Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

It's Leap Day!... or, February 29th. I don't know about you, but I find having a bonus day kind of exciting!

Here are some fun facts about Leap Years:

2012, as well as all leap years, consists of 366 days, as opposed to 365. Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun. However, the Gregorian calendar (ours) has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn't add a day on February 29 about every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. That means that after only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!

Leap years can't just be decided at random though! In the Gregorian calendar, there are 3 criteria that must be met to be a leap year:

1. The year must be evenly divisible by 4.
2. If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless...
3. The year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

Don't worry if this doesn't make sense. Someone's already done all the work for us, but did you have any idea there was so much behind it? I sure didn't!

Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years in the Roman empire over 2000 years ago, but the Julian calendar had only one rule: any year evenly divisible by 4 would be a leap year. This lead to way too many leap years, however this issue didn't get corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar more than 1500 years later.

So, that leaves one more question...where does the word "leap" come in to play? This is another complicated explanation but in a normal sequence of years, a calendar date (say February 28th) falls on Monday one year, Tuesday the next year, then Wednesday the year after that and so on. But every fourth year, thanks to the extra day in February, we "leap" over the expected day of the week. So February 28th was a Monday last year, a Tuesday this year, and will be a Thursday in 2013. We "leaped over" Wednesday! Get it?

Happy Leap Day! Enjoy the extra 24-hours!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Teen Tech Week 2012

March 4th starts Teen Tech Week! And this year's theme is Geek Out @ your library.

The purpose of this week is to make sure that teens are competent and ethical users of technologies...especially the ones that are offered through libraries, like DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and video games, etc.

Remember that the library is a good resource for accessing information. Librarians (like me!) are the experts who can help teens (like you!) develop the skills necessary to use electronic resources effectively and efficiently. This, in turn, can help you get more out of the technology that you use.

So stop by the library during Teen Tech Week and ask us a question about ebook readers, homework help, video games, or any other technology you might be curious about. We're here to help!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Merrylands Central Library

Ask me where I've disappeared to. Go head, ask.

I've been away in Australia!

While I was gone, I had the pleasure of visiting a few area libraries, including the Merrylands Central Library, which is a regular, not-too-fancy library slapped in the middle of suburbia, about a half-hour outside of Sydney.

Here I am at the library's MASSIVE entrance, looking super excited to get inside and see what a library on the other side of the world looks like!

I learned that the Merrylands Central Library is part of a library system called the Holroyd Council, which operates the Merrylands Central as well as two other branch libraries.

Inside, the library resembles a combination of a big city library and a small town library, with lots of open space and natural light, but book collections that are substantially smaller than an American library's counterpart.

Here I am in the children's nonfiction section, taking a look at the collection.

If you find libraries on the other side of the world (literally) as interesting as I do, take a look at BootsNAll's list, "10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries and Bookshops to Visit on Your Travels" and make an effort of visit one of THOSE libraries.

Or why not visit the Holroyd City Library website and marvel at the similarities and differences between American libraries and Australian libraries right from home?
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda