Thursday, July 30, 2015

Musings on Bookmarks

If you have ever checked out a book at Franklin County Library, then you are aware that we make bookmarks available for you.  The most popular are the scented bookmarks.  We have had strawberry, watermelon, bacon, sunscreen, and even pickle scented bookmarks.  Kids love them, but adults seem to like them too.

Have you ever had an extra special bookmark?  One you didn't want to lose?  Chance has a metal Harry Potter bookmark that he uses exclusively.  Julie has special cross-stich bookmarks. 

We have even crafted folded paper, corner bookmarks at Marvelous Mondays!
Books at the library are often turned in with very interesting bookmarks.  We have found butter knives, toothpicks, money, utility bills, dry spaghetti noodles, q-tips, hairbands, and other unusual items being used as bookmarks. 

The following interesting bookmark ideas from Pinterest seem like a lot more fun.  The Wicked Witch one at the end is a particular favorite.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tom's Two Cents: "Mr. Holmes" at the Angelika

For fans of Sherlock Holmes or the great British actor Ian McKellen or just Britain itself, "Mr. Holmes" is a treat, both funny (in the British way) and sad, perplexing, mysterious and at times heart- wrenching.

Sherlock Holmes, aging and bereft of his partner Dr. Watson, has retired to the country with a bright housekeeper (Laura Linney) and her charming son to take care of him, even as he takes care of his bees, which have been attacked by an unknown killer.  Trying desperately to finish a story based on an old case, struggling with problems of aging and the mystery of who or what is killing his bees, old Sherlock well-nigh comes to an end himself, but no, in an ending perhaps not worthy of A. Conan Doyle, he is saved both physically and spiritually to solve another crime on another day!

Woven through the personal Sherlock story is a real crime for him to solve, involving a mysterious husband/wife relationship and a tragic conclusion and denouement.  This film is beautiful, well-acted and free from all the crass sensationalism of an American film-- in other words, it's BRITISH!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Reading Party!

We cannot believe that Summer Reading is already over.  Time flies when you're having fun!  Yesterday we celebrated another year with our annual water party. 


As the kids turned in reading logs this year, they had their names put in a drawing for a chance to deliver a pie to the face to August, Lisa, and Chance. 

Be sure and join our Friends of the Library to help support all our summer programs!  On average, we had over 100 kids here every Tuesday! 
We also ran and Adult Reading Challenge in conjunction with Summer Reading.  Adults had to complete 8 of 12 challenges to be eligible for our prize drawing.  Our winner was Catherine McDermott!

She took home a goody bag filled with books, a Friends of the Library travel mug, and a gift card to Hastings!  Congratulations!

Don't forget to be on the lookout for our fall schedule! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tom's Two Cents : Harper Lee and the "Mockingbird" Controversy



In the last few months and especially this past week I've read so much about Harper Lee and the publication of her new/old novel "Go Set a Watchman" that I almost feel that the actual reading of it is going to be a bit of an anti-climax.  Now that it's actually "out", I've read three reviews, a commentary and an editorial just this morning.  Enough!

Actually, as an aspiring fiction writer myself, I think I'm more interested in how "Watchman" morphed into "Mockingbird" than I am in the book itself.  I'm also fascinated by the story of the role Lee's editor, Ms. Tay Hohoff at Lippincott, played in the morphing.  In the old days, that is, the 20's, American authors like Thomas Wolfe and Fitzgerald were often mentored and guided to publication by astute editors like the great Maxwell Perkins and such may be the case here.

We shall probably never know exactly why "Miss Nell" changed the character of Atticus, but it's entirely possible that as a young girl, Scout would have seen her father though very different eyes, just as Harper Lee may have.

As to the question of publication--"Why now?"--I'm not at all sure I can buy the sudden rediscovery of the manuscript.  Last Eve I was talking to a friend in Dallas who theorized that the key to the whole thing lies directly with Alice Lee's recent death.  Older sister and protector of Nell, a lawyer and partner with their late father, Alice Lee, of all people, except perhaps Nell herself, would have wanted this view of Atticus suppressed.  It seems to me too much of a coincidence that it surfaced so soon after her death.  Harper Lee is 89, in poor health, and, not the first famous person in literature to be ill-advised to publish an early work.  Of course the publisher, Harper-Collins, stands to make a fortune.  Pre-orders have already exceeded two million.

Miss Nell is old and infirm--let's hope all this attention brings her some pleasure and doesn't make her waning years worse.  It's so ironic that a writer who has fled the limelight all her life is now right smack in it again.  As for "Mockingbird," it has been and will remain a modern classic, and no one can take that away from her!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Poet's Perch: She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
George Gordon, Lord Byron

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Julie's Journal : Wolf's Coming! by Joe Kulka

I don't normally review children's books, but I couldn't resist with this one.  I first read about it on another blog, and we ordered it for the library.  I liked it so much that I took it home for my 6 year old  nephew!

The story begins with the Wolf coming through the forest and all of the animals running and hiding from him.  You see a Momma rabbit gathering up her babies, raccoons fleeing, and pigs scattering.

The wolf gets closer and closer while the animals grow more and more frantic to hide.  The artwork gets progressively darker, helping to build the suspense. 

The end of the book is a big, happy surprise!  
As I read it to my nephew,  his eyes got big and he became very tense.  When we got to the final pages where the surprise is revealed, he laughed with relief!

Wolf's Coming! is very well done.  The story is written in rhyme and there are special items to look for in the artwork on every page.  I highly recommend it!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Did you know? : Osmo

Have you heard of Osmo?  It's a new system for your iPad.  When purchased it comes with a stand and reflective mirror, a set of letters, and a tangram set.  Once the set is purchased, all you have to do is download the free apps that go along with it to start playing.  It's difficult to explain, so watch the video below.

From :  "Osmo's groundbreaking system fosters social intelligence and creative thinking by opening up the iPad to the endless possibilities of physical play."

Franklin County Library has three sets of Osmo that can be tried out in the library.  Come on in and test them out!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Reading : Day 3

You may notice that the library is a little more sparkly this week than usual.  That's because yesterday's Summer Reading craft involved painting fireworks with glitter paint! 


We had 119 kids here yesterday over two groups.  Our community room upstairs was bursting at the seams.
Afterwards, kids lined up for a chance to play on the two kids iPads downstairs.

There's still time to get involved.  Summer reading continues for three more weeks and we still have several other programs on the docket.  Come see us!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tom's Two Cents : American Pastoral by Philip Roth

The Pulitzer Prize winner for 1997, American Pastoral belongs in that distinguished category with "Great Gatsby" and "Death of A Salesman" of works that both extol and condemn American materialistic values. As a character, the Swede, Seymour Levov, stands right up there with Willy Loman and Jay Gatsby as a man more sinned against than sinning.  That said, this book is light years away from the others in terms of style and presentation.  It is harsh, at times didactic--at least through its characters-- and quite possibly the most disturbingly pessimistic work I've ever read by an American novelist.  It also raises a highly perplexing question: what in these days is a novel really for?

 In the 19th century the English/American novel was perceived as a source of upper and middle class entertainment, but in the later 20th not so much.  Admittedly, the nature of entertainment fiction has changed dramatically since my generation grew up.  Dickens straddled the fence beautifully between being an entertainer and a moralist at the same time, but nowadays with no holds barred in fiction authors seem less likely to walk the Dickensian line. I won't go so far as to say emphatically that shock value has replaced entertainment value in fiction, but I will say that shock (and I'm not talking about horror fiction, which has always been with us) is very high on the entertainment list today.  Thus the insensitivity to shock gets higher and higher.  What's left today to shock us?  Not much, if anything. 

What does all this have to do with American Pastoral? In my opinion, a lot.  It is a shocking novel about a shocking subject: a violent crime (a bombing) committed in the 60s by a fifteen year old girl from a prominent New Jersey family, and no, we aren't talking about the Sopranos here.  We are talking about a respectable, hardworking, law abiding upper middle class Jewish family, who seemingly had it all.  Phillip Roth's central question in this work seems not so much to be where did this family go wrong as when and how did America go wrong in its dream of equality for all and making the world safe for democracy?  Perhaps it's inevitable in such a work that no conclusions are reached, though many possible answers are presented.

