Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tremain's Book Corner: "The Martian" by Andy Weir

The Martian
Click to Place Hold
Author: Andy Weir
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager

Book Summary: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars.  Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead.  Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive.  Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death.  The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet.  Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills, and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next.  But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Personal Review; I picked up this book after I recently learned it was going to be adapted to a feature film starring Matt Damon, which said it would be a cross between Apollo 13 and Cast Away.  Those were both incredible films, so I though this book would a great read.

Although first released in 2012, as a self-published novel, the rights were purchased by Crown and it was re-published in 2014, which is more than likely why I didn't hear about it when it first came out.  All I can say is that the book was wonderful.  It's a complete deconstruction of the human psyche that has you wondering what you would do if you were in a similar situation.  I mean I don't like the thought of even being stranded on the side of the road, let alone by myself on another planet.  I was certainly able to connect with Mark Watney, and feel his struggle, frustration, and determination throughout the book.

Loving the survival premise, although I'm not known for diving into sci-fi reads, this book was quite different.  Also filled with humor, no less, it did have an adequate description of science related terms and concepts that didn't confuse me, seeing as to how I'm not an astronaut.  Then, after being left for dead on a foreign planet, during a time where you would expect for the protagonist to give up (as most of us probably would), he doesn't.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today's Top Releases in Books & DVDs @ 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 that 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!

The Giver
Starring: Brenton Thwaites
Summary: Adapted from the 1993 novel of the same name by Lois Lowry, in this film, in a seemingly perfect community without war, pain, suffering, differences, or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.  This film is rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence.  Opening to generally mixed reviews from the critics, the film did modestly well in the box office with taking in $62.9 million. 

What If
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe
Summary: Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend.  Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life.  This film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity, and language, plus, it received generally positive reviews from the critics, so it might be one to look out for. 

Join us for City Sidewalks Fun, Dec. 2

We hope everyone is getting ready for the 26th Annual City Sidewalks festivities on Tues., Dec. 2 in historic Downtown Abilene.  There will be tons for the community participate in with access to merchants, museums, galleries, food, shopping, entertainment, and so much more.

Holiday Face Painting Fun!
Sponsored by the Abilene Downtown Association, your Abilene Public Library will host our own activities starting at 5:30PM.  The Main Library (202 Cedar St) will host holiday face painting for kids (and adults too) with fun holiday designs to choose from.  Additionally, we'll also host the Craig Jazz Band in the auditorium, playing great holiday tunes throughout the evening.

Plus, don't forget to participate in ALL of the great activities being hosted in downtown Abilene.  The event kicks off at 5PM, with the parade starting at 6:30PM, and ending with the Tree Lighting at 7:30PM.

Click Here for a complete schedule of City Sidewalks events and activities so you're certain to not miss out on anything.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Library System Currently Down, Nov. 24

If you're experiencing problems accessing the library's online catalog, using the OverDrive service, accessing a database, etc., we regret to inform you we are currently experiencing technical problems.

Access to online content from the Abilene Public Library is expected to be down for the remainder of the day; however, we're currently working on resolving the issue as soon as possible.  If visiting the library, library staff will still be able to check materials out to you, just be sure to have your library card.  Our Internet is working as well, and if you need assistance accessing a computer, staff will be available to assist you.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but we're working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to Contact Us and we'll be happy to assist you further.

Food for Fines Kicks Off in December!!!

The Abilene Public Library's Food for Fines program will kickoff on December 1, running the entire month across all branch libraries.  Having debuted in 1999, this program is an annual tradition affording our patrons with the ability to rid your library accounts of pesky late fees, while doing something great for those in need during the holiday season. 

What is Food for Fines?
This program allows you to donate canned goods, and other non-perishable items, to your library to waive your late fees.  Each item donated waives $1.00 of your late fees.  It's as simple as that, but please note, charges for Non-Resident fees, Lost/Damaged Materials, Printing, etc., cannot be waived through this program...only overdue charges. 

Who Benefits from Food for Fines?
All donations are given to the Food Bank of West Central Texas, a local non-profit serving those in need in the Big Country.  If you don't have any late fees, you may still participate by donating items to your library, and we'll see that they get to the food bank. 

