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

June 2008

Jun 11 2008

Traveling with Children

by Ginny C

Traveling with
children can be fun and exciting. It can also be challenging and
hectic. If you’re going on vacation this summer, whether it’s for a
weekend or for a week, you need to be prepared. The library has several
good books about where to go and what to do. I’ve listed a few of them

500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up: From
Frommer’s, this interesting guidebook is not organized by destination,
but rather by what kind of place it is. For instance, historic
battlegrounds are in the War and Peace section. The Grand Canyon is in
Out & About. Other sections include Cities Great and Small, Lost in
the Mists of Time (the Coliseum, Machu Picchu), and Walk with the
Animals (zoos, nature reserves), among others.

Parent’s Survival Guide to I-75: This
unique travel guide lists kid-friendly stops along Interstate 75, from
Detroit to Orlando. It’s organized by state and lists the attractions
by exit number. It also lists which exits have fast food restaurants
with playgrounds and where the rest areas are located.

100 Best Family Resorts in North America: Organized
by region, this handy book lists family friendly resorts that have
activities for adults and children. Among its features are descriptions
of the accommodations, dining options, activities for children and
activities for families.

Fun with the Family – Georgia: If
you’re looking for trips close to home, check this one out. It lists
all the attractions, historic sites and parks in Georgia.

Take Your Kids to Europe:
Even if you’re going abroad this summer, we have something for you.
Foreign countries can be especially tricky to navigate with children.
This takes the guesswork out of it by listing attractions that kids
will enjoy.

These are just a few
of our guidebooks for traveling with kids. Check out our catalog for
even more. And here’s a hint, when searching for books, use keywords
like “kids,” “children,” or “family” to find ones like those above. You
can also narrow the search by adding specific cities, states or
countries. Whether you stay close to home or venture abroad, have fun
and happy travels!

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Jun 10 2008

On the Trail of a Movie Star

by David T

Kaybkcover_2 Dr. Lynn Kear, a resident of Stone Mountain, is a film historian and co-author, with John Rossman, of two books about Kay Francis, the glamorous, enigmatic movie star of the 1930s and 1940s. Kear and Rossman’s biography, Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career, was published in 2006, and followed last year by the release of The Complete Kay Francis Career Record: All Film, Stage, Radio, and Television Appearances.

In an exclusive interview with DCPLive, Dr. Kear talks about researching the life and work of this unforgettable — and quite unconventional — leading lady, while offering some sound advice for aspiring writers who hope someday to see their own names on the cover of a published book.

Writing two books must have required many hours of research and hard work. What is it about Kay Francis that made you want to devote that much time and effort to her?

It started with a mystery. The first time I happened upon Kay Francis I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of her. I was fairly knowledgeable about classic film and was stunned to find a leading actress who had escaped my attention. It was in a film called Give Me Your Heart (1936). She was incredible — convincing and beautiful. So I wanted to find out what happened to her and her career. The more I learned the more the mystery deepened because it turned out that she’d left a remarkable document, a tantalizing diary, partly written in code, that proved to be a private record of a fascinating woman, one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors and most popular stars.

You’ve written one book that’s primarily about Kay’s life, and now one that covers her performances. What connections do you see between her work and her personal life?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Kay had time for her professional work considering how “busy” her personal life was. She lived to travel and enjoyed many affairs. But she did work, and, fortunately, much of it survives. She played a lot of independent career women in her films. For example, in the 1930s she appeared as business executives, physicians, and in one film, Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933), a woman who decides to have a baby without the benefit of marriage. In addition, near the end of her film career she became a producer at Monogram. From her diary, we can also see that she sometimes had a hand in writing scripts. In her personal life, too, she was ahead of her time. At a fairly young age she carefully examined her assets and decided a film career was her best option. It would provide the means to live the life she desired — and she did just that.

One of Kay’s best-known movies, Trouble in Paradise, has been released on DVD and is available at the library. How would you describe it to someone who’s never seen the film?

