Friday, August 31, 2012

Did You Know: September is National Library Card Signup Month

September is National Library Card Signup Month and established to remind everyone how a library card is the Smartest Card you can own.  If you don't have one, this is the perfect time to head out to your Abilene Public Library to get one.

Obtaining a card is free, as long as you live in Taylor County, and all you need to get one is a Photo ID and verification of your address (i.e. driver's license, personal checks, insurance, water bill, etc.).  Please note, minors will need a parent or legal guardian present to get them a library card.

If you don't live in Taylor County, you may still get a library card to provide you with the same great services at the affordable cost of just $10.00, which is still a price you can't beat.

If you have a computer at home with Internet access, and a printer, feel free to print out a copy of our registration forms online.  Then you can have them filled out already, and make the process of getting your card that much more effortless on your next visit.  We have forms for Adults, Youth, and the Internet Forms available for your convenience.

Owning your library card affords you with a ton of opportunities including, but certainly not limited to...
  • Checking out books, audiobooks, music CDs, videos, magazines, and more.
  • Accessing library computers for the Internet, Microsoft Office Applications, and more.
  • Downloading digital audiobooks and e-Books through the OverDrive service.
  • Access a host of databases online for your reference, research, and leisure needs.
  • Acquire materials through the Interlibrary Loan service to ensure we find a copy of an item you want to checkout, even if we don't currently own it.
  • Borrowing privileges not only at your three (3) public library branch locations, but also at your three (3) private university libraries including Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, and McMurry Universities.
  • And More...
Sponsored by the American Library Association's Campaign for America's Libraries, the value of having a smart card of your own is immeasurable.  They provide you with much more than the basic ability to checkout a book, for did you know that 90% of Americans agree that the library is the place to go for lifelong learning?  Did you know students who use their libraries actually do better in school, especially when using both print and online resources available through their libraries to help with their homework?

With all the benefits an Abilene Public Library card can offer, if you don't have one, be sure to get yours this month.  You'll benefit greatly by carrying this powerful card in your wallet.  For more information about acquiring your own card, feel free to Contact Us anytime.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dive In...Ins & Outs of Your Library: PC Reservations

Each branch of the Abilene Public Library has public access computers, free of charge, for patrons to get on the Internet or utilize programs such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel.  During different times of the day at each location, a wait can develop.  When this happens we offer the option of a reservation system, to ensure a PC becomes available for you.

If you arrive at the library to find no openings, seek out a staff member.  They will help you put your card number in the system and wait for the next available PC.  If you know specifically what time of day you want to visit the library, we also offer the option of calling ahead.  Phone the branch of your choice  at least an hour to twenty-four hours ahead of time.  Give your card number and preferred time and we'll do our best to meet your request.

Overall the library has 50 Internet computers available for use, so getting PC access is really just a matter of getting on the reservation list!

Post Contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Events @ Your Library (Sept. 3-8)

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check our blog for a look at these events, or visit  our website for a complete listing.  Remember, all events are free and if you need any additional information, click on the title of the program to be redirected to the event post on our online calendar.

All Library Locaiton
Sept. 1-30
325-677-2474 for Details
Celebrate this national observance by realizing that if you don't have a library card, you're missing out on having one of the Smartest Cards you'll ever own.  With access to a number of great services at your fingertips, stop by your library and get yourself a card today.  Public libraries serve more than 2/3's of the population from less than 4% of your tax dollars, so make the most of what we offer. 

Labor Day Holiday
All Library Locations
Sept. 3, 2012
As a reminder, all locations of our library will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3 in observance of Labor Day.  Outside materials returns will be available if you need to return any library materials and we will resume our normal hours of operation on the following Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. 

Guest Speaker: Jesse Mullins
Sept. 4 @ 6:30pm
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-676-6025 for Details
Don't miss your chance to attend this program of firsts where Jesse Mullins, a career journalist who had held editor-in-chief roles at a variety of magazines, will be on hand to share tips on approaching editors with article pitches or presenting submissions.  If you're looking to branch out into this field, don't miss out on the expert advice and tips Mullins will be on hand to share and all at no charge to you!!! 

