Advocate for Libraries: Virtual Library Legislative Day 2016 @ALALibrary @TheHPAlliance

National Legislative Day, May 2-3

All this week, you can support the work being done at National Library Legislative Day (May 2–3) by participating in Virtual Library Legislative Day. It’s easy to advocate for libraries with your senator and representative in D.C. by sending a quick email, making a phone call, and/or tweeting any time this week!

ALA logo

Join thousands of other library advocates in telling Members of Congress and their staffs about the legislative priorities of libraries.

You and your fellow library supporters in Washington will be supporting federal library funding, the right to privacy, global electronic access to information for the blind, and the confirmation of library leader Dr. Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress.  

Together, we can make the Capitol echo with the voices and messages of library advocates in Washington and online.

ALA’s Legislative Action Center

Plug in your zip code and send a preformatted email

Authorize the Engage app and send a preformatted tweet

Put in your contact info and get a script for your call

Or visit the Legislation Action Center to see all the options:

Take Action for Libraries

Accio Books!

Accio Books! badgeI like to think that the American Library Association is full of fun people, but if advocating alongside the wizards from Hogwarts sounds like more fun, you can join forces with the Harry Potter Alliance, an activist group working for equality, human rights, and literacy through the power of story. The HPA is challenging the ALA library advocates on Twitter this week to see who gets the most calls, tweets, and emails to Washington.

Whether you’re with the ALA or HPA, contact your Members of Congress for Virtual Legislative Day this week! Every voice in support of libraries helps!

Want to take action for libraries in your state, too? Find your state’s chapter and send a message to your state legislators!

Weekend Cooking: Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101 #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

cover image of Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101 is the new cookbook by Sara Moulton, the host of PBS’s Sara’s Weeknight Meals.

I wasn’t familiar with Sara Moulton before seeing Home Cooking 101 on NetGalley, but the cookbook’s cheery cover design appealed to me, along with the idea of learning from an expert home cook how to kick the flavor of everyday meals up a notch without elaborate, all-day bouts in the kitchen.

And…I loved this one! I’d been thinking of requesting it as a Mother’s Day present, but just found out I might be getting a new iPhone, so I may just have to buy it for myself, instead. (Unless any of my kids are reading this…hint, hint.)

As user-friendly and approachable as Sara herself, HOME COOKING 101 embodies a lifetime of experience. Sara was schooled in the French classical tradition, worked for years as a restaurant chef, and tested and developed recipes for Gourmet magazine. She spent a decade as the Food Editor for ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” and was the host of several popular shows during the first ten years of Food Network. Sara, like her mentor, Julia Child, has devoted the bulk of her career to teaching, and specifically to helping the home cook put dinner on the table on a weeknight…a task that too often seems daunting.

From the publisher of Home Cooking 101

Home Cooking 101 is the author’s fourth cookbook, with over 150 new recipes. In it, she shares tidbits from her career, such as when Julia Child refused to hire an experienced chef to assist her because she cut an onion the wrong way, and she also includes guest recipes from some of her favorite, well-known cooks such as Rick Bayless.

If you’re not familiar with Sara Moulton and her cooking methods, visit her Web site for a wide selection of her recipes to see what they’re like:

In Home Cooking 101, you’ll learn the correct way to cut an onion; what to stock in your pantry; the best method for hard-boiling eggs (Step aside, Julia!); how to make your own butter; how to steam and shell lobster to make Summer Shack Lobster Rolls; and much more.

As I went through the cookbook, I easily bookmarked at least a dozen recipes I wanted to try, but I realized later that I was staying within my known likes and comfort zone with the recipes I was choosing. If you’re a good home cook who wants to develop your skills and expand your repertoire, you might end up bookmarking recipes like these, instead:

  • Warm Grilled Octopus Salad (with a note on how to buy octopus and a section titled “Dave’s Tips for Preparing Octopus”)
  • Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs of Beef (with Cook’s Notes on skimming off fat, cutting parchment paper to fit your pan, and on Wondra flour)
  • Rack of Lamb for Two with Rosemary Crumb Crust (with a detailed section titled “How to Trim and French a Rack of Lamb”)

There are many recipes like these, that would make spectacular entrees for special dinners and which have step-by-step photos in all of the tip sections to make trying the recipes less daunting, but there are plenty of others more suitable for weeknight dinners. (Although none that I would say are really quick and easy, I think this author assumes you already know how to throw a quick meal together and that you’re using this cookbook for times when you have an hour or more for dinner prep.)

I bookmarked less complicated (OK, easy) recipes (of which there are many) to try. Although I only planned to make a few for this review, I ended up trying seven, and they were all winners that I would definitely make again.

Indian Cauliflower with Crispy Chickpeas
Green Chile Rice and Chicken Skillet Dinner

Green Chile Rice and Chicken

Stir-Fried Tofu in Chile-Orange Sauce

Sauteed Hungarian Pork Chops

Crispy Pork Fried Rice with Pickled Radishes

Warm Shrimp Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing

I also made Lemony Carrot “Fettucine” with Toasted Pistachios to go with Easter Sunday dinner from the cookbook’s “On the Side” section. It’s a great side dish for spring, and you can find the recipe online. (Use your spiralizer or food processor to make the carrots into “noodles”, if you can; that part was more time-consuming than I thought it would be.)

