Oak Harbor Library Blog

Friday, August 29, 2008

What's New for Seniors

Oak Harbor's Senior Center is celebrating its anniversary with a Resource Fair on Tuesday, September 9 from 3-7pm. Sno-Isle Libraries will be there, demonstrating resources for people 50-plus and their families. The library has many services that are especially popular with seniors including:
*Thousands of large print and audio books in many formats
*Book a Librarian - free one-on-one Internet instruction, including how to search the Internet and how to set up an email account. Contact the library to register in advance.
*Resources for genealogy, financial planning and consumer health
*Free book discussions, author events and movies - here's what's coming up in September:

Oak Harbor Library Book GroupThursday, September 11 at 5:30 PM
Discussing Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee. Copies available at the library.
Meet author Phillip Jennings Thursday, September 18, 3:00 PM
The author of Nam-a-Rama and Goodbye Mexico, Jennings is funny and entirely irreverent. Funded by the Friends of the Oak Harbor Library.
Fahrenheit 451 Saturday, September 27, 2:00 PM
Classic film based on the novel by Ray Bradbury.

Join us!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Author, author!

I've been a librarian for more than twenty years, and yesterday I experienced something for the very first time. A young girl, about 12 years old, came into the library and approached me at the information desk. "Can you help me?" she asked. "I'm looking for a book that has lots of old pictures of Oak Harbor. I saw it at the book store. I think it's called A Step in Time."
I knew exactly which book she was looking for: Step Back in Time by Peggy Darst. While it's always a pleasure to be able to help someone, what was amazing was that the author herself was standing over at a computer catalog about 15 feet away. We found the book on the shelf and I asked the girl if she would like to meet the author. Peggy chatted with the girl and her mother for some time. Everyone was thrilled at the happy coincidence.
I just love living in a small town that hosts so many talented authors, artists and craftspeople. Where else can you not only bring books and people together, but also throw in the author for good measure?
Mary C

Friday, August 15, 2008

Invisibility a real possibility?

This is one of those snippets I caught out of the corner recesses of my hearing and filed away to think about later: Scientists have invented a real invisibility cloak like the one Harry Potter wore! I kept thinking I'd hear more, get the facts, find out what it was all about. Eventually, though, I had to dig for it. It's time like this that I feel blessed to have access to such a wealth of amazing information. Here's the scoop:
Surpassing Nature, Scientists Bend Light Backward is the headline Kenneth Chang of the New York Times used in his August 12/08 report on the paper published in the journal Nature by a group of researchers working with Dr. Zhang from Berkeley. Using tiny wires, a group of scientists created a fabric with a fishnet structure of 21 layers alternating between a metal and magnesium fluoride, resulting in a metamaterial with a negative index of refraction for infrared light. The material actually bends light backward, something that never occurs in nature. The technology might one day be adapted to bend light in other unnatural ways, creating a Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak.
Once thought to be pure fantasy, metamaterials have been constructed in recent years that can in principle lead to invisibility. Here's how it works: When a ray of light crosses the boundary from air to water, glass or other transparent material, it bends, and the degree of bending is determined by a property known as the index of refraction. Transparent materials like glass, water and diamonds all have an index of 1 or higher for visible light, meaning that when the light enters, its path bends toward an imaginary line perpendicular to the surface. With the engineered metamaterials, scientists can create refractive indices less than 1 or even negative. Light entering a material with a negative index of refraction would take a sharp turn, almost as if it had bounced off the imaginary perpendicular line.
Will J. K. Rowling join the ranks of eminent science fiction writers who have accurately predicted the future? Wait and see (or not)... Mary

Kenneth Chang (2008, August 12). Surpassing Nature, Scientists Bend Light Backward :[Science Desk]. New York Times (Late Edition (east Coast)), p. F.4. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers Core database. (Document ID: 1529478041).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

and the beat goes on...

Last week the Borden Institute, a U.S. Army medical office publisher, quietly and courageously released a new book, "War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007." It is the first time in American history that a guidebook of new techniques for battlefield surgeons has been published while the wars it covers are still underway. In 83 clinical case descriptions from 53 battlefield doctors, the grim nature of today's wars, in which more are hurt by explosions than by bullets, and body armor leaves many alive but maimed, is graphically illustrated. Each case details important advances in treating blast amputations, massive bleeding, bomb concussions and other front-line trauma. The subjects are mostly American GIs, but they include Iraqis and Afghans, some of them young children.
The book can be ordered from the Government Printing Office for $71; Amazon.com lists it as currently out of stock, but the publisher indicates that thousands more copies will be printed. David Lounsbury, one of the book's three authors is an internist and retired colonel. He took part in the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq and was the editor of military medicine textbooks at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In a recent New York Times interview Lounsbury said "the average Joe Surgeon, civilian or military, has never seen this stuff," Lounsbury said. "Yeah, they've seen guys shot in the chest. But the kind of ferocious blast, burn and penetrating trauma that's part of the modern IED wound is like nothing they've seen, even in a Manhattan emergency room. It's a shocking, heart-stopping, eye-opening kind of thing. And they need to see this on the plane before they get there, because there's a learning curve to this."
Is there a place in public library collections for works such as this? How important is it for civilians and military personnel posted in the U.S. to be aware of the extent of injuries sustained by those on the front lines? This is history in the making. Here are a few of the battlefield texts that have become part of library collections in the past:
Contact wounds : a war surgeon's education, by Jonathan Kaplan. Grove Press, 2005.
Bleeding Blue and Gray : Civil War surgery and the evolution of American medicine, by Ira M. Rutkow. New York : Random House, 2005.
Medics at war : military medicine from colonial times to the 21st century, by John T. Greenwood and F. Clifton Berry, Jr. Naval Institute Press, 2005.
And, when things get too grim, you can always turn to those old episodes of M*a*s*h*, available from the library on DVD. Kudos to our hardworking military medical personnel - for all they do to bring comfort and healing to those wounded in wars. MC