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

May 2009

May 29 2009

The Universe Scale

by Jesse M


The internet is full of many fascinating resources which combine educational material with a dynamic and entertaining format that can capture the interest of individuals of all ages. A great example of this is the Universcale. It is an animation which allows us “to view all entities, from the microworld to the universe, from a single perspective. By setting them up against a scale, we are able to compare and understand things which cannot be physically compared.”
Truly epic in the scope of its examination, it begins with the largest objects (the known universe, galaxies, etc.) and descends down to the infinitesimal extremes of the subatomic level. The animation illustrates the incredible range of size across the spectrum of existence, allowing us a unique perspective on the diversity of our reality by going to the edge of and beyond the limits of normal human perception.

microaliens-coverIn a similar vein, the DCPL catalog boasts materials in a variety of media covering subjects ranging from the microscopic (Life on a Small Scale, Microaliens) to the astronomical (The Universe DVD series).  Expand your mind by exploring our universe.


May 27 2009

Summer Reading is Recommended

by Lesley B

Why should kids get all the fun?Every Memorial Day I have to get past my cranky attitude about being all adult now and not getting a 10-week summer vacation.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who longs to sleep late, go barefoot and spend all day at the pool. If you’ve got the grown-up summertime blues like me, relive vacations of the past with the 2nd Annual Summer Reading for Adults program. Have fun and win prizes like a VIP pass to the Decatur Book Festival. Pick up a folder at any DCPL location or sign up online, then sit back with a good book and have a “popsicle” with a couple of olives. It may not be vacation reading, but it’s still summer and it stays light for a long time after work.


May 22 2009

Be Creative @ Your Library!

by Nancy M

becreativeAt last, summer vacation is finally here! Now, there are loads of ways to spend your 3 months off, but participating in this year’s Vacation Reading Program has to be one of the best ways to use that time. Yes, I am a children’s librarian, so it’s my job to say that, but studies show that children who don’t read over the summer lose a wealth of knowledge. Participating in the summer reading program is not only a great way to ensure that kids will be ready to start back at school in the fall, but it’s also a lot of fun!

We have reading programs for all ages including Wee Reader for children ages 0-2, Be Creative @ Your Library for 3-12 year olds and Express Yourself @ Your Library for teens ages 13-17. You can view the rules here.

Signup begins Saturday, May 23rd, and continues through Friday, July 31st. You can sign up at any DeKalb County Public Library. This year, teens are going green by signing up and keeping track of their reading hours online. Teen information and signup can be accessed here.

Havana Son will be performing at this summer’s Vacation Reading Program kick-offs, held at the Dunwoody Library, Decatur Library and Wesley-Chapel Library. The kick-offs are open to all ages and will include crafts and fun activities.

And don’t forget to check out our great summer program schedule for children and teens!


May 20 2009

Living The Dream Of Life

by Jnai W

“We all have a voice. We have the responsibility to exercise it, to use it.”

This is a quote from (one of my new favorite musicians/artists) Patti Smith. I was watching the excellent documentary Patti Smith: Dream of Life and was inspired to blog about it a little bit. In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I’m not an aficionado of punk rock music so I’m no expert on this seminal artist; a woman commonly regarded as the “godmother of punk rock”. But one of the most striking things about her is that she is living a life of creativity, full of love, family, friends and art. Just watching this film, beautifully and lovingly directed by Steven Sebring, has made me not only want to dig up my copy of Horses but has provided me with the heartening aforementioned quote, something I hope to always carry with me.
Check out the Library’s catalog for resources and amazing music by Patti Smith and other great artists.

Here are some things that I’m checking out right now:

Patti Smith: Dream Of Life I love documentaries about famous or extraordinary people so I can’t say enough about this film (Seriously, Readers, it’s in the Library–check it out!). I enjoyed the performance clips but the moments that really endeared Smith to me were her quieter, slice of life moments including visiting and dining with her sweet parents, doting on her two kids (who are musicians in their own right) and her solitary reflections on her art and the artists who inspire her. Look out for appearances by fellow musicians Michael Stipe, actor Sam Shepard and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Horses After watching Dream of Life I was keen on finding my old copy of Horses, her 1975 masterpiece.  Until then I’ll just be replaying her blistering rendition of “Gloria” over and over in my head. Or I’ll be borrowing it from the Library if all else fails. Other favorite tracks of mine are “Free Money” and “Break It Up”.

Click here for more Patti Smith items.


May 18 2009

Feed This!

by Jimmy L

The Library now offers calendar of events RSS feeds.  This means that you can subscribe to events by age group, event type, or branch just like you would subscribe to a blog’s RSS feed.  You will then get updates on new events in your areas of interest directly in your RSS reader.  If you are not familiar with RSS feeds, watch this video first:

What’s even cooler is that if you have very specific interests, you can now build your own RSS feed.  Simply fill out the form on that page.  For example, if you were interested in movies and also events for kids, then simply click the check box next to Movies and also check the boxes next to the age groups you are interested in.  Once you submit the form, a RSS feed will automatically be generated for you immediately.

This is a great way to keep up with library events, especially if you are already familiar with RSS readers and check your feeds daily.


