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

June 2009

Jun 29 2009

Happy Birthday Scott Candler, Sr.!

by Amanda L

scott-candler

Mr. Candler was born a week ago on June 23, 1887.  For those of you not native to Atlanta or DeKalb County, you may ask who was Mr. Candler? You might recognize the name of the road named after him or our Scott Candler branch.

Scott Candler was actually known as “Mr. DeKalb” and was instrumental in shaping the county as we know it.  His family, at the time of his birth, went back six generations in which there was a history of public service.  To prepare for this post, I checked out a book that we have titled, “Mr. DeKalb” by Morris Shelton.

Some of the interesting facts I discovered was that back during World War II, Candler had a county-owned cannery built for the citizens. They could bring up food that they grew and have it canned. In 1969, the County Commissioners tried to shut the cannery down but were met with an outcry from the DeKalb citizens.

[read the rest of this post…]

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dare-coverSometimes when you find yourself with a case of the mulligrubs early in the morning, the best thing is to put something larruping down your goozle.

If you had trouble deciphering the above sentence, you can look up the unfamiliar words in the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE for short), which is available at the library.  “DARE is a reference tool meant to capture not the homogeneous whole of English found in conventional dictionaries, but the rich regional variety that has been spoken and written across America.” (Mattmiller 2009). As the DARE website explains, what makes DARE unique “is that it shows where people use the words that are included” (for example, it tells you what different regions of the country might call a sandwich on a lengthy bun: sub, hoagie, grinder, etc.)

Recently NPR did a story on The DARE project in anticipation of the publication of the final volume in the series (S-Z) next year. As the article relates, the project was initiated in the 1950s, when the founder, linguist Frederic Cassidy, sent field workers out in “Word Wagons” to all regions of the country, where they interviewed more than 3000 people over the course of six years. The first volume was published in 1975, with subsequent volumes following over the years. Sadly, Cassidy passed away before seeing the conclusion of the project, but even posthumously he displays his enthusiasm for the work; his tombstone declares “On to Z!”

It is important to note that the Dictionary of American Regional English is cataloged as a reference book, and thus it cannot be checked out of the branch where it resides. However, if you wish to save yourself a trip and examine it from the comfort of your home computer, you can view selected pages from all the volumes on Google Books.

However you access it, the Dictionary of Regional American English is an informative, entertaining resource, from A to Izzard. Check it out.

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Jun 24 2009

Vintage Children’s Books

by Nancy M

funniest1There is something so delightfully nostalgic about coming across an old children’s book that I read as a child. Little Golden Books, anybody? Seeing the colorful illustrations that I would pore over as a kid brings back those halcyon childhood days and reading the charming stories reminds me of why I became a children’s librarian in the first place. DeKalb County Public Libraries house thousands of children’s books and there are many hidden treasures just waiting to be rediscovered. Here are some of my favorites:

Frederick (1967) by Leo Lionni

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The Giant Jam Sandwich (1973) by John Vernon Lord

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Too Many Mittens (1958) by Florence and Louis Slobodkin

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The Story of Ferdinand (1936) by Munro Leaf

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I came across this blog recently, which brought back even more wonderful book memories and helped me to discover some new ones I have never read.

What are your favorite vintage children’s books?

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Jun 22 2009

The Thrill of the Grill

by Vivian A

Ever since man first put a chunk of dinosaur meat over a hot flame in some lonely cave, he has quested for new and better ways to cook meat. Give a guy a grill and you’ll find one happy man.

You’ll find two types of grilling methods – gas and charcoal. The size of the grill is up to the man and his budget. Wander around a hardware store and you’ll see all sizes and brands ready and waiting to make the trip to the back yard or deck.

Wander over to the 641.5784 section of the library stacks and you’ll find Bobby Flay, George Foreman and many others ready to teach you how to marinade, filet or rub your meat to pre-flame perfection.

There’s even an indoor electric grill for rainy days. And it doesn’t matter if you like beef, pork, chicken, fish or even veggie burgers – there’s something available for your taste. No pun intended.

