Thursday, August 21, 2014

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Aug. 25-30)

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.

Aug. 26 @ 4:00PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Teens are invited to join our new book club at the library, focusing on popular reading materials for young adults.  Our first featured book will be Paper Towns by John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars).  Come out ready to discuss this title, as well as pick the future books for the club to read!

Aug. 28 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
325-676-6067 for Info.
Don't pass up on joining the library's weekly writing club for youth ages 10-17.  This club helps members to strengthen their creative writing skills when it comes to short stories, novels, poetry, and all forms of writing.  No registration needed.

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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Word Classes @ Your Mockingbird Branch!

Computer classes can often be costly, but on Sept. 3 and Sept. 15, your Abilene Public Library will offer basic Word instruction for FREE!

Microsoft Word is perhaps one of the most popular programs on the market today.  Opening a document, formatting font size and margins, saving a file, all can be easy to learn.  According to Susannah Barrington, a PC tutor at the Mockingbird Branch, mastering the basics of Word can often be easier than you think.  "For most folks, knowing where things are on the toolbar is the really the biggest challenge.  Once you get familiar with it, there are a lot of options that open up for you."

People use Microsoft Word for a variety of reasons including creating business and personal letters; advertise garage sales or other local events in a flyer-format, or developing easy-to-read household lists.  PC tutor Debra Higgins encourages everyone to give it a try.  "You're never too old to learn new things!"

While the class will cover only the basic elements, even if you already know a few things about Word, this class may still be for you.  Microsoft updates the software every few years and a lot has changed since it was first released.  Refreshing yourself could really save you time and money, especially if you use it to help organize and run a small business or home-based business.

Class size is limited for each session and two (2) sessions will be hosted for both days of the classes.  For your convenience, we'll be offering a morning session at 10:00AM, and an afternoon session at 1:00PM, both of which will be the same course, just offering two different times to help meet your schedule.

Don't pass up on registering for these free workshops by calling us at 325-437-7323.

APL Recognized as Library to Follow on Instagram

Find Us @ AbilenePublicLibrary
The Abilene Public Library was recently recognized by TechSoup for Libraries, as one of four (4) public libraries to follow on Instagram.  For those not familiar with this social media app, it's taken the world by storm by allowing anyone to set up an account, snap a photo, apply fun filters, and post for all to see.

We ventured into Instagram in January 2013, and we've been pleased with the results thus far with having posted over a thousand photos and videos.  With over 400 active followers on our account, we share everything from event photos to funny quotes, book promotions and more to offer a wide range of photos to show the world what goes on at the Abilene Public Library.

Along with our library system, TechSoup named three (3) additional libraries, announced on Aug. 18th, as a way for people to get ideas on how to tell their own stories in fun an unique ways.  Thanks to Ginny Mies, with TechSoup for Libraries, for following our account and giving us a little shout out to the online community.  We're certainly proud of all of our social media endeavors, with a current lineup of seven (7) active sites to promote who we are and what we do.

If you don't know where you can find us, check out our list of active sites...
  1. Facebook: photos, events, videos, news, and more.
  2. Twitter: micro-blasts of fun library info including videos, news, events, and more.
  3. Blogger: our blog...if you're reading this, you're already there.
  4. YouTube: tons of great videos with one of the most viewed public library accounts in Texas!
  5. Pinterest: tons of suggestions on reading, crafts, storytime ideas, reviews, and more.
  6. PodOmatic: fun audio podcasts covering new releases, adaptations, news, events, and more.
  7. Instagram: selected photos highlighting our library system.
As you can tell, there's much to see, listen, read, and watch from your Abilene Public Library, so be sure to check us out sometimes.  For additional information, about any of our social media accounts, feel free to Contact Me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Explore the New Kids' Portal on OverDrive!

It doesn't take much arm twisting to convince patrons the OverDrive collection of eBooks & audiobooks are simply amazing.  The ability to checkout great digital content 24/7, no matter where you are, is an idea we can all get behind.  Plus, OverDrive is available on the leading smartphones, tablets, and eReaders on the market.

Although there's a massive collection of content for adults, materials for youth have been harder to find on your own.  That's not the case any longer, as we've launched a new Kids' Portal on OverDrive.

By visiting the site, and scrolling down a tad bit, you'll find a graphic link that reads OverDrive for Kids eReading Room.  Follow the link and you'll be directed to a special collection housing reading materials for youth of all ages, up to high school.  You no longer have to sift through all the general adult materials to find the juvenile and young adult literature you're looking for!

Although all titles in the Kids eReading Room are still in the main collection, having a separate portal for searching only the youth materials will certainly be a great benefit.  But that's not all the Kids eReading Room offers.  You will still be able to search for materials by title, author, or keyword, but you'll also be able to utilize three unique browsing tools for the collection.

These new searching options includes...
  • Subjects: search across popular subjects for youth including Beginning Reader Books, Comic Books, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Picture Books, Fantasy, and more.
  • Collection: search for materials categorized in special collections including Favorite Titles, new eBooks, New Audiobooks, and more.
  • Levels: certain to be a favorite with students, parents, and teachers, this option lets you browse the collection based on Interest Level, ATOS Level, Lexile Measure, and even Reading Level.
School's just around the corner for kids, and the OverDrive for Kids eReading Room will certainly be a great site to utilize.  All it takes to get started is a valid library card and device.  Checkout up to 10 titles, for 2-weeks, and never worry about late fees again.  Your items will return themselves when they're due.  That's certainly great for parents whose kids sometimes have a tendency to leave a book at school, get them mixed up with their own books at home, misplace them, or simply forget they had them altogether.

For more information about OverDrive at your Abilene Public Library, or the new Kids' Portal, feel free to Contact Me and I'll be more than happy to answer your questions!

Monday, August 18, 2014

@ the Library Article: "As You Like It: Younger Generations Liking Shakespeare"

Whether you love or hate the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare is one of the world's most influential writers.

Over the years, we have seen adaptation after adaptation of Shakespeare's works; some of them fantastic and others, well, not so much.  What may be surprising is that younger generations are starting to groove to the beat of iambic pentameter.

Shakespeare's works have gone from a required school assignment to prime fun reading material as a result of the popularity of shows like The Hollow Crown, a television miniseries that covers Shakespeare's plays featuring kings Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.

Friday, August 15, 2014

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Aug. 17)

Many patrons browse the new materials sections 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 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: The Magician's Land
Author: Lev Grossman
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: SF GROSSMAN
Summary: Quentin, an exiled magician, tries a risky heist in the final installment of a trilogy.

#2: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F MORIARTY
Summary: Who will end up dead, and how, when three mothers with children in the same school become friends?

2014 West Texas Book Festival Highlights: Featured Authors

The West Texas Book Festival is just over a month away, bringing great authors and events right here to Abilene.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, this year's festival will run Sept. 22-27 and most of the activities are FREE for the community to take advantage of.

This blog entry will provide a look at a selection of the featured authors of this year's festival.  From Texas to New York, we've got plenty of great authors, with ties to Texas, who'll be on hand to provide you with a great selection of events to attend including...

Author Stephen Harrigan
Stephen Harrigan (Austin, TX)
As this year's A.C. Greene Award recipient, Harrigan has lived in Texas since the age of five.  He's the author of nine (9) books including The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book.  This title also received a number of additional awards including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. 

Author Lee Bacon
Lee Bacon (Brooklyn, NY)
As an Abilene native, Bacon is the author of the Joshua Dread series for youth in grades 4-8, centering on a boy trying to grow up "normal" while having supervillains as parents.  This series has also been selected for the Texas Library Association's Spirit of Texas Reading Program and he'll be on hand to speak with students in the community as a featured children's author. 

Robert Dawson's "Public Library: A Photographic Essay"

"The Public Library" by Robert Dawson
The Abilene Public Library's Mockingbird Branch location (1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.) was recently one of the many featured public libraries in a new title by photographer Robert Dawson titled Public Library: A Photographic Essay.  As the most recently established branch library, we're proud to receive a photo credit for the masses to enjoy, and coming from our great city of Abilene.

As found from Dawson's website, he has had a long interest "in how photography can be used to understand our relationship with the environment and the commons.  He is also interested in photography's ability to shape public awareness of the place we call home."  Much of his work has been highly exhibited, and added to permanent collections across numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and more, including international locations such as the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

APL Mockingbird Branch Location
With an extensive list of awards, grants and fellowships under his belt, exhibitions throughout California, and releasing several publications, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay is his most recent compilation, which has received a great review by Toni Morrison whom states "Robert Dawson's work is an irrefutable argument for the preservation of public libraries.  His book is profound and heartbreakingly beautiful."

Cracking the spine of his collection of photos will certainly make any person identify with that statement.  Here's a synopsis of the book...

Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has traveled throughout the United States documenting hundreds of public libraries, large and small, old and new, urban and rural, in poor communities, and in wealthy ones.  The Public Library: A Photographic Essay presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs - from the majestic reading at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California's one-room Tulare County Free Library build by former slaves.  Here you will find literary libraries, storm-damaged libraries, a haunted library, libraries as sanctuaries, libraries as art museums, and libraries and memorials.  This book documents our vibrant, essential, yet threatened library system as it undergoes profound changes in its identity and purpose - yet remains at the very heart of American civic life.  As Bill Moyers notes in his forward, 'Robert Dawson shows us in this collection what is at stake: when a library is open, no matter its size and shape, democracy is open, too.'

You'll also find an afterword by author Ann Patchett, and essays, letters and poetry celebrating libraries by Philip Levine, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, E.B. White, Isaac Asimov, Charles Simic, and others. 

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay may never become a bestselling title or a book that's on everyone's must read lists, but it certainly is a title everyone should be exposed to, especially if you value public libraries in the nation.  Dawson does a wonderful job of promoting the importance of libraries, using a medium he understands and excels in.  So feel free to reserve this book and take a look at his collection and selection of photos representing the life of libraries.