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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Now displaying: March, 2018

Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Mar 28, 2018

Listen to the audio

David Payne: Welcome to Library Matters with your host David Payne.

 

Julie Dina: And Julie Dina.

 

David Payne: And today we're going retro, and looking at the record player, polaroid camera, rotary phone, and all radios, in other words, retro technology. And I'm very pleased to have two of MCPL’s most avid retro tech collectors with us today, welcome Eric Carzon, the manager of the Twinbrook Library.

 

Eric Carzon: Hi everybody.

 

David Payne: And Bill Carey, from our Information Technology Department. Welcome Bill.

 

Bill Carey: Okay, thank you.

 

David Payne: So, Eric and Bill welcome, and I can see from the props that you bought in today you've got some serious retro technology which we're looking forward to hearing all about. Well, sort of tell us both a bit about yourselves, and how would you describe retro technology, and what got you interested in the field? Let’s start with you Eric.

 

Eric Carzon: Alrighty, thank you. So, aside from managing the Twinbrook branch, I’m a lifelong Maryland native, I have two children, married, and I’m an amateur singer, songwriter. To me I define retro technology in a couple of different ways.

 

I think one way to define it, and look at it is that it's a piece of older technology that comes back into use, or fashion after an absence, bellbottom jeans, vinyl record players which we’ll talk a lot about. The other thing that I would say is that retro technology can sometimes be new technology that's sort of presented with the skin of an older technology.

 

So, it might be for instance sort of the old fashioned -- old fashioned, it’s kind of hard to call old fashioned. But the cell phones from the original first generation Nokia, which had sort of bigger buttons and were very simple, they’re sort making comeback now. And so they put the new guts into the old phone. So I think that's another way to implement retro technology.

 

It sounded kind of funny to me, I never thought I would wear polyester, but Under Armor if you break it down and think about it is basically plastic clothing like from the 70s, when everybody wore nylon. So, there's an example of retro in my opinion where they've sort of put a new spin on an old idea. And so why is retro tech interesting to me? Well, I come from the third generation of telephone people.

 

My dad was a phone lineman, my grandfather worked as a lineman and various other jobs in management in the C&P Telephone Company. So, I come from a family of tinkerers, basically. They were always tinkering with something, so I’ve got all their old tools and just sort of picked up that habit of tinkering with old stuff, and I just love to play with old junk.

 

And in fact I used some of their old bolts and screws that they gave me today to make a repair on something this morning in my house, so it comes in handy too.

 

David Payne: That's great, thank you. So Bill, are you a tinkerer as well?

 

Bill Carey: I certainly am. I’m a 50 year bass player musician, so I deal with vintage guitars, vintage bases and vintage tube amplifiers too, as part of my retro tech exposure, and I like old tube radios, the ones with vacuum tubes are the ones of interest to me, because you can actually play with the electronics and learn about the radio, how it works, and the same thing with the amplifiers I have.

 

You can actually tailor the sound of it by modifying components inside.

 

David Payne: So, do you actively still collect the old radios?

 

Bill Carey: When I can find them I do, they're getting to be hard to find now, because there's so many people that value them, you just can't come across one. I used to see them in thrift stores, garage sales all the time, and picking up occasionally, but I just don't see them anymore. Now you can find them online but you're going to pay the premium price for those online.

 

But still, I have about a half dozen I keep in my office here just for visual fun, and I work on them on the side occasionally get'em to work. This one, I brought one from 1941, just to see how everything is all -- most of it is all wooden materials and early plastic, but just wanted to show you the technology of vacuum tube, that’s what displayed in these things.

 

Even though this one doesn't have a power cord yet, because it still needs to be rebuilt, but most of them don't work that I buy, and I find that's better because I can get them for less money then.

 

David Payne: And you fix them up yourself.

 

Bill Carey: Sure.

 

Julie Dina: So, hopefully, before the show is over between Bill playing the guitar, and Eric the armature singer, we can get a commitment from the two of you.

 

Eric Carzon: We’re not in a gig here.

 

Julie Dina: We can have a gig.

 

Eric Carzon: Why not?

 

David Payne: Yeah, we did the Christmas party, why not.

 

Bill Carey: We did the Christmas -- right, a couple of years ago.

 

Julie Dina: We’ve got a contract. I’m privileged to be with the Outreach Team and, we’re currently getting excited and prepared for a vinyl day for our listeners and those who have no idea what Vinyl Day is, can you guys tell us what Vinyl Day is all about, when this is going to be, where, and who should attend.

 

Eric Carzon: All right, great. I’ll tackle that. I’m on the committee, so I’m helping to plan it, and we’re really looking forward to it we think it should be fun as the first time that MCPL is doing this. So, the event is called Just for the Record, A Vinyl Record Day. And it's going to be held at the Silver Spring Library on April 21st, and it's going to be from 11 o'clock in the morning, through 4PM in the afternoon.

 

It’s fun for all ages, everybody is welcome, all the events are free. And let me give you a few samples of things that are going to be going on during the event. We're going to have several panel discussions. We've got some experts who will talk about live music that drove the golden era of record making, we’ll have people that talk about record collecting.

 

We're going to have a group that's talking about the recording industry in Eritrea, in Eastern Africa, and we're going to have some DJ performances. We'll also have an opportunity for music and dance, a little karaoke. We're going to be doing really cool crafts where the kids get to build crafts out of old records, so that's going to be really nifty.

 

Our keynote speaker is John Corbett, he’s an author he wrote the b ook Vinyl Freak, Love Letters to A Dying Medium. So, he is a music expert and a long time DJ, and collector and he's going to be rounding the afternoon for us. We’ll also have music/record display rooms throughout the library, and we’re actually asking for folks to volunteer to demonstrate those.

 

So we're hoping we might get a blues room, or a gospel room, or jazz room, that kind of thing. So, the website folks who are interested in displaying their music in one of these music rooms is www.folmc.org/vinyl-day. And where did the Vinyl Day idea come from? April 21st is actually National Record Store Day, and that's been around more than a decade.

 

It's a day to celebrate music and what record stores bring. And so we combine that with --. In August there's an actual Vinyl Day that is also about a decade old and commemorates the patenting of the recording technology, the record.

 

So, we sort of morphed the concepts together and said, “Well, let's have a day that celebrates the vinyl record, and we’ll actually in honor of Record Store Day there will actually be a sale during record day at the library, so one of the rooms will actually, you can actually buy records and books from the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County book sale, they are one of the sponsors.

 

In fact the event is a co-sponsorship, it is co-sponsored Montgomery County Public Libraries, the Friends of the Library Montgomery County, Levine Music, and Open Sky Jazz are the co-sponsors of the program, and it's going to be a really good time.

 

Julie Dina: So it sounds like we have a variety.

 

Eric Carzon: Oh yeah, it is going to be a lot of fun.

 

Bill Carey: So the Eritrean recording industry is being done on vinyl, is that what they're doing, are they’re doing--

 

Eric Carzon: Well, they are going to describe like the history of it, so I’m sure that they use a mix of technologies today just like the American recording industry.

 

Bill Carey: They want to do it in digital and vinyl on the side or something because I still have all my vinyl records from the 60s and 70s. I store them in my basement, thought they’d worthless get around -- I thought I was going to get around the donating and were throwing them out, and now they're valuable again.

 

David Payne: Now you're glad you didn't.

