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Events

May 16 2016

1,000 Books and Mrs. Kimbrall

by Hope L

1000books_1DeKalb County Public Library and the DeKalb Library Foundation have launched the wonderful  1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and it has made me think that  I’d like to focus on reading more myself.

I wonder if I could launch my own campaign, say, A 1000 Books Before I Retire, or A 1000 Books I Really Should Have Read While in School, or even A 1000 Books I Shall Read Before I Go to the Big Library Upstairs.

When I think of the earliest books I enjoyed, I think of the Dick and Jane and Spot books, and of course, Dr. Seuss and Curious George. These books bring back memories of the smell of paste and working with construction paper, painting pictures and all the fun stuff we did in kindergarten.  Prior to that I don’t remember much except for digging a deep hole outside by my dollhouse with a spoon from the kitchen drawer while Mom would hang up the laundry.

I don’t believe anything too highbrow came through our household at that time, probably the lone classics being my brothers’ copy of  “The Last of the Mohicans,” or “Treasure Island,” which of course were way above my level of reading.  My parents used to read their paperback novels in bed while we kids watched TV.

And so it was with a pinch of luck later on that I was allowed to select a title  from my fifth grade teacher’s collection of paperbacks, which she invited us all to do as she was leaving after that year.

Mrs. Clarissa Kimbrall was retiring.

Grand Canyon School’s elementary students’ greatest fear was the mere presence of Mrs. Kimbrall.  At some 5’5″ tall, with her stern wardrobe of a floral dress, light pastel sweater, hose and military-cum-old lady shoes, her intimidating stature struck terror in even the wildest or toughest juvenile delinquent or goody-two-shoes alike.  Everyone in our elementary school got a knot in the pit of their stomachs when they thought about Mrs. Kimbrall waiting for them when they, too, finally reached the fifth grade.

We were so … um … fortunate to be blessed to be the final class to have Mrs. Clarissa Kimbrall at Grand Canyon School, in Grand Canyon, Arizona.

But along with everybody else, I stayed awake nights dreading the next day with Mrs. Kimbrall.  It was when worry was formally born in my psyche.  But we all lived to tell the story.

When somebody would have a birthday Mrs. Kimbrall would break out her infamous raisin cupcakes with pink frosting that were tough as a cheap steak. But we politely ate and smiled, for to leave that ‘treat’ (read: rock)  uneaten – that which the old woman would bake once a year (it might’ve been years before!) and would store in her freezer to bring every birthday – would be to face the wrath of Clarissa Kimbrall.

One never knew what the day would bring:  would Rusty Kemper fall asleep during reading?  Would Mrs. Kimbrall herself nod off whilst reading aloud to us from “The Hardy Boys’ Mysteries,” her pinky finger gently resting at the side of her nostril just so?  Would the class giggle and act up and awaken Mrs. Kimbrall, who would then unleash her wrath upon everyone?

But besides the gifts of respect, awe and terror, Mrs. Kimbrall gave me my first book.  Sure, I had books that were hand-me-downs from my three older brothers, and I read their “Boys’ Life” magazines, but this book that I selected from Mrs. Kimbrall’s large collection was my own personal book, my first.

And the book I chose was … “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek,” by Evelyn Sibley Lampman.  I shall never forget it … or Mrs. Kimbrall and her raisin cupcakes.

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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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Jul 3 2014

Celebrate Independence Day

by Glenda

usaflag_flying Our flag represents our independence and our unity as a nation. The flag of the United States of America has a wonderful history. The American flag is protected daily by men and women within the United States borders and overseas. Our flag even stands on the surface of the moon. Americans have fought to proudly display the flag of the United States of America, so raise your flag and celebrate. For more information about the flag of the United States of America visit your local library. Here are some books you may want to check out: Star-Spangled Banner: Our Nation and Its Flag by Margaret Sedeen, The First American Flag by Kathy Allen or What is the Story of Our Flag? by Janice Behrens.

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Mar 3 2014

Women’s History Month

by Joseph M

March is Women’s History Month, and the library is a great place to learn more about the countless contributions of women throughout the ages. In addition to a wide selection of biographical materials showcasing the lives of numerous notable women, DCPL has many titles appropriate to the theme. Among these are Celebrating women’s history : a women’s history month resource book, as well as one that I’m currently enjoying, The Great Women Superheroes.

Of course, there are many other ways to observe Women’s History Month. This morning when I was listening to WABE (the local NPR station) I heard a bit about Storycorps Atlanta, and how they are encouraging people to come and talk about the great women in their lives. Neat idea, right? How will you celebrate?

