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

December 2007

Dec 31 2007

Happy New Year! (and a question)

by DCPL

We here at DeKalb County Public Library wish you have a Happy New Year!  Please note that all library branches will be closed at 5:00 PM on Monday, December 31 and will remain closed on Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in observance of the New Year.What was the best book you checked out from the library in 2007, and why?

We have many plans for 2008, and we’re looking forward to serving you even better.  As the end of the year draws close, we’d like to ask you a question:

Please respond by commenting to this blog post.  See you in 2008!

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Dec 27 2007

Baby Slings (no not cannons)

by Ev S

Lately I’ve seen a lot of moms wearing their babies in a sling.  Maybe it’s because I’m expecting my second child and looking for ways to have more freedom of movement to chase my oldest.  He’s four and very fast.  So I started out asking moms what they thought about the slings and what type they were using.  Then I went on-line to see what was out there.  There is so much out there that I now have a headache.  I did find a few sites better than others. 

My favorite site is The Baby Wearer.  This site has reviews on different types of baby carriers and companies, and advice to steer you towards the type of baby carrier that would most suit your needs.  Because let me tell you there are several types of baby carriers! The Baby Wearer breaks the carriers down into 6 basic groups: Asian Inspired Carriers, Other Carriers, Pouches (I call them slings), Ring Slings, Structured Carriers, and Wraps. 

The two most popular slings/pouches at my branch are from New Native Inc. and Hotslings.  The moms rave about these slings.  The New Native already has the pouch for baby sewn into the cloth.  You really have to see it to get the idea.  They have an organic cotton option, which seems to be the most popular of  all their slings.  Hotslings is more for the moms who are fashion forward or just like lots of color in their lives.  They have beautiful and crazy cloth patterns.  They are pretty much a fabric tube that sits across your body.

Both New Native and Hotslings look pretty cool and comfortable, very important things to look for when having a summer baby.  So, I went online and was a little shocked at how expensive they were.  Essentially, they’re just a piece of material sewn into a big loop.  And if you’ve read my posts before, you know I’m cheap.

So I looked to see if there were any free sling patterns on the web.  I found a great site that actually linked to other great sites for sling patterns (all types).  Mamma’s Milk if you can use a sewing machine and read directions, you can make your own sling.  The directions don’t seem to be too complicated if you’ve sewn before.  But if you feel a little overwhelmed by the directions, like myself, you can always just buy a sling from them.  They also have colorful cloths that they use to make slings.  But Mamma’s Milk is about as expensive as all the other slings on the web. 

I’m still cheap!!!  So I looked on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon.com, and other “discount” sites.  Pay dirt!  Amazon was a few bucks cheaper than the home site for Hotslings, and they offered me free shipping.  eBay actually had a ton of slings on their site and I could find some reasonable prices.  Craigslist was a little hit or miss, but that’s normal.  I haven’t headed out to my favorite consignment or thrift shops yet, but that’s my next stop.  Wish me luck!

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Dec 26 2007

Alice Walker archive to Emory University

by Heather O

Aw3
Georgia writer, poet, and activist Alice Walker plans on donating her literary archives to Emory University. Her archives will include her vast, award-winning body of work from childhood journals, early drafts, notebooks of poetry, and personal letters all detailing her journey as an author.

Her novel The Color Purple received the Pulitzer Prize, making Walker the firstAw1_2

African-American woman to win, the novel also received the National Book Award. Her contributions to literature ensure that her archives at Emory will be studied for years to come.

Emory University also holds an extensive African-American literary collection containing archives of Harlem Renaissance novelists and poets Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson, and hundreds of playscripts including works by Zora Neale Hurston and August Wilson, among many others. Recent archives and papers acquired include those of Salman Rushdie, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney.

Search the DCPL catalog for the works of Alice Walker

Emory University news release

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Dec 24 2007

Happy Holidays from DCPL

by Nolan R

All DeKalb County Public Library branches will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 in observance of Christmas.

If you have an information need over the holiday, don’t forget you can still access Library resources via our Databases, Web Links, and eAudiobooks.  If you still can’t find the answer, use our handy Email a Librarian form and a staff member will respond after we return from the holidays.

Here are few links that you might find useful until the Library reopens:

Flying over the holidays?  Check out some packing and travel tips from TSA.

Need a last minute recipe?  Try the Epicurious or All Recipes.

