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

October 2007

Does your branch have a long waiting list for the GMAT test book? From a practice GED to an EMS certification, the LearningExpressLibrary features a full compliment of resources for just about any exam. Just want to measure your skills? Featuring some resources in Spanish, the Library also contains skill assessments for multiple grade levels in multiple disciplines and a selection of search-able e-Books just in case you need to review before your practice test.

As LearningExpressLibrary is a subscription-based database for DCPL, it can be accessed at your local branch or from home with your Library Card and PIN.

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I make a habit at the end of each year to go through the “best of” lists for music albums and for movies.  I don’t always find a new favorite artist or film, but I almost always discover something new or interesting.  I had heard of the The Decemberists from a Fresh Air interview on NPR, but had not heard their music, and when I saw The Crane Wife on a “best of 2006” list, I decided to place a hold request on it through the library.  After a few weeks of waiting, I finally brought home the album and listened to it with my wife.  We were both big music fans in the early 1990s of bands like the Smiths, 10,000 Maniacs, and Georgia’s own R.E.M. and we were immediately reminded of all three.  The Crane Wife‘s songs are deceptively catchy and melodic, though the lyrics are all of fable, history, and tragedy.  The title track is a trilogy of songs based on a Japanese folk tale, “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)” is a dialogue between lovers separated by the Civil War, and “O Valencia!” tells of a Romeo and Juliet-type tragedy.

Between the unique use of narrative lyrics, lead singer Colin Meloy’s affected brogue-like intonations, and guitar hooks that recall early R.E.M. and Fleetwood Mac, The Crane Wife is a worthwhile album to listen to again and again.

The Decemberists’ official website:  www.decemberists.com.

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American_greenWhen I saw the title, American Green: The Quest for the Perfect Lawn I was immediately intrigued. I have
always been fascinated in lawns and yards. I have taken particular interest in the subject lately, as I have been in the process of buying a new home while selling an old one.  In American Green, author Ted Steinberg details the history of lawn and lawn care, and describes how the idea of the “perfect lawn” has evolved over time. He also goes into detail describing the effect that it has had on American culture, its environmental impact, and the lengths that lawn care companies such as Scotts go to keep people buying their products throughout the entire year.

This book is not only very informative, but is also a very fun read. I recommend this book to anyone who is fascinated in lawns, history, the environment, or American consumer culture.

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Oct 25 2007

It's a Film Festival at the Library!

by Jimmy L

almost! Did you know that the library regularly shows new and award winning films for free? Here are some of the series that you should not miss:

Film Movement Series

Dreamsofdustboxcover_2Monthly screenings of new, award-winning independent and foreign films. This month’s film is Dreams of Dust about a Nigerian peasant who looks for work in Essakane, a dusty gold
mine in Northeast Burkina Faso, Africa, where he hopes to forget the past that
haunts him. Once there, he realizes that the gold mine ended 20 years ago, and the inhabitants of that town are existing out of habit. The film will be screened this Saturday, October 27, 1:00 PM at the Covington Library.

Next month’s film will be (tentatively) Adam’s Apples a Danish comedy that is sure to please (I saw it a while ago at a film screening and I loved it). Stay tuned to the library website for the times and locations of these monthly screenings.

Missed a gem? Don’t worry. Previous Film Movement Series films are also available on DVD at the library!

For more information, please visit the Film Movement website.

ITVS Community Cinema Series


ITVS Community Cinema screenings offer special sneak previews of films scheduled for upcoming broadcast on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Most screenings will feature panel discussions with leading community-based organizations, special guest speakers, information and resources designed to help people learn about and get involved in some of today’s key social issues.

I saw last month’s screening of Please Vote For Me, a film about three eight-year-old students in an elementary school in China campaigning for class monitor. It was informative, insightful, and funny. This month’s film is Miss Navajo, a film that follows contestants in their quest for the Miss Navajo Nation crown, and featuring personal stories of recent winners. It will be shown on Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 PM at the Decatur Library.

