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

October 2009

Oct 29 2009

Manga Library

by Jesse M

astro-boy-number-one Tokyo based Meiji University has announced plans to open the world’s first manga library, in order to help promote serious study of the style. Upon its inception (“hopefully” by early 2015) the proposed institution will house over two million comic books, animation drawings, and other related industry items. For those that aren’t familiar with the word, manga is simply the Japanese word for comics. In the US and elsewhere it is often used as a catch-all term to refer to any comic created or originally published in Japan, though it is also considered to be a distinct artistic style and format and therefore other works may be referred to as manga despite not originating in Japan (such as “Amerimanga” or “Manwha“). Whereas in the US, comic books are more typically associated with costumed superheroes, manga is published in every genre, from horror to romance to science fiction to sports, just to name a few. Despite its broad range, manga can generally be divided into two categories based on target demographic, with shonen manga designed to appeal to boys and shojo manga aimed at girls. Due to its Japanese origins, most manga is printed front to back, so that the book is read from right to left (some manga series published for the US market are printed in the traditional manner, however, such as Astro Boy). Another distinguishing feature of manga are the artistic quirks; characters are often drawn with large eyes and small mouths and noses, and internal emotional states are naruto-number-1-coverdisplayed by using iconography such as beads of sweat on the forehead to indicate embarrassment or bulging, pulsing veins in the same area to express anger. For more extensive information, recommendations, and more eloquent explanations about the different types of manga, take a look at these posts by a former DCPL blogger on the subject (Manga Mania part 1, part 2, and part 3) To conclude, here are a few of my favorite manga. Some of the titles have been adapted into anime series that the DCPL catalog stocks on DVD, and I have linked them in parentheses. Enjoy!

Naruto (DVD): The quintessential ninja manga (though some might argue the seminal Dragonball series of comics are more deserving of that appellation).

one-piece-number-one-coverOne Piece: If pirate adventures are more your style, this is the series for you. ranma-1-half-number-oneAnd last but certainly not least, Ranma 1/2: An excellent example of the eclectic and varied nature of manga, Ranma 1/2 tells the tale of martial artists who fall into cursed springs and as a result upon contact with cold water take the form of whoever, or whatever, died in the spring they fell into (they revert back to normal when exposed to warm water). The martial arts action is tempered with a healthy dose of romantic comedy which makes for rousing entertainment for teenagers and adults alike.


Oct 28 2009

Halloween @ Your Library

by Nancy M

Halloween is upon us once again, and you can count on the Library to help you and your children get into the spirit.

indexcalev4p41The shelves are abound with Halloween books that are informationalspooky and just plain fun, including my new favorite picture book, Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara. The adorable story about a young witch girl and her haunted house is filled with retro illustrations that make this book not only a wonderful addition to the Halloween genre, but picture books in general.

There are some great Halloween websites out there that are worth checking out. You can access a list of authoritative sites which include games, costume making, safety tips and more by visiting KidSpace @ The Internet Public Library.

The Dunwoody Library, Doraville Library and Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library will be hosting Halloween programs this week. Stop by and check out these fun, free programs!

How do you get in the Halloween spirit?


Oct 26 2009

Mouth to Muzzle Resuscitation

by Vivian A

It seemed like the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday morning. I’d read all the James Herriot books at least once. ER was my favorite TV show and lastly, my Dad was a doctor. An Animal First Aid Class seemed appropriate. And it was.  I attended the First Aid for Cats and Dogs class at the Dunwoody Library on October 17th.

Our Christopher Walken look-a-like instructor (John McCarren from Paw Paws Pet Sitting Service) showed us the basics of pet first aid. We learned everything from the infamous Mouth to Muzzle breathing technique (on a dog replica that came with a heart beat and pulse to show you if you were doing the technique right).  We learned to use an old credit card to scrape out stingers and to carry a dog to the car rather than have him walk, if a snake bit him.  We learned how to perform CPR, how to stop bleeding, how to strap a dog to a backboard if his back was broken and my favorite–the doggy Heimlich manuever.

I came home from class and my dog, Sammy, knew he was safer or at least he let me take his pulse and shake on it.  If you missed this event, don’t worry–you could check out Emergency care for cats and dogs : first aid for your pet by Craton Burkholder.  Also, there are many other educational programs at the library.

