Friday, September 4, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 7-12)

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 us online and take a look at our program calendar.  And remember, all programming is offered FREE of charge.

Sept. 7; All Day
All Locations
PH: 325-677-2474
All locations of the library will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7 in observance of Labor Day.  For your convenience, outside materials returns are available at all three locations, and all digital services will still be available if needed. 

Sept. 8 @ 4:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Don't miss the next crafting session for kids after school, especially if they're avid readers at the library.  At this session, we'll supply all the materials needed to show them how to make their own bookworms before then heading out to the stacks to checkout some great reads. 

Sept. 8 @ 4:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-437-7323
Join us for a new monthly program at the library after school, and designed especially for teens.  Teens are invited to the activity room for pizza and games and this month we'll be playing checkers.  It's a great way to socialize with friends after school. 

Sept. 8 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Humans were designed to eat real food including meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.  When you eat foods humans are designed to eat, you can achieve optimal health and avoid the degenerative diseases plaguing our society today.  Join us as we invite in health and wellness consultant Mark Rogers, who will answer your questions during this free program. 

Sept. 9 @ 4;00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Youth and teens, ages 8-18, are invited out to another meeting of the Lego Club at the library.  Come express your creativity by dropping in and seeing what you can build from an assortment of Legos at the library. 

Sept. 10 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17 and you enjoy writing, come hone your creative writing skills at the library with a group of your peers in our weekly writing club.  We'll collaborate on a number of writing prompts and activities to help you build your skills in all forms of writing.  No registration required. 

Sept. 10 @ 5:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Guest speaker Meredith Pittman, from MCH Family Outreach, will present a great session at the library designed to provide information to grandparents who are raising children.  This is becoming more common in our current day, and if y7ou need access to resources, this will be a great place to start. 

Sept. 12 @ 10:45AM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Join us for a family movie showing at the library, as we'll be showing a great Disney flick about a dad who is swimming all over the sea to find his son...and along the way, he meets a wide assortment of creatures.  We'll provide light snacks, and you can feel free to bring your own. 

Aug. 12 @ 2:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Born in Abilene and currently living in Austin, Specht has written a coming-of-age story about a group of 30-somethings trying to navigate the complexities of modern life and remain true to themselves.  Join us for an informal chat covering the characters, settings, and plot of this debut novel.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Then come out to meet the author at the book festival on Sept. 26.

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Abilene Library Asks for Public Input on South Branch | Abilene Reporter-News

The Abilene Public Library wants your input on what the new South Branch location will look like.

The library will hold two public meetings for patrons to provide their ideas Thursday at 4PM and 6PM at the site of the new location, the Mall of Abilene.  The library is located next door to J.C. Penny in space 1246.

The informal meeting are open for anyone who wants to meet with the architects, Hidell and Associates of Carrollton, and discuss what they want to see in the new space, said Lori Grumet, city librarian.

"When you're going to rehab a public space, it's a natural step," she said.  "It's good to have different points of view."

Grumet said she would look at the space from a library operations standpoint whereas a mother of two who takes her children to the library while running errands might have different desires for its space.

Participants in the process can offer opinions on anything from the color scheme to materials used to the areas dedicated to children's books or reference materials.  The architects will then take that information and distill it down to prepare a final design, Grumet said.

People are free to come and go at the meetings, look at the drawings and become engaged in the discussion.

The library will have two additional private meetings with stakeholders Thursday: one in the morning with library staff and one at noon for major donors, public figures and the library board.

Article Provided by Brooke Crum, Abilene Reporter-News

West Texas Book Festival Highlights: A.C. Greene Award Recipient

The West Texas Book Festival is this month, bringing great authors and events right here to Abilene.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library, this year's festival will run Sept. 21-26 and most activities are FREE for the community.

This entry will provide a look at this year's A.C. Greene Award winner, who will be present for an author lunch session, the Conversation Series, and the Boots & Books Luncheon.

The A.C. Greene Award is presented annually to a distinguished Texas author for lifetime achievement.  The award is named for author, columnist, and Abilene native, A.C. Greene.  Each year, the honored author is presented with a piece of original framed art, generously donated by artist, H.C. Zachry.

This year's recipient is Bill O'Neal of Carthage, TX.  O'Neal is the author of 42 books and more than 300 articles and book reviews on the American West including gunfighters, lawmen, ghost towns, country artists, baseball, children's books, and more.  Having retired as a history professor at Panola College in Carthage, he continues to teach periodically and maintains a prolific writing career.  O'Neal is a member of the Western Writers of America, having appeared in television documentaries on Turner Network Television, The History Channel, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Discovery Channel, Turner Broadcasting System, and the Arts & Entertainment Channel.  O'Neal has been the recipient of several awards including, but not limited to, being appointed the Texas State Historian i n2012 by Governor Rick Perry, receiving the 2005 National Association of Outlaw and Lawmen Association Award for "The Johnson County War," named the Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine, and more.

Don't pass up on your chance to attend the free events O'Neal will be featured in, and we hope you were able to snag a ticket to the Boots & Books Luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 26 to see O'Neal receive the A.C. Greene Award, as well as listen to his remarks.

For more information on the festival, be sure to visit the Festival Page online and come out and participate in the number of wonderful activities the festival will offer this year.

Tremain's Book Corner: "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace" by: Jeff Hobbs

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
Author: Jeff Hobbs
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary: Robert Peace was born outside Newark in a ghetto known as "Illtown."  His unwed mother worked long hours in a kitchen.  His charismatic father was later convicted of a double murder.  Peace's intellectual brilliance and hard-won determination earned him a full scholarship to Yale University.  At college, while majoring in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he straddled the world of academia and the world of the street, never revealing his full self in either place.  Upon graduation from Yale, he went home to teach at the Catholic high school he'd attended, slide into the drug trade, and was brutally murdered at age 30.

That's the short version of Robert Peace's life.  The long version, the complete version, is this remarkable tour de force by Jeff Hobbs, who was Peace's college roommate.  Hobbs attended Peace's funeral, reached out to his friends from both Yale and Newark, and ultimately decided to write this harrowing and beautiful account of his life.

What does the haunting, untimely death of one man mean?  Robert Peace's life doesn't reduce to easy sociological constructions.  Through Hobbs' relentless research and writing, we learn the cost of living between the world Peace was born into and the one his potential allowed him to enter.  We see him work, love, fail, succeed, give to others, care for his mother, travel, and dream.  We witness the decisions he made for himself and the ones that life forced upon him.  But most importantly, we come to understand the sheer complexity of his existence and are irrevocably changed by the fascinating, devastating, and unforgettable life of Robert Peace.

Personal Review: I had not heard many people talking about the book, having been released in Sept. 2014, but it was one that I was always meaning to get around to, and let me tell you, this was certainly one powerful account of the life of Peace.  It's one that makes you believe that any one can achieve anything they put their minds to as long as they work hard enough.  With all the odds against him, Peace managed to study, persevere, and climb out of a poor and a dangerous neighborhood and go to an Ivy League school, graduating with a degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics.

It would have been great if the story could have continued on in this fashion; however, tragedy would strike and you read how Peace was dealing marijuana throughout high school and Yale, but after his graduation, he was simply not able to continue to capitalize on his newfound success.  It's not like he didn't try, because you'll join Peace as he returns home, teaches at his old high school, tries to make money in real estate, and then he would run into some bad luck and turn back to selling marijuana, being killed shortly after in a presumably drug-related death.

This memoir of Peace's life delves into many issues including race, class, education, and poverty, but then adds so many additional layers that would certainly be of importance to black youth in the nation today.  The struggle of a parent trying to do what's best for their child, of a young man's struggle when it comes to staying true to yourself and your upbringing while trying to move forward and fit in with a group of people vastly different from you; how there is a lack of role models for young black men in the areas for which Peace was headed, and more.

This is a book that will certainly make you think, and although you'll celebrate in Peace's accomplishments, you'll also be saddened to follow along in his tragedies...leaving you to further wonder what Peace's life could have ultimately ended up in the future had he the chance to capitalize on this gifts and intellect.

That being said, it'll also leave you agreeing with a friend of Peace's who stated "I've never met anyone so smart but so f***ing dumb," and although you don't want to admit it, it's true.  With as much love as he had for his mother, who certainly worked hard to support him, I wasn't shocked that he ended up going back to to the town that would eventually cause him to slip back into unsavory behaviors.  For that, it can make you so profoundly sad, as Peace had a promising future ahead of him, and now no one will be able to realize it.  His life was one that should have been celebrated, but it was ultimately wasted.

This book is certainly worth the read and I would highly recommend it to everyone.  It will surprise you, make you sad, and make you mad...with such intelligence, potential, and strength to overcome adversity, you just wish it wouldn't have been thrown away so early in life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month

It's that time of year again; time to remind parents and kids that a library card is the most important school supply of all.  September is the month designated to encourage everyone to acquire their own library card, and libraries across the country will be celebrating.  After all, your wallet is just naked out one of these powerful cards!

Each year, a new honorary Chair is named to be the face of this initiative, and for 2015, that face is none other than Snoopy. We all love this famous beagle who helped make the long-running Peanuts comic a celebrated strip for over 65 years.  Snoopy will be ready to let everyone know there's nothing cooler than having a library card.  How could you argue with logic like that?

Libraries serve a vital role in communities such as...
  • Helping youth further their education and development.
  • Connecting people with technology, computers, the Internet, and a number of digital services.
  • Offering access to programming and workshops fulfilling your educational and leisure needs.
  • Providing access to a vast collection of books, movies, music, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, and more at your disposal at no charge; and more.
Offered for free, all you need to get your library card is a Photo ID, proof of address, and the completion of an application.  Once you're completed that, you'll have all you need to get started.

Stressing the importance of a library card to the masses, National Library Card Sign-Up Month was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said: "Let's have a national campaign...every child should obtain a library card - and use it."  To this day, signing up youth for a library card has been the most pressing issue at hand to focus on during this annual observance.

If you have yet to arm yourself with one of the smartest cards you could own, September is as good a time as any to head out to your local public and see about getting your hands on one.  A library card has the ability to open your world to so much, but don't take my word for it...visit us and library staff will make a believer out of you.

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest releases in books & DVDs, and we receive the on a regular basis.  Tuesdays are the biggest days of the week, as this is the day 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.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Starring: Tom Hardy
Summary: A return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky.  Haunted by his turbulent past, he believes the best way to survive is to wander alone.  Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa.  They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken.  Enraged, the Warlord, with this gangs, pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows. 

The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium Series #4)
Author: David Lagercrantz
Summary: The adventures of Lisbeth and Mikael continue in the highly anticipated follow-up to author Steig Larsson's "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next."  In this thriller, hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces.  Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call claiming to have information vital to the U.S.  The source has been in contact with a young female super hacker - Lisbeth.  In desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, he turns to Lisbeth for help.  She, as usual, has her own agenda. 

The Solomon Curse (Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure Series #7)
Clive Cussler
Summary: There are many rumors about the bay off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.  Some say it was the site of the lost empire of the Solomon king and that great treasure lies beneath the waters.  Others say terrible things happened here, atrocities and disappearances at the hands of cannibal giants, and those who venture there do not return.  It is cursed.  Which is exactly what attracts the attention of husband-and-wife treasure hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo.  How could they resist?

Author: Jonathan Franzen
Summary: Young Pip doesn't know who she is.  She knows her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130K in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother - her only family - is hazardous.  But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she'll ever have a normal life.  Enter the Germans.  A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads her to an internship in South America with an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world - including, she hopes,; the secret of her origins too. 

Author: Danielle Steel
Summary: Marshall has traveled a twisting, perilous road from the jungles of South America to the streets of Paris.  As an undercover DEA agent, he's penetrated a powerful cartel and become the trusted right-hand man of a ruthless drug lord.  The price he paid cost him everything and everyone he loved.  Back in the U.S>, on temporary assignment to the Secret Service, on the presidential detail, Marshall performs an act of heroism that changes his course forever. 

The Fate of Ten (I Am Number Four Series #6)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Summary: For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret.  Now, all that has changed.  The invasion has begun.  If the Garde can't find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation.  There is still hope.  When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan - one which the Garde are finally starting to understand.  In the climax of "The Revenge of Seven," a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico, known to their people as Sanctuary.  There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations.  Now this power can save the world...or destroy it.  It will all depend on who wields it. 

The Drafter (Per Reed Chronicles Series #1)
Author: Kim Harrison
Summary: In her latest, it's "The Bourne Identity" meets "Minority Report" in this first highly anticipated installment in a new series featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.

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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Library Can Fill Plate with Healthy Eating Choices" ~ @ the Library Article

With a typical American diet consisting largely of processed foods and foods high in sugar content and low in nutritional value, it's really no wonder our society experiences such high incidences of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other degenerative diseases.  That essentially sums up the message from a globally recognized leader in brain science, Dr. David Perlmutter, in his new book Brain Maker which is just out.  I highly recommend it.

Mark Rogers
The same message will be delivered in a free program at the Abilene Public Library the evening of Tuesday, September 8.  Mark Rogers, owner and head trainer of Simply Human, LLC, a health and wellness consulting/coaching company in Abilene, will present Eat Like a Human beginning at 6:30PM in the auditorium of the Main Library at 202 Cedar St.

"Humans were designed to eat natural foods - meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.  When you eat foods humans were designed to eat you can achieve optimal health and avoid the degenerative diseases that are plaguing our society today," according to Rogers.  In addition to nutrition, Rogers will talk about the importance of adequate sleep, managing stress, and getting the right kind of exercise.

The speaker is host and producer of the Simply Human Podcast which was recently as high as #13 on iTunes in the fitness and nutrition category.  He  is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from Abilene Christian University and an MBA from West Texas A&M University.  He currently works with athletes at ACU on their movement patterns and nutrition plans.

Dr. Permutter's Brain Maker focuses on the power of gut microbes to heal and protect the brain.  While he focuses on brain health, he stresses the fact that most diseases common to Western society are strongly associated with what we eat and drink.  In addition to poor dietary habits, our health is at risk from exposure to toxic substances, high stress levels, lack of restful sleep, and sedentary lifestyles.

Among those most at risk for Alzheimer's, according to the author, are those who have high blood sugar and consume excessive amounts of gluten and process fructose.  Commonly found in white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, many cereals, and crackers, among other foods, he says gluten should be avoided as much as possible.

Dr. William Shankle and Dr. Daniel Amen in Preventing Alzheimer's concur with Perlmutter on many points, but unlike Perlmutter, they introduce heredity as a key contributing factor and talk about the importance of early detection.  As a preventative they recommend daily Vitamin E and C supplements along with fish oil and low dose aspirin or ibuprofen (less than 175 mg/day).  They claim that alcohol use in moderation (2-3 drinks/week) can actually reduce the chance of dementia by up to 70 percent.

Two other books worth a look would be The Anti-Alzheimer's Prescription by neurologist Dr. Vincent Fortanasce and Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease both of which concur on the themes of eating smart, controlling stress and exercising both the mind and the body.

I also recommend reviewing the latest in Alzheimer's research by finding journal articles online from APL's databases available to library cardholders.  From our website click on E-Resources, then "Health."  Health Source - Consumer Edition is a good source for the latest from a "traditional medicine" perspective while Alternative HealthWatch and Natural & Alternative Treatments feature articles taking a more holistic approach.

Article Contributed by Dennis Miller, Information Services Librarian at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book-to-Film Adaptations: September 2015

Literature often inspires film adaptations and each month I like to highlight those hitting theaters soon.  Check out this blog entry to see what they are, and be on the lookout for seeing them in well as checking out the books they're based on.

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Starring: Dylan O'Brien
Release Date: 09/18
Inspired By: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Summary: In this chapter of the epic "Maze Runner" saga, Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD.  Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.  Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD's vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

Black Mass
Starring: Johnny Depp
Release Date: 09/18
Author: Dick Lehr
Summary: John Connolly and James Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston.  Decades later, in the late 1970s, they would meet again.  By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI's Boston office and James had become godfather of the Irish Mob.  What happened between them - a dirty deal to trade secrets and take down Boston's Italian Mafia in the process - would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and ultimately, to Bulger making the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.

Starring: Kate Mara
Release Date: 09/18
Inspired By: An Unlikely Angel
Author: Ashley Smith
Summary: In this fact-based thriller, a single mother struggling with drug addiction is randomly taken hostage in her own apartment by a man on the run from the law for breaking out of jail and murdering the judge assigned to his case - only to realize before the climactic finish that they have actually saved each other's lives.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal
Release Date: 09/25
Inspired By: Into Thin Air
Author: Jon Krakauer
Summary: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.

The Walk
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Release Date: 09/30
Inspired By: To Reach the Clouds
Author: Phillippe Petit
Summary: The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974/

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