DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jul 12 2017

Creating Library Memories

by Camille B

LIBRARY MEMORIES 1I happened to be helping a patron at the circulation desk a few weeks ago who had his young son with him. The little boy was about three or four years old and seemed a little overwhelmed, the expression on his face clearly saying, “Where are we and why are we here?”

I figured it was probably his first visit to the Library and so before they walked out the door I reached over and gave him a sticker. The smile that lit up his face was priceless, and I sincerely hoped that that one sticker would be the beginning of fond memories for him associated with the library.

To an adult, a sticker might seem like such a small thing, insignificant really, but ask any children’s librarian or circulation staff member how kids react when they receive even the tiniest one, for them it’s like the cherry on top of the cake.

As library staff we encounter countless patrons everyday from all walks of life. We have seniors who come in with no idea how to use a computer (and are sometimes embarrassed to say so); young mothers in need of resources to help  with anything from potty training to allergies and homeschooling; and many individuals seeking help with finding a place to live, searching for employment, or simply looking for a place where they can relax and read or study. Senior at the Library

The little boy’s experience took almost no effort at all. That one sticker was the only thing needed to create a positive memory for him. But what about the person who walks through the doors already frazzled, their nerves frayed, barely hanging on to their sanity by their fingertips? Truth be told it can rattle the best of us if we’re not prepared. Yet I believe, frazzled patrons also need to walk out the door with the same feeling as that little boy. Their experience should be a positive one, maybe more so because of the day they are having.

Think about some of the best customer service you’ve ever received. Now think about the worst. You probably remember them both vividly. When you get great service you want to tell people about it. The same when you get bad customer service–you want to share that as well. At the library we aim to leave patrons with positive experiences.Librarian and Student

Now I’m not saying it’s always easy. We are only human, and we too have good days, bad days and a whole lot of other stuff going on in between, but our aim should be to give our best.

One thing that has always helped me when I begin to feel a little frayed around the edges is to remember that the person standing in front of me needs my help or they wouldn’t be asking for it. They might really believe they know what they’re asking for but sometimes they  don’t, and with a little help I can get them to where they need to be.

This happened to me a while back with a gentleman who was filling out a job application that had to be submitted by the end of the day. He was just getting back into the workforce and the last time he filled out an application the printed version was still acceptable. He had no idea how to use the computer, and so of course he had no idea how to create an email address. I swear, after twenty minutes, you could almost see the smoke rising from the top of his head. There wasn’t a sticker in the world that was going to fix that.

This case was not an exceptional one but actually one quite common to Library staff, and patience is always needed, even when the patrons themselves seem to be losing it. Sometimes you might even need to engage another staff member if you feel like you’re out of your element, and hopefully at the end of it all, like in the case of that gentleman, they would eventually leave satisfied.

I often have a hard time picturing libraries ever closing their doors to the public. Not when we hear from patrons all the time how much they love the interaction with their library staff, even bypassing the self-check machines in an effort to have that one on one face time with us. A virtual experience, no matter how great, can never take the place of that.

Baby Storytime

There are patrons who are now in their fifties, sixties and even older who have been visiting the library since they were in their teens, some now bringing their own children and grandchildren. They reminisce with us about getting their first library card or bringing in their kids to get theirs.

They walk through our doors every day, to sit in our Story Times, Workshops, Book Clubs and Movies, our Craft and Computer Classes, Poetry Slams, Musical Events, Author Talks and so much more. Each of these a memory to be created by our library patrons.

What are some of your favorite Library memories, now and while growing up?

Here are a few relevant titles to check-out:

ebookfriendly.com/best-quotes-about-libraries-librarians

Uncommon Service

 

 

 

Uncommon Service- Frei Frances

 

Who's Your Gladys

 

 

Who’s Your Gladys: how to turn even the most difficult customer into your biggest fan- Marilyn Suttle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jun 28 2017

Wonder and Delight

by Dea Anne M

npsWhen I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, I said “Wow! It really is grand!” Instantly, I realized that I must have been about the quadtrillionth person to make that very statement and then I thought “Well, so what?” It seems to me that one of many reactions to such phenomena as the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders might be a sense of awe and the resulting quieting of the mind’s editor who is always looking for a more clever twist of words. Thus, we are reduced to spouting what seem like platitudes on the surface yet are, in reality, genuine expressions of wonder and delight.

