Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friends' Call for Children's Books Receives National Recognition!

The Friends of the Abilene Public Library are a highly active volunteer organization which faithfully works towards providing support for the Abilene Public Library system.  One of their biggest events is the annual book sale and each year the donations pour in from the community to provide everyone with one of the biggest book sales you could hope to find.

If there's one area the Friends' could use more donations in, that would have to be children's books.  A love of books, reading, literacy, and libraries begins at an early age.  Providing youth with access to great literature is vital for enriching their lives and offering them with the fundamental tools for becoming success as they mature into adulthood.

Children's Book Sale Area
Recognizing this need, the chair of this year's book sale received national recognition in the latest issue of The Voice for America's Libraries in regards to this very need.  With more and more donations of books received each year, there's always a need for more children's books.  Understanding that it's difficult to part with the books your children have grown up with, at the heart of the matter, this still continues to be a need.  A challenge has been issues to all Friends member to donate five (5) children's books each for the 2015 book sale.

Teen Volunteer Caleb Helping to Setup Book Sale Items

Along with Friends members, such a challenge would be incredible to extend to everyone in the community.  We all can do our part to get affordable children's books into the hands of youth in our community.  If you have book in your home, and they've been sitting unused as your children grow older, we invite you to pass along those materials to your Abilene Public Library.  We would then provide them to the Friends of the Library, who would work to see to it that these materials get into the hands of youth who could use them.

The Annual Book Sale always has a children's section that remains quite a busy area, so let's help to increase the number of books offered by continuing to make sure we have plenty of materials for parents to choose from.  You'll feel great knowing your donated items will be placed in the hands of families who will put them to great use.  For instance, here's a quote taken from a single mom in regards to the book sale...

I've always wanted a personal library of books I owned for my two kids, but as a single mom, I can't always afford to buy the books at the store.  You don't know how happy you've made my kids by hosting your book sales, where every year I can take them to get lots of books that are new to us, and I don't have to tell them that mom can't afford them right now.  Now they have plenty of books in their room that they own, and we have now been making the book sale an annual family trip every year for the past three years.  Thank you so much for allowing this mom, and other moms I'm sure, to get them access to their own books, when we may already be on tight budgets.  I can't thank you enough for what this means to me and my kids.  It may be little to some, but not to us.  THANK YOU!

For being such a great cause, help the Friends of the Library continue to support our library system, and literacy too, by being a part of the book sale this year and continuing to donate your great books for an even better cause.

In case you still need more reasons on why literacy is important in America today, take a look at 11 facts compiled by DoSomething.org, which is one of the largest organizations for young people and social change.
  1. Two-thirds of youth who cannot read proficiently by the end of the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.  Over 70% of America's inmates cannot read above a fourth grade level.
  2. 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
  3. Students who don' read proficiently by the third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.
  4. As of 2011, America was the only free market Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country where the current generation was less educated than the previous one.
  5. Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime.
  6. 53% of fourth graders admitted to reading recreationally almost every day, while on 20% of eighth graders could say the same.
  7. 75% of Americans who receive food assistance perform at the lowest two levels of literacy, and 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare.
  8. Teenage girls between the ages of 16 to 19 who live at or below the poverty line and have below average literacy skills are 6 times more likely to have children out of wedlock than girls their age who can read proficiently.
  9. Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
  10. In 2013, Washington, D.C. was ranked the most literate American city for the third year in a row, with Seattle and Minneapolis close behind.
  11. Long Beach, CA was ranked the country's most illiterate city, followed by Mesa, AZ and Aurora, CO.

Friday, February 27, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Mar. 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: 1
Weeks On List: 6
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in London.

#2: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 42
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II.

#3: A Spool of Blue Thread
Author: Anne Tyler
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F TYLER
Summary: Four generations of a family are drawn to a house in the Baltimore suburbs.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weekly Library Events (Mar. 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.