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Jun 19 2009

Read it here first

by Lesley B

And they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teethFor those who like to debate Heather’s eternal question: book vs. movie,  2009 is a really interesting year for movie adaptations. Already we’ve gotten the long awaited Watchmen movie and Coraline was great in 3D. My Sister’s Keeper, from the Jodi Picoult novel, comes out next week and it looks like you’ll need a box of tissues to get through it. Next month brings us the long-awaited Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, from a film series that I think has done an especially good job of interpreting  J. K. Rowling’s books. Later this year we’ll get Julie and Julia, which was a blog and then a book about a woman living in a tiny New York City apartment deciding to cook every one of the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Audrey Niffenegger’s heartbreaking The Time Traveler’s Wife comes to screens this fall (definitely read the book first) and don’t forget the next installment from the Stephenie Meyer vampire books, New Moon, set to come out in November. The kids get Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, based on a book about a town where it rains breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pictures in the book are hilarious and I want to see pancakes and syrup actually falling from the sky.

I’m most intrigued by the movie version of  Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak’s brief and mysterious picture book.  I wouldn’t have thought it could be done; but Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, the creative minds behind the adaptation, are compelling artists themselves and I look forward to seeing their interpretation of Sendak’s work. The trailer is beautiful.

Request these titles from the library and you’ll be ready to start your own book vs. movie debate club.

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Jun 17 2009

About A Washboard

by Jnai W

I’ve been feeling really nostalgic lately and that’s all thanks to my new washboard. I’ll explain if I may.

I live in a cute old apartment complex with a pool that, curiously, hasn’t been opened yet, at least 300 small children gone summer-crazy and a dodgy, probably-haunted laundry room. Needless to say, with its odd horror-flick lighting and creepy little noises, it’s not really an enjoyable place for sorting one’s fine washables and lingering around while the clothes are cleaning. So I decided, being kind of a romantic at heart, that I should get a washboard and launder my clothes the old-fashioned way.  I figured that it beats having to trudge to a laundromat or beg friends and family into letting me use their washer and dryer all the time. (I’ve tried to find a way to tie “washboards” to DCPL in some relevant way but this is the best I could do.)

I have to say, DCPLers, that I’m really enjoying my washboard. The most fun part–aside from the actual using of the washboard–was purchasing  and bringing it home Sunday before last.  The reactions I got when I bought it and toted it home on the bus were similar to the ones I get when I tell people  that I work at The Library: a mixture of amusement (“Oh, how cute! Do people still use libraries?”) and general good will.

“Oh, you mean a scrub-board?” the friendly ACE Hardware worker corrected me, before offering her assistance and quizzing me about how southern I was.

Later, as I was walking to the nearest bus stop with my new purchase, one lady hollered out of her car window ” I haven’t seen one of those since I was a kid! Where’d you get that?”

Not long after that the bus driver that day and the lady in the seat behind me  had their own fond memories of their mamas or other loved ones working their laundry over the scrub-board (but now I’m confused–is it scrub-board or rub-board?)

This is kind of what my washboard looks like...

This is kind of what my washboard looks like...

I’m still trying to figure out how to bring this blog post home and make it some how relevant to the Library. I guess I just like the fact that it’s really useful, traditional (nostalgic, even) and inexpensive to use…kind of like the Library, perhaps?

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Jun 15 2009

Accessories for the Road

by Amanda L

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Getting ready for my road trip. Checking my list… gas, tires inflated, extra money, what am I missing? Hey, I don’t have anything to listen to while I cruise. To my rescue again is my local library.

The Library has audiobooks on compact discs and they have some that you can download.  You can see a list of new audiobook titles on CD using the Library’s RSS feed. Click on the feed for audiobooks. You can read the list online or you can subscribe to the feed and read it through your RSS reader.

The Library’s downloadable audiobooks have gotten friendlier to iPod users and those of us with basic MP3 players.  You can access eAudiobooks through Netlibrary by using our homepage.  The eAudiobook link  can be found under the eLibrary tab. Netlibray has WPA file Audiobooks that will work with some MP3 players and then MP3 file Audiobooks that will work with MP3 players and iPods.

Once you get into Netlibrary, you will need to set up an account for yourself. It asks that you create a user name and password. I usually recommend using your library card number and pin number since you just used this information to gain access to Netlibrary. (I try to keep things as simple as possible.) You can browse the titles in Netlibrary or you can search for particular titles.  To find those MP3 titles, you can sort by format. This is rather handy if you have a basic MP3 player or an iPod.

