Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SweetSearch Search Engine

SweetSearch is a Search Engine for Students. It searches only the 35,000 Web sites that a staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved. They frequently evaluate and improve their search results by increasing the ranking of Web sites from organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, PBS and university Web sites. SweetSearch helps students find outstanding information, faster. It enables them to determine the most relevant results from a list of credible resources, and makes it much easier for them to find primary sources.
The search engine excludes not only the most obvious spam sites, but also the marginal sites that read well and authoritatively, but lack academic or journalistic rigor. As importantly, the very best Web sites that appear on the first page of SweetSearch results are often buried on other search engines.
SweetSearch also provides Ten Steps to Better Web Research to help get you started in your investigation.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Who says people don't read books anymore?

Steve Jobs famously declared "People don't read books anymore" back in 2006, and his assertion has been repeated often enough that it has almost become conventional wisdom. Clearly Mr. Jobs has never met the residents of Hamden, CT. Between June 1st and July 9th this year, 62,302 books were checked out of the Hamden Library. It seems like EVERYONE in Hamden is reading books this summer.

And if you also count audio-visual materials, the check-out total climbs to 84,235. While we're thrilled that so many people our using the library, it has made it difficult for our staff to get returned items put back on the shelves as quickly as we'd like. This can make it difficult for people looking for books, since they can end up sitting on our book trucks waiting to be put away. We hope you bear with us during this busy time, as we do our best to make your visit to the library as pleasant and convenient as possible. We just can't always keep up with you voracious Hamden readers! (Take that, Steve Jobs!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird - 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago, on July 11, 1960 one most influential fiction book was published in the United States: To Kill A Mocking Bird. It never went out of print and still reaches almost a million readers annually. It is the second-bestselling backlist title in the country, and has only been outsold by the novel "The Kite Runner". The reclusive author, Harper Lee, who was in her early 30s when the book was published, never wrote another book. In 1961 it won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1962 an Academy Award-winning movie adaptation was released starring Gregory Peck.

More than 50 events are planned this summer in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD. Harper Lee's hometown, Monroeville in Alabama has a special 50th Anniversary weekend planned.

Article by Maria Puente published in USA TODAY, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

W.S. Merwin - Poet Laureate

W.S. Merwin (born Sept. 30, 1927) is the new, 17th U.S. Poet Laureate.
He is 82 years old and wrote more than 30 books of poetry, translation and prose.

Books by W.S. Merwin in the Hamden Library

Article by Patricia Cohen published in the New York Times

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July Literary Birthdays

Literary birthdays for July include Jean Cocteau, Hunter S. Thompson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, George Sand, Cormac McCarthy, Tom Stoppard, Herman Hesse, J.K. Rowling, and Ernest Hemingway.

July 1 - James M. Cain, American crime fiction writer (1892 – 1977)
July 1 - George Sand, French novelist (1804 - 1876)
July 2 - Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss novelist and poet (1877 - 1962)
July 3 - Franz Kafka, Czech writer (1883 - 1924)
July 3 - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Connecticut-born writer and social activist (1860 – 1935)
July 3 - Tom Stoppard, British playwright (1937 - )
July 4 - Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer (1804 - 1864)
July 4 - Lionel Trilling, American literary critic and essayist (1905 - 1975)
July 4 - Neil Simon, American playwright (1927 - )
July 5 - Jean Cocteau, French writer, artist, and filmmaker (1889 - 1963)
July 9 - Dean R. Koontz, American suspense writer (1945- )
July 10 - Alice Munro, Canadian short story writer (1931- )
July 10 - Marcel Proust, French novelist (1871 - 1922)
July 11 - E. B. White, American essayist, grammarian, and novelist (1899 – 1985)
July 12 - Henry David Thoreau, American writer and Transcendentalist (1817 - 1862)
July 12 - Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet (1904 - 1973)
July 12 - Donald Westlake, American mystery writer (1933 - 2008)
July 15 - Iris Murdoch, Irish-born British novelist (1919-1999)
July 17 - Erle Stanley Gardner American detective fiction writer (1889 - 1970)
July 18 - William Makepeace Thackeray, Victorian novelist (1811 - 1863)
July 18 - Clifford Odets, American playwright (1906 - 1963)
July 18 - Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist (1937 - 2005)
July 20 - Cormac McCarthy, American novelist (1933- )
July 21 - Ernest Hemingway, American writer (1899 - 1961)
July 22 - Stephen Vincent Benét, American poet, short story writer, and novelist (1898 – 1943)
July 23 - Raymond Chandler, American detective fiction writer (1888 - 1959)
July 23 - Hubert Selby, Jr., American novelist (1928 - 2004)
July 24 - Alexandre Dumas, French novelist (1802 - 1870)
July 26 - George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright (1856 - 1950)
July 26 - Aldous Huxley, British novelist and essayist(1894 - 1963)
July 28 - Beatrix Potter, British children's book author (1866 - 1943)
July 28 - John Ashbery, American poet (1927 - )
July 29 - Booth Tarkington, American novelist (1869 - 1946)
July 30 - Emily Brontë, British novelist (1818;d.1848)
July 31 - J. K. Rowling, British children's book author (1965 - )
July 31 - Primo Levi, Italian chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor (1919 - 1987)