ParadisephotoDelicious, sublime, classic. It’s perfect. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, it offers a gem-like script with gorgeous art deco sets and brilliant performances by Kay, Herbert Marshall, Edward Everett Horton, and Miriam Hopkins. If you want to understand what is meant by pre-Code film, this is one to see because it’s a naughty, elegant, adult film that still delights. (Pictured at left are Hopkins, Marshall, and Francis).

In your books’ acknowledgments, you name a number of libraries and archives that were helpful in your research. How important were libraries in writing these books?

Thank God for librarians and archives! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve felt totally at home in libraries. I’ve known about interlibrary loan for a long time. It’s a godsend for researchers, making available just about every book or magazine article.

Fortunately we found an absolute treasure trove tucked away in a university archive — Kay’s personal diary. This is a once-in-a-lifetime gift for a biographer. The diary, which she began in 1922, tells the story of a sexually liberated woman who went on to become one of Hollywood’s most famous stars in the 1930s. She was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Flaming Youth” personified — a breathtakingly beautiful young woman, just out of poverty, who started moving in New York’s high society and eventually made her way to Hollywood.

What advice do you give to people who want to become published writers?

Be passionate and disciplined. When you’re passionate you can’t not write. You’re pushed to tell your story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

I’m convinced that one thing that separates successful people from others is discipline. If you want to be a published writer, write. Set goals. Exceed them. Also, develop a network of friends and colleagues. Writing can be lonely, so it’s nice to have support.

Thanks to Dr. Kear for chatting with us on DCPLive!

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Logo_go The new theme for Georgia State Parks is Get Out, Get Dirty, Get Fit, For FREE!  To help residents do just that, a new program allows library patrons to check out park passes.

A joint initiative of Georgia Public Library Service and the Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division (PRHSD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the public library ParkPass Program began June 2.

Folders include an annual ParkPass that exempts visitors from paying the daily parking fee at state parks, an annual Historic Site pass good for free admission for one visitor to any of Georgia’s 18 state historic sites and a copy of the Guide to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites featuring descriptions, photos, directions and a map of all locations.

The folders can be located in the DCPL Catalog by a keyword search for the words “Georgia State Parks.”  They can be checked out for one week, and can be renewed twice if there are no holds waiting.  The overdue fine will be $0.50 per folder per day.  Most branches have at least two folders available for checkout; please check with your local branch for more information.  Be sure to keep up with the whole kit, though–a lost piece of the folder will result in a $30 replacement charge!

Among the park system’s most popular attractions are Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site in Cartersville, the Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site in Fitzgerald, Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site in Warm Springs, Tallulah Gorge State Park in Tallulah Falls and Unicoi State Park in Helen.  Visit the Georgia State Parks website for more information.  For more information on the GO Georgia Campaign, including tips and events, check the Get Outdoors Georgia website.


Jun 5 2008

Nineteen Years since Tiananmen

by Jimmy L

Yesterday marks the nineteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.  If you don’t know much about this tragic historical event, the library has many books about it:

Tianenmen Square = Tʻien-an men Canadian journalists Simmie and Nixon report the
events that took place and the emotions of the crowd, setting the
protests of 1989 into an historical and political context. With 16
pages of photos.

Tell the world: what happened in China and why China’s greatest investigative reporter offers a powerful account of
his country’s recent political turbulence, with an assessment of the
era of Deng Xiaoping, his real legacy, and the crisis China faces.

Behind the Tiananmen Massacre: social, political, and economic ferment in China describes the origins of the protest movement, focusing on basic
contradictions inherent in China’s economic policies and social and
political traditions. Includes a chronology, translations of eyewitness
and official reports, and brief profiles of 50 key individuals.

China since Tiananmen: the politics of transition This book offers a comprehensive assessment of the evolution of China since the Tiananmen Incident

Escape from China : the long journey from Tiananmen to freedom a memoir by one of the prominent student protesters, Zhang Boli, where he recalls the cultural and political atmosphere at Beijing University
during the spring of 1989; the circle of ebullient Chinese
intellectuals passionate about social reforms; the hunger strikes; the
negotiations; the bloody terror of the crackdown; and his two-year-long attempt to evade the Chinese authorities afterwards.  8 pages of b&w photos.