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Oct 21 2009

The Magic of Children’s Literature

by Jnai W

Right now many adults are revisiting (and perhaps introducing their kids to) the 1963 classic Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, thanks largely to the new film adaptation of the book from director Spike Jonze. From the critics salivating over the new film to readers and scholars with fond memories of Sendak’s book, most fans agree that Where The Wild Things Are is impeccable in its celebration of childhood imagination and groundbreaking in its recognition of childhood angst and anger, even. But you can troll the web yourself for in-depth critical analysis of the book–I’ll try to steer clear of all of that.

In my day-to-day library work, I’m often stumbling onto old childhood favorites of mine, books that resonated for one reason or another. Here are a few of the ones that are truly special to me:

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe: I remember truly enjoying this book, not for the intriguing Cinderella-esque story alone but also because of Steptoe’s gorgeous and evocative illustrations. The thing that struck me most about the artwork was that it seemed to have so much richness and texture. The illustrations had this quality about them that made me want to reach out and touch the characters.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard: To this day, this book reminds me of my 4th grade teacher Miss Armstrong. She was a very sweet lady but my class sort of took her kindness for weakness. Miss Armstrong would have done well to have a raven-haired alter ego like Miss Viola Swamp, with scary make-up and even scarier temperament.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: As a kid growing up in Atlanta, where the snowy days are few and far between, it was a real treat reading about the travails of little Peter in the beautifully snow-covered city.

Also, I’ve found some great adult books that celebrate the works of some of the great authors of children’s literature:

The Art of Maurice Sendak by Selma G. Lanes: This book is a smorgasbord for Sendak fans that features essays on his life, his career and his body of work as an illustrator and author. My favorite things about this book so far are the pages (three foldout pages!) of his brilliant artwork and a facsimile of “Where The Wild Horses Are“, the prototype of what would become the aforementioned Sendak masterpiece.

The Art of Eric Carle: This incredible book reflects upon the life and the art of legendary (and one of my favorite) children’s author Eric Carle. Much like Carle’s stunning book illustrations and artwork, this book is multi-textured and very colorful, an insightful collage of autobiography, essays and tributes from his peers and admirers.

Do you remember your favorite books from childhood? What are the qualities that make these books truly special?


Oct 19 2009

College Football

by Amanda L

We are entering the second half of the college football season. There have been some surprises with some of the teams and some domination by others. The top three teams have stayed on top for the entire year.  To celebrate college football, I thought I would highlight some great football films and books celebrating this great past time. There are three films that I always want to watch when preparing or celebrating this pastime. They are:

Remember the Titans




We are Marshall


Here are a few books celebrating college football:

About them Dawgs! Georgia football’s memorable teams and players


Dixieland Delight: a football season on the road in the Southeastern Conference


Bragging rights: a season inside the SEC, football’s toughest conference


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Oct 16 2009

Best Free Reference Websites 2009

by Jesse M

For the eleventh consecutive year, the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has put out a list of the best free reference websites. This annual series was initiated “to recognize outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web”, a task which it has once again performed admirably. This year there are over two dozen sites listed, specializing in all manner of information.

Looking for a job? Check out the Dept. of Labor sponsored Careeronestop. It offers career resources and workforce information, such as salary data, where to file unemployment insurance, locations of career centers, self-assessment tools, and resume advice. The site also includes links to other useful resources, such as the online version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Need help with measurement conversions? Try Onlineconversion.com, which boasts over 5,000 units and 50,000 conversions, lending credence to their claim to be able to “convert just about anything to anything else.” Whether you are attempting to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius or are interested in more esoteric conversions, like comparing clothing sizes across countries or finding our how much you’d weigh on different planets, this is the site for you.

Tired of defective online translation services mangling your intended message? Head over to Lexicool, a directory of “all” the online bilingual and multilingual dictionaries and glossaries freely available on the internet (currently numbering over 7000), many of which have been created by translators working in specialist fields.

Are you a sports fan? Sports-reference.com is “a combination of sites providing top notch statistics and resources for sports fans everywhere. Our aim is to be the easiest-to-use, fastest, most complete sources for sports statistics anywhere.” With sections devoted to baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and Olympic sports, the site has something for sporting fans of all varieties.

Or perhaps you are interested in procuring locally grown and/or organic food in your area. If so, you can utilize Local Harvest to find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food. Search by zip code or state, or use the interactive map. Other offerings include a monthly newsletter, recipes, and blogs by members.

Want more sites? Check out the combined index of lists from 1999-2008.

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Oct 14 2009


by Nancy M

pooh1_1489609c83 years ago today the world was introduced to the whimsical world of author A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne only created two books centered around the Bear of Very Little Brain, Winnie-the-Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner, but Pooh and friends continue to have many an adventure as Disney has owned the rights to Winnie the Pooh, sans hyphens, since 1961. While Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and the rest have since become a sad travesty (in my opinion) of what Milne and illustrator Ernest H. Shepard had created, one just has to open a book to be reminded of how enchanting the original characters of the Hundred Acre Wood were.

Now, for the first time ever, the estate of Milne and Shepard has authorized a sequel to The House At Pooh Corner titled Return to the Hundred Acre Wood. The book has been met with mixed reviews, both good and bad, but it is clear that author David Benedictus and illustrator Mark Burgess are talented and worked hard to keep with the Milne/Shepard style. Unfortunately, since the book was only published last week, the Library does not yet own any copies, but you can read an extract here. I picked up a copy at the bookstore and while I appreciate the negative reviews, I couldn’t help but be pleased with this imaginative addition to the Winnie-the-Pooh collection. But I hate to see what Disney will do with it.


Oct 12 2009

Dinner and a Movie

by Vivian A

The thought of it sounds delightful but the cost brings me down–quickly. The library has the perfect solution for a night of family fun: dinner and a movie.  Several libraries offer recent blockbuster films.  All you have to bring is the family and a blanket and/or lawn chairs to sit on and of course, dinner.  You can even wear your pajamas . The kids will eat it up. And you won’t have to shell out for tickets and popcorn. (Although you can bring your own if you like!)

Upcoming movies include Bedtime Stories at the Chamblee Library on Tuesday, October 13 from 5-7PM.   Covington offers Teen Movie Day on Monday, October 12 from 1PM-3PM and Family Movie Night on Monday October 19 from 6PM-7:30PM.  Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will be playing at the Wesley Chapel-WCB Library also on Monday, October 19 from 6PM-8PM.  The Gresham Library will show the holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Tuesday November 24 from 6PM-6:30PM.  Check the online calendar for additional film screenings and more details.


Oct 9 2009

Get ready for the 2009 election

by Lesley B

Odd-numbered years bring us off-year elections for mayors, city councils and school boards. These local races address issues closer to a citizen’s daily life than a presidential election (no matter how historic), yet it can be harder to find information about the people running for office. Below is a list of candidates in contested DeKalb County 2009 elections. Candidates with websites are linked.  Biographical information on incumbents can often be found on the respective government website and I’ve linked to those where available. The League of Women Voters Georgia Voters Guide is a great resource for local elections. Sample ballots are at the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections website. As always, every vote counts – but maybe even more so in an off-year election.

State Representative in the Georgia General Assembly – District 58

Simone Bell

Asha F. Jackson This is a link to Ms. Jackson’s profile on her law firm’s website.

Kevin Johnson

J. Lewis, IV

Michael McPherson

[read the rest of this post…]


Lately I’ve become a bit of a Brazil-o-phile. I know very little about Brazilian culture except for what I’ve seen in movies, read in books or listened to on radio and in my music collection. All I know is that Black Orpheus is one of my favorite films,  and that I could listen to the music of Bebel Gilberto and Ceu for hours upon hours. And now that Rio de Janeiro has been appointed the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, I’m clamoring for a trip to Cidade Maravilhoso and for more information about Brazil in general.

It should come as no surprise that the Library has a wealth of information on this incredibly fascinating country. Here are some of the things I’ve been checking out so far:

Portuguese For Dummies: I figured that in learning about another culture, a great place to start is by getting acquainted with the language. Portuguese, particularly of the Brazilian variety, is a lovely yet complex language. But Portuguese for Dummies is a great introduction to the language. For me, it helps to see Portuguese grammar and Brazilian colloquialisms and makes learning less intimidating. Seeing Portuguese in print helps me tremendously by reminding me of its similarities to other Romance languages.

Pimsleur Language Programs Portuguese (Brazilian): Right now I’m on course 1A and it’s a great way to begin tuning the ear to the language. Pimsleur’s also great for learning just about any other language you can imagine…and at your own pace.

Brazil: Nothing helps you plan a vacation quite like a guidebook. DCPL has travel books by Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Lonely Planet. The one that I’m perusing right now is a Moon Handbook which, like most guidebooks, offers helpful lodging, dining and entertainment hints. But I really like the fact that this particular book has a nice little survival phrasebook in back and fascinating cultural tidbits throughout.