Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Apr. 4-9)

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, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Resumes 101: A Hands-On Class
Apr. 4 @ 10:00AM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Do you need help with learning how to create a resume to land a job? If so, we're offering a free and informative class for the community to take advantage of. Call 325-437-7323 to secure your spot in our Resumes 101 workshop, where library staff will walk you through the process of creating your own. Everyone who registers will have a computer to work on and we ask that you please bring your work history information, personal email address, and a flash drive for saving your work. Don't let creating a resume be a daunting task, allow your library to help. For more information, contact Anne Ellis at 325-437-7323.

Tween Time: Cherry Blossom Trees
Apr. 4 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Youth, ages 8-15, are invited to join library staff for a fun evening craft workshop at your library.  For April, we'll be supply all the materials and instruction needed to show youth how to make their own Cherry Blossom Tree crafts.  These will make for some great decorations for your rooms and they're awesome to make.

Springtime Tree Care with Bruce Kreitler
Apr. 4 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Board certified Master Arborist Bruce Kreitler will address what we can do in the spring prior to the long, hot summer to insure health for our trees.  He will touch on the planting of new trees as well as preserving established ones by watering, fertilization and pruning.

Minecraft Mania
Apr. 5 @ 3:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-698-7565
Local teens are encouraged to join us for another afternoon of Minecraft fun at your library.  After hosting our first session at the Main Library in March, which was a smash hit, we're bringing it back to another location in April.  Designed for the teen audience, we'll supply laptops for guests to come in and game in story mode.  We will have a limited number of laptops and if you're waiting to take a turn, we'll offer additional activities for teens to enjoy with some Minecraft-inspired crafts.  All materials will be supplied and there will be no need to register.

Kids' AR Club
Apr. 5 @ 6:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Youth, in grades K-5, are invited to join us for our evening AR Club session at the library.  At this storytime event, children's staff will share books from the school's current AR list so that kids can possibly test over them if school.  Books shared will be within 1-3 points and it's a great way to hear stories that follow along with AISD titles.

Anime Club @ Your Library
Apr. 5 @ 6:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're a fan of anime, and you're between the ages of 14-25, you won't want to pass up on your chance to become a part of the Anime Club at your library.  No registration is needed, and each month we meet at the library to watch hit anime shows, discuss cosplay (which is great since Lib-Con is right around the corner), and do other fun activities for those with an interest in anime, manga, and similar things.  Come out and attend our next club session.

Stories in the Park: On the Farm
Apr. 7 @ 3:00PM
Redbud Park
S. 32nd & S. Willis
PH: 325-698-7565
Join us for the next session of the Stories in the Park event, where children's staff from your South Branch Library will take our storytime programs on the road and into city parks.  For this session, the theme will be "On the Farm" where we'll be experiencing the joys of farm life through stories, songs, and other fun activities.  This afternoon storytime is geared towards kids of all ages and you'll find us across from the playground (just look out for the 15-ft blue flag).  Don't pass up on this limited run event.

Make & Take: Flowers
Apr. 7 @ 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Kids won't want to miss this after school crafting session at the library, where we'll be having fun in the activity room learning how to make our own flower crafts.  It is spring and that's the perfect time to start thinking about flowers.  We'll supply all the materials needed and children's staff will walk them through the steps of creating their own beautiful flowers to decorate their rooms with.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon at the library.  

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Apr. 7 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17, and you love to write, don't pass up on your chance to become a part of our Collecting Commas Writing Club at your library.  This program meets every week, after school, where club members will join their peers in working on writing activities, sharing their works, and honing their creative writing skills across a vast array of writing techniques.  There's no need to register to join, just attend the next club session and see for yourselves.

Family Fun: Favorite Authors (Mo Willems)
Apr. 7 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Kids of all ages will certainly want to attend this evening Family Fun event at the library.  We're celebrating our favorite children's authors/illustrators and this month it's all about the works of Mo Willems.  Willems has provided us with a host of great stories to choose from, and lovable characters including Pigeon, Elephant, and Piggie.  Join us as we share some of our favorite stories by this children's author, as well as engage in a host of fun activities from singing to crafts and more.  All materials will be supplied.

