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


Feb 25 2013

On Book Recommendations

by Jnai W

I realize that I’m at least a few years late to the party but I’ve just recently finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (loved, loved, loved it!) and am now tucking into book two of the trilogy, Catching Fire. I’ve been aware of The Hunger Games for the past few years because…well, it’s hard not to be when you work in a library. But for whatever reason I’d never gotten around to reading it. Recently, however, it became quite inexcusable for me to not read this book. In the case of The Hunger Games I ran out of excuses not to read it based on the recommendation of one of DCPL’s adorable teen patrons (yes, Readers, teens can be quite adorable!). Our circulation desk conversation had somehow turned to the Hunger Games series. I’d mentioned to the young patron that I hadn’t read the book yet but “I’ve heard good things”.

“Oh my gosh,” said the youngster. “You’ll love it! You’ll really love it!”

Her enthusiasm for this book was honest, overflowing and contagious, so much so that I’d decided that I would be reading this book at my earliest convenience. “Earliest convenience” is still slightly non-committal but at least now reading Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed trilogy was officially on my to-do list.  After talking for a while longer, I checked out the patron and wished her happy reading with the items she’d borrowed.  Perhaps half an hour later, the young lady and her mother returned to the library and presented me with their copy of The Hunger Games, suggesting that when I was finished reading it I could pass it along to someone else to read or donate it to the library. Ecstatic and touched by the gift, reading this book graduated from being a to-do list item to My Plans For The Evening. It took me three days to read it but only because I had to break for things like going to work and sleeping.

As a library worker, book recommendations from patrons are always welcome and appreciated. But nothing compares to when a teenager who’s normally too-cool-for-school cracks a smile at the mention of a book he likes.  Or when an adorable, gap-toothed kiddie-grin widens with the mention of each of Victoria Kann’s -Licious books (“Did you like Pinkalicious? Have you read Purplicious? How about Silverlicious?”).  So if there’s one recommendation from today’s post it is that it pays to pick your nearest youngster’s brain for an excellent book. May the odds of a great read be ever in your favor!


Mar 21 2012

Feeding your hunger

by Dea Anne M

Regular readers of this blog probably already know that my posts often involve food and you might assume from the title of this post that this one is more of the same. Well…surprise—it’s not! By “hunger” I’m referring to this coming weekend’s release of the eagerly awaited film version of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. The book is, of course, the first in Collins’ wonderful dystopian trilogy (which includes Catching Fire and Mockingjay) in which ruling powers demand a yearly “tribute”—a girl and a boy selected by lottery from each of twelve districts. The twenty-four tributes are expected to fight each other to the death in a televised (required viewing, no less) gladiatorial-style contest until only one is left standing. The trilogy’s primary character is Katniss Everdeen – a brave and emotionally complicated young woman who is sometimes infuriating but always (in my opinion) remarkable. I’ve heard some equate the success of the Hunger Games series with that of Stephanie Meyers’  Twilight books. Both series have been hugely popular but they are, I think, really nothing alike. Certainly there’s a strong romantic sub-plot in the books but it definitely takes a back seat to the rest of the action. Needless to say, I’m eager to see the film which features Jennifer  Lawrence (as Katniss), Woody Harrelson, and  Stanley Tucci among many others.

To celebrate the release of the film, the Stonecrest branch of DCPL will be hosting a Hunger Games Release Party on Saturday, March 24 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The party will feature “training stations” where teens can test their skills in archery, plant identification, and trivia; crafts; refreshments; and a prize drawing. Remember, attendance is limited to the first 25 teens so do keep that in mind if you plan to celebrate with us at Stonecrest. The Decatur branch will also be celebrating the film release with a Hunger Games Trivia event featuring  pizza and prizes this Thursday, March 22, from 4:30-5:30. The event will be held in the Decatur Meeting Room and attendance is limited to the first 25 participants.

Are you going to celebrate the release of the Hunger Games film and, if so, how?


Jul 15 2011

ShareReads: Guilty Pleasures

by ShareReads

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

After reading Amanda’s ShareReads post last week about the disturbing plots of some teen novels, as well as traveling a good bit on MARTA recently, I have come to the conclusion that I am ashamed of my reading habits.  Yes, I read some books only in the privacy of my home where there are no witnesses.  Yes, I have been known to take a book jacket off, so as to not be judged by the cover art and title.  And, yes, I have even been known to rejacket the book with the cover from the hip, literary sensation that everyone is buzzing about.  I am guilty of reading books that cause feelings of embarrassment and that I don’t want to be seen reading; but, I just can’t resist these books and secretly love to read them.  What exactly are my guilty reading pleasures?  Teen books, including ones with disturbing plots, but my true loves are cheesy, romances where the biggest sources of angst are “Does he like me?” and “Am I going to flunk bio?”  Ah, the simpler, halcyon days of being a teen; these books are my true escapist pleasure!

