NOPL’s librarians, clerks, assistants, interns, and patrons, talk.

Modified Dewey

 Posted by pete on November 4, 2012
Nov 042012

By Pete Thomas, November 2012

The Dewey Decimal System has been a mainstay of libraries over for a century. Created by Melvil Dewey in 1876, the Dewey Decimal System is broken into ten non-fiction classifications. Meanwhile, bookstores have moved to the BISAC system, which stands for the Book Industry Standards and Communications. BISAC fits books into more intuitive categories, based on how their customers browse.

NOPL has decided to move to a mixture of these two systems, essentially a modified Dewey system. Our items are broken up into categories based on the BISAC model, but then are ordered within the categories by their Dewey Classification Number. The Dewitt Community Library, the Fayetteville Library, and the Onondaga Free Library have already made this change, and NOPL is now part of this group.

Why has NOPL decided to make changes to the non-fiction collection? Much thought has been given to the Dewey classification system and how it is used by patrons at the library. Dewey is not perfect. One good example that illustrates this point is how books on careers are in the 330 section, while books on resumes are far away, in the 650s. To add to the confusion, there are even some books that libraries categorized into either section, and some into completely different categories. In the new system these books will be in the same section, under “Careers and Employment.”

Another example that highlights NOPL’s motivation to follow a modified Dewey system is the desire to have a singular History category. In the Dewey system, numbers in the 900s categorize history, geography, and biography books. Yet, there are plenty of history books that are not in the 900s classification. For example, a book on the Salem Witch Trials can be categorized as occult psychology but it is more intuitive to be listed under the History genre. Similarly, we have books on the history of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages that is categorized first under religion than under history. We’ve essentially switched the emphasis to history, than to religion. The religion category is now filled with books that emphasize the beliefs and theology of religions, and less their historic progress. These changes will create a more browser friendly system for library users when researching topics.

There are twenty seven total categories in the new system, and the libraries have easy to read signage to point patrons to the direction of books they might be interested in.

As much as it would have been easier to stick with Dewey, “times have changed”, says Jill Youngs, manager of NOPL at Cicero. We hope the effort taken to merge the old library system with a book store layout model, will lead to a better browsing (and discovering) experience by our patrons.

Tell us what you think of the new modified Dewey system. Is it easier to find new books? We appreciate your feedback.

Gentle Yoga

 Posted by pete on October 1, 2012
Oct 012012

Throughout October, NOPL is giving patrons a chance to center and balance their body and mind. Linda Haverlock, a certified yoga instructor at the Yoga with Linda Studio in Cicero, will be at the NOPL at North Syracuse Library for five consecutive Saturdays starting October 6 from 11am to noon. The program is called Gentle Yoga.

Sign up for: October 6, October 13, October 20, October 27, November 3.

The Gentle Yoga sessions at the library are as accessible as possible: there’s no cost, no walls or mirrors, no prerequisite fitness level or performance expectations. Everyone belongs, especially beginners. The goal of gentle yoga is to ease into stretches using breathing exercises. “This type of yoga is good for everyone to help release tension and stress in our muscles and other areas of our bodies,” Linda says.

Over the past 20 years in the US, this activity has moved from way out on the fringe into the mainstream. Linda started ten years ago after attending a yoga class taught by a friend. “After one class, I was hooked and began my journey.” Yoga can seem daunting to start, due to the images of hyper-flexible people in difficult poses as seen in health magazines and on fitness television. “Many people think that you need flexibility in order to participate in yoga practice,” Linda says. “Gaining flexibility is what happens naturally when you come to yoga class.”

According to Linda, “Yoga opens up a whole new world as we learn to integrate breath with movement or sitting quietly in meditation, combining mind, body and soul.” The facts are on her side, as yoga has been shown to help reduce anxiety, stress, and tension, and can contribute to lowering blood pressure.

Yoga is a great start to a healthier lifestyle, and October is a great time to learn an indoor exercise. Register for the classes at any NOPL Library or online. Get healthy, relieve stress, and feel better about yourself.

Gentle Yoga (with Linda Haverlock)
Sunday, October 6, 13, 20, 27, and November 3 from 11 am to noon
NOPL at North Syracuse.

NOPL 2014 Library Elections

 Posted by pete on September 12, 2012
Sep 122012

Wednesday October 9 from 12-7pm

Registered voters within NOPL’s special district (Towns of Cicero & Clay excluding Baldwinsville, Phoenix & Liverpool school districts.) can vote on NOPL’s proposed 2014 budget and trustee candidates at the libraries.