Not sure how to download eAudiobooks? We have an FAQ page that might be helpful. You will need to have Windows Media Player or iTunes loaded onto your computer in order to transfer the file to your MP3 player or iPod.  If you are still having problems downloading an audiobook, feel free to call us or use our Email a Librarian service. Make sure you select need help finding information and one of our Reference Librarians will get back to you via e-mail.  Now I’m off to download some audiobooks for the trip!

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For this post I wanted to examine a collection that is perhaps the most likely to be misunderstood, overlooked, or dismissed as just “kid stuff”: the graphic novel.  The label encompasses a wide variety of material, but most simply, a graphic novel is “any extended form of comics, including non-fiction and short story collections.” (a definition borrowed from Grossman and Lacayo of TIME magazine).

maus-cover2While some graphic novels in the DCPL catalog do resemble the comics you read as a kid (such as the 7 volume Essential X-men series, each of which compiles 20-30 issues of the comic book), it would be a mistake to think that costumed superheroes are the extent of what graphic novels have to offer. In fact, there are graphic novels appropriate for all tastes and age categories. Adults interested in serious nonfiction should check out Maus, a Pulitzer Prize winning Holocaust narrative wherein all the people are portrayed as anthropomorphic animals (for example, the Jews are mice, while the Germans are cats). For something the whole family can enjoy, try Bone, a tale of adventure with heavy doses of humor and fantasy which TIME magazine called “the best all-ages novel yet published in this medium“. And no description of the category would be complete without mentioning what many consider the best of the genre, the seminal Watchmen. This masterpiece was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “The greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worthy of the label literature,” and was recently adapted into a major motion picture.watchmen-cover

Speaking of graphic novels which have been adapted into films, there are several others available in the DCPL catalog, notably Sin City and V For Vendetta (the latter is also available in graphic novel format).

So give graphic novels a try and check one out. Just look for GN on the spine label. You’ll never think of them as just “kid stuff” again.

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Jun 10 2009

Authors on Twitter

by Nancy M

twitterIf you’re with me, you are sick of hearing about Twitter. Scarcely a day goes by that I don’t hear, “Check us out on Twitter”, or “Twitter breaks huge story”, or “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” (I just don’t know about this one). Not being able to ignore all the fuss, I signed up and found that most people are quite simply answering the question that Twitter asks, “what are you doing?” So when I read that my friend John was “feeling tired this morning” or that my sister-in-law was “so excited for The Bachelor finale”, I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. And don’t even get me started on the personal pressure I feel when trying to come up with something witty and relevant to post, all under 140 characters. I gave up. Until…

Did you know that there are hundreds of authors that you can follow on Twitter? Some of my favorite authors such as Neil Gaiman and Laurie Halse Anderson are twittering tweeting about things that are quite interesting, such as information on their latest books, writing tips, links to cool articles and blogs, etc. And even though these well-respected writers are just as susceptible to posting humdrum tweets, I can’t help but find it really cool knowing that Neil Gaiman hates Delta, or that Karma Wilson also has a dog that likes vegetables. And what’s even better is the opportunity to pose questions to these people. All of the authors that I’m following actually respond to their followers’ questions and comments. Twitter is a great way to interact with people that you would normally have no contact with. Perhaps Twitter will change us all.

You can find a list of authors on Twitter here.

Who are you following?

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Jun 8 2009

Father’s Day Factoids

by Vivian A

portrait_of_george_washington

Although George Washington was Father of Our Country, he died in 1799 long before Father’s Day was invented.

The first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1908 in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia. On the other side of the U.S., Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington thought of the idea in 1909 while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day. She honored her father in 1910 and solicited the idea of an official Father’s Day.

The idea of Father’s Day was initially met with a laugh. After years of jokes and satire, Father’s Day became officially celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.

Despite promoting tools and electronics, gifts for Father’s Day sales were eleven billion in 2008 which was about seven billion less than gift sales for Mother’s Day. White and red roses are the official flowers of Father’s Day. White is in honor of a father who is deceased while red is in gratitude of one who is still living. According to Hallmark cards, 102 million cards will be sent, making Father’s Day the fifth largest card sending occasion.

In 2009, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 21. It’s no joke, honor your Dad. According to the Census Bureau there are 66.3 million of them in the United States.

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