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May 25 2016

Are You a Die Hard Fan Like Me?

by Jencey G

How many of you were excited last December when the new Star StarWars 1Wars film The Force Awakens opened in theaters?  Are you feeling the blues now waiting for the next Star Wars film to be released?  Did you know that we have much to offer at DCPL with Star Wars movies, books, and more?

Star Wars Allegiance by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars Art: Visions by George Lucas and JW Rinzler

Star Wars, Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross Sections by Curtis Saxton

Star Wars, Attack of the Clones: Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds

Star Wars, Blast Off A Doring Kindersley Reader

Star Wars, Cloak of Deception by James Luceno

Star Wars, Complete Cross Sections by David West Reynolds

StarWarsAftermathThese books cover information about all of the movies except The Force Awakens.  With these titles, you have a chance to explore other possibilities and go on further adventures with your favorite characters.  I remember after seeing the The Force Awakens feeling withdrawal because I wanted to see more and learn more about these characters.  I, like everyone else, will be marking my calendar until the next film is released.

I first learned about Star Wars when I was a little kid and my father took me to see the original movies.  For me, they were like fairy tales with a handsome prince or scoundrel, if you like Han Solo.  The princess of course is Leia.  Then you have the Queen Amidala who is rescued by the Jedi warrior Anakin Skywalker.

So happy reading! And may the Force be with you!

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May 9 2016

So You Want to Write a Book!

by Jencey G

How many of you have on your bucket list publishing a prize winning book? Where do you begin? What are your next steps?  How do you start a manuscript and see it through to the end that includes publication?  What makes for good plot and character development? Or just a good story?

The library can help.  One way to do this is to visit the experts.  You can attend programs at Georgia Center for the Book.  There is usually at least one program each week with many different authors and genres represented.  There almost always is a question and answer session at the end of the author’s talk for those with writing questions.

The next option would be to attend a writer’s group program at one of our many branches.  These groups can provide accountability and or work on skills that help progress your writing.  There are groups that have met at our locations at Wesley Chapel- William C. Brown, Stonecrest, Clarkston, Dunwoody, among others.  Some branches have speakers that come and focus on a certain skill in writing.  We had a program at Clarkston about the psychological effects of characters within your writing. Dunwoody has had a gentleman who comes and helps you work on the tools of writing.

There are many books that are perfect to help you wiJanet Evanovichth your writing and are also available on audiobook.   They may also be available in e-content as well. Your favorite authors get asked questions all the time about writing.  Janet Evanovich is one of those authors who has written a book about her writing process and the publishing field.  You can find, How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author at DCPL. I found it to be insightful.  One of the most recommended is Stephen King On Writing, A Memoir of Craft.  There are books available that focus on plot, character development, or how to read as a writer.

Please visit the catalog and see what can make writing your manuscript happen.  Please also visit the events page on the DeKalb Library website.  Maybe I will see you at a Georgia Center for the Book program!

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Mar 24 2016

Mommy and Me

by Hope L

MommyRecently the Workplace Advisory Group of the DeKalb County Public Library volunteered for a project to help the Mommy and Me Family Literacy Program located in Clarkston.  The DCPL volunteers will be fixing up a space in the school for mothers and their children to read and relax during their school day.

The Mommy and Me Refugee Family Literacy Program is a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston where immigrant mothers and their children learn together.

When I found out about this program, I was delighted.  For a time I worked at the Clarkston Branch of DCPL, and it was (and is) a very busy place!  There were many immigrant children, most of them refugees whose families fled to this country from their homelands.

According to their website, the school’s students come from more than a dozen countries from around the world: Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

From the Mommy and Me website,

​We are a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia where immigrant mothers and children learn together.

A family literacy program, we offer four components of instruction: (1) ESOL classes for refugee women, (2) onsite early childhood development program for their young children, (3) Parent and Child Time sessions to promote family engagement, and (4) weekly workshops on parenting, health/nutrition, and life skills.

