Monday, August 24, 2015

Olney Reads: Siblings' Summer Sci-Fi Picks

Readers:  Pratham and Arnav 

Books: Xenocide by Orson Scott Card and
The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

Brothers Pratham and Arnav holding up their favorite summer books

Looking for some high-octane adventure for the last few days of summer? Rick Riordan and Orson Scott Card never disappoint, and they come highly recommended by brothers Pratham (age 11, at left) and Arnav (age 12).

Xenocide is book 3 in the classic series featuring videogamer "Ender" Wiggins, who ends up battling real aliens instead of animated ones. The series began with Ender's Game.  Pratham likes these books because "they have lots of action -- it's a little bloody!" Pratham explains further: "The stories always have an unexpected twist. They were recommended to me by a friend and they pulled me into reading." Pratham enjoys horror books, too.

Arnav, Pratham's older brother, also enjoys a good thrill ride when reading. He is reading The Serpent's Shadow, book 3 in the popular Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan. Says Arnav, "The author is a great writer and he has multiple series, so I can always find something fun to read." Arnav enjoys adventure and Egyptian mythology. He can't get enough of the battles between the book's protagonists (who are also siblings) and the gods and goddesses who wreak havoc on their world.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Take part in the "Great Fines Read Off" Program

Calling all children and teens—
Do you have fines on your library card that you'd like to remove? 

If so, come to Olney Library (or any MCPL library branch) to read them off!

Reading an e-book in the Teen Section

For each half hour that you read, earn $1 “Library Buck” to pay down your fine. You can read any book, magazine, or e-book.

Before you start, stop by the Information Desk to sign in and log your start time. After you’ve finished reading, come to the Info Desk to sign out and pick up your earned “bucks.” Then bring them to the Checkout Desk to pay down your fine. It’s that easy!

Young children can earn “Library Bucks” if they read to a parent or caregiver, or if a parent or caregiver reads to them.

If a teen or child reads to another young person, both earn “Library Bucks” for their time!

Please note:
  • The program is for children or teens 17 years old or younger
  •  All reading must be done in the library
  •  Only fines for overdue books and unclaimed hold fees may be read down
  •  Children or teens must have fines at the time of participation-- bucks cannot be banked for future use. 

Stop by the Info Desk if you have any questions. 

While the "Great Fines Read Off Program" runs year round, you can stay cool this summer by reading at Olney Library… see you soon!  

Enjoying a summer read at the library

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lancer Takes a Break; Coming Soon: Brutus!

We're so lucky that Lancer, a friendly German Shepard, and his mom, Ellen, visit Olney Library each week! Children line up each Thursday to have the opportunity to read to Lancer, who is a trained therapy dog.

He is affiliated with National Capital Therapy Dogs, Inc., a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that provides animal-assisted therapy to many people.

Beginner readers love reading to Lancer, who is gentle, warm-hearted, attentive, and always enjoys a good story, along with a good belly rub!

Sometimes, he follows along with the reader

Other times, he sits down to listen more carefully...

But he always loves to give kisses for a job well done!

Now that it's summer, Lancer will be taking a vacation from his duties at Olney. He and his family will be relaxing and enjoying summer activities like traveling, playing in the yard, and visiting friends.

Thank you, Lancer, for coming each week to visit with Olney readers. So many children have developed confidence in their reading and enjoyed spending time with you. We can't wait to see you again in the fall!

Olney Library's favorite dog, Lancer, with Librarian Heather Wright (left) and his mom, Ellen Agler

While Lancer is on summer break, we're so pleased that Olney Library will have another cuddly canine companion, Brutus, who will help children practice their reading and improve comprehension skills. Starting this Thursday, Brutus will be at the library from 3:30 - 5 pm on the following dates:
  • June 25
  • July 2, 9, 23, and 30
  • August 6, 13, 20, and 27
This program is recommended for children in the first, second and third grades, and no registration is required. Please stop by this summer to meet Brutus!

See more pictures of Lancer here; photos of Brutus coming soon.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Join us for the 2015 Summer Reading Program, Every Hero Has a Story!

You can stop by the library or sign up from home at this link.
All children and teens (to age 17) can participate. Teens should use the "I want to create a profile for myself" link when registering.

Librarian Valarie Hoover wearing her Summer Reading t-shirt with a visitor at Olney Days

Every child or teen who signs up will receive a voucher for admission to a Frederick Keys or Bowie BaySox baseball game. Stop by the Info Desk to learn more and pick up a voucher, badge book and first Superhero Badge! You can get more badges when you read 2, 4, 6 and 8 books.

Additionally, when kids have read and logged 4 books on the site (and again at 8 books), they will receive a prize and be entered into a raffle. Teens will receive prizes after reading 3 and 5 books.

