the midst of reading at least one book. Like the author, I had found lately that the pull of email, Facebook, texts, and just plain surfing was beginning to feel like an addiction that was seriously cutting into my reading time! I realized that I had to do something, and fast. The technology that had pulled me in so recently and effectively was my new smart phone. I had been a late adopter of this technology, and its hold on me totally took me by surprise! I decided to take action and promptly eliminated several shortcuts from the phone meaning that if I really want to check something online I am more apt to do it an actual computer, which is obviously not something I walk around with. What a welcome relief!

In the month since I have taken action, I have finished two books. Ahhh. I’m back to my old self and calmer too.

So if you really want to relax, visit the Library, check out a (real) book – put the phone down, step away from the computer, and just READ!

Recently Announced National Book Award Finalists and Winners

Fiction Winner:

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson – six new stories by the author of The Orphan Master’s Son

Fiction Finalists:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – novel about four men, later in life, who had been college roommates

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – the story of a marriage told from the wife’s point of view, and from the husband’s point of view

Refund: Stories by Karen E. Bender – a collection of fourteen stories exploring the impact that money has on people’s lives

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy – novel depicting a half-century of family life on Detroit’s East Side

Nonfiction Winner:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – the author shares personal experiences and history of racial discrimination in the United States

Nonfiction Finalists:

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann – memoir of family life by a renowned photographer

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power – an award-winning foreign correspondent and a madrasa-trained sheikh embark on a yearlong journey through the text of The Quran

Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet explores coming of age and the meaning of home against a backdrop of race, faith, and a bond between a mother and a daughter

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery – a naturalist examines the surprising intelligence, emotions, and various personalities of octopuses

Poetry Winner:

Voyage of the Sable Venus: And Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis – a poetic meditation on the black female figure through time

Poetry Finalists:

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón – poems examining the chaos that is life and the dangerous thrill of living in the world

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay – fast-paced poems of gratitude for all that makes life worth living

Elegy for a Broken Machine by Patrick Phillips – sad and powerful poems that bear witness to the beauty and inevitable losses of life

How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes – stunning poems of home, history, race, music, drawing, family and love

Technology Tips for Teens

  • Always think before you post something on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or text something to your friends. Any pictures or text messages posted circulate and you can’t take them down.
  • When buying a new phone or computer save all your warranties. The warranty states how many years from the time you bought it and can get your items fixed or replaced. So keep your receipts.
  • Always unplug your devices. If you leave your cell phone on 24/7 it will cause wear and tear on the battery. Turning your phone off for a little while can save you from having to change the battery.
  • Always log out, and sign off when using computers, or other sites that you need passwords. You don’t wan’t a stranger or friend seeing what you posted.
  • Keep track of your passwords with all your email accounts, library card pins, website usernames. Make a list and write them down someplace safe.
  • Know the difference of different types of websites. So when you are looking things up for school look for domain names ending in:
    • .org = official organizations
    • .edu = educational (universities, research centers)
    • .gov = government
    • .com or .net = commercial sites

Book Buzz

Tired of reading the same authors all the time?

Try something different!

10 books for adults that are getting some buzz right now:

1. The Clasp. Sloane Crosley

The first novel from Crosley, a writer whom comic David Sedaris calls "perfectly, relentlessly funny"… a few old friends search for a necklace (in the present day) that went missing during the Nazi occupation of France.

2. Fates and Furies. Lauren Groff

A literary masterpiece, nominated for the National Book Award…. two viewpoints - one from the wife, one from the husband – in the same marriage.

3. Between the World and Me. Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written in the form of a letter to a black teenage boy - Coates’ own 15-year-old son - the author tries to make sense of the blatant racial injustice that still exists in America.

4. City on Fire. Garth Risk Hallberg

This novel will throw you into the swirling mayhem of 1970s New York City, reaching a crashing crescendo during the blackout of July 13, 1977.

5. I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives.

Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

The letters of two penpals, Caitlin and Martin, that began in 1997. It’s two kids from two different worlds, a 12-year-old girl in America, and a 14-year-old boy in Zimbabwe.

6. Did You Ever Have a Family. Bill Clegg

A first novel, long listed for the Man Booker Prize, about the repercussions of a kitchen disaster in a big house in Connecticut on the night before a wedding.

7. My Brilliant Friend. (1st of the 4 Neapolitan novels) Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is the pen-name for an Italian novelist whose true identity is unknown. Her Neapolitan novels - series about two perceptive and intelligent girls from Naples trying to create lives for themselves within a violent and stultifying culture - are producing an almost “cult-like” following!

8. Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War. Svetlana Aleksievich

Svetlana Alexievich is the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature. This work of nonfiction is about the Soviet dead who were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins (hence the term “Zinky Boys”), while the state denied the very existence of the conflict.

9. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. Jenny Lawson

The author explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. It’s an “hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety.”

10. Submission. by Michel Houellebecq

An award-winning novelist explores the theme of Islam in current French society in this satirical novel. “A comic masterpiece.”

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