Tag Archives: Schlow Centre Region Library

From Rebecca: Schlow Centre Region Library revisited

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Back in October of 2013 I wrote a post on libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library. I said a lot of good things in that one, so here is the link you can follow if you want to read it too. Since I wrote it I got faster internet at home and stopped using the library for their computers and internet, but I still go there once or twice a week to check out books and CDs. It is still one of my favorite places in the world.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother-in-law might enjoy audio books and I wondered over to that section. Sure enough, Schlow has a large collection to choose from, including a lot of the J.D. Robb series that we both read. I knew about this section before, but until I was looking into them I didn’t appreciate it. It impressed on me one of best features of libraries, that they offer so many different resources and we might not need them for years, but when we do want something, there it is.

The upper level of Schlow contains the audio books, CDs, large print books, young adult novels, graphic novels, books for sale, public computers, helpful staff, non-fiction books, fiction books, a wide range of newspapers and magazines available to read, tables and chairs, two rooms with doors that close to use – one includes materials for crafts, and desks with plugs for people with laptops or who want space to study. The lower level contains the children’s section with computers, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, helpful staff, graphic novels, and games. Thinking about it, I am amazed by the variety.

Last year, I was looking at books on a return cart and picked up the first novel in an unusual series, Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. The main character, Fiona Griffiths, has a rare mental condition that she struggles with to do her job on the police force in the U.K. I would never have found this series without seeing it at Schlow. I wanted to read more of these books, so I looked him up in the catalogue, and the library only had the first one. So I did an interlibrary loan request for the second book in the series once I looked up the title (my first time doing an ILL) and waited about a month for it to come in. When I picked up the book, I noticed it had Schlow Centre Region Library identification on it, and looking through it I realized it had the signs of being a print-on-demand book. They might not have been able to find a copy in other libraries. I realized that Schlow bought the book to fill my request and to put in their collection. Wow. I know at least one other person read the first one because it was on the return cart, so I hope that my request helps someone else read the second book, and now the third book. I want to read the rest of the series, but knowing that Schlow would buy the book instead of borrow it, I waited a few months before requesting the third one, and will wait a few months before asking for the fourth one. There are six books in the series and I would feel guilty asking for so much of their resources in a short period of time. I don’t have the space on my shelves or the money to buy the series on my own.

I had already noticed some books on the shelves that looked like print-on-demand (Joe’s books from CreateSpace are print-on-demand so I know the specific look of the back page) and was impressed by the many ways that the library supports all these industries in publishing and entertainment. Yes, we the public use it for free, but the library bought it all. That is a lot of money going into the world, and libraries are constantly having to raise that money – from government sources, from selling books and items donated to them or off their shelves, from local fund drives, from business donations, and from patron donations. They also need to keep the lights on and pay the staff. It makes me proud that I donate two dollars a week; I couldn’t afford to give Schlow a hundred dollars in one go, but by the end of the year my two dollars adds up to that. They do some much for me and the community.

I want to close with one paragraph from my October 2013 post, which sums up what I want to share about libraries in general.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe day, and happy reading.

New daily schedule is progressing nicely

Greetings, readers. I am very happy to tell you that my new daily routine is almost set. I’ve been told that it takes about three weeks to make something a habit, so I have about a week left. I’ve awakened at six the last few mornings and want to eventually have five AM be my new, permanent wake up time.

Rebecca will be here at 9:45 today; our new work start time. Work hours will be in the mornings from now on. I can’t wait until the time comes where I can get up, get ready and have pages typed before Rebecca arrives. Then she can become more my editor instead of my primary typist.

I’ve been studying the Amish lately. I’ll be writing a story dealing with that culture. With six books out from the local library, I’ve plenty of research material for my secondary writing project. It’s going to be so much fun. Bear Spring Camps book three is still going to be our primary project.

On a side note, KISS came to State College last night. As I said, I did not attend the concert. Money was a bit tight, and I have seen them live three times. I will admit, I almost broke down and tried to get tickets, but I held firm. I wouldn’t have been able to hear straight for a couple of days. If they ever return before they retire, I’ll go see them. 🙂

That’s all the news for today. Until tomorrow, take care, have a great day and happy reading.

