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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Digital Conversion Service at SBPL

Summer nights were always a nice time to set up the projector with its 8 mm reels of past vacation fun. We’d gather all the available friends and family around the big white screen, cook the Jiffy Pop, pour the punch and spend the evening laughing at each other.

Of course that was more than 30 years ago!

Watching home movies with the family today is still a fun way to get together for a few laughs, but whatever happened to those films from 10, 20 or more years ago? Not sure? Maybe the 8 mm films are in a cardboard box at the back of your shoe closet. Perhaps, the video cassettes are stacked on the top shelf of the coat closet with the rain ponchos.

Having an old formats does not need to be a death sentence for your home movies.

First, locate them in your home. Then bring them to the South Brunswick Public Library on Saturday, March 31 for its Memory Media program from noon to 3 p.m.

Innovative Document Imaging representatives will discuss how to transfer content from old media formats to the current in a free informative program. A percentage of any business you do choose to give IDI will benefit the Friends of the Library. The Friends use donations to support Library programming.

Hiring someone to convert your films to disc can be a lot simpler and quicker than trying to figure it out on your own. Home movies are not something I would want to risk my money or my learning curve on.

Enjoy your family then and now by converting your old formats. Use IDI and you will also be helping out the Library.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good Flicks You Might Have Missed…

by Jill Eisner, Sr. Librarian

For those of you who like my taste in films, here are some more of my favorites from our collection.  Let me know what you think!
The Hoax
Starring Richard Gere, Alfred Molina. In the 1970's, pathological liar Clifford Irving managed to fool a major publisher and LIFE magazine into thinking he was writing an authorized biography of Howard Hughes. Irving and his best friend and partner, Dick Susskind, go to extreme lengths to pull off the hair-brained scheme. The more outrageous the lies they concoct, the more believable they become and the more money gets thrown at them. Inspired by the unbelievable true story of the man who faked the authorized autobiography of Howard Hughes and nearly pulled off the media scam of the 20th century. 2006 R.  Comedy/Drama.
Bottle Shock
Starring Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine. For connoisseur Steven Spurrier (Rickman), there's no finer art than French wine, despite rumors that the new California wine country holds the future of the vine. Positive the small Napa wineries are no match for established French vintages, Spurrier challenges the Americans to a blind tasting. But when he finds the valley full of ambitious - and talented - novice vintners like Jim Barrett (Pullman) and his son Bo (Pine), he realizes his publicity stunt may change the history of wine forever. 2008, PG-13. Comedy/Drama.
Ghost Town
Starring Tea Leoni, Aasif Mandvi, Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais. Bertram Pincus (Gervais), an irritable dentist, develops the ability to see needy ghosts. Pincus ends up in a spirited love triangle when one particular ghost tries to trap him into breaking up his widow's impending marriage. This movie had me laughing out loud non-stop throughout the movie. 2008, PG-13. Comedy.

This Week I Discovered ... Cold Antler Farm in Upstate New York

South Brunswick Public Library ... Your Guide to Discovery...

Like many great journeys of discovery, this one began at the Library.

It was my great pleasure this past weekend to highlight a personal three-year journey of discovery that began at the South Brunswick Public Library and led me to an Urban Homesteading workshop by author Jenna Woginrich in Upstate New York. The self-taught farmer hosts workshops at her farm throughout the year. She'd rather be knee-deep in farm work than office work, but for now she needs a leg in both to keep the farm afloat.

In the meantime, she continues on her own journey of discovery, frequenting her local libraries and book stores to learn more about: organic gardening, country music, sheep, horses, chickens, rabbits, fiber crafts, archery, cooking, and more! Tables and shelves throughout her kitchen and living room overflow with how-to books.

Her life exemplifies the connection between one motivated person and a world of resources that can help make dreams come true ... Jenna's dreams, and to some degree mine as well.

It was my chance discovery of her first book Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life on the 640 shelf at SBPL that connected me to this young author and her blog. The word "handmade" caught my eye. It implies frugality and independence, traits I admire. I enjoyed the book and picked up some new ideas for pancakes, bread, and needle crafts. Jenna always seemed so busy learning new things in the book that once I finished it I was curious to read her blog to continue to see what she would do next.

