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

March 2010

Mar 31 2010

Rapunzel’s Revenge & Calamity Jack

by Nancy M

Rapunzel’s Revenge takes the well-known Brothers Grimm tale and re-imagines it into an exciting western whose main damsel is anything but distressed. Yes, this redheaded Rapunzel too gets locked away, but instead of waiting around for prince charming to save her, she passes the time training herself to use her excessively long locks as weapons. Her first order of business? Using her braids to repel herself to freedom. Once free, she pairs up with outlaw Jack and his Golden Goose, who help her battle it out with villains and ferocious creatures all while seeking revenge on Mother Gothel, the evil woman who stole Rapunzel from her mother, locked her up and is now wreaking magical havoc in the land.  This completely engrossing and exciting graphic novel brought to you by Shannon Hale and her husband Dean, is complete with bright illustrations and a fantastic cast of characters.

Recently published and available at the Library is Calamity Jack, another graphic novel adventure brought to you by the Hales. This second book again pairs Rapunzel and Jack, this time with the focus on the scheming Jack and just how he got mixed up with that beanstalk and Giant in the first place.

These wonderfully imaginative books are perfect for middle readers who like adventure, fantasy and fairytales and they would also be great for reluctant readers.

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Mar 29 2010

Smokin’ Spring

by Amanda L

Every Spring I turn to the outside especially with my cooking. I have always had a grill and love to use it with a variety of foods. Have you ever grilled sweet potatoes or asparagus?

If you read a lot of cookbooks there are always the arguments for or against using charcoal or gas.  I personally like gas because it heats up so much quicker.

Here is a small list of some grilling cookbooks that I will be checking out this Spring:

Grilling with gas: 150 mouthwatering recipes for great grilled food by Fred Thompson

Italian Grill by Mario Batali

Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty fire-roasted recipes for pizza & more by Elizabeth Karmel

Bobby Flay’s Grill It by Bobby Flay

My husband and I recently bought a wood burning barrel smoker. To add to my famous smoked whole turkey, I will be checking these cookbooks out:

The Big Book of outdoor cooking and entertaining by Cheryl Alters Jamison

Taming the Flame by Elizabeth Karmel

Smoking food: a beginner’s guide by Chris Dubbs

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The older I get, the more things I find to geek out that I never knew I enjoyed such as science fiction, reality television (RuPaul’s Drag Race is my current favorite) and, increasingly, self-help books.  I love the idea of growing and transforming oneself into the person you’ve always thought you could be (I guess that’s why I’ve gotten so addicted to a competition show about drag queens). Below are some of my favorite titles for helping you cherish your life and, um, remember your spirit (is that something that Oprah would say?):

Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man by Steve Harvey: This is a book that I never thought I’d have a crack at. When I requested it here at DCPL I was approximately # 148 on the list. Either way, it was worth the wait and I was done reading it in 2 days. Harvey, one of America’s Kings Of Comedy, offers down-to-earth yet highly insightful (and frequently hilarious) words of wisdom about men, women and relationships.

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy by Eric G. Wilson: This little book caught my eye and challenged me to read it. “How can anyone be against happiness?” I asked myself as I read the back cover blurbs. The thing that I truly enjoyed about this book is that, despite its slightly snarky yellow frowny-faced cover, it was quite a soulful and erudite book. Author Wilson offers an intriguing discussion on what he calls generative melancholy, a feeling of discontentment that, if one allows himself to feel it, can be channeled into positive endeavors and authentic, emotionally-rich living. I’m not sure I explained that properly so I’d suggest simply reading the book.

The Shy Single: A Bold Guide To Dating For The Less-Than-Bold Dater by Bonnie Jacobson:  Shyness is something that I’ve lived with since I was a kid. I’ve outgrown my social awkwardness for the most part but I still find myself being anxious and feeling out of place in big gatherings, shindigs or on a dance floor. I can live with being introverted but I do often wish I could just be myself a little more. Jacobson’s book offers simple exercises, anecdotes and wisdom about the nature of shyness and finding ways to push through the anxiety.


Mar 22 2010

Good luck, Ladies!

by Patricia D

This post is purely self-indulgent.  It isn’t going to give you a snappy list of titles we have in our collection.  It isn’t going to direct you to something useful on our website and even though it is in fact National Goof-Off day, I am not going to carry on about how you can kill a few precious minutes messing around on icanhascheezburger.com.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics “over 2 out of 3 librarians is over the age of 45.”  An article in the Journal of Academic Librarianship called it the “graying of librarianship.”  Here at DCPL it has become a vivid fact.  Last week we honored a colleague who served DCPL for 23 years.  This week we will do the same for another colleague.  We lost several library “elders” last year and will be losing several more later this year.