July 4th is, of course, observed nationally as a holiday. Many of us have the day off of work. Some of us gather with friends or family, plan to see fireworks and go to barbecues. But did you know that the month of July is designated as Parks and Recreation Month? The National Recreation and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get out and visit not only our wonderful national parks but also our state parks and historic sites and even our community parks and recreation areas. Not to sound sappy, and don’t get me wrong – I have never considered myself an “outdoorsy” sort of person, but there’s just something about being out in nature that makes me happy. Of course I’d be even happier if nature came with no mosquitoes and stayed a breezy seventy-five degrees at all times but, seeing as it doesn’t, I will certainly be grateful for it as it is.national

Are you contemplating an excursion to a national, state or local park? DCPL has resources that can help you plan. First off, even an armchair traveler will appreciate the National Geographic ideaSociety’s gorgeous book National Geographic the national parks: an illustrated history. The text is informative without being intrusive and the stunning photography is what you’ve come to expect from National Geographic. Along similar lines is The National Parks: America’s best idea by Dayton Duncan. A companion volume to the PBS series by Ken Burns, this beautiful volume illustrates the splendour of our national spaces and how really radical an idea it was to designate and preserve these glorious spaces and how crucial it is to protect them for generations to come.

Maybe you’d like to explore parks closer to home. If so, don’t forget about the Georgia state parks and historic sites pass available at DCPL. The pass provides access to and information for gorgeous places in our state like Amicalola Falls State Park and Cloudland Canyon State Park as well fun places to stay like Fort Yargo State Park which has a beach for swimming and yurts to stay in. I really want to stay in a yurt. I can just imagine the conversation with co-workers:

“How was your weekend?”

“I went camping! I stayed in a yurt!”

Actually, I think I just really like saying the word yurt. I guess staying in one constitutes “glamping” which is a word I don’t like saying but hey, hikesglamping just may be my kind of camping especially since I have this weird thing about sleeping close to the ground.

Finally, maybe you only have time for a day trip. If so, consider the virtues of Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests Intown and Out by Jonah McDonald and Randy Golden’s 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles (Atlanta edition). Either (or both!) will give you plenty of ideas for how to spend some a few hours taking in the great outdoors and still get home for a shower and some quality time with a book (or…okay…the screen).

What’s your favorite outdoor pursuit? Have you traveled to any national or state parks that were especially spectacular?

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Jun 12 2017

Is it done yet? Now? How about now?

by Dea Anne M

salt1I had a friend in college who insisted on McDonald’s if we were stopping for fast food – which happened about as often as you might expect for two college students who were too “poor” to buy food to cook for ourselves and yet managed to regularly unearth enough “sofa money” (i.e. coins and cash found under and between furniture cushions, in the pockets of clothes heaped up on the floor, inside that semester’s textbooks and sometimes even in wallets) to take ourselves out to eat. One thing my friend always ordered were fries – large fries – and he always sprinkled them liberally with salt.

“What are you doing?” I would ask.

“What? I’m adding salt!”

“But they’re already salted.”

“Haven’t you ever heard that salt brings out the flavors in food?”

“Yeah, but…uh, so what?”

“Well, duh, McDonald’s fries are the best so adding more salt makes them taste even more like the best!”

He had me there. Thankfully, we both learned to take better care of ourselves shortly thereafter. He got a job as a server at a local restaurant that fed him before his shifts and sometimes allowed staff to take home leftovers. As for me,  I finally just learned to cook. I don’t know if he still salts fast food fries since we lost touch with each other through the years, but I have, I think, become a much better cook and one thing that I know for sure is that salt truly does enhance the flavors of food. Of course, many people are advised to limit salt for reasons of health, and I think that’s probably good for all of us, particularly in regard to processed food.

For home cooking though the right amount of salt can work wonders. I still think that my college friend’s taste was a little extreme…I really don’t think that McDonald’s fries require additional salt. On the other side of the question, I would never think to impose on my dinner guests the sort of strictures that diners at a few top-flight restaurants have been subject to. At these sorts of places, not only is there no salt provided at the table – any customer unwitting and naive enough to dare ask for any risks coming face to face with a furious chef. Still, I hope that I’m able to cook food that’s well seasoned and tasty enough to need no doctoring at the table at least some of the time.

What pops into your head when you think of these things: salt, fat, acid and heat? I imagine the reaction of many will be:

Salt (bad!)

Fat (really bad!)

Acid (huh…what?)

Heat (well, sure, we’re cooking aren’t we?)

Anyway, this somewhat rambling discourse is all by way of letting all of you know about a great new book that I’ve discovered in my ongoing quest to become a competent improvisational cook. I’m probably going to come across as a true believer here but I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat: mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat. Be warned, this is really more of an instructive guide to cooking than an actual recipe book. There are recipes, true, butnosrat they function more as practical illustrations of Nosrat’s principles and are, as a whole, quite simple to understand and execute. The real meat of the book (so to speak) is the extensive chapters that examine in great depth each of the four “elements” that Nosrat considers essential. Some of this is bound to be controversial. Salt, as mentioned above, is something that many people must avoid for reasons of health. Some of us approach fat with the same wariness that a kitten might an elephant. As far as acid goes, it isn’t always clear what acid actually is in cooking. Let’s follow Nosrat’s lead and look at the elements one by one.

Salt – Enhances the inherent flavors of food. This is its purpose. Potatoes taste more like potatoes – steak more like steak. Used judiciously, salt makes your food taste taste wonderfully like itself. Too much just makes food taste salty which is definitely not what you want.

Fat – Helps flavors permeate throughout your food.

Acid – Balances flavors. Salt and oil on lettuce makes for a pretty ho-hum salad but a little vinegar or lemon juice make the whole assembly sing. And acid isn’t provided only by the obvious suspects. Cheese, for example, delivers salt, fat and acid together. Ketchup, mustard and yogurt all carry the “pop” you get from acid.

Heat – Determines texture as well as certain flavors. Boiling green beans might work perfectly but you don’t necessarily want to do the same thing with pork chops.

The real point of Nosrat’s writing and teaching is to show cooks how to trust their own senses and palates. She encourages you to taste food while you’re cooking it then taste again and again and again until it is exactly how you want. “You” is the operative word here. “Salt to taste” means exactly that. You are adding enough salt or fat or acid or heat until what you’re cooking tastes perfect to you and not necessarily what someone else thinks that you should prefer. And lest you fear that this approach renders Nosrat’s writing pedantic and dull be assured that nothing could be further from the truth. She is, first of all, an excellent writer both engaging and precise. She also seems to possess an enormous sense of fun and a lack of pretension that caused me to think all the time that I was reading that she would be a great person to be friends with. In any case, she is quite a wonderful teacher and I daresay that my own cooking has been transformed for the better due to her lessons.

I must also mention that instead of  the glossy and perfectly staged photographs that are usual in cookbooks these days, you have here Wendy McNaughton’s charming illustrations. I particularly love the “Spices of the World” wheel and the similar wheel for “The World of Acid.” Both provide a surprisingly handy reference when you might be improvising in the kitchen and want to create a dish that tastes French (wine, dijon mustard, tarragon) or reminds you of that week you spent in Mexico (oregano, chili, lime juice).

Whether you’re an experienced cook or an absolute beginner you can’t go wrong with this book. It will instill confidence in your own skills and in your own taste. That confidence is the most valuable tool that a cook can possess in my opinion. Also, I guarantee that following Nosrat’s lesson will not leave you with food that’s too salty, or a fat bomb, or turns your mouth inside out from sourness. Instead your food will just taste good and what isn’t to like about that?

 

 

 

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Jun 5 2017

Better Than The Movie

by Camille B

Image 4My family hates it when I’ve already read the book to the movie that we’re watching. In spite of my best efforts, I always find myself blurting out at some point, “That’s not what happened in the book.”

There would be loud groans and eyes rolling (and probably a secret meeting to vote me off the island), but I’d find myself unable to resist every time.

Book lovers know what I mean, that feeling of disappointment you get when you see a book that you thoroughly enjoyed butchered on its way to the movie screen, the final product barely resembling its original story line.

For movie lovers there’s no love lost, their mantra is, “I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.” Their take is, why waste time reading the book when they’re going to make it into a movie anyway?

But oh, how much of the story you miss that way. According to Rich Santos of B&N Reads, a movie gets lost in translation. Once a filmmaker decides upon settings and characters, we’re limited to seeing those characters and settings through their eyes.” 

It’s no wonder then, why a lot of times we are left disappointed when the characters don’t turn up on screen looking the way we imagine them, or we’re left waiting for scenes that never appear because the producer couldn’t squeeze them into the budget or time frame.

To me, no movie is better than the one that plays out inside the head of you the reader when you get wrapped up in a really good book. Time is suspended, characters appear on cue looking exactly as you expect them to look. You can enjoy it at your own pace because you don’t have to cram everything into a 90 minute time frame.

