Monday, November 10, 2008

One Book One Community at Lancaster County Prison

Community reading is a liberating experience at the Lancaster County Prison.
For the past six years, One Book, One Community book discussions have been happening at the Lancaster County Prison. GED students were asked to read this year’s One Book selection, The Grace That Keeps This World by Tom Bailey in preparation for the scheduled book discussion, led by Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer, Community Relations Manager for the Library System. The informal discussions centered on the community book have been very popular in the past and this year was no exception. This year’s title The Grace That Keeps This World, a story set in the Adirondack community of Lost Lake, is a powerful narrative about the shared values that underlie and sustain human relationships. Ultimately, it is a tale of profound loss, human fallibility, and the love—romantic, neighborly, or familial—that can sometimes blur our line of vision. The story also explores the relationships between a father and his two sons. Each year, the insights that the prison students share during the book groups have been impressive. Many of the students begin an interest in reading while being incarcerated. As one student said, “I have lots of time on my hands right now and reading helps to pass the time.” During one the discussions, a student compared the main character of the novel with his grandfather who was a strict but loving man, “Before my grandfather died, I didn’t tell him that I loved him…I wonder if he knew. All of us (grandchildren) still remember his lessons.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hero of the Year?

Fellow mobile librarian, Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the founder of Ethiopia Reads, has been named a CNN Top Ten Hero of the Year. You can vote for Yohannes to be named the Hero of the Year over here:

The Ethiopia Reads website can be found here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Mascots- Mr. Pink and Ms. Pink

Mr. Pink and his lovely sister, Ms. Pink, have been with us for years now and it is beginning to show. Most of the time they just hang out there on the dash, looking ugly. Occasionally, they get pressed into duty as a prop for story time. In their most heroic roles they comfort little ones who are frightened by the whole bookmobile experience. Despite their humble origins as footwear, Mr. and Ms. Pink are noted advocates for literacy and education. I like to tell people that Mr. and Ms. Pink are perfect examples of what is possible when you stretch yourself.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can you say Nerd Fighters?

Breaking news! I have been told by very credible sources that the world-famous Nerd Fighters are coming to Lancaster. That's right! Hank and John Green will be coming to Lancaster on November 11, 2008 where they will be making a special public appearance at Conestoga Valley High School at 6:30 p.m.

Go visit the Nerd Fighters at their website. Be sure to RSVP for this event through the links in the left-hand column.

You can also see information about the tour at John's website.

While you are at it, you can go to the library and check out John's books,
An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Catalog Upgrade - My Reading History

I see you doing it. Lots of you. You stand there looking at the shelf with a small notebook, or even a 3-ring binder where you log the books that you have read. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me if I can tell them if they've already read a book (no, I can't).

But, now, we are making it easier for you to keep track of your own reading histories.

Those of you who use our online public access catalog (OPAC) will note the new look rolled out today. I'd like to draw your attention to the "Help Center" menu on the right hand side of the front page. There you will find a link to "My Reading History." By activating this feature, you can keep track of every book, movie, or cd that you check out with your library card. The list is strictly confidential. It can only be activated by you and accessed with your password and PIN.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What do Curious George and the Bookmobile Have in Common?

We were both at the Ephrata Parade on September 24, that's what.
He wanted to drive, but his license had been revoked so...

...he just chilled on the back of his ride.

Later on C.G. decided to sign a few autographs for his many fans. Who knew he could even write?

We were joined by the hard working crew of youth who passed out 6,000 copies of a special edition of the Ephrata Public Library Newsletter and about 50 pounds of candy. Parents, here's a secret. Your kids will work for pizza!

New Flikr Photostream

We are moving our photostream to a new location. While you are there be sure to add us as a friend. Pictures from the old photostream will eventually be migrated, but for the time being can still be viewed here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mobile Libraries of the World

If you have ever been tempted to complain about the availability of books on the bookmobile you might take a moment to read this article about the donkeycart library in Ethiopia.