"Rodeo Fun"
School-Age Kids
Sept. 5 @ 4:00pm
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
Abilene, TX 79603
325-437-7323 for Details
The Mockingbird Branch has joined in on offering this popular event that was started at your South Branch Library.  Designed for school-aged kids, feel free to stop by and make a quick craft before then looking for some great books to checkout.  This month's craft will be making western picture frames. 

"Shoe-Tastic"
Kids of All Ages
Sept. 6 @ 6:30pm
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
Abilene, TX 79605
325-698-7565 for Details
Kids and the entire family are invited to come out to this evening program featuring stories, songs, games, and more that all relates to the world of shoes.  Plus, if you stick around, you'll be able to make a flip flop craft of your own so don't miss out. 

"Camping Time"
Kids of All Ages
Sept. 8 @ 2:00pm
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
Abilene, TX 79605
325-676-6067 for Details
Your Main Library will be hosting their monthly Family Fun event as a great Saturday afternoon activity for the family featuring stories, songs, games, crafts, and more.  If you're looking for a family-friendly activity to get involved in this Saturday, look no further than your local library.

Also don't forget all locations offer weekly storytime sessions for youth of all ages, and you can also sign up to get assistance from library staff on suing computers and various other applications through our Book-A-Librarian program.  Contact Us for information on signing up.

Also, don't forget to catch the library's long-running Crafty Creations show for kids, as well as our Project Teen series for teens and young adults available online.  Your Abilene Public Library has much to offer you so don't hesitate to join in on the fun.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Staff Book Review: "The Passage" by Justin Cronin

Author: Justin Cronin
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: It happened fast, 32 minutes for one world to die, another to be born.  First the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment.  Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered.  All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ahead ruled by fear - of darkness, of death, or a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary.  FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he's done in the line of duty.  Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellagone is a refugee form the doomed scientific experiment that has triggered apocalypse.  Wolgast is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors, but for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey - spanning miles and decades - toward the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

Personal Review: So I picked up this title after discovering it was yet another take on vampire fiction for adults, that didn't resemble the popular young adult titles around, so I wanted to see what it had to offer.  Although I must say, personally I wasn't into the aspect of a vampire novel that happened as a result of a military experiment gone wrong, but the novel was interesting overall, and the first novel in an uncompleted trilogy.  

Now, this isn't a true vampire story, in that we don't see the stereotypical vampires running around as beautiful creatures thirsting for blood, but instead, it's anything but that.  This world is overrun by creatures whom are like vampires after being infected by a highly contagious virus.  This virus is due to an experiment gone wrong as a means to boost one's immunity, but instead, becomes a virus that cripples the world.  Now, the remaining humans have to band together to survive in an post-apocalyptic world overrun by bloodthirsty creatures.

With the popularity of dystopian literature these days, this novel will be great for most readers.  For fans of vampire fiction, I did find myself more intrigued by the Strain Trilogy by author/director Guillermo del Toro, but I did enjoy the fact that I was able to read a vampire novel that was not falling on the bandwagon of popular young adult titles.

That being said, this novel did take an interesting turn because at the center of it is a 6-year-old girl who may be the key for stopping the spread of the virus altogether.  It's the hopes of scientists that she will be able to form a symbiotic relationship with the virus instead of being transformed into the mutated creatures others have become.  Finding yourself jumping in time, 93 years into the future, you're then taken into the aftermath of a world learning how to survive after so many years of chaos, and although Amy has acquired some of the effects of the virus (i.e. immortality), she does not develop a bloodlust or the need to kill.

This novel was dark, suspenseful, gripping, thrilling, and all the while carrying a message of hope in that humanity will find a way to prevail in the end.  Although relatively long, over 600 pages, I didn't find myself becoming bored throughout the entire book as it was paced just right to make it seem as if it were shorter than it actually was.  The story was intriguing, the character were defined, the writing style was adequate, and the climax to the story was amazing.  I'm excited about getting my hands on the sequel to pick up the story, but at the same time, annoyed that I'll have to wait another two years before the final installment is published.

