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

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When the economy is down in the dumps, the library becomes an even more valuable part of the community. Not only does it help people find jobs with job search classes and resources, not only does it educate children so that they become productive members of society, the library also gives back immediately to your pocketbook! Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) recently created a Value of Library Services Calculator.  Just fill in the fields and it will tell you how much money you are saving by using the library.

We recently posted the same link to our Facebook page, and asked people to post a reply with the results of how much they were saving. Six people responded, and the average amount saved was $557.72 per month!

How much are you saving? Feel free to reply to this blog post with your amount saved.

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Feb 7 2011

To E(book) or not to E(book)

by Patricia D

Kindle.  Nook.  Literati.  Something produced by Apple.   Someone you know got an eBook reader for Christmas.  If that someone had the same sales person as my sister-in-law, they were told the public library has electronic books to download onto said eBook reader (with the exception of the Kindle, because we all know only Amazon purchased content can be viewed on a Kindle.)   Sad fact:  DCPL currently does not have electronic books to be loaded onto any eBook reader currently on the market.  We would love to have them, primarily because our mission is to provide the materials and information our patrons want.  Also, some of us got eBook readers for Christmas too and for me, paying for a book is a verrrrrry hard idea to get my head around.  However, Economic Reality is most certainly Coyote Ugly these days and adding another dimension to DCPL’s collections is something we can plan but not implement.

We can offer, thanks in large part to the generous support of the Friends of the Dunwoody Library, a very nice downloadable audiobook collection, which can be played on computers, MP3 players and in some instances, iPods, though at the moment I have yet to figure out how to manage that technological feat (for more technical help with downloadable audiobooks, please see this post).  These downloadable audiobooks can be accessed from either our OverDrive page or from the catalog, where they are being added as quickly as we can catalog them.  I find it amusing that we’re cataloging something we can’t actually hold—it’s a little like trying to catalog Daniel Tiger’s (Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood  character) imaginary best friend, which was part of the cataloging final in graduate school.  Keep an eye out for the “downloadable audiobook” format as you search the catalog and please know, as soon as we are able, that there will be listings for “electronic books” as well.

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Feb 2 2011

Book Sale, Book Sale, Book Sale

by Lesley B

We are always looking for the book it is necessary to read next – Saul Bellow

There’s never been a better time than this weekend to find that next book.  On Saturday, February 5, the Friends of Decatur Library have their annual Winter Book Sale.  They’ll have thousands of great books for you on the ground floor of the Decatur Library from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

But wait—there’s more. The Friends of Toco Hill – Avis G. Williams Library Book Sale starts Friday, February 4 at 1 p.m.  (Join the Toco Hill Friends that morning and you can get in on the Friends-only preview from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ) They’ve got so many books that the sale continues on Saturday, February 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And even though it’s not a library sale,  I want you to know that Briarlake Elementary is also hosting a book sale on Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5.

3 book sales in one weekend! I picture many happy readers,  driving up and down Clairmont with their new treasures piled in the back seat.  The prices are right, the causes are good—take a friend and find your next book(s).

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Mar 17 2010

Friends of the Dunwoody Library

by Nancy M

In these tough economic times we have the fortune of being able to turn to our local library for help. Libraries provide free internet access, computer classes, children’s programs, and of course, thousands of books, DVDs and more that can be borrowed for no cost at all. Unfortunately, many libraries across the country are losing vital funds to keep these services and programs afloat. One non-profit organization, The Friends of the Dunwoody Library, has been working tirelessly over the years to make sure that the Dunwoody Library remains a hub of the community, despite growing economic uncertainty. These volunteers’ efforts include sponsoring library programs, promoting literacy and organizing a major quarterly undertaking: the Dunwoody Library booksale.  Money generated from these booksales, which are comprised of a massive collection of community donations, has allowed for some major undertakings, namely the renovation of the Dunwoody Library this past summer. The Friends put an astounding $185,000 towards the remodeling of the branch, which included updating the children’s library and storytime room.

And their work has ensured that the Dunwoody Library can continue to provide relevant, educational and entertaining programs for community members of all ages. Each year the Friends generously give the Dunwoody Library between $55-60,000 for programs and materials that end up benefitting the entire DeKalb County Public Library System. Children’s programs, such as storytimes and the Book Bunch Book Club, and adult literacy programs would not exist without the support of the Friends.  Online databases, books, periodicals and reference materials are purchased with the help of the Friends as well. In fact, the Friends recently purchased content for a new audiobook database called Overdrive. It’s not available yet, but check back to the DCPL website in the coming months.

The Friends of the Dunwoody Library continue to succeed in keeping the library a center of the community through their hard work and commitment.  If you would like to help with their important work, you can stop by the Dunwoody Library and ask for a Friends of the Library membership form. If you don’t live in Dunwoody but would like to join your local Friends group, click here for more information.

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Mar 1 2010

Organize This

by Vivian A

I don’t understand how my shelves at the library can be in perfect Dewey Decimal and Alpha order but my house is an unorganized mess.