Healthy Lancaster

Another radio spot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Student Resources @ Your Library

Listen to our new radio announcement!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ain't WEB 2.0 Grand

For those of you ahead of me on the Web 2.0 curve, please understand that I am old enough to remember typing papers in college on an IBM Selectric.  So for me to figure out how to post a blog via email (which I am currently doing) and have that blog digested and sent to a mailing list by email, and to have done it myself is amazing.  I know, it’s not the Starship Enterprise, but it is still cool.

New Email Digest Function

Please  forgive me for doing some experimenting in public.  While Bookmobile 2.0 has been less active over the summer, we expect to begin more actively publishing soon.  The purpose of this post and the next post is to test out an email digest of our blog that I have been toying with.  Thanks for your patience.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Visual Representation of our Library System

courtesy of, this represents the permanent text features of the front page of the Library System of Lancaster County.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Health Information

If you've ever tried looking up health information on the internet, you know how difficult it can be to locate reliable information from trustworthy sources. Happily we have a new tool for you, the Library System of Lancaster County Health Information Network. The Health Information Network is a Public Library initiative in partnership with Lancaster County Hospitals/Health Care Providers and United Way of Lancaster County that is designed to provide reliable health information to Lancaster County residents in a variety of forms.

I am also pleased to announce that Bookmobile staff member Becky Hynicka is now a certified Consumer Health Information Specialist. Becky has completed specialized training in where and how to find the best information, evaluating the accuracy and reliability of information sources, and researching alternative medical information. Those of you who know Becky also know that she goes the extra mile for our customers. If there is information about health issues you need, please be in touch.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Landis Valley Museum Passes @ your library

The Library System of Lancaster County is pleased to announce the addition of the Landis Valley Museum to its successful Family Museum Pass Program!

The Passes are available at all sixteen public libraries in Lancaster County and the Bookmobile. A Pass may be checked out with a library card for one week and is good for free entry to the museum for up to six (6) people, one of whom must be an adult.

Landis Valley Museum---a living history village and farm---collects, preserves and interprets the history and material culture of the Pennsylvania German rural community from 1740 to 1940 and enhances understanding of their successful practices, interactions with others, and the impact on the state and nation for citizens of and visitors to the Commonwealth. The Landis Valley Museum located at 2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, PA 17601. The museum is open daily. Hours are 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday and 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on Sunday. To learn more about Landis Valley Museum and their educational programs please visit their website.

Family passes to the North Museum of Natural History and Science in Lancaster and the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia are also available.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Catch the Reading Bug!

Catch the Reading Bug @ the Bookmobile this Summer!

Are your children and teens looking for something to do this summer? The Library System of Lancaster County has the answer with their 2008 Summer Reading Program. “Catch the Reading Bug” is the children’s theme for the 2008 Pennsylvania Summer Reading Program; while “Metamorphosis” is the teen theme. Both programs begin on June 1st and will run until August 9, 2008. Programs will focus on the science of bugs and insects, as well as the theme of insects found in stories that appeal to youth. The PRINCESS from Dutch Wonderland will also return for special storytelling programs. From tots to teens, young people will enjoy fun-filled activities offered at public libraries throughout the county beginning in June and running until mid-August.

Highlights for this year’s library programs

Miss Spider Storybook Costume Character

kicks off the Summer Reading Program the first week in June!

Bugs and Moose Out on the Loose!

Tom Sieling presents a very participatory family program for all ages—He accompanies himself on guitar, banjo, harmonica and a drum machine!

Books and Bugs and Really Weird Slugs

Join Award-winning Pennsylvania children’s author Anthony D. Fredericks for a rip-roaring and exciting storytelling program. Be prepared for lots of fun!

Share This World with Jim Rule

Join Parent’s Choice Award winning recording artist and teacher when he performs his toe tapping tunes that will have both young and old smiling and singing along!

Anansi Catches the Storytelling Bug

Lancaster County’s own Kids and Cultures presents a mixture of storytelling and with audience participation – find out how Anansi becomes the Storytelling Bug!

The PRINCESS of Dutch Wonderland

shares her love of reading when she visits local libraries to meet all the lords, ladies, princesses and princes of Lancaster and read her favorite stories!

Beyond Bugs!

The North Museum of Natural History & Science presents an interactive program complete with learning stations, specimens and more!

From Edible Insects to The Good, The Bad and The Bugly!

Join staff from Shuts Environmental Center for their many hands-on bug-exploring library programs!.

The 2008 countywide Summer Reading Program is open to children and teens of all ages. Program components include 3 levels: Read Aloud Program (birth-5 years), Elementary Reading Program (ages 6-12), and the Teen Summer Reading Program (ages 13-18).

In addition to the Library System’s sponsorship, this year’s Summer Reading Program sponsors include: McDonald’s Restaurants, The Strasburg Rail Road, Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park, Country Barn Farm Market & Greenhouses, Harrisburg Senators, Lancaster Bowling Proprietors Association, Rita’s Ices, Isaac’s Restaurant & Deli, and the Lancaster Ice Rink.

Last year over 16,121 youth participated in the summer reading program, while nearly 13,142 children and adults attended the 652 programs offered by the county’s public libraries. Contact your local public library for more summer reading program information and to register for these programs and others or visit our website at for more information about these summertime happenings!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Burma Relief: Where to send your donations

As the scope of the tragic loss of life in Burma is becoming more evident, you may wish to make a contribution to relief efforts. Interaction provides a list of organizations planning Burma relief efforts. While there, take the time to look at their "guide to responsible giving."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You Know You've Had a Busy Stop When...

Wild Thing feels right at home in the Bookmobile

The warehouse where we park is strangely, deathly quiet this morning. The light from the overhead florescent bulb flickers. Is that a thump? A moan? Coming from the bookmobile? Do I dare open the door? Yes, I do! Careful, now. Careful. Aaugh!

Oh, You again. Wild Thing try to behave.

Don't miss your chance to see Wild Thing this month @ your local public library

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ingenius Amish

I was running late and hoping to make up some time. Traffic had slowed to a crawl. What on earth was going on? Finally, the long line of traffic ahead of me cleared and I could see what the hold up was. A buggy with a box at least the size of a queen sized mattress strapped on top. Trust me, I wasn't the only one gawking. My camera was handy to I snapped this pic while waiting for my chance to pass. (I do not recommend this for non-professionals!)

Yesterday, the was a picture I did not get and wish I had. A curious parade pulled into the lane where we were parked. Leading the way was Sadie on a scooter. Behind her was her husband in a motorized wheel chair. Hitched to the chair was a wagon in which a little boy and a little white dog happily rode. On the back of the wagon was attached a "slow moving vehicle" triangle. I asked Sadie if her husband would have trouble pulling the wagon back up the hill. She just laughed, "oh, he's pulled much bigger wagons up that hill already!"

John J. is 95

Bookmobile customer, John J., recently turned 95. I'm impressed but he isn't. His comment: "Whoop-de-doo, I lost a screw!" The bookmobile had a special birthday gift for John J. All the books he cared to borrow, for free! You can come by anytime for your special birthday gift, too. We wish John a great year!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meet Ms. Joan

We've been busy. With the gracious support of the county commissioners, the bookmobile schedule will be expanding its services this year to Saturdays and evenings. In February, Ms. Joan joined our team of happy bookmobilers to help carryout the expansion. Besides bringing a steady hand to the wheel, Ms. Joan brings with her years of experience as an educator and a passion for people and for reading. We think she's a natural.

View From My Window

Flying the Amish Flag

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

View From My Window

Historic homes on the town square in Marietta, PA. See the Bookmobile there on the 3rd Wednesday of each month starting at 2:15 p.m.