In my opinion, if you're a fan of thrillers, horror, vampire fiction, and the works of writers such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I think you'll find this novel to be worth a read.  Don't pass up on your chance to get your hands on a copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin at your Abilene Public Library as we own three (3) copies in regular print, two (2) copies in large-type, and digital and e-Book copies.

@ the Library Article: "Library, Full of Works of Writers, Offers Help to Aspiring Authors"

As printed in the Abilenian, as part of the Abilene Reporter-News, by Deborah Tarsiewicz (Information Services Department at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library).

Someone once said everyone thinks they can be a writer.  It's probably closer to the truth to say that there are lots of people who would like to become writers, or, at least, their idea of what it is to be a writer.  There just seems to be some appeal to the life of the novelist.  Make no mistake, however, being a writer takes hard work and discipline.  It's great to have a creative mind, but that goes only so far if you are unable to master such concepts as plot, dialogue, pace and more.

Your Abilene Public Library has a number of ways to help you to your goal.  After all, what better place is there to learn about writing books than a place that is all about books?  Not only do we have help year round, September is the month for encouraging writers.  For those with article-writing aspirations, we encourage you to attend Finding Your Way Into Print at the Main library downtown at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 4).  This informative program will be hosted by local, and accomplished, magazine editor Jesse Mullins.  He will share insights gleaned from his long career including 12 years as editor of American Cowboy magazine.

Then, anyone with an interest in books and writing will be sure to enjoy our annual West Texas Book & Music Festival on Sept. 18-22.  The festival will have a writing workshop with bestselling author Leila Meacham, and one with "The Book Doctor" Robyn Conley.  You can also set up a one-on-one session with Conley, and meet successful, published local authors.  Find out more by clicking on the boots and books logo at www.abilenetx.com/apl.

As for books available for aspiring authors, some good starting titles include The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, which offers invaluable advice from established authors such as Tom Clancy and Ann TylerHoward Mittlemark's humorous How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them takes a different approach by explaining the things you should definitely avoid doing when writing your novel.  In Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft, highly sought-after writing teacher Natalie Goldberg aims to help writers capture their flashes of inspiration and translate them into polished end results without losing their unique voice.

When you are ready to fine tune your skills, the library has books such as Characters and Viewpoint by award-winning fantasy writer Orson Scott Card.  With specific examples, Card describes how to create fictional people that feel real.  Another option is James V. Smith's The Writer's Little Helper: Everything You Need to Know to Writer Better and Get Published.  This user-friendly book has a unique style that allows you to read front to back or focus on key areas such as dialogue and pacing by going directly to those sections.

Your library also has books for writers interested in writing specific genres.  Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately about Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz, as the name suggests, helps writers correctly use legal concepts, procedure and terminology while still creating compelling fiction.  Penelope J. Stokes in The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling the Christian Novel draws on her vast experience in the Christian Literary market to guide writers wanting to create heartwarming fiction that touches readers.  Writing & Selling Science Fiction by the Science of Fiction Writers of America provides insight on how to create otherworldly fiction such as that written by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury.

A wit once said that it takes just as long to write a bad novel as it does a good one.  So, if you are serious about becoming a writer, it just makes sense to learn more about the technical skills writers use to craft their creativity into a publishable piece of fiction.  Join us for one of our September writing programs, or stop by soon and our staff will be happy to help you locate titles best suited to your needs.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Festival Highlights: Featured Authors @ the Festival

Last week we gave you a look at the Brown Bag Programs planned for this year's West Texas Book Festival, running on September 18-22, and this week we're highlighting the Featured Authors.  There will be opportunities for you to meet them at events hosted during the festival through workshops, panels, luncheons, and more.