 

Bill Carey: Now records I bought for 2.50 or $3 are now $30, so it’s amazing. And if you kept in good shape, they sound good and they still work, and in my younger days in high school I was on some local release recordings, that we did a local record in DC and the structure of making a record back in the 70s was you had to record it first in a recording studio, and then send it off to have it mixed down, and then mastered.

 

It was quite a bit of money, and then you'd have to pressed into vinyl records, the key thing back then was the quality of the vinyl affect, the quality of the sound. So, if you had virgin vinyl your record sounded better than if you had recycled vinyl, and that was a big issue back then when you had a company do records because they tried to cut costs, use recycled vinyl, and you’d have all these pops on your record.

 

People get upset. Well, that's what you had to pay extra sometimes, you get to specify, “I want virgin vinyl used for my record pressing." You got a better sounding record as a result. And hopefully that's they’re still doing today, at $30 a pop for an album, because you can hear a very big difference, especially when you’re comparing it to a CD.

 

The background noise is the downfall of vinyl record, but that’s how you also get the analog sound so it's a trade off.

 

David Payne: But let me ask you, you both. We talked about the revival of vinyl, and record players and so on. Why do you think that there has been this revival of vinyl record players, and retro the retro tech in general? What's the appeal, why has it come back?

 

Eric Carzon: I’ll start I think a couple different factors. I think one is definitely just generational. Now I’m gentleman of a certain age, and I you know now I can relive that experience. For me vinyl records were right in my childhood, and so I can go back to specific moments and say, “I’m seven years old, and my mom's playing Gordon Lightfoot, and were hanging out in the house, and it's a happy time.

 

Because of the way that the vinyl records are that is an experience. So, it's you know it's a time delimited experience of 20 minutes per side, and each side sort of goes with the other side, and you sort of experience it in this linear fashion which is a lot different than what you can do with Mp3 and mix. A lot of albums on CDs seem like just a collection of songs, don’t get me wrong, some vinyl was just a collection of songs too.

 

But, the medium lent itself and the fashion at the time, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, Marvin Gaye, What's Going On. These records were tight, they were integrated, and that's an experience--

 

Bill Carey: Sergeant Peppers for instance.

 

Eric Carzon: Yeah, exactly.

 

Bill Carey: That order made a difference.

 

David Payne: So basically it's also they cover the self, which is in many ways iconic.

 

Eric Carzon: Yeah, so I think there is this sort of nostalgic element, and generationally people are sort of thirsting to experience that again. Kids grow up, I got more free time, I'm ready go back into the record store and experience that maybe have a little more cash, I’m not broke like I was when I was 22, or whatever. So I think there's some generational, there's an economics.

 

I think for newer generations I think as an experience it's kind of like a luxury experience, and I do lots of stuff with digital music, So I’m very happy mixing and making -- I’ve got mixes that last for 26 hours, and that's great to be able to do that and that is an experience too, but I can see the appeal of someone younger who's only experienced CD and electronic music going, "Wait a minute, what's that?

 

Oh, I like that scratching sound, I like that analog sound, the kind of warm --" Because digital kind of cold, and when it goes bad it's kind of very punchy, where as in analog technology, if it's slightly degraded or bad, it doesn’t spoil the whole experience. You still experience something, in fact it can sort of add to the experience.

 

It's a totally different kind of package for somebody, and it's almost like anything, wine tasting, clothes or whatever. Anybody of any age could go, "Hmm, let me try that, what's that all about?" And I think some people have, and they've gone, "Wow, this is a wonderful way to experience this album." Some of them they might be exploring --

 

Actually, one of my notes for this is we are kind of in this age of we've done so much in the 20 and the 21st century that we're retreading. If you think about it like, how many Batman franchises have there been now? I've lost track.

 

Bill Carey: Nostalgia.

 

Eric Carzon: Modern artists are going back and they are recreating kind of “classics,” so, experiencing a classic as it was intended in its original form is something you can do with vinyl, and I can see somebody from any age, but especially from the new age going, "I want to experience this album, this classic album that I keep hearing about. Frank Sinatra, Tony Benin, whatever.

 

I want to experience this as it was experienced by the people who created it at the time it was created, just to have that experience, and see what's it’s all about. And then I want to put a modern spin on it." And that sort of spiders into, "Oh, let me take Lady Gaga's album, she's doing a duet with Frank Sinatra or whatever, so let's have her --

 

Let's do it the modern technical way, so it can be marketed and sold, and blah-blah-blah, but let's see what it sounds like on vinyl too." The other thing about vinyl at least is you get this huge 12 inch package, you can do all sort of different things with the art work, it's different. The written words are different. If you have a booklet kind of thing in there is actually readable. You don’t need a magnifying glass.

 

Artistically it makes a huge difference. Some of the books we have in our collections sort of go into that, like, "Hey, here's the classic album covers, and here's the first album cover where all the people on it were naked, and that was like a big thing at the time, it made everybody crazy." So, there's all sort of special things you can do with art work that CDR work in.

 

Basically, it just let's you recognize it. "Oh, that’s CD, I kind of recognize that CD." But, you're not going to hang it on your wall, or--

 

David Payne: You don’t buy a CD because of the cover.

 

Eric Carzon: Right.

 

Bill Carey: That's why CDs lost out on a lot, because the surface area was small, it couldn’t grab your attention as easily, and that's nothing to consider as when you're going to buy a classic album in vinyl, it was originally recorded in analogue equipment. So this is going to sound different than even a modern album recreated by the same band.

 

If you back and listen to an original Beatle's album even hearing it on CD, or you heard parts that you've never heard before, because now you can hear all the bass notes, and everything perfectly clear. But if you replay it on original vinyl record that is exactly how it was intended to be heard, or how it was heard when it was first released, so there's value in that, just like you said.

 

That's part of an experience where you go through the vinyl record, and you want to put it on a turn table, and then run through a tube amplifier, I’ve an old Dynaco tube stereo, you then get a full analogue experience, because tubes tend to emphasize the even harmonics of the harmonic series, they sound sweeter than the cold harsh electronics of CDs and solid-state amplifiers.

 

Solid-state amps are easier, and less maintenance, it’s a lot less headache, but a tube amp, or whatever has a good sound quality of sound. The original Woodstock, all the sound system was run on tubes. And if you go listen to that movie or go see it that's what you are hearing. You're hearing Macintosh amplifiers which is the primary amp ever used in stereo systems, they use that for Woodstock in '69.

 

So, there's a lot to be said for that, resurgence of that technology because of the quality of sound you don’t get in modern technology.

 

David Payne: Interesting.

 

Eric Carzon: Yeah. It's almost like a luxury product, it's like you drink the $8 bottle of wine, here it is, with Mac and cheese, if you want to heighten the experience every once in a while, or once in a couple of months. You're like, "You know what, in Deloitte a bottle of wine is fine, but I want the $25 bottle of wine tonight. It's special night." Or "I'm feeling like I want to indulge."

 

Bill Carey: With a $75 bottle.

 

Eric Carzon: Yeah, so it's like an experience. I would say the other reason I think vinyl records and other retro track is coming back, but it's kind of initiating point to me about vinyl records, because as a library staff member it's also sort of the same thing with paper and books. It's aside from the experience being different we have sort of discovered a sort of dirty little secret of CDs.

