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Did You Know Events & Programs

Join MoComCon 2022 this January 15

MoComCon 2022, MCPL’s annual celebration of all things comics, graphic novels and fandoms, returns on Saturday, January 15.

Check out our schedule of virtual events and join in all day long. Click on each event link below in the schedule to learn more. We will update with direct Zoom links on Saturday morning.

MoComCon Event Schedule

Super Hero Storytime
10:30 – 11:00am
Craft Demos11:00 – 11:45am
Toy Design: From Screen to Shelf with Jen Tan of Pixar12:00 – 1:00pm
Gaming Trivia1:15 – 2:15pm
Board Games: The Creative Process2:30 – 3:30pm
Art Contest Slideshow3:45 – 4:00pm

Stay tuned to the blog for MoComCon 2022 art and essay contest winners.

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Events & Programs

Maryland Stem Festival 2021 Celebrates Health & Wellness at MCPL

The 2021 Maryland Science Festival (MdSTEMFest), presented by the Biogen Foundation, is a month-long celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that takes place every fall. In 2021, Maryland STEM Festival brings hundreds of events focused on fun, interactive science learning opportunities. Students, families, friends, STEM professionals, teachers, volunteers will all enjoy events taking place throughout Maryland.

MCPL MdSTEMFest Events

We’re proud to host many Maryland STEM Festival events at MCPL this year. Ours are among hundreds of community events this October and November showcasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for people of all ages across Maryland.Check out the direct link to all events on our calendar and join us!

The Maryland Science Festival, founded in 2015, is one of the first statewide science or STEM festivals in
the United States. Celebrating its 7th anniversary in 2021, the Festival continues to showcase the
economic, educational, and cultural impact of science in Maryland. MdSTEMFest 2021’s theme is
“Health and Wellness”—a nod to the state’s large community of scientists; and to the ingenuity of
citizens who have been addressing the Pandemic throughout the last year.

“The MdSTEMFest is an event whose time as certainly arrived, “says Phil Rogofsky, the Festival’s
Director. “There can never be enough events to show the importance of and connect Marylanders with
the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our future depends on how we use
STEM.”

Enter the Maryland STEM Festival Art Contest

Students in elementary, middle and high school can enter the Maryland Stem Festival 2021 Art Contest by October 31, 2021. Find more details and the entry form here.

Check out all of MCPL’s MdSTEMFest events here.

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Did You Know

Montgomery County Public Libraries to Launch New Catalog Monday

On Monday, Oct. 4, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will transition to Aspen Discovery, a brand-new library catalog providing customers with a new suite of features and a better online experience.

As part of this transition, from the evening of Friday, Oct. 1, until the morning of Monday, Oct. 4: 

  • The catalog search functionality will be limited or unavailable;
  • Online library card applications will be unavailable;
  • Online resources, including databases and e-books, will experience disruptions; and
  • Customers will be unable to place holds or renew items checked out to their accounts. 

Library branches will be open for in-person service on Saturday, Oct. 2, but service will be limited to the checking out of materials. Any items returned to library branches after Friday evening, will not be checked in until Monday. This means they will continue to show up on customer accounts, but they will be back dated when cleared.  

 “I thank our customers for their patience as we launch Aspen Discovery,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo. “We know they will be pleased with our new catalog once this transition is complete.”  

With Aspen Discovery, customers will be able to:

  • Access the public catalog via any mobile device
  • Search the E-book and print collection simultaneously 
  • Browse all formats (print, e-book, audio book etc.) of a title within one search result  
  • Receive suggestions for other related titles to check out while waiting for a hold to be filled 
  • Review current checkouts, renew materials, and place holds online for physical and electronic materials  
  • Manage their own privacy settings for reading and search history 
  • View and pay fees online
  • Save search alerts for arrival of new materials
  • Select and change notification preferences (text, email)
  • Add star ratings to titles 
  • Make purchase suggestions online 
  • Create, manage and share lists of favorite books 
  • Seamless integration of news, events and other communication 
  • And much more! 