Feel free to visit the Featured Authors section of the festival's site, or take a look below to view a brief look at the faces you'll see at this year's festival.
  • Dr. Steven L. Berk: author of Anatomy of a Kidnapping, Dr. Berk covered the true story of how he was kidnapped in Amarillo by a dangerous and enigmatic criminal.  He is the dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine and the provost of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center with a decorated 40-year medical career.
  • Robyn Conley: known as "the Book Doctor," Conley co-founded the Writer's Group in Fort Worth, TX, nurturing other writers while starting her own career as a writer.  Having taught the mechanics of writing and publishing, she'll definitely be a person of interest to you if you're an aspiring writer.  Plus, she'll be providing a free workshop on "Getting Published" during the festival too...more information on that to come.
  • John Erickson: best known for authoring the popular Hank the Cowdog series for youth, Erickson is not only a featured author, but this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient (presented to a distinguished Texas author for lifetime achievement).  Having won numerous awards throughout his writing career, you certainly won't want to miss him at a panel discussion, the Boots & Books Luncheon, and the book signings at the Civic Center.  He will also provide a program on Saturday for kids at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (102 Cedar St.) for $2.50 admission.
  • Donna Ingham: a humorist and folklorist, Ingham puts a Texas twist on her storytelling works for audiences of all ages.  Providing readers with great tales, folklore, and stories as only a Texan could, this former college professor will be participating in a number of activities for the festival including a Brown Bag Program, Authors in Schools, and more.
  • Diane Kelly: best known for authoring the Tara Holloway mysteries, her works feature feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud.  Her manuscript for Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart award and many others have appeared in several publications.
  • Leila Meacham: having broken into the New York Times Bestsellers list for her debut novel Roses, Meacham has a love for writing and telling epic family stories set in Texas.  She will be on hand to discuss her latest novel Tumbleweeds at a Brown Bag Program as well as provide a Writing Workshop too.
Don't miss your chance to meet some of these featured authors at this year's West Texas Book Festival and stay tuned next week as we'll let you in on the featured panel discussions and workshops you can attend free of charge.  Remember, you can follow the entire festival by visiting the website online, and feel free to "like" the Friends' and Festival's Facebook pages too.

Internet Sites of Interest: Citation Machine

Your Abilene Public Library uses a number of online sites to assist patrons with a number of reference questions.  Each week, we'll introduce you to a different site we use on a regular basis, to show you a number of credible sites out there to use whenever you need them and at your convenience.

For students in high school, college, and graduate school, one thing you can never escape is writing a research paper.  For these, students are required to use outside resources and cite them in their works generally using the rules for the Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA).  If so, there is a great online resource to help make this step a breeze.

Citation Machine was introduced to me while I was in graduate school, and I have been using it to help people ever sense as it's designed to make citing works as simple as 1-2-3.  Using the updated editions of MLA and APA formats (among other types) you can generate citations in no time.

When you first visit the cite, simply choose the format you want your citations to be generated to. on the left hand side of the screen.  Once you make a selection, next select the type of work you need to cite covering all major formats of publications you get your sources from.

A new page will display where you'll provide the information requested of you, in separate boxes so the site is able to generate your citation.  The last step is to click the Make Citation button at the bottom of the form to see your results.  What you'll find is the site will generate the citation, and then show you how to cite that reference in your paper.  It's truly as simple as that.

Citation Machine is great to use for generating citations for your research papers, especially in the middle of the night when you may not be able to get to the library to get your hands on a physical manual.  Best of all, it's available 24/7 as long as you have a device with access to the Internet.  This tool will certainly make creating citations a breeze so test it out on your next paper this school year.

Look for more Internet Sites of Interest blogs in the future, where each time we'll introduce you to another great site we use to assist patrons with.  Remember, these aren't databases subscribed to by the Abilene Public Library, so anyone with access to the Internet is more than welcome to use them at any time.  Plus, if you need any assistance, feel free to Contact Us and staff will be more than happy to help you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Did You Know: Library Tours!!!

Did you know your Abilene Public Library offers tours of its branch locations for groups?  This is a great way for first-time patrons to learn about the library or to get better acquainted with what the library has to offer.  Tours are informational, educational, and it can be lots of fun seeing just what your library offers in all of its departments.

School Group Tour @ South Branch
So, what happens on a library tour?  Library staff will take you on a tour covering the layout and various resources offered by the Abilene Public Library.  You'll learn how the library is set up, where things are located, and even how to use the catalog to search for an place holds on library materials.

