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.