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


Feb 22 2013

Great Rappers are Great Readers!

by Jimmy L

the Richie Perez Radical LibraryI’ve always believed that rappers possessed a type of literacy, though unconventional, that’s highly attuned to the intricacies of language. The best rappers use tone, diction, sound, and personas (unreliable narrators?) in impressive ways, an accomplishment equal to the best literary works of fiction and poetry. So I was pleased when I came across an article about a ‘radical’ community library for youth opening up in the Bronx.

Housed inside the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective headquarters in the Bronx, the same place that hosts monthly hip-hop open mic nights, the Richie Perez Radical Library was launched by the hip-hop-centric Rebel Diaz Arts Collective.

“I tell them, ‘The more you read, the iller you’ll be as an emcee,’” said Rodrigo Venegas, aka Rodstarz, one-third of the rap crew, Rebel Diaz, and a founding member of the cultural collective with an activist bent.

Read the rest of this story here.


Photo credit Matt Keller

Last year, author Neal Stephenson wrote a World Policy Institute article titled Innovation Starvation, in which he argues that science fiction writing can, and should, serve as a model and inspiration for innovators in the real world:

Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place. A good SF universe has a coherence and internal logic that makes sense to scientists and engineers. Examples include Isaac Asimov’s robots, Robert Heinlein’s rocket ships, and William Gibson’s cyberspace. As Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research puts it, such icons serve as hieroglyphs—simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.

In pursuit of this, Stephenson founded Project Hieroglyph, “a publication, collective conversation and incubator for the ‘moonshot ecosystem’ bringing together writers, scientists, engineers, technologists, industrialists and other creative, synoptic thinkers to collaborate on bold ideas in a protected space for creative play, science, and imagination”. He has also had the pleasure of seeing an idea from one of his books, The Diamond Age, become reality.

[read the rest of this post…]


There is still time to register for the Literacy Alliance of Metro Atlanta’s 5K Run/Walk for Literacy! The Literacy Alliance of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) is a practical and innovative coalition that seeks to achieve 100% literacy among metro Atlanta’s adults and families. The 5K Run/Walk for literacy is an excellent way to get fit and promote literacy at the same time. Don’t miss out on this family-friendly event with prize giveaways! 100% of the proceeds support literacy programming and initiatives throughout Metro Atlanta.

To register, follow this link. Please select “DeKalb County Public Library Foundation” as the organization to benefit from your registration.

Online registration is $20 for individuals or $60 for a group (up to 4 individuals); day of registration is $25 for individuals and $70 for a group.

Online registration closes on Friday, September 28 at 6:49 PM. The race starts in Decatur Square on Saturday, September 29 at 8:00 AM.

For more information on the Literacy Alliance of Metro Atlanta, please click here.


Feb 15 2012

Love Your Library

by Joseph M

Love Your Library logoValentine’s Day may be over, but you can still show you care by participating in our Love Your Library campaign, ongoing through the month of February.  A donation of $1 will get you a heart with your name on it posted at your local library branch.  You can also donate online if you prefer.  Your contributions will go to support important literacy work among children and adults in DeKalb county, so show some love and help make a difference in your community!


Sep 15 2011

Help Literacy, and Get Fit Doing It

by Laura H

Participating in the upcoming Literacy Alliance of Metropolitan Atlanta’s 5K Run or Walk in Decatur at 8 AM on Saturday, September 24 is a no brainer for many reasons. First, you can select DeKalb County Public Library as your choice to receive 70% of the $20 registration fee—a real boon for us in this year of dramatically cut county budgets.  Also, you can get some exercise with your family or friends—either running or walking all or part of the 5k route through downtown Decatur. Most importantly, you’ll help raise awareness and promote interest in the wide spectrum of literacy needs in our communities. If you won’t be in town or available at that time, you can register as a “phantom” walker to lend needed support.

What else can you do?

  • Talk up this event with everyone and be sure to tell them to check DCPL on their registration to receive the incentive funds—otherwise, we won’t!
  • Register now on-line at www.literacyallianceatlanta.org—cost goes up after the 22nd.
  • Use this opportunity to let those you care about know you are interested in supporting the literacy needs of our community—especially those of adults and families. This media moment gives us a chance to highlight the fact that work readiness and GED completion is even more critical in this economy.

If you have questions please call Literacy Services at 404.370.8450 ext. 2240.


Jul 14 2009

Johnny Can’t Read

by Ev S


I am so worried that my five year old still can’t read.  I see all these other kids reading and wonder “What am I doing wrong?”  Being me, I started doing some research.  There is a ton of literature out there for the worried parent.