Our library tours are great for field trips, scout troops, homeschool groups, and more...and sometimes for the younger crowds, we may be able to schedule a personal in-house storytime session afterwards.  Although this is something special offered to youth, all groups are more than welcome to tour the library. 

If you have a group that is interested, or you know of a group who might be, feel free to Contact Us at the location you would like to visit, and we will work with you to schedule a visit and answer any questions you may have.

If you don't have one already, you can also get an Abilene Public Library card (with a picture ID and proof of address in Taylor County) at the end of your tour so you can immediately start utilizing the great materials and services of your Abilene Public Library!!!

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5

Keep up with what's popular in mainstream literature by checking out what made the Top 5 on the current New York Times Bestsellers in Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction titles for the upcoming week.  If they sound of interest to you, look for them at your Abilene Public Library.

For a list of the Top 15, try listening to our Podcast on Mondays, or stop by any of our branch library locations to view our printed lists.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks on List: 11
Copies Owned: 5 regular print; digital e-Book
Summary: A woman disappears on her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer?

Publisher: Ballantine
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Copies Owned: 3 regular print; 3 large-type
Summary: A young widow buys a bed-and-breakfast.

Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: St. Martin's
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks on List: 4
Copies Owned: 3 regular print
Summary: A woman's successful life is disrupted by the appearance of an 18-year-old girl with a link to her past.

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Copies Owned: 3 regular print
Summary: Chicanery in the court of Edward IV, narrated by Anne Neville.

Author: M. L. Stedman
Publisher: Scribner
Position Last Week: 7
Weeks on List: 3
Copies Owned: 3 regular print
Summary: An Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife decide to keep a baby who has washed ashore.

Hardcover Non-Fiction Top 5

Publisher: Random House
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks on List: 92
Copies Owned: 3 regular print; 2 large-type; 2 audiobook; digital e-Book & audiobook
Summary: An Olympic runner's story of survival as a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II after his bomber went down over the Pacific.

Author: Edward Klein
Publisher: Regnery
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks on List: 14
Copies Owned: 4 regular print
Summary: A journalist argues that President Obama is callow and unable to lead.

#3: Solo
Author: Hope Solo with Ann Killion
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Copies Owned: 1 regular print
Summary: The goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team chronicles her career and hardscrabble upbringing.

#4: Wild
Publisher: Knopf
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks on List: 18
Copies Owned: 3 regular print; 2 audiobook
Summary: A woman's account of a life-changing 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Publisher: Regnery
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks on List: 1
Copies Owned: 1 regular print
Summary: An argument that President Obama is the architect of American decline.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library, along with even more great reads, to see about checking them out for yourselves...or getting on the reserve lists for them.  With three (3) convenient location to serve you, stop by when we're open and allow us to help you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Author Read-Alikes with Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon is a bestselling author known for writing fantasy novels that heavily deal with time travel and well-grounded in the history of the times involved in each novel.  Captivating readers with a blend of fantasy, romance, and mystery, she may not always provide you with the happy-ever-after story most are accustomed to in this genre, but she does keep her stories realistic and appealing.

Allow your Abilene Public Library to introduce you a little more to this author, and the books and series she is most known for, so we may highlight additional authors who write similar in style.  We do this in hopes to show you even more great reads to look out for at your library.

Gabaldon is known for writing very extensive novels, and sometimes the length of them may deter readers from giving them a shot; however, once you get started, sometimes you find yourselves looking for more.  Most known for the Outlander series, this will be a fantasy romance between two characters separated by 20 years in both time and place.  By combining these two genres, not only does she draw in the fantasy readers, but is also able to attract those who enjoy romance novels.

Described as an epic storyteller, her use of first person narrative makes readers part of the story, which helps to keep the novels moving along.  A great book to start with is Outlander, the first in the Outlander Series, but she also has another ongoing series with the Lord John Series.  If you're a fan of Gabaldon's works, checkout some of these additional authors available at your library.

