Q: “What is Black History Month and when did it start?”
Thank you for your great question!
Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is celebrated in February nation-wide but started as a week-long tribute in the 1920s. The month-long honor officially began in 1976 with a proclamation given by then-US President Gerald Ford. As President Ford stated, “In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers. But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Ever since, each February the U.S. President offers a Proclamation.
Further details about Black History Month is described by the Library of Congress, including its development and mission. The Library of Congress offers a teacher’s guide, images and online collections of resources to help us learn more. An additional excellent resource for educators and life-long learners is from The Smithsonian Education’s site.
Another overview is offered by InfoPlease, a freely available online encyclopedia. According to this resource (and others), “We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson.” A biography about Dr. Woodson can be found on Biography.com’s site.
School-aged children may enjoy Time for Kids. The information about African American History Month includes inspiring stories, biographies, and more.
If you know of any teens/young adults (or are one yourself), you may like the article published by the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association on their blog, the Hub. In this posting dated February 3, 2013, you’ll find titles recommended for teens/YAs and all about African Americans amd Black History Month – with a modern view!
Additional online resources are offered through USA.gov’s site.
Locally, Delaware’s libraries and museums offer a variety of resources online and inside their buildings, and there are a couple of events you may enjoy:
The Hagley Museum offers events and displays, such as showcasing an exhibit by local artist Edward Loper, Sr. throughout the month. A good overview of Mr. Loper is offered through YouTube’s “intheupperroom.”
To top it all off, renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is the featured speaker at the University of Delaware‘s Trabant Center on February 22, 2013. See the University’s site for ticket information and details.
Thank you again for asking your Delaware librarians. We truly appreciate your support of our libraries! Feel free to ask us anytime in person and online through our Ask a Librarian Delaware service – we’re here to help with your questions!
Q: “Is there any difference between a regular thermometer and an electronic [digital] one? Someone told me the electronic ones are not very reliable when trying to tell if someone has a fever. Is that true?”
Thank you for your question about the reliability of digital thermometers when compared to the glass, mercury-filled ones many of us grew up with. It’s important to know if our tools are giving us the right readings!
One of the best sources for finding information about the reliability of certain products is “Consumer Reports”. Our Delaware Libraries offer free access to this popular magazine online and in our libraries. Online, you just need your library card number (located on the back of your library card) and your PIN to log into the “Magazines” area. Once there, you can search by publication or subject to find articles.
For your question, I searched on ‘Consumer Reports’ for studies about the reliability and accuracy of digital thermometers and see that the most recent article is titled, “Hottest fever thermometers” (Nov2011, Vol. 76 Issue 11, p7-7). In this article, the authors identify some discrepancies with digital thermometers but emphasize that it is small. They state:
“The most accurate thermometers were within 0.5 degree of our medical thermometer, and all but one were at least good at repeating a retaken temperature. The exception: the lowest rated Vicks ComfortFlex.”
Further details, including the ranking of a variety of products, are provided on the article available through the Delaware Libraries, and other information about thermometers is freely available on Consumer Reports’ site.
The National Institutes of Health and the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also give excellent information about today’s thermometers. They describe the move from the standard glass, mercury-filled thermometers, how to dispose of these, and what to consider when purchasing an electronic thermometer. If you are looking for a way to get rid of that old standard thermometer, the EPA suggests giving it to your primary doctor since mercury is toxic.
Batteries are another consideration since they can affect readings when low, and like all batteries, need to be disposed of properly. Not all digital thermometers have replaceable batteries, though. It’s just one more feature you may like.
One final bit of information that might come in handy is an article on how to take a person’s temperature (orally), on Drug Information Online’s site. This handy article offers suggestions too, such as writing down a person’s temperature and the time taken to keep a record.
I hope this completely answers your question; please feel free to ask your Delaware Libraries anytime, in person or online using our live, chat library service called Ask a Librarian Delaware. We hope to see you in our libraries and online using our resources soon!
Q: “Is there an easy way to find out when I need to prune, plant, mulch, weed? I’d like a monthly gardening list that I can use online, and need ideas for making my garden great this year.”
There are many great resources for our Delaware gardens and landscapes. Let’s start with the Delaware Master Gardener’s tips, giving ideas for what to do and when to do it by week and month.
Master Gardeners share their expertise through the Cooperative Extension. You can view the Cooperative Extension for Delaware’s information by county, and take workshops that support local learning about plants that do well in our environment, what best grows when and how to diagnose/treat problems and common pests. The CE is committed to sustainable, healthy gardens and landscapes and promotes the knowledge and use of native plants.
On a Federal level, the USDA offers gardening tips per state and region.
