Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pay Library Fees Online in a Snap!

Your Abilene Public Library is excited to announce we now offer all library cardholders with the ability to pay your library fees online!  Even better, it's as easy as 1-2-3.

View Our How-Two Video Below on Paying Library Fees Online

video

Most of us, at one time or another, may have run into the situation where we're online trying to checkout an eBook, renew materials, place a hold, etc., only to learn we're blocked due to a late fee.  Aaaarrrggghhhh...and yes, it even happens to library staff.  In the past, we would have to wait until our next visit to the library to take care of these charges, but now, you can do so online using PayPal.

Thanks to the work of staff at the Abilene Library Consortium, all library cardholders may take advantage of this service on any computer (or device) with access to the Internet.  Here's how it works in a few easy steps.
  1. Visit the Library's Website at www.abilenetx.com/apl and click on the My Account link at the top of the screen.
  2. Click Review My Account in Blue and enter your 13-digit library card number and PIN.  If you don't know your PIN, Contact Us and staff will assist you.
  3. Under My Account, click the option for Bills to view all charges on your account.
  4. Now pay an individual fee, or pay them all, by clicking on the buttons in Red.
  5. You'll be redirected to PayPal where you can sign on to your account to pay your library charges.  If you don't have a PayPal account, pay as a guest by entering your billing information by hand.
  6. You're Done!!!  A confirmation will be sent to you, your library record will be updated, and you're ready to go.
Please Note: If your charges are under the $3.00 limit that blocks your account, you won't be able to pay them online.  If you try, you'll be prompted with a message indicating the charge is too small to pay using this feature.  However, if you have several charges under $3.00, and the sum of them all is over $3.00, you can pay the entire amount at once by choosing the option at the end of your listed charges.

We'd also like to remind you to save your email confirmations of payments for your own records.  Since the charges aren't paid in person at the Abilene Public Library, staff will be unable to write you a receipt for your payments.  

That being said, try out this great new service at your Abilene Public Library, and take care of those late fees no matter where you are.  If you're visiting the library, we'll still accept Cash or Check payments, but if all you have is a debit card, try using one of our library computers to make a quick payment then and there.

If you have any questions regarding this new feature at your library, feel more than free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson) or reach us at any Abilene Public Library locations and staff will be more than happy to assist you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

World Book Night 2013 a Hit @ Your Library

World Book Night Logo 2013
On April 23rd, 25,000 volunteers from Berkeley to Boston and Sitka to Sarasota gave away half a million free books in more than 6,000 towns and cities across the country.  World Book Night U.S. was an ambitious campaign designed to give thousands of free, specially printed paperbacks to light readers, and non-readers, across America in one day.

Bestselling authors Ann Patchett and James Patterson were this year's honorary chair-people, with Patterson stating "in my experience, when people like what they are doing, they do more of it.  This is the genius of World Book Night - it gets people reading by connecting them with amazing, enjoyable books.  I'm honored to be a part of it."  Patchett added, "as both a writer and a bookseller, I'm all in favor of getting books into the hands of people who might not otherwise have access to them."

Mockingbird Display

Your Abilene Public Library was proud to participate in this year's giveaway with library staff creating book displays at both the Main & Mockingbird Libraries, highlighting the 2013 Book List.  Additionally the library served as the central distribution point for volunteers in the Big Country community.

Patricia Taylor, Technical Services
Volunteer book lovers were invited to attend a reception in their honor on Saturday April 20th where librarian Ann Mount reviewed the guidelines for distributing this year's titles, which were handed out on April 23rd.

Our great volunteers were exited about going into their communities and sharing free copies of the books they love with drop off locations including...
  • The Salvation Army
  • The City of Abilene Bus Terminal
  • Alta Vista Adult Education Center
  • And several local neighborhoods in Abilene, Merkel and Anson
While only eleven (11) volunteers registered as givers, staff at the Abilene Public Library feel that the event was successful; and hope for increased participation in the years to come.  So if you didn't get the chance to participate this year, don't pass up on your chance to do so next year, and we'll make to give you notice.

