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Posts by Brigid Cahalan

What Does a Brain Want? Alvaro Fernandez and the SharpBrains Team Put Brain Fitness to the Test

I hope you don't eat just one thing; I mean, lobster and chocolate layer cake are both outstanding taste treats, but a steady diet of either, or both? I don't think so... And if you only talk about one topic, or two, or three, your social life ain't goin' nowhere.

We crave variety, and—putting religious and metaphysical concerns aside—"we" pretty much are our brains.

Many have referred to the 21st century as the century of the brain. In 

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Fulbrighter at the Library: Fotis Flevotomos Studies the Connection Between Art and Vision

Fotis Flevotomos, still frame from the video "Looking for a Face"I first met Fotis Flevotomos in June 2011. He had come to New York from Greece to speak on his creative process at The New York Public Library's Low Vision and Blindness Resource Fair. An experienced artist, he was able to do so many things with ease—produce art; pack, transport, and display art; speak articulately about his work as a panelist; and even find a reasonably-priced place to stay in midtown 

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I Pledge Allegiance... Becoming a Citizen at The New York Public Library

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Color GuardHave you heard those words—the Pledge of Allegiance—recited recently, by a group of adults?

I hadn't, until I attended a naturalization ceremony at the Library. This past September 17, one of 180 special naturalization ceremonies held across the country to commemorate

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Design for a Lifetime, or: "What Do We Do About the Bathtub?"

Would you consider New York City "age-friendly"? That is, is it a place where people of all ages—including the very old—can feel comfortable, safe, and happy?

One million people aged 65 and over call New York City home, and a half-million more are expected to swell those ranks by 2030. New York City's top-notch public transportation system and rich access to cultural institutions contribute toward making it a place where these folk will want to stay; most are not planning to leave for southerly climes anytime soon, if ever.

 

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Sports for All: Find Out What Sport Is Right for You!

Here we are in the middle of spring; and I'm still embarrassingly waffling over which sport I should focus on in the beautiful weather. I've once again missed my opportunity to do cross-country skiing. Perhaps table tennis will be within reach for me this summer...

Though I myself am a bit indecisive, I love the idea of each of us finding at least one sport or other athletic activity that's fun and right for us, and participating on a regular basis.

To this end, several libraries have hosted 50+ Fitness Fairs in the past, in

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Between Two Worlds: Memoirs by Children of Deaf Adults

How do you celebrate Deaf History Month?Alice L. Hagemeyer, Photo by Ricardo Lopez

As a librarian, during this month I usually spend some time thinking admiring thoughts about Alice L. Hagemeyer, whose energy, spirit, and determination propelled service to the Deaf in libraries in Washington, D.C., where she worked for 34 years, and nationwide. Perhaps you would like to celebrate the month, which spans March 13-April 15 each year, by investigating some of the primary sources from the annals of Deaf history and 

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ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival

New York Public Library is once again proud to partner with ReelAbilities, offering opportunities to see recent, high-quality films promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with differing abilities.

If you search for disability-themed film festivals, you can easily find several throughout the United States and the world. Each has its unique personality and 

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Learn to Express Yourself Through Art: Free Courses for Midlife and Older Adults

Thanks to Lifetime Arts for securing funding and inviting our library system to participate, NYPL is once again able to offer free sustained art courses, taught by professional teaching artists, for adults age 55 and over. Seventeen branch libraries have received funding that enables them to host these classes, which will take place from February-November 2013, and which cover a wide variety of arts including: painting, sculpting, collage, memoir-writing/performance, drawing, and quilt-making.

Because of the great interest generated over the years, many of the 

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My Library: Janielle Fermaint

Janielle Fermaint at the Battery Park City LibraryI first met Janielle Fermaint a few weeks ago at a meeting in the Mid-Manhattan Library. She seemed like a person with lots of library experiences to share so I asked if we could meet for an interview. She agreed, and we spoke in the Battery Park City Library. Janielle is pictured to the left, on the appealing second floor of the branch which opened in 2010 as Manhattan's first library with green LEED certification.

How do you 

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Celebrating Art Beyond Sight: The Value of Creating and Appreciating Art for Those with Low Vision

photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightIn October, museums and other cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and the world celebrate the 10th annual Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. The goal: "making pictorial literacy and access to the world of art a reality for all blind people."

Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightThe organization Art Education for the Blind was founded by museum educator 

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Creative Aging Continues to Bloom at The New York Public Library

In recent decades, much has been said about the demographic changes that New York City shares with the rest of the world. Yes, we are getting older!

One widespread response has been a surge of programs to promote creativity in mid- and later life. NYPL has happily participated in these efforts, especially since 2010 when we started partnering with Lifetime Arts Inc. to offer our first Creative Aging courses, which took place in six branch libraries. Each course was taught by a professional teaching artist 

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Why Save Languages? A Few Words About Language Extinction and Revitalization

There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting. —John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

An Irish Hearth. Part of a painting by Philip Gray. Used with permission of the artist.When I think of my father during my growing-up years, I usually picture him relaxing after work in a kitchen chair with a newspaper, next to the radiator. Did he sit there because its warmth took him back to the hearth that was the heart of the cottage he grew up in, in the rural west of Ireland?

Another memory is of him teaching me how to greet someone and a 

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Alzheimer's Disease: Find Out How You Can Help, or Get Help, During World Alzheimer's Month

Alzheimer's Association/John BurwellMore than 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimers, a fatal disease without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. With the help of NYPL, Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter would like to raise awareness about this devastating disease. September, World Alzheimer's Month, is your chance to join the global fight against Alzheimer's disease. Visit alznyc.org/worldalzheimersmonth for more information and show your support by wearing purple with a 

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Boost your Budget with Help from a Food Program!

The following post was written by guest blogger Vanna Valdez, Benefits Outreach Worker, NYC Hunger Free Communities Consortium.

The New York City Hunger Free Communities Consortium (NYCHFCC) is a collaboration of New York City’s leading anti-hunger, nutrition, and aging organizations (AARP Foundation, City Harvest, Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, Food Bank 

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A Well-Founded Fear: Memoirs of Refugees, in Recognition of World Refugee Day, June 20

"It is not my deeds that I write down, it is myself, my essence." Michel de Montaigne, Essays

They say that the Information Age has passed; we are now in the Age of the Story. The story of one's life can not only captivate, but also educate. These stories of refugees explain bits of the world for the rest of us as seen through the eyes of those who were there — wherever there was — and had to leave because of "...a well-founded 

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World Refugee Day 2012

1951 Refugee ConventionIn 1951 the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugeesdefined who is a refugee, their rights, and the legal obligations of governments. On the 50th anniversary of that historic convention, the U.N. General Assembly designated June 20th as World Refugee Day and it has been celebrated as such each year since 2001.

In his 2011 World Refugee Day message, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated: "No one wants to become a 

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Effective Employment Strategies for Those 50 Plus

Coming of Age NYC and the New York Public Library are happy to announce the event:

Effective Employment Strategies for Those 50+

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4-6 p.m.

A panel of experts will share essential information for job seekers such as:

Today’s Digital Job Search: Online Postings, Applications, and Social Networking Strategies Crafting a Winning Resume The Interview: How to Handle the Really Tough Questions Key Tools and Resources: NYPL’s Job ... Read More ›

50+ Fitness Fairs: Free and Low-cost Activities to Get (or Keep!) You Fit

It’s official: Spring is here! As I peer into its etymology, I see the English word "spring" comes from the Old English "springan," which means “to leap, burst forth, fly up.” I have indeed been seeing New Yorkers bursting forth from their abodes in short sleeves and sandals, ready to enjoy the (even) warmer weather. Maybe the leaping and flying up will come later. 

Three of NYPL’s branches will be hosting 50+ Fitness Fairs to share spaces and ways 

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ReelAbilities Rules! The Disabilities Film Festival in New York City

If you haven't experienced, or perhaps even heard about, ReelAbilities, this may be the year to discover this unique festival, which is a film festival, but also so much more.

Anita Altman of the UJA-Federation, who founded the festival in New York City in 2007, states its goal is to raise consciousness "about our common humanity and the value of each person, without regard to his or her ability or disability." This is the fourth New York 

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Winter Storms Can Be Hazardous to Your Federal Benefit Check!

I'd like to share an important message on behalf of Go Direct®, a campaign of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank from guest blogger Michelle Kloempken, campaign manager for Go Direct®.

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service

With electronic payments, you can count on your money despite severe weather.

If you get federal benefit payments by paper checks, you should know that you are required by the U.S. Department of the 

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