Oak Harbor Library Blog

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Many Kinds of Minds

Dr. Rita Peterson was the speaker at last Thursday's Friends of the Library program. A neuroscientist, Dr. Peterson has worked through the years with nationally renowned pediatrician and author, Mel Levine (A Mind at a Time and others). She discussed recent brain research and neurodevelopmental studies, and had some fascinating stories to tell. Babies' brains, for example, are completely open to all language sounds up to about 7 months. After that they begin to specialize depending on their culture. Babies growing up in Japan develop their center of language on the right side of the brain, as opposed to English speakers whose language center develops on the left side! Even as we age, as long as we participate in lifelong learning, our brains and our minds continue to grow and expand. Dr. Peterson emphasized how important it is to exercise all the areas of the brain using higher order cognition, language, memory, temporal sequential thinking and social cognition. If we limit our activities to only one or two of these, our faculties will begin to diminish. When asked if reading constitutes good exercise for the brain, she gave an emphatic "Yes", and especially when combined with other functions. Join a book club, read, discuss with friends, talk about what you learn, and keep your brain strong and healthy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oak Harbor Teen Ramblings

Last week I went to Safeway to pick up a cake I had ordered for a reception. As I was walking out of the store a teen who was sitting with 3 of her friends at the outside table said, "I know you - you work at the library." I replied that I did and she said, "that's so cool. I have a question for you: exactly how many manga books do you have?" Not knowing the exact number, I just said, "lots - almost every other book in our teen section is manga." One of her friends chimed in with, "wow!" Then one of the boys at the table mentioned that he had just moved here and thought the Oak Harbor library was really small. I asked where he had moved from and he said, "Seattle - I used to go to the main library and the one here is just tiny!" I agreed that it was when compared with Seattle's downtown building but told him that he should think of it as being more like one of Seattle's neighborhood branches and that we were part of a much larger system. I also had an opportunity to let them know that the library was having an anime film festival during the December school break, which rated another "cool."

Yesterday a teen inquired about the Teen Advisory Group. I explained that we were just getting the group started, some ideas of things the group might do (help plan programs, give suggestions about the teen collection, help with a library blog or myspace page, etc.) and that he could earn community service hours by participating. He took 3 applications (1 for him and 2 for some friends) and then shared that he had recently applied for a squire position at the library. After puzzling about this for a few seconds I said, "Oh, you mean one of our page jobs?" And he said, "that's right - I always get the name confused!" Well, I personally love the idea of having teen "squires" at the library to help out - maybe our teen advisory group will become our squires!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

On the shelf: WWII history

Looking for something to jog a veteran's memories? Here is just a sampling of titles currently available at the Oak Harbor Library:

Memories of World War II : photographs from the archives of the Associated Press / foreword, Bob Dole ; introduction, Walter Cronkite ; New York : H.N. Abrams, 2004.
940.5302 Memorie

The war years : a chronicle of Washington State in World War II by James R. Warren.
Seattle, Wash. : History Ink : University of Washington Press, c2000.
940.537 Warren

World War II on the air : Edward R. Murrow and the broadcasts that riveted a nation by Mark Bernstein & Alex Lubertozzi ; Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks MediaFusion, c2003. This book includes a CD narrated by Dan Rather with more than 50 actual wartime broadcasts.
B Murrow Bernste

A pictorial history of the World War II years by Edward Jablonski ; maps by Rafael Palacios.
New York : Doubleday, 1977.
940.53 Jablons

World war II : a photographic history by David Boyle. Metro Books, 2000.
Previously published: New York : Barnes & Noble, 1998.
940.5302 Boyle

WWII : the people's story by Nigel Fountain, general editor ; [foreword by Mike Wallace].
Pleasantville, N.Y. : Reader's Digest, c2003. Also includes a CD Documentary of real people telling their own unforgettable stories.
940.53 WWII

Check out these titles and more in the library's online catalog.

Veterans History Project in Oak Harbor

Beginning this month, Oak Harbor Library staff has been privileged to record World War II veterans' and civilians' stories for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). The stories will be contributed to the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, and may also be podcast on Sno-Isle Libraries website at http://www.sno-isle.org/

The mission of the VHP is to collect and archive personal recollections of U.S. wartime veterans to honor their service and share their stories with future generations. The project also collects stories from homefront civilians who worked in support of our armed forces.

Last Friday library staff emerged from the first interview in tears after listening to the stories of Leo Hymas, a WWII veteran who was present at the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp. Later they laughed and cried in turn with Helen Chatfield-Weeks who, at the tender age of 15, became the pin-up girl and sweetheart of Navy flight crew on the U.S.S. Lexington. The Lexington, a 33,000-ton aircraft carrier, was in the Pacific when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and took part in the U.S. Navy's first wartime operations. A target of Japanese carrier planes, the Lexington received two torpedo and three bomb hits and, in May of 1942, became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to be lost in World War II. Helen's picture nearly went down with the ship, but was rescued and returned to her mother years later.

If you or someone you know would like to record stories from the WWII era, please contact the library for a biographical data form and to set up an appointment . We encourage every veteran to participate, and will be profoundly honored to record the stories.