 

It's now that CDs have been around for two decades or more we started to realize that they don’t hold up. Just like cassette tapes, and I love cassette tapes. But the unfortunate fact of cassette tapes is they have a life spam, and it's a limited one. And so CDs as well people have discovered like, "Oh, if I play this CD regularly it will die after 20 years. Like just die and -- once it's dead it's useless."

 

So, vinyl is a lot like paper, in that it can get useless if you don’t take care of it, or if you abuse it. But if you take care of it we could be playing that vinyl record 300 years from now, just like we can go into a special library and find the Magna Carta from 1,200 years ago, or whatever, and that has its value.

 

David Payne: Yeah. And even with the scratch or too you can still play a record, and in some way that’s the whole feel of the record, that scratch.

 

Bill Carey: It is true. And if you get a scratch on the top of a CD you can kill the whole CD.

 

Eric Carzon: Exactly.

 

Bill Carey: Exactly, it can't quite handle it.

 

Eric Carzon: One of the reasons they used a record for the Voyager probe, so the Voyager is out there, but after 40 years, and what does it have on it? It's got a copper record on it with a makeshift record player, because that is a durable--

Bill Carey: That's right. They did include a record player where they think they wouldn’t have to depend on the aliens to invent something to play it.

 

David Payne: And now a brief message about MCPL services and resources.

 

Febe Huezo: Looking for guitar lessons for your child? MCPL has you covered. With artists work you can learn to play a new instrument, take voice lessons or try something special like jazz piano lessons. Sign up today it's free with your library card. For more information about artist work check out the link on this episode show notes.

 

David Payne: Now back to our program.

 

Julie Dina: So here we are in 2018 talking about vinyl records, retro tech devices, and I can see the excitement between Eric and Bill. I can see the excitement in you guys. Is there any particular favorite device that actually made a comeback that you guys were like, "Oh my god, I’m so glad this is here."

 

Bill Carey: I’m actually shocked that vinyl records came back, because I thought it was going to be too expensive, too -- But it's actually a boon for the music industry, if you think about it. Vinyl records couldn't be copied easily, even though you could make tapes of them and cassettes, they didn’t quite sound the same.

 

And when CDs came out that was like the big loss for the record industry. They thought, "You will make all this money on CDs." They were cheaper to make, they could put them out, but the fact that it's digital and all of a sudden with the internet and people are having more powerful PCs you can download these digital files, all the music is available and can be copied and pirated that hurt the music industry.

 

The recording industry it's a cut through business but also it's kind of interesting. Seeing vinyl records come back, well that's one royalty the record company or the artist is sure to get because you are buying that record. Now, somebody can buy used album but then again it's degraded, somebody else hasn't taken care of it.

 

You want to buy the new record album to sound the best it's kind of interesting to see all that work. But, whether it's going to hang on or not I don't know. But, the record industry loves having vinyl coming back at least to a small degree.

 

Eric Carzon: Now, back to your question my couple of favorite retro texts is the human voice in my opinion is the retro tech I'm most excited about, I am so happy that acapella music has come back into vogue and made such a big splash with Pitch Perfect, and my kids love that movie.

 

Julie Dina: I love that movie.

 

Eric Carzon: I loved it in college, and I know it never really went away, but for a while it was like not popular. You had to be a nerd or geek or just like in a low level to be appreciated. So I’m glad it sort of made this resurgence of, "Hey, you don’t need all these high tech stuff to make music. You can have a bunch of people together, and they can make something that's really exciting."

 

That to me is an exciting retro tech, and I think acoustical instruments to me is retro tech, and there's a plethora of them, sort of much more popular, and much more used now than I think they were in let's say the '70s, and '80s. Ukulele for instance in particular was just sort of a little boutique instrument, then it sort of had some heyday in the 60s and 70s, went away for while, I think now it's coming back in a big fashion. I think that’s pretty--

 

David Payne: Quite a revival.

 

Bill Carey: Martin Guitar said it's their fourth ukulele revival actually. Ukulele first came out and strong in the early 1900s, in the '20s then they went away. In the 1920s and '30s you see ukulele parts in all the sheet music. And it resurged a little bit in the '50s it went away in the 60s, now it's coming back really strong

 

David Payne: Now it's coming back again.

 

Bill Carey: It's just amazing how things go around. But nothing is going to beat the human voice, you're right. That’s why this shows like The Voice, and when you hear a good singer, there's something compelling about that. If somebody sings like themselves in their own voice, and they are a good singer, well you've never heard that before, if you really think about it.

 

You've never heard that person sing ever before from anyone else, even though it may be similar it's not exactly them, and that’s still compelling.

 

David Payne: Well we've talked about things that have made a comeback. Let's turn the question on its head, and if I can ask you, can you think of examples of person, older technology of any kind that hasn’t made a comeback that you would like to see reappear. Let me start with you Bill.

 

Bill Carey: Well, that’s a tough one. I do like tube technology, tube circuitry, I think it's interesting, although it is expensive, it is still out there. I find it fun to work on, of course no cut music, legitimately going to make a tube radio. It costs so much, and you can have a better radio on your cell phone, or you get on a tube.

 

But the fact that you can manipulate the electronics and actually tune the actual sound of the instrument, or the radio, AM radio is not a good example, but for music instrument amplifiers the tubes make a real big difference, and that's why they do make boutique amplifiers for guitars that are two or three thousand dollars, even more, going up from there, depending on where your maker is.

 

That's kind of interesting, although I don’t see that’s coming as wide spread for everybody. It's kind of interesting. Again, Eric and I were talking about old day AT & T phones, the old bell system phones. And I still hear some from his father working on the industry. Those phones are made the last -- they build the last a couple of centuries, they'll never wear out.

 

I have a couple that still work. They are hooked up to my house. I’m an early adopter of FIOS, but my dial phones still works on the FIOS line. They give you a battery pack to make sure your old phone works, The phone company was amazing. They said, "This is the battery to operate the bells on your telephone." Because I told them, "I've got these dial phones., are they going to work?"

 

They said, "They sure will, unless you lose power." And sure enough they do. When you use it like -- I've got a neighbor who's 99 years old, he still calls me on the old dial phone. That’s the old house phone, he doesn’t know my cell number that well. That’s how he reach out. Of course all the rest of the calls are crank calls, but that's life in 2018, so, unfortunately.

 

That’s where I like the old phone. I'm thinking, it's neat, but it sure doesn’t have quite convenience of a cell phone, but it still it has heft, it has weight.

 

David Payne: It has the quality.

 

Bill Carey: Yeah, the quality and that weight, and the idea of you -- you hold that phone, and that’s also fun to freak out on nine year old neighborhood kids, and they want to call home, "Here, try this." "How do I work that?"

 

Eric Carzon: I'm totally with bill on tube technology. I describe it as the Patsy Cline sound. There is just sort of warmness to the early era that it is really a special sound, and I love technologies that will replicate that, and then I would love to do manual crank technology. A lot more of that so that when all the lights go out we'll be able to see something. And I was watching this Grade-B Sci-Fi/Horror Flick.

 

One of the interesting things about it, I don’t even remember its name. But one of the interesting things about it was, all the computers in the super high-tech space ship that flew from earth, to like Alpha Centauri, or someplace really far all had little cranks on them, because they anticipated like, "Oh my gosh, if all the power runs out in the space ship we need to be able to like fire up the computers so we can figure out what quadrants of the universe we're in.

 

Julie Dina: Isn't that great?

