Friday, August 22, 2014

Olney Book Club Undeterred by Summer Storms

summer thunderstorm with lightning flashing
Olney's summer storms were almost as intense as this one! 
Photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Although thunderstorms had been predicted, it was not raining at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, when the Olney Evening Book Discussion Group gathered to discuss the book Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.  But no more than a few minutes had passed, when thunder roared and lightning cracked.  We had just begun to skim the surface of Cleopatra’s fantastic life when all but the auxiliary lighting went out in the library. 

Sitting in almost darkness, none of the seven members was willing to leave the discussion of Cleopatra, the woman whose “palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue.”  As the room turned to total darkness, several of the members took out their smart phones and turned on their Flashlight Apps.  The meeting continued, illuminated by 21st century technology, until the library closed. 

Cleopatra, who died in 30 BC, and had a traditional Greek education that included Herodotus and Thucydides, instruction in the art of speech-making, and spoke nine languages, would have been, nonetheless, impressed. 

-- Contributed by Joan Stricker, Olney Evening Book Club Member

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

History Comes to Olney Library

The Olney Library will be taking a trip back in time on August 13 at 10:30!  Donna Will, Mistress of Woodlawn Manor Museum, in Sandy Spring, will present an interactive hands-on history program entitled "Woodlawn's Wagon", in period costume. A spinning wheel demonstration will be included as she weaves a tale of life in the past, circa 1800...and the mystery of the Underground Railroad.  Old time toys will be demonstrated as well.  This is for ages 5 and up.

For those who want more history, Woodlawn Manor is a 19th century brick manor house with a stone barn, slave log cabin, dairy/smokehouse, general store, carriage house, and gazebo garden surrounded by extensive  meadows, trails, ponds and streams. You can get more information at

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014)

Walter Dean Myers speaking at Library of Congress
Myers was the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress. 

Readers everywhere lost a gifted storyteller and literacy advocate with the passing of Walter Dean Myers on July 1. One of the first African American writers to break into the teen publishing market, Myers found inspiration for his stories from his growing up years in Harlem, NYC. In his most popular books—such as Hoops, Fallen Angels, and Sunrise over Fallujah— young people cope with and triumph over the most difficult of circumstances. Although Myers did not shy away from gritty topics, his stories were often ultimately hopeful and emphasized courage, perseverance, and character.

Myers' books earned prestigious literary awards, including the Newbery Honor Award (for Somewhere in the Darkness and Scorpions). His screenplay-style novel about a young man on trial for robbery, Monster, won the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature. Myers also wrote about Americans who inspired him; his biographies of Dr. Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali can be found at the library. To find more books by Myers, please check our library catalog and visit the display of his works in the teen area of the Olney Library.

Myers also told his own story in Bad Boy, describing the path that led him from high-school dropout to beloved author of more than 100 books. Growing up, he found solace in reading fiction and poetry, and was encouraged by a favorite high school teacher to develop his writing. Meeting venerable author James Baldwin was another turning point.  Susan Katz of HarperCollins spoke of Myers' writing gifts on the publisher’s website: “He wrote with heart, and he spoke to teens in a language they understood.” He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spanish books are here!

You asked, and we have responded!  Due to the many requests we received, the Olney Library has just added Spanish Language books to our collection.  For children, we have picture books for the youngest, popular fiction, and nonfiction to help with homework assignments.  Some titles are in both Spanish and English.  For adults, we have both classic and popular fiction, as well as nonfiction books on many wide-ranging topics.
Come in and take a look!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Young Voyager Go!Kit on "Bridges"

Not too many libraries offer telescopes, microscopes, Legos and mini I-pads for children to check out, but  the Olney Library offers  these and more!  Olney’s  “Go-Kits” will awe and astound Olney’s littlest scientists and explorers.  Olney is among the first libraries in the Montgomery County Public Library system to provide “Go! Kits” to our youngest patrons.  These kits are part of our commitment to providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) resources for all Montgomery County students.

“Go! Kits” are backpacks, each with a special science-oriented theme, that may be checked out for two weeks.  Each kit contains a mini I-pad preloaded with librarian-selected apps  that are fun and educational.  They also contain books and special educational toys for a true hands-on scientific experience.  For example, the Go! Kit on “plants” contains a cross-section model of a flower!  The Go! Kit on the” solar system” contains a telescope!  The Go! Kit on “robots” contains a Lego Rescue Robot!

These kits are designed for two ages.  Our “Little Explorer” kits are for preschoolers to second grade, and include kits on insects, dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more.  Each  includes early literacy info and I-pad apps to help your child develop reading and writing skills.  Our “Young Voyager” kits are for grades 3 and up, and include topics such as robots, bridges, weather and more.  Parents will find that the use of these special Go! Kits will help prepare kids for school success (fitting into the Common Core curriculum), while having fun and gaining technical expertise.

Just make sure to return all the parts that came with it, and kits checked out of Olney must be returned to Olney.  These kits are currently also available at Gaithersburg,  Aspen Hill, Noyes, Twinbrook, Silver Spring and White Oak.