Friday, January 30, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Feb. 1)

Many patrons browse the new materials section 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 to get yourselves on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in London is full of complications and betrayals.

#2: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 38
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy when their paths cross in World War II.

#3: Saint Odd
Author: Dean Koontz
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F KOONTZ
Summary: In the conclusion of the Odd Thomas series, Odd, who can communicate with the dead, returns home to small-town California to meet one last challenge.

Book-To-Film Adaptations: February 2015

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 your Abilene Public Library, if we own them.

Seventh Son
Starring: Ben Barnes
Release Date: Feb. 6
Based On: "The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch"
Author: Joseph Delaney
Summary: Young Thomas is apprenticed to the local Spook to learn to fight evil spirits.  His first great challenge comes when the powerful Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away.  This film is based on The Last Apprentice series of dark fantasy reads for young adults, which currently consists of 13 novels, all of which were renamed in the U.S.  Early reviews have been mostly negative, so who knows if sequels will be made. 

Fifty Shades of Grey
Starring: Jamie Dornan
Release Date: Feb. 13
Based On: "Fifty Shades of Grey"
Author: E.L. James
Summary: As unlikely of a Valentine's Day movie to release as one could think up, it will have to be this film based on the controversial bestselling novel of the same name.  In this film, literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.  Although the book wasn't the most amazing novel ever, it'll be interesting to see how the film fares although I'm sure many will go out to see it based on the buzz surrounding its source material.  Fandango has also released that the movie has become the fastest selling R-rated title of all time in its 15-year history, surpassing the previously held record by Sex and the City 2, to which the high demand prompted many theater owners to add new showtimes to compensate. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Starring: Colin Firth
Release Date: Feb. 13
Based On: "The Secret Service" Comic Series
Author: Dave Gibbons
Summary: In this movie, a veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.  This move has already received positive reviews from early screenings by critics, yet many of us probably haven't heard too much about it.  Bolstering an ensemble cast that includes Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Hamill, Lady Gaga, Adele, Elton John, David Beckham, and others, it'll be interesting to see how this film does.

And there you have it, your look at February's book-to-film adaptations to be on the lookout for in theaters.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Feb. 2-7)

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.

Feb. 2-28
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Teens wanting a chance to leave their mark on the Main Library have the chance to submit their designs to decorate the door leading to the children's storyroom on the first floor.  Click Here for contest details. 

Feb. 2-28
Main & South Branch
325-698-7565 for Info.
Based on its popularity last year, we're bringing it back this year.  Staff has wrapped books to hid what they are, and you'll only see a few descriptive words on what the book is about.  Pick one, check it out, take it home, unwrap it, and see what kind of date you've selected.  Just like in life, sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't, but it's still fun to play the game.  Come find your date!!! 

Feb. 2 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
The South Branch is starting a new book club for teens, ages 13-19, hosted on the first Monday evenings of each month.  This club will focus on reading popular young adult titles, and our first book up for discussion will be "Legend" by Marie Lu, which is set to be adapted to film.  Read the book and come ready to discuss with other avid teen readers in the community. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "Before I Go to Sleep" by S.J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep
Author: S.J. Watson
Call Number: F WATSON
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3 Stars

Summary: As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today.  I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning.  Thinking I'm still a child.  Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...

Memories define us.  Sow what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?  You name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.  And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

Personal Review: Well, I saw the trailers for the film adaptation when it was in theaters; however, it didn't seem to be all to interesting for me to watch.  When I learned it was a novel, I decided to go and read it to see whether or not the book would change my mind.  I don't think it did...not fully.

I have mixed feelings about this read.  Was the overall storyline interesting?  Yes; however, although I can suspend my sense of reality when reading books (as one should), this book exceeded the amount of implausible tolerance I had.  I will say that it did enough to keep me interested, but there's that other part that was simply analyzing everything too much and saying, "okay, that's so not happening."  Plus, I didn't like the fact that I was figuring out what really happened way before it was revealed directly.