One such book I recently finished is The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler.  An enticingly covered (how can you resist cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles?) story with the basic plot of new girl (Penny Lane) in a small town (Hog’s Hollow) who butts heads with the most popular girl in school and who longs to return home to the big city and her old friends.  It was a cute, fun read to get lost in, and I thoroughly enjoyed Penny’s rediscovering herself and her family in a new setting, as well as her adventures with new friends who challenge the popular clique in creative ways that I only wished I had thought of (and had the courage to do) when I was in high school.   But, I didn’t really want to be seen on the train reading a book with cupcakes on the cover that was written for a 15 year old, so I happily devoured this one sans jacket and with minor guilt.

OK, fair and tender readers, what are your reading guilty pleasures?  What books can you not resist, but don’t necessarily want to admit to reading?  I promise this is a judge free posting.  And, if you’re still not ready for a public declaration, you can post anonymously!


ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

I just finished reading the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. My husband and I listened to the first in the series, Hunger Games last month. If you are not familiar with the series, it is set in the future. The main characters, Katniss, Peeta, and Gayle, all hail from district 12 of the country Panem. Panem is located where currently North America is located. The basic premise of the series is that the government would like to punish and control people, to prevent them from rebelling. Each district selects a boy and girl randomly to participate in the hunger games. During the hunger games, the players fight until the death until the remaining survivor wins the games.

While we were listening to the Hunger Games, both my husband and I kept thinking that this was a horrible premise of a book, whether teen or adult. I mean, what is good about teens fighting each other to the death? In any case, we couldn’t stop listening to the book. It is captivating. The author writes the characters  in such a way that you care whether they live or die. The story moves fast, and you begin to find yourself rooting for a specific character. Are you team Gayle, Peeta or Katniss?

There has been much discussion lately about the dark themes currently appearing in Young Adult (teen) literature. Two articles, both pro and con,  have been written about this. The first, Darkness to Visible, was published in the Wall Street Journal. The author of this article believes Young Adult literature is running rapid with violence, depravity and abuse. The second, written in response, was called, Has young adult fiction become too dark?, and was published in Salon magazine.

Whether you believe Young Adult literature is too dark or tackles some deep subjects, the teens are reading. I came across an article from Entertainment Weekly about the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  Thirteen Reasons Why is about suicide. Hannah Baker has already committed suicide before the book begins. She has made thirteen cassette tapes to send to the thirteen people she believes contributed to her death.

The article points out how a book can open a person’s perspective and create empathy for others. The author, Jay Asher, stated that he has received several e-mails from teens who were contemplating suicide. He also has received e-mails from teens who realized after reading the book  that what they say or don’t say, and the way they act towards others can have a lasting impact on someone’s decisions or outlook on life.

Have you read any teen books lately? What do you think about this topic?


Have you read a young adult (YA) novel recently? Have you heard about Mockingjay or Twilight? While these are the most recognized titles, there are so many more well written and fun story lines. The Library’s Teen page offers a look at a variety of books for teens and adults looking for a good read. There are even readalike lists for those who have read Mockingjay or Twilight.

So you say you haven’t read a YA novel and never would? Your favorite author may be writing his or her next book at as a YA novel. One of the fastest growing markets in the publishing world is the market for young adults. There are genres that match all of the adult offerings and adult authors are taking notice.

Below are a few popular adult authors who have already begun writing books for teens.  So the next time you put a hold on a John Grisham or James Patterson, do not be surprised if it is a YA book that you just ordered. (To limit the list to young adult titles, use the drop down menu to limit the list and select “Young Adult materials” or “Juvenile materials”. This is located on the right-hand side of the screen). Need additional help finding great reads? Ask a staff member.


Mar 3 2010

Teen Tech Week

by Nancy M

March 7-13 is Teen Tech Week, a national initiative that focuses on promoting libraries’ nonprint resources to teens. This annual event is sponsored by YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association and this year they have chosen the theme Learn Create Share @ Your Library. This year’s aim is to remind teens and those that work with teens that the Library is a place to learn how to effectively, efficiently and safely use technology in order to help with school, future careers and more. And of course, knowing how to use technology can be lots of fun!

In celebration of Teen Tech Week, the Dunwoody Library will be having a Teen Internet Scavenger Hunt. Teens are encouraged to stop by the Dunwoody Library to pick up a list of questions to be answered using the Internet and the DeKalb County Public Library website and Reference Databases. Those who answer all questions correctly have a chance to win a cool prize! Please click here for more information.

The Brookhaven Library will be hosting Robots, Go! a fun and interactive program that allows teens to create actual working robots. Click here for more information.