I’ve read the best of the best—Peter Walsh’s ???How to Organize Just About Everything at 501 pages.  It covers just about every organizing situation from planning a wedding to organizing a filing system. I got a workout just carrying it around but due to its extra large size, I never lost it under a pile of clutter.

Walsh also wrote Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big?. It explores the connection between being overweight and clutter. He recommends ways to clean out your house and your refrigerator.

I skimmed “Organizing solutions for people with attention deficit disorder : tips and tools to help you take charge of your life and get organized.” This would be good with a prescription for Ritalin.

I took the fun test in Organizing for your brain type: finding your own solution to managing time, paper and stuff by Lanna Nakone. Her system was foolproof except in my case.

And I own Organizing from the Inside Out: the foolproof system for organizing your home, your office and your life by Julie Morgenstern.

All in all, I’ve tried and grudgingly accepted that I am one of the few, the not proud, the disorganized. But there is a bright side. I took an informal poll of my co-workers and most of them have great looking shelves but messy homes. It’s a good thing you can only come to the library instead of our homes, right?

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Nov 18 2009

Running Back to The Basics

by Jnai W

It’s hard to believe that in about a month and a half, the year 2009 and the first decade of the New Millennium will be over. The passing decade–and this passing year–have been trying times that have tested many of us in faith and resolve. But for me, at least, it’s been an opportunity to get back to basics and be more creative about things.  Instead of eating out as much, I bring my lunch to work. Instead of going to the movies or paying for Netflix, I borrow DVDs from the Library (…and there’s the pitch).  In a way, as cheesy as it sounds, the economic downturn has helped me get back in touch with the simpler (and less expensive) pleasures of life.

Among the simpler pleasures I’ve been rediscovering is my passion for running, something I’ve enjoyed since I was a high school student. I can’t say that I was the speed demon of the team but I truly enjoyed the freedom of being out in the elements, among my fellow teammates and decked in the school colors off to a cross country meet.  Running taught me a great deal about endurance, discipline and was a great way to relieve stress and tension. Unfortunately, running fell by the wayside as I grew older and a bit more preoccupied.

For now, I’m getting back into the sport slowly but surely, as I haven’t been a serious runner for some time. Thus far, I walk at least twice a week and have been trying to work the jogging back in. It feels really good to rediscover a long lost love. Here’s a couple of books I’ve been checking out:

Running For Dummies by Florence Griffith-Joyner & John Hanc–My heart leaped when I noticed this book at the Decatur branch.  “Flo-Jo!” I exclaimed…in a whisper (I was still in a library). I’m really liking this book so far because, like all For Dummies books, it’s great for the absolute beginner or the lapsed intermediate like myself.  It’s a great reminder of the rewards, the challenges and the simple mechanics of running. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that this book was co-authored by one of the greatest (and most glamorous) legends of the sport.

Think Fast: Mental Toughness Training for Running by Joe Henderson— There is no doubt that running requires physical strength and endurance but, as my old cross country coach would remind me, running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport. This book offers great wisdom for keeping your focus while running and also gives good advice on pushing yourself to “the next level” of more challenging, demanding workouts. While this particular book is geared more toward competitive and seasoned runners, this book can also be quite to the beginner in need of extra motivation.

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water_conservation_logo32Now that the drought in Georgia is officially over, residents may have a few questions concerning post-drought water usage. Is there still a schedule for specific days during which we can water our lawns? What about washing our cars outside? Can our kids break out their slip n’ slides yet? Well, do not fret – there are answers to all those questions and your good friends at the DeKalb County Public Library have compiled a short list of resources to help. (The answer to those three questions, by the way, is now yes, but please read on).

  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division provides a site that includes water usage rules for both drought and non-drought periods. It also features a link to drought studies conducted by The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
  • Coping with Georgia’s drought is the name of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s wonderful page offering gardening and water-saving tips, as well as plenty of links on articles relating to the former drought. The aerial photos of Lake Lanier from October 2007-April 2009 are particularly interesting to see.
  • If you are looking tips on water saving products such as high-efficiency shower heads or toilets, Conserve Water Georgia provides a site full of valuable consumer information. There are also handy tips on water conservation for teachers, home owners, and corporations.

And don’t forget:  Leonard Anderson of the DeKalb County Extension Service will give tips on how to conserve water at the Doraville Library on Wednesday, July 29th at 6:30pmMore info here.

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Jun 17 2009

About A Washboard

by Jnai W

I’ve been feeling really nostalgic lately and that’s all thanks to my new washboard. I’ll explain if I may.

I live in a cute old apartment complex with a pool that, curiously, hasn’t been opened yet, at least 300 small children gone summer-crazy and a dodgy, probably-haunted laundry room. Needless to say, with its odd horror-flick lighting and creepy little noises, it’s not really an enjoyable place for sorting one’s fine washables and lingering around while the clothes are cleaning. So I decided, being kind of a romantic at heart, that I should get a washboard and launder my clothes the old-fashioned way.  I figured that it beats having to trudge to a laundromat or beg friends and family into letting me use their washer and dryer all the time. (I’ve tried to find a way to tie “washboards” to DCPL in some relevant way but this is the best I could do.)

