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

August 2008

Aug 28 2008

Calling All Paparazzi!

by admin

This weekend, literary folks across the metro area will have an awesome chance to catch sight of celebrity authors. The third annual Decatur Book Festival will kick off on Friday night with a keynote speech by Billy Collins, a former United States poet laureate; tickets are required for this event, but are available free at Agnes Scott College’s box office and several local bookstores. There will be 250 national and local authors speaking around Decatur. These authors include Pearl Cleage, Eric Jerome Dickey, Emily Giffin, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and Haywood Smith. If you have children, fear not! This is a completely family friendly event. There will be a children’s parade Saturday morning with beloved costumed characters and a marching band. There will be many authors for children and teens reading from and speaking about their work, including John Bemelmans Marciano (the grandson of the author of Madeline), Chris Raschka, and Doreen Cronin.

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Aug 27 2008

Nursery Rhymes and Fingerplays

by Ginny C

Most parents know the value of reading to children. But did you also know that nursery rhymes and fingerplays are equally important? They increase vocabulary, introduce rhyming and rhythm, develop motor skills and coordination, and introduce phonetic awareness (the different sounds that make up a word.) And besides all that, they’re fun. I’ve listed a few nursery rhyme and fingerplay books to get you started. As always, ask your librarian for more recommendations.

My Very First Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie: A collection of more than sixty nursery rhymes including “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” “Pat-a-Cake,” “Little Jack Horner,” and “Pussycat, Pussycat.”

Mother Goose’s Storytime Nursery Rhymes by Axel Scheffler: An illustrated collection of more than one hundred nursery rhymes, interspersed with vignettes about Mother Goose and her three young goslings, Boo, Lucy, and Small.

This Little Piggy: lap songs, finger plays, clapping games and pantomine rhymes edited by Jane Yolen: A collection of singing games and nursery rhymes involving various parts of the body, to be used with very young children.

Do Your Ears Hang Low? Fifty more musical fingerplays by Tom Glazer: Presents words and music to 50 songs with directions for accompanying fingerplays.

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Aug 26 2008

The Most Valuable Card in Your Wallet

by Amanda L

I was helping a person several days ago who was looking for business information.  She lived in another county.  I mentioned to her that the county she lived in also provided access to Reference USA.  As we continued exploring resources that might help her, I suggested Business and Company Resource Center.  I informed her that her local system did not provide access to this resource.  She asked me how she could obtain a card.  For an annual fee of $45, a non-resident can obtain a card.  She wanted to know what else we had that would make it worth her while to spend that kind of money.  Do you know what your DeKalb County library card provides for you?

Here is the brief list that I gave her: for adults, we offer not only the business electronic databases (Reference USA, Business and Company Resource Center, Demographics Now and Hoover’s Company Capsules and Profiles), but we also offer language learning resources (Spanish, French, German and Italian), Health and Wellness Resource Center (health and drug information), and Georgia Legal Forms; for students we offer Learning Express Library (sample tests, electronic books on a variety of tests and basic skills building), Literature Criticisms, Student Resource Center (Literature, History, applied Sciences and Social Studies), and African American Experience (great for African American history).

The list above is just a sample of the electronic resources that we provide at the library.  We of course offer print (books), music and DVDS.  I also mentioned that we have downloadable eAudiobooks and electronic books.

My DeKalb County library card is one of the most valuable cards in my wallet.  I would pay the annual fee of $45, if I did not work for the library system.  My own home library system does not offer the wealth of information or entertainment value that you are entitled to have as a citizen of DeKalb County.  So where is your card?

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Aug 25 2008

Don’t Stress Over It!

by Nolan R

What stresses you out at work?  Deadlines?  Angry people?  Public speaking?  Being stuck in a cubicle?  Maybe it’s time to reevaluate your current job situation and see what other options might be available.

A new book, 150 Best Low-Stress Jobs, might just be your ticket to stress-free living.  Using information gathered from the U. S. Census and the Department of Labor, the book analyzes common stress-inducing factors involved with many jobs.

The book lists jobs with the least likelihood of encountering certain stressful situations, including conflict situations, angry or physically aggressive people, consequence of error, public speaking, exposure to high places, and pressure to compromise moral values.   If you decide right now isn’t the best time to change careers, the book also offers tips on dealing with stress in your current workplace.  If you need more information on careers and job hunting, check with your librarian for more recommended titles.

Oh, and where does librarian rank on the list?  Number twenty-nine overall, right between Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers and Computer Programmers.