And don’t forget to visit DeKalb County Public Library’s teen events calendar for a listing of teen events through the Spring. There are ongoing programs that are designed to acquaint teens with various technologies at many of the DeKalb County Public Library branches. Stop by the Chamblee Library or Flat Shoals Library for a Wii game night, or sign up to take a PowerPoint class at the Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library.

And most importantly, if you are struggling with anything from research to resumes to social networking, remember that your librarian is here to help! So stop by your local Library today to see how you can use technology @ your library.

Also: check out the Library’s new Teen website, available March 5.  It’s a completely re-designed website where you can find advice from the library’s own teen volunteers on what to read, watch, and listen to.  It’s also got many other things too, like polls, reviews, and homework help.

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Jan 6 2010

What’s Cooking @ the Library?

by Nancy M

Every year, like so many others, I half-heartedly attempt a New Year’s resolution. Gone are the days where I try to guilt myself into going to the gym, being more organized, and wasting less time on Facebook. As I get older, I realize I’m just setting myself up for failure. But last year in an attempt to save more money and eat healthier (hopefully eliminating the gym altogether), I resolved to stop eating out so much and start cooking at home. While my resolution wasn’t a complete success—I still like to eat out a lot—I did learn that I actually can cook. Well, I can follow a recipe. This year I plan on getting more serious, which isn’t that hard to do since the Library has tons of great cookbooks with cuisines from all over the world. It’s fun to bring a new one home and try out the recipes rather than commit to buying one. A few of my favorites include:

barefootcontessaBarefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

cleanfoodClean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source by Terry Walters

howtocookHow to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food  by Mark Bittman

There are also some great websites and cooking blogs worth checking out:

Fine Cooking

Their slogan is “We bring out the cook in you” and I couldn’t agree more. Thousands of free top-notch recipes that make me look like I am a better cook than I really am.

The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummon, a.k.a. Pioneer Woman, shows how to cook delicious homemade fare with step-by-step photos.


Life is about to get much easier since I discovered this site. You simply type in the ingredients you have at home and Supercook finds you a recipe. You can also start an account and keep a running list of ingredients.

The Library has plenty of cookbooks for children and teens. These books can help children learn their way around the kitchen and teach them the importance of eating right; international cuisines can serve as an introduction to a new culture.

growitGrow It Cook edited by Deborah Lock

holyHoly Guacamole!: and Other Scrumptious Snacks by Nick Fauchald

cookThe Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella and Olivia Gerasole

Cookbooks can be found in your Library under the Call Number 641. Books about food and culture can be found under 394.

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Dunwoody Library’s summer Teen Digital Photography Contest is over and the results are in! The nearly thirty photos received by teens ages 13-17 years old were judged by staff on creativity and originality. Teens took pictures of a variety of subjects and the results were very impressive, making it a hard contest to judge! In the end, these were the top three photos chosen:

First place goes to 17 year old Lauren Wray’s Where Sky Meets Sky.


Second place goes to 14 year old Caroline Melton’s Through the Hole in the Leaf.


Third place goes to 16 year old Kevin Guebert and his entry, Floating in an Ocean.


Great job to all the teens who participated! You can view all of the entries on DeKalb County Public Library’s Flickr page.

Many thanks to the Friends of the Dunwoody Library for making this contest possible.


Mar 3 2009

The final countdown

by Heather S

There are only a few more days (17 if you trust my calculations) left to vote for the best book on the list of twenty candidates for the 2008-9 Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers.  If you need to review the candidates, check the Georgia Peach Book Award section on our teen web page.  Be sure to vote at your local library or school media center before March 13th!  And, if you want to participate in an exit poll, please post a comment letting us know what your favorite book on the list is!


Feb 9 2009

Book Swapping with the Teens

by Amanda L

A couple of Saturdays ago, the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) conducted a program for fellow teens. This was the first time that the TAB members created the idea for the program, organized it and ran it. For a first time attempt, it was very successful. There were close to twenty-five teens that participated.

What is the Teen Advisory Board, you may ask?  It is an opportunity for teens throughout DeKalb County to get together at the Library and give their opinions about books, movies, the teen portion of our website and programming at the Library for teens. The Board meets once a month on a Saturday. The teens that participate are eligible for volunteer hours.  If you are a teen and interested in joining, check out the information on the teen page.

So what was the program you may ask? It was a book swap.  The teens would bring in books that they no longer wanted to trade for new ones.  You would check in at the registration desk and get a ticket for each book that you were handing in. The books were then sorted by category.  You would then go around the room and select books that you wanted, up to the number that you brought. If you did not find enough books to swap, the teens gave credit for the next Book Swap. They hope to have one every three months or so.

I, personally, cannot wait to see what the next program TAB will be presenting. They have several in the works for the next six to nine months. Check the event calendar and your local branch for future programs. In the meanwhile, enjoy the pictures I took during the event.

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