Friday, March 28, 2008

Oddest Book Title Prize Announced

Yes its that time of year again. has announced the winner of its annual Oddest Book Title Prize. Some of you may remember last years winner The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification which the Bangor Public Library owns: 779.092.M7603s. So drum roll please!

The Winners For the 2008 Oddest Book Title Prize Are:

First Place: If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs

Second Place: I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen

Third Place: Cheese Problems Solved

I had personally hoped How to Write a How to Write Book (fourth place) would have done better ... oh well. If you want to see the whole announcement it is here or to see the shortlist of this years contenders click here.

Jim Riordan

Monday, March 24, 2008

Social Networking for the Bibliophile

I keep seeing this article showing up on several library listservs and blogs so I thought I'd pass it on. It's NPR piece from March 20 on reader oriented social networking. These are web sites that let you track the books you read, share titles with others, and find out what they are reading. I didn't particularly like the opening line "Bookish people may not be known for their social skills..." yeah speak for your self Ms. Woodroof. Other than that though its pretty good. The transcript also includes links to sites like LibraryThing, GoodReads, and BookJetty.

I don't know about the others but I have used LibraryThing as an online to-read-list. I'm always seeing books I want to read (working in a library ... who would have thought) but don't have time to. Then when I do have time I can't remember any of them. So I created a list on LibraryThing that I can go back to when I'm in need of a book. I'm only using it in its most limited capacity its also great for finding books others are reading and what titles are currently hot. Read the article give them a try and let us know what you think.

Jim Riordan

Friday, March 14, 2008

April 5th: Game Tournament @ Bangor Public Library!

Calling All Gamers!

Do you love videogames? Do you like competing against your friends & peers? Do you think your gaming skills are good enough to beat out others for prizes & fame?

The Bangor Public Library is happy to announce its first ever game tournament for teens & their families on April 5th in the Lecture Hall, beginning at 10AM.

You will get a chance to pit your skills against all challengers in two of the more popular – and fun – games around, Dance Dance Revolution Supernova & Guitar Hero III.

Top winner in each event will get a gift certificate for $50. Second place receives a $30 gift card & third will win a $20 card. All participants will be entered in a drawing for the $100 grand prize.

We hope this tournament will stir up some great performances by our gamers & be a lot of fun for everyone who attends this unique event.

To guarantee your spot in the tournament, we ask that you pre-register for the event or events in which you’d like to compete. You may pre-register by going to, by email Patrick at, or signing up at the Library.

Teen gamers are the intended audience for this tournament. We will, however, give teens a chance to compete against a parent. Keep in mind, though, that only teens are eligible for any prizes. The Library will have other tournaments in the future designed for pre-teens & adults.

We look forward to seeing all you gamers on April 5th!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gale Reference Center Gold

Many of you are probably aware of the databases available on Minerva, a statewide virtual library. However, the Bangor Public Library has a couple databases that are only available to Bangor Public Library card holders. These are Gale Reference Center Gold and The Biography Resource Center. They can be reached by going to If you are accessing the database from home you'll need the password. I'm not allowed to divulge it on line (it would make Gale unhappy) but we can give it out in person or over the phone (947-8336 and ask for reference).

So what do these databases do? Well Gale Reference Center Gold is "a general interest database that integrates a variety of source - newspapers, reference books, magazines, and trade publications." For example if you do a search for "economic stimulus package" you will get 556 results from periodicals like Journal of Commerce and New Orleans City Buisness. You can limit your search to full text articles and to academic journals. You can also search for a specific journal by clicking "publication search" at the top of the page.

Biography Resource Center provides full text articles from various biographical reference sources including Marquis Who's Who. Don't know who you are looking for? Well on the left side of the page is a list of browseable subjects like American Presidents and Notable Women. If you typed in say Harriet Beecher Stowe you will get biographical sketches on Stowe from Encyclopedia of World Biography, Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of American Biography. All the entries have a similar format: a short biographical sketch, list of further reading, how to cite the information in a paper, and (if available) a picture of the person.

Below are some screen shots of the databases. As always if you need any help let us know.

Jim Riordan (

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Wonderful World of Free Software

I am a big fan of the open source movement. For those not already familiar with this it is basically the idea of giving free access to computer software and the source code behind it for constructing new applications. For a more complete definition check out The Open Source Initiative. My reasons for supporting it go beyond getting free software though. As a librarian I support any movement that works to narrow the technology gap in our society. I have also found in many cases open source software is more innovative and adaptable than the commercial equivalent (like firefox).

I was quite happy therefore when I saw the following article in the online version of PC Magazine, "The Best Free Software." It is a review of free software available to the public along with the basic system requirements. There are some things that you have probably already used or heard of like Adobe Reader and Firefox Web Browser. There are a lot of other things as well like which is similar to and compatible with Microsoft Office. I use this one on my computer at home and love it. The article also includes web based resources like Google Reader and Zoho which are worth checking out. There were also a bunch I hadn't heard of before and am looking forward to trying. Make sure to read the comments on the article to since they have some other suggestions that weren't included. We'd also love to hear your comments or experiences using any of this software.

Jim Riordan

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401