Sunday, August 28, 2011
The library has also had its share of guest speakers to enlighten the Liberal community. Western authors Phyllis Miranda and Linda Broday came to town to promote their new book as well as give some background on their writing process.
Children's literature expert and Kansas State professor Joe Sutliff Sanders visited the library and gave his perspective on the escape of Margret and H.A Rey, the creators of Curious George, from Nazi-occupied France during World War II.
The library is always working on activities and workshops that the community finds interesting and valuable.
Over the next few months, the library will be participating in numerous events such as the Duck Race Festival, the Mexican Independence Day Festival and the Halloween at the Southgate Mall.
At these events, the library will be out trying to unleash the community's inner geek.
But just what is geek? Geek simply means passion. Do you geek books? Video games? Football? What is your passion?
The library is participating in Geek the Library, a community-based public awareness campaign. The campaign highlights what people are passionate about and how libraries can support them, in an effort to heighten awareness about the critical funding issues public libraries face.
The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something--everyone 'geeks' something--and that the library supports them all.
So get ready to get your geek on!
Return on investment. You may hear those three words when you're talking about the stock market or real estate investments, but how often do you hear them when you're talking about the library? Probably not as often, if ever, as you should.
In these tough economic times, everyone is always wondering if they are getting the best bang for their buck. Am I getting the most with my money? I can tell you that the library is one place where you are getting your money's worth.
Recent studies have shown that for every one dollar that goes to the library, you get five dollars back on your return. Where else do you think you can get that kind of return on your investment?
Just think, instead of borrowing a book or checking out a DVD, you would have to buy it. Instead of borrowing a computer and surfing the internet, you have to buy a computer and get an internet connection.
For more information on how much you're getting back on your library dollar, check out http://www.tscpl.org/about/library-value-calculator/ It's easy to forget the library is here until you need it. (When a certain bookstore left town.) The library is a community resource and an investment. The more you put into it, the more you can get out of it.
Liberal has been great in supporting the library and understands it's a valuable commodity. Still, it never hurts to give a reminder of its value.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Regarding my upcoming trip to Fort Worth to see Hal and Sylvia Harbuck
(remember him from the radio station, KSCB, and how great he was in the Chamber of Commerce? They don't make 'em like Mr. Harbuck anymore and he deserves my time and attention to go to his house and run his life for him! Odd how he groans when I walk in the door and I'm greeted with an affectionate "No, we don't want any", followed by "and we don't have any bedroom for you to sleep in--unless you got money!")anyway, Himself says that Sylvia and I can eat at a nearby convenience store before any movie or shopping (now, there's a word he hates--"shopping") and thank goodness her son, Craig, has a pool and ice water and three wonderful dogs, all for a delightful afternoon in Fort Worth's 102 degree heat! Because Sylvia still looks like a model (the older version, that is--said her best friend in all kindness!), I have to take some nice, fashionable clothes--the best Beall's has to offer, don'cha know--and I'm grateful, seriously, for some "time off" from the routine to just visit and enjoy Harbucks and their really delightful family.
Anyone remember the older boy, Hal J., and the middle son, Barry (he and Bonnie, my daughter, were classmates, I think) and I can assure you Hal J. is really well-known as a talk show host on the radio there (sorry, I forgot the call letters) and Syl and I keep a sharp eye on them--which I think they secretly appreciate, don't you? Sure they do.
Okay, you know how your eyes get tired, sometimes, after too much reading--oh, one more thing about Hal Senior, Syl's husband, some of you may not know, he's battling Macular Degeneration but can still read a computer screen for messages; contact me for his address, should you want it. Anyway, as we read more and/or get older (that is, you get older, not me!) A big help is Large Type books, and since Mysteries and Westerns are two prime destinations for readers wanting "escape", we try to order in a good selection of each, certainly in Fiction.
Let me tell you about one from an excellent writer of Westerns, Wilbur Smith (that sounds like a fake name, doesn't it?), who's written 30 of these novels! This one is, "Those in Peril", and it concerns a kidnapping, off a private yacht belonging to Hazel Bannock, owner of Bannock Oil, and she is not on board at the time, but her daughter, Cayla, is and the ransom asking price is 20 billion! Complications in political and diplomatic circles "make it impossible for the world's major powers to intervene, so when Hazel is given evidence that her daughter is being tortured, she calls on Hector Cross." Somehow, I began talking about a Western and have ended up on the high seas.
