DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

There is so much available on our library website. I’d like to discuss the RSS feeds with you today. They are listed on the right side of the DCPL homepage. One recommendation I make to patrons all the time is to check out these feeds, which are updated every Wednesday, to find out about new items at the Library. There are also feeds for popular reads currently available in the system–with no waiting. We have a feed for everyone!

Below are some examples of what DeKalb County Public Library offers when following RSS feeds.

New Adult Fiction

New Adult Nonfiction

Great Reads, No Waiting

Great DVDs, No Waiting

New Adult DVDs

New Young Adult Fiction Titles

New Juvenile Fiction Books

If you have a book club or want to have a movie night, the feeds for Great Reads, No Waiting or Great DVDs, No Waiting can provide the perfect option! If you see items of interest, but all of the copies are already checked out, you can make a request for a Hold to receive the next available copy. (See the information about Holds on Materials on this page.)

I hope you have a chance to check our RSS feeds out and let us know what you think!


Sep 25 2015

What’s In a Name?

by Camille B

Single RoseHow do you feel about your name? Do you walk around wearing it proudly like a badge of honor? Or do you dread when people ask for it, certain that there’d be an invisible bubble above their heads with the word Huh?

Is your name a strong one? Is it quirky? Plain? Are you annoyed when people get it wrong? According to Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, a person’s name is to him or her “the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It’s therefore no wonder that we may get slightly bent out of shape when people misspell or mispronounce it.

Does your name suit you? Do you think you look like a Helen or a Joan? We hear people make comments all the time like, “Well, he just doesn’t look like a Bob to me.” Or, “I think she looks more like a Claire than a Jenny, don’t you?” And it might sound silly, because really, how can a person look like their name? But somehow we seem to get it.

Do people eventually grow into their names? Live up to them? Carry the weight and obligation with them for the rest of their lives as with royal families? Or are they haunted by the name forever if they happen to be children of infamous or notorious parents? 

When I first began delving into the topic of names and what they mean to us, I quickly discovered that the subject is way more complex and intriguing than I had imagined and that one blog post would never suffice to cover all that the topic entails. However, one question kept coming to mind–the question of whether or not a person’s name is directly linked to his or her destiny.

In today’s society it is felt by many that a person’s name can make or break them. As a matter of fact, there are many parents who shy away from giving their children certain names because of the stigmas attached to them. Is there some truth to this or is it just mind over matter? For instance, can the name on a job application (whether it sounds black, white or Hispanic) give favor or prejudice to a person’s chances of getting a job?

Interestingly, as I researched arguments for and against this theory, I came to see a lot of truth on both sides of the argument. While some researchers believe that our names can have a significant impact on who and what we become in life, others argue that it has no bearing one way or another and that many other factors come into play in determining where our road in life leads us.

Professors at the University of Melbourne and New York University, for instance, found that people with simple, easy-to-pronounce names were more likely to be favored for a promotion at work. (See this NYU press release.) An article from BBC Focus magazine quotes Ohio University Professor James Bruning: “The impact of names comes from how people expect to see you.” The article goes on to say, “while prejudging people based on their name might seem unfair, we sometimes do so subconsciously when making decisions.”

Maybe even though our names can play a role in our daily lives, it’s not enough to control our destinies in any major or significant way. An article in The Week quotes psychologist Martin Ford: “Names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person. Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes. Add information about personality, motivation, and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance.” That same Week article makes the comment: “Condoleezza Rice’s name might have held her back, but she was so smart, talented, and driven that she became Secretary of State.”

More research led me to Wes Moore’s book The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, the story of two fatherless boys with the exact same name. One became the first African-American graduate of Johns Hopkins to be named a Rhodes Scholar, the other went on trial for robbery and murder, eventually being convicted and sentenced to prison. They grew up mere blocks apart, amidst almost identical circumstances, but in spite of the similarity in their names, their life choices ultimately led to two entirely different outcomes. Gives you pause to wonder doesn’t it?

Below are some books on names, their history and their meanings, which you can find on the shelves of DCPL.

Baby Names Around the World by Bruce Lansky

The African Book of Names: 5,000 + Common and Uncommon Names from the African Continent by Askhari Hodari

The New Jewish Baby Book: Names, Ceremonies & Customs: A Guide for Today’s Families by Anita Diamant

The Perfect Baby Name: A Proven Plan for Choosing a Name You’ll Love by Jeanine Cox

The Art of Baby Nameology: Explore the Deeper Meaning of Names for Your Baby by Norma J Watts

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Sep 21 2015

National Voter Registration Day

by Glenda

Register to VoteNational Voter Registration Day is September 22, 2015.  Across our wonderful nation Americans will celebrate this day by registering to vote. National Voter Registration Day started in 2012. In its inaugural year, 300,000 voters registered to vote on that day. Hundreds of local, state and national organizations participate in National Voter Registration Day. Did you know that the state of Georgia provides online voter registration, or that you can come to any DeKalb County Public Library and get a voter registration form any time the library is open? Did you know that it is your right as an American citizen to vote? So vote!

For more information, see our Voting and Elections subject guide.


I used to think that I only liked stories.  Give me a good novel any day, but if a book was found in the nonfiction section, then I wanted nothing to do with it.

Now, with the authors of narrative nonfiction telling so many crazy facts in a wide range of styles, I’ve had to change my mind.  Nonfiction done well is just as entertaining as a novel, and you can even impress your friends with some new facts when you’re done reading.

devilErik Larson introduced me to narrative nonfiction with his The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.  Fascinating… and creepy! This is a tough story about a serial killer on the loose during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair —I wanted to think it was fiction, but Larson’s meticulous research proves otherwise.  Don’t try this one if you are easily rattled.  Considering Larson’s other subjects include devastating hurricanes, sinking ships, and the rise of Nazi Germany, if you don’t like a serious subject with some dark themes, you’d best stay away.

Try Mary Roach instead.  She tackles a variety of science subjects—gulpspace travel, digestion, human cadavers—with a witty and irreverent tone that makes strange topics accessible and appealing.  Start with Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.

Travel writing has long been a mainstay of narrative nonfiction, and one of my favorite authors is John Steinbeck.  How wonderful for me that he decided to write about one of his road trips!  Travels with Charley: In travelsSearch of America is the story of Steinbeck’s 1960 road trip through almost 40 states in his pickup truck with his dog Charley.  While not light subject matter—Steinbeck witnessed firsthand the difficulties of desegregation in the South, for example—this book paints a fascinating picture of America and of the author himself.

So if you’ve been stuck on novels, give one of these a try.  I’m glad I did.


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Sep 8 2015

All Cats, All the Time

by Hope L


Recently, a person who works behind my library branch found a litter of kittens under his car.  He came to the library to ask for ideas or for help, and naturally the staff directed him to moi, the resident Cat Lady.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love cats. We have four of our own–two senior citizens and two juvenile delinquents that some like to call kittens. But I am not looking to rescue six more cats.  Although, I must admit, I did the math and came up with ten cats and thought to myself, “Hmmm … cheaper by the dozen?”  NOT!

But as I followed the man asking for help and saw the poor little things under the car, and their mother was purring and rubbing up against my legs. I just couldn’t leave them.  After all, the man needed to go somewhere and couldn’t back his car out, now could he?

So, of course, we boxed up the felines and I ended up at the nearby animal shelter and asked if there was room at the inn, and natch, there was not. They offered me medical care for the cats and asked if I would foster the family until they could be adopted. “Why, sure,” I said, wondering to myself how long it would take for my spouse to file for divorce. Yes, we would take the kitties, I planned, and our four could reside upstairs and these wildish six downstairs, which would make 10 cats altogether.

Now, after you wrap your mind around that, keep in mind that Mama cat was quite friendly at our first meeting, even allowing us to place her and her brood into a cat carrier that I just happened to have at-the-ready at the branch, just in case a wandering cat happened along again in the parking lot, as they often do.

Now, Mama was actually purring and rubbing up against my leg at home in our basement when she bit my ankle. It just drew just a bit of blood, which did not concern me too much.  “Just a little love bite,” I said to myself. The next time, though, she sank her fangs into my forearm, leaving a bruise and a full six-teeth mark that bled impressively. “Nope. Not a love bite–this is clearly a warning: ‘Stay away from my children –  or I’ll cut you!'”

Fiercely protective, that one. But she needn’t worry because her kids will be well-taken care of and, more probably, spoiled rotten.  And luckily for you cat lovers out there, DeKalb County Animal Shelter is running a September “Fall in Love” adoption special through September. All dog, cat, kitten and puppy adoptions are free.

Well, I can’t finish now without recommending a few books, too. Check them out at DCPL.

Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter by Jeanne Adlon and Susan Logan

The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat by Darlene Arden

The Everything Cat Book [eBook]: All You Need to Know about Caring for Your Favorite Feline Friends by Karen Leigh Davis


Sep 4 2015

This weekend, don’t forget…

by Dea Anne M

The annual AJC Decatur Book Festival will take place this coming weekend and it is an event that you surely won’t want to miss. This year’s key speaker is Erica Jong who will appear in conversation with flyingRoxanne Gay at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts starting at 8:00 p.m. on Friday September 4th, although a quick check reveals to me that the event badis now sold out. Erica Jong is, of course, the author of the notorious novel Fear of Flying, which celebrated its 40th anniversary two years ago. She is as well a noted poet and also has published books of essays including Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir. Her new book (on order now at DCPL) is Fear of Dying. Roxane Gay is the author of the provocative book of essays Bad Feminist.

The festival has offerings for every range of ages and interests. Tracks include Business and Marketing, Personal Journeys, and Healthy and Local. Every year includes programming for childrenboss as well as teens. The Decatur branch of the Dekalb County Public Library will provide the stage for a series of programs presented by WABE. Featured are Paul Downs, author of Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business, with a special look at local arts publishing powerhouse (now sadly gone) Nexus Press hosted by ArtsATL, and a special presentation honoring the winners of the 2015 Lillian Smith Awards.

Clearly, the festival offers something for everyone. See a complete schedule here.


Sep 2 2015

Final Nightmare

by Joseph M

Noted filmmaker Wes Craven died last week after a battle with cancer. Horror movie enthusiasts will almost certainly be familiar with Craven’s work as the creator of the Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream franchises, among other works. I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies in general, and part of that may be attributable to being terrified by Freddy Krueger when I was younger. Craven’s films may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his influence on the genre is undeniable. Although DCPL does not carry some of his more infamous films, we have a few books that can give you more information about his life and work, including Screams and Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven by Brian J. Robb. If you are interested in his work with the written word, check out Fountain Society, his first book. Want more? Just type in Wes Craven in the “Any Word(s)” search field of our catalog for a listing of other related works.

I’ll leave you with this link to a eulogy in montage format from Time.com; just a warning, you might want to turn your speakers down a bit. Enjoy!


Aug 31 2015

Falling Off the Workout Wagon

by Camille B

Old-Running Shoes

One morning on my way to work I saw a woman, probably in her late seventies or early eighties, walking. She had on a jogging suit and was pushing her walker briskly around the parking lot of the shopping center.

Well, if that didn’t just put me to shame. You see, like everyone else, I’d had every intention of getting aboard the workout wagon this year and so far haven’t quite made it. (Truth be told I haven’t even been anywhere in the vicinity of the wagon at all.) As if that’s not bad enough, a recent weigh-in showed that I had gained two pounds, which may not be a whole lot, but it’s still two pounds in the wrong direction–up!

Even though it’s nobody’s fault but my own, I was still embarrassed but soon realized that I am not alone. While there are many who have managed to make great strides this year with eating right, exercising more and staying fit, there are just as many (and probably more) who never even started–or if they did, they eventually gave up along the way.

My sister recently accompanied a co-worker to LA Fitness who had been agonizing over the fact that more than half the year had passed and she still hadn’t used her gym membership. While at the gym, they encountered yet another member who was desperately trying to get out of her contract and get her money back because she too had been paying for a membership she wasn’t using.

According to an article on bodybuilding.com, 73% of people who set fitness goals as New Year’s resolutions gave them up. Another said that “…even though the gym will be packed in the weeks following New Year’s Day, many will lose their motivation quickly. More than one-in-ten (11%) U.S. adults who signed up for a gym membership as a New Year’s resolution quit before the year was over.”

So what do we do? Do we continue to beat ourselves up because the wagon has moseyed on down the road without us? Sit in the dust of self loathing, throwing a pity party while we wait for it to roll around again next year? No, I don’t believe that we should.

Personally, I’d call it just a set back. I mean we have jobs and kids and spouses, meetings, shopping, chores, and the list goes on and on. Some of us will probably never be able to adhere to a weekly routine at the gym. So, we should lower the bar a bit, be realistic, and set goals that are achievable for us.

Take me for example. I work in a building that has four floors, and as I’m writing this post I’m thinking to myself: Four floors  mean that I have four flights of stairs at my disposal every day that I can take advantage of instead of using the elevator. This means I won’t have to worry about squeezing in an hour or two at the gym after work. Combine the stairs together with parking my car at the farthest end of the supermarket parking lot as I run in to grab dinner items, and the brisk walk to and from my car, it all adds up.

What do you already do from day-to-day that you can incorporate into some regular exercise? For example:

  • Using part of your lunch hour can be another great way to squeeze in some daily exercise. Walk to go get lunch instead of taking your car. Or if you bring your lunch from home, save 15 minutes for your lunch time for a walk around the parking lot–and maybe enlist a co-worker for support.
  • That treadmill you paid so much money for really wasn’t meant to be a clothes rack. Go on and use it already. Combine it with something else–like reading a magazine, listening to music, watching an episode of Scandal.
  • Wake up 15 or 20 minutes earlier in the morning to exercise, before the busyness of the day clamors for your attention. Not a morning person? Then do it before dinner–maybe some sit-ups or crunches, or even a short workout video.
  • Power walking around your neighborhood is also a great way to get in some exercise every day, or at least a few times a week

Cut yourself some slack. You will never get it perfect every single time, some days will be better than others. Yeah, we all feel bad when we miss a day or two of our routine–but don’t feel so bad that you stop altogether. The main thing is to try and be consistent. And it may seem like small steps, but as the saying goes “more may be better than less, but some is definitely better than none!”

Below are some books and DVDs that I checked out at DCPL while writing this post. They include simple and practical exercises as well as overall healthy living habits that may be helpful to you.

Ageless with Kathy Smith: Total Body Turnaround (DVD)

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath

Fit in 5 by Gregory P. Whyte

Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It by James A. Levine

Sit and Be Fit (DVD)



Aug 21 2015

To Read or Not To Read: No Question

by Amie P

I have a confession to make: I hate reading Shakespeare’s plays. (This can be a bit of a problem when you major in English Literature and Writing.)

That said, over the course of my high school and college years I saw productions of As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew (twice, once as a western and once set in 1950s Italy), Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and Macbeth, and I was one of the fairies in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I’ve seen Shakespeare productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, England; the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada; the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, in addition to many smaller theaters.

I’ve loved them all!

How does this work?  I made a deal with myself: I only read a Shakespeare play after I’ve seen a production of it. After all, plays were made to be seen, not read, right?

It’s not always possible to find a theater production for each play you want to see, of course, and that’s where DVDs come into play.  Two of my favorites are available from the library. Try these:

Much Ado About Nothing

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There’s more where those came from, so just ask your librarian for a hand if there are others you’d like to see.

Taming of the ShrewIf you’d rather read your Shakespeare (or if your teacher says you have to), take a look at the No-Fear Shakespeare series. Each book has Shakespeare’s original words on one side of the page with a modern English translation on the other. I recommend starting with The Taming of the Shrew.

See? Easy-peasy. Enjoy!


Aug 18 2015

What is Code?

by Jesse M

It is sometimes said that in this digital age we now live in, programming is the new literacy. The ubiquitous nature of software products in our modern life means that even if we don’t realize it, code is all around us, running on our smartphones, handling our banking transactions, and helping to circulate library materials! As software has gradually woven its way into our day-to-day lives, we’ve become increasingly dependent on the services it makes available, which also makes us dependent on the programmers who wrote the code–and who occasionally must step back into the picture to fix any problems that arise.

Back in June, Paul Ford wrote an excellent article titled What is Code? which does an in-depth and thorough job of examining what code is and how it affects our lives. It bounces back and forth between an examination of some of the most popular and/or seminal programming languages to how IT departments operate in the corporate world. It is a multimedia document with a lot of fun and interactive examples and conceptual demonstrations–and is easily the best and most comprehensive depiction of the subject I’ve ever encountered.

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the programming languages discussed in the article, you can check out one of the many related books that DCPL has to offer.

Coding for dummies cover

Coding for Dummies

Beginning Programming with C for Dummies

MySQL Cookbook [ebook]

Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours

Mastering Perl

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