So what are the strengths of this book?  I can state that the concept was intriguing overall.  Additionally, the character of Christine was well developed and allowed me, as a reader, to wonder what it would be/feel like to be in her shoes.  I became invested in the character, and that's always important for any book I read.  Additionally, the book offers some good twists and turns to keep you reading and empathizing with her as she tries to piece back her life after the accident that caused her to have a form of amnesia that wipes her memory clean each night.

It became interesting to follow her life as she writes in her journal in an attempt to piece her life back together.  And when she realizes that there are many pieces that just don't fit together, trying to discover who she really is was a good journey to take.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today's Top Releases in Books & DVDs @ Your Library

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest releases in books & DVDs, and we receive them on a regular basis at your Abilene Public Library.  Tuesdays are the biggest days of the week in the world of libraries, as these are the days the bulk of all new materials are released for the week.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles coming to your library, and be sure to get yourselves on the reserve lists!

Fury
Starring: Brad Pitt
Summary: April, 1945.  As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his 5-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.  Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. 

The Remaining
Starring: Alexa Vega
Summary: A supernatural thriller that addresses questions of life, love and belief against an apocalyptic backdrop.  A group of close friends gather for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies.  The survivors face a horrifying, uncertain future as they scramble for safety, but as their world collapses around them in chaos and terror, will they choose real life through faith, or just to survive? 

Before I Go To Sleep
Starring: Nicole Kidman
Summary: After an accident leaves her with a serious head injury, a woman wakes up remembering nothing of her past.  As secrets are revealed she starts to question the people closest to her. 

Private Vegas (Private Series #9)
Author: James Patterson
Summary: Las Vegas is a city of contradictions, attracting people of all kinds...especially those with a secret to hide or a life to leave behind.  Lester Olsen sets up his lucrative business there, treating gorgeous, young women to five-star restaurants, splashy shows, and lim0 rides - and then he teaches them how to kill.  Private Jack Morgan is now on the hunt for two criminals that leads him to the city of sin, and to a murder ring that is more seductively threatening than anything he's witnessed before. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Teen Book Clubbers Explore Sci-Fi Dystopias, Steampunk" ~ @ the Library Article

This is an awesome era for young adult literature - with plenty of engrossing titles to choose from in classic genres such as fantasy and the newly popular steampunk.

With so many great books to read, it can be difficult to find a reading buddy who is riding the adventure at the same time, and neither reader wants to be exposed to the dreaded spoiler.

Teen Book Club @ South Branch!
The South Branch of the Abilene Public Library has the answer to that dilemma.  Come and check out our new Teen Book Club.

Our first meeting will be at 6PM, Feb 2 at the South Branch, 1401 S. Danville Dr.  The club is aimed at young adults ages 13-19, and as with all library programs, it's free.

Teens are welcome to come relax, have fun and discuss fascinating books with their peers.  It doesn't matter whether you like to speed through a book or take your time and savor one; we announce the titles at least a month in advance to give you plenty of time to read, or even reread, the chosen book.

This monthly title will be Legend, by Marie Lu.  The book is soon to be a film, so read it now and get ahead of the fandom rush.

Friday, January 23, 2015

IRS Drastically Cuts 2014 Tax Materials for Libraries!

In case you haven't, due to budget cuts, the IRS has drastically reduced the 2014 federal tax materials provided to libraries for the 2015 tax season.  According to the IRS, they will not be providing instruction booklets for the major tax forms (i.e. 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ), and they will only provide a limited number of common tax forms for public libraries to offer to the public.

We have begun to receive some tax materials at your Abilene Public Library, and we will make accessible what we have received.  We understand this may prove to be an inconvenience to many patrons who rely on these instruction booklets and forms to complete your taxes.  We do have a few ways to assist you. 

Forms are available online to print out form the IRS site.  Staff may do this for you at the cost of $0.15 per page.  Online forms may be accessed at home from a computer with Internet-access, or from library computers.