Read-Alike Author: Nancy Bond
Bond will appeal to fans of Gabaldon's time travel and historical elements of her works.  Although not all of her titles will deal with this fantasy aspect of telling a story, one title in particular, Another Shore, will do just that in also telling a bit of a love story and a young woman who has to adjust to living life in both the 18th and 20th centuries.  Fans of the Outlander Series may find this title to be an interesting read.  Additional books by the author do not deal heavily in this time traveling aspect; however, many contain a strong emphasis in its historical settings. 

Read-Alike Author: Sara Donati
Donati writes strong novels in the genre of historical romance fiction.  Although they do not deal with the fantasy element of traveling, reading will enjoy the narrative style in which the author writes, which resembles the novels of GabaldonDonati's novels feature detailed settings, a strong love between outsiders, and more, which is great as the author credits Gabaldon as being her mentor, which shows in her writing style.  Although best known for the novel Into the Wilderness, which many describe as a sequel to the film adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans, she does have several other titles worth looking out for. 

Read-Alike Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Niffenegger does not write in a particular series; however, she did write a compelling novel that will combine elements of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy all in one.  In her novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, centering on Henry, a time-traveler that goes back and forth in time out of his control, who falls in love with a woman he has visited often throughout her life.  Fans of Gabaldon will find some distinct similarities in their writing, so it's also a bestselling title to be on the look out for as well.

These are but a couple of the authors worth mentioning when it comes to popular literature that combines elements of historical romance with fantasy (at times).  Be sure to look out for some of these titles at your Abilene Public Library, or works by these authors if you're looking for more great novels to read.  If you need any additional assistance, feel free to Contact Us and staff will be more than happy to help you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dive In...Ins & Outs of Your Library: Audiobooks!!!

Audiobooks have become extremely popular; especially among those traveling long distances in the car of those who enjoy multitasking while tackling household chores.  The library has a growing collection and yet, sometimes it seems as if the latest book you're looking for isn't available in audio.

Unfortunately publishers typically release books on audio, one to three months after the print version hits the market.  For some books (like national bestsellers), the author or the series is so popular that the audio version comes out almost simultaneously with the print.  However, for most books, a wait is normal.  So if you're interested in keeping track of audiobooks as they hit the shelves, I recommend taking advantage of the library's hold services.

As covered in a previous post, holds can be placed on any item the library has purchased, or will purchase, in the next few months.  The first step is to make a list of what authors or titles you're looking for.  Then if you're comfortable access the library's website, browse the catalog for the audiobook copy of these items.  Note when search that a phrase [sound recording] will show in the title to help you distinguish between the print and audio version.  Click on Place a Hold and enter your card number and PIN number.  All that's left is to wait for the audio edition to hit library shelves at your local branch.

What happens though if you see the print version of a book listed in the catalog but not a listing for the audiobook?  In these instances I recommend calling the library.  It might be that a copy is in order but not yet listed in the catalog, in which case staff can place a hold for you over the phone.  It's also possible that the item was not pre-ordered; however, if you would like for us to get a copy, we can accommodate you by submitting a purchase request when possible.  So by calling, you may tip the decision making scales - you never know.

Whether the wait is a month or several months, once your name is on a hold list you'll be contacted when the audiobook you're looking for is ready to check out.  So if you're an audio fan, it's time you checked out your Abilene Public Library's collection at your local branch.

Post Contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Events @ Your Library (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1)

Your Abilene Public Library has some great events planned for the upcoming week.  Each Thursday, you can check our blog for a look at these events, or visit our Website for a complete listing.  Remember, all events are free and if you need any additional information, click on the title of the program to be redirected to the event post on our online calendar.

"Cereal Box Notebooks"
Ages 12-19
Aug. 30 @ 6:30 p.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-676-6067 for Details
Teens are invited to come out to this crafting workshop where we'll supply all the materials and instruction needed to show you how to make some creative and one-of-a-kind notebooks made from cereal boxes.  Turn those leftover boxes into something more by attending this workshop.

Guest Speaker: Rebecca Martinez, Abilene Pediatric Dental Associates
Kids of All Ages
Aug. 30 @ 6:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
Abilene, TX 79605
325-698-7565 for Details
Kids of all ages are invited out to this free dental care program led by Rebecca Martinez with the Abilene Pediatric Dental Associates.  Join us for stories, songs, and even participate in a plaque demonstration all to learn how to best take care of those pearly whites.  Plus, all who come will get a free "Smile" bag with wonderful goodies to take home from the Tooth Fairy's Sister.  You won't want to miss out on the fun. 