We miss these folks, we  notice empty chairs at meetings for a while, and call their names during discussions.  Patrons ask after them, sometimes stunned by their seemingly abrupt departures.  Their absences create gaping holes in the fabric of our community but they leave us all, staff and public alike, with an extraordinary gift.  Each one of our retirees spent countless hours during her career coaching and coaxing young, dangerously enthusiastic librarians in the fine art of Service to the Community.  They took the time and considerable trouble to share hard won knowledge.  They pushed where pushing was needed to get talented support staff headed in the direction of library school (www.ala.org in case you, too,  have an interest in joining the ranks.)  They did everything in their power to bring up the next generation of  library leaders and to ensure that the provision of services to the public would continue in an unbroken line.

It is easy to be passionate and joyous at the beginning of a career, before the day to day reality destroys all the pretty ideals of library school.   The greatest legacy from our retirees is this—they demonstrated that librarianship is not meant to be just a job, but a career that will sustain not only one’s self but that is meant to enrich the lives of the people we are privileged to serve.  They have retired, they are retiring and they will retire, but every last one of them still displays the passion and joy, now tempered by time, that this profession can bring.  Thank you, my friends.


Mar 19 2010


by Jesse M

For today’s post, I am featuring a simple, fun, and library related game called CoverGuess. Brought to us by the “social cataloging” website LibraryThing (where users can catalog personal collections, keep reading lists, post book reviews, and chat to other users who have the same books), the game is not only a pleasurable way to pass the time, but also serves to build up a database of book cover descriptions.  Eventually, this pool of information can assist booksellers and librarians when confronted with questions like “Do you have the book whose cover art has a red wax seal on ripped parchment, above the U.S. capital building?” (The book being described is Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol).

Interested in playing? Here’s how it works: you are given a book cover to describe using as many tags as you like. Try to pick out the most significant elements in the picture and include those terms in your description. Colors are always good to identify as well. You receive points based on every term you use to describe a cover that has also been used by a previous player. So, if you are describing the cover of the book Watchmen and you say “yellow” and “blood spatter”, and two other players said “yellow” and one said “blood spatter’, you would receive three points.

Sounds fun, right? And as I mentioned above, by playing you are contributing information to a database which can be used to assist booksellers and librarians find the books their customers and patrons are seeking. All the data gleaned through the game is released under a Creative-Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. That means any non-profit entity, like a library, can use it without charge. The same deal is available to any bookstore with less than $10 million in sales.


Mar 17 2010

Friends of the Dunwoody Library

by Nancy M

In these tough economic times we have the fortune of being able to turn to our local library for help. Libraries provide free internet access, computer classes, children’s programs, and of course, thousands of books, DVDs and more that can be borrowed for no cost at all. Unfortunately, many libraries across the country are losing vital funds to keep these services and programs afloat. One non-profit organization, The Friends of the Dunwoody Library, has been working tirelessly over the years to make sure that the Dunwoody Library remains a hub of the community, despite growing economic uncertainty. These volunteers’ efforts include sponsoring library programs, promoting literacy and organizing a major quarterly undertaking: the Dunwoody Library booksale.  Money generated from these booksales, which are comprised of a massive collection of community donations, has allowed for some major undertakings, namely the renovation of the Dunwoody Library this past summer. The Friends put an astounding $185,000 towards the remodeling of the branch, which included updating the children’s library and storytime room.

And their work has ensured that the Dunwoody Library can continue to provide relevant, educational and entertaining programs for community members of all ages. Each year the Friends generously give the Dunwoody Library between $55-60,000 for programs and materials that end up benefitting the entire DeKalb County Public Library System. Children’s programs, such as storytimes and the Book Bunch Book Club, and adult literacy programs would not exist without the support of the Friends.  Online databases, books, periodicals and reference materials are purchased with the help of the Friends as well. In fact, the Friends recently purchased content for a new audiobook database called Overdrive. It’s not available yet, but check back to the DCPL website in the coming months.

The Friends of the Dunwoody Library continue to succeed in keeping the library a center of the community through their hard work and commitment.  If you would like to help with their important work, you can stop by the Dunwoody Library and ask for a Friends of the Library membership form. If you don’t live in Dunwoody but would like to join your local Friends group, click here for more information.


Mar 15 2010

Blog, Blog, Blog

by Vivian A

On an unusually snowy March night I ventured out to take Laurie Foley’s free workshop called “Blogging- Who, What, Where & How?” at the brand new Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams library. The audience was small due to the weather and mostly women. (Two-thirds of bloggers are men.) We all wanted to know the same thing — how do I start a blog and more importantly how do I get readers?

Laurie Foley is an award-winning blogger and business coach.  She presented us with the history of blogging. Did you know that 133,000,000 blogs have been indexed since 2002 but ninety-five percent are abandoned within four months? 72% are hobbyists, 15% are part-times, 9% are self employed and 4% are professionals.  A great professional blog is Huffington Post and a good local one to check out (besides DCPLive) is Decatur Metro.