See the full ITVS Community Cinema Schedule!

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Oct 24 2007

Books for GA college students

by Heather O

If you are enrolled in one of the 34 participating Georgia colleges, you may be able to order books online from any college in the state. Galileo offers a universal catalog for libraries in the University System of Georgia, with the GIL Universal Catalog students can request books from other university libraries in Georgia, renew their books, and manage their library accounts.

If you are a student and still can’t find your book outside of both the Georgia university system and Dekalb County Public Libraries, we offer inter-library loan through your local branches.

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200pxjonathan_strange_and_mr_norrelLike many Metro Atlanta residents, I am a commuter.  My drive from home to work and back totals about an hour and a half, and that’s on good days.  This long commute, while it takes away from time I could be spending with my family, has allowed me the opportunity to explore some books that I probably wouldn’t take the time to read if I weren’t able to listen to them.  I found the Harry Potter series this way and made my way through the compendious Lord of the Rings trilogy (unabridged).  Some people consider this “cheating” somehow, but I tend to see it as enjoying the lost art of good storytelling, and getting to enjoy books I otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to read.

My interest was piqued when I first heard of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a couple of years ago.  As I browsed our audio book section recently, I came across a copy on CD and checked it out.  At 26 discs, I knew this would be a big time commitment, but what more do I have to do when I’m edging up I-285?  The story, like the Lord of the Rings, is paced and very descriptive, of people, places, and histories.  Susanna Clarke’s prose and subject matter is reminiscent of Jane Austen’s dry wit and focus on English upper class concerns.

Clarke’s early-nineteenth-century England has a long history of magic.  “Theoretical” magicians, or scholars of English magic, read and discuss and form societies of magicians.  But magic left England hundreds of years before with the departure of the renowned but mysterious Raven King.  Soon, a society of Yorkshire magicians discover that Mr. Norrell, a reclusive and fussy old bachelor in Yorkshire, possesses an extraordinary library of important books of magic, and the magicians bargain away their right to study magic to see an example of Mr. Norrell’s practical magic.  Mr. Norrell’s astonishing demonstration begins the return of English magic, and soon, Mr. Norrell and his charming and adventurous pupil Jonathan Strange are known around the country as the only practicing magicians in England.  They embark, together and then separately, to bring about the return of magic to England, and do so in fascinating and world-changing ways.

Simon Prebble’s reading is superb as he narrates the very long tale and subtly adds dimension to the story’s characters in his voicing of them.  He also adds interest to the copious footnotes throughout the story, that I’m sure I would have glossed over if I were reading the print edition of the book.  Overall, this compelling and mesmerizing tale is very much worth the time commitment involved.

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Oct 22 2007

Even Librarians Use the Library

by Jesse

Every year my best friends and I host a Halloween Party. This year, I’m hosting it at my new house. I really wanted to come up with some super scary and super creative snack and decoration ideas. So naturally, I used the best resource at my fingertips…the library!

I browsed through this month’s periodicals for some ideas. “Everyday with Rachel Ray” gave me a great recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli (“Pumpkin Ravioli”) but “Good Housekeeping” proved to be the most helpful. First, it gave me a killer idea for decorating my entryway. Take fallen and dead slim branches and twigs from around the yard, and stand them up in pumpkins (use the pumpkins almost like a planter) then perch some ravens in the branches(“Halloween Magic”). CREEPY!

But the best idea for cheap and easy decorating was on page 175. “Good Housekeeping” suggested photocopying somber 19th century portraits from history books and mounting them on black card stock. Place the portraits on a mantle or a shelf and add to the creepiness with candlelight and fake cobwebs (“Halloween Magic” p175). I decided that Civil War history books would be my best source for sufficiently severe and frightening portraits from the beyond. So I headed over to the 970s and pulled a bunch of Civil War books off the shelf, marked the portraits I found to be the most unsettling with scraps of paper and then photocopied them (for 15 cents a page) right there at the library.

