December 15th, 2014

Holiday Hoopla! ‘Tis the Season For Free Music

Christmas party

Another Holiday? Already? Well, at least CCPL has your music covered thanks to our new digital service: HOOPLA.

Let’s say you’re decorating the house or baking some goodies. You need some tunes in the kitchen, right? Keep your phone, tablet, or laptop away from flour dust and eggs and play some American country, like “Toby Keith: A Classic Christmas” (2007), or “Best Of 20th Century – Country Christmas” (2003).

If you want dulcimers or bluegrass pickin’, try “Appalachian Christmas” (2014) or “A Skaggs Family Christmas, Vol. 2” (2014). While you’re helping Santa wrap gifts and trying to decompress from all the madness of the shopping season, play The Riverside Brass Quintet nice and low. Their album “Riverside Yuletide” (2014) will make you feel like you’re listening to amazing street performers in London.

Before the family comes over on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to give yourself some R & R. Chill out in a hot bath before guests arrive, but first download the comfort of the Carpenter’s “Christmas Portrait” (1987). It’s a nice change of pace.

Now it’s Christmas Eve. This is part one of the big show. If your home is playing host this year you need a long playlist with a huge variety of 20th Century radio classics. I recommend getting on Hoopla and checking out “50 X-Mas Hits” (2014). It’s great to put on in the background of the family room. If you’re off to grandma’s house on Christmas Day and have young kids who love sing-alongs, “Disney’s Family Christmas Collection” (2008) is a lot of fun.

A big and busy family Christmas with kids isn’t for everyone. If you’re putting on an adult-only or late-night Christmas affair, I have some albums for you! If you need a little swing or pop with your party, I highly recommend the contemporary marvel that is “Christmas” (2011) by Michael Buble. If you need songs without lyrics and prefer solely orchestral music, “Tchailkovsky’s Nutcracker Suite” (2007) by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will definitely sweep you away like a dream.

During or after Christmas, if you need to set the mood for a one-on-one cozy evening, Hoopla has “Christmas Romance: 15 Romantic Holiday Favorites” (2014). It’s also a great fit for a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day dinner. It’s a surprisingly solid blend of easy listening, jazz, and lounge-style music.

Get downloading and get merry this holiday with Hoopla!

What’s your favorite holiday album?


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September 16th, 2014

Listen Up!

listeningOne of the most often asked questions by parents at the library is how to help their child be a stronger reader. Like books, struggling readers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and cultures. A child’s ability to read is a result of various factors, and may sometimes be influenced by a language barrier, medical condition, or learning disability.

Trained educators know that early intervention can make a world of difference for a child. Many techniques and strategies, some not involving letters or words at all, can dramatically increase a child’s ability to read. One technique is utilizing audio books.

Audio books are CD’s or other forms of digitized media, on which stories are recorded as a person (or sometimes a cast of readers) reads them. The reader’s voices of these books bring characters to life, and the readers adjust the tone, speed, and volume of their voices to dramatize the story to the fullest potential. Many adults love audio books. We listen to them on long commutes back and forth to work. We listen to them while we clean our houses.

Somewhere out there, though, there is a feeling that children must physically read books. That listening to them is somehow cheating; not beneficial. In most cases, that is just not true.
Listening to audio books is actually one technique that can make a dramatic difference in a child’s ability to read. Listening to an audio book, while reading the book simultaneously, is even better! Studies show that listening to a story being read, while reading along, improves comprehension and fluency.

This is where your local library steps in.

Did you know that the Cecil County Public Library has entire collections of audio books for children?  We have audio books for beginning readers, like the popular Bob Books series available as a CD Book, where the CD is packaged directly with the book. Cecil County Public Library offers several CD Book titles in our EZ Reader section, like titles from Cynthia Rylant’s series “Henry and Mudge,” or “Fox in Socks,” by Dr. Seuss.

Classic favorites by award-winning authors, as well as new titles, are available in our picture book area.  Maybe a child in your life would like reading along, while listening to, a book by Kevin Henkes or Patricia Polacco! More challenging CD Books are available in our chapter book areas. We encourage you to check out the book with the CD Book, and listen as you read. We carry a slew of popular titles and series in CD Book format, from Junie B. Jones and  Magic Tree House, to 39 Clues, Little House on the Prairie, and Harry Potter (just to name a few). Why not listen to a children’s book on your way to school or sports practice?

For technology-hungry families, have you considered downloading audiobooks? CCPL has thousands of titles, click here.
Whether you are looking for strategies to help a struggling reader, or just a new way to enjoy a great book, try out an audio book and let us know about your experience the next time you stop by!

What’s your favorite audiobook?


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