Monday, November 16, 2015

Great Books + Good Conversation = Fun

“I thought [the group] was very friendly and made me feel welcome.” 
-first-time attendee

“I like it because we all read the same book but we all have a different idea about what the book is about… and opinions about how it’s written and whether we liked it.”   
-Gail P.

Are you an avid reader who’d like to discuss books—characters, themes, plot points, writing style, etc.—with like-minded readers in a friendly and respectful environment?  If so, Olney’s book discussion groups may be for you!

We have three active groups at Olney:

  • Evening Book Discussion Group:  meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7 pm 
  • Daytime Book Discussion Group: 1st Tuesday of each month at 1:30 pm 
  • Jewish Book Discussion Group:  1st Sunday of each month at 3 pm 

There’s no need to register, just stop by the library to pick up the book selection before the meeting date. Each group has a volunteer facilitator; all members can suggest titles for future book lists and have the opportunity to lead a discussion. Depending on your time and interest, feel free to attend any (or all) of the groups!

To learn about upcoming book selections, please visit MCPL Olney branch’s Calendar of Events (bottom of page) or call us at 240-773-9545. The Jewish Book Discussion Group focuses on books by Jewish authors or with Jewish themes, but is open to everyone who’s interested.

The Daytime Discussion Group, a spirited and dedicated bunch of readers!

The Daytime Book Discussion Group has been meeting for many years, with a core group of regulars and new members who attend each month. Being part of the group enriches members’ reading experiences, and they look forward to gaining new insights and unexpected perspectives, and seeing friends, new and old. Said member Rosalie G., "I enjoy having the book discussion because it allows me to think more deeply about the books that I’m reading… It’s interesting to hear other people’s opinions about the same book.” 

This past month, the group read “The Burgess Boys” by Elizabeth Strout. “Some people liked it and some people hated it. That’s what makes the discussion so interesting and so much fun,” said Rosalie. Of recent books read by the group, Gail said she liked “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown (read as part of the “One Maryland, One Book” program, sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council). “I liked the history part of it, and I learned a lot of interesting things that I had not been exposed to.”

We hope you’ll consider joining your fellow book lovers for illuminating discussions each month!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Scavenger Hunt a Big Hit

How lucky to have a firefighter and regal queen in one family!

We were excited to have a great turnout at the Olney Library's "Halloween Scavenger Hunt." 40 kids of all ages stopped by to test out their skills. Costumes were optional, but we saw a great variety of them! Some popular ones included characters from the movie Frozen, as well as ninjas, a butterfly, and the ever-popular superheroes and witches. Olney was graced by at least 10 princesses on October 31. Participants in the scavenger hunt used their observation skills to find items hidden in the library, then reported back to the Info Desk for a prize. Congrats to all who completed the hunt!

A ninja and beautiful princess!

Cat in the Hat and Olaf from Frozen

Picking out a prize after finishing the hunt!

Pokemon's Pikachu and tiger

Staff enjoying Halloween, with a zebra and bride

Another princess and Minnie mouse

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We Practice Speaking English and Spanish at the Olney Library! Practicamos el Habla Español e Inglés en la Biblioteca de Olney!

Are you interested in practicing your English or Spanish-speaking skills?
If so, Olney’s Conversation Groups are for you!

The groups are for beginner to intermediate-level speakers. Join residents of all ages in a friendly and welcoming environment to practice conversing in English or Spanish.

No registration is required; just show up at the scheduled time listed below.  Each group is facilitated by a native English or Spanish speaker.  And, every class is an opportunity to learn from fellow learners— from different backgrounds and cultures— and have a fun time practicing a new language!

The English Conversation Groups take place each week at the following dates/times:
Sundays at 1:30 pm
Mondays at 7 pm

You are welcome to join one or both English Conversation groups.

The Spanish Conversation Group meets on:
Tuesdays at 6:30 pm

We hope you will join us! / ¡Esperamos que se una a nosotros!

MCPL Librarian Ruth Enkiri (left), with English Conversation members from Colombia, France and Korea

Members of the Spanish Conversation Group always have a great time practicing their Spanish with facilitators Maria Elena Cintrón (center left) and Mary Hermann (center right)

Did you know?
…you can learn languages for free at MCPL?  Learn over 70 languages online through Mango Languages and eight languages through Muzzy Online for kids.  MCPL also has audiobooks and e-books to learn languages “on the go.”  TumbleBooks offer children’s e-books in French and Spanish.

If you’re looking for books in print, browse our book collections in eight world languages:  Amharic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.  Learn more from MCPL’s “Shout Out” blog post on Language Learning!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I love Billy Stewart...

I love Billy Stewart.  I want you to love Billy Stewart too.  I love him because if his voice were a fabric, it would be velvet.  I love him because if his music were a day, it would be the most mellow of May days.  He hailed from Washington D.C. and enjoyed modest success in the 1960’s.  He wrote and sang jazzy, soulful music, with a distinctive scat-singing style.  Tragically, he died way too young in a car accident in early 1970.  Now, a few decades later, his music can be somewhat difficult to find. 

Not a problem though if you have a MCPL Library Card.  Simply go to our website at, let the Books/Movies/Music tab drop, and click on Music.  Scroll down to the American Song resource:

and you will be prompted to enter your library card number and PIN (if you don't know your PIN is your 4-digit birth year). Billy Stewart can be found by entering his name in the search bar. Listen.

-Carol R

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Coming This Fall: Nature and Environmental Programs

As anyone in our region knows, fall is a wonderful time to play in the garden, watch wildlife, take photos, or simply enjoy the changing palette of the trees. But would you guess it's also a great time to learn about nature at the library?

This Sunday, September 27, at 2:00 pm, we welcome back Master Gardener Susan Bell for Landscaping Tricks of the Trade:  Design and Maintenance Tips for Your Garden. A professional landscape designer, Susan will explain how to create healthy gardens while keeping maintenance safe, simple, and affordable. Her slide show has dozens of garden ideas. Audience members can ask questions and get advice about their own garden and landscape challenges.

Please join us for this free educational program made possible in cooperation with the Montgomery County Master Gardeners.
fall foliage and landscape
A lovely fall landscape in the foreground complements the surrounding terrain. Photo by Susan Bell.
The Master Gardeners of Montgomery County's website is a great place to find answers to questions about everything from planting raised-bed vegetable gardens to making your roses less appealing to hungry deer.

Master Gardeners are trained volunteers of the University of Maryland Extension office who are dedicated to helping the citizens of Montgomery County. You may reach them by phone or email, or visit them at the many plant clinics and other events they host around the county.

The Olney Library would like to thank the volunteers from the Master Gardeners who have helped us bring high-quality programs to the public over the past year, including Susan Bell, George Willingmyre (who presented a trees program last fall) and Judy Termini, who finds all the volunteers for us. 

Stay tuned for a November program on medicinal herbs at the library. Check our online calendar of events for nature and science related programs throughout the year. Or view the list of upcoming events on the Olney Library webpage, just below the featured blog article. Happy autumn!