Saturday, August 30, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Aug. 31)

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

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F MURAKAMI
Summary: A young man's difficult coming-of-age. 

#2: Adultery
Author: Paulo Coelho
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F COELHO
Summary: A married journalist, depressed by boredom, risks everything when she embarks on an affair with a former boyfriend; by the Brazilian writer, the author of "The Alchemist." 

#3: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 4
Call Number: F MORIARTY
Summary: Who will end up dead, and how, when three mothers with children in the same school become friends. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

2014 West Texas Book Festival Highlights: FREE Events!

The West Texas Book Festival is less than a month away as a great literary extravaganza bringing in great events and authors to Abilene.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, this year's festival will run Sept. 22-27 in various locations in Downtown Abilene.

Last week we took a look at the ticketed events at the festival, and this week we'll look at the number of FREE activities scheduled.  There's no need to register and you're certain to have a great time.

Leila Meacham @ 2013 Lunch Programs
Author Lunch Programs
Hosted throughout the week of the festival, each event is hosted over the noon hour at the Main Library (202 Cedar St).  Bring your lunch, or purchase one for $5 at the event (drinks provided).  Then enjoy a great presentation from the featured author/s, purchase copies of their featured books, and even participate in a book signing too.  Below is a schedule of the Author Lunch Programs...
  • Sept. 22: Deborah Crombie (McKinney, TX) - The New York Times bestselling author will debut her 15th novel in the Scotland Yard mysteries titled To Dwell in Darkness. Festival goers will have the first crack at getting their hands on this book before it's released worldwide the next day.
  • Sept. 23: H.C. Zachry (Abilene, TX), contributing editor on Frontier Texas!: A Journey Through the Wild West; Tiffany Fink (Abilene, TX), who wrote the essay "West Texas Women" in West Texas: A History of the Giant Side of the State; and Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of the 2010-2011 Tejas Star Book Award selection titled No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos.
  • Sept. 24: Henry Chappell (Parker, TX), author of the Spur Award-winning western titled Silent We Stood; Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), children's author of Latino fiction and a bilingual series featuring a fifth grade detective; and Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), children's author of The Adventures of Wilder Good.
  • Sept. 26: Five West Texas Authors including Rosa Latimer (Post, TX), author of Harvey Houses of Texas, Kay Ellington & Barbara Brannon (Lubbock, TX), authors of The Paragraph Ranch, Russell Smith (San Angelo, TX), author of The Gun That Wasn't There & Bear Mills (Lubbock, TX), author of The Ecuadorian Deception.

Author Spelile Rivas
Authors in Schools
Students attending Abilene & Wylie ISD schools will have the unique opportunity to be visited by featured children's authors at this year's festival.  Throughout the week, authors will go out to schools to speak about their works and the importance of reading at an early age.  Below is the schedule of Authors in Schools visits...
  • Sept. 22: Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos, which became the winner of the 2010-2011 Tejas Star Book Award.
  • Sept. 23: Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), author of The Adventures of Wilder Good & Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos.
  • Sept. 24: Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), author of Latino young adult literature and a popular series featuring a fifth grade detective & Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), author of The Adventures of Wilder Good.
  • Sept. 25: Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY), author of the Joshua Dread series for juvenile readers & Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), author of Latino juvenile and young adult fiction.
  • Sept. 26: Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY), author of the Joshua Dread series, centering on a boy who happens to have supervillains for parents.

Local Author Jay Moore
Abilene Authors Showcase (Sept. 23 @ 5:30 p.m.)
This program highlights local writers in the community and hosted at the Main Library (202 Cedar St).  Join us as local authors display, sell, and talk about their books, while also being open for the community to come listen to their presentations.  If you're an author in town, this will be the perfect festival event to show off your accomplishments.


Publishing Workshop (Sept. 26 @ Noon)
Hosted at the Main Library (202 Cedar St), this workshop is designed for those desiring to learn what it takes to get their works published.  You'll hear from authors, editors, publisher representatives, and a panel of festival authors whom will guide you through the steps of getting your work in print, in a free festival activity that's sure to provide you with a wealth of great information.  Come with something to take notes on, and your questions, and get a few more steps closer to getting yourself published!


Author Carlton Stowers
Conversations with Featured Authors
A selection of the festival's featured authors will be on hand at the Abilene Civic Center (1100 N. 6th St) to provide great talks on themselves, their works, and more.  Everyone is invited to come out on this final day of the festival and participate in the conversations.  Below is the schedule of Conversation Sessions...
  • Sept. 27 @ 9:00AM: Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY) - a children's author of the Joshua Dread series who has been a part of the Authors in Schools program during the festival.  Now living in New York, Bacon's series features a young boy with supervillains for parents.  This will be a great session for school-aged kids, parents, teachers, school librarians, and fans of literature for youth.
  • Sept. 27 @ 9:30AM: Glenn Dromgoole (Abilene, TX) & Carlton Stowers (Cedar Hill, TX) - you'll get two authors in one session whom will be on hand to discuss their joint book titled 101 Essential Texas Books.
  • Sept. 27 @ 10:00AM: Jay Moore (Abilene, TX) - Moore is a name many locals know, as he has contributed great documentary series and books covering the history of our area.  As a historian and author of the book Abilene History in Plain Sight, a follow-up to his award-winning video series on Abilene history, this will be a great session if you have an interest in local history.
  • Sept. 27 @ 10:30AM: Stephen Harrigan (Austin, TX) - hear from this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient whom has authored nine books of fiction and non-fiction including The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book.  It would go on to receive a number of additional awards including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West.
As you can see, this year's West Texas Book Festival is chocked full of FREE literary events for the entire community to take advantage of.  Again running September 22-27, come out and be a part of this wonderful celebration of literature in Downtown Abilene, and don't forget to check out the Festival Events page in case there are any updates.

We hope to see you at the festival, and be sure to stay tuned for more information and updates as we get them.  If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me, and I'll do my best to get you the answers you need.

Book-to-Film Adaptations: September 2014

Literature often inspires film adaptations and each month I like to highlight those hitting theaters soon.  Check out this blog entry to see what they are, and be on the lookout for seeing them in theaters, as well as checking out the books they're based on at you Abilene Public Library if we own them.

The Maze Runner
Starring: Dylan O'Brien
Release Date: Sept. 19
Based On: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Summary: Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.

This is Where I Leave You
Starring: Abigail Spencer
Release Date: Sept. 19
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Summary: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to  return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

A Walk Among the Tombstones
Starring: Liam Neeson
Release Date: Sept. 19
Based On: A Walk Among the Tombstones
Author: Lawrence Block
Summary: Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

The Equalizer
Starring: Denzel Washington
Release Date: Sept. 26
Based On: The Equalizer
Author: Michael Sloan
Summary: A former black ops commando, who faked his death for a quiet life in Boston, comes out of his retirement to rescue a young girl and finds himself face to face with Russian gangsters.

And there you have it, your look at September's Book-to-Film Adaptations to be on the lookout for in theaters.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 1-6)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  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.

Sept. 1; All Day
All Locations
325-677-2474 for Info.
As a reminder, all locations will be closed in observance of Labor Day.  For your convenience, outside materials returns are available at all three (3) branch libraries, or you may renew materials online if needed.  We will resume our normal hours of operation the following day at 9:00AM. 

Sept. 3 @ 10:00AM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Need help learning to use word processors on PC's?  We've got the class for you.  Signup for our hands-on training lab where staff will show you the ins and outs of Microsoft Word.  Space is limited so call to reserve a seat. 

Sept. 3 @ 1:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Offering a repeat session of the previously listed workshop.  Please register with us to secure a spot in the course. 

Sept. 3 @ 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Things will get a little silly at the library as we're inviting kids to come out and make some funny clown faces with us.  We'll supply the materials needed, you just come ready to be a colorful clown. 

Sept. 4 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
Don your best PJ's and head out to the South Branch for an evening Pajama Party Storytime event.  We'll enjoy stories, songs, crafts, and more in this enhanced storytime activity, so don't miss out on the fun! 

Sept. 4 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Youth, ages 10-17, won't want to pass up on joining the library's weekly writing club for youth, where we will help members to strengthen their creative writing skills when it comes to all forms of writing.  Join Kelsie Nygren, and the writing crew, as we engage in various writing activities together. 

Sept. 4 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
It's okay to get your hands a little dirty when you're working outside.  Workshops dealing with landscaping, lawn care, and gardening are always popular at your library, so don't miss hearing from one of our experts in this free event.

Plus, don't miss out on any of the activities being hosted at your Abilene Public Library and get in on what your local library has to offer you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Heads Up! September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!

Stan Lee, 2014 Honorary Chair
September means one thing for libraries across the nation...Library Card Sign-Up Month!  This is the time libraries remind parents that a library card is one of the most important school supplies of all...and adults should certainly have one in their wallets as well.  If you've yet to discover the power of your local public library, give us a visit and see what we have to offer.

Offered on free, to the population area libraries serve, all you need is a form of ID, proof of residency, and the completion of an application.  Once you do, you'll have all you need to get started.  Housing materials for all ages, use your library card to get connected with books, magazines, movies, audiobooks, computers, databases, eBooks, Wi-Fi, streaming content, and more for FREE.  I can't think of any other place offering amenities like those without a hefty membership fee.

The Original Smart Card
Additionally, each year a new Honorary Chair for Library Card Sign-Up Month is selected, and this year it's legendary comic creator Stan Lee who says "The smartest card in my wallet?  It's my library card."  How could you not agree with a man whom has given the world Spider-Man, the Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, and the Fantastic Four?  You cant!!!

Striving to stress the importance of a library card to the masses, National Library Card Sign-Up Month was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said: "Let's have a national campaign...every child should obtain a library card - and use it."  To this day, signing up youth for a library card has been the most pressing issue at hand to focus on during this annual observance.

Studies have shown that children who are read to in the home and use the library perform better in school.  What parent wouldn't love that for their child?  These youth are also more likely to become lifelong readers and continue to use the library as a source of information throughout their lives, which sounds like an excellent way to preserve the need for libraries in the future.

If you have yet to arm yourself with one of the smartest cards you could ever own, September is as good of a time as any to head out to your local public library and see about getting your hands on one.  A library card has the ability to open your world to so much, but don't take my word for it.  Give us a visit, speak with library staff, and we'll make a believer out of you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tune In to Our Podcast Shows @ Your Library

It's no secret your Abilene Public Library has been into social media since 2007, and I'm pleased to announce our return to the world of podcasting!  Having first begun podcasting in 2008, I took a short break for a year, but now I've been itching to get back into the swing of things...it's that addicting.

Whereas in the past I was podcasting each workday, I've modified the shows to offer two (2) each week, running 20-25 minutes per episode.  Each show will be packed full of content including letting listeners in on the latest releases in books and DVD's, book-to-film adaptations, upcoming events at the library (and around the community), articles from library staff, news, and much more.

New shows will be added every Tuesday & Thursday, and if you want to check it out for yourselves, visit our Podcast Page.  Over the course of our time podcasting, the library had a pretty impressive channel where I had posted over 800 shows that were listened to over 380,000 times.  That was simply amazing.  We may be starting from scratch this time around, but with the growing popularity of podcasting these days, we're certain to continue to offer some pretty great shows.

For those of you who may still be asking yourselves, "What's a podcast?," simply put, they're audio (sometimes video) episodes for the digital world that are streamed and/or downloaded from the web to a computer or mobile device.  Once they made their presence in the online world, their popularity continued to grow.  These days you can find thousands upon thousands of podcasts out there, covering almost any topic you can think of.  So why not bring the Abilene Public Library back to the podcasting world and bring up the numbers of those talking about libraries to the people who love them?

So give us a listen and see what you think about it.  Podcasting can certainly be fun, and if anything else, at least you'll learn more about what your Abilene Public Library has to offer!

Monday, August 25, 2014

@ the Library Article: "Stories of Fascinating People Await Lovers of Biographies"

If you only read fiction, you really are missing out.  Nonfiction can be just as compelling as any novel.

Take for example the Abilene Public Library's extensive collection of biographies.  A reader virtually can visit anywhere in the world, and almost any point in history, through the stories of fascinating people, who range from popular actors to individuals whose struggle to overcome insurmountable odds have inspired people all over the world.

One such inspiring story is I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai.  Malala is the young Pakistani who was shot by the Taliban while riding a bus to school.

Not only did she survive, but she has become an advocate for education and women's wrights, inspiring individuals and groups across the globe to proclaim "I am Malala" in support of her efforts.

Inspiration also can be found in Hawa Abdi's compelling memoir Keeping Hope Alive.  This brave Somali woman converted 1,300 acres of farmland into a camp to house those affected by local violence, particularly women and children.

After being kidnapped by radical insurgents, Abdi not only convinced them to release her but also demanded, and received, a written apology.

Texans also make for interesting reads.  In Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes, Ellen Sweets shows the more private woman - and connoisseur of French cuisine - behind Ivins' sharp wit.

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, by iconic Texan Willie Nelson, shares some outlaw wisdom and celebrates the people he was blessed to have encountered in his eight-decade journey.

The life of supremely American artist Norman Rockwell is explored in American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon.  In it, Solomon draws a compelling contrast between Rockwell's optimistic and wholesome artistic vision of America with the artist's own struggles with anxiety, depression and self-doubt.

Also uniquely American is the subject of John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman.  Wayne is seen by many as the face of Western film and the standard by which other actors are judged.  However, Eyman goes below this carefully created persona to reveal a decent, odd, but deeply likable man.

These titles are just a small cross-section of our diverse collection of biographies.  From English royalty to rock stars, the Abilene Public Library has a fascinating biography that almost every reader can enjoy.  Stop by and see what we have for you.

Article Contributed by Deborah Tarsiewicz, Information Services Specialist at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Friday, August 22, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Aug. 24)

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

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F MURAKAMI
Summary: A young man's difficult coming-of-age.

#2: Love Letters
Author: Debbie Macomber
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F MACOMBER
Summary: Three couples struggle with intimacy one summer at Cedar Cove's Rose Harbor Inn.

#3: The 6th Extinction
Author: James Rollins
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F ROLLINS
Summary: The 10th Sigma Force novel offers Nazis an ancient secret, a ticking nuclear clock and alien life-forms.

South Branch to Temporarily Close Starting Aug. 25

South Branch, 1401 S. Danville Dr.
The South Branch location of the Abilene Public Library will temporarily close on Monday, Aug. 25 to undergo plumbing repairs.  We anticipate this will take the entire week, Aug. 25-30.  During the time of the temporary closure, South Branch visitors are encouraged to visit the Main Library (202 Cedar St.) or Mockingbird Branch (1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.) for library services.

If you have an available hold for pickup at the South Branch, they will be transferred to the Main Library for pickup on Friday, August 22.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but wanted to ensure everyone would have access to pickup up their holds.

You may also continue to return materials to the South Branch using our outside materials return.  Staff will check in items once a day to remove them from your accounts.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and if you are in need of any assistance from library staff, please contact us at the Main Library at 325-677-2474, or the Mockingbird Branch at 325-437-7323.

If you have questions regarding the temporary closing, please Contact Me (Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager), and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

2014 West Texas Book Festival Highlights: Amazing Ticketed Events

The West Texas Book Festival is drawing ever so near, bringing wonderful authors and events to Abilene.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, this year's festival will run Sept. 22-27 offering a host of great activities for the community to get involved in.

Although the majority of festival activities are free to attend, we do offer a few special ticketed events that serve as fundraisers for the festival.  Featuring great authors, delicious cuisine, engaging presentations, and more, you'll not want to miss your chance to purchase a ticket and join the literary soiree!

2013 Culinary Cuisine Luncheon
Sept. 25 @ 11:30AM
TSTC Culinary Institute
901 N. 1st St.
Tickets: $25 ea. or $200 for Table
Attend a great afternoon luncheon featuring this year's featured cookbook authors including Lisa Fain (New York City, NY), Dotty Griffith (Dallas, TX), Adan Medrano (San Antonio, TX), and Rebecca Rather (Fredericksburg, TX).  As an alternative to the Cookbook Gala, which usually sells out quickly, students from the culinary institute will prepare a selection of items from the recipes of our featured cookbook authors.  Come enjoy a great lunch, presentations by each of the authors, purchase copies of their cookbooks, participate in a book signing, and more.

September's Cover-to-Cover Book Club Selection

If you're looking for a great book club discussion group, try our Cover-to-Cover Book Club at your Abilene Public Library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, non-fiction, classics, and more.

For September, the featured selection is I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and attend the book club discussion group on Thursday, September 18 @ 7:00 p.m.  For more information, be sure to contact Ann Mount, 325-676-6025.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Call Number: 92 YOUSAFZAI
Summary: Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.  On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price.  She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.  At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Be sure to check out this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend if you'd like, and come ready to discuss this title with other avid readers in the community.  Again, the Cover-to-Cover Book Club will meet on Thursday, September 18 @ 7:00 p.m., so be sure to get in on the reading fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Aug. 25-30)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  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.

Aug. 26 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Teens are invited to join our new book club at the library, focusing on popular reading materials for young adults.  Our first featured book will be Paper Towns by John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars).  Come out ready to discuss this title, as well as pick the future books for the club to read!

Aug. 28 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Don't pass up on joining the library's weekly writing club for youth ages 10-17.  This club helps members to strengthen their creative writing skills when it comes to short stories, novels, poetry, and all forms of writing.  No registration needed.

Don't miss out on these fun activities being hosted at your Abilene Public Library and get in on what your local library has to offer you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Word Classes @ Your Mockingbird Branch!

Computer classes can often be costly, but on Sept. 3 and Sept. 15, your Abilene Public Library will offer basic Word instruction for FREE!

Microsoft Word is perhaps one of the most popular programs on the market today.  Opening a document, formatting font size and margins, saving a file, all can be easy to learn.  According to Susannah Barrington, 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 the 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.  PC tutor Debra Higgins encourages everyone to give it a try.  "You're never too old to learn new things!"

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.

Class size is limited for each session and two (2) sessions will be hosted for both days of the classes.  For your convenience, we'll be offering a morning session at 10:00AM, and an afternoon session at 1:00PM, both of which will be the same course, just offering two different times to help meet your schedule.

Don't pass up on registering for these free workshops by calling us at 325-437-7323.

APL Recognized as Library to Follow on Instagram

Find Us @ AbilenePublicLibrary
The Abilene Public Library was recently recognized by TechSoup for Libraries, as one of four (4) public libraries to follow on Instagram.  For those not familiar with this social media app, it's taken the world by storm by allowing anyone to set up an account, snap a photo, apply fun filters, and post for all to see.

We ventured into Instagram in January 2013, and we've been pleased with the results thus far with having posted over a thousand photos and videos.  With over 400 active followers on our account, we share everything from event photos to funny quotes, book promotions and more to offer a wide range of photos to show the world what goes on at the Abilene Public Library.

Along with our library system, TechSoup named three (3) additional libraries, announced on Aug. 18th, as a way for people to get ideas on how to tell their own stories in fun an unique ways.  Thanks to Ginny Mies, with TechSoup for Libraries, for following our account and giving us a little shout out to the online community.  We're certainly proud of all of our social media endeavors, with a current lineup of seven (7) active sites to promote who we are and what we do.

If you don't know where you can find us, check out our list of active sites...
  1. Facebook: photos, events, videos, news, and more.
  2. Twitter: micro-blasts of fun library info including videos, news, events, and more.
  3. Blogger: our blog...if you're reading this, you're already there.
  4. YouTube: tons of great videos with one of the most viewed public library accounts in Texas!
  5. Pinterest: tons of suggestions on reading, crafts, storytime ideas, reviews, and more.
  6. PodOmatic: fun audio podcasts covering new releases, adaptations, news, events, and more.
  7. Instagram: selected photos highlighting our library system.
As you can tell, there's much to see, listen, read, and watch from your Abilene Public Library, so be sure to check us out sometimes.  For additional information, about any of our social media accounts, feel free to Contact Me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Explore the New Kids' Portal on OverDrive!

It doesn't take much arm twisting to convince patrons the OverDrive collection of eBooks & audiobooks are simply amazing.  The ability to checkout great digital content 24/7, no matter where you are, is an idea we can all get behind.  Plus, OverDrive is available on the leading smartphones, tablets, and eReaders on the market.

Although there's a massive collection of content for adults, materials for youth have been harder to find on your own.  That's not the case any longer, as we've launched a new Kids' Portal on OverDrive.

By visiting the site, and scrolling down a tad bit, you'll find a graphic link that reads OverDrive for Kids eReading Room.  Follow the link and you'll be directed to a special collection housing reading materials for youth of all ages, up to high school.  You no longer have to sift through all the general adult materials to find the juvenile and young adult literature you're looking for!

Although all titles in the Kids eReading Room are still in the main collection, having a separate portal for searching only the youth materials will certainly be a great benefit.  But that's not all the Kids eReading Room offers.  You will still be able to search for materials by title, author, or keyword, but you'll also be able to utilize three unique browsing tools for the collection.