There’s a Vegan/Vegetarian section and a Meal in a Pan section, as well as Soups and Salads for Supper, DIY Dinner, Quick and Quicker Entrees, On the Side, Cooking When You Have More Time, and Something Sweet.

Some of recipes that I bookmarked but didn’t get to try:

  • Baked Chicken Thighs with Pancetta, Olives, and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Thai Chicken Salad
  • Indian Eggs with Spicy Tomato Pepper Sauce
  • Vegetable Fritters with Green Chile-Coconut Chutney

Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101
Moulton, Sara
Oxmoor, Mar. 8, 2016
368 pp.$35.00, US

Disclosure: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the publisher for review through NetGalley.

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking badgeLinked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click/tap image for Weekend Cooking posts from other bloggers.


Calling All Massachusetts Library Advocates!

Your local libraries need you! The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners FY17 budget lines have been level funded in the House Ways and Means budget and the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been zeroed out completely (again)!

Please call your representative TODAY to ask him or her to sign on to these important amendments restoring cuts to library budget line items. The amendments listed here have been filed by House legislators to reverse the most recent long-term cuts to library funding across the state. Click on the amendment number to see who has already signed on!

Not sure how to contact your rep? Just plug in your zip code on the Mass. Library Association’s Engage site, and get the contact info for your legislator’s office in the House of Representatives.

7000-9508  – Massachusetts Center for the Book – Reinstatement & $250,000 request filed by Representative Kate Hogan. (Amendment #1015)

The Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB)  is a public-private partnership charged with raising funds to develop, support  and promote programming for libraries throughout the Commonwealth. By restoring  funding to the FY16 level, the MCB is able to sponsor programming that expands  our circle of readers and that deepens our understanding of and appreciation  for the past, present and future of the book and of the book arts in Massachusetts; it emphasizes the central role libraries play in civic and cultural life.

7000-9501  – State Aid to Public Libraries – additional $1,000,000 request filed by  Representative Kate Hogan. (Amendment #1024)

Libraries use state aid funds to meet  the needs of local residents including keeping libraries open, purchasing  computers and running homework centers and job-search workshops.  As long as libraries are certified in the  State Aid to Public Libraries Program, residents can use any public library and  access resources from the entire state.   An increase in funding will give public libraries an on-ramp to  participate in the new eBook system and keep current with technology. This line  is currently funded at 10% below FY2009 level.

7000-9506  – Technology & Resource Sharing: additional $1,000,000 request filed by  Representative Paul Brodeur. (Amendment #1078)

Libraries provide residents with  access to current technology such as Wi-Fi, digital resources and Internet  access, but the Automated Networks are behind the scenes making these and other services, including interlibrary loan, available and affordable to  libraries. This line item also makes network membership possible for the  smallest public libraries, those with populations under 10,000, through the  Small Libraries in Network Program. This line is currently funded at 52% below  2001 level.

7000-9101  – Board of Library Commissioners: $1,225,000 request filed by Representative Mary Keefe (Amendment #967)

This line item funds the staff and  operations of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. This level of  funding is necessary for the agency to oversee State Aid to Public Libraries,  the Public Library Construction Program, and critical infrastructure that supports  all libraries in the Commonwealth. The Board budget will be in deficit without  the requested increase in funds which jeopardizes all of the programs the MBLC  oversees. Is funded at 12% below 2001 levels. Without the additional funds  requested, this line that funds MBLC operations will be in deficit.

7000-9401  – State Aid to Regional Libraries: $10,940,475 request filed by Assistant  Majority Leader Byron Rushing. (Amendment #1032)

The Massachusetts Library System  receives funds to support delivery services, training and advisory services for  academic, school, public and special libraries across the Commonwealth,  electronic content, the Summer Reading Program, Cooperative Purchasing Program  and the e-book pilot project. An increase in funding for the Massachusetts  Library System would help support the infrastructure costs of the statewide  e-book platform. The Library for the Commonwealth has used state funding to  support the digitization of library resources throughout the Commonwealth and  to provide any resident of the Commonwealth with access to Boston Public Library electronic content. This line is currently funded at 44% below its  2002 level.

Library line  items 7000-9101, 7000-9401, 7000-9501, and 7000-9506 work together to enable  statewide resource sharing that reduces costs at both state and local levels  and also improves local library services. 96% of this funding goes either  directly to the local libraries or for services to local libraries.

Cuts are  putting the whole money saving system in jeopardy. It is critical to restore  funding to these library lines so that libraries can continue their role in Education across the Commonwealth. Libraries are an essential bulwark against unequal access to Education.

Most of the text of this post is from Massachusetts Library Association’s Engage, where library advocacy is made easy!

Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian


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