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If you enjoy certain magazines, but lack the time needed to keep track of their content, the General OneFile database can help.  Setting up an RSS Feed via the database will alert you whenever new articles are available.  Setting up the feed will take a few minutes of your time.  After that, however, things will be maintenance free.

The first thing you’ll need to do is go to the General OneFile database, which can be accessed via Brooks Memorial Library’s Resources page (

Click on Browse Publications; when the Browse Publications page loads, you will be able to browse by title or you can search for a specific title by entering the title’s name in the Find Title box in the upper left hand corner.

Once you’ve found the magazine you’re looking for, move your arrow over the publication’s title; a box with information, as well a small orange icon, will appear:

Click on the icon to set up your RSS feed.  Clicking on the icon will open up a new window.  In this window, you will be given two options – you can create an email alert, in which case alerts will be sent to your email account, or you can subscribe to an RSS feed.  All you need to do in order to subscribe to an RSS feed is to copy and paste the URL provided in the window into your RSS reader.

After you’ve done this, you should be good to go.  And if you encounter any difficulties along the way, please feel free to contact the Reference staff at Brooks Memorial Library, who will be more than happy to help you.  — Sharon

During Town Meeting this Saturday, the Town Meeting representatives are slated to vote on whether Brattleboro will adopt the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) system.  If you’re interested in learning more about PAYT, the library is a great place to start.  We have copies of the PAYT memorandum sent to Town Meeting representatives by the Brattleboro Solid Waste Committee.  The articles on PAYT that have appeared in past issues of the Reformer can be found through the Reformer Newsbank database.  A link to the database can be found on the Resources page of the library’s website.  Finally, if you want to keep track of the ongoing commentary being posted on iBrattleboro ( but you don’t have a computer at home, you can access the website via one of the library’s public access computers.

The issue of PAYT has also highlighted the key role that reducing, reusing, and recycling can play.  Unfortunately, confusion surrounds the issue of what can and can’t be recycled.  The Brattleboro Community Brain Trust wiki has a page outlining what can and cannot be recycled in Brattleboro (; they even have information on how to obtain a recycling bin if you don’t already have one.  Not sure when recycling gets picked up on your street?  Visit the town’s web site (; the Trash and Recycling has a Word document with the recycling schedule.

The website for the Windham Solid Waste Management District ( has a plethora of information on what can and can’t be recycled, as well as when and where items can be brought for recycling.  There’s also some information on the site about Project Cow, a commercial organic waste composting project subsidized by the WSWMD.  Compostable items can be brought to the WSWMD’s Convenience Center on Old Ferry Road (details as to what items qualify can be found on the web site).

If you are interested in starting your own compost, the library has some great books on the subject that you will definitely want to look through for tips.  There’s Let it rot!  The gardener’s guide to composting by Stu Campbell (631.8 CAM) and The Rodale book of composting, edited by Deborah L. Martin and Grace Gershung (631.8 ROD).  Many of the gardening books located at 631.5 have information related to composting as well. — SER

The weather outside is frightful – making it the perfect time to do some traveling, both armchair and otherwise.  It’s also a time when many students find themselves slogging away on research papers, wishing that there was a quick way to determine the name of Albania’s president or the major exports of Tunisia.  Travelers and students alike will find CultureGrams (REF 901 v.1 and v.2) to be of use.  Take a trip to the library’s reference section and see for yourself!

CultureGrams has comprehensive reports for 108 countries.  25 topics are covered, including Land and Climate, Language, Gestures, Visiting, Eating, Family, Diet, Recreation, Government, Economy, and Transportation & Communications.  At the start of Volume One there are reports on the various continents, and at the end of Volume Two, there’s an extensive Glossary of Cultural Terms.  The individual country reports provide you with the information you need to avoid making major cultural gaffes during your next trip abroad (a certain library clerk at Brooks certainly wishes she’d read the report on South Korea before journeying there!) and piques your interest about the arts, food, and culture you will experience during your visit.

This is also a great source for those who are beginning research on a social studies or history paper.  The different topics covered in each country’s report ensure that the broadest possible picture is delivered to the reader.  With the variety of information on offer, something is sure to act as a catalyst for more in-depth investigation.

If you do not fall in either the “traveler” or the “student” category, fret not!  CultureGrams can be used by anyone with an interest in the world around them.  It can be great fun to skim over the different reports, soaking up assorted interesting facts about various faraway spots.  For instance, did you know that rice is a staple dish in the United Arab Emirates?  Or that Ilobasco, El Salvador is known for its fantastic pottery?


In the last few weeks, there have been several incontrovertible signs that autumn is here. Days have slowly gotten shorter and cooler; leaves are changing color and fleeing from the trees that have hosted them since spring; stores have begun holding back-to-school sales; and the October issue of Vogue has hit newsstands and can be checked out at Brooks Memorial Library.

This is the time of year when many of us look to take advantage of low prices to update our look and ready our wardrobe for the colder months ahead. Before heading to the stores, why not visit the library first? We’ve got plenty of resources to help you find out what’s currently au courant. And if you don’t have the time or money to purchase a whole new look, we have the tools you’ll need to transform the clothes you have now.

Oct Vogue

The aforementioned Vogue is a great sourcebook for information on recent fashion trends. Fashion tips and trends can also be gathered from recent issues of In Style, Glamour, and Redbook. And while Time does not usually have much in the way of fashion editorial, their Autumn 2009 Supplement is devoted to the topic. All of the magazines can agree on one thing: it’s time to bring out your neon legwarmers, shoulder pads, and jewel-colored tops, because the 1980s have returned (speaking on a strictly sartorial note).

Guide to sewingDo recent fashion trends leave you dispirited? Do you prefer to follow your own personal style? The library has a wonderful collection of sewing books. There are instructional tomes for the beginning sewer, such as New Complete Guide to Sewing : Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories (646.2 NEW) and Sew U : the Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe ( 646.4 MUL).

Designer techniques There are guides for those with more advanced sewing skills — try Designer Techniques : Couture Tips for Home Sewing (646.2 KIL) and Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry : Proven Methods to Help You Sew Like the Pros (646.4 SEW). No matter what your skill level or your sewing goal, one or more books in the 646s should assist you. And if nothing there suits you, drop by the Reference desk for help!

Sewing secrets

Lego pirate

Ask any matey or wench what September 19th be, and certain ye’ll be to get the same reply.  It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  For those of ye landlubbers who know not the lingo, the library’s reference pirates be uncoverin a hidden treasure of places in the internet to help yez all talk like pirates too.  For those of ye buccaneers keen to learn more about the pirate life, there be a host of books here at the library for all of yez to check out.

Treasure Map:

If ye be wantin to talk like a pirate, but be in need of schoolin, get yez over to the official home page of Talk Like a Pirate Day.   The Pirate Speak web site ye’ll also be findin useful.

Be ye wantin to know more about the glorious pirates of the past?  Go ye to Reference, where ye be findin David F. Marley’s Pirates and privateers of the Americas, a great grand encyclopedia of piratical information (REF 910 MAR).  There be no better way to be learnin about the sweet trade o’ piracy.

parrotThe library also be havin several absorbin and entertaining books on the glorious golden age of piracy.  Ye can find No man knows my grave: Privateers and pirates 1665-1715 by Alexander Winston (910.4 WIN), and Piracy, mutiny and murder and Ghosts, gales and gold by Edward Rowe Snow (910.4 SNO) on the library’s first floor.  All grand grippin tales they be.

If it be pirate music ye fancy, ye be enjoyin Rogue’s gallery: Pirate ballads, sea songs, & chanteys (CD Music ROG).  Ye can be takin these items from the library and enjoyin them in yer home, a mug of grog by your side to keep ye warm.  But beware!  If it’s late ye be in returnin them, the library pirates may make ye walk the plank if ye do not pay up in precious booty!

By the powers! Don’t be ye a scallywag.  Celebrate this fine fair holiday wi’ a wannion, and be askin a library pirate for help if needin assistance ye be.

flower heart

The summer wedding season will shortly be in full swing, and many of us will be traveling near and far to attend the nuptial ceremonies of friends or family members.  While the happy couple undergoes most of the stress, wedding attendees also face worries and hassles.  Luckily, the library has several resources that should alleviate most wedding-related headaches.

Let’s say you have a friend getting married in a Hindu (Muslim, Mormon, Methodist, etc.) ceremony and you have no idea what to expect.  What attire is considered appropriate?  What is the basic structure of the service?  As someone who is not a co-religionist, are you expected to participate in any fashion?  The Reference department has a great book that answers these and a multitude of other questions you may have.  Titled How to be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook (REF 291.3 HOW), it covers religious etiquette for a wide range of practices, and offers information specific to wedding ceremonies for each of the faith included.

Questions may arise during the period leading up to a wedding, and determining responsibilities that attendees have (whether as mother of the bride, maid of honor, or guest) can be difficult at times.  If you are looking for clarification, or if you are a frazzled and overspent parent looking for perspective, take a look at Miss Manners on Painfully Perfect Weddings (395.22 MAR).  Practical information that is wittingly conveyed – what more could one want?

