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Oct 7 2013

The Atlanta Mary Mysteries

by Hope L

Truth really is stranger than fiction. That’s the main reason I enjoy reading non-fiction books.  In this post and the next, I will explore the strange stories of the two Marys.

I’m fascinated with true crime mysteries right here in our own metropolis, but none intrigue me more than the cases of the two Marys: Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old pencil factory worker who was found murdered in 1913, and Mary Shotwell Little, a 25-year-old C & S secretary who disappeared seemingly into thin air from Lenox Mall in 1965. Mary Shotwell Little vanished after eating dinner with a friend at the S & S Cafeteria at Lenox Mall.

Here are a few books from the Library’s collection about the Mary Phagan case. My next post will highlight some publications on the Mary Shotwell Little case.

And the Dead Shall Rise:  the Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, by Steve Oney, is definitely the most thorough account of the Phagan/Frank crimes I’ve read.  If you don’t know about Mary Phagan:  The 13-year-old was found murdered in the pencil factory where she worked. Factory superintendent and part-owner Leo Frank was tried and convicted of the crime. His death sentence was later commuted by the governor to life in prison. Upon hearing this, an angry mob took Frank at gunpoint from the state prison at Milledgeville and brought him to Marietta where they hanged him. Frank was ultimately pardoned posthumously. The story became nationally famous because of the anti-Semitism involved, the founding of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the local newspaper sensationalism pitting the working class and child labor vs. Atlanta’s moneyed elite.

Murder in the Peach State – Infamous Murders from Georgia’s Past, by Bruce L. Jordan, starts with a chapter on Mary Phagan and Leo Frank. The book itself is dedicated to columnist Celestine Sibley, who was a court reporter for years covering the trials of Georgia’s most infamous murders.

The Murder of Little Mary Phagan, by Mary Phagan (great-niece and namesake of the Mary Phagan), tells the family’s side of the story and the grim nature of the crime. Another book about the story is The Leo Frank Case, by Leonard Dinnerstein.

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Aug 4 2011

A Storied Past

by Jimmy L

Being nonexistent in the 60’s, I had never heard of The Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta’s underground progressive newspaper published in the late 60’s and early 70’s, until I happened to hear a feature story about it on the radio a few months ago. I was fascinated by the history of the paper, the radical causes it took up, and the dedication of its members, who were often harassed for being associated with it:

Then the other day, while taking a walk in Decatur square (just a hop, skip, and jump away from the Decatur Library) I saw that the DeKalb History Center had an exhibit of The Great Speckled Bird.  It’s really a sight to see. They have many of the covers and spreads hanging up, and samples of the stories grouped by causes (Racial Equality, Women’s Liberation, Gay Liberation, Worker’s Rights, Anti-War, etc.). The exhibit is up now, so go check it out.

And if you’re not familiar with the DeKalb History Center, it is a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the rich history of DeKalb County. It’s located in the historic DeKalb County Courthouse, in the “Decatur square”. They have several other interesting exhibits up right now too!

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Sep 21 2009

We are the Earth

by Amanda L

deer_garden-003

The DeKalb County Public Library system is participating in the Metro Atlanta Solar System (MASS) project. Chris Dupree, a professor of astronomy and director of the Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College, created this project.

The MASS project is a scale model of the solar system. The sun is located at the Bradley Observatory plaza at Agnes Scott. The Decatur Library represents the earth. The project uses the same scale for both the planetary size and their distances from the Sun. The scale of the model is approximately 1:150,000,000. Want to know where the other locations are and more about the project? Check out this link to Agnes Scott’s web page.

Interested in learning more about the solar system?

The library has several books about the solar system. We even have the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy written by Chris Dupree.

Here are a few more you might want to check out.
Lives of the Planets

Lives of the Planets: A natural history of the solar system by R.M. Corfield

The Planets by Dava Sobel

The Planets by Dava Sobel

Infinite Worlds

Infinite Worlds: an illustrated voyage to planets beyond our sun. by Ray Villard

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May 4 2009

Staycation Ideas

by Amanda L

Charlie Eliott Wildlife Center 2009_parkpass Gaithers Plantation

Now that Spring break is over, Summer is not far away. Many of us will be looking for ways to have fun close to home. Last year was the first time I had heard of a staycation. The Library has many ways to enjoy your staycation. We have books, movies, music and free programs.

Libraries throughout Georgia have again partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to be able to check out Georgia parks and historic passes for free. Here at DCPL, you may reserve a Georgia Park pass just like you would any other material. You may check it out for seven days. The Georgia Department of Natural Resource’s website lists all of the participating parks and historic sites. Georgia Parks that are located on National Forest land are not included in this park pass.

The Library has a few travel (staycation) books on Atlanta. These can be helpful to find some places that you would not have thought to visit. Some examples areFrommer’s Atlanta, Atlanta: A Complete guide and Around Atlanta with Kids.