What Can't I Bring for Food for Fines?
The following items are not acceptable through the Food for Fines program...
  • Damaged or Expired Items
  • Government Commodity Items
  • Items Packaged or Canned at Home
  • Previously Opened Items
Ask Library Staff if you have questions about items you wish to donate.

Remember, Food for Fines comes once a year, and it's the easiest way to rid yourself of those unwanted late fees.  You may donate items during our normal business hours by visiting staff at the circulation desks.

If you need assistance bringing them in, staff will be more than happy to assist you.  Once we've received your items, we'll access your account, remove the necessary fees, and you're all set.  Sorry, we won't be able to supply you with a receipt and no credit can be added to your account.

If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me (Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager), and I'll be happy to help you!

"Library in Giving Spirit - Forgiving Some Fees, Encouraging Donations" ~ @ the Library Article

The holidays are a wonderful, but busy time of year.  So many activities abound that any way to save some time and money is truly appreciated.

Your Abilene Public Library, working with other Abilene libraries, once again is giving you a "twofer," allowing you to clear your library late fees and make sure someone in need eats this holiday season.

The 2014 Food for Fines campaign marks our 16th year of providing food for bodies and minds.

Throughout December, Abilene libraries will forgive $1 in late fees for each nonperishable food item donated.  Food collected by each Abilene Public Library location, Abilene Christian University's Brown Library and McMurry University's Jay-Rollins Library will be given to the Food Bank of West Central Texas.

Thanks to you, Food for Fines has been extraordinarily successful over the years.  Since 1999, Abilene library patrons have donated more than 65,000 pounds of canned and boxed food to people in need. 

The Food Bank of West Central Texas distributed 4.8 million pounds of grocery products last year.  That food, in turn, was made into 4 million meals for people who live in poverty in our area and too often miss meals or experience hunger.

The food bank serves 150 nonprofit agencies in Abilene and 13 surrounding counties.

To participate, bring one can, box or bag of - and this is very important - nonperishable food to the circulation desk at any Abilene library.  Each food item equals $1 in late fees.  To pay a $2.90 fee, for example, donate three food items (sorry, no change back on cans).

Rice, beans, tuna, peanut butter, boxes of macaroni and cheese - as long as its food and nonperishable, it works to pay late fees.

High-protein items always are in demand, as are healthy snacks for kids such as crackers, juice boxes and pudding cups.

It's a win-win situation.  You benefit by having your late fees waived, while assisting local people in the fight against hunger.

Donated food only can be used to pay late fees.  Charges for lost or damaged materials still have to be paid in cold, hard cash (checks also accepted).

Although library staff members appreciate all food donations, they only can accept commercially packaged items that are undamaged and that have not exceeded their expiration date.  No dented, dinged or previously opened food items; no government commodity items; and sorry, no home-canned items.

Now's the time to clean out the closet, reach under the sofa and look behind the seat of the car for those long-forgotten library books, audiobooks and DVDs.

Bring them, along with your donations, to any of these five library locations.  You'll be making happier holidays for yourself and for someone who might otherwise go hungry.

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Nov. 23)

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 the Hardcover Fiction & Non-Fiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Revival
Author: Stephen King
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F KING
Summary: The continuing relationship, over five decades, between a disgraced clergyman who is fascinated by electricity and a drug-addicted musician whom he mentored as a boy. 

#2: Gray Mountain
Author: John Grisham
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 4
Call Number: F GRISHAM
Summary: A downsized Wall Street lawyer joins a legal clinic in a small Virginia town. 

#3: Flesh and Blood
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M CORNWELL
Summary: As the Boston Marathon trial approaches, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the chief medical examiner for the state of Massachusetts, pursues a sniper who may be a vigilante; the 22nd Scarpetta novel. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Nov. 24-29)

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.

Nov. 25 @ 6:30PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
325-437-7323 for Info.
Join us for the final Family Fun event of the month that celebrates one of the best desserts at the Thanksgiving table...PIE!!!  Everything will be about pie with stories, crafts, songs, and more so feel free to join in on this special event as we get closer to the holidays! 

Nov. 27-28, All Day
All Locations
325-677-2474 for Info.
All locations of the library will be closed November 27-28 in observance of the Thanksgiving holidays.  For your convenience, outside materials returns will be available at all three locations if you need to return materials.  We will resume our normal hours on Saturday, Nov. 29 @ 9AM.  Happy Thanksgiving.

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.