 

Eric Carzon: Yeah, So the dude benched out, and he cranks it up. And all the little lights on the computer come on and I'm like, "Oh my God, that's so awesome." I think that will be a really cool retro. We have those little prank powered radios, with like tiny little LED lights. It'd be fascinating if that technology made it just a little bit further. You could like bicycle up your whole house and run it for an hour or something.

 

Bill Carey: Going further back, I have an old Victor talking machine, a wind up record player from 1910. I inherited it from my great aunt, and it still works, and it's -- you literally crank it up and it plays the '78 album. And I have albums from Enrico Caruso, and all kinds of different artists, from the early parts of 20th century, but I always wonder how far that technology could have taken had they … it's totally mechanical.

 

There is nothing electronic on it, it's not operating any battery or charging. It is totally running on a main spring, and resonance going this system to produce the music. It's like a mica diaphragm, it works. It sounds great.

 

Julie Dina: So, while I have both of you here, and since you're the experts, I haven’t heard you mention the VCR, and I've been praying and hoping that that will come back. You want to know why?

 

Bill Carey: Why?

 

Julie Dina: I have tones of VHS tapes that I've kept hoping that this day would come. So please, tell me, do you know, do you have any idea if the VCR will be making a comeback, at least for my sake?

 

David Payne: For me as well. Tell me before I start converting all my VRSs to DVDs too.

 

Julie Dina: And I think for Mark, our producer too.

 

Bill Carey: All I would say is scour the yard sales, buy free used ones because I knew a guy who could fix them, but I don’t anybody now who can really get into them. They're quite complex inside, but you can have your VCR, your tapes converted to digital visual stuff if you have it linked up to the right system, it's just the quality is not going upward what you're going to see on a modern digital camera, because it was done on VHS.

 

It's not that the old line system. But you can still play the tapes. I have a bunch of tapes of my children being on VHS, and the same situation. When the player dies, there it goes. Isn’t that the problem with all these archival mediums? If you don’t have the device to play it, it is like five and quarter floppy disk.

 

Some law firms had all their stuff on five and quarter disk, and I remember a guy who got a job converting all their files, and he was the only guy in this company you could find that had a five and a quarter disk drive, he charged him $500 for the disk drive, because it was unavailable anywhere else, they needed it to hook up to a computer to convert all their files over to modern technology.

 

VHS is kind of the same thing. Whether that’s -- or Sony Betamax. Betamax is actually a better system, but they lost out in the market place because they were too proprietary, they didn’t share it. VHS was cheaper, and beat them down in popularity. Because they were less expensive, just like Windows and Macintosh, same thing.

 

Eric Carzon: I don’t think video tape will same comeback that vinyl has, because there's nothing special about the video tape medium. It's not -- All that stuff that we described about the experience of a vinyl record, I don’t think you can say that for tape, it's just a medium, and the disk medium is superior, and even the disk medium is going to be overtaken by digital just as soon as possible, It's already starting to happen.

 

I think you should convert it as soon as possible, like if it's of value to you like a personal thing like a wedding or whatever. You need to get that converted as soon as possible. There's plenty of stores now that we'll do it. You can find them on Rockville Pike, and Damascus, and other places, they exist if you Google video editing, or whatever, you'll find it.

 

You can probably find it on the internet as well, but there're services that will take your old 16 millimeter, or your VHS, or whatever, and now converted it down to digital, that's expensive. You probably only want to do it for something that has a personal meaning. If you just want your copy of ET to live, just buy--

 

Bill Carey: Of course. [inaudible] [0:30:46] like that, but-

 

Eric Carzon: Finding a library or whatever. We have of the DVDs in the library, but I would definitely convert your stuff. And you can do it yourself too. There's still stuff on Amazon, the best buy where you buy the little plugs and software, and you can just download from whatever device you have, whatever player, and basically it'll -- you can buy whatever converter to take output of that, plug it into your USB drive, download it on to some little piece of software.

 

And basically once you get it in the digital format then you're able to keep archiving it or copying it or switching it from format to format. Get it into digital format before it's too late.

 

Bill Carey: Somebody on YouTube can show you how to do it too, I'm sure.

 

Julie Dina: So, what you're both trying to tell me is no revival there?

 

Bill Carey: Not that I can see happening, but I was shocked about vinyl records, so what do I know.

 

David Payne: And tape is a medium that will die. I converted my audio tapes too late, so some of my conversions are very wobbly, because metallic tape does not last, it will die. Even if you don’t play it it will die. After 20 or so years the magnetic properties of the tapes start to wear away, and you lose it. So, you definitely want to convert it if you care about it, because otherwise it will be gone.

 

Bill Carey: VHS tapes do have very good audio though, because it's an equivalent of like 30 inches per second. I compare it to regular wheel to wheel tape recorder, you'll get much better fidelity. If you had a concert or something on VHS, even though the image may not be that great, the audio should be very good, and a lot of them are recorded in stereo.

 

So, depending on the quality of the recording, the audio can last and be very impressive when you transfer, so that’s one thing to think about.

 

Julie Dina: That’s good to know. Thanks guys.

 

Eric Carzon: One more thing about that. The poor man's way to do it, like if you don’t want to bother with all that play it in whatever medium you have. So if you still have the working VCR player...

 

Bill Carey: And a TV that can play it.

 

Eric Carzon: Plug it into VCR, take your cell phone, you record it with video, and at least you'll have it. If nothing else maybe do that with your wedding video before you send it off to the photo editor, just in case they stick it in the machine and it gets eaten.

 

Bill Carey: Right, Record it. It's okay if it's an old CRT television that can play that VHS tape in the right format, because a new TV you're going to see the quality difference pretty -- If you can't even hook it up that’s one thing. I have new television I couldn’t connect any of my old VHS players to it, because the plugs we're different, they're all HTMI now, that I don’t have the old RCA connectors.

 

You might need an older television to go along with your VHS player, if you're going to play those tapes just seeing--

 

Eric Carzon: That’s what make adaptors for. You might have to plug like 15 cables to [inaudible] [0:33:27] each other

 

Julie Dina: Just to get it to work.

 

Eric Carzon: You can get it from those RCA type video outputs, to HDMI, it's possible. But you might need like two or three little things in between.

 

Bill Carey: I don’t know if I trust that, half way through they got them unplugged.

 

David Payne: Well, now that we're feeling totally nostalgic we typically close each episode by asking the guests what you're reading now. So--

 

Julie Dina: Or in their case what they're listening to.

 

David Payne: What they're listening to, yeah. So, let's start with Eric.

 

Eric Carzon: All right, a couple of things that I'm reading now. One is this book I got that the system doesn't quite own yet, but we're going to order it. It's called, Vinyl the Art of Making Records, by Mike Evans. And it's a great little piece because it talks about the albums, and it also talks about how they're made. It's got a lot of cool pictures about showing like how a vinyl record is pressed.

 

I'm also still reading through John Corbett's Vinyl Freak. I've read like about a third of it, and that's a pretty book, and the system owns that one.

 

David Payne: Bill?

 

Bill Carey: I'm not reading tentacle right now, I'm reading a book on Roosevelt's, from the PBS special. I found it in the book sale, and Cars, Cars, Cars. I don’t remember the author, but the history of automobiles from -- it was written in 1967, it's really interesting because it's 50 years ago, of the earlier details was quite much more extensive than anything found today. Because they really cover -- This guy covers the '18s and '20s like no other book I've ever seen, so it's really interesting that way.