The book that really started this out was Why Johnny Can’t Read – And what you can do about it by Rudolf Flesch.  This book was published in 1955 and parents are still using it at home.  It’s based on the phonics method of reading.  The  public schools have swayed from the phonics method to whole language  learning and back again since my husband and I were children (early to mid 1970s).  Until I started researching about reading I had no idea that there were basically two ways to teach reading.

Straight Talk about Reading: how parents can make a difference during the early years by Susan Hall and Louisa C. Moats pretty much details how the two different methods work and why phonics is a more successful method.  Actually, I did not find much that supported the whole language method.

Starting Out Right: A guide to promoting children’s reading success by the National Research Council specifically spells out activities to do with my five year old.  The book starts out with what is needed to be considered literate; and it’s not just about reading.  The National Research Council details activities and practices for every age group from preschool to grade three.  This is basically a how-to manual.

The best thing I learned about reading is that it happens at the child’s pace and not because the worried, conscientious, proactive parent is doing anything “wrong”.  I can finally sleep at night.

Here is a list of other titles in the library system:

Prescription for Reading–teach them phonics by Ernest H Christman

The Writing Road to Reading: the Spalding method for teaching speech, spelling, writing, and reading by Romalda Bishop Spalding

Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t : how it happens and what you can do about it by Mary Leonhardt

Building Blocks : building a parent-child literacy program at your library by Sharon Snow

Yes, if you’re wondering if DCPL has a building blocks program.  Just check out our calendar of events, look for the red.


Feb 6 2009

Show Me the Love

by DCPLive

Love is in the air.  Valentine’s Day is only a week away.  You can’t go into a grocery store without seeing heart shaped candy boxes or tacky fake roses.  You’re probably counting all the ways you love your sweetie, but have you thought about the many ways you love your library?  I may be biased, but I think there are tons of reasons to love your library.  But we want to know why YOU, our patrons, love DeKalb County Public Library.  So go ahead, share your story and tell us why you love the library.

PS–By the way, the DeKalb Library Foundation has declared February “Love Your Library” month and is asking library patrons (that means you) to make a small donation to help us meet a $125,000 challenge grant we have been given by the Fitzgerald Foundation.  This donation will help us fund literacy services to underserved adults and children in DeKalb County.  Click here to make your online donation.

PPS– if you have a really good story, we just might use it in some PR piece.

Thanks!  Alison W.

{ 1 comment }

I was driving to work a couple of weeks ago when I heard an episode of the StoryCorps series on NPR.  If you’ve ever heard a StoryCorps interview before, then you understand why I reach for the tissues as soon as they say it’s coming up.  This particular interview was no different, and the fact that it related to reading made it especially moving to me. 

This was the story of Joe Buford of Nashville, age 63, who is learning to read after decades of hiding the fact from family and coworkers.  He worried that he had passed “what was wrong” with him on to his children, and avoided promotions at work.  For the last year or so he has been working with literacy tutor Michelle Miller, and when he finally realized that he was beginning to be able to read, he “jumped up and ran through the house. It made me cry and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, it really is sinking in.'”  Listen to Joe’s story in his own words here.

DeKalb County Public Library offers many literacy materials to assist those looking to improve their reading skills, as well as materials for tutors helping others.  Visit any branch for more information, or check out our services on our website.

To find a literacy tutor or if you are interested in volunteering as a tutor, contact Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta, located conveniently across the street from the downtown Decatur Library.  They offer one-on-one volunteer tutoring as well as training for tutors.  LVA seeks to promote lifelong learning, and provides tutors for both adult literacy as well as ESL (English as second language).

{ 1 comment }

Most of the branches in DeKalb County Public Library now have an Adult Learning Collection, which covers a broad scope of adult learning subjects, from learning English as a Second Language to test preparation books to workplace skills.  These sections are usually shelved near reference sections in the branches and have “LEA” on the labels (for “learning collection”).  If you or anyone you know needs help learning English, practicing tests (especially the GED, the PSAT, and the SAT), or improving basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and workplace basics, DeKalb County Public Library is your one-stop location for high-quality, librarian-reviewed resources.

Also don’t forget about the LearningExpressLibrary!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Nov 15 2007

The Vocabulary of Hunger

by Jimmy L

FreericeWhat does improving your vocabulary and ending world hunger have in common? Well, it sounds far-fetched, but a website called FreeRice.com has made the link between these two needs. From their website:

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

On their website you can play a game that will build your vocabulary. The game detects your vocabulary level based on the answers you get right, so that it’s always challenging, but never too challenging. For every correct answer you get, they donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger. They’ve donated a total of 1,712,371,750 grains of rice (and counting) so far.

Give it a try, and this Thanksgiving, you’ll have two more things to be thankful for!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }