Category Archive: Blog

Gardening Series: Prince George Master Gardeners Offer Tips at Prince George


Canning Workshop – May 20
One last chance to participate in the Prince George Master Gardeners Series of classes at the Prince George Library.

 The series continues with:

  •  May 20 – Canning

 The workshop is scheduled at  6:30 –  7:30 p.m. The class is free but registration is required. Please call the Prince George Library at 804-458-6329, extension 3700 to register.

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SnapshotVA: A Day in the Life of Your Library

snapshot_VA_button_large1On April 29, 2014, the Appomattox Regional Library System will capture a slice of life in all of our libraries. Snapshot Day encourages library customers to comment on what their library means to them.  Please visit your favorite branch and be a part of Snapshot Day by participating in a program, checking out a book, or using a computer. While you visit, please fill out a Snapshot comment card telling us what you did at your library.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Titanic Presentation at the Dinwiddie Library


In time for the anniversary of its tragic first and only  voyage,  “Titanic: The Hometown Connection” will tell the story of the ill-fated liner and her connections to the region, presented by Jeanie Langford. The program will be at the Dinwiddie Library on Thursday, April 11th at 7 pm and is free to the public. Ms. Langford will provide information on Robert W. Daniel, “The Master of Brandon,” and his escape from the sinking ship along with his first wife Mrs.Lucien P. Smith, who was also a Titanic survivor. Attendees will also hear about local connections to the Olympic (the Titanic’s sister).

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Best on the Web – Save Energy, Search in the Dark

If you’re like me, you rely on Google every day for information. The Google search engine processes millions of searches daily, and every time a user searches, they start from the iconic Google homepage with its bright white screen and colorful logo. But did you know that a bright white screen requires more power to display than a black (or dark) screen? In 2007, a blogger proposed that a black version of Google could save 750 Megawatt-hours of energy each year. (A megawatt-hour is the equivalent of ten thousand 100 watt light bulbs burning continuously for one hour.) In response to the blogger’s proposal, Heap Media created Blackle, a “lights out” version of Google that uses the same search engine so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality or comfort of your searching style. I enjoy Blackle because it not only reminds me how important it is to make greener choices, but I find the black screen and muted text to be easier on my eyes. Blackle creators acknowledge that the energy savings are small, but, in time, they all add up.

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Best on the Web – Fun & Learning Activities for Families

Children need to be physically active for at least thirty minutes a day. features simple games and activities to help you get active with your child and have fun doing it! Photo courtesy

If your New Year’s resolution is to prepare your child for success in school, the Library of Virginia has a new online tool to help. is an online family literacy calendar, activity guide, and resources. Each day the website suggests brief and entertaining activities to develop early reading skills, an electronic picture book from the TumbleBook Library, and a short animated video for families to watch together. The site also provides links to other great online resources. For parents and other caring adults, there is information on health and safety, craft ideas, links to free eBooks for children. Coming soon are links to your community public library and family-friendly activities.

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Best on the Web – Schoolwork Made Simple

This is the year you’re going to turn in assignments on time. This year you’re going to know what’s due, when it’s due, and what you need to do to get the A. This year you have Soshiku, a simple but powerful tool that helps you manage your high school or college assignments online. Soshiku keeps track of when your assignments are due and can even notify you of upcoming due dates via email or on your smartphone. The best part is it’s totally free. Soshiku is very user-friendly, enabling users to categorize classes and assignments, track progress, upload files, and save notes. As a student you will often be asked to work with other students. Soshiku makes this easy as it simplifies the task of working with other people by giving you a variety of ways to connect. It’s possible to use Soshiku to chat, share files and collaborate on group projects.

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“Salvage the Bones” wins National Book Award

This debut novel by Mississippi writer Jesmyn Ward deals with an African-American family living in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. The Batistes have plenty of problems. Dad is an alcoholic, suffering with the memories of his dead wife. His children, Randall, Skeeter, Esch, and Junior, are all troubled by that same event, except for Junior, who was born the day she died. They are living a life of poverty, and pinning their money making dreams on China, their special Pit Bull who is carrying pups.

Esch is the narrator. Her secret is that she is pregnant too. Ward paints a delicate picture of why Esch has made her choices and how she tries to keep her secret.

Through it all, Daddy is obsessed with the hurricane that crossed Florida and is brewing up in the Gulf. Trying to get the truck fixed up, Daddy has an accident and loses a finger. He mutters about them not having enough food, not having enough water. But there is too much going on for his kids to listen to him, too much interpersonal drama. Then Katrina becomes the biggest character of all, roaring over the land, tearing down the trees, pushing water to the door, to the window, and up to the attic where they huddle for refuge.

Think of this as sort of a smaller, less ambitious “Grapes of Wrath.” Like that classic dust-bowl novel by Steinbeck, it’s about the have-nots of the world sticking together for survival in a world that doesn’t much care about them. Like most National Book Award fiction, this novel is hard hitting and gritty and told with a literary “voice.” After returning it to the Hopewell Library, I put it on the display shelf labeled “Best Books of 2011″- because I think it belongs there.

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Best on the Web – Read & Download Books for Free

Image courtesy of Open Library

The name says it all: Open Library is a digital library that offers free access to a collection of 1,000,000+ eBooks. The project began in 2004 with the goal of creating a web page for every book ever published, in effect establishing the most comprehensive catalog of the written word. Users can choose just how they want to read by selecting from a variety of online versions suitable for PC and Mac, Kindle, and DAISY for print-disabled readers. One of the highlights of Open Library is how easy it is to search and find just the book you want. Browse by subject, search by title and/or author, and view multiple editions of the same title. Like Google Books and Project Gutenberg, the majority of Open Library’s collection is comprised of Public Domain works. That means you won’t find new bestsellers on this site, but you will find popular classics that are standard reading in most high schools and colleges. Classics are great for browsing and research as well.

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Shari’s Nonprofit Pick: A Breath of Reality Air

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

by Jim Collins


The author of the renowned worldwide bestseller Good to Great is at it again. And, again, he produces a work worth reading. Great by Choice is based on nine years of research by a team of over 20 researchers, distinguishing itself from Collins’s other books “by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today.” With all the talk about vision, innovation, and risk-taking, it may surprise readers that those factors don’t seem to be as important as discipline, empiricism, and even paranoia in making great leaders. In a nonprofit world determined to be more business-like yet often equally determined to be led by many who enjoy speaking abstract gobbledygook, this book offers a lifesaver. If you, like many nonprofit leaders, are tired of navigating rough waters and fear being sucked away by a theoretical vortex, you need to read this book. Check it out.

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Shari’s Nonprofit Pick: Social Media Galore

Did you miss our Social Media conference last week? You may want to read one, or several, of the following books to help you shore up your social media savvy! Check them out.

30 Days to Social Media Success by Gail Z. Martin

Content Rules by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman

The Digital Handshake by Paul Chaney

The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Lynn Aaker

Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe

The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko

Social Media for Social Good by Heather Mansfield

This is Social Media by Guy Clapperton

Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz-Ortiz

We First by Simon Mainwaring



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