The Coloring Club
Apr. 7 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Adults, ages 18+, won't want to miss out on the next Coloring Club session at the library.  Coloring certainly isn't for kids anymore, and it's an activity that is truly becoming popular at libraries across the nation.  The simple art of coloring is soothing and fun, and it also allows guests with the chance to socialize with others in the community, make new friends, and engage in fun activities.  We will supply all coloring pages and materials needed, but guests are free to bring in their own materials to use at our club sessions if desired.  If you haven't attended a session yet, now is the time. 

Family Flix @ Your Library
Apr. 9 @ 11:00AM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
If you're looking to catch a movie with your kids, join us for Family Flix at your library.  For this session, the featured movie will be the Pixar favorite "Cars," and in this movie, a hot-shot racecar named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.  This film is rated G and is designed for kids of all ages, as well as parents.  Light refreshments will be served or you're welcome to bring your own. 

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tremain's Book Corner: "Earth (The Book)" by Jon Stewart

Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Galaxy
Click to Place Hold
Editor: Jon Stewart
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: The eagerly awaited new book from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily show-anchoring Jon Stewart - the man behind the megaseller America (The Book).

Where do we come from?  Who created us?  Why are we here?  These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture - all in a tome of approximately 256 pages.

After two weeks of hard work, they had their book.  This book is the definitive guide to our species.  With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.

Personal Review: Well, I've always thought Jone Stewart was (and is) funny, so I finally decided to pick up this book and read it.  After the synopsis, I already it was going to be more humorous than factual, so that left me a bit confused as to what to think when I was going into reading it.

If you're looking for something 100% factual, you shouldn't read this book, but if you're looking for humor, you may find it worth the read.  The premise of the book is that it's written for aliens who might come to earth and act as archaeologists, exploring earth and what's left of its previous inhabitants who no longer exist.  It basically pokes fun of everyone and everything that is and was on earth.
Often a bit crass, this book is filled with Stewart's classic wit and dark humor, as many may remember from The Daily Show he hosted...just without restrictions.  There's great sarcasm and irony provided throughout, but for as much as it states it's not being completely accurate, the book does give you some areas where you do stop and think for a while on some of the commentary.  Such includes how the book states that we are the only animals aware of our own mortality, yet we don't deal with the knowledge very well.  I think that's true, and I thought about it for a while.

Everything is addressed in this book to serve as a guide to tell the aliens what happened on earth, since no one would be left to tell the story.  From the earth's geology and weather to topics like commerce, culture, religion and science, they're all covered here in order to explain our planet.  The book does rely a bit on gags from pictures, fake news clippings, photographs, and other visual aids throughout, but each page is filled with irony, sarcasm, and humorous self-deprecation that seems to work well...considering the group who created it.

The graphic heavy nature of the pages made it a bit hard to sit and read for long settings, and the jokes fell a little flat (and repetitive), but overall there were enough redeemable qualities to make this book something fun to pick up from time to time and read.  Please note that you'll need to be a fan of Stewart's comedy to be able to enjoy it, but if you are, it may be worth a shot.  You'll also need to be somewhat knowledgeable about various facts to also be able to tell the difference between what's really true in the book and what's being fabricated for fun.

Although it wasn't the best book I've ever read, or even on that I felt I could put down, as an off-and-on-again book to read over the three weeks I had it checked out, it was a great diversion from other books I was currently invested in.

So look for it at your Abilene Public Library and get a laugh out of what the aliens in their post-apocalyptic earth would find if they visited us after we were gone.  Much in the vein of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but I prefer that series over this book.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book-To-Film Adaptations: April 2016

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.

The Jungle Book
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Release Date: April 15
Based On: "The Jungle Book"
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Summary: An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

The Huntsman: Winter's War
Starring: Charlize Theron
Release Date: April 22
Based On: Snow White Characters
Author: Brothers Grimm
Summary: As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land; two renegades - Eric the Huntsman - who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara set out to stop them.

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

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest in books & DVDs and we receive them on a regular basis at your library.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles being released today.

Concussion
Starring: Will Smith
Summary:  In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

Point Break
Starring: Edgar Ramirez
Summary: A young FBI agent, Johnny Utah, infiltrates a cunning team of thrill-seeking elite athletes, led by the charismatic Bodhi.  The athletes are suspected of carrying out a spate of crimes in extremely unusual ways.  Deep undercover, and with his life in imminent danger, Utah strives to prove they are the architects of this string of inconceivable crimes.

