Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 West Texas Book Festival Starts Sept. 22!

The West Texas Book Festival starts on Monday, Sept. 22, and if you've been following our blog, you've been keeping up with all the festival fun in a weekly entry since August.  Next week, Downtown Abilene will serve as host to a great number of literary events and authors for everyone to enjoy.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, don't pass up on your chance to be a part of the festival fun.

Kay Bailey Hutchison Book Signing, 2013
For your convenience, rather than providing a rundown of the festival activities, I'll provide you with a link to all of the previous festival entries since August.  This way, you can feel free to focus on the areas of the festival that appeal to you.  Simply click one of the following links to be taken to the full entry...
Be sure to save up your strength this weekend as you're definitely going to need all you can muster to keep up with all that's going on at the 2014 West Texas Book Festival.  Again, it will be running all week, September 22-27, and with an explosive series of literary events for everyone to take advantage of.

We hope to see you out at the festival this year, and if you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me and I'll do my best to get you the answers you need.

October'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 Abilene Public Library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, non-fiction, classics, and more.

For October, the featured selection is The Dinner by Herman Koch and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and attend the book club discussion group on Thursday, October 16 @ 7:00 p.m.  For more information, be sure to contact Ann Mount, 325-676-6025.

The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Call Number: F KOCH
Summary: A darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives - all over the course of one meal.  In Amsterdam, two couples meet for dinner.  Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said.  Each couple has a 15-year-old son.  The two boys are united by the accountability for a single horrible act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.  As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children.  As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Be sure to check out this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend if you'd like, and come ready to discuss this title with other avid readers in the community.  Again, the Cover-to-Cover Book Club will meet on Thursday, October 16 @ 7:00 p.m., so be sure to get in on the reading fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 22-27)

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.

This is the week of the West Texas Book Festival, and the majority of the events planned are festival related.  All activities are open to the general public for free, with the exception of the Culinary Cuisine Luncheon, Texas Cookbook Gala, and the Boots & Books Luncheon.

Sept. 22-26; Noon
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
Author Lunch Programs are a favorite of the festival.  Bring your lunch, or purchase one for $5, and join us for a great presentation by featured authors at the festival.  Plus, pick up copies of their books and participate in a book signing following each program.  Below is the schedule...
  • Sept. 22: Deborah Crombie (McKinney, TX), author of To Dwell in Darkness, set for worldwide release the following day.
  • Sept. 23: H.C. Zachry (Abilene, TX), editor of Frontier Texas!: A Journey Through the Wild; Tiffany Fink (Abilene TX), author of the essay "West Texas Women" in West Texas: A History of the Giant Side of the State, and Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos.
  • Sept. 24: Henry Chappell (Parker, TX), author of 2014 Silver Spur Award winning novel Silent We Stood; Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), author of popular Latino young adult literature, and Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), author of The Adventures of Wilder Good.
  • Sept. 26: Five West Texas Authors including Rosa Latimer (Post, TX), author of Harvey Houses of Texas; Kay Ellington & Barbara Brannon (Lubbock, TX), authors of The Paragraph Ranch; Russell Smith (San Angelo, TX), author of The Gun That Wasn't There, and Bear Mills (Lubbock, TX), author of The Ecuadorian Deception.
Sept. 22-26
Abilene & Wylie ISDs
325-676-6025 for Info.
Authors in Schools is a great festival outreach program where the featured children's authors will go out to local schools and visit with students to discuss their popular books, and stress the importance of reading.  Below is the schedule of author visits...
  • Sept. 22: Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos, winner of the 2010-2011 Tejas Star Book Award
  • Sept. 23: Spelile Rivas (Arlington, TX), author of No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos, and Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), author of The Adventures of Wilder Good.
  • Sept. 24: Nathan Dahlstrom (Lubbock, TX), author of The Adventures of Wilder Good and Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), author of A Good Long Way, the Whole Sky Full of Stars, The Jumping Tree, and more.
  • Sept. 25: Rene Saldana, Jr. (Edinburg, TX), author of popular bilingual mysteries featuring a fifth grade detective, and Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY), author of the Joshua Dread series.
  • Sept. 26: Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY), author of the Joshua Dread series about a boy with supervillains for parents.
Sept. 23 @ 5:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
Come celebrate the local writing talent we have right here in our community by attending this special festival event designed for local authors to display, sell, and talk about their books. 