These new searching options includes...
  • Subjects: search across popular subjects for youth including Beginning Reader Books, Comic Books, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Picture Books, Fantasy, and more.
  • Collection: search for materials categorized in special collections including Favorite Titles, new eBooks, New Audiobooks, and more.
  • Levels: certain to be a favorite with students, parents, and teachers, this option lets you browse the collection based on Interest Level, ATOS Level, Lexile Measure, and even Reading Level.
School's just around the corner for kids, and the OverDrive for Kids eReading Room will certainly be a great site to utilize.  All it takes to get started is a valid library card and device.  Checkout up to 10 titles, for 2-weeks, and never worry about late fees again.  Your items will return themselves when they're due.  That's certainly great for parents whose kids sometimes have a tendency to leave a book at school, get them mixed up with their own books at home, misplace them, or simply forget they had them altogether.

For more information about OverDrive at your Abilene Public Library, or the new Kids' Portal, feel free to Contact Me and I'll be more than happy to answer your questions!

Monday, August 18, 2014

@ the Library Article: "As You Like It: Younger Generations Liking Shakespeare"

Whether you love or hate the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare is one of the world's most influential writers.

Over the years, we have seen adaptation after adaptation of Shakespeare's works; some of them fantastic and others, well, not so much.  What may be surprising is that younger generations are starting to groove to the beat of iambic pentameter.

Shakespeare's works have gone from a required school assignment to prime fun reading material as a result of the popularity of shows like The Hollow Crown, a television miniseries that covers Shakespeare's plays featuring kings Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.

Friday, August 15, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Aug. 17)

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

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: The Magician's Land
Author: Lev Grossman
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: SF GROSSMAN
Summary: Quentin, an exiled magician, tries a risky heist in the final installment of a trilogy.

#2: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F MORIARTY
Summary: Who will end up dead, and how, when three mothers with children in the same school become friends?

2014 West Texas Book Festival Highlights: Featured Authors

The West Texas Book Festival is just over a month away, bringing great authors and events right here to Abilene.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, this year's festival will run Sept. 22-27 and most of the activities are FREE for the community to take advantage of.

This blog entry will provide a look at a selection of the featured authors of this year's festival.  From Texas to New York, we've got plenty of great authors, with ties to Texas, who'll be on hand to provide you with a great selection of events to attend including...

Author Stephen Harrigan
Stephen Harrigan (Austin, TX)
As this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient, Harrigan has lived in Texas since the age of five.  He's the author of nine (9) books including The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book.  This title also received a number of additional awards including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. 

Author Lee Bacon
Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY)
As an Abilene native, Bacon is the author of the Joshua Dread series for youth in grades 4-8, centering on a boy trying to grow up "normal" while having supervillains as parents.  This series has also been selected for the Texas Library Association's Spirit of Texas Reading Program and he'll be on hand to speak with students in the community as a featured children's author. 

Robert Dawson's "Public Library: A Photographic Essay"

"The Public Library" by Robert Dawson
The Abilene Public Library's Mockingbird Branch location (1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.) was recently one of the many featured public libraries in a new title by photographer Robert Dawson titled Public Library: A Photographic Essay.  As the most recently established branch library, we're proud to receive a photo credit for the masses to enjoy, and coming from our great city of Abilene.

As found from Dawson's website, he has had a long interest "in how photography can be used to understand our relationship with the environment and the commons.  He is also interested in photography's ability to shape public awareness of the place we call home."  Much of his work has been highly exhibited, and added to permanent collections across numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and more, including international locations such as the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

APL Mockingbird Branch Location
With an extensive list of awards, grants and fellowships under his belt, exhibitions throughout California, and releasing several publications, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay is his most recent compilation, which has received a great review by Toni Morrison whom states "Robert Dawson's work is an irrefutable argument for the preservation of public libraries.  His book is profound and heartbreakingly beautiful."

Cracking the spine of his collection of photos will certainly make any person identify with that statement.  Here's a synopsis of the book...

Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has traveled throughout the United States documenting hundreds of public libraries, large and small, old and new, urban and rural, in poor communities, and in wealthy ones.  The Public Library: A Photographic Essay presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs - from the majestic reading at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California's one-room Tulare County Free Library build by former slaves.  Here you will find literary libraries, storm-damaged libraries, a haunted library, libraries as sanctuaries, libraries as art museums, and libraries and memorials.  This book documents our vibrant, essential, yet threatened library system as it undergoes profound changes in its identity and purpose - yet remains at the very heart of American civic life.  As Bill Moyers notes in his forward, 'Robert Dawson shows us in this collection what is at stake: when a library is open, no matter its size and shape, democracy is open, too.'