The Hateful Eight
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson
Summary: A stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape.  Bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy race toward the town of Red Rock, where Ruth will bring Daisy to justice.  Losing their lead on the blizzard, they seek refuge at Minnie's, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass.  When they arrive at Minnie's, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces.  As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock.

Brush of Wings
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Summary: Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a new orphanage.  Whatever time she has left, she wants to spend it helping children.  The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with.  Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine's other friends - Tyler and Sami - know how serious her heart condition is.  Still, Marcus is sure in the depth of his soul that something isn't right.  Ultimately his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a U.S. hospital before time runs out.  Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. 

Journey to Munich (Maisie Dobbs Series #12)
Place Hold
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Summary: It's early 1938, and Maisie is back in England.  On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square - a place of many memories - she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service.  The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member.  Because the man's wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie - who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter - to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.  But her nemesis, the man she holds responsible for her husband's death, has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help. 

No Safe Secret
Author: Fern Michaels
Summary: From her silver Mercedes to her designer kitchen, Molly's life is gleaming and beautiful - at least on the surface...but people don't know about the life she left behind in Florida almost two decades ago.  Back then, she was Maddy Carmichael, living with her twin brother and neglectful mother in a run-down trailer park amid the orange groves.  After the terrible events of her high school prom night - and the act of vengeance that followed - she fled north and reinvented herself.  But the veneer of her polished existence is finally cracking.  As secrets old and new are revealed, Molly must face painful truths and the choices she made in their wake - and find the strength to become the woman she once hoped to be.

Look 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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

"Digital Photo Art at the Abilene Public Library" | @ the Library Article

Selfies, Instagram and Tumblr have replaced group shots, 35mm film and drive-thru photo processing centers.  Sure, it is fun to instantly have photos to share with friends and family, but sometimes I miss picking up those stacks of photos, never quite sure how successful the end product will be.  These days, people are more likely to have a glut of images languishing in their phones or on media cards.  So why not discover fun and exciting new ways to make use of those images that never made it to Facebook, or wherever you share the minute-by-minute moments of your life?  It is all made possible by the wonderful world of digital image techniques.

Photo-Imaging: A Complete Guide to Alternative Processes by Jill Enfield introduces techniques both vintage and modern to create sumptuous and dreamlike images using everything from negatives to ink-jet transfers.  Embark on the ultimate digital photo project with Lura Schwarz Smith, whose Secrets of Digital Quilting - From Camera to Quilt: 8 Projects, 25 Techniques, as the title suggests, gives you all the techniques you need to create a show stopping quilt from your own photos.

Susan Tuttle creates fantasy worlds using photos and Adobe Photoshop Elements and shows you how to do the same in Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements.  In a similar vein is Digital Art Revolution: Creating Fine Art with Photoshop by Scott Ligon, who seeks to inspire by sharing imagery from a number of today's best digital artists.

For those with a more practical bent, the library has many books that demonstrate how to create personalized scrapbook pages.  In Digital Delights for Scrapbooking: Simple Techniques-Dynamic Results, Sue Martin explores and array of techniques that allow manipulation of images, as well as printing them on non-traditional materials, to create unique scrapbook pages for those looking for results that do not necessarily require scissors and glue.  Katherine Murray shows you the steps for selecting everything from subjects to finishing touches in Creative Digital Scrapbooking: Designing Keepsakes on Your Computer.  She also shares tips from design experts and provides examples.

Transform all those digital pictures into works of art or custom pages to share with family, with titles like these, available from your Abilene Public Library.  From fabric to scrapbook pages, the possible applications for images waiting patiently on your device are seemingly endless.  You are sure to discover a wealth of information to guide and inspire you regardless of what you hope to use them for.

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

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"New Life Sought for Old Abilene High School" | Abilene Reporter-News Article

Article Courtesy of Titus Falodun of the Abilene Reporter News from March 24, 2016

The historic Lincoln Middle School campus remains a vacant property with a storied past but uncertain future.

The 7.8-acre school lot at 1699 S. First St. has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2012, but has sat vacant 2007.

Haskell native Robert Starr was a principal at Lincoln Middle School from 1986 to 1992 and he remembers it as a place with great athletics, arts, orchestra and band, something more than just a building.

"I was there six years as the principal and I enjoyed it very much," he said.  "We had probably 700 students in there at that time.  The faculty was just outstanding and the students were just good kiddos too."

The school is comprised by the main building, the Eagle's Nest boys gym, the girls gym and a shop classroom.

Originally built in 1923, it became Abilene High School in 1924.

It became Lincoln Junior High School in 1955 and Lincoln Middle School in 1985 when freshmen were moved to high school campuses.

In 2007, the school closed as Craig Middle School opened.

According to Reporter-News archives, voters rejected a proposal to turn it into a career and technical high school in 2008 and the school district took bids on the property.  Without any offers, the Abilene ISD transferred ownership to the city in November 2012.

The city is in charge of the preservation/security of the property and as of right now, there have been discussions on what to do with that property but nothing has been put down on paper, according to Cheryl Sawyers, city spokeswoman.

Sawyers said the city spends $7,343 annually on the school's maintenance - $3,596 on electricity, $1,057 on gas and $2,781 on water.

Last year, the city made security improvements including more lighting and police patrols after incidents of vandalism and trespassing.

Police Chief Stan Standridge asked residents in November to assist the police's efforts to "safeguard it from illegal activity," by "reporting suspicious behavior and trespass issues that they may observe."

Lt. Gerald Moran, who oversees the APD street crimes division, said there were two reported incidents of "people coming in an out, tearing stuff up" in 2015, causing $18,500 in damage.

But since then, Moran said, there have not been any reports of criminal mischief.

Sgt. Lynn Beard told the Reporter-News on Nov. 9, "We want to curb any further damage given the historical significance of the building.  Lots of people in town have ties to the building as generations of citizens have been educated there."

Bill Minter, director of the Abilene Preservation League, sees a bright future for the now vacant building.

"It will probably be a multipurpose building, because you've got all these different components of it," he said.  "You have this really great auditorium that wold have several hundred seats in it.  You've got a historic gym."

Minter, along with others, recommends things for the city to review but are not involved in the final decision-making process.

"Whatever I think, it will be is state of the art," he said.  "It's a well-built building.  There's a little bit of asbestos but if you compare it to other places (it's not that bad for buildings erected during that time)."

Minter added that there are reports of drainage issues occasionally.

Anita Lane-McBride, chairwoman of the Taylor County Historical Commission, said the school was built next to the railroad tracks and the main east-west road through town "to show the world how Abilene felt about education - that this was a civilized place to come." 

The building remains valuable despite not being used because Lane-McBride said, "For many people in Abilene, it is Old Abilene High."

Lane-McBride, who taught at the rival junior high school Madison, is one of the people working to make sure Lincoln is more than a decaying block of memory.

"I think of it in the olden days," she said.

"I hate to see it fall in to disrepair because it should be a focal point for this community.  I think because of its location and size, it should become a community center.  It has an auditorium.  It has a gym.  It has classrooms.  It has a cafeteria.  All of those things.  It can become a wonderful community center with lots of money."

Lane-McBride said it is going to take a lot of money to change the campus of Lincoln Middle School into something special again.

"And that's why it stands vacant today."

"Council OKs Abilene Public Library's Strategic Plan" | Abilene Reporter-News Article

Article Courtesy of Brooke Crum, Abilene Reporter-News

The fate of the former Lincoln Middle School has yet to be decided.
But there is a possibility the Abilene Public Library could use the vacant building as its main branch if enough funding becomes available, likely through a public-private sector partnership, the City Council said Thursday when voted to adopt the library's strategic plan.

If that does not occur in the next three to five years, the library may simply upgrade the main library on Cedar Street, said Lesli Andrews, the city's community services director.

The strategic plan, a requirement for the library to remain accredited by the state, recommends that over the next three to five years the Library Advisory Board either rehabilitate the main library or identify a location and funding source to replace it, Andrews said.

Councilman Shane Price pulled the item from the consent agenda because he said he wanted to be clear on the intent of the document.  He said updating the main library and pursuing the use of Lincoln as a library "would be setting the library up for failure."

Andrews assured Price and the rest of the council that the plan represents a vision, not goals that must be met.

"This is just asking staff to look at the future of the main library and where it can go, but they're very much dreams," she said.

City Manager Robert Hanna said he would not ask the council to renovate the main library, then look at turning Lincoln into a library.  He said the city could look into transforming Lincoln if private money becomes available, but the plan is just a vision of where the library wants to go.

"This is really vision casting," said Councilman Anthony Williams, "allowing an opportunity for others in a strategic way to map out what the vision is."

Andrews said the benefit of the strategic plan is that it keeps the library accredited by the state, which gives it access to free resources, including more than 60 research databases, and the ability to receive grant funding.

In other business, the council authorized Hanna to negotiate a contract with Speed Fab-Crete, a general contractor, to provide construction-manager-at-risk services for the building of fire station Nos. 3, 4 and 7.  Construction-manager-at-risk services involve delivering the project within an agreed upon price based on specifications.

Hanna said he believed he could negotiate a price of less than $427,125, the dollar figure on the agenda.

Fire Chief Larry Bell said the company has built fire stations and municipal safety complexes in Forney, Hudson Oaks, Joshua, Rockwall, Lake Worth and Fate, to name a few cities.  Speed Fab-Crete also prefers to use local contractors, Bell said.

Additionally, the panel approved an agreement with Iteris Inc, to evaluate and design traffic signal system upgrades at 64 locations.  This is part of the $45 million streets bond project.

Michael Rice, the city's public works director, said the main issue the city wants to improve in regard to the traffic signals is communication, which would, in turn, improve traffic flow.  One signal will be added at the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and Maple Street.

The council also approved spending for another bond project - the Central Business District concrete street repairs project.  Council members agreed to spend $195,000 to have Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd design the repairs, which should take about a year.

Rice said the company expected construction to take about six months.

The Central Business District is bordered by North Sixth Street on the north, Hickory Street on the west, North First Street on the south and Walnut street on the east.

Friday, March 25, 2016

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of March 27)

Many patrons browser 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 at all locations.  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: Private Paris
Author: James Patterson
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M PATTERSON
Summary: Jack Morgan, the head of the Private global investigative agency, probes the murders of members of the French cultural elite.

#2: Property of a Noblewoman
Author: Danielle Steel
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F STEEL
Summary: Two New Yorkers searching for the owner of an abandoned safe-deposit box reconstruct the history of a young woman and a love affair at the them of World War II.

#3: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 98
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II.

#4: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 55
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.

#5: Off the Grid
Author: C.J. Box
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: M BOX
Summary: The 16th Joe Pickett novel features Nate Romanowski and a search for a domestic terror cell.




Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 10
Call Number: 92 KALANITHI
Summary: A memoir by a physician who received a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36.

#2: Dark Money
Author: Jane Mayer
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 9
Call Number: 320.52 MAY
Summary: An account of how the Koch brothers and other super-wealthy donors deployed their money to change American politics.

#3: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 36
Call Number: 92 COATES
Summary: A meditation on race in America; winner of the National Book Award.

#4: The Immortal Irishman
Author: Timothy Egan
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: On Order
Summary: The life of Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish revolutionary who fled to America and became the general of New York's Irish Brigade during the Civil War.

#5: Smarter Faster Better
Author: Charles Duhigg
Position Last Week: 6
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: The science of productivity, from the author of "The Power of Habit."

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Mar. 28 - Apr. 2)

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, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Texas Author Series: Pam Morsi on "Mr. Right Goes Wrong"
Mar. 28 @ Noon
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Don't miss the next Texas Author Series event, sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library.  At this session, we'll welcome in Pam Morsi, discussing her book "Mr. Right Goes Wrong."  Morsi is a former librarian and now award-winning romance novelist from San Antonio with 28 novels published.  Come hear a great presentation from the author, ask questions, and participate in a book signing (with books available for purchase).  You're also welcome to bring your lunch, or purchase one from the Friends for $5, drinks provided.  The Texas Author Series is supported by a grant from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, HeARTS for the ARTS, the Abilene Arts Alliance, the City of Abilene, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. 

Tween Time: Sock Sharks
Mar. 28 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Youth, ages 8-15, are invited out to our monthly crafting workshop at the library where we'll supply all the materials needed to show you how to make some sharks from socks.  Sounds weird doesn't it?  It'll be awesome and we'll supply all the materials you'll need to make your own.  Don't miss out on this workshop at your library. 

What's Your Mindset? Part 2
Mar. 28 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Directed to teens, as well as adults, this is the second part of the workshop that will explore the subjects of wealth accumulation, entrepreneurship and leaderships, as well as their interrelationships.  Join session leader LuAmy Sloan as she explores new ways to improve your life. 