May 15 2009

Lovely Libraries

by Jesse M

As you may know, DCPL is in the process of renovating several of its existing branches as well as constructing three new ones. A list of the new branches, as well as those being renovated, is available on our website, and the profiles include photos, blueprints, dimensions, and collection size. Looking at the beautiful new branches made me wonder how we compare to other libraries around the world, so I took a look online and discovered a couple blogs boasting photos of some really impressive, really gorgeous library buildings, which I’ve linked here and here.

the-most-beatiful-libraries-in-the-world-cover-image1In addition to online offerings, the DCPL catalog has a book entitled The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, which is 247 pages of library goodness, profiling over 20 institutions across 12 countries. Check it out.


May 13 2009

Sherlock Holmes

by Nancy M


This month will mark the 150th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author of everyone’s favorite English detective, Sherlock Holmes.
While Doyle may have ended his own writings of Sherlock Holmes over 90 years ago, his character still lives on in an increasing amount of children’s books. He can be found in a variety of roles- as an ingenious teenager, a haughty older brother to his burgeoning sleuth sister, a boss to a group of case-cracking street children, and more. No matter what his role, many of these books offer the same intriguing plots, fast paced storytelling, and well-developed crime-solving characters that Doyle cleverly created so many years ago.

Here a few recommended titles:


The Case of the Missing Marquess: an Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer

Pursued by her much older brother, famed detective Sherlock Holmes, fourteen-year-old Enola, disguised and using false names, attempts to solve the kidnapping of a baronet’s sixteen-year-old daughter in nineteenth-century London.

eyeofthecrowEye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case by Shane Peacock

A woman is found stabbed to death in London. A young boy is drawn to the scene to investigate the murder and becomes a suspect himself.

The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars by Tracy Mack

The ragamuffin boys known as the Baker Street Irregulars help Sherlock Holmes solve the mysterious deaths of a family of circus tightrope walkers.

Ask your librarian for more titles!

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May 11 2009

Consumer Health Source

by Amanda L

This month the feature database is Consumer Health Complete. This database is one of the many sources the DeKalb County Library cardholders have access through GALILEO. All of these databases can be found on our Reference Databases page.

Have you or someone you loved been diagnosed with a disease by the doctor? Have you wanted to know more information but were afraid to ask the doctor? Consumer Health Complete is a good resource to learn more about diseases and health information.

Consumer Health Complete contains many electronic versions of Reference books that we have on the shelf like the Complete Guide to Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs. You can browse the electronic versions of the Reference books or you can keyword search the books. Consumer Health Complete also has the type of documents it contains broken down by category such as Pamplet & Fact Sheets, Encyclopedias, Evidence-Based Reports, Images and Diagrams and Alternative Sources to name a few.

[read the rest of this post…]


May 8 2009

Tools of the Trade

by Lesley B

scraper-003b We use a fair amount of stickers at the library and I was picking at an old one with my fingernails when a co-worker handed me a little tool and said, “Here, use this. It’s a label-scraper.” What appeared to be a tiny spatula was placed in my hand. Despite working in libraries my whole life, I’d never seen one before. A gentle push under the paper and the sticker came off with that quiet satisfaction you get when a tool works exactly right. I love them. Lately I’ve been wishing I had one at home, but you won’t find label scrapers at the big office supply stores. I’ve looked. You need the special to-the-trade catalogs; specifically, the Demco catalog. Actually Demco calls it a “Metal Label Peeler”, but it’s still a very small “blade sharpened on three sides for easy operation.” I’m thinking about ordering the set of five and giving some as gifts. No, really. It’s a great tool.

There are a number of companies catering to the library market and you don’t have to be a librarian to order from them. They offer archival storage products, lots of sturdy kid-sized furniture and those little metal bookends that don’t take up much space on the shelf. I know no one is shopping right now, but there are quite a few library products that I think could easily transfer to civilian life. Like to keep your dust jackets looking like new? Brodart sells book jacket covers to fit even the largest art books.  Highsmith has reusable magnetic shelf labels, just the thing to organize the garage. Gaylord has a cool orange book truck and oh, look  — a “Label Remover“. In packs of 24!  Christmas is done.


This week I have been, quite literally, scraping to get by. You know what it’s like when you spend a little more than you should have last week and find yourself subsisting on cereal this week? Things aren’t bad enough that I’m borrowing money from mom (that’s what I’m giving Mama for Mother’s Day this year; the gift of not hitting her up for cash!) but things have been a little lean for me this week.  So lean,  in fact,  that I really don’t have an idea for today’s blog.

Though my Blog Muse has taken leave of me, I have been finding creative ways  of making it through until The Eagle lands. All I can say is thank goodness for gift cards, Coinstar and the Library, which is always a great source for free entertainment and great reads.

Here are two books that are excellent and especially timely for me this week. If only I’d actually take their advice. Wait a minute…do I feel a blog coming on?

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman: While my fabulousness is open to debate–this week? not so fab–I really enjoy Orman’s common sense tips and financial insight.

You’re Broke Because You Want To be: How To Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead by Larry Winget:  The title alone dares you to read this book.  I tore into Winget’s book fairly certain that I didn’t want to be broke.  But by the time I’d finished reading I was hanging my head in shame.  The best thing about Winget is that, after he’s done disapproving of you, he offers great exercises, tips and wisdom for getting your finances in order.