All customers’ current account information (checkouts, holds, fines, address and phone, etc.) will be available on the new system. Individuals’ library barcodes and personal identification numbers will remain the same.  

While we transition to our new public library catalog:

  • You may checkout materials but returns will not be processed until Monday, October 4
  • Catalog search functionality will be limited or unavailable
  • Online library card applications will be unavailable
  • Online resources, including databases and e-books, will experience disruptions
  • You will be unable to place holds or renew items checked out to your account

For more about Aspen and our new catalog visit MCPL’s website.

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Business and Workforce Development Events & Programs Online Learning

Montgomery County Public Libraries Launches Northstar, a New Digital Literacy Resource

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) now offers the Northstar Digital Literacy suite of tools to help residents acquire or improve basic digital literacy skills. The resource includes the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment – a suite of free online modules that test proficiency in essential digital skills. The assessments, built around basic computer digital literacy standards were developed by leading Adult Basic Education (ABE) groups and are now sustained by Literacy Minnesota.

Assessments are available to test proficiency in the following digital skill areas:

Basic Computer Skills, Internet Basics, Using Email, Windows OS, Mac OS, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Social Media, Information Literacy, Career Search Skills, Supporting K-12 Distance Learning, Understanding your Digital Footprint.

Residents who take proctored assessment tests and score 85% or higher can earn certificates and badges to show to employers or add to resumes to prove proficiency in key digital skills.

The resource also includes a learning component – Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) which offers customized, self-directed online instruction and practice resources making it easy for learners to review material, practice and prepare before taking proctored tests. 

“As a center for life-long learning, MCPL is pleased to offer this valuable free resource to help our customers gain or sharpen digital literacy skills and enhance their chances of success in life, work or school,“ said Director Anita Vassallo. “Northstar is the latest of several tools MCPL has launched recently (Brainfuse’s HelpNowVetNow and JobNow) to support learning and economic recovery.”

 To access NSOL, customers must request a Northstar learner account: : https://mcpl.link/northstar-signup

To take a virtual proctored assessment test to earn a certificate or badge, customers can register for an upcoming test session:

Tuesday, July 27: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5126178

Tuesday Aug 31: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5336799

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Culture Events & Programs

Celebrate Black History Month 2021 at MCPL

Black History Month at MCPL

February is Black History Month, and MCPL has free online resourcesbooks, and events to help you learn and celebrate!

If you’re looking to explore and research online we’ve got some wonderful, authoritative resources for you.

The Oxford African-American Studies Center contains over 6,000 biographies, more than 10,000 articles, and hundreds of maps, documents, images, timelines, and charts and tables of African-American life, history, and culture.

The African American Times, later the Montgomery Times, archives cover seven years of the first Prince Georges and later Montgomery County-based newspaper that covered subjects of interest to the county’s Black community. The paper ceased publication in 2002. Read the archives here.

Black History Month 2021 Events

Join us online for several events celebrating Black History Month, featuring local experts and community gatherings discussing Black history, civil rights, social justice, and some STEM fun.

2/5, First Friday Film Fest

In honor of Library Lovers Month and Black History Month we are showing The Loving Story.

2/13, Historical Perspectives on Slavery in Maryland and Washington, D.C.  

James H. Johnston from Montgomery History discusses how slavery in the Washington D.C. area evolved differently from other areas, due to the crops being grown, and the diverse nature of Washington.

2/16, Social Justice Author Talk with Michelle H. Hall

What significant event occurred in America in 1968? Michelle H. Hall, author of “1968 Riots Through the Eyes of an Eight-Year-Old-Girl” will discuss her experiences and her book about the riots.

2/17, Lecture: Separate but Unequal – History of School Segregation in Montgomery County 

Montgomery County Historical Society on the history of segregation in public schools. 

2/18, The Reported Lynchings in Montgomery County  

Based on the recent compilation of hundreds of digitized newspaper accounts, researcher Sarah Hedlund presents comprehensive narratives on the three documented cases of lynching in Montgomery County. Each man’s story is supported by quotes, in-person reporting, period maps, photographs, and genealogical research, in remembrance and recognition of this darker side of Montgomery County’s history.