Sept. 25 @ 11:30AM
Ticketed Event ($25 ea. or $200 for Table of 8)
TSTC Culinary Institute
901 N. 1st. St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
The Culinary Cuisine Luncheon is your first chance to meet the featured cookbook authors at this year's festival.  Hear remarks from each of them, pick up copies of their books, have them signed, and enjoy a great lunch prepared by students at the institute from the recipes of the author guests. Click Here for Ticket Information
  • Lisa Fain (New York City, NY), author of The Homesick Texan's Family Table
  • Dotty Griffith (Dallas, TX), author of The Texas Holiday Cookbook
  • Adan Medrano (San Antonio, TX), author of Truly Texas Mexican
  • Rebecca Rather (Fredericksburg, TX), author of Pastry Queen Parties
Sept. 25 @ 6:00PM
Ticketed Event ($225 ea. or $1,800 for a Table)
Abilene Country Club
4039 S. Treadaway
325-676-6025 for Info.
We hope you snagged a ticket for this festival fundraiser featuring some of the finest Texas Chefs & Vintners.  Hosted at the Abilene Country Club, this black tie event will feature meals from our featured cookbook authors and wines from five (5) incredible vintners.  Click Here for Ticket Information
  • Lisa Fain (New York City, NY), author of The Homesick Texan's Family Table
  • Dotty Griffith (Dallas, TX), author of The Texas Holiday Cookbook
  • Adan Medrano (San Antonio, TX), author of Truly Texas Mexican
  • Rebecca Rather (Fredericksburg, TX), author of Pastry Queen Parties
  • Becker Vineyards (Stonewall, TX)
  • Los Pinos Ranch Winery (Pittsburg, TX)
  • Landon Winery (McKinney, TX)
  • Lost Oak Winery (Burleson, TX)
  • Red Caboose Winery (Meridian, TX)
Sept. 26 @ 2:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
If you're a budding writer looking to get published, this is the workshop for you.  Join a great panel of authors, editors, and publisher representatives, along with a great lineup of panelists, all of whom will be on hand to provide you with some valuable information.  Come with your questions, and ready to take notes in this festival event.

Sept. 27; 9AM - 11AM
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
Featured festival authors will be on hand, the final day of the festival, to provide talks that are open to the community for FREE.  Four sessions will be hosted, back-to-back, including...
  • 9:00AM: Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY), author of the Joshua Dread series
  • 9:30AM: Glenn Dromgoole (Abilene, TX) & Carlton Stowers (Cedar Hill, TX), authors of 100 Essential Texas Books
  • 10:00AM: Jay Moore (Abilene, TX), author of Abilene History in Plain Sight
  • 10:30AM: Stephen Harrigan (Austin, TX), A.C. Greene Award recipient & author of several popular titles including The Gates of the Alamo
Sept. 27 @ 11:30AM
Ticketed Event ($25 ea., $250 for a table of 10)
Abilene Civic Center
1100 N. 6th St.
325-676-6025 for Info.
As the final activity of the West Texas Book Festival, don't pass up on your chance to purchase a ticket to this great event including the following activities (Click Here for Ticket Information)...
  • Entertainment by the Piano Man
  • Catered Lunch from Sharon's Barbecue
  • Remarks from our Featured Authors
  • Presentation of the A.C. Greene Award
  • Presentation of the Ricki Brown Librarian of the Year Award
Plus, following the luncheon, all featured authors will be on hand to participate in a Book Signing at the Civic Center, while offering you even more chances to pick up copies of their great books!

Don't miss out on these fun activities being hosted at your Abilene Public Library and get in on what your local library has to offer you!   

Monday, September 15, 2014

Celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 21-27)

Reading is a privilege afforded to us all, and next week, we're celebrating our freedom to read what we choose by recognizing Banned Books Week.  Hosted every September, this event was established to celebrate this freedom, and library across the nation recognize and support the mission of offering access to the books you want.

Banned Books Week runs Sept. 21-27 and "brings together the entire book community - librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types - in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular," as taken from the American Library Association.

First started in 1982, Banned Books Week began after a surge in the number of books being challenged.  Since that time, more than 11,300 books have reportedly been challenged in the nation.  This celebration of literature seeks to draw attention to the dangers of censorship by allowing readers the opportunity to seek out the books they want to read, be they banned or not.

Over the years, many books have been challenged based on its contents.  These challenges are viewed as forms of censorship in which literature can be deemed too controversial, which then leads to them being banned in certain parts of the nation.  During Banned Books Week, advocates for literature seek to celebrate those challenged titles that have and continue to be banned, regardless of the reasons they have been selected.