 

Keeping active with possible job, writing, and Traci

Greetings, readers. As I continue my search for gainful employment, I’m still hoping that my first choice will pan out. As I mentioned, there are other opportunities out there, but Panera Bread is ideal. I would love to work there. It is near my apartment building, I know and like all the folks who work there, and it is, as I call it, on the flat. Meaning that I don’t have to go down any of the hilly streets of State College during the winter time.

If all else fails, I will volunteer my time at the library, which will at least get me out of the apartment. As my friends have told me, something is sure to come up. Until then, we have the writing project for the new camp book and I have a personal writing project that I just got research materials for from the library.

Also, big news, September 24th will mark the one year anniversary for my girlfriend Traci and me. I can’t believe it has been 11 months. Time has flown and our relationship is progressing slowly, yet steadily. I’m quite pleased with the situation. She has already met and loves David and family, and we hope to go for Thanksgiving again this year. Are wedding bells in the future? Time will tell and we shall see. There are a few huddles we need to get over.

A blog entry, which will be upcoming in September, will deal with my plans for our anniversary. There is a really nice restaurant downtown which we were planning to go to last Valentine’s Day. Traci wound up in the hospital and we never did make it for Valentine’s dinner. I think I will make reservations at the Tavern restaurant. More on that during that future blog entry.

Well, there you have it for today. Our new work hours begin next Wednesday with blog entries on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wish us luck on that. Until next week, have a splendid weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I feel blessed

Yesterday was a really good day for me. It didn’t rain while I was on the way home, as I had expected, I had a good annual performance review at my other job, I briefly spent some time at one of my favorite places, the library, and Joe called while I was hanging out with Keekee at his place. The stifling heat and humidity was awful, as it has been so much of this month, but that was the worst part of the day. (Joe said that it is hot in Maine too, so my vision of him sitting on his porch with cooling breezes coming off the lake was false. Bummer.) Last night was the best though. I sat in the living room with my husband, me on the laptop while Darren and I watched a pre-season football game. Go Eagles. He loves football. We are very lucky to have air conditioning, so we were comfortable.

As I wrote before, I have had some long days lately. A family member was having a health crisis, and it took a lot of our time suddenly. That person is better now, and we are all getting a chance to rest. It turns out that Darren and I do not respond well to chaos. I did find a few moments of grace in the middle of it though. We once got a perfect parking place at the hospital during the day, which is not easy as the lots fill up with people scheduled for tests. We felt very lucky that day. Another time, we had a huge storm, with pouring rain, while we were getting ready to take our family member to an appointment. By the time we had to leave, the rain had stopped. So blessed.

Joe will be back next week with more blog posts. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Blogging from home while Joe is away

Joe is on his vacation trip. He is traveling up to Maine with David Trost and family, after staying overnight with them. I saw on Facebook today that at about noon he had written on his wall that he was at the Trost house with David, and was looking forward to being at Bear Spring Camps tomorrow. Even though he has to do a lot of work to get ready for it, as regular readers know, this trip is the highlight of his year.

I went by Joe’s today to feed his cat Keekee and keep her company. Joe, if you are reading this, she is doing fine and misses you. She wanted some extra petting from me, but she was not as clingy as she will be next week.

In past years I would be writing this report on the public computers at Schlow Centre Region Library. Now, I have high-speed internet in my home, so I can do things like write this blog entry from my own sofa. I can take my time and be more relaxed. Unfortunately, it does mean that the entries are written and published a little later in the day than usual. Sorry about that. Also, it is a little weird writing the post on a different machine than Joe’s computer, which I am used to, but I’m getting the hang of it. I still love Schlow library and still go there for other reasons. As I wrote in a previous blog post, it is one of my favorite places.

Having internet in my home is fun, but a bit distracting sometimes too. When I was on a computer four times a week, for a couple of hours at a time, I had a list and order of sites I visited and the amount of time I could be on them. I was constantly watching the clock, picking and choosing content I wanted to read. Now I can spend all day on it if I wanted to, though I haven’t. The other night I spent an hour and a half on Twitter, which was entertaining, but strange. I might want guidelines with this new power.