2/22, George Crum, a Potato Chip STEM Challenge  

Learn about the man who invented one of America’s favorite snack foods and join us for a potato chip themed STEM challenge!

2/25, Black History Month Trivia

Come join us and honor Black History Month by putting your knowledge to the test and celebrating African American achievements! We will cover important events as well as notable figures that impacted history as we know it.

2/26, Slave Ship to Harvard, Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family with Author Jim Johnston 

Yarrow Mamout was a Fulani Muslim who came to Maryland on a slave ship in 1752. Jim’s book follows later generations of the family through Robert Turner Ford, who graduated from Harvard in 1923.

2/28, No Pressure Social Justice Discussion Group 

For 4th-8th grade and their adult. Read a book, watch a movie, or use our digital resources to do research about your favorite Black leader or role model. We will discuss their role in social justice and play a game of Black History trivia! Join us as we learn from each other and celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness in our own community! 

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Business and Workforce Development Library Branches

Ten Montgomery County Public Libraries Offer Free Outdoor Public Wi-Fi

Montgomery County has leveraged federal COVID-19 funding to install outdoor public Wi-Fi at 10 Public Library (MCPL) locations: Aspen HillDavis (N. Bethesda)GaithersburgGermantownMaggie Nightingale (Poolesville),  Marilyn Praisner (Burtonsville)Rockville MemorialTwinbrookWheaton, and White Oak branches; and in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.

This free service is available 24 hours a day in parking lots adjacent to the library buildings. Additional coverage is provided in grass area behind the Davis branch, in the park from the library to the playground area at Wheaton, and in the Rockville Town Square. Wi-Fi coverage varies by location. Customers are advised to follow COVID-19 safety recommendations and are required to adhere to executive orders and Health Officer directives when using the services.

 “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought greater awareness of the impacts of the widening digital disparity, which often deprives community members of opportunities to participate in important daily-life activities such as remote learning, accessing workforce development and employment information or staying up-to-date on news and information,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The work of MCPL and the Department of Technology Services (DTS) to secure funding to provide Wi-Fi availability for outside use at 11 County facilities is another step in working to ensure that all community members have equitable access to reliable connectivity.”

“Outdoor public Wi-Fi will provide more places for people without home Wi-Fi to access the Libraries’ early literacy, education, workforce development and health and wellness information and the robust digital programs and services,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo.

MCPL and the Department of Technology Services (DTS) applied for but were not awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services federal COVID-19 grant. DTS then worked to leverage other federal CARES Act COVID-19 grant funding to install the free outdoor Wi-Fi access. 

“With the support of the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, we thought strategically about how we could leverage remaining federal COVID-19 funding to help families and small businesses respond to COVID-19,” said Montgomery County Chief Information Officer and Director of DTS Gail M. Roper. “Internet is essential during the pandemic and DTS is proud to work with MCPL to find ways to expand internet access for those that do not have it at home. I am also pleased that the Poolesville branch was selected to support small business owners and will also provide more internet access for rural Montgomery County.” 

The 10 library branches were chosen by analyzing U.S. Census and MCPL data. Seven library branches were selected by mapping Census data neighborhoods with lower incomes and households without home internet. The Pew Research Center for Internet & Technology reported that as of 2019, 18 percent of adults with incomes less than $30,000 do not have home internet access, compared to only 2 percent of adults with incomes greater than $75,000, and 85 percent and 86 percent of Black and Hispanic adults use the internet compared to 92 percent of White adults.  Median per capita income in the Census Block Groups served by the 7 libraries is $35,372 and the population is 27 percent Black and 28 percent Hispanic. Three additional locations (Davis, Rockville and Wheaton Regional) were selected because prior to the pandemic they had greater participation in MCPL small business programs.

“Small business owners who relied on MCPL indoor Wi-Fi to run their businesses asked the County for help and we were glad to assist them,” said Assistant Chief Administrative Officer for Small Economic Development Jerome Fletcher.  “Small businesses are critical to County’s economy recovery and more outdoor public Wi-Fi is another way the County is offering relief to small businesses.” 