Looking for a quick decorating idea? Try HGTV, The Decorating Diva Blog, or go “green” with environmentally friendly holiday tips from The Green Daily’s Green Holiday Guide.

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Dec 20 2007

Undecided Voters Blues: Part 2

by Jimmy L

A few weeks ago I made a post about some library books that might help illuminate the candidates running for presidency.  Well, you can never be too informed, so I decided to make another post about this subject.  This time, I will provide some helpful links:

Project Vote Smart
In their own words: “thousands of citizens (conservative and liberal alike)
working together, spending endless hours researching the backgrounds
and records of thousands of political candidates and elected officials
to discover their voting records, campaign contributions, public
statements, biographical data (including their work history) and
evaluations of them generated by over 100 competing special interest
groups. Every election these volunteers test each candidate’s
willingness to provide citizens with their positions on the issues they
will most likely face if elected through the Political Courage Test.”

FactCheck.org
Worried about the factual accuracy of what the different candidates are saying?  Here’s your solution: the FactCheck.org team “monitor[s] the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases” and reports it back to you.  They are also a nonpartison, nonprofit organization.

Vote By Issue Quiz
This online quiz will ask you where you stand on certain key issues based on quotes from the different candidates.  Then it will show you which candidates you agreed with on the different issues.  Useful, easy, and fun.

PollingReport.com
How does your favorite candidate stand in the polls?  Find out instantly on this website.  You can also keep your finger on the pulse of what people think about many other things including: baseball and steroids, the writer’s strike, and toys from China.

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Dec 19 2007

Scrooge wasn’t all bad!

by Heather O

Mcduck After the holidays when I get my credit card bills, I start thinking how maybe Scrooge McDuck had some good ideas. While hoarding money in a large room and then swimming in it may not be so good (or healthy), saving money and being aware of your spending habits is a smart thing to do. Many DCPL branches subscribe to magazines that all offer personal finance advice and tips such as: Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Fortune, and SmartMoney.

 

A few good books I’d recommend out of the hundreds DCPL has on personal finance:

Kiplinger’s practical guide to your money
– Expansive guide to almost anything you can think of involving your
finances from budgeting to funeral expenses, basic information that
never goes out of style.

Live Well On Less Than You Think: Fred Brock- A very readable common-sense book on living below your means in order to live better later. While this is not a guide to frugality or voluntary simplicity, it has plenty of good suggestions on cutting costs and avoiding debt.

The millionaire next door : the surprising secrets of America’s wealthy: Thomas J. Stanley – Still applicable today as it was in the late 90’s that average people can be rich; just don’t spend lots of money. You don’t have to dumpster dive, but you also don’t need a shiny new Lexus when a Toyota gets the same high ratings.

The total money makeover : a proven plan for financial fitness: Dave Ramsey – A new, popular personal finance book that presents old information in an accessible way. His style is very ‘hard knocks’ and his motivational monologues are useful to those who need a bit of a kick in the teeth.

Two for the money : the sensible plan for making it all work: Jonathan and David Murray – Humorous and practical approaches to financial planning. Useful advice for the generation in-between young children and aging parents who may all need to depend on you financially. 

Websites that are a good place to start:

Find out what’s in your credit history with this free website: annualcreditreport.com

Looking for cool, interactive money management? Check out Mint. (*** an alternative website that is highly thought of by Kiplinger is wesabe.com ***)

Not only a magazine, Kiplinger also has a good website covering a variety of money issues.

CNN also has a money section with many how-to articles and advice.

Since 1996, the Dollar Stretcher has been an interesting site on the web for those who want to be really really frugal. Tips, shortcuts, advice, and a whole web community are on board with being super-frugal.

Remember, there are also about a million different sites, blogs, and forums on different ways to save, budget, or be your own Scrooge.

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10. They are portable. Take them absolutely anywhere – in the library that is.

9. They don’t need power from outlets or batteries. That’s one great thing about all books!

8. They can perform advanced searching too – or help you do it. Many have multiple indexes and tables of contents, and they even tell you how to use them.

7. Teachers love them.

6. Librarians love them. We’ve been using (and recommending them) for years.

5. They are trustworthy. Editorial staffs spend tons of time fact-checking and verifying.

4. They can be very general, or very specific in nature. You can read the entry in World Book on the Lewis and Clark expedition, or you can browse a whole encyclopedia about it.