Listening Session Thursday, October 3, from 6 pm to 8pm at the NOPL @ Cicero Library.  Contact the Board of Elections with questions about voter registration: 435-8683. Issues:

  • Election of Trustees

Polling places:

Trustee Election: Meet the Candidates

Three positions on the Board of Trustees of the Northern Onondaga Public Library (NOPL) are up for election. Trustees are elected to four-year terms and meet once a month to set policy and oversee the business of the library. There is one position open for each NOPL district in Brewerton, Cicero and North Syracuse.

Running in North Syracuse

Melissa Potratz grew up in the North Syracuse are and graduated from the Cicero-North Syracuse High School. She currently teaches English in the district. Melissa and her husband (who was her high school sweetheart) have two young children. She has been filling out a board vacancy since January, and looks forward to beginning her own full-term as a NOPL trustee.

Running in Brewerton

Susan B. Corieri brings unique expertise to the NOPL Board of Trustees. Since July of 2010 she has been Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. The iSchool, as it’s called, has a national reputation for educating innovative librarians. Sue, who has been filling out a vacant term since November 2012, lives in Brewerton with her family.

Running in Cicero

Patricia Bragman has lived in the area for 24 years and has served as a NOPL trustee since 2006. Retired from the credit department of Sears Roebuck, Pat now volunteers in the community and enjoys close relationships with her four children and six grandchildren, all of whom live locally.

Questions and Answers about the 2014 Library Budget Vote

Where can I vote?  Voting is held in the NOPL libraries from noon until 7 p.m. on Wednesday October 9th. You must go to the library in your voting district to vote. Each library has a large map on display that will help you to determine which library is your voting location. Staff members can also help you with this. If you are going to be out of town on the day of the election, you can request an absentee ballot at any of the three libraries.

Don’t my school taxes support the library? No. NOPL is a special district library, established by an act of the New York State legislature, and we are required to hold our own budget vote and trustee elections.

What is the tax request for 2014? $2,332,460

Is this a tax increase? Yes, it is a very modest increase of 2%, which will allow us to meet the rising costs of providing library services. In 2014, a family living in a $100,000 home in the NOPL district will see their annual library tax go up by approximately $1.28 to $65.13

Why is an increase needed? As our buildings age, we’re addressing small problems before they become big problems. We’ll be adding 2.5 hours per week at all three libraries – opening a full day on Saturdays instead of 10-3. We know that weekends are times when families can visit the library together. We continue to improve our services and collections, including online resources like ebooks and digital magazines, and to add events and activities for children, teens and adults.

Return on Investment (What do NOPL Libraries offer?)

In 2014, NOPL libraries will be open a total of 173.5 hours per week. There are more than 18,000 items in our collections – books and magazines, DVD’s, music CD’s, and audiobooks. We provide access to homework and research databases, downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, and music. Most importantly, we have librarians, who answered more than 17,800 questions in 2012.

Our libraries offer free high speed Internet access, and there are 61 PCs and 8 iPads available for use. We also offer wireless Internet access and printing for laptop users.

NOPL’s Summer Reading Program helps students maintain reading skills and enriches their lives and their vocabularies. This year 3074 kids and parents attended 88 summer programs, and 596 children and teens read 10,506 books – an average of 19 books read by each child and 10 books read by each teen!

We offer experiences and learning opportunities for adults. Among the possibilities… get help with a resume or job application, stop in for one-on-one help with your mobile device, attend a military history lecture, take a yoga or dance class, listen to a concert, join a book club, Library Friends or knitting group, or grow vegetables and learn from other gardeners through our LibraryFarm project.

Dog Days At NOPL

 Posted by pete on September 10, 2012
Sep 102012

From September 2012: (Originally appeared in the Eagle Star-Review)

Last week, our old friend Ace the Library Dog dropped in to visit NOPL at Cicero. This Monday a shelter dog from the CNYSPCA will visit. It’s the dog days of summer at NOPL.

Regular patrons should remember Ace. For two years, Ace was part of the NOPL family, as people of all ages were allowed to “check out” Ace and spend time with the dog, once a month at each library.

Ace was a stray mutt, malnourished and mangy, who spent time in a kennel before finding a family. “He was a disaster, but we loved him right away,” says his owner Meg Backus, former Adult Programming Librarian and PR Coordinator at NOPL. They cleaned up Ace and enrolled him in obedience and manners classes. “The dog was too good not to share,” Meg said about why she got him registered as a therapy dog. In December of 2009, Ace became NOPL’s official “Library Dog.”

On August 30th, Ace came to say “goodbye” to NOPL. Starting this week, Ace and his family have taken up residence in Tennessee. His owner Meg was recently hired as Systems Administrator at the Chattanooga Public Library. ”Ace had a ton of friends here,” Meg says, “but he has moved before and loves to meet new friends.”