Instruction booklets are also available on the IRS site.  Although you are welcome to print them out at the library, we will still charge $0.15 per page, which can prove costly.  For example, if printing a copy of the 1040 Instruction Booklet, it will consist of 104 pages at a cost of $15.60.  A few booklets may be available at each branch for in-house use only when requested.  You will not be able to take the booklets outside of the library.

You also have the option to request forms and instruction booklets by postal mail, which will take 7-15 days to arrive.  Click Here if wanting to learn more about how to order materials to complete your 2014 tax return.  

IRS-trained volunteers with the AARP will provide free tax help at both the Main Library and Mockingbird Branch.  You will be able to e-File your taxes with their assistance and everyone will be helped on a first-come first-served basks.  Sessions will start on Feb. 4 and run through Apr. 11.  The Main Library will host this program every Wednesday and Thursday from 10AM to 3PM, while the Mockingbird Branch will offer them every Friday and Saturday at the same time.

We would also like to remind you that although staff may help direct you to tax materials online, we will not be able to advise you on the filing process.  As we are not tax professionals, if you need assistance in the filing process, we ask that you take advantage of the Free Tax Assistance program at your library.

If you need any additional assistance, or have any questions, please feel free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager) and I'll be more than happy to assist you.

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Jan. 25)

Many patrons browse the new materials section 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 to get yourselves on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 37
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II. 

#2: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in London is full of complications and betrayals. 

#3: Saint Odd
Author: Dean Koontz
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F KOONTZ
Summary: In the conclusion to the Odd Thomas series, Odd, who can communicate with the dead, returns home to small-town California to meet one last challenge. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Jan. 26-31)

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, visits our main website to take a look at our interactive calendar, and remember, all programming is offered FREE of charge.

Jan. 26 @ 4PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
We're focusing on weird, wonderful, and wacky forms of weather at this month's Family Fun program.  Kids of all ages, and parents too, are invited to join us for stories, crafts, games, and more as a great after school activity. 

Jan. 26 @ 6:30PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
We're getting hands on with great look-alike edible crafts for youth ages 8-15.  For this evening, we're showing you how to use yummy dessert items and candies to create Pizza & Sushi.  We'll supply the materials, you bring your sweet tooth.

Jan. 27 @ 4PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
We're adding a second session of the Make & Take program to the South Branch, where this one will be a choose-your-own crafting event.  We'll have a variety of different crafting projects to choose from, and kids can pick their favorite, make it, and you're all done. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Register for Our 2nd Annual Children's Workshop!!!

2014 Children's Workshop!
Update 01-28-15: Registration for the Children's Workshop has now closed.  We have reached our maximum number of registered guests at a whopping 60!!!  Look out for next year's workshop!

Area librarians are invited to the Abilene Public Library as we present an all new free Children's Workshop titled Early Literacy in Action on Thursday, Feb. 12 from 9:30AM - 4:00PM.  The workshop will discuss early literacy skills and examples of how to incorporate them into your storytime programs.  You can even create your own set of early literacy tools to take home!

We've got over 30 people signed up for this workshop, which will be led by children's services staff at the Abilene Public Library, and attendees will...
Register before Feb. 2 by contacting Darla Casella or Heather Carter, or call 325-437-7323.  Be sure to include your t-shirt size!  Oh yes, you will receive some great incentives for attending.

Let this workshop help your storytime programs reach even more kids and families in your communities by showing that literacy begins at home and how your library can help.  Register today!

Participate in the Decorate Our Door Teen Art Contest @ Your Library

Current Door
The Main Library (202 Cedar St.) needs a little help from local teens with artistic talent.  Currently the door on the 1st floor of the Main Library, which leads into our children's storyroom (with walls decorated by murals created by local artist Debra Warr) is looking a little too plain.  So, the Abilene Public Library is hosting a Teen Art Contest to decide the finished look of the door.  Starting February 2nd, any teen ages 13-18 will have the opportunity to make their mark, quite literally, at the Main Library!!!