Should one of your wedding responsibilities include making a toast, the library can help you prepare.  Our circulating collection contains a copy of Wedding Toasts and Traditions (392 ISH), and in Reference a copy of  Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces (REF 808.85 TOASTS) can be found.

Good luck!

1050-image Tip: We’ve got the forms.


Everyone’s least favorite day of the year is rapidly approaching. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, the library has resources that will make tax preparation less stressful.

If you need tax forms, just follow the bright orange “Tax Forms” sign. The arrows on the sign will point you in the right direction, and you’ll soon find Federal 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ forms, Vermont State forms, and corresponding instruction booklets. Other forms, of which photocopies can be made, are kept in a binder in the Reference area.

While the binder contains a vast assortment of forms, it may not have the one you need. Federal forms can be downloaded from, while state forms can be accessed at Both the IRS and Vermont Department of Taxes can help with your tax questions and are the first place to go if you need an extension.

oohcover parachute virtual-jobjob-loss

Tip: The Library has free resources on all aspects of career planning and job hunting.


Brattleboro’s unemployment rate currently stands at 7.1% , and many of us have begun the unpleasant process of looking for a new job during an economic downturn. If you find yourself in this predicament, why not stop by the library? We have some fantastic resources that will make your search for the perfect job that much easier.

Interested in making a career change but don’t know where to begin? The library has several guides on hand, including Richard Nelson Bolles’ What color is your parachute? (331.1 BOL) and Laurence G. Boldt’s Zen and the art of making a living: a practical guide to creative career design (650.14 BOL). A subject search for “career development” and/or “career change” will help you locate others.

If you do have a clear sense of what careers interest you but need more concrete information about them (such as educational requirements, average wages, and current demand), you should swing by Reference and take a look at the Occupational outlook handbook (REF 371.42 OCC). The handbook, which can also be accessed online at, is produced by the U.S. Department of Labor and has detailed data on countless professions.

In Reference you will also find The guide to basic resume writing (REF 650.14 GUI). Other resume guides can be checked out of the library, and can be located by doing a subject search for “resumes.” If you don’t have access to a personal computer, you can use one of the library’s computers to type up your resume. Just click on the “resume” option at the start-up page, and be sure to bring a flash drive so that you can save your work!

Looking for places to send your resume? Reference USA, a database available at the library (or from home using your library card), has a searchable business database that provides business names and addresses. You can limit your search to Brattleboro businesses by doing a custom search by city.

Now it’s time to improve your interviewing skills. A subject search for “employment interviewing” will list the library’s books on this topic. There are also two DVDs that can be borrowed: Interviewing for a job (DVD 650.14 INT) and The virtual job interview (DVD 6501.14 VIR).

There will also be times during your search when you are in need of encouragement. Lynn Joseph’s The job-loss recovery guide: a proven program for getting back to work—fast! (155.9 JOS) may be just the ticket. And of course, the reference staff is more than happy to assist with questions you encounter during the job seeking process.


Happy Belated Inauguration Day! In recognition of the new presidential administration, the reference staff at Brooks would like to share some fun and fascinating facts about some of our nation’s presidents. Enjoy!

  • Since LBJ, presidents have been more likely to be the fathers of girls than of boys (LBJ – 2 daughters, no sons; Nixon – 2 daughters, no sons; Ford – 1 daughter, 3 sons; Reagan – 2 daughters, 2 sons; George H. W. Bush – 2 daughters, 4 sons; Clinton – 1 daughter, no sons; George W. Bush – 2 daughters, no sons; Obama – 2 daughters, no sons). That’s 14 daughters to 9 sons!
  • James Madison was our shortest and skinniest president (he was 5’4” and weighed in at 100 lbs)
  • Most of us know that twice in our nation’s history, the son of a former president has also served as president. But did you know that there is also one instance where the grandson of a former president became president? Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president, was the grandson of our 9th president, William Henry Harrison
  • President Andrew Jackson was adept at sewing and made his much of his own clothing
  • Our first left-handed president was James Garfield
  • Harry Truman was the last U.S. President to not attend college
  • Millard Fillmore was the final president to serve from the Whig party
  • Theodore Roosevelt despised being called Teddy, and his family and friends avoided addressing him as such
  • The first president to select a woman to serve in his cabinet was Franklin Roosevelt, who made Frances Perkins his Secretary of Labor

Sources: WilsonWeb, The People’s Almanac, The Statesman’s Yearbook 2008, The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2008

About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry