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Aug 29 2014

Emma Mills Nutt Day!

by Glenda

emmanuttOn September 1, 2014, we celebrate Emma Mills Nutt as the first female telephone operator.  On September 1, 1878, Emma began working for the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company. Her career lasted thirty-three years. Prior to hiring Emma, the telephone dispatch had young men as telephone operators, and some customers felt the men did not have the proper attitude and patience for live telephone contact. Customers had positive responses to Emma’s soothing voice and her patience. Soon all of the men were replaced by women.

Emma was hired by Alexander Graham Bell, most recognized as the inventor of the first practical telephone. She changed jobs from the local telegraph office. Emma’s salary was $10.00 per month for a 54-hour work week. It is said that Emma could remember every number in the telephone directory of the New England Telephone Company. It was not all that easy for a woman to become an operator. The woman needed to be unmarried and between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six. A woman had to look proper and have arms long enough to reach the top of the tall telephone switchboard. Many books have been published about the history of the telephone. Click here to see some items you may want to check out at DCPL.

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Aug 25 2014

The Know Nothing vs. Alex

by Hope L

Alex1Remember a while back when I said I was a Know-It-All?

Well, when I’m watching Jeopardy (with your host, A-LEX TRE-bek!) and the Final Jeopardy question is U.S.  Presidents, I arrogantly jump for joy.  You see, I pride myself on knowing a lot about the presidents.

I was perusing the stacks of DCPL the other day, and a title leapt out at me: So You Think You Know the Presidents? Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives.  I had to read it just to confirm (yet again) that I do indeed know a lot about the presidents.  The Know-It-All in action!

Well, it turns out I don’t know all that much about the presidents.  Truly.  Sure, I can name them all, in order.  I can usually tell you who is what number, as in Grover Cleveland was number 22 and 24.  But when I began reading this fascinating book (yes, I know I say that about every book I blog about!) I was dumbstruck.

Like, take this about Theodore Roosevelt:

“…He was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912, when a saloonkeeper named John Schrank shot him.  The bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket.  Roosevelt concluded that since he wasn’t coughing up blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately.  Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping onto his shirt.  He spoke for 90 minutes.”

I mean, can you imagine?!  First of all, it’s a very good thing he wore eyeglasses and that he wrote a very wordy, 50-page speech!  And second, can you imagine this happening today?  Why, the Secret Service would have a cow.

Many of the tasty tidbits in this tome had me wanting to dial up Alex Trebek and ask, “Did you know that…,” because, SURELY, even the sage of game-show fame does not know THAT.

Imagine the smirk on my face as I ask Alex why Abraham Lincoln decided to grow a beard:

Alex: “Hmmm … well, Hope, I’m not sure …because it made him look older?

Hope: “WRONG!  No, of course it was because eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote him a letter suggesting that he do so!  The letter was written on October 15, 1860, just before the 1860 election.  He had NEVER worn a beard before!”

Alex (mouth agape, eyebrows raised):  “Um … really?”

Of course, for casual readers, this volume might not be up your alley, but for your real Know-It-All’s like yours truly, it’s a treasure trove of trivia that is fascinating and curious, some of it almost strange.

Hope: “Alex, betcha’ don’t know the only president to have officially reported a UFO sighting…”

Alex: “Hmmm … well, Hope, I’m not sure… “

Hope: “JIMMY CARTER!  (in Leary, GA, in 1969, seven years before he became president and two years before he became governor of  Georgia).”

Alex (smiling, eyebrows raised): “Um … really?”

Oh, and btw y’all:  The former president who later ran for office as a member of the Know Nothing Party?

“Who is Millard Fillmore.”  I’m calling Alex…

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Aug 6 2014

On Books and Covers

by Joseph M

girl with the dragon tattoo cover

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes an eye-catching graphic provides the impetus to pick up a book that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. If you’ve ever wondered who comes up with the ideas for those covers, you may be interested in a recent New York Times article profiling Peter Mendelsund, associate art director for the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. You may recognize his work on this cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Although he has designed literally hundreds of book covers over the course of his career, the one that gave him the most trouble was for his own first book. Read more by clicking here.

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May 7 2014
Post image for National Mother Goose Day

National Mother Goose Day

by Glenda

We started off the month with National Mother Goose Day on May 1. Mother Goose Day was founded by Gloria T. Delamar, author of the book Mother Goose: From Nursery to Literature. The day is now celebrated throughout the United States.  The Library features nursery rhymes and Mother Goose in our storytime programs. Other ways to celebrate Mother Goose is to act out some of the rhymes or even bake something from a rhyme. If you would like to read some Mother Goose books, or compare rhymes in various books, you may be interested in Mother Goose: A Collection of Classic Nursery Rhymes selected and illustrated by Michael Hague, Tomie de Paola’s Mother Goose, and Black Mother Goose Book arranged by Elizabeth Murphy Oliver. Stop by your local library and introduce yourself to Mother Goose.