  • Limited to Teens ages 13-18 who may submit (1) entry per person.
  • Entries may be either a drawing or painting in color.
  • Entries must follow the theme "story books and nursery rhymes" currently inside the children's storyroom. (You may want to come by the Main Library and check it out beforehand...please see staff for assistance).
  • Entries must be original art and ideas (no tracing or copying).
  • Entries must be received by February 28, 2015. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Entries must be tasteful and suitable for children.  No depictions of strong violence, nudity, drug or alcohol use, or other materials deemed explicit will be accepted for judging.  Remember, this door will lead to our children's storyroom, so your design needs to be family-friendly.
  • All judges' decisions are final.
Starting Feb. 2, you may stop by any Abilene Public Library location to pick up your entry form and copy of the rules.  Completed entry forms must accompany your entries and may be submitted at any library location.

Part of Mural Inside Storyroom
Once the winner is selected, he/she will be invited to come out to the library to draw their submission on the door, and they may also be asked to help paint their design.  We may also invite out other teens to help assist in bringing your vision to life if needed.  Once the new artwork is finished, the door will be unveiled at a special family storytime, on a date to be determined, to celebrate and admire the newly decorated door.

For questions regarding this contest, Contact Kelsie Nygren at 325-676-6067 at the Main Library.  We hope you teen artists out there will be inspired to create something great for the library, which will be seen by all who visit.

Good Luck!!!

Main Library to Host 4-Part Writing Workshop Series

The Abilene Public Library wants to help aspiring writers become published through a new series of workshops debuting on Saturday, Jan. 31.  Led by local author Scott Rasco, the Main Library (202 Cedar St.) will serve as host to the Simple Fiction Writing Workshop series, designed for anyone interested in becoming a published author.

Offered free to the community, four sessions will be hosted over the next four months on Saturday, Jan. 31, Feb. 28, Mar. 28, and Apr. 25.  All workshops will run from 10:00AM to Noon in the auditorium on the second floor.

Hone your fiction writing skills at these workshops, as according to Rasco, "participants will be encouraged to offer ideas to help each other grow in their writing skills.  We will incorporate different exercises to promote individual thinking and provide for better discussion.  Participants will have an opportunity to discuss various issues they've faced and how to overcome such obstacles."

Your Main Library works with local youth and young adults writers on a weekly basis through our Collecting Commas Writing Club.  Designed for ages 10-17, this group meets each Thursday at 4:30PM to strengthen their creative writing skills in all forms.

the Simple Fiction Writing Workshop is but another unique writing opportunity for everyone in the community to be a part of.  We hope you join us for the first session on Saturday, Jan. 31 @ 10:00AM, and continue to come out to future workshops this spring.

For more information, feel free to contact the Information Services Desk at the library at 325-676-6025.

Get Free Tax Assistance @ Your Library w/the AARP!

If you need help filing your taxes, your Abilene Public Library is here to help.  IRS trained volunteers with the AARP will be available to assist the public, on a first-come first-served basis (no appointments), at both the Main Library (202 Cedar St.) and Mockingbird Branch (1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.) locations.  Weekly sessions will begin on Feb. 2 and run through the end of tax season on Apr. 11.

The Main Library will host sessions every Wednesday & Thursday from 10AM to 3PM, while the Mockingbird Branch's sessions will run every Friday & Saturday during the same time.  Please Note: The session on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Main Library will be held at the Mockingbird Branch for that day only, due to a previously scheduled event.

Most basic tax forms will be available at each library location, and e-filing through the Free Tax Assistance program will be provided at no charge.  We do regret to inform you that although the library will receive basic tax forms, we have been informed that we will not be receiving instruction booklets for any of the major forms including the 1040, 1040A, and 1040-EZ.  Although these booklets will be available online to view, if you wish to print out a copy at your library, you will be charged $0.15 per page.

If participating in the Free Tax Assistance program at the library, be sure to bring...
  • 2013 tax return with all documents
  • 2014 tax materials such as your W-2's, 1099's, and other additional statements needed
  • Social Security cards for each person named on your return
  • Driver's License or Photo ID
  • Blank check with bank routing number and account number for those receiving a return to receive it through direct deposit
Don't neglect to participate in this great program, offered free of charge, at your Abilene Public Library this tax season.  It's the best way to e-File your taxes, with trained help, and without it costing your a single cent.  You can't beat that!

