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

March 2009

Mar 31 2009

Take a bite out of crime

by Heather S

crimetracThe DeKalb County Police Department’s website has an informative new feature – CRIMETRAC.  CRIMETRAC enables people to search for crimes committed in unincorporated DeKalb County.  As part of the Department’s Interactive Community Policing initiative, CRIMETRAC’s goal is to “reduce the fear of crime through better informed citizenry and improve the quality of life in DeKalb County.”

CRIMETRAC uses Google Maps and an advanced geographic engine to map reported crimes.  You can search by address or crime type, as well as limit searches to specific types of crime, time period and/or distance from an address.  The site doesn’t provide detailed information; it does offer a case number, the date and time the crime was committed, the type of crime, and the block where the crime was committed.  It’s super easy to navigate, and the graphical interface clearly shows what types of crime are happening around the county.  The information posted is also current.  There are crimes that were reported in the wee hours of this morning that are already on the website!

If you want to track crime and stay informed of what’s going on in your neighborhood, this is a great site to bookmark or set up email alerts for a specific area.

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electronicsrecyclinglogo_2251If you forgot about the Decatur Electronics Recycling Day, there’s no need to worry–due to bad weather over the weekend, the event was rescheduled for late April.  Recycling Day is held outdoors, and the weekend weather presented a safety hazard for volunteers.

Electronics Recycling Day has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2009 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Decatur High School parking lot.  Visit www.decaturga.com for a list of electronic items that may be recycled and more details about the event. You may also call 404-377-5571 for information.

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card-catalogPublic libraries have gotten great press lately as a way to save money and I’ve noticed a lot of new faces coming up to the information desk. These people look pleased but a little confused and they say, “I haven’t been to the library in a long time. I guess you all don’t have a card catalog any more.”

No, we don’t. I don’t know when DeKalb County Public Library switched (help me out here, DCPL oldtimers), but generally public libraries retired their card catalogs many years ago. The computer OPACs (that’s Online Public Access Catalogs) are an improvement over the little drawers in every way — except aesthetics and ambiance. Somehow libraries looked more ‘libraryish’ when the card catalogs lined the walls.

One of our prodigal patrons asked me, “What happened to all the cards and cabinets?”  The cards show up in crafts and in projects like Cartalog, a memorial to the card catalog created from salvaged University of Iowa catalog cards. Los Angeles Public Library lined an elevator shaft with the old cards, matching the card subjects with the department on each floor. The cabinets have been resold, recycled, and repurposed. I’ve found old card catalogs used as coffee tables, kitchen storage units and sewing room cabinets. A quick search on eBay turned up a few card catalogs, all with multiple bids, so they are very collectible.

If you’d like to extend your trip down library memory lane, check out The Library History Buff. It’s a fascinating collection of librariana, and there’s a section on card catalogs. Sigh. Now I miss them.

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According to the American Diabetes Association, there are about 23.6 million adults and children with diabetes in the U.S. Of this population, 5.7 million are unaware that they have the disease. Personally, I have family members and friends who are living with the disease. I know that being someone with a family history of diabetes  there are precautions and steps that I can take to stay healthy but I don’t always.

Today marks the 21st Annual American Diabetes Alert Day and now is as good of a time as any to become more aware and active against this disease.  One great place to start is by exploring the American Diabetes Association website for more information.  The Library also offers many great resources about diabetes, ranging from lifestyle and medical books to cookbooks featuring diabetic-friendly cuisine. Here are a few books that I really like:

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide For The Newly Diagnosed by Gretchen Becker: Author Becker offers an informative and encouraging discussion look at diabetes and ways in which one can cope with it. Though this book is geared toward those who have been recently diagnosed with the disease, anyone can benefit from its advice.

Just The Fact Diabetes by Jenny Bryan: This is another well-written book for kids and young adults about diabetes. It addresses many aspects of diabetes including causes, a brief history of the disease and advancements in the treatment of it.

Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic That Threatens America–And What We Must Do To Stop It by Francine R. Kaufman: The subtitle of this book bares the same ringing urgency as the book itself. The author is passionate about raising awareness of the problem of obesity and how it contributes to the diabetes epidemic.