Learn more about the program here:

We’re also presenting some exciting programs this summer:

Tues, June 16 at 4 pm: Reptiles Alive (for ages 3 and up)
Wed, June 24 at 10:30 am: Uno Dos Tres Con Andres (for all ages)

Wed, July 1 at 2 pm: Super Quack and Library Dragon (for ages 3 and up)
Thurs, July 16 at 11 am: Sciencetellers Present Super Heroes (for ages 5 & up)
Wed, July 22 at 10:30 am: Mr. Gabe (for all ages)
Mon, July 27 at 7 pm: Maryland Agricultural Fair (for ages 3 and up)

Tues, August 11 at 11 am: Eric Energy in Science Spectacular (for ages 3 & up)

T-shirts will be available for sale before and after each program.

Showing off their bookmarks at Olney Days

To introduce this year’s Summer Reading Club, we participated in “Olney Days” in May and had an awesome time. Kids of all ages stopped by to decorate bookmarks and learn about this year’s program. Check out more photos here.  

See you at Olney Library this summer!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meet Olney's New Branch Manager, Barbara McClayton!

Barbara started her career with Montgomery County Public Libraries more than twenty years ago as a part-time children’s librarian at Olney. Since then, she's served many roles in the system, such as Librarian II and Senior Librarian, at branches across the county, and in the Administrative Offices in Rockville. Most recently, Barbara was the Branch Manager at Chevy Chase Library.    

Barbara at the New Books Display!

Welcome back to Olney Library! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been a librarian for most of my adult life. I’ve worked for Montgomery County Public Libraries for over 20 years. It’s great to come back to Olney. The first time I worked here I could carry my son on my hip; now he’s 23! So it’s a little bit different. The building is gorgeous, and I’m still seeing some of the customers I served when left about six years ago.

What are some of your memories of Olney Library when you started in the 1990s?   

When I came to Olney we had two Information Service desks: one in the children’s area and one for adults, and staff didn’t work at the opposite desks. Now we train information staff to serve all customers, from children to seniors. I think that makes it easier for our customers. 

Barbara, circa 1994

In what ways has Olney Library changed, or stayed the same?

The biggest change in Montgomery County Public Libraries is in the way we use technology. We use it in the way we serve our customers and in the way we communicate with each other. For example, when I first worked at Olney, we communicated with notes and paper memos. Now we rely on email. We had a big reference room with all kinds of books. To keep them up-to-date, publishers released annual supplements. Now we have databases that can stay current.

In the 1990s we did very traditional preschool programming. Preschool storytime was for children ages 3-5. Children attended by themselves; it was meant to be a “first independent experience.” MCPL has embraced the idea that parents and caregivers are the first teachers, so we want them to attend our programs to learn more about how to promote early literacy. We also expanded our early literacy programs to younger and younger children. Now we also include STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) elements in our programs.  

Promoting Olney's "Money Smart Week" activity

What do you like best about the new eco-friendly building?

I LOVE the windows—the great big windows— they let in so much light. I think the shape of the building and the way it soars to the sky is just breathtaking, as you’re coming down the road.    

Are there programs you’re looking forward to working on or bringing to Olney?

I’m looking forward to looking at what the community needs. I think we need to look at the demographic profile of our community. We need to consider the people who are "aging in place." People who were parents when I was here the first time are now in “seniors” category, and seem to be staying in their homes. We also have additional residential areas for seniors here, and both assisted living and independent living, that we didn't have when I left. And Good Counsel High School opened right after I left, so we have more private schools and public schools in our service area that we need to serve. I plan to spend the first year learning about the community and evaluating the programs and services we currently provide.

Helping a customer at a public computer 

We know you are an avid reader, often reading several books at once. Do you have any recommendations?

I think the book I read in 2014 I liked the best was a book called “Stella Bain.” It’s a slim book. Anita Shreve is the author, and she’s one of my favorite authors… I really like her a lot. This book very much surprised me, because it wasn’t one of her characteristic books. I liked it because it dropped you into the middle of the story, and then you have to solve the puzzle. So even though it was a slim volume, it made me think. 

I am a cookbook collector. I particularly like cookbooks that groups made, although lately I’ve been collecting a lot more vegan and vegetarian ones for my family. I read them more than I cook from them, because I think they give you a window into the community. If a church, a synagogue or a school does a cookbook, it’s very interesting to see what the eating habits for those communities were, and the different ethnicities and what they bring.  

I read a lot of fiction. I still bring home non-fiction, though. I just read the new Laura Ingalls Wilder autobiography. It’s a really big coffee table book, it’s very interesting, I had a lot of fun with that, because I read the Little House books when I was a child and shared them with my own children.

I try to at least look at everything that wins a prize, although a lot of years I don’t get through all of them.   

Answering calls at the Info Desk

Can customers find you at the Information Desk?

They can find me throughout the library! I like working on the desk, and I try to go on the floor all the time, to walk around and see what’s going on. Today I walked around the outside of the building to see what that was like… I try to be on the desk at least an hour every day, maybe two, so that I can see what customers really want. I really like questions and that’s why I became a librarian.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’m thrilled to be back, I’m already having fun! I hope that I can work with the staff to make the library experience for our customers just stellar here in Olney. 

Thank you, Barbara!  We’re glad to have you and your wealth of knowledge and experience back at Olney. 

An upcoming post will highlight some of Barbara's favorite books, reference tools, and DVDs.