Main Library Display
Below is a listing of the 30 titles that were selected for 2013 as a part of World Book Night, which were distributed during the even on April 23rd.  Listed in alphabetical order by the author, who knows, they might just give you some suggestions of great titles to look out for at your Abilene Public Library on your next visit.  Unfortunately, they won't be yours to keep, but you can't beat being able to check them out for free.

Click on the title of any book listed below to view its item record online to check on the availability...
  1. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  2. City of Thieves, David Benioff
  3. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  4. My Antonia, Willa Cather
  5. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
  6. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  7. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  8. The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  9. The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan 
  10. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  11. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  12. Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  13. Looking for Alaska, John Green
  14. Playing for Pizza, John Grisham
  15. Mudbound, Hillary Jordan
  16. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
  17. Moneyball, Michael Lewis
  18. The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer
  19. Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
  20. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
  21. Population: 485, Michael Perry
  22. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
  23. Montana Sky, Nora Roberts
  24. Look Again, Lisa Scottoline
  25. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
  26. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith
  27. Glaciers, Alexis M. Smith (Not Currently Housed)
  28. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain
  29. Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward
  30. Favorite American Poems, Various Authors
World Book Night in the U.S. is a non-profit organization and has 501(c)3 nonprofit status and supported by publishers, Barnes & Noble, the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, Ingram Content Group, FedEx, printers, and paper companies.  For more information World Book Night, go to www.WorldBookNight.org.

Post Contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager 

@ the Library Article: "Celebrate Dia! @ Your Library"

The Abilene Public Library will celebrate El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros, (which means the day of the children/the day of the books) on Tuesday, April 30!  Everyone is welcome and everything is free as we celebrate America's diversity and the many wonderful contributions of the Hispanic culture.  Often known as Dia, which stands for "Diversity in Action," this is a nationally recognized program which celebrates children and literature of all cultures and languages.

Dia is a result of the evolution of Children's Day which began in 1925 in Switzerland.  It was designed to emphasize the importance of the well-being of children.  In 1996, Pat Mora, a nationally acclaimed author, suggested linking literacy to the celebration of childhood and children.

The Abilene Public Libraries are celebrating Dia with great programs at both of the branches.  At the South Branch Library, located at 1401 S. Danville, the fun will begin with a storytime on Tuesday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. with stories, songs, games, crafts and delicious sombrero-inspired refreshments for the whole family.

There will be readings from two amazing pop-up books.  El Tesero Perdido del Faraon or The Lost Treasure of the Mummy's Tomb features great artwork and a surprise ending.  La Leyenda de San Jorge or Legend of St. George also has fantastic pop-up artwork as well as a great story.  Make plans to join us around the hat as we do the Mexican Hat dance.

The Mockingbird Branch Library, located at 1214 N. Mockingbird, will be celebrating Mexican fiesta style, complete with fiesta music and prizes.  There will be stories about butterflies and a craft where the children will design their own butterfly from toilet paper rolls, colorful paper, and pom poms.  Games include Pin the Sombrero on el Hombre and Cactus Ring Toss.  The fiesta will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Mockingbird.  So take this opportunity to be a part of our celebration at either location!

Dia is all about connections: connecting cultures, literature, and children to create a world of learning.  However, Dia should not be just a once a year event.  The motto for Dia is Dia! Today and Every Day of the Year.

At your Abilene Public Libraries, we have many children's programs all designed to inspire learning and creativity year-round, such as weekly storytimes, crafting opportunities, and family storytimes at every location.  It is our commitment to make learning an books fun for everyone.  One of the best things about it is that it's all FREE!  Check out our website for upcoming events and times.  You'll be glad you did. 

Article contributed by Janet West, Children's Services at the South Branch Library

Dive Into the Stacks: Understanding Bankruptcy @ Your Library

Your Abilene Public Library houses a great collection of resources across a myriad of topics.  We invite you to Dive Into the Stacks to discover some great areas you're more than welcome to make use of.

The economic climate in the nation is still touch-and-go for many Americans, and at a time when simply paying the bills can be a challenge, some may consider filing for bankruptcy.  This is certainly not a decision made lightly, but it is a last resort for many people.

Knowing what to expect when going through a bankruptcy process is very important, to simply know exactly what you would be getting yourself into, and if you want to learn more, we certainly have some resources available at your Abilene Public Library to help you along the way.  Take a look at the following materials...

The New Bankruptcy: Will It Work for You
Author: Stephen R. Elias
Call Number: 346.078 ELI
Summary: This is a great guide to start off with for understanding the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and understanding if filing is the best option for you.  The laws continue to change  and this guide will help you to figure them out in plain English.  Find the answers you need to some of the popular areas such as ways to handle debt problems, what debt is wiped out by filing, whether or not you will be able to keep your home, how a bankruptcy affects your credit, and so much more. 

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Author: Stephen R. Elias
Call Number: 346.73 ELI
Summary: With over 200,000 copies sold, this guide will help you with understanding how to wipe out your debt, while protecting your property, and doing so legally.  Getting a "fresh start" is not a simple process, and this guide will provide you with all the forms and practical advice you'll need to get it done.  Use this guide to learn how to stop garnishments, how to handle your case in court, how best to rebuild your credit afterwards, how you can hold on to as much property as possible, and more. 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Keep Your Property & Repay Your Debts Over Time
Author: Stephen R. Elias
Call Number: 346.078 ELI
Summary: Much like the previous title, this resource will provide you with all of the same information but specified for those undergoing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Learn how to avoid foreclosure, save your care, and pay pennies for every dollar owed by following the legal advice this book will offer.  This book will go into detail on learning how to stop most bill collectors, understanding the eligibility rules, estimating what your payments will be, stopping a house foreclosure, delaying evictions, and more.

All of these resources will help you to get started in the bankruptcy process, and put out by Nolo, one of the leading publishers of legal materials out there.  Although I highlighted three resources, please know your Abilene Public Library houses even more books for you to use.  Be sure to take advantage of them if you, or someone you know, is considering this as an option in the future.

If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson) and I'll be more than happy to assist you.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Falling in Love with the Texas Library Association Annual Conference 2013

Authors Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong
Downtown Fort Worth was transformed into a place of excitement for library lovers across the state as we descended from all areas to attend the Texas Library Association’s Annual Conference.  During this time, the Fort Worth Convention Center was filled with sights to see, panels to listen in on, new services to peruse, vendors to check out, authors to meet, and so much more.

Meeting Neil Gaiman
Members of the Abilene Public Library staff were able to attend this year’s conference, thanks to the support from the Friends of the Abilene Public Library, and during this year’s conference, let’s just say we had an amazing time.  Centered around a central theme of library professionals coming together to enjoy in the delights of all areas of library services, a wealth of opportunities were available to all who attended.

One of the major draws was having the chance to meet a number of respected authors whom were in attendance at this year’s conference.  Covering all genres, all age groups, all literary tastes, and more, some of the big names staff had the pleasure of meeting, as well as talking to, included…

  • J.R. Martinez: actor, author, and retired soldier who overcame great hardships in pursuit of his dreams. Opening this year’s conference at the first general session, Martinez provided a humorous and moving presentation as a great way to kick off the festivities.
  • Neil Gaiman: described as a “true literary Renaissance man”, this author closed out the conference at the last general session, has millions of followers on social media sites, served as the 2013 spokesman for National Library Week, and is a name most of us have heard of.
  • Andrew McCarthy: a popular actor who built a following of fans when he starred in 80s hits including Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Mannequin, this Brat Pack actor is also a television director and writer who was a featured guest at a wonderful luncheon.
  • Cornelia Funke: bestselling German author known for her Inkheart series of books for young readers, of which the first novel was adapted to a major motion picture starring Brendan Fraser.
  • Marie Lu: known for her Legend series of books for young adults, these novels are set in a dystopian and militarized future, and of which the first book has been optioned to be adapted to film.
  • Kelley Armstrong: best known for writing novels in the urban fantasy series, she’s a popular author amongst Abilenians and she was on hand to promote her latest collaborative work with Melissa Marr titled Loki’s Wolves.
  • Kiersten White: author of a popular young adult fantasy series, Paranormalcy is the first in that series which was also selected as a Lone Star read for students in Texas.
  • Lois Lowry: author of the Newbery Medal winning books The Giver and Number the Stars, this author was one everyone wanted to meet, and who sat on a panel to discuss her works and her life.
  • And the list goes on…

Meeting Author D.J. Machale
If you want to see some of the pictures of select authors staff got the chance to meet, visit our page on Facebook and look out for our photo album from TLA.  In it, we’re sharing photos staff took during the conference to show you what we were up to while away from the library.

Not only did staff get the chance to meet authors, we also got the opportunity to strengthen our own library skills by attending a variety of special sessions relating to various library services.  From storytelling skills, learning about new databases, hearing from distinguished authors, hearing about unique library programming, learning about new technology, developing new storytime techniques and more, we were in excess of great sessions to attend.

Meeting Actor Andrew McCarthy
Plus, not only did we have the chance to attend some great events during this year’s conference, some of us from the Abilene Public Library were also presenters at this year’s conference to speak on our expertise on various topics.  This was quite an honor for out of thousands of library professionals from all areas attending the conference, a handful of us were able to share our own knowledge with librarians across the state.  Staff speaking at this year’s conference included Janis Test (Information Services Manager, Main Library), Tremain Jackson (South Branch Manager), and Janet Bailey (Technical Services Manager, Main Library).

With so much to do and so much to see, this year’s conference was amazing, and I know we can’t wait to get back to Abilene and share not only our stories, but also the knowledge we gained, with all library staff, so we may begin to implement some of what we learned, to offer the community at large even more and greater services in the future.

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5

Many patrons browse the new materials sections of the library to discover the latest popular reads.  Part of finding those items is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available to locate that popular book, or to get yourself on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Whiskey Beach
Author: Nora Roberts
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: F ROBERTS
Summary: A former criminal attorney who has been acquitted of his wife's murder retreats to his family estate on a rocky New England cliff, where he is comforted by the house's caretaker amid continuing danger.

#2: Daddy's Gone A Hunting
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Weeks On List: 2
Position Last Week: 1
Call Number: F CLARK
Summary: Two sisters are threatened by a dark secret from their family's past.

#3: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Weeks On List: 3
Position Last Week: 3
Call Number: F ATKINSON
Summary: A woman appears in different versions of the same events, centered on World War II.

#4: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Weeks On List: 46
Position Last Week: 7
Call Number: M FLYNN
Summary: A woman disappears on her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer?

#5: Taking Eve
Author: Iris Johansen
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: F JOHANSEN
Summary: The forensic sculptor Eve Duncan undertakes a job for a man with dark secrets; the first book in a trilogy.

Hardcover Non-Fiction Top 5

#1: Lean In
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Weeks On List: 6
Position Last Week: 1
Call Number: 658.4 SAN
Summary: The chief operating officer of Facebook urges women to pursue their careers without ambivalence.

#2: The Athena Doctrine
Author: John Gerzema
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: How feminine values of nurturing, listening and collaborating are redefining success for both genders.

#3: Gulp
Author: Mary Roach
Weeks On List: 3
Position Last Week: 3
Call Number: 612.3 ROA
Summary: A science writer's pilgrimage down the digestive tract.

#4: Unsinkable
Author: Debbie Reynolds
Weeks On List: 3
Position Last Week: 4
Call Number: 92 REYNOLDS
Summary: A second memoir by the actress, singer and dancer.

