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


Aug 24 2012

ShareReads: Caution School Zone!

by ShareReads

ShareReads intro

As I was driving to work I realized traffic was busier than usual. Unaware of the start of the school year I was smack dab in the middle of blinking lights, stop signs, twenty-five miles per hour school zones and  happy kids eager to enter school to learn and make friends. A jolt of reality hit me of how far I had come from those formative years but how in ways I yearned to return to a more structured and protected life. So I went in search for the authors who I loved as a child but could still enjoy as an adult. I allowed Shel Silverstein to remind me about relationships in The Missing Piece Meets the Big O:

“The missing piece sat alone waiting for someone to come along and take it somewhere. Some fit… but could not roll… Others could roll but did not fit. One didn’t know a thing about fitting”

or the power of change in Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss:

“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and  you may, I say. Sam! If you will let me be I will try them. You will see.”

Who could forget the comfort of unconditional love and family in The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown:

“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,” said his mother. “ I will become the wind and blow you where I want you to go.”

The memories…

Though I can never return to elementary school and the carefree world of childhood, remembering these books created for kids but still needed for adults gave me hope and renewed me for the day. I said to myself, “I’m going on a bear hunt. I’m going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! I’m not scared…”


I’ve been allowing myself to splurge on one album a month (or rather, I’ve allotted myself a budget of one album a month). Sometimes, to help myself decide which music to check out, I’ll visit a website like Metacritic, a great site that gives you an overview of new releases and how they rank among leading critics. Now if you were a teenage girl in the 90s like I was (or just a fan of wonderful music in general ) you can probably imagine my delight when I noticed that Fiona Apple is releasing her fourth studio album this month.

“Squeeeeeeaallll!” I squealed.

I resolved in that moment that that album would be my monthly music expenditure…but then I remembered that I’d just purchased The Notorious B.I.G‘s Ready To Die remaster from iTunes. But shortly on the heels of that realization I decided that I would simply break my rule and purchase Fiona Apple’s new album anyway, fiscal responsibility be doggoned. Just as I was about to search for Apple’s new album through my phone (as of this writing it’s not available yet) I read the name of the new album —The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do—and decided that I would not download but instead walk into my nearest music retailer (or, more likely, Target) and purchase the actual CD for the music and the liner notes.

Perhaps this new release boasts lyrics just as intriguing as Apple’s previous albums, including another eccentrically-titled set like 1999’s (deep breath) When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing Fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You’ll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You Know That You’re Right (or When The Pawn for short).

Fiona Apple has been, since she thundered and sulked her way onto the musical landscape back in the mid 90s, an intriguing artist and one of my favorites. She spoke to the confused, soulful and angst-ridden idealist in many a youngster—that is, if you were a fan of hers. Her wise-beyond-her-years jazz-tinged vocals and her prodigious piano talent were a force to be reckoned with (still are).

I think about this impending Fiona Apple release and it reminds me of all the exemplary female talent that flooded the music scene in the 90s. I try my darnedest to not succumb to musical nostalgia that borders on snobbery (i.e “Music really went to the dogs after my generation came of age”). But, to me, the 90s felt like an incredible and exciting time to be a young woman with a song in her heart, a mic in her hand and something to get off her chest. I suppose lots of people feel this way about the music of their formative years but it was the work of young artists that were growing up right along with me that really fostered my love for music. Singer/songwriters  like Alanis MorrissetteSarah McLachlan, Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Joan OsborneShawn Colvin, Tori Amos and Paula Cole made me wanna pick up a guitar and figure out how to set my journal entries to music. The list is, essentially, endless of great musical artists whose work spoke to me when I was young. I’m just grateful for their work…and for another Fiona Apple record. Now if we could just cajole Ms. Lauryn Hill for a new release (Please, L. Boogie?)

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May 30 2012

The Music of our Youth

by Amanda L

I recently was hanging out with some teens who were reminiscing about the TV of their youth (Spongebob Square Pants.) I turned on The Voice later that day and began reminiscing about the music of my youth.

The first album I remember hearing was Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road.  My cousins owned the album and played it the entire time we were at their house up in New York.