It’s not too early to think about preparing for spring planting. Mother Earth News gives month-by-month lists for what to plant each month; the planting season begins with February! Many avid gardeners in Delaware enjoy planning their gardens while tending to their yards and landscape even in January– weather permitting. Indoors, seedlings such as pansies can be started for those early spring cold-tolerant plants.
The Delaware Library Catalog offers many books for planning and organizing year-round planting, pruning, and tending. We find specific resources in print and on DVDs to help motivate and inspire you while you plan out each step of the way toward a beautiful garden. Here are three options:
Before we know it winter will be gone and new flowers and seedlings will be bursting forth!
Thank you so much for your timely question to our Delaware Libraries. We’re happy to help with all your information needs and library questions, whether it’s in our library buildings or online. We’re here to help make your life a little easier!
We regularly receive, and appreciate, the valuable feedback from many of you about searching the library catalog. We agree that searching should be easier, with better ways to narrow down choices. And book and video lists should be easy to create, save, edit, and share.
That is why we are so excited to present the new, easier, and much improved Delaware Library Catalog! Please try it out and tell us what you think! Like all beta products you might encounter a glitch or two, so let us know if something doesn’t seem quite right.
We expect to have text messaging alerts for holds and more soon. And in the next several months, Automatic PIN retrieval. We all forget our PINs occasionally and we are working to automatically have forgotten PINs emailed.
Written on: January 10th, 2013 in Blog Posts
2012 was a great year for Delaware Libraries! The new Dover Public Library opened; Bear, Claymont, Frankford, Greenwood, and Wilmington Libraries all started renovations or new building projects; we began lending eBooks & eAudiobooks; and so much more.
Here’s a look back at 2012 through the top 10 posts on our blog. Some are favorites that appear year after year and some were new in 2012.
Keep following the Delaware Libraries blog to see what we’ll explore in 2013!
Q: “I’d like to find something new to read. Can you help? I have been kind of stuck in a rut with romance novels for light, pleasure reading, but I want to try something else. Where do I start looking?”
The new year is a great time to embrace new ideas and explore different places that good writing can take us. There are many amazing stories that can capture our attention and lead us into seeing the world and everything around us in ways we never thought of. Everyone’s taste is unique, though, and librarians can help you define what it is that may spark your interest beyond what you have normally been drawn to, now that you are ready to explore something new.
To know more about good matches for what you might like, we ask questions about what you have been reading and the specifics — what it is about the stories that you like: the characters? the settings? the way the author unfolds the story? We may ask what kinds of movies or television shows you’ve enjoyed and those that interest you today. Maybe we’ll ask about what it is that interests you in life – do you have a hobby, enjoy mysteries, like light reading or something with a message? Do you like to learn something about the world around us, or are you sparked by a purely made up story, maybe with dragons and elves or beings from another planet? There are so many options, we want to gain enough clues about what direction you’d like to take as you expand into a new literary realm so as to target some exciting ideas.
Once you have a general idea, you can break this into genres: action-adventure, crime, fantasy, Western, mystery, and so on. Within each of these you can find tons of books, so the next step is to consider the setting and style of writing (modern, classic?), and other details.
A common way to find good books to read is through bestseller lists, award-winners, and recommendations from others. The following list some resources for each:
The Delaware Library Catalog features popular and bestselling fiction. The default view is the New York Times paperback and hardback popular fiction. You have other options too, such as popular non-fiction and new books, and children’s books are featured as well. If you click on the book cover image, you are brought to the item within the catalog so that you can learn more about it, and if desired, place a hold (a request for it).
Also provided by the Delaware Division of Libraries is a list of reading recommendations on the Genre LibGuide. This offers a vast treasure of options and ideas, and because it is provided by Delaware Libraries, the titles are directly linked to the catalog for easy access.
2. Award winners
There are many well-crafted stories and recognition for these is often specialized by type. For example, award-winners for mystery books (Poe Award) and for science fiction (Arthur C. Clarke, Nebula, Asimov, and Hugo Awards) are some offered every year. The National Book Foundation offers another recognized award for well-deserved fiction.
3. Reading recommendations
Generally speaking, recommendations from librarians, family and friends are wonderfully prolific and fruitful. We can start with The Readers Advisory Link Farm – a directory of links to reviews, bookstores, and lists. Pinterest is another way to share book recommendations and lists for adult fiction. Another online social place is Goodreads, which is well-loved by many librarians and readers who share their own suggestions.
I hope this helps you with ideas for exceptional books for the coming year. Please feel free to ask a librarian anytime you want to find a good book to enjoy, whether it’s a print book, an audio version, or ebooks. We’re glad to help and love treasure hunting for books and information anytime! You can visit us in person or log on to chat (Ask a Librarian Delaware). We truly appreciate your service!