Did you know that from 2000 to 2009, over 5,000 challenges were reported to the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom?  Of those challenges reported...
  • 1,577 challenges were due to "sexually explicit" material
  • 1,291 challenges were due to "offensive language"
  • 989 challenges were due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group"
  • 619 were challenged due to "violence"
  • 361 challenges were due to "homosexuality"
The list of challenges could go on from there including those challenged based on religious viewpoints, violence, family values, and more.

While the majority of challenges reported come from school settings, many still come from the public library sector as well.  Even your Abilene Public Library has faced our own challenges of materials deemed as inappropriate for the community.  Despite the challenges made, public libraries affirm people have the right, or freedom, to read the materials they choose, and many work diligently to support the access to such literature for everyone.


Each year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom also puts out a list of the 10 most challenged books, and for 2013, those titles were...
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence)
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence)
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James (Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group)
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit)
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya (Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith (Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence)
How can you celebrate Banned Books Week?  Simple.  Visit your local library and get your hands on a copy of whatever it is you choose to read.  Celebrate your freedom in accessing content you want, and never stop reading.  As the American Library Association condemns censorship, your Abilene Public Library continues to strive to offer you access to what you desire to read.

@ the Library Article: "Festival Brings Authors to Local Schools"

Sept. 22-27 in Downtown Abilene
Hard to believe that the 14th annual West Texas Book Festival is only one week away!  Everything in this week, packed with books, authors, and good food begins Monday, September 22 with a part of the festival that you may not be aware of, but is fundamental to what the festival is all about.  That is our Authors in Schools programs, where each day, festival authors will visit local schools and try to share with students why they write, why they love it, and perhaps ignite a spark in each one of them.

Monday, Spelile Rivas, author of bilingual books for children, will visit with first or second graders at three elementary schools.  Her books are No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos and The Cucuy Stole My Cascarones / El Coco Me Robo los Cascarones.  The former English teacher always likes to emphasize positivity, since she says she overcame many doubts and nay-sayers when she wanted to become a published author.

On Tuesday, September 23, Rivas will visit two more elementary schools.  Lubbock author Nathan Dahlstrom will visit two elementary schools to talk about his series The Adventures of Wilder Good.  Dahlstron, who writes under the pseudonym S.J. Dahlstrom, draws on his experiences as a cowboy, husband, father, and boy's ranch founder for his books.  His main character is a twelve year-old boy who lives in Colorado and goes on outdoor adventures that include hunting, fishing, cowboying, and just about everything else you can do outdoors.

On Wednesday, September 24, Dahlstrom will visit two more elementary schools to talk to fourth and fifth graders.  Author Rene Saldana will join the program and talk to fifth graders at two elementary schools.  The Texas Tech professor writes Latino young adult literature that includes different issues that affect teenagers today such as love, danger, loyalty, pride, tragedy, family, and self-discovery.  Saldana's latest series is appealing to boys, since the main character is Mickey Rangel, fifth grade detective.

On Thursday, September 25, Saldana will visit more fifth graders at another school.  Lee Bacon, author of the Joshua Dread series of books for grades 4-8 will join Authors in Schools by visiting three elementary schools to talk to fifth graders.  Joshua Dread is a teenager with the usual problems - schools, girls, his parents - and then, he finds out that he has a superpower!  And that's just the beginning of the mayhem...

On Friday, September 26, Bacon, who is a native Abilenian, will visit both Abilene High and Cooper to talk to their writing classes.  While the Authors in Schools programs are not open to the public, you can hear and meet each of our authors during either a luncheon program at the Abilene Public Library downtown, or the Saturday events at the Civic Center.

Find out more about the Festival by going to www.abilenetx.com/apl and click on the Boots & Books logo in the lower right corner.  Festival schedules are available to pick up at any library location, and we hope to see you at one or all of our programs!

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Sept. 14)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest popular reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers Lists we make available to locate that popular title, or get yourselves on the reserve lists.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Personal
Author: Lee Child
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M CHILD
Summary: Jack Reacher, a former military cop, helps the State Department and the C.I.A. stop a sniper who has targeted a G8 summit.

#2: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good
Author: Jan Karon
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F KARON
Summary: The Mitford character Father Tim Kavanagh returns to his native town to find friends and family wrestling with difficulties.

#3: The Bone Clocks
Author: David Mitchell
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: Stories from the medieval Swiss Alps to the 19th-century Australian bush to a hotel in Shanghai to Manhattan in the near future are stitched together.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 West Texas Book Festival Highlights: Things to Do for Out-Of-Towners

The West Texas Book Festival is right around the corner and this is a wonderful literary event bringing in a host of wonderful activities and authors to Abilene the community to enjoy.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, this year's festival will run from Sept. 22-27 in various locations in Downtown Abilene.