The Library also has a few travel books on Georgia. For those day trips, try Hidden Georgia and Georgia Backroads Traveler. These books not only give suggestions on historic and interesting places, they also list a variety of restaurants and inns. One of my favorites that both books mention, is the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle. The owners have recently added the Blue Willow Village with a museum and shops.

For those outdoor people, check out The Hiking Trails of North Georgia. The book gives estimated times and the difficulty of each trail. Finally, for those interested in fishing. Check out my blog post from last year. Have a wonderful staycation!



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Nov 17 2008

Got the traffic blues?

by Amanda L

If you are like me, you spend a lot of your time and money driving around Atlanta to get to work, shopping, etc. In fact, according to statistics I found using our database Demographics Now (listed under the Business section of our Reference Database page ), citizens in DeKalb spent on average per household $2,375.13 last year (2007) in gas. That is a lot of driving! Over seventy-six percent of the people living in DeKalb own one or two cars per household.

I am always looking for ways to minimize my driving time and cut my transportation costs. The Georgia Department of Transportation has several tools to help us stay out of the traffic blues. They have a website that you can check anytime to see traffic conditions around Atlanta and the state.

Interested in where the accidents and construction delays are on your side of town? You can sign up for a My Navigator Account. This account will let you create a Personal Traffic Page, set up e-mail Traffic Alerts, and more.

In fact, if you use iGoogle, you can have incidents and construction delays displayed right on your personal Google page.  Traveling around and hit a wall of traffic and want to know if there is an accident? You can dial 511 from any phone and get traffic updates. You can also get weather conditions, report an accident or request vehicle assistance. On the other hand, you can also talk to a live operator by dialing *dot.

Looking for away to pass your time away while you are traveling? The library has a variety of audio books. We offer them in cd, cassette and downloadable formats. We also have a variety of music cds that can help pass the time as you work your way through the streets of Atlanta.

Looking for a new or used vehicle that might get better gas mileage? The library subscribes to Consumer Reports that can help give you car ratings on new and used vehicles. Want to know whether to trade in your gas-guzzler for a new hybrid? Smart Money magazine has an interactive feature that can help you determine if it is economical for you to buy a new hybrid and sell your current car.

Why is that driver is in the next car is driving that way? You might want to check out the book Traffic: why we drive the way, we do by Tom Vanderbilt. The author researched and interviewed many driving experts and traffic officials about why we drive the way we do. The book looks at the psychological, physical and technical factors that explain why we drive, what causes traffic jams and what our driving says about us. We also have the book in audiobook format for those who want to listen why you drive. I hope that some of these sources can help you beat the traffic blues!

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Jul 16 2008

Baseball for Kids

by Ginny C

The Major League Baseball All-Star game was last night, which means the 2008 baseball season is half finished. That means it’s not too late for those of us who still haven’t made it to Turner Field this year to see the Braves play. It’s never too late, however, to sharpen your baseball skills and improve your game. We have several books and dvds for children and coaches on how to be a better baseball player.

Here are some good books to get you started. Play Ball Like the Hall of Famers features tips from baseball greats such as George Brett and Johnny Bench. Derek Jeter, Pedro Martinez and others offer suggestions on how to play the game in Play Ball Like the Pros. The Kids’ Baseball Workout gives ideas for how to start and structure a workout to help improve your game.

For all the parents who coach their kid’s baseball team or those that just want to help their child improve, we have stuff for you, too. Baseball Drills for Young People and Backyard Baseball Drills are worth looking into. And regardless of your skill level, remember to have fun!

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Jun 18 2008

Summer Camp

by Ginny C

Are you struggling to find something for your kids to do now that school’s out?  It’s not too late to register for some of the summer camps being offered around Atlanta.  There are plenty available.  Most last 5 days and are offered through July.  The majority are for children age 5 through 17, but there are a few for pre-schoolers.

Atlanta Parent has an extensive list of day camps in the Atlanta area as well as overnight camps sorted by state.  Day camps are organized by interest, including art, sports and drama among others.

Atlanta Moms also has a list of day camps in the area.  Many of them are in the northern part of the city, but it does include some in Stone Mountain, Decatur and Lithonia.

Don’t forget to check out local universities which also might be hosting camps this summer.  Oglethorpe, Emory, and Georgia Tech are all offering day camps for children.

There are plenty of summer camps in Atlanta and DeKalb County.  Whether your child is interested in cooking, basketball, computers, gymnastics or something else, you’re sure to find a camp for them through one of these sites.

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Oct 10 2007

The Dalai Lama in Atlanta

by Heather O

Dl_2Emory University will host a series of events leading to the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an Emory Presidential Distinguished Professor October 19-22, 2007. Emory University is one of the leading centers of Tibetan philosophy and religious studies in the West and the only stop in the Southern United States for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Many of these events are free and open to the public culminating in a public talk in Centennial Olympic Park on Monday October 22nd.

 

For more information on the various events:

http://dalailama.emory.edu/

http://www.tibet.emory.edu

http://www.drepung.org

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