New to the Collection: Neither Snow Nor Rain by Devin Leonard

Do you ever wonder what might become of the U.S. Postal Service with the advancement of technology? We can print stamps at home on our personal computers, pay more and more bills online, use E-mail instead of “snail mail,” and even have packages shipped directly from vendors to recipients without ever setting foot in a post office. While stamps are probably one of the best bargains around, the U.S. Postal Service has been losing money, closing many of its offices, and debating whether to cut mail delivery days.

New to the MVCC Library collection is the book Neither Snow Nor Rain: a History of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard. The tagline always was that “neither snow nor rain” or any type of bad weather could keep the postman away. What could possibly keep them away would be dogs; in fact, I just saw a postman interviewed on a morning show this week stating that, while it’s humorous to think of, the biggest stumbling block for him has been dogs chasing him down! Even the word “snail” mail emanated from the dawn of E-mail because it was faster sending electronic mail than using the slow postal service.

An excerpt from Leonard’s interesting book reads: “In parts of America that it can’t reach by truck, the USPS finds other means to get people their letters and packages. It transports them by mule train to the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Bush pilots fly letters to the edges of Alaska. In thinly populated parts of Montana and North Dakota, the postal service has what it refers to as ‘shirt pocket’ routes, which means that postal workers literally carry all their letters for the day in their shirt pockets.” Hearing situations such as these remote delivery areas leads one to wonder if the U.S. Postal Service will continue to exist in the future…pick up this book and check it out!

For a limited time you can find the book shelved in the library lounge on the 2nd floor among the new arrivals. Otherwise, it can be found here in our catalog.

World Down Syndrome Day

“World Down Syndrome Day is observed annually on the 21st of March. This date is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Why this date?  Because it is the 21st day of the 3rd month. The numbers represent the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.”

There are many organizations that help “raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.”

A recent indie film, My Feral Heart, gives a positive portrayal of a young adult with Down syndrome.

 

 

 

 

Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.

Although this statement is roughly from the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the residents of Flint, Michigan, might have said the same thing just a few years ago.

The March/April, 2017, issue of Popular Science, is devoted to water, and there are graphics and some text that show the use of water, drinking and otherwise, around the world. The graphics are excellent for those of us who love visual learning.

This magazine/periodical is located in the magazine racks by the Circulation Desk and Café of the library. Additionally, the articles are available in the Academic Search Complete database in either HTML (retyped) format or the PDF format that resembles the printed page. This last format has the graphics and is in color. For a quick link to Academic Search Complete, click here. For person-to person help, stop in and speak with a librarian at the circular desk known as Information/Reference.

 

All the News That’s Fit to Print… and Digitize

Last month The New York Times released its latest self-study, Journalism That Stands Apart: The Report of the 2020 Group, outlining its principles, priorities, and goals. By many accounts, The New York Times is hugely successful – $500 million in digital only revenue, more than one million print subscriptions – but the changing media landscape is forcing the news organization to rethink just about everything they do. The report highlights their drive to maintain the journalistic integrity and standards the paper is known for, while modernizing the way they tell stories and involve readers; who they hire and task with curatorial, writing, and editing responsibilities; how they train those individuals; and a more or less overall redefinition of successful journalism. Interestingly, some takeaways may resonate further than the newsroom and maybe even prove inspirational to organizations outside of the media.

Valentine’s Day & Chocolate

The National Retail Federation says about 50 percent of consumers will buy candy for Valentine’s Day 2017, spending about $1.7 billion on candy alone. Are you buying chocolate for Valentine’s Day?

Some books about chocolate available in the library:

The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joël Glenn Brenner

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes by Maricel E. Presilla

The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg with Ann Krueger Spivack and Susie Heller; photography by Deborah Jones

Photo credit: “Chocolate-2” by jules is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead won the 2016 National Book Award for The Underground Railroad.  As you may expect from the title, the novel is about a woman, Cora escaping slavery via The Underground Railroad.  But in this world it’s an actual railroad, with tracks, tunnels and conductors.  The Judges’ Citation, which can be found here along with an interview and highlights from The National Book Award Ceremony itself, sums up the power of the book best:

The Underground Railroad confirms Colson Whitehead’s reputation as one of our most daring and inventive writers. A suspenseful tale of escape and pursuit, it combines elements of fantasy and the counter-factual with an unflinching, painfully truthful depiction of American slavery. Whitehead revisits the grotesque barbarities of our nation’s history in the interest of our common stake in freedom and dignity. He has given us an electrifying narrative of the past, profoundly resonant with the present.

We have The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead in multiple formats.

Two web sites for your Viewing and Doing Pleasure

You may know of the TED videos or any number of YouTube videos. But for the learn-it-online crowd, here are two more website suggestions: Pixlr.com and Howcast.com.

Pixlr.com is a free online video editor. If you are a beginner of the photo editing process, a free online service might be a gentler way of breaking into the task. Hey, free is good, in this case.

 

And how about belly dancing? Or how to learn to use a Mac? Or how about learning some aspect of math? Or dog care and grooming?  Or how…. I think you get the idea. The website opens with a great number of topics, but there is a search window for you to cut to the chase. What is the website? Howcast.com