The first album I owned was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. I remember watching General Hospital and Scotty Baldwin playing the album, which of course made me want to own it! The music from that album is classic and can be played over and over in my opinion.

During my high school years, I think I was more into songs instead of full albums. Every time I hear Billy Joel’s My Life, I become that rebellious teenager that kept playing that song over and over claiming my independence. You can hear that song and many more of Billy Joel’s hits on his album The essential Billy Joel.

What better way to relive the music of your youth than by checking out the Library’s music collection. I know I have been surprised at the number of albums I could find to reminisce about the good old times. What are some of the songs and albums of your youth that take you back into time?


Nov 10 2010

Time Capsules

by Joseph M

I was doing some much needed housecleaning last weekend, rifling through piles of old paperwork and the like, when I discovered an interesting little tidbit from my recent past; a “to-do” list for the year 2010, presumably written up in the first few weeks of the year and then lost. Upon finding it, I spent a few moments looking over my list and evaluating my progress, striking through goals that had been achieved and refreshing my commitment to follow up on the things I hadn’t yet accomplished.

My ratio of finished to unfinished items was rather heavily weighted towards the latter, but that didn’t concern me overmuch. I am a big proponent of to-do lists; even though I can’t be sure they actually increase my efficacy, they help me identify what I want and need to do in order to improve my quality of life and advance my various agendas. The thing that really intrigued me about this experience was how the list became a window into my personal past. In my terse, earnest statements messily scribbled on the crumpled page, I could see myself at the top of the year, with all of the anxieties and aspirations that had informed the document my former self had written out. It brought to mind a website that I stumbled upon a few years ago called www.futureme.org. The site allows you to write yourself an email, then specify a date in the future when you want the site to send it to you, creating a sort of digital time capsule for your future self to enjoy. You can also read letters that other users have made public to see the wide variety of applications available with this nifty service.

Another thing that can really bring you back is picking up a book you really enjoyed as a kid but haven’t re-visited in years; you might be surprised at your take on it as an adult. Why don’t you visit your local library and give it a try?


Jun 24 2009

Vintage Children’s Books

by Nancy M

funniest1There is something so delightfully nostalgic about coming across an old children’s book that I read as a child. Little Golden Books, anybody? Seeing the colorful illustrations that I would pore over as a kid brings back those halcyon childhood days and reading the charming stories reminds me of why I became a children’s librarian in the first place. DeKalb County Public Libraries house thousands of children’s books and there are many hidden treasures just waiting to be rediscovered. Here are some of my favorites:

Frederick (1967) by Leo Lionni


The Giant Jam Sandwich (1973) by John Vernon Lord


Too Many Mittens (1958) by Florence and Louis Slobodkin


The Story of Ferdinand (1936) by Munro Leaf


I came across this blog recently, which brought back even more wonderful book memories and helped me to discover some new ones I have never read.

What are your favorite vintage children’s books?


card-catalogPublic libraries have gotten great press lately as a way to save money and I’ve noticed a lot of new faces coming up to the information desk. These people look pleased but a little confused and they say, “I haven’t been to the library in a long time. I guess you all don’t have a card catalog any more.”

No, we don’t. I don’t know when DeKalb County Public Library switched (help me out here, DCPL oldtimers), but generally public libraries retired their card catalogs many years ago. The computer OPACs (that’s Online Public Access Catalogs) are an improvement over the little drawers in every way — except aesthetics and ambiance. Somehow libraries looked more ‘libraryish’ when the card catalogs lined the walls.

One of our prodigal patrons asked me, “What happened to all the cards and cabinets?”  The cards show up in crafts and in projects like Cartalog, a memorial to the card catalog created from salvaged University of Iowa catalog cards. Los Angeles Public Library lined an elevator shaft with the old cards, matching the card subjects with the department on each floor. The cabinets have been resold, recycled, and repurposed. I’ve found old card catalogs used as coffee tables, kitchen storage units and sewing room cabinets. A quick search on eBay turned up a few card catalogs, all with multiple bids, so they are very collectible.

If you’d like to extend your trip down library memory lane, check out The Library History Buff. It’s a fascinating collection of librariana, and there’s a section on card catalogs. Sigh. Now I miss them.