Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Make tracks to see model trains

If you or someone you know loves trains, you'll want to make tracks to Warrenton this month when the Piedmont Railroaders present a fascinating display of model trains. Everyone is sure to enjoy seeing the Railroaders' trains, including a working model of Thomas the Tank Engine, the star of a series of popular children's stories.

Fauquier County Public Library is hosting the Piedmont Railroaders' display at the John Barton Payne community hall, from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 19.

Club members will be on hand to talk about real and model trains and to answer questions about the hobby and the history of railroading. Models on display will represent engines from from 1830 to the present with selected models running throughout the display period.

The Piedmont Railroaders club was founded in Warrenton in 1995 for railroad enthusiasts of all ages to meet and share their individual interests in railroading. The club also supports various community activities, such as the Boy Scouts of America Railroad Merit Badge program, and participates in events such as public train shows and town-sponsored railroad festivals.

There is no admittance fee either day. Call (540 347-8750, ext. 6, for more information.

Reserve books, audio books, videos, CDs of train songs, and more in the library's catalog.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Warrenton BotBrains go 'green' at the library

A group of students recently completed an energy audit of Fauquier County Public Library's Warrenton branch as part of a regional competition that calls for teams to use robotics to understand and create solutions for one of today’s most critical environmental issues: energy management and conservation.
The competition is sponsored by FIRST LEGO League, an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children that was created in a partnership between the nonprofit organization FIRST and the toy maker The LEGO Group. FIRST LEGO issues a challenge each September to engage teams in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design.

Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO play materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program robots to solve real-world challenges. This year's "Power Puzzle" challenge will culminate, after eight intense weeks, in high-energy sports-like tournaments where participants will demonstrate their solutions.

The Warrenton team, whose members are all home schooled boys calling themselves The BotBrains, has competed at FIRST LEGO League regional competitions for the last three years, advancing to state all three years in a row.

This year's BotBrains, with the help of library personnel and Fauquier County Director of General Services Tom Boyer, have completed an energy audit of the Warrenton Library to evaluate the building’s energy use. They are now working with experts to identify ways that the library might be able to reduce energy consumption or move toward alternative energy use and plan to present their ideas to the library board.

The group also attended a recent meeting of architects, civil and mechanical engineers, and representatives from the county's general services and library staffs to discuss plans for the proposed New Baltimore Library. The library's construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008.

The BotBrains will go on to demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship, and sense of community at the FIRST LEGO League Regional Competition on November 17, 2007, in Stafford, Va.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Medicare Part D update explained

Michael Soule of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board is coming to the library early in November to explain important new Medicare Part D features.
There are more Medicare choices than ever before, so it’s important that you look at your coverage every year.
Plan costs and benefits change, and so might your health concerns. The coverage that worked for you this year may still meet your needs in 2008 or, there might be a better option.
While you can read the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services handbook (120 pages long!), you may find it helpful to attend Mr. Soule's free program to help clarify information.
Two resources in the library's collection that are also worth taking a look at: Medicare & You: For Virginia Residents, brought to you by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Virginia Medicare Supplement Insurance Premium Comparison Guide prepared by Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Artifacts displayed at Bealeton Library

An exhibit on the Elk Run Anglican Church Site preservation project in southern Fauquier County is currently at the Bealeton Library.

The exhibit includes photos, a small case displaying some of the artifacts found at the site, and a 10-minute documentary, Finding Our Foundation: The Preservation of the Elk Run Anglican Church Site.

The church began as a wooden structure in the 1740s and was later rebuilt in brick. The church’s congregation declined after the Revolutionary War and the building was abandoned in the early 1800s. The site was overgrown until recently, and the church foundation and artifacts were hidden from view for about 200 years.

The documentary shows the site being excavated by volunteers, many of whom have ancestral ties to the area. Under the direction of archeologist Dr. John Eddins, himself a volunteer, teams have discovered many artifacts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Group discussing global warming

Members of the library's Socrates Café group are discussing “Global warming – what should we do?” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23. Fortunately, there is a ton of information on global warming on the Internet. One good place to start or continue research is National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the New York Times recently posted a comprehensive article.

While not specifically about global warming, the library recently added the extraordinary series Planet Earth and other outstanding DVDs to its collection, some of which explore touch on aspects of global warming.

Learn more about Socrates Café groups.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tutors are back

Free tutoring for students in elementary school and older is provided at the Bealeton Library by National Honor Society (NHS) members from Liberty High School from 5 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday. Registration is not required - just drop in. (Note: Tutors are not available when school is not in session.)

Visit the library's website for online teen and children's homework help resources.

The website also has access to numerous databases, many of which are helpful to students and adults. The library's eResource News blog spotlights a different database each month.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Genealogy research help available

Fauquier County Public Library is presenting two programs this month, both at the Bealeton Library, to help people researching their ancestry.

Genealogy 101: A seminar for beginners will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, and African American genealogy will be presented by Karen Hughes White of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.

The library has a number of online resources to assist in a genealogy quest. And the library's Virginiana Room has an extensive collection of materials focusing on state and local history and genealogical research. Staff is available whenever the library is open to introduce first-time users to the collection and to give limited assistance to researchers.

The library has many other resources for people doing genealogical research, including such titles as Beyond Pedigrees: Organizing and Enhancing Your Work by Beverly DeLong Whitaker, American Origins by L. G. Pine, Slave Ancestral Research: It's Something Else by Mary L. Jackson Fears, Finding Your Roots: How to Trace Your Ancestors at Home and Abroad by Jeane Eddy Westin, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls, which is available in print and is downloadable.

For young researchers, The Family Tree Detective: Cracking the Case of Your Family's Story by Ann Douglas and illustrated by Stephen MacEachern, is a wonderful introduction to genealogy.

If you are still at a loss at how to start your search, call or e-mail the library.