Author Archive

Pregnancy and Parenting Resources @ Your Library

Very soon I’ll be taking a break from the library to go on maternity leave.  Over the last eight months, I’ve read (or at least browsed) at least fifty books on pregnancy and parenting.  In my opinion, these are the best of the best…and they’re all available for you to check out!

When most people think of books about pregnancy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is usually the first thing that comes to mind.  It’s a classic text on the ins and outs of pregnancy from before conception through the birthing process.  Even if you’re not interested in reading the book from cover-to-cover, you can follow along week by week to get an idea of what’s happening with your body and your baby.




Similar in concept to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy covers conception through birth, and also gives weekly updates on what’s going on inside you’re body.  Plus, knowing this information comes from such a renowned health institution can help parents-to-be feel more comfortable with its advice.  A great feature of this book are the monthly charts which let you know if something which weird things that happen to your body (and believe me, there will be weird things that go on with your body) are worth seeking medical attention for at certain points in your pregnancy.  For example, light spotting might be totally normal at one point in your pregnancy, but very bad news at another point in your pregnancy.

I picked up The Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion for my husband, but it was actually educational and entertaining for the both of us.  It’s full of great advice for dads-to-be on what to expect from a pregnant partner, and tips on how to make sure that he is making the pregnancy as easy on her as possible.  From urging dad to make more meals (recipes of varying degrees of difficulty are included) to the finer points of prenatal massage, it’s a light-hearted guide that most men will enjoy at least thumbing through.  However, some advice should probably be cleared with one’s partner.  For example, a woman planning on breastfeeding her child might not appreciate a bottle of champagne in the hospital room right after the birth.


Of all the parenting books I’ve read (and I’ve read a LOT), Eat Sleep Poop is the most down-to-earth, sensible book I’ve found.  The author, a pediatrician who wrote this book right after the birth of his own first child, takes parents through many potentially worrying situations (Why is my child yellow? Why does my child have fur?  Why is my child’s poop green?) and lets them know what’s normal and what’s not.  It’s a essentially a meditation on taking a deep breath and trusting one’s parental instincts, with a lot of useful medical information backing that up.  Plus, the book has decision charts.  Decision charts!  Baby has a cough?  If he/she has a fever, do this.  If he/she is cool to the touch, do this.  My only complaint about the book is that the author didn’t include more of these very useful tools.


Don’t let the title scare you off.  Eat Well, Lose Weight, While Breastfeeding isn’t strictly for mothers in search of weight loss after birth, and neither is only for mother’s planning on breastfeeding.  This is a well thought out guide to nutrition after childbirth.  It includes great ideas for snacks and meals, none of which are overly complicated, and all of which are suitable to eat as a family.  While structured similarly to diet books, the author is both non-judgmental and realistic with her expectations of new moms.  She takes a kind approach, and acknowledges that even new moms need to treat themselves with unhealthy things every now and again.



While I prefer to read about pregnancy and childbirth, we also have quite a few relevant DVDs available for checkout.  These include:

And of course, in this digital age, there are a plethora of pregnancy-, childbirth-, and parenting-related websites available to visit from the library or from your own computer.

My favorite pregnancy website is  It was created by the same team who developed the very successful wedding-planning website and the lifestyle website  Among the many resources available at The Bump are a pregnancy checklist, advice from doctors and other professionals, message boards, a baby naming guide, and the fantastic How Big is Baby?, which not only gives information on each week’s (or month’s, if you’re near the end) development, but also compares the baby to a familiar fruit or vegetable.  Trust me, it’s cuter than it sounds.  Users can also sign up for a weekly email, which not only includes How Big is Baby?, but also gives a short snippet on what’s going on with baby that week.  (This week my baby is a honeydew melon, and has finished his/her hearing development!)

Even if you have no interest in Lamaze, the Lamaze International website can be a great resource for pregnant women.  You can sign up for weekly pregnancy-related email, read their blog, or take a look at one of the many other pregnancy and childbirth resources they offer.

Finally, it’s not a website, but if you’re addicted to texting like I am, you might find daily texts for new and expecting parents to be useful.  The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County has made text4baby available to local residents.  Simply text the word BABY (or BEBE, if you prefer Spanish) to 511411, and you’ll receive a free (if you have a plan with unlimited texting) text message with pregnancy advice every day, aimed at your specific stage of pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or know someone who is, I hope you find these resources helpful.  You can always ask a librarian for assistance finding more information about specific pregnancy-related topics!




November 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

Guest Post: Ask a Librarian Statewide Online Reference

The following is a guest post from Traci Avet, the Virtual Reference Coordinator of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium:

So you’ve just finished watching your favorite TV or news program, or listening to your favorite radio show.  For the last hour, they touted the brilliance of someone’s latest novel or nonfiction read.  The damage is done – your interest is piqued.  All you’re thinking now is, “I’ve got to read this book.”

You… and maybe just a few other people.  (Anyone remember Tickle-Me Elmo?)  Well, the first step is to head straight to your library’s catalog – either in-person or online – and see if you’ve beaten the rest of those viewers or listeners to the punch.  Your library may have anticipated the wave of heightened interest and ordered extra copies, so you may be able to stake your claim then and there.  But if not – if your library’s copies are already checked out – make sure you place a hold on that title.  Your library will put you on a waiting list just for that title.  As the items are returned, they are set aside for those next on the waiting list.  Your library will notify you as soon as your book is ready.  And if for some reason your library doesn’t own a copy of the book, don’t despair – your library’s Interlibrary Loan service may be able to borrow the book from another library system.

Your library’s catalog lets you place holds – and sometimes even Interlibrary Loan requests – online from the convenience of your computer.  If you need help finding a book, placing a hold, or just getting more information on how to place an Interlibrary Loan request through your library, visit Ask a Librarian today and get live help from a real Florida librarian.  No matter what you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it.

What can we help you with today?

Ask a Librarian provides Florida residents with live chat services with a real Florida librarian from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday (ET), and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (ET).  You can also send an e-mail your local library’s staff.


To access Ask a Librarian, visit our website at and click the link on the green toolbar that says “Ask a Librarian.”

Soon, we’ll be offering Ask a Librarian assistance through text messaging!

Please be aware that you may not always be speaking to a librarian at the West Palm Beach Public Library (Ask a Librarian uses librarians from all over the state of Florida), but whomever you speak with will be happy to help you!

** Britta **

October 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Books as Art

Most of the time people come to the library to find books to read, what if you could do more?  Well, we’re going to let you draw, paint, cut, and paste books at the library!

Thursday, September 2, from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM, the library will be hosting an altered books class.  We’ll be taking books (we’ll have some for you, but feel free to bring your own) and art supplies (bring photos and other memorabilia, although we’ll provide a variety of other supplies) and creating unique works of art you can take home.

Registration is limited due to a limited amount of supplies, so sign up as soon as you can!  You can register at this website ( or call us at 561-868-7701 to get on the list.

Not able to come to the class or just want to know more about altered books?  We’ve got you covered!  Place one of our books on hold.


August 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

Join us on The Library Mystery Tour!

It’s certainly hot outside.  It’s hard to believe that summer doesn’t start for almost two weeks!

While we fan ourselves and wait for summer to arrive, it’s time to start thinking about this year’s adult summer reading program at the West Palm Beach Public Library.  This year’s theme is “The Library Mystery Tour!”

As in past years, we’ll be asking patrons to fill out an entry form every time they finish a book, and a random winner will be chosen each week.  Prizes include gift cards to Starbucks, Jimmy John’s, Muvico, Nature’s Way Cafe, Forte Restaurant, and Publix!  Entry forms will be available at the library beginning June 26, and the drawings will continue through July 31.

Of course, we’re not just asking you to read books.  We also have some great programs planned to help you beat the heat!

  • On June 26, we’ll be teaching you The Mysteries of Soap Making.  Participants will learn how to make glycerin soaps with a variety of colors and scents.  Registration is limited, but you can go ahead and reserve your spot by clicking here.  This class will be held from 2:00 – 3:30 in the Hibiscus room.
  • All of the librarians are looking forward to the Murder Mystery Party, which will be the final adult summer reading program.  On July 31, put your thinking cap on and join us to find the murderer in the library.  Light snacks will be served and wine will be available for $6 per glass.  This is an after-hours event, from 6:00 – 8:30.   Registration is required.  You can sign up by clicking here.

