Saturday, October 18, 2014

And the winners are ...

Thank you to all of you who played the October Mathville puzzle! As you know, we draw winners from those entries who include both a correct answer and an explanation, so everyone who sent in a correct answer and an explanation has an equal chance to win.  This month we picked six winners.

The winners of the October Mathville puzzle are:

1st place, each receiving a $30 gift card to the PVCC Bookstore:

Sarah Johnson
Madellyne Waugh

2nd place, each receiving a $15 gift card to the Mermaid coffee cart:

Samuel Riddle
Robert Porter

3rd place, each receiving a big Hershey's milk chocolate bar:

Nicholas LaRosa
Ashley London

Congratulations to the winners!

Winners must pick up their prizes by Friday, October 24th at 4 p.m., or they forfeit their prizes. Prizes must be picked up in person. Please present your student I.D.

And now for the solution to the October puzzle.

In order to find a matching pair of hoop earrings, Area Baseten would have to pull a minimum of three  individual earrings.   There were only two kinds of earrings in the drawer, so whichever two she pulled first, the third one would match one of them, thus ensuring a matching pair.

Please play again next month!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Library showcase: Halloween Tales!

Source: Pixabay

Fall is here and with Halloween just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to discover all that the library has to offer on vampires, monsters, ghouls, and other things that go bump in the night! If you’re looking for a ghost story or two, who better to turn to than Edgar Allan Poe, a former Virginian who once attended the University of Virginia. Check out The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe or The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe to read some of Poe’s classic creepy tales.

Possibly the two most famous scary stories of all time, Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker, have inspired dozens of movies, stories, and plays over the years. Another famous thriller is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, which was adapted into the celebrated Broadway show of the same name. If you’re already familiar with these, try some other spooky classics, such as Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes or Stephen King’s Just after Sunset.

Vampires have enjoyed a lot of popularity in recent fiction, mostly due to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, but there's also Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris, the novel that inspired the HBO show, True Blood, and Pandora: New Tales of the Vampires by Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire. For more books sure to provide a little Halloween spirit, check out Coraline or The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Monster by Frank Peretti, or The Monstrumologist by Rich Yancey.

We also have a great collection of nonfiction books on Halloween-worthy topics. Try Classics of the Horror Film by William K. Everson for a well-researched and enjoyable history of the horror film genre, or In Search of Dracula by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu to follow the myth of vampires back through European history and folklore. Hoping to witness a paranormal event this Halloween? Get ready by reading about ghostly phenomena in The Spirit Book by Raymond Buckland or Real-life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal by Joe Nickell.

Anyone looking for an extra dose of terror this Halloween might enjoy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, or the terrifying trilogy Ring, Spiral, and Loop by Koji Suzuki. Whether you see Halloween as a time to relish something truly frightful or simply enjoy the autumn colors and a hot pumpkin spice latte, you can always find something to read at the library.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mathville puzzles: The hoop earrings

Area Baseten is the CEO of Positive Integers, an ad agency in Mathville. As an ad exec, she always dresses very professionally, and likes to wear hoop earrings. She has a jewelry box on her dresser that has 30 pairs of hoop earrings.Fifteen pairs are gold hoop earrings, and fifteen pairs are silver hoop earrings. Other than that, all the earrings are exactly alike.

One evening, when Area was getting dressed to go to a business reception, the lights went out, and she was left in complete darkness. She wanted to wear matching earrings, of course. She thought for a moment, and then opened her jewelry box and removed some earrings, putting them in her pocket before heading out.

What is the smallest number of earrings that Area would have to pull out of the jewelry box to ensure she had a matching pair?

Contest Rules

  • You must send the solution via email to Laura Skinner at
  • Solution due by Thursday, October 16th at 11:59 p.mSolutions sent after the deadline will not be considered.
  • You must email the solution from your PVCC email address.
  • You must explain how you arrived at the solution -- that is, you must show your work, explain your reasoning. 
  • Only correct solutions with explanations of the reasoning used to arrive at the solution will be considered.
  • Six entries will be drawn from all the correct solutions, to determine two first places, two second places, and two third places.
  • The first place winners will each be awarded a $30 gift certificate to the PVCC Bookstore.
  • The second place winners will each be awarded a $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid Express coffee cart.
  • The third prize winners will each be awarded a big Hershey’s milk chocolate bar.
  • Drawing will be conducted on Friday, October 17th. Winners will be notified by email, and their names will be published on a blog post. 
  • The solution to the puzzle will be published on the blog after winners have been announced.
  • Winners must pick up their prizes by Friday, October 24th at 4 p.m., or they forfeit their prizes. Prizes must be picked up in person. Please present your student I.D.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Break!

The library will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during fall break this week. (Fall break is October 9-10.) We will be closed on Saturday, and will resume our regular hours on Monday, October 13. Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Books Are In!

The beginning of the fall semester is behind us, but its end lies even farther ahead. You’ve a few months to go before you can start catching up on all that sleep you’re missing. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to a few new books in the meantime.

As the leaves turn and the weather chills, nature—and all of its creatures, whether it’s a herd of deer springing across the highway or an army of stinkbugs (happy fall!) clogging up the ceiling light—is making one last comeback before hibernation. Explore the intersection between us and (terrifying) Mother Nature in The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects by Jeffrey A. Lockwood, The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, and Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You: A Lively Journey through the Dark Side of the Natural World by Dan Riskin.

Wherever you are in the 2014-2015 choice for the PVCC One Book program—Breaking Night by Liz Murray—supplement your reading with books such as Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America by Ella Howard and Poverty in America: A Handbook by John Iceland.

Take a break from your studies with Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong or a novel or two. Check out China Dolls by Lisa See, the story of a fraught friendship between three young women during World War II, as well as Ransom Riggs’s creepily atmospheric Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and its sequel, Hollow City. Be warned: the chilling photography in those last two books might set your brain on Halloween-mode ahead of schedule.

Check out all these new books and more in our catalog!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week! September 21-27

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

September 21-27, 2014 is Banned Books Week! During Banned Books Week the library is celebrating our freedom to read by showcasing books that have been censored or challenged over the years. 

The Banned Books Week tradition was started in 1982 by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom to combat censorship and protest the increasing number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and public libraries. Books that were frequently banned during this time included Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which was censored from school libraries in 1982 because some people considered it “Anti-American” and “just plain filthy,” and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, a story accused in 1983 of “encouraging deviant behavior.” In 1984 Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Color Purple was challenged for its “troubling ideas about race relations and human sexuality.” Even the beloved children’s book In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak faced censorship when it was challenged in an elementary school library in 1985.

In fact, many of the books that we consider “classics” today were once removed from bookshelves because of the objections of parents and community members. The American classic, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, takes the number one spot on the American Library Association’s list of “Banned and Challenged Classics.” Other familiar titles on the list are To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. 

In recent years popular young adult books like the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and The Giver by Lois Lowry have also been challenged. Graphic novels like Bone by Jeff Smith have made the ALA’s list of most challenged books as well.

Help us observe Banned Books Week this year by reading a banned book. Come by the library to see a display of previously banned and challenged books and celebrate your freedom to read!