#5: The Way of the Knife
Author: Mark Mazzetti
Weeks On List: 2
Position Last Week: 5
Call Number: 356.16 MAZ
Summary: The Times's national security correspondent describes how the lines between the C.I.A. and the American military have been blurred.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover for yourselves why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, don't hesitate to get on the reserve lists and secure your spot in line for these popular titles.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weekly Events (Apr. 25 - May 4)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog.  For a complete listing of events, visit our main website to take a look at our interactive calendar, and remember, all programming is offered free of charge.

El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros
Kids of All Ages
Apr. 30 @ 4:00 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Join in on the celebration for this multicultural literacy day that promotes children's books.  We'll host a series of fun activities this afternoon including stories, songs, crafts, and more that will certainly delight children of all ages. 

El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros
Kids of All Ages
Apr. 30 @ 4:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
Continue the multicultural fun at your South Branch where they too will be hosting an interactive multicultural event for kids featuring sombrero hat cookies, stories, songs, crafts, goodies, and more to keep the fun going for kids in this annually observed literacy event. 

Make & Take: Tissue Paper Flowers
Kids of All Ages
May 1 @ 4:00 p.m.
Mockingbird Branch
1214 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
If you're looking for a fun afterschool activity, don't miss the first Make & Take session of the month as we'll provide all the supplies and materials needed to create some incredible looking tissue paper flowers you'll want to make again and again. 

Family Fun: I Love Dinosaurs
Kids of All Ages
May 2 @ 6:30 p.m.
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
Come to the library's only evening storytime event for kids of all ages, and the entire family, as we're celebrating all things related to dinosaurs.  Complete with stories, songs, games, crafts, goodies, and more, don't miss this popular event that will certainly have you all jumping for joy for dinosaurs. 

Million Word Reader Celebration
AISD Students
May 3 @ 9:00 a.m.
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
AISD students whom have read at least one million words over the past school year will join in a celebration in downtown Abilene this morning, and visiting several locations to engage in fun activities.  The library will be a stop as we'll be providing storytimes and craft sessions for these students to honor their love of reading. 

Free Comic Book Day
May 4; All Day
All Branch Locations
325-677-2474 for Info.
Your library will be participating in Free Comic Book Day, a national event where throughout the day, if you love comics, you can visit any Abilene Public Library location and snag some for yourselves while supplies last.  Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to choose from a wide selection of titles as there definitely are some good ones this year.

Don't miss out on these fun activities, and don't forget to take advantage of our weekly Storytime Programs and Book-A-Librarian sessions.  Contact Me (Tremain Jackson) for more information about any of these programs and be sure to come out and attend the ones of interest to you.

Staff Book Review: "Watersmeet" by: Ellen Jensen Abbott

Watersmeet
Click to Place a Hold
Author: Ellen Jensen Abbott
Reviewed By: Amber Shelfer, Library Assistant (Main Branch)

Book Review: From her birth, Abisina has been outcast - for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father.  Only her mother's status as the village healer has kept her safe.  But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina's life is ripped apart.  She escapes alone to try to find her father and the home she has never known.  IN a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies.

Personal Summary: Watersmeet is the first book in a young adult fantasy duology.  While packed with dwarves, centaurs, fauns, fairies and more, the story is world building and focuses on discrimination.  As an outcast in her village, Abisina is considered to be dirty and part demon.  She is treated with a combination of abuse and neglect.  In addition to the villagers' intolerance of anyone born with "flaws," the wrong skin color, hair color, or even eye color, every non-human creature is considered to be evil, a demon.  Though Abisina has been raised an outcast, when she leaves her village, she takes her village's hatred and fear of non-human creatures with her.

Now, I understand it is hard to change people's beliefs, and I understand Abisina was raised to fear and hate non-humans.  However, given her treatment by her own people and the kindness she receives from some of the non-humans in the story, her continual, stubborn intolerance of some groups, after learning to accept others, frustrated me.  Alternately, when she finally does concede to try to give other groups a chance, her concession seems sudden given her previous stubborness.