Marc. 2 @ Noon
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
Don't miss the next session of this literary series, made possible thanks to the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the West Texas Book Festival.  Our featured author will be on hand for a program celebrating Texas History Month and Women's History Month, as she is the author of two books on Texas women including "Texas Dames" and "Texas Ranch Women."  Feel free to bring your lunch, or purchase one from the Friends for $5, then hear a great author presentation, snag copies of their book, participate in a book signing, and more. 

Mar. 2 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
325-698-7565 for Info.
Don't miss the next session of the Teen Book Club, which has an emphasis on popular teen literature.  Designed for teens ages 13-19, this month's featured selection is the first novel in the Inheritance Cycle Series by author Christopher Paolini titled "Eragon."  Come ready to discuss this popular title, and then help us choose the titles we'll read in the upcoming sessions. 

Mar. 2 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Youth, ages 8-15, should gear up for the next crafting session at the library, where we'll supply all the materials to show you how to use simple materials, as well as a tissue box, and turn them into a catapult.  We just love crafting at the library so feel free to join in. 

Mar. 3 @ 6:30PM
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
Rescheduled from last month, we're inviting out nutritional health coach Dessire Armstrong, who will be on hand to discuss how food works with one's body, to make it easier to understand what to eat and why.  Don't miss out on this informative and nutritional workshop at your library. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March'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 library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, nonfiction, classics, and more.

For March, the featured selection is The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and then attend the book club meeting on Thursday, Mar. 19 @ 7:00PM.  For more information, be sure to contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025. 

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Author: Robert M. Edsel
Call Number: 940.53 EDS
Summary: At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures of Europe.  The Fuehrer had begun cataloging the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised.  In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unnamed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, and historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.  Focusing on the 11-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis. 

This book was later adapted to a Feature Film starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray. 

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, Mar. 19 @ 7:00PM to discuss this title, so be sure to get in on the reading fun!

March's Lone Star Teen Book Club Selection @ Main Library

If you're a teen and you've been attending the new Lone Star Teen Book Club at your Main Library, we're ready to let you in on the next selection.

For March, the featured title will be Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey, which is on the 2015 Lone Star Reading List of recommended reads for students in Texas.  We invite you to look out for a copy at your library and attend the next book club session on Tuesday, March 31 @ 4:00PM.  For more information, contact Amanda Sasser at 325-676-6067.

Buzz Kill
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Call Number: YA F FANTASKEY
Summary: To Bee or not to Bee?  When the widely disliked Honeywell Stinger football coach is found murdered, 17-year-old Millie is determined to investigate.  She is chasing a lead for the school newspaper - and looking to clear her father, the assistant coach, and prime suspect.  Millie joins forces with her mysterious classmate Chase who seems to want to help her even while covering up secrets of his own.  Drama - and bodies - pile up around Millie and the chases clues, snuggles Baxter the so-ugly-he's adorable basset hound, and storms out of the world's most awkward school dance/memorial mash-up.  The bestselling author's funny, fast-paced blend of "Clueless" and "Nancy Drew" is a suspenseful page-turner that is the best time a reader can have with buried weapons, chicken clocks, and a boy who only watches gloomy movies...but somehow makes Millie smile.  Bee-lieve it.

Be sure to checkout this title from your Abilene Public Library, borrow one from a friend, get a copy from your school, and come out to discuss it with other avid teen readers.  Again, the Lone Star Teen Book Club will meet on Tuesday, March 31 @ 4:00PM at the Main Library...get in on the reading fun!!!

Tremain's Book Corner: "The Troop" by Nick Cutter

The Troop
Author: Nick Cutter
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4.5 Stars

Book Summary: Boy Scouts live by the motto "Be Prepared."  However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers' doorstep.  Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop's own with a bio engineered horror that's straight out of their worst nightmares.  Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended, and eventually each other.

Personal Review: Based on the synopsis, I had to read this book for myself, and it didn't disappoint...plus, it didn't hurt that Stephen King contributed a blurb about the book stating. "This is old-school horror at its best.  Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night."

