Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 National Book Award Finalists Announced


The National Book Foundation has just announced the finalists for the 2014 National Book Awards! There are five finalists in the Young People's Literature category, which is made up of books for elementary up through teen readers.  Check one out today!


Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer
Best for middle school readers and up

Into the jungle. Into the wild. Into harm's way. When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night. Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job. Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.


The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, by Steve Sheinkin
Best for middle school readers and up

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.


Best for high school readers and up

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that. The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars. Oh well, you only live twice.


Revolution, by Deborah Wiles
Best for upper-elementary grade readers and up.

It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They're calling it Freedom Summer. Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.


Best for upper-elementary grade readers and up.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Have you already read any of these books? What did you think? Which one would you choose for this year's National Book Award?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Unlock More Free E-Books with OverDrive Advantage


Did you know that, if you're a Watertown patron, you have access to extra e-books and e-audiobooks?

You may already know about our OverDrive service, through which you can download e-books and e-audiobooks directly to your devices for free. Tons of different items are available to everyone with a Minuteman library card through our Digital Media Catalog. And while our physical library closes each night, our digital media is always available to you, 24 hours a day.

OverDrive Advantage makes this service even better. Just like our regular books, when an OverDrive item is checked out to another patron, it is not available to anyone else until it is returned. Through OverDrive Advantage, the Watertown Free Public Library purchases additional copies of super popular items that are only available to Watertown patrons.

How do you access these special, Watertown-only items? Sign in with your library card! When you open our Digital Media Catalog, click the "Sign In" link at the top right of the page. Enter your library card number and PIN. The catalog will automatically know from your card number that you are a Watertown patron, and will make additional titles available to you!

Once you're logged in as a Watertown patron, you'll see that some titles have a special icon indicating that extra copies are now available to you because of OverDrive Advantage!


These titles will work just like all the other e-books and e-audiobooks in our collection. You just get more available!

And remember, if you ever have any questions about using OverDrive or any of our other digital products, don't hesitate to ask us! You can call or stop in anytime, you can book an appointment for more in-depth help, or you can find more information on our website.

Happy e-reading!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What is HATCH?


Here at the Watertown Free Public Library, we've got big news! We are very close to opening HATCH,  Watertown's very first Makerspace! It'll be a space in the Arsenal Project (formerly the Arsenal Mall) where residents of Watertown can utilize all sorts of free tools for countless creative endeavors, including 3D printing, electronics, and art.

But what, you ask, does this mean for children?

Introducing HATCH: CR Edition (short for Children's Room Edition)!  On a couple of Thursday afternoons this month, we'll provide a space for kids to explore a variety of tools and materials in an independent manner. This program will remind many of you of our Science Is Everywhere program, and it's definitely helping kids develop their STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math). The big difference is that each project will be much more self-guided, and kids will decide for themselves how they'd like to utilize the materials we provide.

This month's HATCH: CR Edition programs will be for children in grades 2-5, and you won't need to register.  Join us on:

Want to find out more about HATCH in general, and the awesome makerspace we're creating at the Arsenal Project? Stop in and ask or check out our website to learn about what tools will be available, as well as opportunities to teach or volunteer!

We hope to see you tomorrow and on September 18!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Awesome Job Summer Readers!

On Wednesday, August 20, we held our Summer Reading Wrap-Up Party! We started the afternoon with an awesome hula hoop performance with Boston Hoop Troop. Then we had a party, complete with cake, taking home reading logs, banner-making, and prizes.


Also that afternoon, we found out the total number of hours that we all read together this summer.


Congratulations! We did it! We read a total of 3,378 hours, putting us well above our 3,000 hour goal!  And you know what that means...


We were able to donate a goat to Heifer International! Throughout the course of the summer, you read enough to donate a flock of geese, honeybees, rabbits and, of course, a goat! You made a big difference in the world and helped families all over the globe.

So Summer Reading is finished for now, but you can definitely keep reading! We'll keep the Summer Reading books available until school starts, so you've still got time to check out some of the great books on the grade-level lists. And if you haven't taken it home yet, you can stop in anytime during our open hours to pick up your reading log. If you bring it to school with you at one of the Watertown elementary schools, you'll get to participate in a special event for summer readers.

Congratulations to all of you Summer Readers!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Last 3 Days of Summer Reading!


We are so close!

There are only three days left to log your hours for Summer Reading! So far we've read a little over 2700 hours, which means we're super close to our goal of 3000 hours. If we can read and record just a few hundred more hours, then we'll be able to donate a goat to Heifer International, which will help families in need by providing milk and fertilizer. So stop in anytime we're open in the next few days and stamp your log so your reading counts!

In addition to your reading logs, you won't want to miss the fun programs we've got planned to wrap up this year's summer.

Tuesday

9:30 and 11:00 a.m. - Nursery Rhyme Time. Nursery rhymes, stories, songs, and fingerplays for newborns through pre-walkers.

10:15 a.m. - Family Concert with Ben Rudnick and Friends! Ben is an award-winning and acclaimed bilingual musician whose jazzy tempos will get the whole family dancing! For ages 5 and under.

3:30 p.m. - Fizz, Boom, Books! Kids entering grades K-3 in the fall will share science-y books and do an experiment with paper planes.

Wednesday

2:15 p.m. - Boston Hoop Troop and Wrap-Up Party!
THIS is the big event you've all been waiting for! We'll have an amazing hula hoop demonstration with Boston Hoop Troop, then we'll find out how many total hours we've read so far. Do you think we'll read enough to donate a goat? Come on Wednesday to find out! If we make it to our goal, we'll celebrate with some delicious cake.

You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2000 Hours Means: Bunnies!!


Congratulations Watertown readers, you've been reading so much this summer that we've surpassed our third goal!  You've read over 2000 hours - 2,136 to be exact - and you know what that means.  We get to donate rabbits to Heifer International!


In addition to being adorable and sweet, rabbits can be incredibly helpful to families around the world.  It's possible to collect rabbit fur, kind of like collecting sheep fur, and weave it together to make fabric.  Bunny poo is also wonderful fertilizer for crops on a farm.  Plus, rabbits reproduce really quickly, so families who receive rabbits can share their rabbits' offspring with friends, family, and neighbors.  This is a gift that can help an entire community!

Amazing work you guys, and keep reading!  There's only about two weeks left of Summer Reading, and we've still got about 1000 hours to go to be able to donate a goat.  So read, and come in to log those hours.

Haven't signed up yet?  Don't worry, there's still plenty of time to make your reading count.  Just come on in during our open hours and sign up for your own reading log.

Plus, don't forget, on Wednesday, August 20, we'll have our great big Wrap-Up Party at 2:15pm!  We'll kick-off the celebration with an amazing performance by Boston Hoop Troop, a talented hula hoop group.  Then we'll find out if we read enough to donate a goat, and we'll celebrate with some delicious cake.  See you there!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another Reading Goal, and Another Donation!


Great work, Watertown readers!  So far, you've read a little over 1000 hours this summer!  And you know what that means: HONEYBEES!  How does this donation help?  Heifer International will give a hive of honeybees to a needy family somewhere in the world.  Here's how the family benefits from the bees:

  • They can sell the honey, beeswax, and pollen.
  • The bees will help pollinate any other crops they're growing, making their farm more successful overall.



Together, we've made it a third of the way up our thermometer toward our ultimate goal of donating a goat!  So keep reading, and keep coming in to stamp and log your hours.  And if you haven't yet signed up, there's still plenty of time.  Come in anytime during our open hours and start your reading log, and have your hours count toward our collective goals.

Happy Reading!