In your mind’s eye, it can be as long as you want it to be and include everything that you want it to include because it’s all coming from your imagination. A book allows you to feel the characters’ emotions and hear their inner thoughts, in a way that not even the best movie narration can. Here is a lists of books that are described as better than their movie version: Books That Were Better Than The Movie

Don’t get me wrong I love movies, but I would never watch one instead of the book. Even though I know there’s a good chance I might be in for a let down, I still get excited whenever I see a book that I enjoyed made into film.

It isn’t just me, whenever a book is made into a movie, the waiting list at the library for that particular book goes up again. Some people are re-reading the book and others are curious because of the sensation the movie is causing.

I think too, that producers are making a greater effort to stay true to story lines. There are movies that some say are actually better than the book (hmm). I haven’t seen all of them but here’s a list, you be the judge: Movies that are better than the book

So which are you? Do you prefer to get lost in the pages of the book, or sit tight and wait for the movie trailer?

Below are just a few popular books that were made into movies. You can find both the book and the movie at your DCPL library:

The Fault In Our Stars                                     My Sister’s Keeper

The Devil Wears Prada                                    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Notebook                                                     A Man Called Ove  (Swedish with English subtitles)

Gone Girl                                                             The Girl On The Train

Life of Pi                                                               The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

The Time Traveler’s Wife                                 The Great Gatsby

The Help                                                               The Lovely Bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 11 2017

Cooking with Diana Gabaldon!

by Jencey G

gabaldonI have been a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s books for a long time.  I have read most of the Outlander series.  I also really enjoy the Outlander series on television which are available on DVD from the library.   Diana has a couple of Outlandish companions that give extra details on the Outlander series and allow readers delve  deeper into the series.

Another book that has recently come out is the Outlander Kitchen cookbook.  This book takes readers into the food and drink aspect of the Outlander series.   Dishes such as: Claire’s Nettle Kissed Buns; Brianna’s Bridies; Banoffee Pie; Bannocks; Battlefield Blackberry Jam;  Garlic and Sage Sausage; and many more.  The food follows the storyline of Outlander.  So many of these dishes are native to England, Scotland, and the USA.

I have enjoyed cooking since I was a girl.  I also love to bake.  So I thought it would be a fun experience to check out some of the recipes included in this book.  I flipped through the book and picked several that I thought I might be able to make.

So my first recipe attempt was Mrs. Bugs Buttermilk Drop Biscuits.  It was the first time I made biscuits from scratch that actually tasted like biscuits.  I think this recipe was better than anything I have in my current collection of recipes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs was the next recipe. The cookbook goes into a description about the characters and their process for preparation.  The author’s of the cookbook include which book the dish came from and some dialogue describing the scene. I followed the recipe, but I did not enjoy this recipe.

I have a few more recipes I would like to try.  I am also looking forward to reading the further adventures of Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger’s family.  I always look forward to the next season of Outlander!

Try a few recipes from your favorite characters in the Outlander Kitchen cookbook! Diana’s books are available in all formats with DCPL.

These items can be found in the catalog:

Outlander                                                                                                                   Outlander TV

Dragon Fly In Amber

Voyager

Drums of Autumn

The Fiery Cross

A Breath of Snow and Ash

An Echo In The Bone

Written In My Own Heart’s Blood

The Outlandish Companion

The Outlandish Companion Volume 2

The Outlander series DVDs

 

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May 9 2017

Are You A Book Snob?

by Camille B

Book Snob 2Several months ago I picked up a Harlequin Romance to casually browse its back cover. It had been several years since I’d read one, and I associated them mainly with my teen years and early twenties, so I didn’t really expect it to hold my interest.

Well! Wonder of wonders if I didn’t find myself completely drawn into the first few pages of the book-all the while telling myself that I was going to put it down just as soon as I discovered what Prince Rihad’s brother was up to. Of course I was only kidding myself, and I ended up reading it to the very end.

Sadly, it was like eating a can of Pringles. I couldn’t stop myself from reading another, and then another, and pretty soon I was out in the stacks hunting for them, making neat little piles on my desk and searching Amazon for sequels to the ones I’d already read. It was like there was some sort of romance-sized hole inside of me that I was trying to fill.

The problem, however, was that even though I was enjoying this new secret indulgence, it was just that, a secret. I found myself hiding my book every time I’d bump into a friend or co-worker which seemed really silly. It’s not like there were naked people all over the front covers.