Even though Ace has moved to Tennessee, a new dog will visit NOPL at Cicero. On September 10th at 3:30pm, our friends at the CNYSPCA will be stopping by with an adorable dog to meet, greet, and possibly even adopt. Patrons will also learn how to properly care and treat any animal, as well as learn about the vital service the SPCA provides on a daily basis.

“Many of our shelter dogs come from a bad situation,” says Terri Para, development director at the CNYSPCA. “By adopting a shelter dog you will not only be giving them a wonderful home with care and love but you will be gaining a devoted friend.”

Terri has always loved animals; she has owned turtles, rabbits, dogs, birds, and even a hedgehog. In the past, Terri has rescued three dogs. “It didn’t take long for them to become an integral part of our family.  They gave us unconditional love and were devoted companions.”

Come by and meet a dog, consider adopting or volunteering, or just learn about the resources and services aimed to assist and shelter dogs in our area. We at NOPL wish Ace (and Meg) happy trails and, at the same time, we welcome a new animal friend into our community.

Herb Academy

 Posted by pete on July 10, 2012
Jul 102012

(Originally appeared in the Eagle Star-Review)

After achieving at-capacity enrollment at OCPL’s Petit Branch Library, herb-lover Deborah Thorna is bringing her herb academy to NOPL at Cicero. Deborah was an apprentice under Tina Finneyfrock, the Master Herbalist of Mountain Spring Herbals. Her 4-part Herb Academy covers how to grow, harvest, store, and cook herbs – and not just the ways you expect. “People use parsley as a garnish, basil into pesto, dill on fish,” says Deborah, “we will look into other ways to use and cook with them.” Students in these classes will receive an assortment of recipes and samples for a hands-on experience with fresh ideas.

Deborah took to gardening at a young age. “I was always interested in gardening, all my family members are mad gardeners and cooks. We are ‘foodies’.  I will never not grow herbs. I have them in pots, in the garden. I use them every day. I’ve always liked weeds and plants and gardening. I have a fascination with things that grow.”

Also a local artist, Deb sees similarities in her two talents. In art and herbs, “I pull a lot of disparate elements together and turn them into something more than they were before.”

As art is subjective, so is herb use. The herb academy will not supply a set of rules for all to follow. Deborah says she will “help you experiment and have fun, becoming aware of your individual preferences and what tastes good for you. I don’t tell how people to use herbs, I encourage them to discover things on their own.”

She will be teaching 4 classes over the course of 4 consecutive Mondays, starting July 23rd at 6pm at the Cicero Library. Classes are free, but space is limited; registration is requested. Sign up for one of them, all four, or anything in between at or by calling 699-2032.

Deborah can’t wait to “add herbs to your life.” She wants each participant to “have fun with them and develop relationships with them.”

2012 Schedule
July 23: Parsley & Basil
July 30: Dill & Mint
August 6: Sage & Lavender
August 13: Rosemary & Thyme

Why Summer Reading?

 Posted by pete on June 12, 2012
Jun 122012

Summer vacation is a great time to be a kid. It is great to have time to relax and hang out, with friends and family, at home and in the sun.  It is also important to keep your kid’s reading skills fresh over the next three months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “at best, students show little or no academic growth over summer. At worst, students lose one to three months of learning.” Summer Reading can go a long way to minimize summer learning loss and can even improve a child’s reading skills.

Every summer, educational organizations like The New York State Educational Department and the American Library Association (ALA) encourage students of all ages to continue reading over summer break. This is no new concept, since, according to the ALA, the first summer reading programs began in the 1890s. The local NOPL Libraries of Cicero, Brewerton, and North Syracuse play their part in this movement.

NOPL Children’s librarians Suzanne Nelson, Nicole Hershberger, Wanda Nelson work hard to help children maintain the reading skills learned during a school year. The idea is to get them reading for fun, about things that interest them, from books and magazines that they choose. “Reading is a wonderful complement to the active fun of fair weather activities,” says Cynthia Bishop, former Children’s librarian at NOPL @ N. Syracuse, “children can be transported to imaginary worlds, realistic or fantastic, where they can escape or explore lives and worlds unlike their own.” Kids who read for fun become better readers over time, and do better in school than kids who don’t read for fun.

Through NOPL’s Summer Reading Program, children are given important opportunities to associate reading with positive experiences, increasing their likeliness to continue reading and learning on their own.

Northern Onondaga Public Library 8686 Knowledge Ln.
Cicero, NY 13039. 315.699.2534
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