“Clarkston’s transformation dates back to the late 1980’s, when the U.S. State Department and various resettlement agencies chose Clarkston as an ideal site for refugee resettlement.  A mass exodus of middle-class whites to Atlanta’s more affluent suburbs left behind inexpensive apartments that could serve as affordable housing for newly arrived refugee families.  The easternmost stop on MARTA, Clarkston also offered its residence access to public transit and a commute to employment opportunities in Atlanta.”

To find out more about the program or to volunteer or make a donation, click on the link below:

Mommy and Me Family Literacy | about us

 

 

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Nov 2 2015

The Know-It-All Gets Schooled

by Hope L

KIAI’m sure you’re wondering: What can DCPL’s Know-It-All library card do for someone like me, a dyed-in-the-wool Know-It-All if there ever was one?  Through the end of the year, DCPL is running its Proud Card-Carrying Know-It-All campaign to encourage DeKalb residents to get a library card.

Now, I ask you, why do I need a library card? After all, I’ve already claimed to know it all. What else could I possibly learn?

Plenty, I have discovered. There is still SO much to know, to learn, and to enjoy. Or to rant about!

Why, I just discovered Marlene Targ Brill’s book Let Women Vote! at DCPL and learned about Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader of this country’s suffragist movement.  (Note the insistent exclamation point at the end of that book’s title!)womenvote

Catt marshaled the forces in Tennessee in July 1920 in the final fight in the struggle for women’s suffrage–the right to vote.

Thirty-five states had already approved the amendment, which said: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged (limited) by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

“Catt packed a small overnight bag at once. She expected to stay in Nashville only a few days, long enough to prove that the women worried needlessly. After she arrived, however, Catt changed her mind. Men and women who opposed the vote had flooded into Nashville. The size and strength of groups against woman suffrage shocked her. Catt quickly sent home for more clothes. For the next six weeks she fought one of the toughest battles in the seventy-two-year-long suffrage war.”

And just consider what I heard on NPR and researched online at DCPL recently: Suffrajitsu and Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons!

Suffrajitsu came about when the powers that be in the British women’s suffrage movement got tired of violent threats, being spat on, and frankly, being beaten up by those who were against their cause. (Or, like the famous line from that classic media/journalism movie Network: “I’m mad as he** and I’m NOT going to take this anymore!” Yessiree, Ms. Know-It-All remembers Peter Finch got an Oscar for that role.)

HippolytaAnd then there’s this from the juvenile fiction book by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons, available at DCPL:

“Hippolyta is a true Amazon princess:  Her heart beats for the thrill of the hunt, the rush of her daily battle training, and the abiding community of her fellow female warriors. She would do anything to protect the secure, empowering life the Amazons have built. But when her entire world is threatened, will this thirteen-year-old warrior be able to save it?

“Battling against time, fighting against incredible odds and even the gods themselves, Hippolyta will have to do the unthinkable to save the legendary race of female warriors:  accept the help and love of a boy. And as she journeys to her nation’s mythical homeland of Arimaspa in search of salvation, Hippolyta finally learns what it really means to be an Amazon: finding the courage to face your fears and overcome them in order to change the world.”

Well, Hippolyta may have needed to accept the help and love of a boy, but the Suffrajitsu Amazons did not. Okay, the suffragettes did have husbands and other enlightened men assisting in their battle to be able to vote. But, there were many more men who were dead set against it! Now, they could’ve called a few he-men in to do the job, but no, this called for the Suffrajitsu and the Amazons–sturdy women who would protect the suffragettes in their travels, protests and skirmishes. (Ms. Know-It-All wonders if she could have made the cut as a sturdy Suffragette?! But alas, we shall never know that.)

suffWhy, I even learned that Britain’s Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, a suffragette, was named by Time Magazine in 1999 as “One of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.”

(Meryl Streep, Ms. Know-It-All’s favorite actress, plays Mrs. Pankhurst in the female-produced, directed and written film Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan, which just opened at the end of October.)

Protests, marches, imprisonment and hunger strikes were some of Mrs. Pankhurst’s tactics. But, when she began getting roughed up, she began evading police by using disguises. Eventually the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU, started in 1903 by Pankhurst and her colleagues) established a jujitsu-trained female bodyguard squad to physically protect her.