Also, while a lot happens throughout the course of the book, I thought some of the slower scenes were taking too long; I like fast paced books with lots of action.  That said, I felt like some events in the book should have taken longer, but still be moving.  Even though a lot happens from the beginning to the end of the book, I did not feel the emotional connections that I thought should have been built with some of the characters by the end of the book.  A lot of characters are introduced in the second half of the story that I think lacked character development.  I also did not get the sense of time passing; a year passes in the story, but it felt more like a couple of months.  And, because I like my gory details, I would have liked more descriptive fight scenes.

My criticisms aside, overall I enjoyed the story.  While as not as fast paced as I normally like, Watersmeet was not a slow read.  I liked some of the characters introduced and would like to learn more about them.  I plan on reading the sequel, The Centaur's Daughter, to do just that.  Hopefully, many of the characters from Watersmeet will get fleshed out and I will see how, or if, new and old conflicts get resolved.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gear Up for El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros @ Your Library

We're getting ready for celebrating a wonderful multicultural program at your Abilene Public Library titled El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day).  This internationally observed event is celebrated by libraries on Tuesday, April 30 to emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

This celebration began "in 1925 following the World Conference for the Well-Being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children."  As different countries established their own events, Pat Mora (award-winning children's author and poet) learned about the celebration in 1996.  Realizing there was nothing similar to this program going on in the United States, she proposed linking Children's Day with literacy and bilingualism and that's how the creation of a new holiday began titled El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros.

This new program would continue to garner support from the American Library Association and by 2004 it became a tradition in many schools and libraries, while also finding a home with the Association for Library Service to Children.

Your Abilene Public Library will be continuing the fun by hosting our own children's activities to go right along with this event on April 30, 2013.  Children's services staff at your South and Mockingbird Branch locations will be hosting an interactive multicultural event designed for children of all ages, with your Mockingbird Branch hosting their event at 4:00 p.m. and your South Branch program starting at 4:30 p.m.  Although both will be going on at the same time, we do serve different areas of the City of Abilene, so if you wish to participate, be sure to join in on the fun at the location closest to you.

During our events, children will have a ton of fun with refreshments, craft activities, readings of excellent children's books in English and Spanish, goodies, songs, and so much more in what will be a great explosion of celebrating multicultural resources available at your library.  As both will be hosted in the afternoon, this will be great for the afterschool crowd, so be sure to head out to your library and participate in our El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros events, and celebrate books, children, and other cultures!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

@ Your Library Article: "Brush Up Basic Computer Job Skills"

More and more, jobs require basic fluency in computer skills, like word processing and creating spread sheets.  While computer classes can often by costly, your Abilene Public Library can help during May.  We will offer basic Word & Excel instruction, absolutely free!

Word is perhaps one of the most popular programs out on the market today and perhaps most utilized on the job.  Opening a documents, formatting font size and margins as well as saving a file can be easy to learn.  On Monday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. & Tuesday, May 7 at 1:00 p.m., the Mockingbird Branch will offer free classes in Microsoft Word.

According to Lydia Aguirre, a PC tutor at the Mockingbird Branch, mastering the basics of Word can often be easier than you think.  "For most folks, knowing where things are on the toolbar is really the biggest challenge.  Once you get familiar with it, there are a lot of options that open up for you."  People use Microsoft Word for a variety of reasons including creating business and personal letters; advertise garage sales or other local events in a flyer-format or developing easy to read household lists.

While the class will cover only the basic elements, even if you already know a few things about Word, this class may still be for you.  Microsoft updates the software every few years and a lot has changed since it was first released.  Refreshing yourself could really save you time and money, especially if you use it to help organize and run a small business or home-based business.

Excel can be useful both for business or personal organization.  "A lot of people come in the library and use the PC to make lists in Word for sports practice schedules or shopping lists" says Debra Higgins, a PC tutor at Mockingbird Branch.  "Just imagine how much more you could do with that simple list, if you knew how to use Excel."