The DeKalb County School System has a new online library catalog called Destiny. If you have a child that attends public school in DeKalb County, you may already be familiar with it. You can access it directly from the school system’€™s homepage. Once you click on the Destiny link, you will then select your child’€™s school. That takes you directly to the library catalog that searches only books in that particular school. You can search for books by author, title, series, subject and keyword.

Schools are also encouraging children to know their Lexile Measure and read books in that Lexile range. (You can read more about Lexile Levels here.) Destiny allows you to input Lexile numbers and find books by authors or subjects that fall into that Lexile range.

With Destiny you can also:

  • Search for award winning books. You can search by national awards (i.e. Newbery, Caldecott) or by state awards (i.e. Georgia Book Awards.)
  • Search for books in certain categories. There is a tab at the top of the screen labeled Visual. It brings up 8 popular subjects (holiday, sports, etc.) and lists books in those areas.
  • Search for books by AR (Accelerated Reader) level.
  • Search for books by call number. For example, if you type in 641, it will pull up all the books at that school with that call number. This may be most useful when writing reports as it lets you see all the books related to that topic.

With the schools closed for the summer, you won’t be able to get books from your media center. But you can get them from us. Once you find a title on Destiny, head on over to our catalog to see where the book is in our system. You can drive to a branch to pick it up or put it on hold and have it sent to your closest branch. You can pick it up when it arrives.

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Normally on this blog we try to highlight a particular library service or program, or maybe a web site, an online game, or a favorite book, movie, or music CD. Of course, we DCPLive bloggers hope that this is a helpful thing for you, and we’re going to keep bringing you what we consider to be fresh and interesting content. But today I want to talk about DeKalb County Public Library as a whole and reasons why you need to get to your nearest branch this summer!

Great Resources

Dekalb County Public Library has a huge collection of books, videos, DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks on nearly any subject you can think of. And as a library cardholder you can borrow any of them – for FREE. It’s amazing when you think about it that we can ever get to the point where we take these privileges for granted.

Great Programming

We have children’s, teens’, and adult programming throughout the summer. Be sure to involve your kids in our summer vacation reading program. If you’re a teenager who loves to read, don’t miss out on Metamorphosis, and we even have an adult summer reading program this summer too. In any case, be sure to check out our events calendar, which is online and in print inside your nearest library (also here and here). The library is a worthwhile place to spend your free time and it’s free!

A Place to Grow

The library can be a place to get your entertainment for your road trips or just a weeknight at home. Or it can be where you stop to get the books you want to lay around and read on your day off. Or it can be where you find books on subjects you never knew you were interested in. Whoever you are, whatever your needs, make sure you use your library this summer. DeKalb County Public Library: a place to grow! 🙂


Statue_of_liberty_2 The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office has been working on an updated version of the Naturalization test. The new test puts emphasis on basic and important concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The test will help encourage applicants to learn and identify with basic American values. It is considered to be a more fair and meaningful test than the previous version. The new version was introduced to the public on September 27, 2007 and will take effect in October 2008. This gives applicants working toward citizenship time to prepare for the redesigned test.

Which Test Do You Take?

  • If you apply BEFORE October 1, 2008 AND you are scheduled for your naturalization interview BEFORE October 1, 2008, You will take the current test.
  • If you apply BEFORE October 1, 2008 AND you are scheduled for your naturalization interview AFTER October 1, 2008, You may choose to take the current test or the redesigned test.
  • If you apply AFTER October 1, 2008, You must take the redesigned test.
  • If you are scheduled for your naturalization interview AFTER October 1, 2009 , You must take the redesigned test.

How Can You Study for the Test?

DeKalb County Public Library (DCPL) will add new study materials when they become available. The Library plans to receive study materials in several languages. Until then, you may visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. Click on the link for Education & Resources near the top right side of the page. Then click on Civics and Citizenship Study Materials on the upper left side of the page. You can print out flash cards, civics lessons, and sample test questions. If you need help finding study materials, or if you would like to find a citizenship class nearby, you may ask for help at any DCPL location or just visit our website.