Free Tax Assistance
Mar. 30-31; 10AM to 3PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
The public is welcome to take advantage of this free service, led by IRS-trained volunteers with the AARP, who will help you e-File your taxes for free at your library.  Slots fill up fast, so be sure to arrive early, and everyone will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis.  Be sure to bring your tax materials including your Photo ID, W-2s, Social Security cards, etc., and multiple sessions will be hosted through Apr. 15. 

Stories in the Park: Monkeying Around
Mar. 31 @ 3:00PM
Redbud Park
3125 S. 32nd St.
PH: 325-698-7565
Join your South Branch Library for another session of the Stories in the Park program, hosted at Redbud Park every Thursday through the end of July.  For this session, we'll be doing a little monkeying around with stories, songs, and more fun activities that will get you up and moving around too.  Find us across from the playground (look out for our 15-ft blue flag) and we'll supply some tarps to sit on, but you're welcome to bring your own chairs and blankets to enjoy. 

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Mar. 31 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17, and you love to write, you'll want to be a part of our weekly writing club at your library.  Join your peers as we work on a variety of writing activities to help you hone your creative writing skills in all areas.  There's no need to register, just come out and give it a shot. 

Butterfly Gardening
Mar. 31 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Texas has more species of butterflies than any other state and getting them to come to your garden is easy.  Join Master Gardener Elizabeth Hamaty, who will tell you how to plant it, so they will come.

Free Tax Assistance
Apr. 1-2; 10AM to 3PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
The public is welcome to take advantage of this free service, led by IRS-trained volunteers with the AARP, who will help you e-File your taxes for free at the library.  Slots fill up fast, so be sure to arrive early, and everyone will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis.  Be sure to bring your tax materials including your Photo ID, W-2s, Social Security cards, etc., and multiple sessions will be hosted through Apr. 15.

Super Storytime: Rainy Day In
Apr. 1 @ 10:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Kids of all ages are invited to join us for the next Super Storytime event at your library where the theme will be all about having a rainy day in through stories, songs, crafts, and more fun activities.  Don't miss out. 

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tremain's Book Corner: "See Me" by Nicholas Sparks

See Me
Place Hold
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3 Stars

Book Summary: Colin is giving his second chance his best shot.  With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him, and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line.  Maria, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success.  A degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record.  A chance encounter will alter the course of both their lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately themselves.  As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like…until menacing reminders of the past begin to surface.

Personal Review: It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a Sparks novel, as they have a tendency to be a bit formulaic.  That’s not to say his works are bad, they’re just predictable.  Sparks continues to branch out with mixing his love stories with a bit of mystery and suspense, as was first scene in his novel Safe Haven, which bore striking resemblances to the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy,” but this novel was more well-constructed.  Although starting off slow, and a bit too descriptive, it wasn’t as “cheesy” as some of his titles, offering an adult romantic suspense entry that was refreshing this time around.

The characters were different from what I would have imagined, and the number of times Colin will say “okay” can become a bit too much.  He’s not the standard guy you’d think of Sparks creating, but again, it was nice to have something a little different.

Why is my rating lower than expected?  After churning out novel after novel after novel with his style of writing that readers have grown fond of, this felt like a departure for this seasoned bestselling author.  Colin was a bland and dry character while Maria came across as childish and far from the brilliant lawyer she was described as being. 

The dialogue between characters was lacking and telling the reader what was happening rather than showing you what was happening.  I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, the romance between the two seemed forced, the plot twists in the story were easily detected so I didn’t find myself surprised, etc.  I just don’t feel as if the book lived up to its hype, and true to form, we’ll probably see it in the theaters at some point in the near future.

It was an okay read for me, and it’s nice to see that Sparks is continuing to try to explore different writing styles and incorporate new genres into his writing style, but it just wasn’t my favorite novel by Sparks.  If you’re a fan of titles like “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” or “The Best of Me,” you may not feel as strongly about this entry.  It’s not a bad read by any means, just didn’t have that Sparks appeal that kept me engaged in his earlier works.  He’s known for creating strong and engaging characters, setting up scenes effortlessly, allowing the story to flow and unfold before you seamlessly, but “See Me” felt a little forced, disjointed, and choppy.

There are plenty of people that loved this book so don’t take my word for it.  Try it for yourself and see how you like it.  One person’s opinion doesn’t have to be your own and that’s the beauty of reading.  Everyone experiences a book differently.