Based on that, it sounded like the book for me, and it certainly was as the book already described itself as being a tie between "The Lord of the Flies" and "The Ruins."  Enough right there, I was ready to read.  Again, I was not disappointed in the least as this book certainly did have the creep factor, and tons of the ick factor.  There were actually scenes in this book that I cannot forget.  If they made bleach for your brain, I would have considered using some...but I do enjoy being shocked.  If you do, this is the book for your.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases @ 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 reserves lists!

Horrible Bosses 2
Starring: Jason Bateman
Summary: Feed up with answering to higher-ups, Nick and Kurt decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business.  But a slick investor soon pulls the rug out from under them.  Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor's adult son and ransom him to regain control of their company. 

Big Hero 6
Starring: Scott Adsit
Summary: Robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada learns to harness his genius, thanks to his brillian brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon, and fanboy Fred.  When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to this closest companion - a robot named Baymax - and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. 

Whiplash
Starring; J.K. Simmons
Summary: Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory.  Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats.  Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school.  Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Look Out for Oscar-Worthy Source Material @ Your Library!

Last night was THE night for the 87th Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, which saw quite a number of adaptations receiving nominations (and wins).  Books and literature often inspire great adaptations; however, if you're unsure of what some of them were, take a look at some of the decorated adaptations to lead the pack, and look for checking out the books they were based on at your library too!!!

Author: Andrew Hodges
Loosely based on the biography, this film was the most decorated of the adaptations, receiving eight (8) nominations and one (1) win for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Other nominations included Best Picture, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Best Director for Morten Tyldum, and Best Supporting Actress for Keira Knightley.  In this film, during WWII, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. 

American Sniper
Author: Chris Kyle
Coming in a close second, this adaptation received six (6) nominations at the Oscars, it won one (1) award for Best Sound Editing.  Other categories it was nominated for included Best Picture, Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Best Adapted Screenplay and two others.  In this film, Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend.  Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind. 

Author: Jane Wilde Hawking
Coming in third with a total of five nominations, Eddie Redmayne took home the only win for Best Actor.  Other categories including Best Actress for Felicity Jones, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Picture.  In this film, it discusses the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. 

"March Will Hear Texas Women Roar Through Fort Worth Author" ~ @ the Library Article

March traditionally blows in like a lion - and brings with it several commemorative events.  Two of them fit hand in glove with the second Texas Author Series program of the year.

At 11:30AM March 2, the Main Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St., will celebrate Texas Independence Day and Texas Women's History Month with Carmen Goldthwaite, of Fort Worth, the author of two books on Texas women - Texas Dames: Sassy and Savvy Women Throughout Lone Star History and Texas Ranch Women: Three Centuries of Mettle and Moxie.

Goldthwaite is a former journalist, a writing teacher, a magazine feature writer and an author, but at the top of the list is Texas storyteller and historian.  "Texas Dames" features a wide variety of true, historical tales about Texas women who commanded great ranches, negotiated land deals, built towns" and directed banks, among other accomplishments.  "These talented women broke gender and racial barriers in education and the ministry, in banking and commerce, in entertainment, the arts, athletics, and politics.

Friday, February 20, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Feb. 22)

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: 1
Weeks On List: 5
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in London is full of complications and betrayals. Housing 3 Copies in Regular Print & Digital eBook on OverDrive.

#2: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 41
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II. Housing 3 Copies in Regular Print; 1 Copy in Audiobook on CD; Digital eBook & Audiobook Copies on OverDrive; Large-Type Print Copies On Order

#3: Obsession in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M ROBB
Summary: A murderer is obsessed with Lt. Eve Dallas; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously. Housing 5 Copies in Regular Print; 3 Copies in Large-Type Print; 2 Copies in Audiobook on CD

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Feb. 23-28)

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 opportunity 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 Library & South Branch
325-698-7565 for Info.
Based on its popularity last year, we're inviting you to drop in the library and checkout a Blind Date from us.  Staff has wrapped some books to hide what they are, and will only let you see a few descriptive words.  Then, feel free to 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 fun to play the game. 