She did just want she set out to do. Jenna got a farm. After several years of relocations and rental adventures, she finally ended up getting what she came for... her own farm property, Cold Antler Farm. Here she continues on her journey of discovery, hitting the books as well as the barn, and then shares her experience with others in her workshops.

The Urban Homesteading workshop I attended was a fun, full day of learning. Jenna started out by giving the dozen of us (some from as far as Virginia) a tour of her farm, introducing us to her sheep, rabbits, poultry menagerie, horse, honeybees, and raised garden beds. We learned about gardening and then went into her kitchen to make bread and mozzarella together.

Throughout her patient and humorous coaching, one point was made clear again and again ... no matter where you live, whether the city or country, farm house or apartment, you can find ways to craft a more handmade life.

To learn more about topics such as greener living and self-sustained living, check out the 640 section of the Library's shelves. To learn more about Jenna Woginrich, read her books: Made from Scratch (available at SBPL), Chick Days (available at North Brunswick Library), and the newest release Barnheart. Between her time at the office and the farm, Jenna is currently at work on a fourth book and continues to blog about life at Cold Antler Farm.

By Rosemary Gohd, PR/Marketing

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dig Into Gardening With An Online Universal Class from South Brunswick Library

Does spring weather make you wish to get your hands dirty in the garden? Is your neighbor's garden the envy of your eye? Have you always wanted to start a garden but just were not sure how to start? The easiest way make this decision is to take a class that will guide you step by easy step through the process of deciding what kind of garden you wish to start, where to place it, how to be certain that the soil is ready and good for growing, how to know what to plant and where to plant it.

Basic Gardening will take you from the basic plant parts, and why they are important all the way to the production of fruit. You will discover the importance of having good soil, and what that means, and how to correct it in your yard. The gardener's best friend is the composter, and the beginning gardener needs to understand just what composting is and why that is such an important skill. Becoming more aware of the ecology of our world and how we can work with it rather than against it is a very important lesson.

You will also learn about plant hardiness and planting zones; about the most important date in a gardener's life: the date of the last spring frost. You will learn about plant propagation, the proper care of seedlings, and how to care for newly transplanted additions to your garden. You will even learn how to repel pests and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. Basic Gardening is a class to give the novice gardener all the basic information necessary to begin the most popular U.S. hobby to date: gardening.

Introduction to Gardening is just one of the many courses hosted on UniversalClass™. Enroll today! Each course is uniquely authored and instructed by a devoted expert in their field . The online courses are instructor-led and self-paced. You have 6 months to finish any course on our service. If you need more time to complete a class, you may easily renew your subscription for continued and uninterrupted access.

Universal Class can be found on the library's web page by clicking on the Database link.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Attention All Veterans and other Job Seekers

Having trouble finding a job now that you have left military service?  Eileen Levine, a career counselor from the Williamsburg Group, will offer a two-day Job Seeker Workshop for Veterans returning to the workforce. This is a two day class on March 13 and 14 from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
On the first day, the class will focus on how to write a resume, how and where to submit your resume, and how to follow-up after a resume has been submitted.   On the second day of class, you will learn some interview techniques to get the best result and how to avoid mistakes in the interview process.

Bring paper and a pen and plan to take notes.  Attend both days to get the most benefit from the information offered.

This program will be geared toward persons with recent military experience returning to the workforce, but is open to the general public. Registration is required; seating is limited.  Register online on the library event calendar at or call the Information Desk at 732-329-4000 x7286.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Reference Books You Should Know About

Now is the time of year when many of the almanacs, directories and annuals are updated.  We have just gotten several new titles in that are currently at the Information Desk, but will find their way to the Reference Collection shortly.

There is a new 2012 Time Magazine Almanac full of fun facts to know and tell, and a good companion book, the Sport’s Illustrated Magazine Almanac of sports facts and trivia.  If you are planning to try out to be on Jeopardy, these are great books to memorize!  Roger Ebert is still compiling his Movie Yearbook and the 2012 edition is out just in time for the Oscars. 

The business directory for the Building and Construction trade is The Blue Book and the 2012 issue has just been released.  They also have a website at  This is a yellow pages type directory and the edition we have is for Central and Southern New Jersey.  If you are planning any home improvements this spring, you may want to consult this directory for contractors and building products.   

