Category Archives: reference

June is Great Outdoors Month!

After the days of social isolation and self quarantine, perhaps no celebration would be more appreciated. Of course, we still need to wear masks and maintain six feet of separation but places like Sagamore Hill, Planting Fields Arboretum and Bayard Cutting Arboretum have their grounds open for us to enjoy.

Travel by train or plane is still in the future. But this might be a good time to think about where you’d like to experience the Great Outdoors. May I suggest the Ken Burns’ documentary about the National Parks?  David Duncan’s companion book, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea*, is also an informative and enjoyable read. The library also has many travel books by Fodor, Frommer, and Moon handbooks about the various national parks and other fascinating places just waiting to be explored.

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Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey* by Conor Knighton and The Hour of the Land* by Terry Tempest Williams offer thoughtful appreciations of the National Park System.

Some of my favorite armchair reading would include Florence Williams’ The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative*. Combining an appreciation of nature and an interesting look at U.S. history is Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation: Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation*. Or travel to Alaska with Jon Krakuer in Into the Wild. Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods* is a delightful hike along the Appalachian Train.

Now that the library has curbside pickup you can get these books in print. *Many of these titles are also available as ebooks or audio books on Overdrive or Hoopla. Try searching the catalog for “national parks” or “natural history” or “outdoor recreation.”

But after you have chosen your book: take a hike, ride a bike, catch a fish (or try), smell the fresh air!

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

The Library of Congress & its Book Festival

The Library of Congress is simply one of my favorite places. President John Adams signed a bill in 1800 establishing a reference library in the new capital city of Washington, DC. The legislation provided that it contain “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress — and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein…”

Photo by Shawn Miller.

Originally, it was housed in the Capitol. During the War of 1812 the British invaded and set fire to the Capitol Building burning most of the collection. Retired President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal collection which he had amassed over 50 years, and which was considered to be one of the finest in America.

I will try to curtail my enthusiasm for the architecture and my personal fondness for the building! However, a little information seems to be in order. The Library is comprised of three buildings, The Thomas Jefferson Building, the john Adams building and the James Madison Building. The Jefferson Building (1897), located next to the Supreme Court and across from the U.S. Capitol, is impressive. If you are interested, take a virtual tour of the building.

But on to books and reading. You have probably heard of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. It was started by then First Lady Laura Bush and the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington with the inaugural event in 2001. This year’s event is scheduled for August.

The Library has been sponsoring an ongoing .. and online!…celebration of the Festival with daily features of videos of the thousands of authors who have appeared at the Festival over the past nearly 20 years. Mondays focus on topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literature; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir, Thursday: popular fiction and Friday: authors who write for children and teens.

Check out the fascinating talks with such authors as Neil Patrick Harris, Colson Whitehead, Patricia Cornwell, Tara Westover, Edmund Morris, and Jacqueline Woodson to name a few of the thousands who have participated.

-posted by Brenda, Reference  Services

Have You Heard About Our Podcast?

Hey podcast fans! You may not know this but Syosset Public Library has been podcasting for about two years.   The podcast episodes feature interesting conversation on a wide variety of subjects – not just about books and reading.  Listen to our librarians interview authors, Syosset citizens and celebrities, and experts on all sorts of topics.   Here is a sampling of episodes that also happen to be our most listened to offerings:

Episode Thirty Eight: Syosset Stories, It’s SUE BIRD! 

Four time Olympic gold medal winner! Voted one of the WNBA’s top players of all time! Professional basketball player, Sue Bird took the time to talk with us about her childhood right here in Syosset.


Episode Eighty: Jon Lovett

Lovett, podcaster supreme (Pod Save America), former speech-writer for President Obama, and Syosset alum lends us his voice and humor! Lovett joins us to share his favorite memories of Syosset and how he went from mathematics major to a political speech writer.

Episode One: An Introduction to Us!

Give us our Gatsby! An interview featuring Dr. Charles Riley, Director of the Nassau County Museum of Art.



Special Episode: One

In the wake of COVID-19 libraries, educators, authors, and publishers are coming together to find new ways to reach the public. Skip Dye of Penguin Random House graciously agreed to chat with us about the recent policy released by his company which will allow us to use remote services and social media to provide Storytimes and beyond to our communities as we practice responsible social distancing.

Episode Three: We LUG NY

Sy-Con Presents Bricks Rock was a fun filled event at our library! In this episode, we sat down with three members of I LUG NY, the NY Tri-State LEGO Users group to chat about growing up and holding on to what were once considered “childish things” as a way to make connections with others — and where libraries can fit into this philosophy.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services



A Mini History Course on our “Hometown” President: Theodore Roosevelt

Long Island University’s Theodore Roosevelt Institute is sponsoring a series of four lectures on the 26th President. Tweed Roosevelt will present tales of his great grandfather.

The first lecture will look at the future President’s time in the Badlands of North Dakota. He initially went to hunt buffalo but fell in love with the area, buying a herd of cattle and hiring local men to run the enterprise when he returned to NY. This was not just an economic decision. It also would give him a chance to live the western lifestyle which he had long romanticized. Did you know he hunted down a pair of thieves  who had stolen his boat and marched them back to the Dickinson, ND?

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Register for the virtual lecture series here The dates are May 19, June 16, September 15 and October 20 at noon.

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

Things You Can Do with an SPL Library Card…That Do Not Involve Reading!