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Feb 28 2014

Book Club Play

by Rebekah B

Book-Club

Many of you may already be members of book clubs which often form in neighborhoods, among school parents or students, at your local library, senior center, community center, or from meet-up groups.  I have happily been a member of a neighborhood book club which I joined shortly after moving to Atlanta in 2007.  Although I have changed neighborhoods a couple of times since joining the group, I have remained faithful to my book club.  Each month I look forward to sharing good food, conversation, laughter, and company with this group of women. At the close of each year, one member hosts an always delightful holiday party, and each member chooses a book to share with the group for the coming year.  We do have a leader, but we have few rules, unlike some book clubs!  Our group is all female.  While there is no obligation to provide wine, it does seem as if most of our members particularly look forward to sipping wine while discussing our monthly selection.  Often, we try to coordinate the food served with references to meals or items eaten by characters in the book, or to the ethnic cuisine referenced.

DCPL was kind enough to offer staff members free tickets to the preview presentation of Karen Zacharias’The Book Club Play” currently at the Horizon Theater in Little Five Points.  I went to the play with my son, not quite sure what to expect.  The theater itself is quite intimate, with the stage level with the first row of seats.  The living room setting was very realistic and cozy, with all seating quite close to the stage.

the book club play atlanta

Prior to the performance, the audience was asked by theater staff if we belong to a book club, and if so, what are the reasons that we continue to enjoy these groups.  Among the responses were neighborhood gossip, wine, good company, and food.  Funnily enough, no one mentioned the books!  Personally, I have discovered many books and authors that I would have otherwise not read without the recommendation of other readers, and the insight of fellow readers is always valuable too.  The Book Club Play was entertaining and certainly more dramatic than most “real” book clubs, but the characters were convincing and experienced transformation through the situations caused by a new member being drafted into the club and the reading selections he brought to the table.  The premise of the play is that a renowned international documentary film-maker will be filming all of this particular group’s meetings.  As the members of the group reveal their intimate secrets despite trying to keep them covert, their relationships evolve.

book-clubWhat I find most interesting about book clubs is that while reading is for the most part a solitary activity (unless one is reading to another or being read to), the book club is almost entirely a social rather than an intellectual or intimate event.  When I read, it is for my own edification, personal growth, as well for entertainment.  I love fiction because of the sense of intimacy which occurs as I share a selection of a stranger’s most innermost thoughts, musings, and feelings.  Reading is the place, in my opinion, where we are the most close to other people’s true thoughts and feelings.  A sense of anonymity is created by the remove of the book itself, written by a person whom we most likely won’t ever meet or encounter.  This artistic replica of reality is then cloaked in a fictional layer of characters and situations which allows both reader and author to expose with true freedom of expression the tenderly vulnerable aspects of self and relationship.

While I do share some of my reactions to books read at book club meetings, I most look forward to reading books that other people in the group have suggested.  In this manner, I get to know these women just a little bit better, and I enjoy the opportunity to read books which I would most likely not have otherwise encountered or read.

What do you like most about your book club?

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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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May 29 2013

Mark your calendars!

by Dea Anne M

On September 23 1957, 3 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared via Brown vs Board of Education that all laws establishing segregated schools were unconstitutional, nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The tumultuous events that preceded and followed this event have become generally known as the Little Rock Integration Crisis. Someone who played a leading role during this time, and in times to come, was Daisy Bates (November 11, 1914 – November 4, 1999). Elected president of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP in 1952, Mrs. Bates, along with her husband L. C. Bates, was a very important figure in the African American community of Little Rock. Their newspaper, the Arkansas State Press, whose first issue appeared on May 9, 1941, was a voice for civil rights well before a nationally recognized movementemerged. Mrs. Bates acted as advisor and guide to the students who became know as the Little Rock Nine.The Bates’ newspaper suffered such a loss of advertising revenue during and after these events that they were forced to stop publishing in 1959 but Mrs. Bates went on to do important work in New York City and Washington DC. In 1988, the reprint of her 1962 memoir The Long Shadow of Little Rock (which was initially banned throughout the South) won a National Bookrock Award.

On Saturday, June 8th, the Stonecrest branch of DCPL will proudly host Janis F. Kearney the author of Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Kearney, who was 16 when she met Bates, paints a vivid and compelling picture of a true legend, a woman ahead of her time during a fascinating, and for many dangerous, period of our nation’s history. Ms. Kearney, a highly respected scholar, served as Presidential Diarist to President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2001 and is the author of the memoir Cotton Field of Dreams which tells of her childhood growing up as one of 17 children born to poor sharecroppers who encouraged their children to succeed through hard work, education and bold dreams. Funding for this very special event is provided by the Friends of the Stonecrest Library and the City of Lithonia and will take place from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Please be sure not to miss this exciting author talk!Little Rock

For more background on Daisy Bates, check out The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin and to learn more about the Little Rock Integration Crisis be sure not miss Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the crisis that rocked the nation by Elizabeth Jacoway

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Apr 1 2013

Dewey’s Read-a-Thon

by Jencey G

24 Hour Read A ThonDewey’s Read-a-Thon is a 24 hour reading challenge that takes place on April 27. To participate you need a computer to access the Dewey’s Read-a-Thon website and Facebook page. Then you will need that stack of books you have been dying to read. Finally you will need to pick food and drink with tons of caffeine to keep you going during the evening hours.

