All posts by NCPLAdmin

Find Your Family History Using Ancestry Library Edition

If you are looking for a great inside activity this winter, how about researching your family tree? If you are in the library, you can access to do your research. You can work in the Local History room, where we have a dedicated computer set up, or you can bring in your own laptop or mobile device. 

Ancestry has simplified it’s search features and they are far more intuitive than they used to be. It took me about 2 minutes to find my grandfather in the 1930 census records. And about two minutes more to be undeceived about my history. I’d always been told that we were 100% Dutch. But there it is, in black and white, my great-great grandmother was born in Germany. Maybe my family ignored that after WWII. Or, maybe she moved to The Netherlands when she was young.

You can also search military records (I found my grandfather’s draft card) and birth, marriage, and death records. It’s very easy to email copies of those records to yourself, or download them onto your device. 

You can find lots of tips and tricks for searching on the Ancestry site.

Level Up Your Photos with Adobe Creative Cloud

In the Creative Space, our iMac is set up with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, and InDesign. Let your imagination run wild with these creative tools! You can edit photos and videos, create vector designs, and develop publishable brochures, newsletters, or posters for print or digital distribution. Plus, you can check out our Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet to capture an image with the comfort and convenience of holding a pen.  

Never used Adobe Creative Cloud or a Wacom drawing tablet? Sign in to Beanstack to watch tutorial videos and learn the basics.


Reading Aloud

One of my favorite early childhood memories is sitting on the porch swing at my paternal grandma’s house.  Her house had once been a one room school and I found that magical.  My grandma loved books, maybe, because as a child of the depression, she didn’t have many of her own growing up. She would spend hours reading aloud to me-many of those hours spent reading our favorites over and over. I am sure that I love books because she loved books.

Learning starts by hearing.  Language develops while listening to it all around us. That is why talking to children is important!  Children who arrive at school with a large vocabulary do better.  Books contain more sophisticated language, which helps increase vocabulary, which helps children become more successful learners.  

Reading to older children is also important.  Many times when children become “independent readers” grownups stop reading to them.  A child’s “listening level” is usually much more advanced than their reading level.  Children in upper elementary and even middle school still benefit from being read to.  It helps children process difficult emotional issues and increases attention span.

As a sophomore in college, I walked into my children’s literature class to find that each day my professor was going to read aloud to us. At first, you could feel the uncomfortableness in the room.  We were nineteen and twenty.  We didn’t need someone to READ ALOUD to us.  That notion lasted about two days.  Then we were hooked.  We couldn’t wait to hear the next class day’s selection.  

Reading aloud to your child is the best way to promote the importance of reading and the joy that it brings.

Photo credit: Depositphotos

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

No, I’m not referring to U2’s 1987 hit song. It’s what you won’t find at the Library right now. The coronavirus has impacted our collections and I thought you might like an update on just why you can’t find a new book from your favorite author or the latest movies.

Let’s start with the question we get at least a couple of times a week, “Where are your new DVDs?” The simple answer is, “We don’t have any.” Movie studios continue to push back release dates of expected blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune to 2021. Many movie theatres remain closed, while others, like AMC try new business models and show older films. Disney released their much anticipated Mulan directly to their streaming platform. We have the Mulan DVD in our shopping cart, but the release date continues to be “Coming Soon.” We will buy movies again, but I don’t know when.

Print publishing has also experienced fallout from the pandemic, but of a different sort. Pre-pandemic, book printing companies were struggling in a market that was moving digital. Those shops shut down during early quarantines and, surprisingly, demand for print books increased while people were stuck at home. Purchases of print books were up 12% over the summer (NYT). We love that more people are reading our first true love – physical books. But, the combination of all of these things has led to a serious backlog in printing books.

There is good news. The Library has more than enough books and movies, magazines and music, to keep you busy. New books are coming in weekly. Staff love to help you find something your will find interesting. And the weather is perfect for curling up with some hot tea and a cozy blanket and escape to another world with a good book!

Oh, the Things You Can Do… With the Cricut Maker

With the Cricut Maker in the Creative Space, you can make unique homemade creations with hundreds of materials, including wood, leather, metal, glass, fabric, vinyl, iron-on, and of course, paper. As shown in the video, you can draw, perforate, cut wavy edges, engrave, deboss, and cut fabric by simply changing the tool in the machine’s tool housing. You can also score and cut with remarkable precision.

Sign in to Beanstack to earn the Cricut Maker badge and start making! You will need to provide your own materials, but the equipment is free to use in the Creative Space.

Personalized Technology Help

Smartphones and apps, emails and Google searches, it can all be overwhelming and stressful!

Sign up for a hands-on, one-on-one question & answer session with our tech support team.   They can help you with any of your questions about anything techy including Google docs, apps, like Facebook and Twitter, emails, or your new device.

You can also learn how to use our new Creative Space, which includes a Cricut and 3d printer.  Or, maybe you would like to learn how to download a book, audiobook or movie, staff can show you how to use our online services such as Overdrive and Hoopla.

These sessions are for a half hour and can be scheduled by going to our website or by calling us at 574-654-3046.  You have the option of meeting via Zoom, telephone, or in person and socially distanced.

Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month! In honor of Picture Book Month, I want to tell you about an experience with one of my favorite authors.  The Mother Bruce series is written by Ryan T. Higgins.

Bruce is a grumpy bear. He lives alone and the only things that brings him any joy are eggs. He “collects” them from all over the forest.  Then he searches the internet for recipes and makes amazing egg dishes.  One day he stole, I mean collected eggs from Mrs. Goose’s nest.  Instead of delicious eggs, he ends up with four goslings that think he is their mother.  While Bruce’s grumpiness never goes away, he parents the goslings well and they all live happily ever after, on a beach, in the south.  There are several other books in the series and they are all great reads!