 

David Payne: Great. Thank you both very much.

 

Eric Carzon: Thank you.

 

Bill Carey: Great.

 

Julie Dina: Once again I'd like to thank Bill and Eric for joining us today. Let's keep the conversation going by following us on Twetter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pintrest. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on the Apple podcast app, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast. Also, please review and rate us on Apple podcast, we'll love to know what you think. Thank you for listening to our conversation today, and see you next time.

 

David Payne: Are you ready okay so we brought a vinyl record player with us, courtesy of friends of the library and my George Benson, Give Me the Night Album will give you a little taste of it, from the real vinyl.

 

[Music] [0:35:47]

 

[0:36:21] [Audio Ends]

Mar 27, 2018

Episode Summary: Retro tech enthusiasts Bill Carey and Eric Carzon talk about the renewed interest in vinyl records and other older technology, the April 21 Vinyl Day at Silver Spring Library, and why the VCR will not be making a comeback. 

Retro tech collection including a vinyl record and player, an old fashioned phone, and a thumb piano.

Our guests brought along some retro tech to show the hosts during the episode. 

Recording Date: March 7, 2018

Hosts: Julie Dina and David Payne

Guests: Information Technology Specialist Bill Carey and Twinbrook Branch Manager Eric Carzon.

Featured MCPL Resource: With ArtistWorks, you can enjoy unlimited access to beginning through advanced video lessons for many musical instruments and styles, including piano, bluegrass, guitar, and hip-hop. Also includes voice lessons. 

What Our Guests Are Reading

Bill Carey: The Roosevelts: an Intimate History by Geoffrey Ward and Cars, Cars, Cars, Cars by S.C.H. Davis

Eric Carzon: Vinyl: the Art of Making Records by Mike Evans and Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium by John Corbett.

Albums and Artists Mentioned During this Episode: Check Freegal for downloadable songs from these albums and artists. 

Tony Bennett

George Benson

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Jesus Christ Superstar (album) - MPCL owns the movie version

Lady Gaga

Gordon Lightfoot

Pitch Perfect 

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles

Frank Sinatra

What's Going On by Marvin Gaye - MPCL has this album on CD.

Woodstock (DVD)

Other Items of Interest Mentioned During this Episode:

National Record Store Day (April 21): Inaugurated in 2007 by indepdendent record store owners and employees, this commemorative day is meant to celebrate the culture surrounding independent record stores. 

Vinyl Day: Just for the Record: Join John Corbett, author of Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium, at this retro event celebrating vinyl records. Corbett will be one of several speakers discussing political and historical aspects of the vinyl record industry. Silver Spring Library, 4/21, 11a-4p. This event is hosted in partnership with MCPL, Open Sky Jazz, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter, and Levine Music

Voyager Space Probe: Both the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes carry a 12 inch gold-plated copper record containing sounds and images representing life and culture on Earth. 

Read the transcript

Mar 14, 2018

Listen to the audio

Lauren Martino: Welcome to Library Matters. This is your host Lauren Martino. And I'm here with my co-host.

 Julie Dina: Julie Dina.

Lauren Martino: And today we are talking about a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, this is a really exciting new program that we're doing here at MCPL. I'm here with Christine Freeman, who is our Early Literacy and Children's Services manager and also manages the Noyes Library for Young Children. 

Hello, Christine.

Christine Freeman: Hey Lauren.

Lauren Martino: And we also have Olivia Darrell, who is our selector for children's fiction.

Glad to have you Olivia.

Olivia Darrell: Thanks Lauren.

Lauren Martino: So tell us a little bit, Christine, about how you got interested in early literacy and children's fiction?

Christine Freeman: Okay. Well, originally when I started as a librarian I was an adult reference librarian, which was interesting. But I realized that children are a lot more fun than adults.

Lauren Martino: I'm right there with you. I got you on that.

Christine Freeman: And once I started doing story times I was hooked, and there was no going back. So I'm a children's person from here forward.

Lauren Martino: You're a children's convert.

Christine Freeman: Yes, a children's convert.

Lauren Martino: Can you tell us a little bit about this new program, what's 1000 Books Before Kindergarten all about?

Christine Freeman: So 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nationwide program. The sole purpose of the program is to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, and to encourage parent and child bonding through reading. And that's what the library is all about. We want to create family engagement opportunities for parents, and that's what this program will do.

Julie Dina: Olivia, can you tell us exactly when the kickoff is for this program?

Olivia Darrell: Sure. Families can begin signing up for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten at any of our MCPL branches on Saturday, March 24th.

Lauren Martino: So, Olivia, I hear you get to buy children's books all day. That sounds like an amazing job. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Olivia Darrell: It is an amazing job. I started out as a children's librarian in the branches which I loved. And I got to do story time. But now I get to sit in an office and buy books for kids. And I get to read reviews and find the best ones and make sure that we're spending the county's money responsibly.

Lauren Martino: So you get to immerse yourself in like Horn Book all day and …

Olivia Darrell: Yeah, Horn Books, School Library Journal, all of those.

Lauren Martino: Do you have any good children's book podcasts to recommend? Do you listen to any of those or is that not your thing?

Olivia Darrell: I don't. I read a lot of the blogs, but I don't get into many of the - I do listen to podcasts but not about children's literature.

Julie Dina: Christine, I really like the sound of this whole program that we're all talking about. And it really is an innovative way to get children geared toward reading before they actually begin kindergarten. Could you tell us whose idea this was or who actually started it?

Christine Freeman: So this program is a nationwide program. It was originally started in Las Vegas, Nevada through a private charitable donation. It currently has other sponsors. Basically, like I said, their whole goal is just to get parents and kids reading. And across the country people do various formats for the program. Some use logs, some use online programs to log, so it's different across the country.

Lauren Martino: Who can participate in this program? I've got a four-year-old, and you were talking about a 1,000 books. And she's four. Is this like really something you have to start at age - at birth or can any kid participate?

Olivia Darrell: Any child can participate starting at birth, like you said, but certainly your four-year-old can participate as well. Anyone who hasn't yet begun kindergarten can participate in this program.

Christine Freeman: And we have some really easy ways to help your child complete. We have something called Early Literacy Moments. And what that means is any time you have an early literacy moment, such as you're singing the ABCs, or you're looking at shapes when you're taking a walk or if you are singing a song or fingerplay, each one of those counts as a book. So those add up really quickly if you think about one day spent with your child, those early literacy moments really add up and that will help you complete summer reading a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

Julie Dina: Well, I'm pretty sure a lot of parents want to know what options do they actually have for recording their children's progress. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Christine Freeman: It's going to be really easy. All of our branches will be ready and waiting when parents want to go to sign up their children. You can go to any information desk and our staff will be happy and excited to sign your children up using Beanstack, and they will give them a paper log. The paper log is so simple, every time a child has a book read to them they can color in a little shell, which you know they're going to love. When they finish coloring a hundred shells they take it back to the library and they get something fun.

Julie Dina: Christine, you just mentioned Beanstack, can you, especially for those who are not aware of what that is, can you tell us exactly what that means?

Christine Freeman: Sure, Julie. Beanstack is an online portal. It is super easy to use. You can create an account and then sign up for all of our reading programs. If you are a parent it's really easy because you can make one user account and then have all your readers on your account, so that means only one login and one password. And if you need help signing up for an account you can go to any of our information staff and they'll be happy to assist you with that. The best thing about Beanstack is it gives you personalized reading lists and suggestions for books, it is fantastic. They will send you emails of suggestions, and if you choose you can go to the library and ask the librarian to get them for you.

Lauren Martino: You can also do the reading challenge that way, can't you, if you're an adult and feel so inclined?

Christine Freeman: Yes, any of our reading programs that we have, which include summer reading for little ones, elementary and teens, and then a reading challenge for adults as well, and a thousand books.

Lauren Martino: So, I hear you can win prizes doing this for your children. How does that work?

Olivia Darrell: Of course we have prizes. Every time you read a hundred books and bring in your finished log the child will get a sticker, and then after reading 500 books they'll get a magnet frame. And after completing a thousand they'll get a new backpack to load up with even more books. And just imagine how impressed your child's kindergarten teacher will be when they can tell them that they have already read 1,000 books.

Christine Freeman: And what you want to say is this is a great opportunity to build self-esteem with your children. Every time they complete a log and you celebrate that that encourages them to keep on reading. And that's how we're going to build lifelong reading for our young children. 

Lauren Martino: And the librarians will be celebrating that too, right?

Christine Freeman: The librarians will be celebrating that too. I can tell you I think staff will be really excited when the kids come in with their smiling faces and their logs all filled out, and they will be excited and happy to celebrate with them.

Lauren Martino: We are all about celebrating their reading.

Julie Dina: I would like to go back to Beanstack though. So for parents who say, "I signed up for a summer read and learn last summer, do I have to create another account in Beanstack?" What exactly do we tell them?

Olivia Darrell: No, they do not have to create another account. They just simply sign-in to their established account with Beanstack, click on Register for this Program under 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, and they will earn their first badge and get started reading.

Lauren Martino: So what if they've forgotten their password?

Christine Freeman: If they've forgotten their password they can go to the information desk and ask any of our staff and they will be happy to assist them.

Julie Dina: That's really great. Because it seems like it always boils down to going to our friendly librarians at the desk.

Olivia Darrell: Absolutely.

Christine Freeman: And it's going to be easy, it's going to be fun. The kids are going to love it. And don't forget that children, of course they want you to read the book over and over and over. And every time you read it, it counts. So if you ready that same book 20 times, that's 20 shells your child gets to color in.

Lauren Martino: So if I read - okay, we have this big huge, like little golden collection of like every Star Wars enshrined in picture book - in a little golden picture book. So every time I read an episode does it count or do I have to read the entire, like, seven-book omnibus?

Christine Freeman: I think we're going to leave that up to the parents to decide. I think that's flexible. And if they're reading to their children that's what we're looking for.

Lauren Martino: Okay, so flexible and fun, and whatever you want to make of it.

Christine Freeman: Uh-huh.

Julie Dina: So we're hearing so much about reading a 1000 books before kindergarten. What exactly is this program supposed to accomplish?

Christine Freeman: We know that children who are read to on a regular basis have larger vocabularies and it makes them more ready for kindergarten, right. They learn patience, they sit while they're read to. And also, like I said earlier, it's just a form of family engagement that we really want to encourage.

Lauren Martino: So all of this seems geared around introducing five-year-olds and younger to reading. Can you tell us a little bit about why it's so important to read to five-year-olds and younger? I mean, when exactly do you start reading to children?

Olivia Darrell: The day they're born you can start reading to them. There are so many reasons that it's important to be reading to young children. We want to associate reading with positive experiences. They will be able to develop language and literacy skills. They'll be able to recognize reading rules and patterns such as text going from left to right and top to bottom. And ultimately, we want kids to be prepared to learn to read when they enter kindergarten, which will lead to greater success in school.

Christine Freeman: And we know that babies love to hear the sound of their parents or caregiver's voice. So every time they're read to it's comforting to them. And as they grow older they will associate words with pictures and sounds, and that's how we create readers.

Olivia Darrell: Christine mentioned vocabulary. When a child is learning to read once they're in elementary school they can't read a word unless they've heard a word before. So, even those picture books that have really big vocabulary words are great for young children because we want them to be exposed to as many words as possible.

Christine Freeman: And you get words in picture books that you don't get, like, walking on the street.

Olivia Darrell: Absolutely, yes.

Lauren Martino: They do.

Christine Freeman: This morning I did story time and we had trestles.

Lauren Martino: Trestles? Oh, let me guess, Freight Train.

Olivia Darrell: Yes.

Christine Freeman: I told them that's our vocabulary word for the day, and we defined what a trestle was.

Julie Dina: Well, we do know what the word for this show is, a 1000. And I can tell you, especially since I'm with the outreach department, we're all excited. We've been promoting this program everywhere we go. However, I do get a lot of people asking me questions such as, "A 1000 books. How am I supposed to break this down day by day? Could you suggest tips and tricks on how I can make this journey fun and exciting for the kids?" And the parent says - well, so what can you guys tell us?

Olivia Darrell: Well, I will agree with you that when I first heard that number 1,000, I thought it sounded like a lot. But if you break it down, like you said, it becomes less intimidating. If you read just one book a day to your child you'll be done in less than three years. Reading two books a day will get you there in a little over a year. And if you've got a four-year-old, like Lauren, she can read three books a day to her daughter and she'll be done in less than one year. As for tips, first make sure the books that you're reading to your child are books that are fun for them on topics that interest them. Let them pick out the books. Read books in other languages if you can do so, and let them touch the books and help turn the pages. Also remember that kids do what they see us doing, so make sure that they see you reading for pleasure as well.

Lauren Martino: I like that one.

Christine Freeman: And don't forget, if you really want to accelerate your logging you can go to any of our branches, we have story times, and our story times, not only are they reading books, but they're doing early literacy moments. They're singing; they're doing finger plays. And every time they do one of those it counts. So your librarians will be telling you at each story time if they've completed 10 books or 15 books because they're counting early literacy moments as well.

Lauren Martino: So do you have any good recommendations for books for small children? Especially when you're going out a lot of times it's not always easy to find picture books that include various cultures, various people with different abilities. Do you have any favorites that you'd like to talk to us about?

Christine Freeman: Yeah, there are so many to choose from. And I have to give Olivia credit here; she finds some fabulous books for us. Some of my favorites recently are Thunder Boy Jr.; I have a junior in my house.

Lauren Martino: Yay!

Christine Freeman: So, I liked that he didn't want that name but he loved that name at the end. I Got the Rhythm, and I love that one because it has fabulous pictures and it has movement.

Olivia Darrell: Yes.

Christine Freeman: I like a lot of movement when I'm doing picture books with children. And Families, Families, Families! That one is so important because families can be any variation. And I love how that shows a variety of families.

Olivia Darrell: I love the ones that Christine suggested. And being the buyer of the picture books I came prepared with a long list, so here we go. The first one that I really love is Ada Twist, Scientist because it …

Lauren Martino: Yay!

Olivia Darrell: Includes not only diversity, inclusiveness, but also STEM, which is a big thing that we're pushing now as well.

Julie Dina: Yeah.

Lauren Martino: And Stinky Socks.