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Aug 21 2008

Strange Maps!

by Jimmy L

If you love maps as much as I do, you will love this blog I found recently. It’s called Strange Maps and every few days a new map is posted. These are not your run of the mill Rand McNally. They are strange for a reason: whether it’s a genetic map of Europe, a map of the forgotten state of Absaroka (yes, it did exist!), or a map of Canada made out of cheese, you will find it here! I couldn’t help spending countless hours reading these posts the other day. Not only are the maps fascinating, the blog author provides detailed explanations (to the best of his knowledge) and analysis… and sometimes even mini-history lessons of the region and/or time.

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Aug 20 2008

Jacket Art – Past and Present

by Ginny C

I’ll spare you the oft repeated phrase about book covers and judging them and how you’re not supposed to do it. And I won’t ask if you have ever decided whether or not to read a book based on the book cover. I suspect I know the answer. At the risk of being labeled a bad librarian, I will tell you that I have judged books based solely on their jacket art. But it was a long, long time ago, and I don’t do it anymore. Mostly.

Publishers realize that people judge books by the cover and some of the harshest critics are teens and tweens. Cover art has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. Where once book jackets consisted of soft-focus, pastel paintings of characters (often looking pensive to signify the seriousness of the topic and/or the decision the character must make), now they mostly contain computer generated art in graphic designs and colors.

When books are re-issued, they are often given new, modern cover art. Publishers do away with the old-fashioned artwork in favor of something that they hope will appeal to a new generation of readers. Take a look at the book covers I’ve posted below. Can you tell which ones were published recently? Based on these covers, are there any that you’d like to read? Or ones that you would not read?

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Aug 19 2008

George Orwell = Blogger?

by Heather S

George Orwell has a blogThe Orwell Prize, which is a British prize rewarding political writing, is publishing Orwell’s diaries online seventy years to the day later. With the initial post on August 9th, Orwell writes of his daily life, such as picking blackberries.  And, his political musings will be posted starting on September 7th.

If you like his blog, be sure to check out:

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Love the Library’s eAudiobook service but have an iPod?  Unfortunately, there are currently no vendors offering downloadable audiobooks to libraries using Apple’s digital rights management format, but there are a few free options available for you on the Internet.

LibriVox is a volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.  LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then “release” the audio files back onto the net.

Classic Poetry Aloud provides podcasts of, well, classic poetry.  If it’s Shakespeare, Pope, Keats, and Shelley you’re looking for, this is the place.

Podiobooks Listeners to Podiobooks.com can choose to receive the episodes of their books via an RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from the site.  The site is free, but donations are accepted to compensate authors, who permit their works to be available on the site.

openculture is a site that collects podcasts, videos, and online courses that are freely available on the web, and claims to “sift through all the media, highlight the good and jettison the bad, and centralize it in one place.”  The link provided here takes you directly to their audiobook collection.

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I was listening to NPR in my car the other day when I heard this story about how public libraries are stepping up for people who are going through tough economic times. But other than saving you money that would otherwise be spent on buying new books, the library can also help you with your personal day-to-day finances. For example, check out some of these great databases, books, and websites for some sound financial advice.

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Aug 13 2008

Diversity in Children’s Books

by Ginny C

If you have lamented the lack of diversity in childrens and teen literature recently, you’re not alone.  There aren’t a lot of books available for this age group featuring African-American, Asian or Latino characters in genres other than historical fiction, which is well represented.  But where are the books set in the present about realistic issues, that just happen to have a minority as the main character?  And while we’re at it, where are the minorities in other genres, such as fantasy and science-fiction?  And mysteries and romance novels?

I came across an interesting statistic last week while researching another topic.  The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a research library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education, published a report on the trends in children’s literature.  Of the almost 3000 books they reviewed that were published in 2007, only 150 featured “significant” African-American characters; 59 had Latino characters; and 68 had Asian/Pacific American characters.  Those are pretty disappointing numbers.  Especially considering that just because a book got published, it doesn’t mean it’s a good book.

While these books aren’t being published in overwhelming numbers, there are quite a few good books starring minority characters out there.  A good place to start might be with a list of award-winning books, such as those that have won the Pura Belpré Award for Latino literature, or the Coretta Scott King Award for African-American literature.  You can also go back to some of our previous posts on award books and recommended reading for children and teens.  But your best bet?  Ask your librarian for help.  He or she will be happy to recommend something.

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