The inestimable Mr. Cross is the owner/operator of Cross Bow Security and he doesn't mind "taking the law into his own hands when it's clear what has to be done." The assasins/hijackers are very mean and bloodthirsty, the writing is very graphic over what is done to some of the participants, in torturing them, some violent deaths, and, finally a good end with some--not all--of the people still alive and a good beginning ahead. I really got interested in this book--I'm thinking that maybe he's not exactly a Western author, but he sure writes a good adventure story and has done his research for them "on his numerous expeditions." Impressive!
Another "read" to consider is "Through the Cracks", by Barbara Fister, and, for some reason, her picture on the back flyleaf and the caption under it amused me. I haven't heard of this author, and, indeed, she has written only one other novel, but it was well praised--anyway, here's a picture of a pleasant looking, smiling, middle-aged lady who's been, I can tell, to the hairdresser to get her hair "blonded up" (I made that phrase up, as you can tell!) and it says, "Barbara Fister lives in rural Minnesota where she works as a librarian at a small liberal arts college." Period. End of biography. They didn't even mention her other novel, set in my hometown of Chicago, she was married or single, no mention of a nice doggie, or where she got her haircolor done--nada.
Okay, so I've looked in her newest book, her Chicago P.I. is named Anni Koskimen, and her new client has her up against some bad odds. "After spending 20 years in prison, a black man convicted in a notorious rape case has had his sentence overturned--and the victim wants to know who was, then, really responsible for the crime that has scarred her life." However, even if Annie can find out who did the crime, a conviction won't be possible on the old charge--unless the rapist has done it to another woman--and the victim has put time and effort into finding out that there are, indeed, indications that someone is "attacking women with ferocious anger." Then, as Annie digs deeper, the state's attorney who prosecuted the original case insists the conviction was solid-no miscarriage of justice was committed--and that the man only got out on a technicality.
Meanwhile, Annie's friend, Dugan, has a case in which an undocumented Mexican gang member has been arrested for the murder of a missing woman and this case "has gripped the city and fueled anti-immigrant sentiment." This author has her characters believable, the plot seems to move right along--the print is rather small and that can be distracting (remember my earlier comment on people's eyesight sometimes being affected? This print wouldn't be a picnic to read!)
They mentioned "Avalon Park" and I sat up straighter--the park near our apartment, in Chicago, was called that and I really sat up when the characters went to an all-night diner called "Clarkes", which was my maiden name--things were getting spooky, I thought! You have to "stay with" this book--it's not some story you breeze through while waiting for your computer to sign on--once you've started, you keep on keeping on. Interesting story and pretty well written--a good Summer read!
One of the disadvantages of not being able to go into Liberal Memorial Library is not being able to find the book I want, check it out, put it on my desk, take it home after work and begin to read it. This is because I'm nine and a half hours away! And, let me tell you, Poppets, that the book "Untold Story", by Monica Ali, that you'll hear about next is one I'd grab off the shelf--now.
Have you heard Ms Ali's interesting theory--that Diana, yes, that Diana--did not die in that terrible car wreck, driven by a drunk chauffeur and chased by the press by car and motorcycle--Diana survived. Had she lived, she would have turned 50 years old July 1 of this year. "Adored by millions, she suffered rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal; surrounded by glamour and the constant attention of the world's press, she fought to carve a meaningful role for herself in helping the needy and dispossessed."
The book is based on the interesting supposition--suppose Diana had not died but lived, would she ever have found peace and happiness or would her fame have caught up with her again? This author fast forwards this "what if" scenario and the averted Paris tragedy to a small, not-a-town-you'd-notice in the Midwest and a lady named Lydia who works at an animal shelter "and swims a lot". She has close friends and a man who adores her but doesn't really know her. The question is about the cost of celebrity and the possibility--or not--of reinventing a life.
A man (a reporter) breaks into her house carrying a camera, and goes up to her bedroom, opens the door, and finds himself facing a revolver and a furious Lydia. Better get the book--I know I will. The cover is a picture of Diana, half-turned away from the camera but you'd know her anywhere. Enjoy and ponder the question asked in the book--i.e. what would have happened had Diana not died?
This thriller, "Pacific Heights", by Paul Harper, is actually the work of a man named David Lindsey, who lives in Austin, Tx., about an hour and a half from Kerrville and sometimes I wonder why authors use a fake name? Ah well, "ours is not to question why", dear readers. This title is the start of a new series, and a former intelligence officer headlines this "psychologically twisted novel" a man named Marten Fane--and the monster he has to capture is a man named Ryan Kroll, "known throughout the private sector as a man who can obtain information by any means, often using "creative" and violent tactics to get what he wants."
When Kroll finds material--and steals it--from a psychotherapist who is treating two wives of prominent San Francisco's powerful men whom Kroll is having affairs with, it becomes obvious that he is responsible for manipulating them to the point of their insanity and it becomes deadly. It becomes Fane's job to stop him and while Fane is known for his clear head and brains and he "might be the perfect person to foil Kroll's mental games and prevent him from committing what could possibly be a form of murder."
Okay, so I did my usual "stroll " through the book. The professional therapist learns the name of the man beginning to desperately worry both women--the same man but under different names--Ray Kern and Philip Krey--"and to see these two damaged women reverse their characters in the face of this man's manipulation of them was sobering to Vera (the therapist). It spoke to the power of this man's personality and influence over them and it was very frightening. What kind of a man could have such an effect on these two very different women? And why would he want to?"
That last question I found "the hook" in this story. Not only why would he want to but also he obviously had gotten a lot of information on the two women but for what purpose--hate? an old score to settle? Was the fact that the two women went to the same therapist central to Kroll's "plot"? Really a great ending--scary and believable. Get the book and plan to step up late at night--several nights--to finish it.
Okay, Poppets, Rufus Cooper wants his evening walk--we're down to 91 degrees at dinnertime and I'll need a sweater!--so, I hope you've got some idea of what, perhaps, to read. Go see the movie "The Help", keep reminding yourself that although it's hot, you're not watching a house float downstream of the river you've been living on, nor do you have to endure a tornado that has destroyed your home entirely, so fix an iced tea or pour a glass of chilled white wine, go out on your patio or deck or backyard tonight and be thankful that some bright boy invented air conditioning.
Do not forget fresh water for your dog or cat both in the morning and at night 'cause after it's been in the dish all day, it tastes "funny". Hang on, Fall is coming and I just know that when it's Sept. 1st, you'll feel it's Fall and feel cooler. By the way, my governor, Rick Perry, has declared for the presidency and while I can't understand why anyone in their right mind would want to be president, I wish him luck--and I do all of you. Bye!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
August is here and thoughts are turning to the start of another school year. Summer activities have wound to a close at the library with the final event for summer reading--the tee shirt claim. Readers who reached their goal were not only able to come and pick up their tee shirts on August 4 in the late afternoon, but were treated to an ice cream sundae of their own construction as well. Good work, all you diligent readers! Remember, if you were unable to come to claim your shirt on August 4, you will need to pick it up by August 20, or call the library to make other arrangements.
On the 9th, the library hosted Kansas State University Children's Literature professor Joe Sutliff Sanders who was brought to Liberal in conjunction with the Wartime Escape exhibit currently at the Mid America Air Museum. Sutliff Sanders presented a wonderful, informative program focusing on World War II conditions in France at the time of the German invasion helping those in attendance to better understand the climate under which the German born Jewish Reys, creators of the popular Curious George books, escaped from Paris, and eventually from Europe. Sutliff Sanders was keynote speaker that evening at the Mid America Air Museum for a Chamber After Hours event. The library is excited to partner with the Air Museum on this project, which was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council.
The library has planned additional activities to go along with the Air Museum exhibit which include two days designated for Read with Curious George. Youngsters may come between the hours of 3:30 and 5:30 on Tuesday, August 23, and Thursday, August 25, and read with our large Curious George plush. We will have a number of Curious George titles available. Any youngster taking part will get their name entered into our drawing for a Curious George plush and book combination. In addition, there will be tickets to the museum exhibit given away.
On Tuesday evening, August 30, a bi-lingual Curious George story time will take place in the Children's Library at 6:30 p.m. The regular story time on Thursday, September 1, at 9:15 a.m. will have the Curious George theme. On Saturday, September 10, a video session will take place at 10 a.m. in the Cooper Clark Room. This will feature short stories from the PBS Curious George program and will last approximately 90 minutes. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Museum tickets and a chance to enter the drawing will also be available at these events, which are open to anyone interested.
The library has purchased additional Curious George books for our collection. These include some bi-lingual titles and some Spanish titles. Several of the DVDs which are produced by the PBS Curious George series were also purchased. For patrons interested in the book which parallels the exhibit, it is entitled The Journey that Saved Curious George by Louise Borden, with illustrations by Allan Drummond. This book can be found in the Children's Library. Another recent addition to our collection is the biography entitled H. A. Rey by Cari Meister. This is a simpler written, smaller book which contains a glossary and suggested websites in the back.
As Sutliff Sanders mentioned in his presentation, there are a lot of children's books which deal with the holocaust that help children to better understand it. One book which he shared is entitled The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle. This book is on the current list of nominated titles for the William Allen White Award in the third through fifth grade category. Here's a description which the WAW Committee provided:
"During the Nazi occupation of Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation to a concentration camp. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place, the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship, but also a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, including children."
The library owns both of these titles, as well as many others about World War II and the holocaust. They are well worth checking out.
Story times begin again August 18. This is a fun time for little ones. It not only exposes them to early literacy skill building but also gives them socialization time. It's a good time for parents, grandparents, and caregivers to connect as well. Check with the library for a schedule of times and age groups or go to our website at lmlibrary.org.
For those of you with a special place in your heart for Winnie the Pooh, he will be turning 90 on August 21. If you would like to send him a birthday card, here is the link
Even though you may be bustling around to get children ready for the start of school, don't forget that the library has great resources for both academic and leisure reading. Stop by frequently. See you at Memorial Library!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
The library has partnered with the Mid America Air Museum on its latest exhibit, "The Wartime Escape: Margaret and H.A. Rey's Journey from France." It tells the story of the Reys journey, featuring framed prints by artist Allan Drummond and supplemental images from the DeGrummond Collection of Children's Literature at the University of Southern Mississippi. The whole exhibit was organized by the Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha.
The library is running programs in conjunction with the Air Museum's exhibit.
One of the programs will feature Kansas State professor Joe Sutliff Sanders, a specialist in children's and adolescent literature, who teaches a broad variety of courses relevant to books for young readers, who will be at the library over lunch on Tuesday, August 9. He journaled in photographs the journey of the Reys, authors of the Curious George books as they fled Paris in the summer of 1940 on their bicycles over a five month adventure by bike, train, and boat that brought them over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Library and Lunch pick of the month is "The Metropolis Case" by Matthew Gallaway. The group will meet on Tuesday, August 16 at 12 p.m. The novel is a debut for the author and follows the interconnected lives of four characters living in different cities, all of whom have a passion for Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde: Lucien is an opera singer coming of age in mid-19th century Paris; Anna, an opera singer reaching the height of her career in 1960s New York; Maria, a promising young singer but a difficult student; and Martin, an aging lawyer whose love of music might save his life.
The author is a former musician who twines opera and punk by illuminating their shared passion and chaos. My opera experience dates back to spending a semester abroad and ending up at Moravskie divadlo one night with three fellow students, two from Iowa and one from Michigan, as we watched Madama Butterly in Czech. According to an educated source, Phillip, a library co-worker the play was stolen from the Chinese.
The Book and Movie will feature "How it Was With Dooms" by Xan Hopcraft on Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. Xan recounts the life of Dooms, a cheetah who lived on the Hopcrafts' game ranch in Kenya until Xan was 7.
The library invites young adults to a Teen Reader's Advisory as they collaborate on new and exciting ideas for programs at the library. They will meet on Thursday, August 25 at 4 p.m.
The library had the pleasure of having western romance writers Linda Broday and Phyliss Miranda in the library a few weeks back for a presentation and book signing. According to one of their newest blog entries, in Petticoats and Pistols (great name) Liberal is smokin' hot. http://petticoatsandpistols.com/2011/08/02/code-of-the-american-cowboy-john-wayne-style
As always, for the latest library programming take a peek at the library website or grab a newsletter from the circulation desk. Stay tuned and connected through our social media pages. If you have any questions or suggestions about books or programs don't hesitate to ask. Hope to see you at the library this fall!