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


Mar 26 2012

How Much is a Dragon Worth?

by Jesse M

Smaug and his treasureBeginning in 2002, and intermittently since, Forbes magazine has compiled a list of the 15 most wealthy fictional characters. The candidates are taken from a variety of media, including books, television, and film. The makeup of the list changes from year to year as fortunes rise and fall, and one of the most intriguing new additions to the list in 2011 was Smaug. Smaug is a dragon, and fan’s of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic children’s fantasy novel The Hobbit will be familiar with him as one of the main antagonists in the story. Smaug is described at one point in the book as “unassessably wealthy”, with gold “beyond price and count”, claims that the authors of the Forbes fictional 15 list seem to have taken as a challenge. Forbes writer Michael Noer details his process for assigning a numerical value to Smaug’s fortune in this fun and informative article, which includes calculations of the volume of Smaug’s treasure mound and an enumeration of the diamonds encrusted in his underbelly.

Other notable literary characters appearing on last year’s list include Artemis Fowl (the eponymous protagonist of the Artemis Fowl series) and Carlisle Cullen (a character appearing in the Twilight series).

Want to see how the Forbes fictional 15 stack up against real world billionaires? This article breaks down the differences; to summarize, the real-world rich are considerably more wealthy than their fictional counterparts.

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Sep 12 2011

A Google a day

by Jesse M

When I was in third grade, I recall my teacher asking the class a question pertaining to a subject that we hadn’t really explored yet (I believe it was geography related).  No one, including myself, knew the answer off the top of their heads.  But after a long period of silence, one of my classmates raised his hand and provided the correct answer.  While the rest of the class had been sitting dumbfounded, my classmate had flipped through his textbook to an as yet unread section and found the answer.  My teacher smiled approvingly and favored us with an aphorism that has stuck with me ever since, “The most intelligent person isn’t one who knows all the answers, but rather the one who knows how to find the answers”.

For today’s post, I’m going to share a website which provides daily opportunities to practice the art of finding the answer using one of the most powerful, and ubiquitous, informational tools available, the search engine (in this case, Google). The concept is simple. Just head to the site, A Google a day, where you will be asked a different question each day (some recent examples: “This Greek goddess of love, displayed at the Louvre, was originally from Milos. What would she have held in her missing left hand?” and “If you picked up Plymouth Rock and held it over your head, how many stones would you be holding?“). Finding the correct answer will often require multiple searches, creative ways of thinking, and use of other Google tools such as Google Maps. If you get stuck, you can ask for a hint, which is generally a suggestion of what search term(s) to use. Once you get the hang of how it works, you can try playing the timed mode to see how quickly you’re able to find the solution.

Have fun!


Dec 23 2009

The WOW Factor

by Kim H

Guinness BookThe holiday gift season has arrived. If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a great gift idea for the kids. Knowing that books make wonderful, lasting gifts, I set out this year to find the perfect knock-your-socks-off, WOW factor book…something that would make even the most jaded ten year old smile.

My search didn’t take long because I soon stumbled upon the brand new 2010 Guinness Book of World Records. Kids LOVE this book! They repeatedly ask for it at my library, and once they sit down and start turning the pages, you hear them shrieking “ohhh’s” and “ahhh’s” as they feast upon the delights within.

Each year the folks at Guinness World Records publish an updated volume full of weird and freaky facts, photographs and information. Over 4 million copies are sold annually and total sales exceed 124 million, since first published in 1955. Each volume dazzles the eye and boggles the mind. It is a real crowd-pleaser, especially among the pre-teen set. The 2010 version has 287 pages of facts, figures and photographs, enough to keep young minds busy for hours, learning about records set around the globe.

Bound in a shiny, colorful cover, the 2010 edition is billed as the “Book of The Decade.” There are Actual Size offerings (which kids love) such as the “largest known land gastropod” (the African Giant Snail), a huge beast of a slug, weighing in at two pounds and measuring 15½ inches long.

For aspiring record setters, the 2010 edition has step-by-step information on how to go about identifying and breaking a record. One of my favorites is featured on page 62, which shows a photo of the man with the longest recorded ear hair. Visit page 125 to see a picture of the world’s heaviest lemon! It weighs almost 12 pounds. Awesome!

This holiday season, why not make yourself the most popular uncle or aunt in your family. Give the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records to your favorite niece or nephew. They will remember you forever. (They might even name their first-born child after you.) Visit your local DCPL library to take a sneak peek before you buy.


Jul 20 2009

DCPL Unshelved

by Vivian A

Doesn’t it sound cool and mysterious?  DCPL Unshelved is a precision drill team that pushes library carts.The ten members (from our many different library branches) put on sparkly silver newsboy caps, matching t-shirts, black pants and their dancing shoes.

Performing movements like the Flying Geese and Shooting Star make for a lively performance. The crowd was in awe at the team’s debut for the fourth of July in Decatur’s Pied Piper Parade.  See the YouTube clip below for a video of their performance.

The songs they push to are “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant, “We Will Rock You” by Queen and more upbeat lively numbers.

If you want to see DCPL Unshelved for yourself, the team will be performing as part of the August 15 Dunwoody festivities for the dedication of their newly renovated library, at the end of the morning program, which begins at 10:00. Or check out the Decatur Book Festival. You’ll be glad you did! Who knew library carts could be so versatile?


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.


Jul 1 2008

Unlimited Enthusiasm

by Heather S

Unlimitedenthusiasm_4 Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo ’08, aka Camp Jump and Yell for Boys and Girls and Wizards, is coming to Atlanta! On July 6, Harry and the Potters, Math the Band, Uncle Monsterface and Dumbledore D$ will be rocking at Eyedrum. The enthusiasm will be unleashed starting with an early show at 5pm and the regular show at 6pm.

According to the press release, one can “expect a show filled with kids and adults, parents and teenagers, all collectively losing their minds in a joyous outpouring of geeky summer fun. This will be the ultimate experience in participatory concerts with volunteers for each show on hand to mix Kool-aid and Tang and make peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese sandwiches. There will be name-tags! Voter registrations! Awesome wizards! Giant monsters! Cool videos! Rock and roll aerobics! Inflatable monkeys! Dancing sock puppets! A rock and roll tour can be whatever we want, so long as we have one thing: Unlimited Enthusiasm. “

Advance tickets are available for $10 at Little Shop of Stories or at a local Ticket Alternative Outlet, which include Criminal Records, Decatur CD or Ella Guru. Advance tickets can also be purchased online from Ticket Alternative. Tickets on the day of the show or at the door will be $12.

I will see you jumping, yelling and dancing with sock puppets at the Expo!  I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it, I’m planning on losing control and letting the enthusiasm flow! *

* My apologies are given to the Pointer Sisters for mutilating their song with my silliness. I blame my unlimited enthusiasm.