There are several business directories that are often overlooked in favor of Internet based listings that concentrate on New Jersey based businesses.  These resources include a lot of useful data if you are looking for a job or if you are looking to do business with a company in the state.  The first one is the 2012 Harris New Jersey Manufacturer’s Directory.  The listings in this valuable resource include contact information like phone, fax and toll-free numbers, addresses and websites but it also gives the names of the top executives, the number of employees, the date the company was established, its estimated sales figures and its parent company if it is a subsidiary location in NJ.  The directory is divided into six sections including geographic listings by town and county, alphabetic listings and SIC listings making it easy to use. 

Another business information directory that has just arrived is published by NJBIZ.  This is called the Book of Lists – 2012 and includes some very interesting information that would be hard to find anywhere else, but you may not think of looking in here either.  There are two Tables of Contents – one by category and one alphabetically by the name of the list.  The first section, List Leaders, is a “Summary list of No. 1 companies on NJBIZ in 2011,” a great list of places to start your job search particularly when you are just starting out.  The lists that have been compiled and included are divided into categories such as Banking and Finance, Education, Energy, Heath Care and Pharmaceuticals, and Real Estate to name a few and cover a wide range of information and rankings.  For instance, there is a section called Employment that includes lists of the “Best Places to Work in N.J.” for companies in two size categories, CEO Compensation and the Largest Employers in the state.  There is a Miscellaneous category that includes among others a list of the Best-Selling Automobiles, the Highest Paid Athletes and the Wealthiest Large Municipalities.  This might be a good directory to browse through at your leisure to see what is included so that you might know what kinds of information is readily available.  You never know when you might want a list of the Casinos or MBA programs in our great Garden State. 

The American Diabetes Association publishes The Complete Guide to Diabetes and the 2012 edition is out.  This should include the latest research about the disease and any new information you might need to live comfortably with the disease. 

Another great book that is out in time to make summer plans is Summer Jobs and we have just gotten the Worldwide 2012 edition.  This little directory lists summer job opportunities around the world.  They may be jobs in the tourist industry, such as working in hotels, campsites, resorts or for sports and activities holidays; working in agriculture; teaching in schools and summer camps; and working with children.  The directory also has a nice introduction that gives useful information about the type of work available and how to apply, including how to create the perfect CV to submit. 

One of my favorite resources on the Ready Reference shelf has always been the Statistical Abstract of the United States and the 2012 edition is out which will include data from the 2010 Census.  If you need to know any statistical information about the US and/or many countries, from population to military expenditures and manpower and everything in between and this is the book where you can find it!  It is well indexed, but a word of warning; the numbers in the index are the table numbers, not the page numbers.  All of the statistics are given in table form with a description to follow.  The source of the statistic is listed in the fine print below the table. 

Don’t forget that there is still a lot of information, vetted and reviewed, that can be obtained the old-fashioned way in a book with covers, a spine and actual paper pages!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet Janet Campisano - New Trustee

Janet Campisano may be a new face on the Board of Trustees at South Brunswick Public Library, but she certainly is not new to the Library or the community.

“I have always enjoyed its services,” said Ms. Campisano, referring to story hours, movies, yoga classes, and other programs she and her family have enjoyed over the years.

While she and husband Anthony Campisano raised their two daughters Katie and Emily, Ms. Campisano became an active volunteer in the South Brunswick schools and community. The Kendall Park resident served on the Brunswick Acres PTO, Project Graduation for South Brunswick High School, and the Township Environmental Commission.

Ms. Campisano graduated from Rutgers University and attended Columbia University, where she studied psychology before going to work in social work and later advertising.

She is currently on the Affordable Housing Commission. Her husband Anthony Campisano has a New Brunswick law practice and serves as an Assistant Township Attorney in South Brunswick.

In her spare time, Ms. Campisano is a certified home decorator, enjoys hiking and the outdoors, and loves reading, especially historical fiction. One of her favorites is Herman Wouk’s Winds of War. She last read Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank.

While she enjoys coming to the Library for its books and programs, Ms. Campisano also gets a particular homey feeling here.

“It’s a very comforting atmosphere.”