Last week we looked at this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient for 2014, and this week we're highlighting a few things to do in Abilene during the festival, especially if you're coming from out of town.

Below is a look at some of the local attractions in the downtown area, which will be great for taking advantage of while you're in the area.  Be sure to follow the links to get additional information, hours, admission fees, etc.  If you need any additional suggestions, try visiting the Main Library (202 Cedar St) and staff will be more than happy to assist you.

Looking to get the most bang for your buck?  Try a Roundup Pass offering access to great Abilene attractions at a reduced cost.  Prices are $17 for adults, $8 for children ages 16 and younger.  Passes may be purchased at the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau (1101 N. 1st St). 


1289 N. 2nd St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-677-6515 
Across the street from the Main Library, visit this teaching museum for the study of World War II and its impact on the American people.  Here you'll find archives, memorabilia, and oral histories, along with selected equipment and material loaned or donated by others. 

1101 N. 1st St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-676-2556
800-727-7704 
The local convention and visitors bureau is always a great place to get the inside scoop on all things that are great to do in the city.  Stop by the center and pick up a calendar of events, maps of the area, information for visitors, a Free Visitors Guide, list of things to do, help from an amazing staff, and more.

2070 Zoo Lane
Abilene, TX 79602
325-676-6085 
One can't visit Abilene without stopping by our #1 Attraction.  There's always something to see and do at the Abilene Zoo, located in Nelson Park, across from the Taylor County Expo Center off Highway 36.  Admission is $6 for Adults, $5 for Seniors, $3.50 for children ages 3-12, and kids under the age of 3 are free.  With a host of great animals to see, The Watering Hole for grabbing snacks, Safari Express Train rides, giraffe feedings, and more, you'll not want to miss the action at the Zoo!

1201 N. 1st St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-673-2005 
Satisfy your sweet tooth by stopping by this chocolate shop that has been operational for over 100 years.  Their candy making skills have been handed down from generation to generation, featuring delicious confections including pralines, brittles, chocolate truffles, gift sets, and more.  Be sure to snatch up some great treats!

625 N. 1st St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-437-2800 
Step into the Old West, unlike you ever have before, in this amazing facility that brings the past to life using state-of-the-art technology.  Enjoy exhibits, events, gift shop finds, and more at one great museum in Downtown Abilene.  Admission fees are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students and teachers, $5 for children ages 3-12, and free to children ages 2 and under.

102 Cypress St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-673-4587 
This museum features a great collection of art, history, and even a floor dedicated as a children's museum that's hands-on, interactive, and SUPER fun.  As a popular venue in Downtown Abilene, you won't want to miss your chance to peruse the collection.  Admission fees are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors/students/Non-Active Duty Military, and free to children ages 3 and under.  Plus, active duty military personnel and their families get in free, with ID.

102 Cedar St.
Abilene, TX 79601
325-673-4586 
Located a block in front of the Main Library, this museum collaborates with award-winning artists to produce exhibitions of their artwork that are distinctive, appealing to museum visitors of all ages, and of the highest quality.  Admission is free, and you'll delight in the featured exhibits by respected children's authors/illustrators.  Be sure to make the NCCIL a stop on your visit.

There is so much to do in Abilene while you're here for the West Texas Book Festival, and remember, if ever you need additional recommendations or assistance, library staff is here to help, with the Main Library (202 Cedar St.) being located within walking distance of the majority of the businesses listed above.  Plus, if you need to grab a bite to eat, we're certainly have some great places downtown including The Beehive Restaurant & Saloon, Cypress Street Station, ABI-HAUS, Bogie's Downtown Deli, and so many others.  Click Here for a restaurant guide from the Abilene Convention & Visitor's Bureau.

We hope to see you at the festival, and be sure to stay tuned for more information and updates as we get them.  If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me, and I'll do my best to get you the answers you need. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Sept. 15-20)

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.

Sept. 15 @ 10:00AM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Need help learning to use word processors on PC's?  We've got the class for you.  Signup for our hands-on training lab where staff will show you the ins and outs of Microsoft Word.  Space is limited so call to reserve a space.

Sept. 15 @ 1:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Offering a repeat session of the previously listed workshop.  Please register with us to secure a spot in the course.

Sept. 15 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Gear up for a Family Fun event where it's all about the Dr. Seuss classic featuring the oh-so-lovable elephant.  Join us for stories, games, crafts, and more that's designed for children of all ages as a fun afternoon activity for the entire family.