3. No waiting in line. Actually, they’re waiting for you, right on the shelf.

2. We foot the bill. Some reference sources are very, very expensive. Trust us – you wouldn’t want to pay for your own copy.

1. When the internet (or the printer) isn’t working, they are!

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A recent story on NPR’s show “Talk of the Nation” focused on a new National Endowment of the Arts study that finds Americans are not only reading less for fun, but reading less in general. 

This study contains some disturbing statistics:

  • On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading
  • Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups.
  • Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier.

NEA’s website states: “To Read or Not To Read expands the investigation of the NEA’s landmark 2004 report, Reading at Risk. While that report focused mainly on literary reading trends, To Read or Not To Read looks at all varieties of reading, including fiction and nonfiction genres in various formats such as books, magazines, newspapers, and online reading. Whereas the earlier report assessed reading among adults age 18 and older, To Read or Not To Read analyzes reading trends for youth and adults, and readers of various education levels.”

Click HERE to read more or download the complete study from NEA.

Click HERE for NPR’s audio report on the study, online discussions, and related links.

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Dec 13 2007

Tell Me That Joke Again!

by Jimmy L

Sometimes I just want to watch a funny movie, one that makes me laugh uncontrollably.  While there some good comedies being made today, I find myself drawn more and more to the classics.  These movies had witty and intelligent dialog that made me laugh all the way through and never feel “cheap”.  Don’t discount them just because they’re old.

Ithappenedonenight_2         

Band_girls         

The_shop_around_the_corner

It Happened One Night (DVD)
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in this movie by Frank Capra which swept every major Academy Award.  It’s filled with great lines that often work on multiple (some very risqué) levels. 

Some Like It Hot (DVD)
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play two out of work musicians who dress up as women in order to join an all-girl band and escape a gang who are after their heads.  Marilyn Monroe also stars as one of the girls in the band.  Directed by Billy Wilder.

The Shop Around the Corner (VHS)
This Ernst Lubitsch film starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan was later remade into the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail.  Other than the basic plotline, this movie is very different.  The performances are pitch perfect and the script is full of wit and charm.

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Dec 12 2007

“Om” for the Holidays

by Heather O

‘Tis the season for not only receiving extra pounds, but also extra stress. For years yoga has been used as a wonderful exercise for improving dexterity, stamina, balance, and weight-loss; and yoga can also help you de-stress during the busy holiday season. Modern yoga draws mainly from one branch of the different traditions; Hatha Yoga which focuses on the body and its movements. The deliberate and mindful nature of the asanas (yoga poses) with pranayama (breathing) contribute to a meditative state for many yoga practitioners. Yoga has a long history of use in Indian religions and different schools of Buddhism dating back to the Bhagavad Gita. Yoga is one of those great activities you can do as much as you’d like with it; you can follow along with a DVD or class, you could study philosophy and meditate, you can practice while pregnant then later with the baby, and you can learn as much or as little as you’d like on your own.

My favorite materials available from DCPL:

Yoga1 Yoga Body, Buddha Mind: Cyndi Lee – More than just pictures of a wide variety of postures, a modern Buddhist and yoga teacher intersperses her poses with some background on yoga, Buddhism, meditation, and breathing. An accessible work for those interested in a little more than just the postures and exercise, but also don’t want to read a lengthly religious tome.

Power Yoga Stamina (VHS) with Rodney Yee – Pretty much any Rodney Yee videorecording is good, I like the Stamina best of all. This is a video for beginner-intermediate yogis as he be too fast for those who do not already know the asanas, but its just the right length of time and difficulty to get my heart pumping and my mind engaged.

Yoga2 Total Yoga Flow Series: Water – The three-part series includes: Earth, Water, and Fire each focusing on a different level of yoga and different focus. The Water is the intermediate level with a focus on flexibility and grace. All three are interesting and useful in their own way often including some extra like a guided meditation or breathing exercise, but the menus are a challenging to navigate and the scene selection was a bit off.

Yoga Yoga : the path to holistic health: B.K.S. IyengarGiant book of poses from one of the most respected teachers in the world. The asanas are photographed from various angles and health benefits are noted along with the entry fro each posture. An essential reference, especially for those learning without the benefit of a teacher.

Yoga3 The Shambhala guide to yoga: Georg Feuerstein – Interested in history, philosophy, religion, or other yoga traditions? This book is great for people who want a good introduction to what yoga is beyond ‘downward-facing dog’.

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