Also, don't forget all locations offer weekly storytime sessions for youth of all ages, and you can also sign up to get assistance from library staff on using computers and various other applications through our Book-A-Librarian program.  Contact Us for information on signing up.

Also, don't forget to catch the library's long-running Crafty Creations show for kids, as well as our Project Teen series for teens and young adults available online.  Your Abilene Public Library has much to offer you so don't hesitate to join in on the fun. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

@ the Library Article: "Library Portal to Fantastic World of Steampunk"

As printed in the Abilenian, as part of the Abilene Reporter-News, by Deborah Tarsiewicz, Information Services Department at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.

What started as a niche genre is finding its way more and more into the mainstream.  Not easy to pin down, steampunk fiction typically blends steam eras, such as the Victorian, with science fiction and/or fantasy elements.  Anacrhonistic technology is often included as well.  In addition to fiction, steampunk has influenced art, fashion and design.  You Abilene Public Library is featuring this genre in August with a display full of interesting titles on the first floor of the main library, as you come in the front door.

Those curious about, but completely unfamiliar with steampunk may want to check out a book of short stories as an introduction.  Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense by Jack Dann or Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link are good places to start.  Alternately, you may want to dive head first into The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature by Jeff Vandermeer.  This comprehensive guide explores how steampunk evolved and found its way into popular culture.

The library also has many steampunk novels.  Recommended by a panel of librarians, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross has a Jekyll and Hyde vibe.  Philippa Ballantine's Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel follows the fast-paced adventures of dynamite-loving heroine Eliza D. Braun.  Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld presents an alternate 1914 Europe complete with mechanical machinery and genetically engineered beasts.

Though steampunk as a genre did not fully emerge until as recently as the 1980s, it was influenced by early speculative fiction.  To get a feel for the roots of steampunk, one could read H.G. Wells The Time Machine or The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Another example 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, which spawned the popular Walt Disney film of the same name starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason, the imaginative design of which still holds up today.

In addition to fiction, steampunk has spawned imaginative art and design creations.  The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement by Art Donovan displays examples from an exhibit held at the Oxford University's Museum of the History of Science.  If flipping through this book inspires you to create your own steampunk masterpieces, check out Steampunk Style Jewelry: A Maker's Collection of Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Designs by Jean Campbell or Bob Perry's How to Draw Steampunk which includes digital techniques.
Discover steampunk for yourself at your Abilene Public LibraryThis fascinating and imaginative genre is sure to appeal to a wide range of tastes and ages.

Staff Book Review: "Killing Lincoln" by: Bill O'Reilly

Author: Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
Reviewed By: Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Book Summary: The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history - how one gunshot changed the country forever.  In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles.  President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society.  But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps teaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth - charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist - murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater.  A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive.  Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices.  The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions - including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt.

Personal Review: Being a self-proclaimed history buff, I must admit it came as a bit of a shock to be reminded that 2011-2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  While not a particular fan of Bill O'Reilly I was drawn to reading this book due to the sheer fact that it seemed to fly off the shelves most of last fall - and created a buzz among more than just political junkies.  Happily what I found was a story and storyteller whose words helped recreate this surprisingly poignant piece of history in a modern and thrilling rendition.

Laid out in a time-line fashion with a great deal of background on the war and the major players themselves - Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Booth, Seward, Stanton - O'Reilly sets the stage for the event we all know is coming around the bend.  he presents readers with the mindset of John Wilkes Booth and takes them down the path of why he wanted to kill Lincoln before methodically showing how he actually did it.  I had no idea that Booth was such a well-known figure himself as a local and popular actor.  Nor did I realize he had several accomplices one of whom was a woman who would later become the first female sentenced to death.  Overall I felt this was a great read and good reflection on just how profound one man's action can be - for the good or the bad.