I took the copies home, cut them out and mounted them on some black poster board I had laying around. I put my own spin on the idea by hanging them up with black ribbon in a sort of horrifying collage on the wall in my hallway. I finished it off by putting an old candelabra, some tea lights and some cobwebs on my console table underneath. It looks GREAT! And the best part? It was virtually free!

Find more great Halloween ideas @ your library or try these great websites:




Works Cited

“Pumpkin Ravioli with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.” Everyday with Rachel Ray. Oct. 2007: 118

“Halloween Magic.” Good Housekeeping. Oct. 2007: 174-175

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Oct 18 2007

Happy Birthday to…

by Jimmy L

Terry McMillan
, author of Waiting to Exhale, Disappearing Acts, The Interruption of Everything, and much more, was born 56 years ago today in Port Huron Michigan.  She currently lives in northern California with her family. Read an interview with McMillan, or visit her homepage.

Ntozake Shange
was also born on this day 59 years ago in Trenton, New Jersey.  Born Paulette Williams, she changed her name to Ntozake which means “she who comes with her own things” and Shange which means “who walks like a lion”.  Even at an early age, she was an avid reader of great writers including Jean Genet, Herman Melville, and Langston HughesIn 1975, Shange moved to New York City, where she wrote her first and most well-known play, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.  From off-Broadway to Broadway, the play was a hit and won many awards.  She has since written more plays, poetry (From Okra to Greens) and novels (Liliane: resurrection of the daughter, If I can cook/you know God can).  To see a complete list of her books available at the library, click here.


Other people born today include: musician Chuck Berry, German actor Klaus Kinski, Vietnamese writer Bảo Ninh and American writer Rick Moody.

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Oct 17 2007

Illuminated Manuscripts at Oglethorpe

by Heather O

Facsimiles of the illuminated manuscript masterpieces the “Book of Kells” and the “Lindisfarne Gospels” will be on display October 26-28 in the Oglethorpe University Philip Weltner Library. See: Oglethorpe Press Release

Kells At Trinity College in Dublin over 500,000 visitors each year crowd around for a glimpse of the original “Book of Kells” one vellum page at a time. The manuscript contains the Four Gospels and includes prefaces, summaries of the gospel narratives, and concordances of passages compiled in the fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea. At one time encased in a gold cover inset with precious stones; the “Book of Kells” totals 680 pages with only two pages devoid of any decoration, and may have taken up to 30 years for Columban monks to finish the intricate Celtic designs. The origins surrounding the “Book of Kells” have been debated by scholars for centuries with at least 5 different theories on where and when the creation took place; with most scholars agreeing that the book was completed sometime around 800 AD.

Lindisfarnesml Housed in the British Library, the “Lindisfarne Gospels” is not only an artistically striking example of illumination but it also shows the glimpse of an England between cultures and religious thought. Completed around 721 AD at the Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon elements blended with the Roman, Coptic and Eastern traditions to create the Northumbrian manuscript. Unlike most illuminated manuscripts, the Lindisfarne Gospels can be attributed to a single monk who was bishop of the priory from 698 and 721. An Anglo-Saxon translation was added around 970 making it the oldest surviving version of the gospels in English.

More Illumination? Check out these titles in your library.

The Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan

The Book of Kells : reproductions from the manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin with a study of the manuscript by Françoise Henry

A history of illuminated manuscripts by Christopher De Hamel 

The illuminated books of the middle ages by Henry Noel Humphreys

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Oct 16 2007

Interlibrary Loan Services

by Chris S

Even if DeKalb County Public Library doesn’t have a book you’re looking for, you may be able to use our Interlibrary Loan service to find it.  For a charge of $3.00, library card holders are able to place orders for any books or articles* held by libraries in the United States.  Next time you search our catalog for a book without success, ask any librarian in DeKalb about the option of Interlibrary Loan. 

*Audiovisual items are not loaned through this service

More details are available on our website.

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