Feb. 24 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Get ready for a second Teen Book Club at your library, which will have an emphasis on reading titles that have made the Lone Star Reading List of recommended titles for students.  For our first club meeting, we'll be discussing "The Reluctant Assassin," the first book in the W.A.R.P. series by author Eoin Colfer.  If you've read the book, come ready to discuss it after school with other avid teen readers, and those who come out will help choose the book the club reads in the future. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary: I didn't ask for any of this.  I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know? 

Sure, I've read the books.  I've seen the movies.  I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds.  But I never expected Oz to look like this.l  To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion.  There's still the yellow brick road, though - but even that's crumbling.

What happened?  Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz.  They say she seized power and the power went to her head.  And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I've been given a mission: remove the tin woodsman's heart; steal the scarecrow's brain; take the lions courage; and then, Dorothy Must Die.

Personal Summary: Oh what can I say about this book?  Simply it was an enjoyable read for a young adult novel, that will certainly have me looking out for the rest of the series to come.  I was never a huge fan of the Dorothy's, or the Wizard of Oz films and books (with the exception of the film Return to Oz because that was a wicked trip), but I do enjoy re-tellings of classic stories, and this novel provided that with a spin.  In this book, Oz is just one messed up place.

Amy is this book's version of Dorothy, getting swept away in a tornado and taken to Oz, but Amy isn't like Dorothy.  Amy lives in a trailer in Kansas, her mom is a drug addict, she doesn't have a dad, and Amy's basically going nowhere fast.  So when the tornado warning comes, Amy doesn't even care.  Feeling that life pretty much sucked anyway, she didn't care about dying in a tornado.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases @ 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.

The Interview
Starring: Seth Rogen
Summary: Although riddled with controversy after the Guardians of Peace hacked Sony Pictures and threatened to attack theaters which aired the film that had the North Korean government up in arms, now we get the official DVD release of the film.  In this movie, two amateur TV hosts land an interview with the North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate them. 

The Boxtrolls
Starring: Ben Kingsley
Summary: A community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge.  When the town's villain, Archibald Snatcher, comes up with a place to get rid of the Boxtrolls, Eggs decides to venture above ground, "into the light," where he meets and teams up with the fabulously feisty Winnie.  Together, they devise a plan to save Eggs' family. 

Game of Thrones: Season 4
Starring: Lena Headey
Summary: In this thrilling fourth season based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling books, the Lannisters' control over the Iron Throne remains intact, but can they survive their own egos as well as the ongoing threats around them?  While an unshaken Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army on Dragonstone, a more immediate danger comes from the south, as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister-loathing "Red Viper of Dorne," arrives at King's Landing to attend Joffrey's wedding. 

Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes Series #13)
Author: Laurie R. King
Summary: Mary and Sherlock are on their way to California, but plan to take a break in southern Japan.  Not being the vacationing types, Mary is looking forward to a change of focus, but intrigue stirs when Sherlock recognizes a man he suspects of being a blackmailer.  And there's also a fluent young Japanese woman who befriends Mary and tutors her in Japanese language and customs, but Mary doesn't feel the woman is who she claims to be.  Once in Japan, Mary's suspicions are confirmed and she and Sherlock race to solve a mystery involving international extortion, espionage, and the shocking secrets that, if revealed, could spark revolution - and topple an empire.
Look out for these great titles at your Abilene Public Library, and get yourselves on the reserve lists so you're certain to keep up with some of the popular releases of the week.  Plus, stop by every Tuesday to get a look at even more popular releases, or try listening to our Podcast.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Attend Free Sccreening of "Flyers in Search of a Dream"

The Abilene Public Library will show a free screening of the PBS documentary Flyers in Search of a Dream on Thursday, February 26 at 6:30PM at the Mockingbird Branch.  This program celebrates the unsung African-American pioneers of aviation.  It includes the heroic stories of Bessie Coleman and James Herman Banning as well as many others.