Olivia Darrell: Yes, of course. You can't go wrong there. Fairly new one to branches is Jabari Jumps, which is a really fun story of a boy who goes to the local pool and has decided that he's going to be brave and jump off the diving board, and then he's not so sure. So you have to read it to find out what happens at the end. A Hat for Mrs. Goldman is nice because it's not only got different cultures but it also has - it's intergenerational. So we have a young girl and her neighbor who is much older. And it's about their friendship. Another fun one is The Quickest Kid in Clarksville. If you've got a child who might be four or five, almost ready for kindergarten, you want to get them started with beginning readers, Get a Hit, Mo! and the other Mo titles by Adler are fun. We have some board books from DK that include Braille. Another board book is My Heart Fills With Happiness, which includes American Indians.

Lauren Martino: Oh yes.

Olivia Darrell: Malaika's Costume has a character from the Caribbean. And her mom immigrates to Canada, and so we see that experience of how it's hard to be away from mom. Looking for Bongo, by Velasquez is a fun one. It's an Afro-Latino character who's looking for his stuffed toy.

Christine Freeman: I really liked that one. It has nice pictures too.

Olivia Darrell: It does. We Sang You Home is another board book. In Plain Sight is by Jackson, but it's by …

Lauren Martino: Oh, I love that one.

Olivia Darrell: The illustrations by Jerry Pinkney, you can't go wrong with him.

Lauren Martino: That's one my child required numerous times.

Olivia Darrell: Yeah.

Lauren Martino: We've read that a lot of times.

Olivia Darrell: Yes. Again, intergenerational and your - like the seek-and-find element is fun.

Lauren Martino: It's not easy.

Olivia Darrell: Yeah, it's not.

Lauren Martino: It's like you look at those it's like you are going to need some grownup help to find.

Olivia Darrell: Right, yes.

Lauren Martino: Gosh, and it's so - like the pictures. Like this is a - just the details that were painted …

Olivia Darrell: Yeah, lots of detail.

Lauren Martino: It's like this is a real family that you took and just plucked out of reality. And you've got all the richness of their life.

Olivia Darrell: Absolutely.

Lauren Martino: Sorry, anyway.

Olivia Darrell: That's okay, I know.

Lauren Martino: I love that book.

Olivia Darrell: I'm glad.

Julie Dina: We believe you.

Olivia Darrell: I also really like Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, which is a Little Red Riding Hood story set in Africa. Marta! Big & Small, which is an opposites book. And First Snow, by Park, which is about a little Korean girl. And finally the Lola character and her brother Leo by McQuinn, one of the recent ones is Lola Plants a Garden, those are really nice as well.

Lauren Martino: taking over my library level display right now.

Olivia Darrell: Really wonderful.

Lauren Martino: It's like you go Lola loves baby time, Lola loves the library.

Olivia Darrell: Yes.

Lauren Martino: Lola - yeah, there's just so many library-themed. I mean they're all wonderful.

Olivia Darrell: They are, yeah. And of course ask your librarian because they have favorites too, and they'll be able to suggest even more.

Lauren Martino: And now a brief message about MCPL's services and resources.

Febe Huezo: Looking for an adventure for your preschooler or kindergartner? They can explore a world of animals, outer space, music, and more while learning their ABCs and 123s. All this is possible with our online resource, BookFlix. BookFlix is filled with videos of classic stories like Where the Wild Things Are, and Giggle, Giggle, Quack. Each video story includes read-along captions and is paired with a related nonfiction book. For more information about BookFlix check out the link in this episode's show notes.]

Lauren Martino: Now, back to our program.

Lauren Martino: So, say I'm having a really super busy day and there is no time to read to my child. We are just not going to have five minutes at home. Do you have any tips for getting these early literacy moments, like in the line for the laundromat or in the car or just doing these everyday things that you have to do anyway just so that you can make progress on these horrible busy days.

Olivia Darrell: Sure. Yeah, when you're in the car you can be pointing out letters that you see on the signs. You can be singing the Wheels On The Bus, when they're on the changing table you can be doing This Little Piggy, or singing other songs with them. There are lots of ways. I'm sure Christine can give you even more.

Christine Freeman: Yeah, I grew up with a mom who always sang in the car. And those songs that she sang to me in the car I now do at story time.

Lauren Martino: Yay!

Christine Freeman: Yeah, so those are ones you remember, right. And I think other things, if you're busy cooking pull out pots and pans, have your kids banging on them and sing along with them; make it fun. Those are early literacy moments right there. They're going to be musically inclined when they grow up. If you're out taking a walk look out - point out signs, you can point out shapes, you can point out colors, you can count anything that helps them learn is considered early literacy moment.

Lauren Martino: It's amazing how entertaining street signs can be in the right circumstances.

Olivia Darrell: Yeah, colors, shapes, letters, there are so many things.

Christine Freeman: And kids are like little sponges, you know. I mean, you can talk to them. And I know my grandson; whenever I talk to him he has like five questions for everything I say. So you say something and he's like, "Why? How? When?" And that's how they learn - that's how children learn is that by - they ask you questions and you can point things out and explain to them what you're talking about.

Lauren Martino: So you just be prepared for every question to lead to five more.

Christine Freeman: Yes.

Olivia Darrell: And the more you talk to them the better. The more - again, the more they hear it just helps them with that eventual being able to learn to read.

Christine Freeman: And that really goes back to Every Child Ready to Read, which is what we base our story times on. I'm reading, talking, playing, writing, singing; that is how children learn. And that's how we want children to learn, by interacting and being involved.

Julie Dina: How can MCPL's resources help parents meet the 1,000 book challenge?

Christine Freeman: So we have books in various formats. We have print books, lots as you know, in our libraries.

Julia Dina: Lots and lots.

Christine Freeman: But we also have eBooks. We have something called BookFlix and something called TumbleBooks, and they're fabulous. You can have your kids look at them on the iPad and you can interact with them. They have words to scroll on the bottom. Some of them are interactive and they have little games you can play afterwards. And some of them are animated, like there's a George one that is animated, it's lots of fun. My grandson loves that, and he will like watch it and read it over and over and over again. Really though, I think our best resource are our librarians. You can go to our information desks, our librarians, that's what we do. We're happy to help you. We love to tell you our favorite books, walk you through the shelves, and help you find books that you can take home. And remember, the more books you take home, you can take out a hundred books, so don't hesitate.

Lauren Martino: And you know there's always going to be the couple that gets rejected so you may as well.

Christine Freeman: Exactly. And that's what I tell people too; take more because you can always set that one aside if you don't like it. And even little kids, they may not have a book that they like, that's fine. Set it aside, pick out the one they do like and read it over and over and over again.

Lauren Martino: You brought up something interesting. And we actually have been talking about this at home a lot. So you bring up electronic resources to help with early literacy. Do you think any, like, educational software or app or anything would count as a moment, or do you think there's special criteria, like what makes TumbleBooks a literacy moment versus we're sitting them in front of the TV?

Christine Freeman: Well, TumbleBooks is actually a book, it's an electronic book. So it's more of a book in the early literacy moment. But I think how to engage with children with screen time is we just want to be interactive with them, rather than give a child a device and set them aside, we want to have them on our laps and be reading it with them, just as we would with the book.

Lauren Martino: So really it's like the parent interaction that makes it a moment more than -

Christine Freeman: I think so. I mean, if you're looking at - like our AWE tablet, say, in our branches and you want to check out one of our AWE tablets and you're standing there playing games with your child, I think that's an early literacy moment, you're learning. They're learning about ABCs or maybe they're learning about colors and shapes. And those count as well.