If you are self quarantining or even if you are not, you might have some time on your hands these days. Feel like trying something new?  Here are just some of the choices you have and all you need is a Syosset Public Library card:

Learn a language with Pronunciator

Pronunciator is a fun and free way to learn any of 80 languages.  Learn online and get the app for your mobile device.  There are lessons for early learners, young learners and adult learners as well as different levels of courses.

Learn a new office skill or get a refresher on an old one with has an expansive library of over 200,000 instructional videos covering over 5,900 courses.  There are a variety of levels covering technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies and more.  There are curated playlists in all subjects to help you decide what videos to watch first.

Create some art or learn a new craft on Creativebug

More than 1,000 award-winning art and craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists. Learn how to paint, draw, knit, crochet, sew, make jewelry and more.

Do some research on your family tree with Ancestry Library Edition

A comprehensive genealogy resource center including census, vital, church, court and immigration records.  Now available from home during the quarantine.

Get help with home schooling with

Free online homework help with real tutors for students in grades K–12, college introductory courses, adult learners and job seekers.  The SkillsCenter Resource Library provides lessons, study guides and other Homework Resources, Test Prep Resources for SAT, ACT, GED and other standardized tests.

Learn about topics you never had time for with The Great Courses

The Great Courses Library Collection is the leading global media brand for lifelong learning and personal enrichment, with hundreds of courses spanning thousands of in-depth video lectures on subjects like Science, Health & Wellness, and much more.

Need to replace a household item? Do some research on Consumer Reports

The exclusive online source for Consumer Reports magazine. View and print articles, complete with photos, charts and ratings.


All you need to access the services above is a Syosset Public Library card.  Our library cards are available to Syosset Central School District residents. Don’t have one?  Get a digital library card here.

Not a Syosset/Woodbury resident?  Check your library’s website for their database menu.

posted by Sonia, Reference Services

Presidential Homes…Visit from the Comfort of your Own Home!

Sagamore Hill, The home of President Theodore Roosevelt, has announced that the National Historic site will be totally closed. The House and Museum at Old Orchard haves been closed for several weeks but now the grounds and trails are also closed to the public. May I suggest taking a virtual tour of the collection through Google Arts and Culture at? It is really quite amazing to ‘walk’ through the House and get close to the art and treasures of the House (much closer than on an in person tour).

George Washington was born in the Northern Neck of Virginia. The site is preserved by the National Park Service. Enjoy a virtual tour and see the rural area that was the birthplace of our first President. Then head north to take a virtual tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home which was built around 1734 by his father, Augustine. The site offers livestream tours of the estate, educational resources and in depth looks at the man. You can take a similar Google tour of the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA. Take a look inside the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams as well as the Stone Library which has 12,000 volumes collected by four generations of the Adams family.


Have fun visiting these homes of some of our Presidents!

Librarian Adventures on the Internet

We roam the internet so you don’t have to, today I’m sharing some stuff to make your weekend more interesting:  a COVID-19 museum exhibit, The Bronte sisters, reading advice and more!

Need something to read and want to be surprised?  This bookstore has got you covered.

Been meaning to visit Washington D.C. but can’t right now? The Smithsonian Institute is offering this scholar-led tour which you can take from home.

If you are finding it hard to read during the pandemic, you are not alone.

Love the fiction of the Bronte sisters?  Let Google take you on a tour of the places that inspired their books.

If you have visited the Main Branch of The New York Public Library, you , of course, remember the lions out front.  Well, which one are you, Patience or Fortitude? Take this quiz and find out.

Feeling all alone?  You might feel better after you meet this guy.

Believe it or not: someone is already planning a COVID-19 Pandemic museum exhibition!



Well, that’s it for today…if you liked these,

there’s more on our Twitter feed, @syossetlibrary.

Have a great weekend!

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

Take me out to the Ball Game!

Take me out to the Ball game!Isn’t that the sound of spring? Not this year. But it is the sound of promise each year. “We will do better”. “We can’t lose!” “Just look at our lineup!”

Promise is what we need right now so let’s look at some armchair sites:

History…this is a fun place to spend some time. MLB site has a fact-filled history section. The Year in Review feature has mutimedia, team coverage and special features. Consider using the ‘fantasy’ feature: it helps pass the time until the real players can take the field.

Come back every day and see ‘Today in Baseball history’ Actually the site has so many options, just open it and take walks down memory lane. You can see famous players, historic feats, awards and honors, and team histories. This could truly make you the champ of any baseball trivia contest!

Mets vs Yankees…I don’t take a stand here! But I can suggest looking at each team’s website. The Mets site has all the information you would expect. But take a look at the Virtual Vault. It was begun to celebrate the Amazing Mets of 1969 and has memories from that season and other historic team moments. The Yankees site has a selection of video highlights  or you can take a video tour of Yankee stadium.

Every Mickey Mantle or Tom Seaver had to start with a small bat and a backyard (or playground) pitch. Maybe this is a good time to start mentoring the next superstar. Here are some ideas for teaching kids to play baseball. One step is to teach them how to bat. Since I was always terrified of being hit while at bat, I really love the reminder to start with a plastic bat and a SOFT ball!

This one is for the beginner. I really like it because it emphasizes the fun part of the sport  It includes practice plans for 8-12 year olds. More basic ideas are in the coaching tips section where the fundamentals of catching and throwing are presented with fun drills. Here are some basic tips for the older kids.

Remember to keep social distance -but have some fun!

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services