Bessie Coleman
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to receive a pilot's license in 1921.  Originally born in Atlanta, Texas, Bessie moves to France and enrolled in flight school abroad, due to restrictions placed on her as both a woman and a person of color here in the U.S.  She earned her license from France's well-known Caudron Brother's School of Aviation in just seven months!  Bessie specialized in stunt flying and parachuting, earning a living barnstorming and performing aerial tricks.  The DVD features rare film footage as well as personal interviews with Coleman, a true pioneer.

James Herman Banning
James Herman Banning was the first black male to receive a pilot's license from the U.S. Department of Commerce in the early 1920s.  Partnering with another black aviator, Thomas C. Allen, he flew from Los Angeles to Long Island, NY, in 1932 becoming the first black pilot to fly coast to coast.  Using a plane pieced together from spare parts, they made the 3,300 mile trip in less than 42 hours.  It was a huge feat and a great success of the time.

Whether you have an interest in aviation, U.S. History or African American achievement we invite you to join us for this hour-long trip into the past, as we pay tribute to those who paved the way for us all.  Admission to this program is free and beverages will be provided.

For more information on this free program, please call us at 325-437-7323.

"African-American History, Culture Focus of Many Books" ~ @ the Library Article

The Abilene Public Library offers a vast collection of materials on African-American history and culture.

Available in print, electronic and audio/visual formats, the majority may be found in the nonfiction area of the main library, but some also are at the Mockingbird and South Branch locations.

Here are a few you may not have taken a look at.

The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown, relates how some 60 Africans abducted from a Spanish slave ship were brought to Jamestown in 1619 and became essential to Jamestown's ultimate success.  Their pursuit of freedom was the beginning of centuries of African-American struggles for liberation.

A comprehensive history of the civil rights movement is recorded in Fred Powledge's Free At Last? The Civil Rights Movement and the People Who Made It.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Abilene Public Library Hosts Librarians' Workshop" ~ Abilene Reporter-News

Article Contributed by Janet Van Vleet with the Abilene Reporter-News

Great Workshop Attendance!
Five dozen librarians from all over the state descended on Abilene on Thursday for the sake of children's literacy.

Abilene Public Library hosted the Children's Workshop on Early Literacy at the downtown branch.

Librarians and directors traveled from Sweetwater, Arlington and Crane, Tom Green, Scurry and Coleman counties and more for the free workshop, which offered ideas and information about early childhood literacy.  Each participant receives four continuing education credits.

The APL collaborated with the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature and the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council for the workshops.

"It was wonderful, said Linda Jones, of Snyder, where she is the director for Scurry County Public Library.  "I learned lots of information about programs for children."

Great Workshop Lunch w/Friends
Paula Frymire, from the Crane County Library, said she got new ideas from the workshop.

"After so many years, you can lose your fire," she said.

The cultural affairs council provided box lunches and the NCCIL provided the program, which featured Marla Frazee, children's book author and illustrator and her publisher, Allyn Johnston.

Frazee was awarded the Caldecott Medal for two of her books, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever and All the World.  Her work is on exhibit at the NCCIL.

The two women shared the process it took to take A Couple of Boys from a nugget of an idea to a finished book.  Their talk earned lots of laughs from the librarians in the audience.

Lynn Barnett, executive director of the cultural affairs council, spoke about the Children's Art & Literacy Festival.  This year's festival brings David Shannon, author of No, David! and Good Boy, Fergus, to Abilene.

Duck & Camilla Cream
Two costumed characters from Shannon's books - Camilla Cream from A Bad Case of the Stripes and Duck from Duck on a Bike, complete with a shiny red bike - paid a visit to the luncheon.

The afternoon segment included trying out craft projects appropriate for young library patrons.

Kelly Thurman, also from the Crane County Library, said at lunch that she was enjoying the workshop.