All of which brings me back to my earlier question of what's a novel for? The serious (and sometimes comic) literary novel has always been about enlightenment within the human condition, enlightenment and catharsis--what the Greeks meant by that was a purging of the emotions that involved  both understanding and empathy.  American Pastoral is big on crisis, but not on enlightenment or catharsis--it's a story that could well be on the national news this week or any week-- basically it takes the perspective that life makes no sense, and that's it--the Classical Greeks would not accept that or even understand it--they managed to render at least some order out of chaos-- of course they had their pagan gods to blame for all the bad stuff, and we don't!

 There's an old tenet in literature that every good novel, despite its subject, should have some "redeeming social value."  If American Pastoral has any, please do tell me what it is.  It is very successful in pointing out the social ills of our time, but not in offering any solutions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chance's Corner: Texas Traveler - Ross Perot Museum

It's been awhile since I've been out and about in the great state of Texas (library duty calls!), but I managed to sneak out for the weekend and visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Maybe you've seen it sitting amongst the iconic Dallas skyline. It's pretty much a work of modern art designed by world-renowned architect Thom Mayne.


Impressive, huh? That's just the outside! Inside the Perot Museum is a world of wonder. Stairs play music as you take each step, water molecules hanging overhead move as they detect your presence, and an entire wall lights up as you touch it. Those aren't even the main exhibits! Sorry for all the exclamation, but the Perot Museum is just a really exciting place.
The Perot Museum has 11 permanent exhibit halls. They are:
  • The Moody Family Children's Museum
    • This exhibit is reserved only for families with kids who are 5 years old or younger, and features a playground modeled after the Dallas skyline.
  • Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall
    • You can test your reflexes, watch yourself move in slow motion or even race against a T-Rex in this exhibit dedicated to your body and motion.

  • Discovering Life Hall
    • Take a whiff of a Magnolia bloom, Texas mountain laurel, a skunk or coyote urine in this exhibit featuring the different type of animals that can be found in Texas.
Even the benches teach you something.

  • Being Human Hall
    • Check your pulse rate, look at your veins or find your hot and cold spots via a thermal scanner in this exhibit dedicated to your body.
  • Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall
    • Play with robots, use your brain waves to move ping pong balls, create music and much more in this exhibit featuring the ideas of tomorrow.
Wooden blocks mold to the shape of my body via a motion capture camera.

  • The Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall
    • Here, you can experience the sensation of being caught in an earthquake or even stick your hand in the middle of a small tornado.
  • Tom Hunt Energy Hall
    • What other resources can we use to generate energy and gas? Solar? Wind? Hydro? Learn about it here!
  • Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall
    • Gems and minerals sparkle and gleam in this exhibit, but the centerpiece is a HUGE purple geode.
  • Expanding Universe Hall
    • Travel through space!
  • T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall
    • Dinosaurs roam this hall. Watch out!
  • Rose Hall of Birds
    • Check out the different species of birds in Texas and create your very own species.
The reason I enjoyed the Perot Museum so much is because it's very interactive... very hand's on. You have so much fun that you almost forget that you're learning something. I hope you get to check it out for yourself one day!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Poet's Perch : The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Arrow and the Song
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long, afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Time Fun!

This last week has been busy, busy, busy at the library!
First, we kicked off summer activities with Bubble Day.  Over 120 people attended.
Then, last Thursday, Blackland Prairie Raptors brought owls, hawks, falcons, and kestrels.  Everyone enjoyed seeing the birds up close.
Yesterday, in collaboration with MV Music, the kids were treated to a Summer Children's Concert, entitled "The Town Musicians."
Today is the first official day of Summer Reading.  Mrs. August and Kristin are reading to the kids and helping them make Superhero Masks. 

Be sure to check our website for a full listing of all our summer acitivies!