Now that I’m a card-carrying Know-It-All because of my free, official DCPL library card in my wallet, I’m like the Suffrajitsu, except I’m ready to fight back with the facts instead of fists! You can bet that I won’t leave home without it!

And, by the way… What’s in YOUR wallet?

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Sep 21 2015

National Voter Registration Day

by Glenda

Register to VoteNational Voter Registration Day is September 22, 2015.  Across our wonderful nation Americans will celebrate this day by registering to vote. National Voter Registration Day started in 2012. In its inaugural year, 300,000 voters registered to vote on that day. Hundreds of local, state and national organizations participate in National Voter Registration Day. Did you know that the state of Georgia provides online voter registration, or that you can come to any DeKalb County Public Library and get a voter registration form any time the library is open? Did you know that it is your right as an American citizen to vote? So vote!

For more information, see our Voting and Elections subject guide.

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Feb 14 2015

Presidents’ Day

by Glenda

presidents-dayThis year, we celebrate Presidents’ Day on February 16, 2015–but what is Presidents’ Day? Initially, it was called Washington’s Birthday to celebrate our first President George Washington. Later, Presidents’ Day was meant to include President Abraham Lincoln. However, there were and still are states that do not like to celebrate President Lincoln.

The states of Massachusetts and Virginia celebrate Washington’s Birthday and it is called “Washington’s Birthday” or “George Washington’s Birthday.”  The term “Presidents Day” was informally coined to include multiple presidents. In most states, Presidents’ Day includes all former presidents and the current president. When I was younger I was told we celebrate Presidents’ Day in February because most presidents were born in February–but that is not true. Six presidents were born in October and only four were born in February. Guess which four? Ronald Reagan was born February 6, 1911; William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773; Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, and George Washington was born February 22, 1732. The six presidents who were born in October are Jimmy Carter, born October 1, 1924; Rutherford B. Hayes, born October 4, 1822; Chester A. Arthur, born October 5, 1829; Dwight D. Eisenhower, born October 14, 1890; Theodore Roosevelt, born October 27, 1858, and John Adams born October 30, 1735.

The federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in Washington and it expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. Initially, the holiday was celebrated on President Washington’s actual birthday of February 22.  On January 1, 1971, the holiday was changed and Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Source- Strauss, V. (2014, February 2). Why Presidents’ Day is slightly strange? Retrieved from The Washington Post.

If you would like more information about Presidents’ Day, check out these items from DCPL:

Presidents’ Day by Natalie M. Rosinsky

Presidents’ Day by Sheri Dean

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Dec 15 2014

Bill of Rights Day

by Glenda

Bill of Rights imageDid you know that December 15, 2014 is Bill of Rights Day?  The Bill of Rights includes our key amendments to the U. S. Constitution, and they protect our individual rights. States and individuals were concerned that the original Constitution did not protect individual rights. The Constitution was signed by the thirteen original states with the understanding that the Bill of Rights would be created, amending the new U.S. Constitution. On September 25, 1789 the first Congress of the United States proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution; however, only ten of the twelve were added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.

Bill of Rights (summary)

Amendment #1:  Freedom of speech, press and religion.

Amendment #2:  The right to bear arms.

Amendment #3:  Protection of homeowners from quartering troops, except during war.

Amendment #4:  Rights and protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Amendment #5:  Right of due process of law, protections against double jeopardy, self incrimination.

Amendment #6:  Rights of a speedy trial by jury of peers and rights of accused.

Amendment #7:  Rights of trial by jury in civil cases.

Amendment #8:  Protection from cruel and unusual punishment, excessive bail.

Amendment #9:  Protection of rights not specified in the Bill of Rights.

Amendment #10: State rights, power of the states.

The two amendments that did not pass were about the number of representatives to Congress and compensation to representatives.

Read more about the Bill of Rights at billofrightsinstitute.org.