Tremain's Book Corner: "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Click to Place Hold
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary: In his #1 bestselling The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell has explored the ways we understand and change our world.  Now he looks at the complex and surprising ways the weak can defeat the strong, the small can match up against the giant, and how goals (often culturally determined) can make a huge difference in our ultimate sense of success.  Drawing upon examples from the world of business, sports, culture, cutting-edge psychology, and an array of unforgettable characters around the world, "David and Goliath" is in many ways the most practical and provocative book Gladwell has ever written.

Personal Review: Gladwell is known for taking everyday concepts in society and using his brand of "pop-psychology" to throw a new spin on it and help readers to spark a conversation on the compelling stories/examples he shares.  I feel Gladwell may have received a little heat over time for potentially biasing his examples to reflect the points he wishes to make, but at the end of the day, it's up to the reader to choose what you'll buy into and the items that need to be examined further.

Despite the reservations, Gladwell continues, with this book, to put his mark on society by giving people the ideas to give his thoughts consideration and look at them to see how they may, or may not, apply to their lives and society as a whole.  Gladwell's latest book is one for the underdogs, encouraging the people to know they have the ability to overcome any challenge and come out on top.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Checkout a Blind Date & Snag a Prize @ Your Library!!!

Grab a Mystery Date!
After being such a hit last year, we're bringing it back to your library in 2015!!!  I'm talking about the Blind Date with a Book program where, throughout February, both your Main Library (202 Cedar St.) and South Branch (1401 S. Danville Dr.) locations will invite you to stop by and find your book equivalent of a Blind Date.  At least this way, there's no awkward first meeting, there's no need to force yourself to have casual small talk if you're not feeling your date, or anything of the sorts.  Our type of blind dating is fun!  Plus, as a new incentive this year, you could also win some pretty sweet Valentine's Day related swag for participating.  More information on that to come.

This fun program is simple.  Library staff has selected some great titles from the collection, which you may not have stumbled across yourselves.  We've wrapped them so you can't see the title, cover, description, or anything.  Instead, on the front of the book cover, you'll find a few descriptive words of what the book is about.  Think of it as a teaser if you will.

All you have to do next is snag one that looks of interest to you, check it out, take it home, and unwrap it to see what kind of date you've got.  After you've read it, use an enclosed entry form underneath the wrapping of the book to rate your date and return it back to the library.  We'll then pull a form at random and that patron will win a nice prize bag of Valentine's Day related goodies for participating.  How awesome is that?!? 

Just like in real life, not every blind date you snag from the library will be a winner, but in the game of love, sometimes you have to take your chances right?  So stop by the Main Library or South Branch Library in February and snag a Blind Date from us, rate your date, and enter for your chance to win a gift bag of great swag!!!

For more information, Contact Me (Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager).

Science Club Returns to APL!

If you have a child, ages 8 and older, who loves science, your Abilene Public Library has just what they need.  We're pleased to announce the return of the Science Club under the new leadership of Amanda Sasser, a Library Assistant in Children's Services.  The club will meet on Monday, Feb. 9 @ 4:30PM at the Main Library (202 Cedar St.).

Having debuted last year, the group took a hiatus after the former club leader moved out of town.  However, the club was so popular we couldn't let it stay gone forever.  The Science Club will be hosted on the 2nd Mondays of each month at 4:30PM, and each session will feature fun and educational workshops where youth will get hands-on with different experiments, while being exposed to science concepts.

Fun w/Dry Ice @ Science Club
For February's session, we'll be talking about magnets.  Sure, they're great for posting things on the fridge, but we'll show you there's much more to them than you think.

Don't miss the first session on Monday, Feb. 9 @ 4:30PM.  There's no need to signup or register.  Just come as you are and be ready to have a little educational fun at your library.  If you have any questions, feel free to email Amanda Sasser or call the library at 325-676-6067.

Hope to see you at the library next month!!!

Family Fun @ Your Library ~ @ the Library Article

Come have fun with "snow" at two different Family Fun events at the Mockingbird Branch of the Abilene Public Library in January.  One will be at the regular time of 4:00PM on Wednesday, January 21, and the other at the new time of 6:30PM on Tuesday, January 27.  By hosting two programs each month during 2015, our hope is to be more accessible and give more people the opportunity to join us for stories, crafts, and fun.

Our first Family Fun on Wednesday, January 21 at 4:00PM, we will Celebrate Winter and Ezra Jack Keats with stories, songs, and snowy crafts.  Keats won the Caldecott award in 1963 for his children's picture book, The Snowy Day, which stars a young African-American boy named Peter.  Groundbreaking at the time, The Snowy Day has become a classic of children's literature.

The Snowy Day will be one of several entertaining stories read at this Family Fun event.  The craft for this event will be a "self-portrait" within the outline of Peter's snowsuit, allowing the children to use a variety of mediums, such as crayons, markers, glue, yarn, and colored paper to draw themselves as Peter.  The entire family is invited to attend, listen to a reading of this iconic book, and enjoy the fun.

At our second Family Fun event, we will feature Eric Carle's book Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? as well as crafts, songs, and more on Tuesday, January 27 at 6:30PM.  Carle's is best known for his innovative picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, among many of his famous works.  He has written and illustrated numerous award-winning books for children and collaborated with other authors throughout the last two decades.  Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? written by Bill Martin, Jr., is a wonderful example of Carle's versatility as an illustrator.  During the program, children will be able to color and take home their own miniature version of the polar bear book.  In addition to Carle's Polar Bear, Polar Bear, other polar bear themed books will be shared as well.

So why not beat the winter blues by coming to the Mockingbird Branch of the Abilene Public Library for some winter fun?  For more information about these events or any other services we offer, please contact the Mockingbird Branch at 325-437-7323, or get a complete look at what we have to offer on our webpage at www.abilenetx.com/apl.

Article Contributed by Susannah Barrington, Library Assistant at the Mockingbird Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Texas Author Series Kicks Off in February!

Thanks to the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the West Texas Book Festival, the Texas Author Series at your library is headed your way next month.  The Friends of the Library have already lined up several author events at your Abilene Public Library, as your chance to meet great writers from across the state of Texas.  These guests will be on hand to provide a FREE talk at your Main Library to highlight their impressive body of works.

The first Texas Author Series event will be hosted in February, with two great authors invited to present a program on their inspirational romance novels.  Their titles have been popular at your library, with our patrons, and with readers all over.  Now is your perfect chance to meet them.  Take a look at who will be present on Feb. 9.

Author Karen Witemeyer (Abilene, TX)
Feb. 9 @ Noon
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
About the Author: Karen Witemeyer resides in Abilene and writes novels that are set in the small towns of Texas during the mid to late 1800s.  Having written eight (8) published novels, with a ninth on the way titled Love on the Mend, Witemeyer has crafted great novels that have consistently hit bestseller lists.  They've also garnered awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the Christian Manifesto's Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction writing.  She's also a multiple RITA and National Reader's Choice finalist, and we're happy to have her present at the Abilene Public Library once again. 

Author Lisa Wingate (Clifton, TX)
Feb. 9 @ Noon
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
About the Author: Lisa Wingate is a familiar face at previous events hosted at the Abilene Public Library, and she's returning to present at the first Texas Author Series event of the year.  Wingate is the author of more than 20 novels, having been selected among Booklist's Top 10 of 2012 & 2013.  Weaving wonderful tales set in Southern settings, her works have been called "masterful" by Publisher's Weekly.  Wingate is also a decorated author as she's a 7-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, a 2-time Carol Award winner, a LORIES Best Fiction Award winner, and a Utah Library Award winner.

As these programs are hosted over the noon hour, you're welcome to bring your lunch, or purchase a light lunch from the Friends for $5.  Drinks will be provided.  Plus, at the end of the program, feel free to purchase their novels and participate in a book signing with the authors.

The Texas Author Series is an AMAZING program offered by the Friends of the Library, and you won't want to miss your opportunity to be a part of this series in 2015.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "The Last American Vampire" by Seth Grahame-Smith

The Last American Vampire
Click to Place Hold
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3 Stars

Book Summary: In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death.  It will be an expansive journey that will first send him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash.  Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia's October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination.

Personal Review: Overall I have mixed feelings when it came to this novel.  I've been a fan of the author since his first mainstream novel, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," but I think it's beginning to wane a bit in how I'm receiving it at the present time.  I did enjoy "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter," and this novel was set up to be somewhat of a sequel, so I had to give it a shot.

This book was not a direct sequel, picking up from the events of its predecessor, but instead it focused on the vampire who taught Lincoln how to hunt vampires in the first place.  I couldn't help but draw comparisons to the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, simply because this story focused on a vampire sharing his experiences of how he was made into a vampire, and then covering events that happened to him over the course of 500 years to bring you to the present day.

You'll follow him as he meets historical figures including Bram Stoker, John F. Kennedy, Mark Twain, John Smith (from Pocahontas) and many others.  On the positive side, the author's expansive approach to writing this novel did make for a fast moving read.  Keeping the coverage concise, he was able to move through these encounters quickly, still writing of historical and world events in a clever manner to acknowledge that once again, Grahame-Smith did a little homework when constructing this novel.

New Lone Star Teen Book Club Debuts Feb. 24 @ Main Library

The South Branch Library will already be starting a new Teen Book Club in February, and we're pleased to announce the formation of a second book club for teens that will be hosted at the Main Library!  This second club will meet on the last Tuesdays of each month and will be called the Lone Star Teen Book Club, and the first meeting date will be Tues., Feb. 24 @ 4:00PM.

Whereas the South Branch's Teen Book Club will focus on popular young adult literature of all types, the Lone Star Teen Book Club will feature discussing titles that have made the Lone Star Reading List, offering recommended state-wide reading lists for students, following the success of the Bluebonnet program started earlier.  The Lone Star Reading List has been in existence since 1990, in which each year, a new listing of books are provided, offering a wide range of recommended reads for youth.

Amanda Sasser, Library Assistant II in Children's Services, will lead the new Lone Star Teen Book Club at the Main Library, and the first book has already been selected.  We're asking teens to read The Reluctant Assassin (the first book in the W.A.R.P. series) by bestselling author Eoin Colfer, whom many teens may know as being the author of the Artemis Fowl series.  We invite you to look for this title at your library, and then attend the first session of our Lone Star Teen Book Club meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24 @ 4:00PM at your Main Library.

The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P. Series #1)
Author: Eoin Colfer
Call Number: YA SF COLFER
Summary: Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims' dwellings.  On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing.  Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP) Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick.

In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a 19-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles.  Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole.  Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist's knowledge.  He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie's possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.

Don't miss out on becoming part of the Lone Star Teen Book Club @ your Main Library, which again will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 24 @ 4PM.  Visit your local library to checkout a copy of this popular title, and then come ready to discuss it with other teen readers in the community.  Plus, you'll help to select the future books we'll discuss in months to come.  Check us out!!!

February'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, nonfiction, classics, and more.

For February, the featured selection is The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and then attend the book club on Thursday, Feb. 19 @ 7:00PM.  For more information, be sure to contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion
Author: Fannie Flagg
Call Number: F FLAGG
Summary: Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle.  The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry.  Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter.  Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother's past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

Be sure to checkout this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend, and come out ready to discuss this title with other avid readers in the community.  Again, the Cover-to-Cover Book Club will meet on Thursday, Feb. 19 @ 7:00PM to discuss this title, so be sure to get in on the reading fun.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Jan. 18)

Many patrons browse the new materials section 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 to get yourselves on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 36
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II.