What do you do during the challenge? You read. You also update your blog intermittently with comments about your reading experience during the challenge. This often qualifies you for prizes. There are also challenges from book bloggers that include everything from crosswords to title scrambles. There’s even an opportuniy for you to raise money for charities.

Dewey’s Read-a-Thon was started in 2007 by a woman who was left alone while her husband and son went to a 24 hour Comic Day. She to use those 24 hours to read and blog about it. She died in 2008, but the Read-a-Thon lives on, run by the women who helped her carry it out twice a year.

I look forward to this year’s challenge. I hope that you will join me!

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Oct 15 2012

October…Think Pink

by Amanda L

This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every year there seems to be more activities available to participate in raising awareness and money to fight breast cancer in the Atlanta area. Most people are aware of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. This year it is being held October 19-21, 2012. There are a variety of other events listed on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure-Greater Atlanta website.

On October 20, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., the Stonecrest Library will be the host site for the Pink Heart Awareness Conference. The guest speaker for the conference is breast cancer survivor, Shondia McFadden-Sabari. All ages are invited to attend this conference.

Sometimes when we or a loved one goes through a situation it is comforting to read stories where characters experience similar situations.  I was touched deeply by breast cancer over a decade ago when a friend died at the age of thirty.  Below are a list of books where the characters are breast cancer survivors.

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Oct 5 2012

Building Common Ground

by Patricia D

I’m really not accustomed to having culturally important landmarks in my backyard.  We did have the home of Louis Bromfield near where I grew up,  as well as the Ohio State Reformatory, site of the films Tango & Cash (ah yes, such a great film) and the Shawshank Redemption.  OSR is no longer a maximum security prison but it is a terrifying Haunted House.  Folks come from all over the Midwest and Middle Atlantic and pay to get into the place Kurt Russell and Tim Robbins worked so hard to escape.  Even though organizers could get by with just handing over a flashlight and sending you into the abandoned cell block (no joke, that place is seriously creepy, and not in a Scooby Doo  way) they go all out with decorating, actors  and animatronics.  That,  on top of actually being in an old prison (lots of bad energy in those walls), makes for a really good show, if you’re into that sort of thing.  So that’s my hometown’s  claim to cultural significance .  I had to move to Georgia just to up the ante.  Now I can claim all sorts of things,  including the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, part of which is in southeastern DeKalb County.  It is one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States.

There are two huge things that make Arabia Mountain so special, neither of which is that it was one of the locations for the movie Pet Sematary II.   One is the ecosystem on Arabia Mountain itself.  Animals such as lichen grasshoppers, marbled and spotted salamanders, coachwhip and hognose snakes, great- horned owls, deer and bobcats make their home on the monadnock.  It is home to the world’s largest population of  Isoetes melanospora (black spotted quillwort), a Federally protected plant.  It’s also home to the rare Small’s Stonecrop, a plant that makes a living out of almost nothing.  There are also the the less rare, but lovely,  Sunnybells, Sparkleberry, Yellow Daisy, Fringetree and Georgia Oak.

The second reason Arabia Mountain is so special is the people.  The area has been inhabited for thousands of years—Native Americans, Scots immigrants, Trappist Monks—but it is the Flat Rock community, established by freed slaves, that will be the focus of Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a series of programs at the DeKalb County Public Library that will celebrate the history, diversity and preservation of the community.

Flat Rock began as a small area south of what would become I-20.  It was an agricultural community  bordered by three small slave-holding farms and grew after the  Civil War into a bustling community of churches, schools, and civic organizations.  It thrived for decades, done in finally by the Great Migration and the Great Depression.  It is also the site of one of the few intact slave cemeteries left in Georgia. Today it provides a glimpse into the lives of freed slaves and their descendants.

Building Common Ground is funded by a grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.  DCPL’s partners include the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance, the Flat Rock Archives and Museum and Arabia Mountain High School.  The four programs will be hosted by the amazing staff at the Stonecrest Library. You may also listen to interviews with community members on the Building Common Ground page conducted by StoryCorps.

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