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Events & Programs Library Branches

MCPL Launches Mobile Hotspot Lending Program

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) launched “Internet to Go,” our mobile hotspot lending program for the public. MCPL has a collection of 250 Verizon MiFi Mobile hotspots that will be available at all of our locations currently providing public service.

“We know that the digital divide affects many of our County residents each day, and we are very pleased to begin this program,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo.  “This will make it possible for us to support County residents who may be working remotely, helping their children navigate online learning, applying online for jobs and benefits, and completing other important and necessary tasks online.” 

Library cardholders in good standing, who are 14 years and older, are eligible to checkout a mobile hotspot. Hotspots may be borrowed for two weeks with no renewals. 

Customers may place a hold on a hotspot via MCPL’s webpage, or by calling Ask-A-Librarian, at 240-777-0001 to schedule a pickup at a choice of library branches. For more information visit mcpl.link/internet-to-go.

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Did You Know Here to Help

How to Check Out Books at MCPL!

We want to make sure all MCPL patrons have access to our materials while branches are closed for browsing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Log onto our website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library to find all electronic resources, and place books on hold for pickup at your local branch.

Our librarians created a presentation on how to check out books, in English and in Spanish, if you’re new to the online process or need a refresher. Access these presentations below, and learn how to find your next favorite book (print, audio or e-book), cd, movie or event!

How to Check Out Books (in English.)

Watch the presentation here.

Password: y@9#tuE8

Reserva Libros (en Espanol)

Mira la presentación aquí.

Password: y9MP+M$r

If you need an MCPL library card, visit mcpl.link/holds-to-go. If you have a question for a librarian, visit mcpl.link/ask-a-librarian. We are here for you!

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From the Collection Readers' Cafe We Recommend

Read 2020 Award-Winners on Hoopla!

Looking for something new to read? Check out some “best of” and award-winning titles on Hoopla–available with NO holds, NO waits, with your MCPL card! Learn more at mcpl.link/hoopla.

Shuggie Bain, a novel by Douglas Stuart book cover

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart: 2020 Booker Prize Winner.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King bookcover

Writers & Lovers by Lily King: Washington Post’s Best Books of 2020

Black Sunday a novel by Tola Rotimi Abraham book cover

Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham: 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist

Vesper Flights by Helen McDonald author of H is for Hawk book cover

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald (e-book only): Washington Post’s Best Books of 2020

Elena Ferrante The Lying Life of Adults book cover

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (e-book only): author of the acclaimed Neapolitan Quartet series (and 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist)

Unworthy Republic The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt book cover

Unworthy Republic by Claudio Saunt (e-audio only): 2020 National Book Award Finalist / Nonfiction

A Children's Bible a Novel by Lydia Millett Book Cover

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet (e-audio only): NY Times’ Best Books of 2020

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Did You Know

At-Home Reading Resources K-2

Looking for e-resources to support reading and early literacy? Check out these from MCPL! Some are appropriate for a wide range of ages, and others are especially for elementary school students and children who are just beginning to read independently.

These are premium resources, free to you with your library card! Click the links below, and you’ll land on the page for each service that will ask you for MCPL log-in information, so have your card handy. Need a library card? It’s easy to get one here.

BookFlixClassic video storybooks and non-fiction e-books.
Books & AuthorsFind suggestions for good books, read-alikes, award lists, series lists, author information, reviews, and reader ratings.
FlipsterRead your favorite magazines online, including many for children.
hooplaA variety of ebooks, audiobooks, comics, movies, music, and television shows for all ages. Available immediately – no waiting!
NoveList K-8 PlusFind good books, fiction and nonfiction, for kids and teens. Includes recommended reading lists, read-alikes, award winners, series titles, and more.
Overdrive for KidsDownloadable e-books and audiobooks for children.
RBdigital Magazines for KidsRead your favorite magazines online, including many for children.
TumbleBooksAnimated, talking picture books. Includes story books, chapter books, nonfiction, videos, and more. Also includes e-books in French and Spanish.