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Doing research and limited to a certain number of resources? Do not fear the Library is here! As a Reference Librarian, I often help people find sources to answer their questions, or write a paper. Often when it is school related, I hear “I can only use blank number of web sources. I have already checked the Internet.” When I ask if they have checked our Reference Database page, I often hear, I cannot use that because we are limited by the number of Internet sources.

Did you know there is a difference between Internet sources and electronic sources? The Library has electronic resources that are different from a web-based source. What is an Electronic Resource? You access the source through your web browser (Internet Explorer, Foxfire, Safari, Chrome…) but these sources were created in print before they were loaded and available on the Internet.

How do you access them? Go to our home page and click on the Reference Database button. Here you will find a list of resources that we have broken down by category. We have over twenty-six print based electronic resources. A few of these sources do have links to the Internet but most have a print-based component.

Curious to know which one you might be able to use? If you move your mouse over the title a short synopsis will show up and tell you what the resource is about and what it includes. For example, the Biography Resource Center’s synopsis indicates that it draws its information from Reference books, and from journal articles including  the Marquis Who’s Who. The Student Resource Center‘s synopsis indicates that it draws its information from Reference documents, articles and dictionary entries.

Need an example of a source we have on the page that is an Internet Source? Look at The New Georgia Encyclopedia. According to the synopsis, it contains information on people, places, events and histories of Georgia. The site includes articles and images on every aspect of Georgia and links to related Internet sites. I hope this helps you or someone you know the next time there is a paper due. Remember these Electronic sources are available 24/7 through our elibrary.

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Mar 19 2009

Know Your Accents

by Jimmy L

I’ve always liked accents.  Every day people speak the same language very differently to each other, reflecting their unique backgrounds.  When I found out that there are websites that track and study accents in an organized fashion, I was hooked.

The Speech Accent Archive has an archive of people from all over the world saying the same (rather ridiculous) sentence.  You can browse by language or by geographical region. Their website stresses “that accents are systematic rather than merely mistaken speech,” and it even provides a guide to show you the common characteristics of each accent.

International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) is another similar website, which also accepts online submissions of samples.  These websites can be very useful for people as diverse as the ESL teacher trying to teach English to non-native speakers to actors who are trying to master a certain accent.

The last accent-related website I found is the Language Trainers Group’s Can You Guess Where My Accent is From? game.  It’s pretty fun.  See if you can beat it!

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Mar 17 2009

Pinocchio reader?

by Heather S

1984Last week as I was clicking through news articles online, I came across an interesting one on Reuters.  The article presents a study done by World Book Day, which found that “two out of three Britons have lied about reading books that they haven’t.”

According to the study, the most frequently mentioned titles people have said they have read  (but really have not) are 1984 by George Orwell, War and peace by Leo Tolstoy and Ulysses by James Joyce.

I will admit that I am one of those that have lied about reading certain books.  How else do you think I survived my high school literature classes?  As a sophomore in high school, I had no desire to read 1984 and Portrait of an artist as a young man.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to use Masterplots to pass the test.  If only I had J’Nai’s recommendation, I would have perhaps done better on my essays.  And, please do not judge me harshly or follow my lead;  I have reformed and can now honestly admit what I have and have not read!

Are you an honest reader?  Any books that you say you’ve read, but haven’t?

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Mar 16 2009

Get Your Motor Running

by Nolan R

arrc_logoMoney is tight these days and lots of people are looking for ways to save a few dollars where they can.  If do-it-yourself auto repair is something you’re interested in, the Library has a couple of sources for auto repair information.  The Chilton’s series of auto repair books are available in most branches; some are available for checkout while some volumes are available for in-house reference use only.  If the book you need isn’t available, the Library has another source you might check into for car repair assistance.  Whether you’re wondering how to replace the tailgate on your ’72 Chevy El Camino or looking for a service bulletin for your ’08 Honda CR-V, Auto Repair Reference Center is a great source of auto repair information.

In addition to service bulletins, repair information, and wiring diagrams, Auto Repair Reference Center also provides an Auto IQ section, which provides video descriptions of vehicle parts and systems.  You can find general car care and repair tips, as well as a troubleshooting section.  There’s also an option for printing information.

To use the database, click on Reference Databases from our homepage.  Scroll down to “Consumer” databases and click on Auto Repair Reference Center.  You’ll need to enter your library card number and PIN, then you’ll be given a list of databases to choose from (just select Auto Repair Reference Center again).

