Contain Your Enthusiasm: It’s Back-to-School Time!

…I know you’re excited, and why wouldn’t you be? Getting up early! Number 2 pencils! Math homework! Book reports! Gym class! Weird cafeteria food, and having to ask if you can go to the bathroom! Who doesn’t love back-to-school?!?!

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t really fair, listing all the really icky things about going back to school. I mean…it’s not all bad, right? You could have really cool teachers, and make awesome new friends, that are really good at Math and will help you with your homework.

And speaking of helping you with your homework…your faaaaaavorite library and faaaaavorite librarians are can help you there, too.

We’re pretty good when it comes to research. It’s almost like we’ve got magic powers, or something. Don’t believe me? Check out this movie to find out just how much the library can help YOU!

‘Tis the SEASON OF GIVING: FreeRice


It’s really starting to feel like the holidays…isn’t it, Bits and Bramblers? Of course, part of that might be the cold and the snow (which really only needs to stick around for the holidays. And then it can be around 45 degrees until…let’s say March.) But back to the holidays…after all, it’s the season of giving!

…Because that’s always the best part, right? The giving, I mean. And when you’re giving someone a gift they reeaaallly wanted—or needed—it’s even better. So in the spirit of giving, we’ve decided to do a series of posts here at Bits and Brambles, letting you know about different websites and nonprofit organizations making a difference for those in need this holiday season.

…First up, FreeRice. If you’ve ever taken a vocabulary test, you can play FreeRice. They’ll give you a word, like “disorderly,” and a list of synonyms—and all you have to do is pick the word that means the same thing. See? It’s simple…if you’re wrong, you learn a new word. But if you’re right, then the site’s sponsors will donate 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. So the more words you get right, the more rice they’ll donate. It’s a win/win situation, Bits and Bramblers!

You learn a bunch of new words, which will make you look smart in front of your family, friends, and teachers (and will probably come in pretty hand on tests like…oh, the ACT/SAT.) And the whole time, you’re helping the United Nations end world hunger. And you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas. Come on…it doesn’t get any better than that.

You can learn a little more about the website—and the people that benefit from it—in this video. So what are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers? Start clicking…and help end world hunger!

XtraNormal is Xtra Cool!

The next time your teacher assigns a book report or other class presentation and says that creativity counts, go straight to Xtranormal. This is a free website that allows you to choose characters and make your own movies about anything you want. Their slogan is: If you can type, you can make movies and I’m here to tell you that it’s true.

It just takes a few minutes to set up an account and then get ready to say “Action”. Actually, you don’t really say anything, you just type words in little boxes, choose camera angles (is this your best side?) add expressions, sound effects and movement and you’re Quentin Tarantino (minus the high forehead). Once you’ve previewed your movie and like the way it looks, you can publish it and save it to your Xtranormal account. The best part is, if you have a Youtube account, you can publish it to Youtube with one click.

This is really something worth looking into. Even if you don’t want to do something as lame as a school project, you can make little animated films to put on your Facebook or Myspace page. The possibilities are endless. I just discovered this yesterday and I’ve already written, directed and produced a short film. Sundance here I come!

Some Changes, and Back to…Ew…

It’s that time of year again, Bits and Bramblers! It’s time to use all those new folders, notebooks, and pens you just bought. That’s right—it’s time to go back to school!

Yeah…I’m sorry. Really, I am. In fact, I’m not going to keep up the fake enthusiasm. Going back to school isn’t fun. There’s the whole…”getting up early” part. And the meeting new teachers and other kids part. And the learning your new schedule part. And then there’s the learning-new-things-and doing homework part. Not fun.

…But the thing is? It doesn’t have to be all bad. Maybe you’ll catch on to your new schedule super fast, and maybe those new teachers and other kids will actually be…awesome. And as far as learning new things goes, trust me—it’s always good. Because the more you know, the better off you’ll be (except maybe algebra. I never got the algebra thing.) And don’t forget—if you ever need help with your homework, well…all you have to do is ask your faaaaavorite librarian, right? That’s why we’re here, after all!

In fact, the only all-bad thing is getting up early, and that kind of sucks no matter how old you are. Blech.

So…chin up, Bits and Bramblers. You’ll get used to all the back-to-school-changes in no time.

But while we’re on the subject of changes—there are a few of them coming up here at M/RCPL. Remember the whole…mess this summer? Well, the good news is all of your faaaaaavorite branches get to stay open. But in other news, our hours will be a liiiitle bit different.

Here’s a list of your faaaaavorite branches and their new hours (this way, when you need help with your homework, you’ll know whether or not we’re open!) The new hours will begin on Tuesday, September 8th:
Main Library
Sunday: 1 – 5 PM
Monday –Thursday: 10 AM – 8 PM
Friday and Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Bellville, Lexington, Madison and Ontario Branches
Monday – Thursday: 10 AM – 7 PM
Friday and Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Butler, Lucas and Plymouth Branches
Monday – Thursday: 11 AM – 7 PM
Friday : 11 AM – 5 PM
Saturday : 9 AM – 3 PM
Crestview Branch
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 11 AM – 7 PM
Wednesday and Friday: 11 AM – 5 PM
Saturday : 9 AM – 3 PM

Now…after all the talk about changes, let’s talk about a few things that are going to stay the same—like Bits and Brambles. We’ll still be posting about awesome books and cool websites, as well as sharing funny videos—like this one (it’ll make your first day look easy!)

Happy SQUARE ROOT DAY, Everybody!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “What’s Square Root Day?” That’s a good question.

See, Square Root Day is rare. In fact, it only occurs nine times each century, when “the day and the month are both the square root of the last two digits of the current year.” Get it? Today is 3/3/09, which can be expressed mathematically as “√9 = 3, or 3² = 3 × 3 = 9″.

So…HAPPY SQUARE ROOT DAY, Bits and Bramblers!

…The thing is? I’m not exactly sure how you celebrate Square Root Day.

I mean, you could have cake. If we’re celebrating, cake seems like a good plan.

Other than that, I…don’t really know. To be honest, I’m not really all that good at math. In fact? I kind of hate it. Actually…hold on. I have a brilliant idea! On Square Root Day, maybe we could honor math, by not doing math of any kind. You know, out of respect for math. I doubt your math teachers will go for that, but you could give it a try.

Apparently, you could celebrate by eating “square radishes, or other root vegetables cut into squares.” (Yeah, but…you could just forget the root part, and eat a square of cake, right?)

No matter how you choose to celebrate, have a very happy Square Root Day, Bits and Bramblers!

Now…for those of you that aren’t all that great at Math (like me,) I could post a very boring video about how to do mathematical equations with square roots. But why would I do that when we’re supposed to be celebrating (and I can link to a song with a funny fake boy band singing about calculus? Isn’t that more…I don’t know, celebratory? I think so, so…enjoy!)