    While these programs are adult only, we’ve got a lot going on for kids and teens this summer, plus our Technology Department is doing their very own high-tech summer program.  For more information about their programs, stop by the library watch their blogs, or take a look at our event calendar!

    ** Britta**

    June 7, 2010 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

    Did You Know…

    Although we’ve been in the new library almost a year now, I’m still hearing patrons say “I never knew that!” on a regular basis.

    Here are some things you might not know about the library:

    We do allow cell phone use! However, we ask that you restrict your phone use to the second floor, and that regardless of where you are in the library, please have your ringer on silent or vibrate.

    If you have a library card, you don’t have to pay to print from our computers. For the first 50¢ worth, anyway.  Library card holders can print 5 black and white pages or 1 color page for free every day.

    You don’t have to park on the street. The City Center parking garage is located at the corner of Banyan and Dixie.   If you bring in the small blue or yellow chip you get when  you pull in the garage, we will validate your parking for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, parking is $1 per hour.

    You don’t have to live in West Palm Beach (or even Florida) to get a card. We do not have residency restrictions on our membership.  As long as you show us a photo ID with your current address, no matter where that address is, we’re happy to set you up with a free library card.

    Bring your coffee with you! We allow covered beverages throughout the building.  However, we ask that you keep food either in the Urban Living Room or right in front of the cafe.  Food is not allowed on floors 2, 3, & 4.

    The fourth floor is a great place to work or study. While reasonable noise levels are allowed in the rest of the building, we try to keep the fourth floor pretty quiet.  Hushed conversation is fine, but there’s no cell phone usage, even in the study rooms.  Every window has a table and chairs under it, and each table has conveniently located plugs for powering laptops.

    Our classes are (almost all) free.  Whether you’re interested in learning computer skills, writing your resume, tai chi, or dance, we’ve got a program for you.  The only programs at the library which might have a charge are those offered through the Friends of the West Palm Beach Public Library and the West Palm Beach Public Library Foundation.  Any money made from these programs goes towards funding future library programs and events.  To see a listing of all of our public events, please click here.

    You can see our recent purchases for the library even before they’re on the shelf! A link to our Featured Items Lists is on the right-hand side of our catalog, or you can just click here.  Lists are updated about once a month.  Even if the item doesn’t have location information listed yet, you can click on the title and get yourself on the holds list.

    If you have any questions about the library, we’d love to answer them!  Leave a comment or give us a call at 561-868-7701.

    ** Britta**

    February 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm 2 comments

    The Best of the Best of 2009

    ‘Tis the season for end of the year book lists!

    If you’re looking for book recommendations, you can visit the blog of our venerable Book Goddess year-round.

    However, whenever December rolls around, you can’t cross the street without tripping over a book list.  “Top 10 of 2009,” “Best Books for Your Holiday,” “Best Books of the 00’s…”  They’re everywhere!

    Here’s a roundup of some of the more interesting lists out there.  To see more information about the books, click on the name of the list.  To request a copy from our library (if available), click on the title of the book.

    NPR – Librarian Nancy Pearl’s 2009 Under-The-Radar Books

    • Spooner by Pete Dexter
    • When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journey of Staying Put by Vivian Swift
    • The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
    • Liar by Justine Larbalestier
    • Going Bovine by Libba Bray
    • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
    • In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Suzanne Berner
    • Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy
    • Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile by Sara Wheeler

    Amazon – Best Books of 2009 (Editors’ Picks)

    Publishers Weekly – Best Books of 2009 (Top 10)

    New York Times – The 10 Best Books of 2009

    Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without my own list!  While they’re not all new books, I truly enjoyed the experience of reading them, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them.  Have a question about one of them?  Email me at and I’d be happy to tell you more about it and why I liked it.  In fact, I’m always happy to give book (and movie and music) recommendations!

    My Favorite 10 Books Read in 2009

    What’s your first book of 2010 going to be?  I’m leaning towards either A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore or How to Rule the World From Your Couch by Laura Day.

    Happy reading!

    ** Britta**

    December 15, 2009 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

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