But I think that on some level a part of me knew that my “lighthearted books” would probably be met with some raised eyebrows from those who were more literary minded. After all, to be taken seriously as a reader you have to read “serious books” right?

First of all, I don’t believe all serious readers are necessarily “book snobs.” I know there are readers who enjoy and appreciate great literature and the classics, but they would also read any good book regardless of its genre. These readers would never judge others who don’t share their literary preferences.

On the other hand, true book snobs are those individuals who have an aversion to anything they consider to be light or fluffy writing. I imagine their idea is: The Great Gatsby- yes, yes, yes and The Hunger Games- not so much. They would rather be burnt at the stake than caught reading The Twilight Saga in public, and they would consider any book that hasn’t won a Pulitzer, made an appearance on the New York Times Best Seller’s List or been recommended by Oprah, not worthy of their time.

I often wonder how they cleanse their reading palate. For instance, when you go to a restaurant you don’t just sit there and eat salad all night long do you? You eat a little of everything to ensure a well balanced meal and the experience of a variety of tastes. I believe the same applies to reading-you need the balance and variety.

I have to tell you that it didn’t take long for my paperback rendezvous to fizzle away, and I soon found myself craving a difference in scenery so to speak. This is why the genres complement each other, and why I would never put one up against the other. We need all of them at different times in our lives.

And maybe the truth is we all have a little book snob in us somewhere, though we may not be aware of it. All of us could be more tolerant of other people’s literary choices. We should not judge people or their intellect based on what they choose to read.

Remember your early reading years when you would read anything and everything you could get your hands on including the TV guide? Fiction, non-fiction, romance, mysteries, fantasies, thrillers, memoirs, biographies. You read them freely and without fear of ridicule or judgment. You didn’t wait to check the Sunday paper to see what everybody else was reading before you chose a book. Your love for words was your master and reading guide, not the hype or prestige associated with an author or genre.

I applaud all great writers who continue to turn out tremendous work and thrill their audiences even in the face of the snobbery. These writers remain steadfast and stalwart against the book snobs and critics even though their books are squeezed into categories that no longer seem able to hold them, and are slapped with labels that are less than flattering, even while the demand for their books continue to soar.

All snobbery aside, a great book is a great book. It should not matter if the author is male, female, young, old, black, white, a stay-at-home-mom or a professor. If a book is well written and touches the reader, then it has accomplished what it was meant to accomplish.  

Check out DCPL’s Reference database NoveList Plus where you can browse other genres, find books that you’re in the mood to read and discover other books and writers similar to the ones you already know.

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Apr 26 2017

Salad Days

by Dea Anne M

salad

You’ve known it. I’ve known it. It’s that empty feeling, that sense of lacking something, that special bereftness that causes you to drape yourself across the handiest piece of furniture moaning and sighing and exclaiming out loud to (the bafflement of roommates, significant others and pets)…

“Why, oh why, is there no month – just one lousy month – during the year in which we celebrate salad and all things salad related?”

Fret no more because, believe it or not, May is National Salad Month! Granted, this extended occasion was created by an organization known as the Association for Dressings and Sauces back in 1992. Still, it might be said that National Salad Month must have been created to fill a need recognized by people who are obviously wiser than myself. After all, I had no idea – until about two minutes ago that is – that a 1991 Gallup Poll showed that “three out of four people eat a tossed salad everyday” and that other (unnamed) polls revealed the startling news that “salads taste better with salad dressing.” Of course, what a salad actually is can be a matter of some debate. The classic French salad course consists of plain greens dressed simply with oil and vinegar and is meant to follow the main course instead of preceding it. In parts of the South, when I was growing up, any random mix of edible objects could be suspended in gelatin and called a salad. No doubt some of these mixtures were, and continue to be, delicious, but I still remember a particularly garish presentation of sliced radishes and carrots in lime Jello with a combination of fascination and dread. The Midwest has its Snickers Salad which includes chopped Granny Smith apples, mini-marshmallows and…wait for it…chopped Snickers bars. About Frog Eye Salad I will only say that its ingredients include tiny round pasta, Cool Whip and pineapple juice.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this sort of exhaustive culinary research makes me hungry. I happen to be one of those three in four people who eats a tossed salad everyday, although I do make my own salad dressing which I suppose wouldn’t make me popular with the Association for Dressings and Sauces. Still, I proudly declare my love of salad and if you are fond of it as well – but feel the need for some new salad ideas in your life – then DCPL has resources for you.food52

From the excellent community website, Food52, comes Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 new ways to turn salad into dinner – and make ahead lunches too. These are hearty dishes, make no mistake, and certainly will provide you with some creative new ideas. By the way, if you’ve yet to visit Food52, then please do. The site is beautiful and the recipes are great. Try the Mujaddara With Spiced Yogurt!

In a similar vein is Tasha DeSerio’s Salad For Dinner: simple recipes for salads that make a meal. DeSerio presents a lovely range of salads here. Plus, detailed instructions and a beautiful photographs will be sure to inspire your wildest salad dreams.

bigAt 288 pages, Cooking Light: big book of salads from the editors of the excellent Cooking Light magazine, certainly covers the bases. The salads look good too. You’ll find intriguing dressing recipes and interesting variations on green salads plus dishes made from heartier vegetables as well as grains and meats. All are presented with the magazine’s typical close attention to eye appeal and high flavor profile. Of course, there’s a focus here on good nutrition too which isn’t a bad thing when you consider the fact that some restaurant salads can pack as much as 1,200 calories and over 1,400 mg sodium inside a single bowl.

How about you? Do you love salad? What’s the most unusual salad that you’ve encountered?

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For me, there is one Disney princess that stands out from the rest and that is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I identify with her because she is a princess who reads. I also like how the movie discusses appreciating people for who they are as opposed to what they look like.Belle

Bob Thomas, in his book Disney’s Art of Animation, discusses Walt Disney’s beginnings in film with characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White (the first princess). Last Christmas, I watched a documentary about how Snow White was made into the first feature film for Walt Disney. It discussed in length the process of getting to the finished result.  The journey continued after Walt Disney passed on with The Little Mermaid and then Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid was the first feature made after Walk passed and Beauty and the Beast the second. Thomas goes onto to share the updates of animation and storyboarding in the process of making Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast was adapted from the original story by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont.  We have some versions of the translation here at the library. In the original, there was no Gaston or animated inanimate objects that acted like servants.  Did you know that Belle actually had sisters?  These sisters were considered Belle’s enemy instead of Gaston.  The character of the beast is different as well.  He was more polite and not like the Disney version of the  character. Beauty and the BeastThe finished product  of  1991 Beauty and the Beast is a personal favorite of mine.  It is also a DVD we carry in the DCPL system.   I still remember all the words to songs like “Belle” or “Be Our Guest.”  I revisited the movie over the weekend and enjoyed it just as much as the first time seeing it in the theater.  We have a special edition DVD of the 1991 movie which includes a preview of the live action Beauty and the Beast that is in theaters now.

Be Our Guest and check out these fabulous books and media about Beauty and the Beast:

Beauty and the Beast 1991 movie

Beauty and the Beast soundtrack

DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION:  From Mickey Mouse to  Beauty and the Beast by Bob Thomas

Beauty and the Beast by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont (There are also other versions of this story in the DeKalb Library System)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by A.L. Singer

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Apr 7 2017

Your Books Are Due On…

by Camille B

library stamp 2

“Man returns library book checked out 75 years ago.”

This newsworthy article caught my attention a couple months ago, and I just had to share it.

Working at the library you think you’ve seen it all: sticky book covers, dog-chewed spines, charred audio cases, and seriously overdue items.

But my mind still reeled when I saw the above headline. What in the world could have happened to delay this book’s return?

Turns out that the children’s book Val Rides the Oregon Trail was found by Robert Lockmon Jr. while he  was cleaning out his basement. It belonged to his late father Robert Lockmon Sr. who, according to the receipt in the book, had checked it out in 1941 when he was just 9 years old.

The book’s due date was Dec 2, five days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the 7, and Lockmon figures that in light of an ensuing world war, the book’s return may have been forgotten.

I tried to imagine what my reaction would be if I looked down and saw that the due date on a book was Dec. 2, 1941. It would probably be like finding a rare coin or postage stamp, and the circulation staff would most likely be huddled around together with me, to stare at it in awe.

Due Date Card

Well, the folks at the Osterhout Free Library in Pennsylvania were certainly happy to see the book back, and waived the fine which was a whopping, wait for it, $554! That’s 2 cents a day for 75 years, two months and 13 days.

“We just laughed about it.” said Jeannette Karaska, the circulation clerk who was on duty at the time.

She says that it’s unlikely that they’ll place the book back in circulation, but she plans to put it on display because of its unique story. For more of the story you can watch this video link here.

Of course I was curious to find out if this was the longest a book had ever been kept out by a patron, and surprisingly the answer was no. In an article in the Daily Mail Reporter, an overdue Library book was returned 123 years late and the fine of 4,500 British pounds was also waived.

The Victorian miscellany Good Words for 1888 was borrowed from the Troutbeck Institute Library shortly after it was first published, but it was never returned.

It sat on the fireside shelf at Townsend House in Troubeck, home to the wealthy Browne family ever since. It was discovered by chance by staff at the National Trust, which now owns the building.

Speaking of waiving of fines and fees, DeKalb County Public Library is also offering Fine Forgiveness to our patrons in the month of April. Beginning April 3 through April 23, we are encouraging patrons to take this opportunity to return any lost and overdue items they may have no matter how old or late, so that we can work with expunging their records. It’s still early in the year and a good time to wipe your library slates clean, replace your library cards and start anew.

I leave you with this list of Ridiculously Overdue Library Books (that were finally returned).

                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar 30 2017

The Eternal Jane

by Dea Anne M

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”northanger

Upon reading this sentence, the first in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, during my second year of college – I was hooked and from that moment forward I joined the legions of passionate Jane Austen fans. “Janeite” is a term coined and taken up during the late nineteenth century by a group of male literary critics and publishers and the label carried a clubby sort of aura. It denoted a privately held enthusiasm, almost on the order of a guilty pleasure, sort of how some people nurture a secret fondness for mayo and peanut butter sandwiches or for playing the lute. Now, “Janeite” often carries mansfielda pejorative meaning (though not always) for those who move in the rarefied academic world and tends to refer to people who indulge in the campier side of Jane Austen fandom such as costuming and reenactment events. Me? I just love the books. From the popular, much beloved and often filmed Pride and Prejudice to the undeniably problematic Mansfield Park – I can’t get enough Austen. I admit that I’ve yet to read Lady Susan – an early work of Austen’s which has been adapted for the screen by Whit Stillman as Love and Friendship (see it – it’s fun!) – but I look forward to doing so soon.

Make no mistake, I’m not one of those readers who swoon over Mr. Darcy (although there’s nothing wrong with it if you are!). My appreciation for Austen is tied up more with her consistently acute observation of what was, admittedly, a fairly narrow slice of the world and with her ironic sense of humor. Indeed, I’ve read most of Austen’s novels more than once and never fail to find them newly entertaining. I also remain fascinated with the offshoots and culture that have grown up around Jane Austen’s life and work. From the weird (but kind of wonderful) to the knitsearnestly correct there appears to be something for everyone in Austenland (which, incidentally, is the title of a 2013 feature film based on a Shannon Hale’s 2007 novel). I encourage you to explore and find your own cozy niche. Are you into needlework? Don’t miss The Best of Jane Austen Knits: 27 regency-inspired designs. Do you fancy a stirring love story mixed in with your epic struggle against the undead?  Be sure to check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the classic Regency romance – now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem.

Of course, apart from Austen’s own novels, there’s a plethora of fiction inspired by it. Here’s a very abbreviated list.

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Pride and Prejudice told from the household servants point of view)

longbornEmma: a modern retelling by Alexander McCall Smith ( from the creator of the wonderful Mma Precious Ramotswe series)

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: a novel by Laurie Viera Rigler (A modern woman’s time travel leads to amusing complication…and culture shock!)

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron (the first in a mystery series featuring Jane Austen as sleuth)

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (an engaging YA romp set at an exclusive girl’s academy)

The works of Jane Austen have also inspired a host of non-fiction books. Here’s a few that provide an unusual approach to the material.

A Jane Austen Education: how six novels taught me about love, friendship and the things that really matter by educationWilliam Deresiewicz

The Jane Austen Handbook: a sensible yet elegant guide to her world by Margaret C. Sullivan

At Home With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson

Jane Austen Rules: a classic guide to modern love by Sinead Murphy

Do you like Jane Austen? What’s your favorite of her novels? If you’ve never read her books and want to see what they’re all about, I would recommend starting with Pride and Prejudice – to my mind still her best – although I can’t help putting in a plug for my first Austen crush, Northanger Abbey. It’s one of her shorter novels, and most important, it’s very, very funny. Enjoy!

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