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Science Slam brings fun learning to local youngsters

There is something fascinating about science, as Mark Twain once said. But the problem in the U.S. is that too many children are either frightened of science or not getting enough good leaders to inspire them to explore our physical world.

In fact, a 2009 study of 34 countries — both poor, undeveloped ones and the most wealthy like America — show that U.S. students ranked 17th in the world in science. Experts say our young people’s mediocre scores in study after study have a huge negative impact on our economy. Stanford University projects that if the U.S. boosts our average scores by 25 points over the next 20 years, there would be a gain of $41 trillion in the U.S. economy over the lifetime of a generation born in 2010.

Kristine MacNeill, our youth services librarian, wants to do her part to make science fun for our youngsters to learn. That why she organizes a free, hands-on event called “Science Slam” at the library on the first Friday of every month for kids in the fourth to sixth grades, from 2–3:15 p.m.

“Get Trackin!” is the theme of the program for tomorrow afternoon (Friday, Feb. 3). With help from Lynne Stinchfield, Kristine will help the kids identify which animal has passed by — by its tracks, its scat and its feeding patterns. Making a plaster track, a rousing game of Track Bingo and — if we’re lucky enough to get some new snow — looking at fresh tracks will round out the program.

A maximum of 12 youngsters can attend each session. Pre-registration is required to be sure we have enough supplies for everyone.

Lego Club

“Ships” is the theme of this month’s Lego Club, a free event on the second Saturday of every moth for kids aged 6–13. Legos are provided. Just bring your imagination next Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10:30–11:45 a.m.


If you are not aware of all the free e-book opportunities available for our patrons through your library, please read the Oct. 27, 2011, Library News column, which you can find on our website by clicking on the News & Events box in the left column of the home page.

Large print

“Death Benefit” by Robin Cook is a medical thriller.

“Sleepwalker” by Karen Robards is a mystery featuring a female police officer.

“D.C. Dead” by Stuart Woods is the latest in the Stone Barrington mystery series. “A Devil is Waiting” by Jack Higgins is the latest in the thriller series featuring Sean Dillon, General Charles Ferguson and the rest of the British Prime Minister’s “private army.” “Locked On” by Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney is the latest in the thriller series featuring Jack Ryan. “The Hunter” by John Lescroart tells of a man who was never interested in his birth family until he gets a text message asking “How did ur mother die?” “Moonlight in the Morning” by Jude Deveraux, set in a small town in Virginia, is the first novel in a romance trilogy featuring three women who have known each other since college. “Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta” by Carole Nelson Douglas is the 23rd mystery in the series featuring a slightly overweight black cat named Midnight Louie. “Breakdown” by Sara Paretsky is the latest in the V.I. Warshawski mystery series.

Mysteries and thrillers

“Break Down” by Sara Paretsky is the latest in the mystery series featuring V.I. Warshawski. “Believing the Lie” by Elizabeth George is the latest in the Inspector Lynley mystery series. “Locked On” by Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney is the latest in the thriller series featuring Jack Ryan Jr. and Sr. “Private: #1 Suspect” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro find the investigation firm’s director the number one suspect in a murder. “The Hunter” by John Lescroart tells of a PI who never was interested in his birth parents until he gets an anonynmous message asking, “How did your mother die?” “A Devil Is Waiting” by Jack Higgins is the latest in the thriller series featuring General Charles Ferguson and Sean Dillon. “Love in a Nutshell” by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly features a woman hired to spy on brewery employees in Michigan.

Other new novels

“The Nine Lives of Christmas” by Sheila Roberts features an orange cat named Ambrose. “Lothaire” by Kresley Cole is the latest in the Immortals After Dark vampire series. “The World We Found” by Thrity Umrigar tells of four university students in the late 1970s who reconnect after 30 years. “The Lost Saints of Tennessee” by Amy Franklin-Willis is the story of a Southern working-class family. “Wildflower Hill” by Kimberley Freeman is a sweeping romantic story of two women set in isolated rural Australia. “The Swinger” by Sports Illustrated writers Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck explores the life of a married golfing icon with an overly active sex life. “Need to Know” by James Grippando follows a young financial advisor and his girlfriend who uncover a conspiracy reaching from Wall Street to the halls of government.

How-to and self-help

“The Steve Jobs Way” by Apple executive Jay Elliot explores the management and leadership principles of the Apple founder. “Cent-sible Homemaking: An Adventure in Frugal Living” by Jean Clark offers practical tips for comfortable living on an uncomfortable income. “Agewise” by Margaret Morganroth Gullette lays out plans to fight ageism and make possible the real pleasures and opportunities promised by our new longevity. “Smart Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link shows how leaders and enterprises are prospering in our low-trust world. “Victims No Longer/second edition” by Mike Lew is a guide for the millions of men on the path to recovery from sexual child abuse.

Other nonfiction

“El Narco” by journalist Ioan Grillo, who has spent a decade in Mexico covering the drug war from the front lines, describes Mexico’s drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the past decade, to the great detriment of the United States. “Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World” by Michael Lewis investigates the tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the world between 2002 and 2008 through the lives of real people who experienced it. “The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity” by Jeffrey D. Sachs offers not only a searing diagnosis of our country’s economic ills, but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. “Millennial Momentum” by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais explores how those born from 1982-2003 will change our country from education to entertainment, workplace to home, business to politics.

Thanks to our donors

For her donation in gratitude to Doris Milan, we thank Carole Howard. For books and materials this week, we thank a number of anonymous donors.

Quotable quote

“You weed a library the way you weed a garden. You can’t have a library with books that are out-of-date, ugly and incorrect.” — Retired teacher Verne Oliver, 89, who has spent almost 25 years transforming dozens of librarians in underprivileged New York City schools.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — visit our website at

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