I have to say, DCPLers, that I’m really enjoying my washboard. The most fun part–aside from the actual using of the washboard–was purchasing  and bringing it home Sunday before last.  The reactions I got when I bought it and toted it home on the bus were similar to the ones I get when I tell people  that I work at The Library: a mixture of amusement (“Oh, how cute! Do people still use libraries?”) and general good will.

“Oh, you mean a scrub-board?” the friendly ACE Hardware worker corrected me, before offering her assistance and quizzing me about how southern I was.

Later, as I was walking to the nearest bus stop with my new purchase, one lady hollered out of her car window ” I haven’t seen one of those since I was a kid! Where’d you get that?”

Not long after that the bus driver that day and the lady in the seat behind me  had their own fond memories of their mamas or other loved ones working their laundry over the scrub-board (but now I’m confused–is it scrub-board or rub-board?)

This is kind of what my washboard looks like...

This is kind of what my washboard looks like...

I’m still trying to figure out how to bring this blog post home and make it some how relevant to the Library. I guess I just like the fact that it’s really useful, traditional (nostalgic, even) and inexpensive to use…kind of like the Library, perhaps?

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This week I have been, quite literally, scraping to get by. You know what it’s like when you spend a little more than you should have last week and find yourself subsisting on cereal this week? Things aren’t bad enough that I’m borrowing money from mom (that’s what I’m giving Mama for Mother’s Day this year; the gift of not hitting her up for cash!) but things have been a little lean for me this week.  So lean,  in fact,  that I really don’t have an idea for today’s blog.

Though my Blog Muse has taken leave of me, I have been finding creative ways  of making it through until The Eagle lands. All I can say is thank goodness for gift cards, Coinstar and the Library, which is always a great source for free entertainment and great reads.

Here are two books that are excellent and especially timely for me this week. If only I’d actually take their advice. Wait a minute…do I feel a blog coming on?

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman: While my fabulousness is open to debate–this week? not so fab–I really enjoy Orman’s common sense tips and financial insight.



You’re Broke Because You Want To be: How To Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead by Larry Winget:  The title alone dares you to read this book.  I tore into Winget’s book fairly certain that I didn’t want to be broke.  But by the time I’d finished reading I was hanging my head in shame.  The best thing about Winget is that, after he’s done disapproving of you, he offers great exercises, tips and wisdom for getting your finances in order.

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Mar 10 2009

Spring Cleaning, Anyone?

by Jnai W

cleaningI spent all of Sunday helping my mom with some spring cleaning…and helping myself to some of the old forgotten treasures that we uncovered. I stumbled upon long-lost books,  misplaced CDs, my old Fat Albert lunchbox (hey, hey, hey!…okay it was actually my brother’s but finders keepers) and even some clothes that, with a bit of TLC, can make a comeback into my wardrobe. I’ll admit it, readers, I’m a packrat…and so is my mother (she knows it, though).

It’s amazing the sentimental value that one’s belongings can hold. But what’s equally amazing is how these keepsakes can accumulate and become burdensome clutter.  Now that spring is in the air there is no better time to give old items a new purpose. If you’re like me perhaps you’d prefer donating the better quality pieces to Goodwill, Salvation Army or another reputable place where they will be of use to someone else.

If you’re more enterprising and looking to make a little extra cash, maybe you can hold a garage sale. Perhaps you’ve even found some items in the attic that can be repurposed and put to good use again, in which case good for you! Just don’t let anyone tease you about having to wear your old high school class ring on your pinky now. They’re just jealous.

As always, the Library is a great source for all things related to Spring Cleanliness and good feelings in general.

Books For Getting Organized:

The Everything Organize Your Home Book by Jenny Schroedel (Adams Media): I love the Everything series of books (if you’re interested in rocking out–after you’ve done your chores, of course–try the Everything Guitar Book also). This is pretty much the only organization book I’ve read in a while but the title says it all. It’s got Everything.

Your Garagenous Zone: Innovative Ideas For Your Garage by Bill West (Paragon Garage Co.): Pages 21-29 are a great start in organizing this space. This isn’t exactly about garage sales as I thought it would be but you’ll be well on your way to a organized garage.

Garage Sale Magic by Michael Williams: Once you’ve decluttered your garage why not try and make a few dollars? This book promises to “turn your trash into cash.” But please don’t try to sell trash; that’s rude.

A Book For Crafty Folks Looking To Reuse Old Items:

Don’t Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew and Reuse To Make Things Last by Lori Baird: I know I’ve blogged about this one before but it really is a great resource for making the most of what you’ve got in your home.

A Book For, um, Folks Who Like To Declutter Only To Reclutter Because They Can’t Resist Thrift Stores and Garage Sales:

Thrift Score by Al Hoff (Harper Collins): What do you do if you’re a packrat and a thrift store junkie? Seeking counseling wouldn’t hurt but until then, this is a great book about how to spend your money wisely when you go to Goodwill or Last Chance. It’s easy (for me, at least) to forget that just because something’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. Author Hoff offers great tips on how to shop secondhand.

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