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

September 2008

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Sep 29 2008

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

by Nolan R

What do Their Eyes were Watching God, As I Lay Dying, A Farewell to Arms, The Bluest Eye, Slaughterhouse Five, Invisible Man, The Color Purple, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Call of the Wild all have in common? They’re all on a list of classic literature?  Best novels of the 20th century?  Books you struggled to finish in English class?  Possibly.  But one thing they do have in common is the fact that they have all been challenged or even banned from some libraries and schools.

This week is Banned Books Week, and we’d like to take some time to explain the history of Banned Books Week, give a few examples, and talk about some of our favorite “banned” books.

Why celebrate it?  Banned Books Week, first recognized in 1982, is observed during the last week of September. According to the American Library Association website, “Banned Books Week emphasizes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

Have books really been banned?  Most “banned” books are actually “challenged” books, which means that someone made a complaint about them.  A challenge is a request to remove a book from a library or school; a banned book is a book that is actually removed due to a challenge.  Generally, most challenged books are not ultimately banned.

Who challenges books?  Lots of people, for lots of reasons, although parents are generally listed as the top challengers.  Those challenging books have good intentions–they usually want to protect someone from something that conflicts with their beliefs.

Want to learn more?  Check out the BBW or ALA, or befriend BBW on Facebook or MySpace.  Don’t forget to check back here throughout the week for more information on banned and challenged books.

What’s my favorite banned book?  There are a lot of good titles on the lists, but one of my favorites is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

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Sep 25 2008

What Will You Wear to the Audies?

by Jimmy L

Did you know there is a yearly awards ceremony for audiobooks? While you won’t find Sean Penn or Cameron Diaz at the Audies, you will find many audiobook recommendations from fiction to biography. The award was first established in 1996 to honor excellence in production and performance, as well as in the actual writing. Categories range from Audiobook Adapted from Another Medium to Multi-voiced Performance.

Here are some winners from the 2008 Audies (links go to DCPL’s audiobook in the catalog):

We have many more audiobooks available through the NetLibrary eAudiobooks service, where you can download audiobooks onto your home computer.

Other relevant links:

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Sep 24 2008

Children and Poetry

by Ginny C

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of including nursery rhymes when reading to young children.  Along those same lines, introducing children to poetry at a young age can help foster a life-long love, not only of poetry, but also of words and reading.  Incorporating poetry into your regular reading habits isn’t as daunting as it may sound.  Many picture books are already written in rhyming verse, so chances are, your child already has some experience with it.  Quite a few well-known poems have even been adapted into a picture book format.  The Owl and the Pussycat and Casey at the Bat are two famous ones.  Other popular adaptations include The Spider and the Fly, Wynken, Blynken and Nod and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

If you’re still unsure where to start, Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky are perennial favorites.  They’re smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and usually pretty short.  Other well known authors and poets have books that have been written specifically for, or adapted for, children, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou.

Reading poetry should be fun and enjoyable for both you and your child.  Browse the poetry section of your library for more books.  Remember, the goal isn’t to analyze it.  Listen to and enjoy the words and imagery.  Then, if you or child wants to, discuss it as you would any story you’ve just read.

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Sep 23 2008

MyDebates

by Heather S

Have a concern that you want the presidential candidates to address? Raise your voice!

Jim Rettig, the president of the American Library Association, recently sent the following plea to librarians:

“On Tuesday, October 7, one of the three 2008 Presidential debates between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will be held at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. This debate will be a town hall format moderated by Tom Brokaw. The moderator will call on members of the audience as well as select questions submitted online.

During this election year, we are looking for librarians and library supporters from across the country to call attention to the value of today’s libraries in our communities, as well as the issues the library community is facing. We encourage all ALA members to submit questions. The Commission on Presidential Debates has partnered with MySpace to create a new Web site, www.MyDebates.org. This site will become available in the days leading up to the first Presidential debate on September 26.  The more questions submitted, the more likely a library question will be asked. This is an opportunity for the library voice to become an important part of the 2008 Presidential election.”