Excel uses cells or boxes and a combination of columns across and rows down to form a spreadsheet with your data.  Basic mathematical computations built in make this an easy program to make a budget, or keep track of expenses or taxes.  At first it can seem intimidating and often people may avoid using this program.  This free class on Monday, May 6 at 1:00 p.m. is designed to help you get acquainted with the program and to get you started with the basics.  Who knows; you might find yourself creating a family budget, a shopping list or even a car repair record after this class.

Class size is limited for each session and registration is required.  Call the Mockingbird Branch if you are interested, at 325-437-7323 to sign up for a seat today.

Article contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager

Dive Into the Stacks: Create Your Wills @ Your Library

Your Abilene Public Library houses a great collection of resources across a myriad of topics.  We invite you to Dive Into the Stacks to discover some great areas you're more than welcome to make use of.

An important part of any adult's life is leaving behind instructions on what to do when we're gone.  This means preparing a legal will to inform those left behind of what to do with all that may be left behind including your assets, property, medical decisions, and more.  If you haven't created a will, and need to be walked through the process, your Abilene Public Library carries a number of resources that will guide you along the way.  Allow us to introduce you to a few of them...

How to Make a Texas Will
Author: Karen Ann Rolcik
Copies Owned: 1 regular print
Call Number: 346.764 ROL
Summary: Written by lawyers as part of the Legal Survival Guide series, this resource is perfect for tailoring itself to Texas residents and pertinent laws.  Provided for you in simple English, along with forms and instructions for you to use, you'll be guided through each of the steps you need to consider.  This resource will explain why need a will, how to create one, how to execute your will, what happens after you sign your will (storing, revoking, changing the document), and more.  Get all the basics that are vital for getting started making your own will today. 

Nolo's Simple Will Book
Author: Denis Clifford
Copies Owned: 3 regular print
Call Number: 346.054 CLI
Summary: Put out by the leading publisher of legal resources, this book will also walk you through the process of creating a will regardless of where you may reside.  With clear, step-by-step instruction, you'll learn a wealth of information including naming a personal guardian for your children, leaving property to your family, arranging for the payment of debts and taxes, naming an executor to your will, and so much more.  Complete with a CD-ROM and the forms you'll need for each of the areas, you'll have everything at your fingertips to create a valid will. 

The Easy Will and Living Will Kit
Author: Joy S. Chambers
Copies Owned: 2 regular print
Call Number: 346.054 CHA
Summary: Much like the previous title, this resource also comes with a CD-ROM included to provide you with everything you'll need to create a will in three easy steps.  Complete with forms for you to print out and make use of, you'll be provided with everything in one place and the book states "in just minutes, you can follow the simple steps it takes to prepare your will, living will and powers of attorney."  Take an active role in putting your affairs in order by making use of this authoritative resource.

Try some of these guides out for yourselves as a means of getting you started with creating a will of your own.  When all is said and done, not only will you be relieved to have gotten it out of the way, but you'll also be helping your family when you're no longer able to.  Again, these are but a few of the resources we house, and you're more than welcome to peruse the materials in the rest of the collection to find the one that's just right for you.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson) and I'll be more than happy to assist you.

Million Word Reader Celebration Returns May 3

Your Abilene Public Library enjoys when we see youth who have a passion for reading and students in the Abilene Independent School District will be celebrating their reading accomplishments during the Million Word Reader Celebration on Friday, May 3.

This event recognizes a great accomplishment in local youth and honors students who have read over 1 million words in the course of a school year.  Not only do these students have to read a certain number of words within the year, they also need to comprehend what they've read, and demonstrate it by taking tests on them.

Promoting reading toe children is important for creating literate and intelligent youth who will grow to our future leaders of tomorrow.  To celebrate their accomplishments, students whom are part of this group will take a break from their classes, head out to downtown Abilene, and participate in a number of fun activities across various businesses.  So if you find yourself visiting the library this morning, expect to see much activity going on throughout the day...and know that these students are not truant from school.

Students will be engaged in a host of activities at Everman Park, The Grace Museum, The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, and of course, your Abilene Public Library.  We'll be hosting a series of great storytimes and craft activities to help honor these local students for being such incredible readers over the course of the school year.  Utilizing the books made readily available at their school and public libraries, these students truly prove that reading is fun.