Once you’re in the database, just click on the model year for your vehicle, then select the make and model.   Model years begin in 1945 for Jeep only, but more manufacturers show up in the database beginning with the 1960s.

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Mar 12 2009

The librarian’s holiday

by Lesley B

I can’t go past a bookstore without stepping inside.

Well, actually I can, but only when it’s hot outside and I’ve got groceries in the car.

But there were no frozen peas in peril a few weeks ago when I took J’nai’s suggestion and went to Mobile for Mardi Gras. While waiting for that night’s parade to start, I stepped inside a book store and found this little green book waiting for me to take it home.  Published in 1929 by the American Library Association, The Public Library in the United States is a brisk statement by Arthur E. Bostwick on the proper role of the American public library in the twentieth century. Libraries have changed a lot since 1929 but what really struck me was how well this old book described the work of public libraries today. I was moved to see that the library reached out to job seekers in the dark days of 1929, just as DCPL is a resource for our patrons in today’s tough economy.

And who was Arthur E. Bostwick? Checking online, I discovered that Mr. Bostwick was a distinguished librarian who served as director of the St. Louis Public Library from 1909 until his death in 1942. He was a strong advocate for a open, progressive public library, which at the time meant letting readers pick out their own books and take them home. He’s a good writer and I found more of his work through Project Gutenberg and Google Books.

It may be that it was his modern thinking that kept his book on the shelf long enough to get a barcode. I’m looking forward to reading more of Mr. Bostwick’s articles online, but I never would have made his acquaintance if I hadn’t stepped inside a bookstore.

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Mar 10 2009

Spring Cleaning, Anyone?

by Jnai W

cleaningI spent all of Sunday helping my mom with some spring cleaning…and helping myself to some of the old forgotten treasures that we uncovered. I stumbled upon long-lost books,  misplaced CDs, my old Fat Albert lunchbox (hey, hey, hey!…okay it was actually my brother’s but finders keepers) and even some clothes that, with a bit of TLC, can make a comeback into my wardrobe. I’ll admit it, readers, I’m a packrat…and so is my mother (she knows it, though).

It’s amazing the sentimental value that one’s belongings can hold. But what’s equally amazing is how these keepsakes can accumulate and become burdensome clutter.  Now that spring is in the air there is no better time to give old items a new purpose. If you’re like me perhaps you’d prefer donating the better quality pieces to Goodwill, Salvation Army or another reputable place where they will be of use to someone else.

If you’re more enterprising and looking to make a little extra cash, maybe you can hold a garage sale. Perhaps you’ve even found some items in the attic that can be repurposed and put to good use again, in which case good for you! Just don’t let anyone tease you about having to wear your old high school class ring on your pinky now. They’re just jealous.

As always, the Library is a great source for all things related to Spring Cleanliness and good feelings in general.

Books For Getting Organized:

The Everything Organize Your Home Book by Jenny Schroedel (Adams Media): I love the Everything series of books (if you’re interested in rocking out–after you’ve done your chores, of course–try the Everything Guitar Book also). This is pretty much the only organization book I’ve read in a while but the title says it all. It’s got Everything.

Your Garagenous Zone: Innovative Ideas For Your Garage by Bill West (Paragon Garage Co.): Pages 21-29 are a great start in organizing this space. This isn’t exactly about garage sales as I thought it would be but you’ll be well on your way to a organized garage.

Garage Sale Magic by Michael Williams: Once you’ve decluttered your garage why not try and make a few dollars? This book promises to “turn your trash into cash.” But please don’t try to sell trash; that’s rude.

A Book For Crafty Folks Looking To Reuse Old Items:

Don’t Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew and Reuse To Make Things Last by Lori Baird: I know I’ve blogged about this one before but it really is a great resource for making the most of what you’ve got in your home.

A Book For, um, Folks Who Like To Declutter Only To Reclutter Because They Can’t Resist Thrift Stores and Garage Sales:

Thrift Score by Al Hoff (Harper Collins): What do you do if you’re a packrat and a thrift store junkie? Seeking counseling wouldn’t hurt but until then, this is a great book about how to spend your money wisely when you go to Goodwill or Last Chance. It’s easy (for me, at least) to forget that just because something’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. Author Hoff offers great tips on how to shop secondhand.

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