#2: Gray Mountain
Author: John Grisham
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 12
Call Number: F GRISHAM
Summary: A downsized Wall Street lawyer joins a legal clinic in a small Virginia town.

#3: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Author: Alan Bradley
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M BRADLEY
Summary: The chemist and sleuth Flavia de Luce, now 12 and in boarding school in Canada, discovers a mummified body.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Jan. 19-24)

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.

Jan. 19
All Locations
PH: 325-677-2474
All locations of the Abilene Public Library will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  For your convenience, outside materials returns will be available at all three locations, if you need to return any materials.  We'll resume our normal hours of operation ion Tuesday at 9AM. 

Jan. 20 @ 10:45AM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Don't miss the next Super Storytime event where we're keeping the spirit of Frosty the Snowman alive and well through stories, songs, crafts, and more for the younger crowd at your library. 

Jan. 21 @ 4PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
We're celebrating the classic book by Ezra Jack Keats titled "The Snowy Day," by sharing songs, bells, crafts, stories, and more as a great after school activity for kids of all ages, and parents too.  Come join in! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Food for Fines 2014 Collects Over 1.4 Tons!!!

After a BUSY December, and a little icy weather, a BIG thanks goes out to all who participated in the annual Food For Fines program at your Abilene Public Library.  Benefiting the Food Bank of West Central Texas, not only did you rid your accounts of those pesky late fees, you also helped out the Big Country by donating 3,125 POUNDS OF FOOD!!!

With many of the donations overflowing during the final week, regardless of whether you had a fine or not, all of your donations were much appreciated.  Here's a breakdown of how each branch performed...
  • South Branch: 1,469 lbs
  • Mockingbird Branch: 891 lbs
  • Main Library: 765 lbs
Remember, this program only comes around once a year, so if you missed out this time, you'll have to wait until next December...we don't even want to think about how fast time flies.
Thanks again for helping this to be another successful year in Food for Fines @ Your Library!!!

Tremain's Book Corner: "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies
Click to Place Hold
Author: Liane Moriarty
Call Number: F MORIARTY
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4.5 Stars

Book Summary: Sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.  A murder...a tragic accident...or just parents behaving badly?  What's indisputable is that someone is dead.  But who did what?

This book follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with.  She's funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one.  Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife moved into her beloved beach side community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline's youngest (how is this possible?).  And to top it all off, Madeline's teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline's ex-husband over her.  (How.  Is.  This.  Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare.  While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn't be, with those rambunctious twin boys?  Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body.  But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny.  Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son.  But why?  While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Personal Review: This is the sixth book by Moriarty, and the first I've read, simply based on the short premise I found on the bestsellers list.  All it stated was...

Who will end up dead, and how, when three mothers with children in the same school become friends?

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple sentence to get you hooked, and since that grabbed me, I decided to give this book a shot, and I wasn't disappointed.  Overall, the book was humorous, had a murder, discussed relevant social issues, and had more layers than an onion; however, it all fit together well.  Written more for the female audience, as a male, I didn't find myself not being able to identify (in some way) with the story.  At times that's the sign of a great writer if he/she can reach readers regardless of their tastes.

There's a quality to Moriarty's writing that will draw you in.  The characters are well-developed, and being taken into their lives, readers will become privy to the push and pull of cliques that can develop.  Even when those cliques happen to be around parents...or more prevalent with mothers.  Whether it's stay-at-home moms versus working moms, being fulfilled versus being involved, or what not, the author was able to execute these different elements flawlessly...while also having me laugh at many a scenario presented.  For instance, the parenting styles of some of the characters can be quite humorous as it's more of a case of over-parenting than anything else.  Some mothers were so over the top that I began to liken them as caricatures of various types of personalities.

At the heart of the novel, it's about a book of parents behaving badly, which eventually leads to murder.  More so than that, it's a story about family and social dynamics, abuse, and providing somewhat of a tale about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, exes, and more.  Let's just say Moriarty certainly would be able to connect with many through this book.