You'll also find an afterword by author Ann Patchett, and essays, letters and poetry celebrating libraries by Philip Levine, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, E.B. White, Isaac Asimov, Charles Simic, and others. 

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay may never become a bestselling title or a book that's on everyone's must read lists, but it certainly is a title everyone should be exposed to, especially if you value public libraries in the nation.  Dawson does a wonderful job of promoting the importance of libraries, using a medium he understands and excels in.  So feel free to reserve this book and take a look at his collection and selection of photos representing the life of libraries.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Aug. 18-23)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  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.

Aug. 18 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Kids of all ages know how cool Pete the Cat is, and we'll be celebrating him at your library for the next Family Fun program.  From his buttons to his white shoes, kids are invited to join us for stories, games, crafts, and more all about Pete. 

Aug. 18 @ 6:30PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
Youth, ages 8-15, are invited to come out to a DIY workshop, for both guys and gals, where we'll be showing you how to create some health & beauty products using some everyday household items.  From chapstick to deodorant, we'll show you how to do a few of them, and we'll supply all the materials you'll need. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

App Watch: GoSkyWatch Planetarium

Technology is a part of our everyday lives with the accessibility of smartphones, tablets, and comparable devices.  Your Abilene Public Library understands the value of mobile technology and we're frequently asked to assist patrons in learning to use theirs to the fullest.  This blog series will look at some popular apps you can take advantage of to get the most out of your devices, and like your library services, each will be FREE to take advantage of.

As a featured app on ABC's "The View" and "Wired" magazine, GoSkyWatch is a fun app for any astronomy enthusiast, as well as your everyday person who's ever looked up at the night sky in awe.  The creators of this app have made it virtually easy to identify and locate stars, planets, constellations, and more through your mobile device.  Talk about one educationally cool app.  It's like having your own personal telescope to unlock the mysteries of the night sky.

Monday, August 11, 2014

@ the Library Article: "Library Books Can Help Your Kids Become Strong Readers"

Watching a child learn to read is one of the most magical and rewarding moments of life.

It's like watching someone learn to ride a bike.  At first there are stops and bobbles, even some crashes, then suddenly he is riding his bike down the driveway and life is never the same.  Similarly, as children begin to read, they may hesitate and bobble some of the words.  Soon, however, they will begin to read fluently and find a whole new world to enjoy.

So how do you position your preschooler to start reading?

It is important to read to your children from infancy.  Showing them pictures and pronouncing the words, even showing them letters and numbers, teaches them to develop the necessary connections in their brain.

As children age, teaching them the ABC's and helping them to write letters and numbers develops their motor skills as well as teaches them to recognize the letters.  As you write each letter, make that letter's sound and have the child learn to make it as well.

One of the easiest ways to entertain children when waiting in a doctor's office or (don't tell my pastor) even in church, is to make dotted letters and write words for your child to trace.  My daughters both loved doing this and would bring me a paper and pencil with a demand to "write the letters for my name."

The earlier you begin teaching them letters, the earlier they begin reading.

Once they have mastered the sound that each letter makes, the next step is to show them how to connect the letters into words.  If you have been tracing words and names as part of your play, this is an easy transition.

Begin with short easy words, such as "mom" and "dad."  Make the sounds for each letter, sounding the words with the child as they are written.  Use rhyming words to demonstrate the ways that different letters make different words.  For example, "What happens if I take away the 'D' in dad and replace it with 'B?"

We actually made little letter flashcards and played games building different words.  Scrabble tiles can be used to do the same thing.

Of course, the Abilene Public Library has a lot of books that support efforts to help children to become strong readers, including Growing a Reader from Birth and What Your Preschooler Needs to Know.

We also have "Easy Reader" books designed for beginning readers.  Although Dick, Jane and Puff have been replaced by new characters, there are many wonderful stories to engage your new reader and help them develop their reading skills.

Of course, books by Dr. Seuss are perennial favorites - including Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham - but there also are many other excellent authors, including Mo Willems, Jan Thomas and Bill Martin.

Their books use fewer and easier words with lots (and lots and lots) of repetition.  For convenience, all three of our library locations designate a special area for "Easy Reader" books and mark most of these titles with a large red "E" on the spine.

Teaching your children to read is a hugely rewarding experience and a great way to prepare them for school and for life.  Your local librarians can help.  Come by and see us.  We love books and reading, and we will be happy to help you get started.

Article contributed by Janet West, Children's Library Assistant at the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library