Then she recommended some good books: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott; WordPress for Dummies, 2nd Edition by Lisa Sabin-Wilson and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (you can find all of these titles at DCPL).  Then she wowed us with the fact that 900,000 blog entries are posted every twenty-four hours. I must say I feel a little daunted but determined.

If you missed this class, don’t worry.  Every month the Library has many other computer classes which you can check out in our events calendar.


Mar 12 2010

They still reign…

by Amanda L

I recently checked out Michael W. Smith‘s latest album, A new hallelujah, or musical compilation as some would say.  For those of you who are not familiar with Michael W. Smith, he is considered one of the most influential artists of contemporary Christian music. I have been following and appreciating his music and writing abilities since the beginning of his career in the early eighties.

I have switched, like so many of us, to downloading my music online and loading it on to either my computer, MP3 or iPod player. The library is a great way to preview many of the albums that you might want to buy. That is what I was doing with Michael W. Smith’s latest. This album however, reminded me of why I believe compact discs still have a place  in today’s market place.

A new hallelujah although not hailed as a live album, is performed before a live audience in Houston, Texas. The flow of the songs because they are performed live, in my opinion, need to be played in order. While listening to the CD, I began appreciating the CD format. I was able to feel like I was right there with Michael W. Smith. Many of the  songs on the album have been performed by other artists such as Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United. They have been rearranged as only Smitty (as he affectionately is called) can do. The album highlights Smitty’s piano talent and ability to elicit audience participation.

The library has a large collection of music available for you to explore a variety of musical genres. If you haven’t explored the Christian music genre, I highly recommend checking out the Michael W. Smith collection that we have.  If you want a quick listen to what I think is one of the best songs on this album, check out this video of the song, Deep in Love withYou.


Mar 10 2010

Musings of A Book Wrangler

by Jnai W

In brainstorming  this week’s blog post, I began wandering around the Internet and found a fascinating article on NPR.org. The article featured a blurb about a new book called This Book Is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson. It seems so insightful that, despite having requested it through the Library, I may just go out and purchase it for my own collection.

Lately, I’ve been really pondering what it means to be a librarian (or semi-librarian in my case, as I don’t have my Masters in Library Science yet). I won’t say that I have a hard time answering this question, especially since I’ve been working at the Library and learning more about librarianship in my day-to-day duties. But there are times when I’m at a loss for words when someone asks me “Why do we need librarians when there’s Google?” (Yes, I’ve been asked that, readers.)

The question of what it means to be a librarian is one that I’m always seeking answers to and the answers I’m finding are always fascinating. Here are a few books that spring to mind when I ponder my current occupation as semi-librarian/book wrangler:

Librarian as Bookmonger/Disseminator of Information: There was a book that I read about a year ago called How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard. I have to confess that I didn’t finish reading the book and here I am attempting to talk about it. Within the first chapter of this book, Bayard discusses a passage in a book called The Man Without Qualities (don’t ask me if I’ve read it) in which an ideal librarian is one who “never reads more of the literature in his charge than the titles and the table of contents”, lest a librarian lose perspective in his role as disseminator of knowledge. I found that quote so astonishing that I stopped reading to make note of it…and hadn’t really started back.

Librarian as Social Worker/Psychologist/um, Mall Cop: Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in The Public Library is a fascinating and uproarious book about the rigors of public library work. I liked this book because I could relate in certain ways to author Don Borchert, a free-spirited wage laborer whose path into the library field was, well, non-traditional (read: a happy accident, really).

Librarian as Book Aficionado: The Library At Night is an intriguing book by author and bibliophile Alberto Manguel that features fascinating musings on his own expansive book collection and on libraries in general. Though not a librarian by trade and profession, Manguel is a man possessed of a deep appreciation of books themselves. He loves not only the wealth of knowledge and beauty within a book but also the sight, the feel and perhaps even the smell of books.  I can imagine that quite a few librarians are initially attracted to this field by their simple love of books.

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I miss lilacs.  Against the advice of every book I read when I first started gardening in the South I defiantly planted a lilac bush and nursed it through three years of misery before it finally gave up on me.   Mother Nature’s compensation for depriving me of that scent, comfortingly sweet in the soft night air, heady and almost too heavy in the midday sun,  is magnolias with their bright lemon scent and those show off camellias that bloom when I still don’t expect to see flowers.  Though I miss the Spring riot of peonies I could never keep a gardenia alive back home and roses and rosemary are so much less finicky here.  It is difficult to feel cheated when planting pansies in the fall, cheerful, bright and hinting at the intoxication of Spring in the South, but I still manage to feel put upon when I find myself cutting the grass in December.

Naturally I have a battered copy of Don Hasting’s Month-by-Month Gardening in the South but here are a few other titles in the collection you may find helpful.

Bulletproof Flowers of the South by Jim Wilson,  Gardening in the Humid South by E.N. O’Rourke,  Questions and Answers by Deep South Gardeners by Nellie Neal, Gardening with Native Plants of the South by Sally Wasowski and Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South by William D. Adams