So a big congratulations to all of the local students participating in this year's Million Word Reader event through the Abilene Independent School District, and we can't wait to join you in the festivities at your Abilene Public Library.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Free Comic Book Day Returns May 4th

Your Abilene Public Library is pleased to announce the return of Free Comic Book Day running Saturday, May 4th across all branch libraries.  This event is hosted at participating comic book shops and businesses across North America as a way to give away great comic book titles for FREE.

A great selection of titles has already been pre-selected for this event, and comics will include those appropriate for various ages.

How do you get your free comic?

It's easy.  If you visit your Abilene Public Library on Saturday, May 4, stop by the circulation desks and library staff will have comics for you to look through and snag for yourself.  It's as easy as that and we'll continue to give away comics all day long, while supplies last.


In addition to your public library branch locations, additional stores will be participating in the community, each offering the same titles you'll find at your library.  These stores includes...

Hastings Entertainment
4709 S. 14th St
Abilene, TX 79605
(325) 692-0124
Located across the side street from the South Branch Library

Comics & Collectibles
2606 S. 14th St
Abilene, TX 79605
(325) 692-6380

Free Comic Book Day is hosted annually on the first Saturday in May each year, and we're happy to be participating once again.  Like the title of the event states, we can't reiterate this enough, but ALL of the comics available will be free to grab.  Whether you're a kid or an adult, as long as you love comics, you'll certainly want to check out what we have to offer.

This event was first hosted in 2002, and since that time, thousands of shops around the world have given away millions of free comics to interested readers.  Help us keep the popularity of this event strong by visiting any participating location for the Free Comic Book Day and get your hands on some great titles while they last.

Again, the Free Comic Book Day at your Abilene Public Library will be hosted all day long on Saturday, May 4, and if you have any questions regarding this event, feel free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson) and I'll be more than happy to assist you! 

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5

Many patrons browse the new materials sections of the library to discover the latest popular reads.  Part of finding those items is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available to locate that popular book, or to get yourself on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Daddy's Gone a Hunting
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: M CLARK
Summary: Two sisters are threatened by a dark secret from their family's past.

#2: Don't Go
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: M SCOTTOLINE
Summary: An Army doctor returns from Afghanistan when his wife dies in what at first appears to be an accident, and finds that his life is falling apart.

#3: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Weeks On List: 2
Position Last Week: 3
Call Number: F ATKINSON
Summary: A woman appears in different versions of the same events, centered on World War II.

#4: Unintended Consequences
Author: Stuart Woods
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Summary: The New York lawyer Stone Barrington discovers a shadowy network beneath the world of European wealth.

#5: The Burgess Boys
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Weeks On List: 3
Position Last Week: 4
Call Number: F STROUT
Summary: Two brothers, both lawyers, come together in a small Maine town to defend their good-for-nothing nephew; by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Olive Kitteridge." 

Hardcover Non-Fiction Top 5

#1: Lean In
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Weeks On List: 5
Position Last Week: 1
Call Number: 658.4 SAN
Summary: The chief operating officer of Facebook urges women to pursue their careers without ambivalence. 

#2: Give and Take
Author: Adam Grant
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: A Wharton professor's research discloses that success depends on how we interact with others, and he argues that "givers" do better than "takers." 

#3: Gulp
Author: Mary Roach
Weeks On List: 2
Position Last Week: 3
Call Number: 612.3 ROA
Summary: A science writer's pilgrimage down the digestive tract. 

#4: Unsinkable
Author: Debbie Reynolds
Weeks On List: 2
Position Last Week: 7
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: a second memoir by the actress, singer and dancer. 

#5: The Way of the Knife
Author: Mark Mazzetti
Weeks On List: 1
Position Last Week: n/a
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: The Times's national security correspondent describes how the lines between the C.I.A. and the American military have been blurred.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover for yourselves why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, don't hesitate to get on the reserve lists and secure your spot in line for these popular titles.