"I really liked the morning talk about how to incorporate other things, like music, into the program," she said.

Sue Dossey, Coleman Public Library librarian, said the library has its own early literacy program, called Little Chicks.  The Coleman Library received a grant from the Ladd & Katherine Hancher Library Foundation and were able to purchase an early learning computer station on which children can access programs including colors, math, science and reading.

"This workshop gives us more ideas about understanding the babies and toddlers," Dossey said.

Friday, February 13, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Feb. 15)

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: 1
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in London is full of complications and betrayals. Housing 2 Copies in Regular Print & Digital eBook on OverDrive

#2: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 30
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II. Housing 3 Copies in Regular Print; 1 Copy in Audiobook on CD; Digital eBook & Audiobook Copies on OverDrive; Large-Type Print Copies On Order

#3: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F HANNAH
Summary: Two sisters in World War II France: one struggling to survive in the countryside, the other joining the Resistance in Paris. Housing 3 Copies in Regular Print; 1 Copy in Audiobook on CD; Large-Type Print Copies On Order

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Feb. 16-21)

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

Feb. 2-28
Main & South Branch
325-698-7565 for Info.
Based on its popularity last year, we're inviting you to drop in the library and checkout a Blind Date from us.  Staff has wrapped some books to hide what they are, and will only let you see a few descriptive  words on what the book is about.  If you like, you may pick one, check it out, take it home, then unwrap it to see what kind of date you've selected.  Just like in real life, sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't...it's still fun to play the game. 

Feb. 16 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Kids of all ages, and parents too, are invited out to the next Family Fun event where it'll be all about DINOSAURS!!!  All kids love dinosaurs, and we'll be celebrating these extinct animals through stories, coloring, games, and crafts.  Come join in on the fun after school.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

South Branch Presents 'Stories in the Park' in March

What could be better on a spring morning than spending some time at the park enjoying an exciting storytime with the Abilene Public Library.  Your South Branch Library will be doing just that, with wonderful storytimes geared to promote a love of reading and will feature interactive, funny stories with memorable characters.  Children can learn literacy and math concepts while experiencing the outdoors at this free public storytime.

We've gone on the road with our outreach storytimes to child care facilities, but this will be the first time we've taken our storytimes to the park.  Stories in the Park will take place in Red Bud (S. 32nd and S. Willis) near the playground on a site marked with a blue and white Abilene Public Library flag.  Look out for our fantastic storytellers.

The first storytime will take place on March 12 at 10:45AM focusing on Frogs, while the next one will be scheduled for March 26 at 10:45AM and will be all about Playing Ball.  So, bring a blanket and soak up the sunshine (weather permitting) as we enjoy stories, songs, games, and fun for all ages at Red Bud Park.

If our first sessions prove to be popular with families, we'll offer more programs, in more city parks, in the future.  If there's bad weather outside that morning, and you're unsure of whether we'll be at the park at our scheduled time, feel more than free to call the South Branch Library at 325-698-7565 to find out, or check our Facebook or Twitter accounts for updates on the day.

Hope to see you there!!!

Tremain's Book Corner: "The Vines" by Christopher Rice

The Vines
Click to Place Hold
Author: Christopher Rice
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch manager

Book Summary: The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten.  But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate.

After heiress and current owner Caitlin Chaisson is witness to her husband's stunning betrayal at her birthday party, she tries to take her own life in the mansion's cherished gazebo.  Instead, the blood spilled awakens dark forces in the ground below.  Chaos ensues and by morning her husband has vanished, without a trace, and his mistress has gone mad.

Nova, daughter to Spring House's groundskeeper, has always suspected that something malevolent haunts the old place, and in the aftermath of the birthday party she enlists Caitlin's estranged best friend, Blake, to help her get to the bottom of it.  The pair soon realizes that the vengeance enacted by this sinister and otherworldly force comes at a terrible price.