I’ll write again on Wednesday, half way through Joe’s week in Maine! As he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

I brought my girlfriend into the 21 century

Greetings, readers. My girlfriend, Traci, and I are getting along splendidly. I’m enjoying every minute of it. When she told me last week that she didn’t have a computer, I realized that, unless she visited the library often, she probably wasn’t on social media. I was correct. I asked her if she would like some help getting an email account started and getting on Facebook. She thought that would be a good idea but wondered how she would check Facebook every day. I told her that we would check it together from my computer. I got a big smile.

The first thing I had to do was take the information she had written down and create an email account for her. Once that was completed, I had to log out of my Facebook account and create one for her. I had completely forgotten how strange Facebook’s opening page is when someone is just starting out. No news feeds, just a lot of questions and friend suggestions.

I invited her sister Roni to be her Facebook friend and she accepted within five seconds. Either Roni was on the computer at that moment or she had it set up to automatically accept anyone. Then, from her account, I sent myself a friend request, popped over to my account, and accepted it. She now has two friends and a whole bunch of David’s family waiting for requests.

I must admit I feel strange doing too much with her account without her being in the room. So I think tomorrow, when my schedule is less hectic, we will sit down in the community room and work on it. I will show her the ins and outs of Facebook and Mail.com.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase Traci a computer of her own, so for her own privacy sake and mine, I will probably have to teach her how to explore email and Facebook on one of the library’s computers.

Traci is a lot like I am, she knows what she knows but neither of us knows everything. Since I’ve been working with a computer with Rebecca for five years, it won’t be that much of a difficulty to get Traci up to speed, at least on the basics. In no time, I’m sure I’ll have her checking her email, seeing everything Facebook has to offer, and maybe later I’ll get her involved on Twitter. Traci, welcome to the internet.

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, have a great couple of days, take care, and happy reading. P.S. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people in the Carolinas and surrounding areas that were so badly flooded.

Here is a Friday blog entry on a Thursday

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow I am going to be working with Darren on edits and proofing for Four is a Crowd. I still have many chapters to read tonight and tomorrow morning. I must be ready by 1:00 pm. I have had a lot of fun reading this novel, which as my regular readers know is based on my play, Kimberly. I deem Four’s a Crowd to be excellent.

The working plan is for Darren and I to meet at our local library, Schlow Centre Region Library, at 1:00 and go over the entire novel. This sounds like a 12 hour task. It really isn’t. The draft I have on my computer is almost the final. I found just a few things here and there in each chapter that I want to go over with Darren.

This will probably take us a couple of hours, and if there is any time left, I will see what Rebecca has been up to; she will also be in the library. Soon, probably after I get back from camp, it will be time to search for agents and send query letters. That’s the drudgery of being a writer. Being unknown writers, our finished product might not be accepted by publishing houses. If worse comes to worst, then we will self-publish the book and learn how to promote it.

On a fun note, the last couple of evenings I have gone to YouTube and watched old Indy 500 races from the early 70s. What a treat it was to watch the old ABC crew back in action. Names such Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Dave Diles, Chris Economaki, Sam Posey, and Jackie Stewart, among others. For two hours at a time I was able to picture myself back home, sitting in front of the living room TV screen. Oh, those fun memories of childhood.

Well, this will take care of our blogging for this week. Both Rebecca and I will need tomorrow to be open. So have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Letting go of an historic place

I live in a place that changes all the time. State College is a college town, with the main campus of Pennsylvania State University located here. We have construction and new developments all around the area, for retired people moving back, professors and their families, and students that need off campus housing. I used to know the names of all the streets, but now there are a lot of streets I don’t know. Businesses come and go, especially downtown and in the mall, and old buildings get torn down for new ones.

There are some businesses and buildings that have remained for decades, standing in the middle of all of this change. I like knowing that they are there, and that even though I don’t often use their services, that they make up the framework of my town. I almost never go to the Nittany Mall, for instance, but I like that it is still there. Schlow Centre Region Library is one of the anchors of downtown.

One of those mainstays is clearly struggling, and may shut down. A motel and restaurant, it has been here since before I was born. I don’t want to use the name in respect for the current owners, who are fighting hard to keep it afloat. They had to file for bankruptcy this year and have tried several things to save the business.