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Apr 21 2014

National Jelly Bean Day

by Glenda

Did you know that April 22, 2014, is National Jelly Bean Day? Oh my! Lately anytime you go into the grocery store you see tons of varieties of jelly beans. I did not know there was a national day. The jelly bean, just in case you don’t know, is a small bean-shaped candy that has a soft shell with a gel interior and comes in just about a thousand different flavors–well, not actually a thousand. Credit for the first jelly bean is usually given to Boston confectioner William Schrafft. He encouraged people to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the Civil War. Historians think the jelly bean was first linked with the celebration of Easter as early as the 1930s. Today we eat jelly beans to celebrate Easter as well as other holidays, but there are some of us who eat jelly beans any day of the week. And jelly beans can be used for more than eating. They are an excellent decorating tool as well as a craft tool. Personally, I love eating jelly beans. My favorite flavors are pineapple and watermelon. What’s your favorite flavor? Also, if you are looking for jelly bean books check out Danny’s Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment by David A. Adler and The Giant Jelly Bean Jar by Marcie Aboff.

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Dec 19 2013

National Hobby Month

by Glenda

January is National Hobby Month. If you do not have a hobby (or need a new one) I have a few suggestions. The DeKalb County Public Library offers a variety of programs throughout the year. For example, the Crochet Group or the Quilting Workshop would be perfect for those who are a little crafty or just want to learn. You might say “I am not a crafty person.” Well, did you know the library is offering Symphony in Your Neighborhood? This program brings the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to your neighborhood for free. Meaning you do not have to sit in Buckhead traffic to experience the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. What if music is not your thing? Are you a reader? Well, the library has book discussion groups for you avid readers. Did you know that the library also has a program for those of you who would like to learn a new language? The International Café meets once a month so that you may practice your Spanish skills. Okay, so none of this has sparked your interest? What about movies? The library has a New Movie Series where we show recent movies. And how about taking a free yoga class? For more ideas, you can also check out the book Get a hobby!: 101 all-consuming diversion for any lifestyle by Tina Barseghian.

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Sep 25 2013

National Computer Learning Month

by Glenda

computerDid you know that October is National Computer Learning Month? Did you know that there is a place in your community that offers computer classes every month? Did you know that these classes are free? The DeKalb County Public Library has twenty-two library locations and just about all of the locations offer free computer classes, all you have to do is call a location that is having a class and register. The library offers classes such as e-mail basics and classes on how to use Microsoft Office programs. In addition to these classes, some locations even offer Book-A-Librarian opportunities. Book-A-Librarian gives you the opportunity to ask a librarian any computer or research question and receive one-on-one assistance and advice from a librarian. You can’t beat that, and it’s FREE. So the next time you are in a library branch location pick up a monthly calendar (or check out the online calendar) and start taking some of these free computer classes. Come on, you know you want to learn all the cool stuff the kids are doing!

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Sep 12 2012

Why Support Your Local Library?

by Jesse M

Take a look at this useful infographic detailing why it’s so important to support your local library. While it may seem counter-intuitive, library budgets need to be expanded during tough economic times rather than reduced, because demand for our services increases. Click the “read more” link to see the graphic.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Apr 27 2012

Oh BookMyne, How Do I Love Thee!

by Amanda L

I was fortunate enough to be one of the folks to test out this new mobile app (Android and Apple) for the Library. I have been using it for the last three months and have found it very valuable to me.  One of the biggest features I love about this app is that you are always logged into your account.  I can immediately see when I have an overdue item or when a request is available for pick-up by just tapping the app. Finally, I enjoy this app because I am constantly updating my reading lists on Goodreads. No longer do I need to log into my library account to request a book or open another browser application. I can easily go between my Goodreads app and my BookMyne app to find something new to read.

For New Users here are the steps to get started:

1.  You will need an Android or Apple device and select the app from their mobile store.

2. Once you download the application (from here if you have an Android and from here for Apple devices), you will need to open the BookMyne app on your device.

3. Either use the GPS or location service on your device or search for the Library to find the right location. For us, you need to look for DCPL-branch. For me, the GPS function did not work well so I used the search function. Make sure you search for DCPL-Stonecrest or whichever branch you prefer to be your “home” branch. (TIP- I just typed in DCPL and then the local branches came up. I then scrolled until I found the branch I wanted as my home library. It did take me a few tries to get the DCPL branches to show in the app.)

4. Tap the house to begin searching or to access your account for the first time. You will need to log into your account with your library card and pin number.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Apr 10 2012

National Library Workers’ Day

by David T

In conjunction with National Library Week, Tuesday, April 10 has been designated National Library Workers’ Day (NLWD) to honor the contributions of librarians, support staff, volunteers and others who make library services possible.

Library workers are responsible for a wide variety of services that patrons have come to expect from their libraries. They are in charge of more than just checking books in and out. Library workers catalog and shelve materials; retrieve requested items and send them to other libraries; answer phone calls and emails; organize programs and events; administer computer networks; update the library’s website; select and obtain books, CDs, DVDs, and databases; and much more.

Event organizers have invited library users to mark the occasion by “submitting a star” — telling everyone what makes a library employee special by submitting a favorite worker’s name and why he or she is wonderful. You’re encouraged to submit a star to the NLWD website, but feel free to make a comment here as well. We know there are many “stars” here in our own DCPL constellation—who’s yours?

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