Personal Review: Well, I'd be hard-pressed to say I didn't like the book because, anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Christopher Rice.  He's my favorite author of contemporary mysteries and thriller.  Although I was a bit apprehensive when Rice started to delve into the supernatural elements in his recent novels, I should never have doubted his ability to continue to dish up one great novel after another.

If you're looking for a story about evil plants, and I'm not talking about any Audrey II (had to use that reference), Rice was able to serve up a story with not only terrifying plants that can kill you, but also swarms of deadly bugs (which I'm certainly not a fan of in real life so it struck a chord with me).

In this novel, Rice was able to craft an engaging read, with believable characters, and dynamic relationships as evidenced by the character of Caitlin.  Heartbroken over her husband's infidelity, her attempt to end her life does nothing more than awaken a dark force that had been dormant for over a century.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases @ 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 that 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!

Lucy
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Summary: An action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Starring: Steve Carell
Summary: It follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life, a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another.  But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him; based on the children's book by Judith Viorst. 

Walk Among the Tombstones
Starring: Liam Neeson
Summary: Matt Scudder is an ex-NYPD cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law.  When Scudder agrees to help a heroin trafficker hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime, nor will it be the last.  Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Witemeyer, Wingate Bring Tender Touch to Author Series" ~ @ the Library Article

Although this program just ended, it's still great enough to place on our blog to highlight the Texas Author Series this year...enjoy...

It's time once more for the Texas Author Series at the downtown Abilene Public Library, and boy do we have an interesting and diverse lineup for you this year.

Books by Wingate & Witemeyer
At noon, Monday, we'll kick off the series with novelists Karen Witemeyer, of Abilene, and Lisa Wingate, of Clifton, who will provide some romance just in time for Valentine's Day.  Both write upbeat, award-winning inspirational romance novels and have been guests of the series and the West Texas Book Festival in the past.

Witemeyer, who pens Christian fiction for the Bethany House imprint, has written nine novels.  Witemeyer is known for her research, which makes her books set in the Old West engaging and historically accurate.  Her latest, Love on the Mend is available in e-book format at the library.

Karen Witemeyer Book Signing
In the tale set in post-Civil War Texas, young Dr. Jacob Sadler just wants to settle down to practice medicine and get over his past.  But as often happens in this type of book, his past catches up to him in the form of Mollie Tate.  Sparks fly and secrets come to light.  You'll want to read this book.

Among Witemeyer's other works are the Archer Brother series.  The Abilene Public Library has all of these volumes in various formats and you will be hard-pressed to put them down, once started.

Lisa Wingate lives near Waco and is the author of more than 20 novels.  She has written several series set in Texas, including her best-selling Tending Roses.  Other series include the Blue Sky Hill, Daily Texas, Moses Hill Lake and Texas Hill Country books.

She currently is working on some novellas in her Carolina series, both of which should be available later this year.

Lisa Wingate Book Signing
If I had to pick a favorite among her books, it might be her first, Tending Roses, which was featured several years ago at the West Texas Book Festival.  Wingate based it on the story of her grandmother's life.

Wingate said, "My grandmother came to stay with me when the baby was small, and together we decided to plant flower beds in front of my house.  One day, when the baby was fussy, we had to go inside rather than finishing the flower bed.  Grandma bundled the baby and sat down in the chair with him, and soon he was quietly drifting off to sleep.  As the afternoon sun streamed in the window, Grandma leaned back, closed her eyes, and began telling me the story of her life, and her flower beds, and the lessons she learned there.  That story, 'Time for Tending Roses,' eventually became the inspiration for my first mainstream novel."

This is a wonderful, tender book about how life sometimes can get in the way of living, and I highly recommend it to anyone. 

Of course, I'd say you can't go wrong with either of these ladies' offerings and hope you will come hear them speak Monday.

The programs are free to the public.  A light lunch will be available for $5 at 11:45AM or you may bring your own.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

For information about all of the programs in the series, go to www.abilenetx.com/apl and click on Programs & Events.

The Texas Author Series is presented by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the West Texas Book Festival.

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library