This place means a lot to me, as my mom used to work there and met my stepfather there too. She worked in the coffee shop in the evenings, and once in a while my sisters and I would go up while she was closing it down. We would do little chores to keep occupied and she would let us pick out a pack of Lance snack crackers or cookies as a reward. My mom was really busy at that time, and we didn’t have much time with her, so that was a chance for us to have a few moments with her. Now that I think about it, at this time we got more time with Dad, as he was with us in the evenings she worked. She eventually got a job at the university, and then attended the university. We stopped going to the business as much.

The business had a coffee shop, formal dining room, and motel rooms. It was owned by one family for decades, who were big in the community. As far as I could tell, they kept the place maintained and in good working order. Then they decided to sell the business, and I have a vague memory of it changing hands a couple of times, and now the current owners are struggling. At some point the coffee shop was closed, I don’t remember how many years ago. I would drive by the business, confident that it was the same as always and would be around forever. I had no idea it was in danger of going out of business, even when a local restaurant set up shop there in place of the formal dining that used to be a staple of the area.

Then within the last two years, the business was featured on a national show focused on helping failing hotels. I watched it and was shocked by how much it had gone down hill. So much on the property needed to be fixed, and supplies were low due to lack of funds. It was clear during the show that the business I took for granted might disappear like so many other places around here. The owners are still hanging on, but for how long?

My first reaction to losing this business, which I haven’t been in for five years, was that I didn’t want it to go away. It means something to State College and it is important to this area and its history. It is important to my history. But is it really? Today, I don’t know. I went by it yesterday and saw a new sign up for their new smoking bar. Another attempt to bring people in, which might save the place or might not. And for the first time I felt like it was okay to let the place go. With so many changes to it, the old place I remember from growing up is already gone. I would be okay if this version of the business did close up and okay if it succeeded for many years to come.

Having said that, I imagine I would not feel so peaceful about it if the buildings were razed and something else in that spot. It would seem wrong. But I would get over it. I’m not the one who is in debt for this business and I’m not the one working every day to make it better; the current owners have a right to do what is best for themselves.

We have lost a lot of businesses and places in State College in the many decades I have lived here, but we have gained some good new ones too. If we lose too many historic places, we lose a lot of our history, and that would be a shame. But life is not lived in the past, however much we miss it. We have to make our lives in this area the way it is now, and very often that is a good thing.

Self hypnosis, anybody?

Greetings, readers. I’ve been very busy on YouTube the last couple of days, checking out different people’s self-hypnosis videos. I like what I see. Obviously, I’m not trying to make myself act like a chicken. I’m trying to use it for relaxation, memory enhancement, and relief of closed chakras. A year or so ago, my massage therapist had to retire and by now my chakras are as closed as they are going to get. It makes me feel lethargic, cranky, and depressed. When they open, I feel much more energetic, happier, and I’ll bet you my work productivity will greatly increase.

I even found a video that supposedly can turn you into a magnet for the opposite gender. This one I will have to watch and stay awake for to believe. There might be something to it, so as with most things, I will view it with an open mind.

In the last two or three weeks, my state of mind has been either depression or something I can not put a label to. I seem happy enough, but I just don’t have the energy to do anything. Not only is my writing suffering but my early to bed early to rise routine has shifted about an hour later each way. That is partly because the weather is so frigid here in Pennsylvania that I just don’t feel like going out to Panera at 7 in the morning. I do miss the usual morning crowd. I always enjoy greeting them as I would the folks at Bear Spring Camps.

I think this afternoon, after work hours, I’ll spend some time seeing what videos various YouTube channels have to offer. I’m a little bit leery of it because I’ve never hypnotized myself before. So readers, keep your fingers crossed. If you don’t hear from me on Friday, you will know I have turned myself into Keekee’s cat.

On a side note, our local library here in State College, Schlow Centre Region Library, had major damage due to the severe cold. Flooding was the result of one sprinkler pipe bursting, leading to several hundred thousand dollars in destroyed books, clean up of water damage and mold prevention. Schlow will be closed until at least this Sunday. I don’t want to sound selfish, but my books were in the section that got it the worst. We just found out via their website that two of my three books were destroyed. I have other copies here to give them if they want; no big deal.

Until Friday, take care, please be careful, happy reading, and stay warm; a major cold front is dropping down from Canada.