Starting on Thursday, September 25, you may submit your question. The website also lets you find the candidate you are most aligned with on the issues, such as education and homeland security. You will be able to watch the debates live on the site; or, if you miss the debates, you can watch them in their entirety or relevant clips of the candidates on specific issues later.

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Are you doing research and need help with where to start? Would you like to find out more information about a particular subject you are interested in? Maybe you are a student who would like to learn about new resources that will help with homework or school projects? Check out our new subject guides for help!

Subject guides are lists of library books, databases and websites that are chosen by librarians and intended to help you get started on your research. There are over forty different guides covering subjects such as Health and Medicine, History and Biography, and Student Resources. Searching is fast and easy with direct links to the catalog, reference databases, and websites. We’ve got guides for adults, teens, and kids.

To access the subject guides go to our main page at www.dekalblibrary.org. Under the Research tab click on Subject Guides.

We’d love to know what you think, so please leave comments or suggestions.

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Sep 18 2008

The Living Room Candidate

by Jimmy L

Television ads have taken on a more and more influential role in determining presidential campaign outcomes through the years.  Although the messages have been similar, the ads themselves are varied and always evolving.  I found a website this week called The Living Room Candidate which has an archive of over 300 past presidential TV ads since 1952.  In addition, it also provides historical context for each presidential race and the effects that the ads had on them.  Check it out if you’re interested in the past of this medium and how it has affected the course of history.

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Sep 17 2008

Breaking Dawn

by Ginny C

WARNING:  This post may contain spoilers.  Do not read ahead if you haven’t read the book.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way.  Several weeks ago when Breaking Dawn was released, I wrote a post asking what you thought would happen and what you hoped would happen.  It’s been over a month since it was published and it’s time for a follow-up to see if it met or exceeded your expectations.  Or if it completely failed and you would rather pretend it had never been written.

I have conflicting feelings about it.  It’s nice to have it wrapped up and see everyone live happily ever (and ever and ever, in some cases) after.  But, I did not care for Renesmee or her storyline with Jacob.  That minor quibble aside, I thought it mostly lived up to my expectations.

So, your feelings about Breaking Dawn?  Did you love it?  Did you hate it?  Do you have a favorite in the series?  Share your opinions in the comments.  And don’t forget that Twilight the movie comes out November 21.  We’ll meet back here again after it’s released to discuss it, the actors, and how true it was to the book.

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If the above statement describes you, the library has a few things that can help prepare you for that job search. I know years ago, I was taught that you had to create a resume using a basic format and put it on white or manila stock paper. Over the last five years or so, how you present your resume or job history has changed quite a bit. Now most companies require that you fill out an application online whether it is for a the engineering firm or the fast food restaurant down the road. If they don’t have an online form, most companies will request that you e-mail your resume. You might also use a one stop web site that allows you to post your resume and apply to several jobs at one time.

Don’t know where to start? The library has many books on writing resumes and cover letters (again usually electronic). Some examples are Resumes for Dummies and Cover Letters that Knock Them Dead. You may also want to try a subject keyword search in the catalog using the phrases resumes, cover letters or job hunting. For more information, you can also check out the resources listed on the Jobs/Careers Subject Guide.

Need help using Word to create that electronic resume? The library has classes on how to use Microsoft Word and specific classes on using Microsoft Word templates to create a basic resume. Check our events calendar for the classes, times and locations. Most of these classes require sign up prior to the class.

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The voter registration deadline for Georgia is Monday, October 6, 2008.  If you have not registered by this deadline, you will not be allowed to vote in the November election!

You can register to vote at any DeKalb County Public Library.  You can also get a printable application online at the DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections website.  (You can print an absentee ballot application from this site, as well.)

Not sure if you’re registered or not?  Know you’re registered but can’t remember where your poll location is? Check the Georgia Poll Locator site and find out!

Contact the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections office for more info.  They are located at 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032.  Phone: 404-298-4020 and Fax: 404-298-4038.

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