The Bill of Rights is very important to every person in the Unites States. If you would like more information about the Bill of Rights visit your local library and check out a few books. Here are some suggestions:

The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments of the Constitution by David L. Hudson

The Bill of Rights by Don Nardo

In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights by Russell Freedman

A Kid’s Guide to America’s Bill of Rights: Curfews, Censorship and the 100-Pound Giant by Kathleen Krull

 

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Nov 21 2014

Color coding

by Dea Anne M

NPR has been running an intriguing series lately on the subject of color. The series is called “Color Decoded: Stories That Span the Spectrum” and it is well worth taking the time to check out. Stories include fun information about colors in the spectrum–you’ll learn here that brown is actually a low-intensity shade of orange and why a male visitor to China would be wise to avoid wearing a green hat. You’ll also find out why there are so few blue animals and consider if it might be time to “reappropriate” the color pink from the cultural forces that drive such phenomena as the Disney Princess Empire. Speaking of pink (and in case you’re curious), apparently pink was considered a “strong” color up until the twentieth century and much more appropriate for boys, whereas little girls were more often dressed in the “daintier” color blue. This is fascinating stuff and I urge you to take a moment or two to explore.

DCPL can also help you explore color and the many meanings that it can carry.

First, give a look to Life In Color: National Geographic Photographs. This gorgeous book is full of the high quality photography that the magazine is famous for. Separate chapters explore different manifestations of blue, green, orange, etc. The image of the alpine landscape of Alaska’s Denali National Park was stunning enough to take my breath away.language

Sumptuous photography also graces The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet by Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut. The authors explore, among other things, how animals use color for self-protection and the use of color in religion. This book is also full of interesting bits of color trivia. For example, you really do see the neighbor’s lawn across the street as greener than your own. (You’re too far away to see the imperfections, so the color appears more uniform and saturated.)

Remember good old pink and blue? Well, you might be interested in exploring Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave by Adam Alter and Blue: The History of a Color by Michael Pastoureau. The former takes its title from the result of studies done in the early 80’s, which showed that a blueparticular shade of bubble-gum pink had the effect of calming down aggressive prisoners. The rest of the book deals in other fascinating aspects of applied psychology. Equally interesting, Pastoureau’s book explores the evolution in depth of a particular color. Ancient Romans considered blue a vulgar color suitable only for Celtic barbarians. During the Middle Ages, blue became closely associated with the Virgin Mary. Of course today, blue has conquered the world via Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss whose 1873 invention–denim jeans–has become a nearly global uniform.

How does color affect you? What colors do you love?

 

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Recently, librarians at Invercargill City Libraries in New Zealand wondered what it would look like if they attached a video camera to a library book as it circulated. It turns out it’s pretty cool! Check out the short video they made, which chronicles the journey of a library book from when it is first pulled from the stacks to when it is re-shelved for the next patron to browse upon it:

If you enjoyed that, you might also enjoy other videos shot from unique perspectives inside libraries. I’ve blogged previously about two videos by Nate Bolt–one provides a drone’s perspective on the iconic New York Public Library main branch and the other on BookOps, the book sorting center for both NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library.

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Oct 8 2014

National Pizza Month!

by Glenda

pizzaDid you know that October is National Pizza Month? Whether it is fresh from the delivery or hot out of your oven, most of us love pizza. Some of us are traditional pizza eaters and delight in cheese and pepperoni. Then there are those who enjoy non-traditional pizzas like Spinach Alfredo or Chicken Parmesan. No matter how you take your slice, America loves pizza.

National Pizza Month was first observed in 1984. October was designated as National Pizza Month by Gerry Durnell, the founder of Pizza Today magazine. Americans enjoy eating pizza. 252 million pounds of pepperoni are consumed every year on pizza. Americans spend $32 billion dollars per year on pizza. 350 slices of pizza are consumed each second in America. On average, each American eats 46 slices of pizza each year. 93% of Americans report eating at least one slice of pizza per month. There are 70,000 pizzerias in the United States. Of those 70,000 pizzerias, 9,000 are in New York. Three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year. (Pizzamarketplace.com has lots of information about industry trends and statistics.) No matter how you slice it, pizza is adored by America. If you are looking to make you own pizza, check out some of these books from DCPL: Pizzas by Linda Henry, Cool Pizza to Make and Bake: Easy Recipes for Kids to Cook by Lisa Wagner, Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas by Craig W. Priebe, and Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza and More by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer.

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