Don't miss your chance to get your hands on a copy of this bestselling title as your Abilene Public Library offers you copies in a variety of formats including regular print, large-type editions, audiobooks on CD, and a digital audiobook version through the OverDrive service.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did You Know: Your Library's Interactive Programs & Events Calendar

Did you know your Abilene Public Library has an interactive calendar of programs and events you can view as a great way to keep up with ALL activities going on at the library?  Unlike our blog that gives you a look at the events for the upcoming week, or our Facebook Page providing you with a listing of events for the current month, our online calendar will give you a listing of all events (including storytimes) across all locations. 

How Do I Find Your Online Calendar?
By visiting our website, in the center of the screen you will see the words that reads "Programs & Events."  By clicking on that text link, you'll be taken to the library's interactive calendar for the month, as well as the chance to look at upcoming events for the next month, or programs we've hosted in the past. 

What Do You Mean By Interactive Calendar?
This means you have the ability to keep up with library programming unlike ever before.  For instance, you may view the default look of events across a monthly calendar.  If you see one you like, hover over the event for some brief information, or click on the event to see even more.  Additionally, you can change the view to increase or decrease the font, select the option to see a list view of events, subscribe to the calendar to follow updates, use the calendar to have it remind you when programs of interest are coming up, and much more.  Unlike our calendar in the year's before, this one allows you to follow our programming in ways you've never done before. 

When Do You Add New Events?
We add new events to the calendar all the time.  We try to keep them as current as possible and when new programs are confirmed, we have staff that will update the calendar to reflect those changes. 

Can't I Follow the Events Posts on the Blog to Get Programming Info?
Yes, but realize you'll only get upcoming programming a week in advance.  If you want to see it all, with advanced notice for upcoming programs, look to our online calendar on our website.

The interactive events calendar online is a great way to keep up with all your library has to offer in regular programming, and remember, all events hosted at the library are offered to you FREE of charge.  What's also great is that you can change the layout of the calendar to best suit your needs.  Increase or decrease the font, view a list of programs instead of the calendar feature, select the types of programs you'd like to see, have email reminders sent to you about programs you don't want to miss, subscribe to the RSS feed for the calendar and so much more.

So what are you waiting for?  Check out the calendar and get started with viewing all the great programming we have to offer...you won't be sorry.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Festival Highlights: Brown Bag Programs

Last week we gave you a brief overview of the West Texas Book Festival, running on September 18-22, and this week we're highlighting the Brown Bag Programs.  These events bring in authors to discuss their latest books that are open for you to attend free of charge.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library, and others, you certainly won't want to miss out on these great festival activities.


Brown Bag Programs have been planned for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and all are held at the noon hour in the auditorium of the Main Branch (202 Cedar St.).  Feel free to bring in your lunch, or purchase one from the Friends for $5.  Each event will feature a talk by the author, a brief Q&A session, opportunities to pick up a copy of their book, and participate in a book signing with the author/s.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 18: Author Leila Meacham: one of our featured authors will be on hand to discuss her latest novel Tumbleweeds.  Meacham rose to the public eye after her debut novel Roses became a New York Times Bestseller.  Tumbleweeds is her second novel, set in Texas, and you won't want to miss meeting her in person.  This program will be followed at 2:00 p.m. with a Writing Workshop, discussing the writing process, to be led by the author.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 19: Authors Murray Edwards & Glenn Dromgoole: these local authors will be on hand providing readings from their new collections.  Edwards will read from his book Chicken Ranch Charm School and Other Stories while Dromgoole will read from his latest book Coleman Springs, USA.
  • Friday, Sept. 21: Donna Ingham: this final author will discuss her latest books titled Jerks of Texas and Mysteries and Legends of Texas.  Both a humorist and folklorist, Ingham weaves tall tales appropriate for all who consider themselves to be a Texan.  She'll also be the featured author visiting local schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Don't miss your chance to participate in these free events as part of this year's West Texas Book FestivalRemember, you can follow the entire festival by visiting the website online, and also feel free to "LIKE" the Friends' and Festival's Facebook pages too.  Stay tuned for next week's highlight of the featured authors at this year's festival.