Her father Morris Segal was a regular Library visitor each week as was her uncle the famed artist George Segal. He served on the Library Board of Trustees

A world-renowned artist/sculptor, George Segal is known for being part of the Pop Art Movement, alongside artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

His sculpture Couple Against a Grey Brick Wall was gifted to SBPL through the George and Helen Segal Foundation in 2007. The life-size creation is located in the Library’s main lobby.

“He was a wonderful gentleman,” recalled Ms. Campisano, remembering her uncle as a kind, intelligent, and down-to-earth type of person despite his notoriety. The artist passed away in 2000.

Having a Segal sculpture in our lobby makes the Library part art museum, along with equal parts community center and information resource. She feels it is imperative that the modern Library’s role be to stay current with advancements in technology and information sharing.

“It’s an important niche in our community,” says Ms. Campisano. “I am very excited about being given the honor of serving as a Trustee on the Library Board. The South Brunswick Library has so much to offer to the residents, and I am proud to assist with keeping our library a great place, as well as, helping to make it an even better place.”

By Rosemary Gohd, PR for SBPL

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kindles and Cookies

As I wrote the title above, it occurred to me that I could be talking about either the "cookies" that are stored on your computer OR cookies that you eat...

Still life with Kindle.

OK, today, we're talking about edible cookies:  Almond Macaroons from the cookbook 500 Under 500, From 100 Calorie Snacks to 500 Calorie Entrees by Lynette Rohrer Shirk -  which I got from the South Brunswick Library's e-book collection FOR FREE on the Kindle Fire.

Free e-books are available from our Library, and more's the better - some of them are cookbooks.  (Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?)

(Go to our website, click on "download audiobooks.e-books" and follow the directions from eLibraryNJ.  If you need help with this, call us at the Reference Desk - 732-329-4000 x7286.  I found the most cookbooks - 53 of them - by searching on Quick Search, then e-books, search term either "cooking" or "food".)

So this morning before work - I know, I have a lot of energy! - I whipped up this easy recipe using a Kindle.

What I found using a Kindle vs. a print cookbook:  
E-Reader Advantages:

- no need to hold down the page to keep it open.
- small, portable and light - I could take LOTS of cookbooks with me on vacation! (What, I can't be the only one who loves to cook on vacation...)

E-Reader Disadvantages:

- harder to "leaf" through to get an overview of the book.
- fragility:  would dropping on egg on a Kindle be the end of it?

I really did love cooking from the Kindle, you can change the font size in a jif, you can easily bookmark your pages, plus the brightness of the screen makes it easy to read. Cooking from the Kindle: like being in the Futurama exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair.

Now, as for the cookbook, I didn't love it.  Lynette Shirk's recipes are not very precise, and I think a novice cook would have difficulty interpreting the terse directions.  Also, there's not a lot of personality exhibited in this collection; I like a cookbook with a personal point of view.  Shirk has written nine cookbooks, worked as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, worked for Williams Sonoma, and attended culinary school, but you would be hard pressed to divine that from this tome.

The macaroons themselves are easy to throw together if you have all the ingredients. (I know, who has candied orange peel and ground almond meal on hand?  Me!)

Actual cookies on left, e-cookies on right.

Almond Macaroons adapted from 500 under 500

2 egg whites
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
3/4 cup ground almonds (can buy this at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup candied orange peel
1/4 cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
 In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until foamy.
On a large cutting board, mix the ground almonds and the orange peel together and chop finely.
Add this mixture and all the remaining ingredients to the the egg whites in the bowl and mix well.
Portion out 16 balls from the batter, and place on cookie sheet (this is easiest with a 1 inch size ice cream scoop if you have one - definitely a time saver!)
Bake 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Peel cookies away from the paper.
Yields:  16 macaroons, 117 calories each.

The cookies tasted half like a coconut macaroon and half like an almond cookie, but the best part was the candied orange peel - a very nice addition that gave the cookies an unexpected flavor boost.  Great with a cup of tea.

As for the computer cookies, I may try and work up a computer class regarding internet security to offer at the Library - check out our Event Calendar in the upcoming months for this and other computer classes I'll be teaching - including using the Internet, Gmail, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

And take out some electronic books from our Library on your mobile device (including your smartphone) or computer, and bring your cooking into the age of the e-book.  By the way, you can take out 5 e-books, and additionally put 5 e-books on hold at any one time, and the books expire automatically so they will never be overdue!

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Cookie and Computer Aficionado