One day, I received a call from my sister and she asked me if I had ever heard of a children’s book author named Ryan T. Higgins.  “Um, yes!  He is one of my favorites”, I replied.   SO a few weeks later, with permission, I got up early one Saturday morning and drove an hour to the business that my sister works at and there, taking care of business was Ryan T. Higgins.  He signed all the library’s copies of his books, told me about a new one he was working on. He talked about the trip he was on with his dad and brother and took a picture with me. He was flattered when he found out I had driven an hour to meet him and is a really nice guy.

Helping Struggling Readers

Watching people you love struggle is not easy.  Watching children struggle to learn to read can be heartbreaking.  Here are a few tips to help you help them:

  1. Remind your children that not everyone learns at the same pace.  Reassure them that you love them no matter what.
  2. Make reading an enjoyable part of your family’s daily life.
  3. Read to your children (even if they are older), with your children, and in front of your children.
  4. Ask each other questions about what you are reading.
  5. Talk to your children. Tell stories, talk about letters and sounds.
  6. Encourage development of other literacy skills such as writing and listening. Write stories together.  Mail each other letters.
  7. Know what your children are interested in and provide them with super easy reading materials about those topics. One easy interesting book is often enough to make kids want to read another book

We have books called  “Read Alouds.” These are high quality stories with a device attached that will read the story aloud.  They are a great resource for struggling readers to see and hear the words together.

Grandpa, Grandson, Grandparent, Grandchild, Together

3D Printing at the Library

Get creative in three dimensions with the Dremel 3D40 Flex printer in our Creative Space! Once you make a digital model with Tinkercad or find a free downloadable model from websites like Thingiverse or My Mini Factory, you can use the Dremel Digilab Slicer to slice the model into the layers the 3D printer will build. While printing, the printer’s extruder melts the PLA plastic filament to shape it into your model. Depending on the size of the model, the object may take several hours to print, but after the printed object cools, the printer’s flexible, removable build plate makes it easy to pry the object off the plate without damaging it.

Want to learn how to print in 3D? Sign in to Beanstack to work through the 3D printer training. The library provides 3D printer filament in multiple colors. Currently, the available colors include blue, green, white, orange, and red.

Magazines at Your Fingertips

Many people love magazines.  Magazines create a highly sensory reading experience with the bright pictures and short stories.  But, did you know you can read them in the Libby apps?  Better yet, magazines never have waitlists and are always available. There are over 50 popular titles to choose from including HGTV, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Country Living, Clean Eating, and more. You can enjoy one magazine at a time or check-out a few.   You can keep them on your “shelf” for up to 14 days which gives you plenty of time to enjoy them. And the technology has improved so much that they look really great on a tablet or computer screen.  Learn how to decorate your house, cook a new dish, or just read an inspirational story all in a downloadable magazine and without leaving your house. Download the free Libby app to get started today.

Library Opens New Reading Garden & Accessible Entrance

With the renovation project nearing completion, the New Carlisle-Olive Township Public Library has opened its new accessible entrance and reading garden.

The reading garden is a patio furnished with tables and comfortable seating. It’s the perfect place for getting some fresh air while reading a book or getting some work done on your mobile device. The library’s wireless internet signal is strong on the patio. Roanna Hooton, Adult Service Coordinator says, “I would love to take my work and just sit out there. I think there’s still time for people to enjoy it this fall.” In the spring, newly planted trees will provide some shade for the warmer days. The native gardens surrounding the patio will bring birds, butterflies, and a sense of being surrounded by nature.

Next to the reading garden are five new parking spots, three of which are handicapped. “Anyone can park in the back, but we think the new spots are going to be particularly helpful for those who really struggle with the long ramp at the front of the building,” says Library Director Stephanie Murphy. The parking spots are an easy walk to the newly opened entrance. Inside the door, a mobility scooter is parked and available for anyone who needs it. Entering this way brings people right to large print books and the complete adult collection. A new desk is located nearby, staffed with helpful people who are looking forward to greeting you when you come in the new entrance.

Easy Election Resources

Today, October 5th, is the last day to register to vote in Indiana. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do it through a simple online form found on

“Visit My Voter Portal” on that same website. Enter your name, date of birth, and county and you’ll be able to see where to vote and absentee ballot information, as well as a complete list of who will be on your ballot.

Researching candidates before an election helps you make choices that align with your values. You can do a basic Google search, often candidates will have a website or facebook page that will turn up in a search. Non-partisan sites like Ballotpedia or BallotReady consolidate information on candidates. Newspapers are often the best resource for information on local candidates. In the weeks leading up to the election, they typically run articles about opposing candidates side by side so you can really see how they differ.

Indiana has been in the bottom 10 states for voter turnout in four of the last five elections. By registering to vote and then voting, whether absentee or in person, you can help change that statistic. And your voice will count, too.


Banned Books Week

Today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week. You might wonder why libraries dedicate a week to books that have been challenged or banned. The answer is simple. Libraries fundamentally support freedom of speech which is critical to a healthy democracy.

Books that are challenged often deal with difficult topics, issues of race, sexuality, and religion. Some of the most famous challenged book titles might surprise you – Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter,” and, ironically, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” I’ve worked in libraries for more than 10 years and I get a complaint about a book at least once a year. I have yet to remove one of those books from the library.

Libraries need to have books for everyone, from every walk of life. As a case in point, you’ll notice in this divisive election year, that we have books that support President Trump and books that support Joe Biden.  And supporters of both candidates (or Kanye West and the Birthday Party) are welcome at the library. Because that’s how we roll. Welcome to Banned Books Week!

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