Lauren Martino: But if you sent them over in the corner with Candy Crush by themselves.

Christine Freeman: Yeah, that's a little different. Yeah, any 

Olivia Darrell: We are flexible, but that would likely cross the line.

Christine Freeman: And any screen time you want to use it wisely.

Lauren Martino: Uh-huh. Keep it honest folks, keep it honest.

Julie Dina: So for parents who say how do I get my child started with the program, what is your suggestion?

Olivia Darrell: Just bring your child to any MCPL library branch and talk to one of the staff members at our information desk. They'll be able to get you signed up on Beanstack and give you your first reading log. Then check out books and read, read, read.

Christine Freeman: And it's really cute how it's themed. It has this ocean theme that I'm super excited about that our wonderful designer came up with. And so all the stickers they receive are going to have like the number of books they finished with a little ocean critter, and their backpack and their little frame is going to be ocean-themed as well, super cute.

Olivia Darrell: And we're trying to figure out if we could incorporate like penguins into our little I read a 100 books thing for Silver Spring. They're ocean creatures.

Christine Freeman: It looked like little wood - like on a wood stick, and they can have that be like a selfie friend.

Lauren Martino: There you go, "Selfie friend.” Penguin selfie friend, I like it. You probably have a stuffed animal you can repurpose for that. Yeah, if you're not aware, Penguins are the unofficial mascot of Silver Spring so if you come to the Silver Spring library there are many, many penguins, which are ocean creatures. I really like the idea of - the coloring I think is going to be a lot of fun, like those little shells.

Christine Freeman: I think so too. And we should mention that parents who want to keep track of the books, they are welcome to use Beanstack to log every single title if they choose to do that. But if they don't want to log the books they can simply give the child a coloring form that their child can color in the shells and that's good enough too.

Lauren Martino: And there are some new ways to log on Beanstack now, aren't there?

Olivia Darrell: There are. So you can batch log. So if you don't have time every night to check in and say we read five books, we read one book, we did two moments, you can say, "Okay, well this week we did 10." And you can batch all 10 at once, all the way up to a hundred.

Christine Freeman: And if you need any assistance doing that don't forget you can always ask our librarians to help you batch log in your books.

Julie Dina: Most important thing it sounds like is whenever you're not sure, go to our librarians who are always ready to help.

Olivia Darrell: Yes. Some people think that librarians know everything. While I wish that were true, we don't know everything but we can find out almost anything for you.

Lauren Martino: So it looks like you're really trying to get beyond the library walls with this?

Christine Freeman: For sure. Because it's a program you really can do from home. You can read any books; they don't have to be library books. If you have a library in your house those books count. If you borrow books from another library, those books count. So any books that you're reading count, online, in print.

Olivia Darrell: Yeah. You're at the doctor's office waiting room and they have a book; that counts. And Julie, as you know, as an outreach staff member, that we're always trying to get new people coming through the door. So we're hoping to reach out to people who aren't already in our branches.

Julie Dina: You can count on me. We'll reach out and touch someone.

Christine Freeman: And it's not just books that parents read, it's the books than anybody reads. If they're with grandma and grandpa, if they're with their older sister or brother; if they're reading to them all those books count as well.

Lauren Martino: I think it's really important to get to people who aren't already going to the library.

Olivia Darrell: Very important, yeah.

Lauren Martino: Which is why, Julie, we are counting on you.

Julie Dina: Another episode.

Christine Freeman: It's an amazing resource that not all places have, free libraries.

Lauren Martino: An outreach department or free libraries?

Christine Freeman: Free libraries. And an outreach department.

Julie Dina: Good one, Christine.

Olivia Darrell: Which they're great too. They're great too.

Lauren Martino: So we love to ask our guests what are you reading right now that you are excited about, Olivia?

Olivia Darrell: So, believe it not, even though I buy lots of books, I don't have a lot of time to read lots of books. But I do a lot of listening. So I listen to podcasts. And my favorite one right now, besides of course Library Matters, is This American Life. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks. I'm in-between right now, but the one that I just finished is called No One Is Coming to Save Us.

Lauren Martino: Oh gosh, it's sounds cheerful.

Olivia Darrell: It's a little more cheerful than it sounds, but it's not a kid-friendly book by any means. One that I would recommend is The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell. He reads it, and I always kind of like when the author reads their own book, and anything by Jason Reynolds.

Lauren Martino: Oh my Gosh, yes, can't go wrong.

Olivia Darrell: Can't go wrong.

Lauren Martino: And Christine, do you have anything that you'd like to talk to us about? You're laughing.

Christine Freeman: Okay, so I have to admit that in preparation for my role as a teen services person I read a lot of YA fiction. And I just finished the entire Selection series by Kiera Cass. So they're all about the princess and finding her prince.

Lauren Martino: They're not all about that. I've read these too.

Christine Freeman: They're fun. They're lighthearted easy reads for a rainy day on the weekend. I'm also in the middle of another book called Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes, it's a little darker, also a YA book that I'd recommend.

Julie Dina: Well, thank you so very much Olivia and Christine for coming on the program today.

Keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple podcast app, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, please review and rate us on Apple Podcasts, we would love to know what you think. Thank you for listening to our conversation today. See you next time.

Mar 13, 2018

Episode Summary: Children's librarians Olivia Darrell and Christine Freeman talk about MCPL's upcoming 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. It's a fun way to help prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond, all while fostering a love of reading. Registration for this program begins Saturday, March 24, 2018. 

Recording Date: February 7, 2018

Hosts: Julia Dina and Lauren Martino

Guests: Olivia Darrell and Christine Freeman. Olivia Darrell is a librarian in our Collection Management department who selects the children's fiction for MCPL. Christine Freeman is our Early Literacy and Children's Services Manager. She also manages the Noyes Library for Young Children

Featured MCPL Resource: Bookflix, read along with classic video storybooks on this learn-to-read site, which also includes related nonfiction e-books. 

What Our Guests Are Reading Or Listening to:

Olivia Darrell: This American Life, an NPR show featuring spoken essays, memoirs, and other non-fiction narratives organized around a theme. No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, and The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by, well, W. Kamau Bell. 

Christine Freeman: The Selection series by Kiera Cass and Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes.

Books and Other Media Mentioned During this Episode

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Bark George by Jules Feiffer

Families, Families, Families by Suzanne Lang

First Snow by Bomi Park

Get a Hit Mo by David A. Adler

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards

Horn Book: A magazine filled with book reviews and articles of interest to children's librarians. It is used by librarians to select books and other material. 

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson

Jarabi Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez

Malika's Costume by Nadia L Horn

Marta Big & Small by Jen Arena

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

Star Wars Little Golden Book Collection 

School Library Journal: A magazine filled with book reviews and articles of interest to school librarians and children's librarians. It is used by librarians to select books and other material, as well as keep up with developments in the field of children's librarianship. 

Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

MCPL Resources Mentioned During this Episode:

Beanstack: A fun site for logging books and more. MCPL uses Beanstack for many programs, including 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, our Reading Challenge, and our summer read and learn programs. 

BookFlix: Read along with classic video storybooks on this learn-to-read site, which also includes related nonfiction e-books.

MCPL's 3rd Annual Reading Challenge

Picture books that include braille

TumbleBooks: An online collection of animated, talking picture books. Includes story books, chapter books, nonfiction, videos, and more. Includes books in French and Spanish. 

Read the transcript

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