Monday, August 3, 2015

"Learn About Indoor Games" | @ the Library Article

Even though it's fun to play outside, sometimes the weather doesn't want to cooperate.  At times like these, it's nice to play games inside with family and friends.  The Abilene Public Library has many books on board and card games to play, whether you want to learn something new or you'd like to find out ways to play a game even better.

If you're not sure which game you want to play, you can start with The Book of Games by Peter Arnold.  In this book, Arnold gives you rules to some of the best indoor games like backgammon, dominoes, bridge, and even billiards, and table tennis.  Also included is the history of each game, and strategies to utilize once you've mastered each game.

The phrase "according to Hoyle" means to play in accord with a strict set of rules, named for the English writer Edmund Hoyle, and authority on card games.  the book The New Complete Hoyle Revised by Albert H. Morehead, Richard L. Frey, and Geoffrey Mott-Smith, is described as "the authoritative guide to the official rules of all popular games of skill and chance."  The book thoroughly covers rules for card games for children and adults, dice games, and even casino gambling games.

Winning 42 by Dennis Roberson tells you how to play the domino game described as "the national game of Texas."  According to the book, the game came about in Big Spring in 1887 when Baptists were barred from playing cards, but were still allowed to play dominoes.  A domino game that still allowed bidding and other strategies normally used in card games were devices.  Learn about knowing when (and how much) to bid, how to determine trumps, and tips on how to successfully win every hand.

Texas Hold'em is one of the most popular poker games around and, like with many things in life, there's a Dummies book that covers it.  Texas Hold'em for Dummies by Mark "The Red" Harlan helps you learn all the insider tips and tricks for playing both at the table and online.  Harlan covers betting, bluffing, odds, reading your hand, and more, all in the familiar step-by-step layout found in other Dummies books.

Chess is an ancient game of war first invented and played in China or India over a thousand years ago.  While the rules have changed over time, it's still one of the most popular board games ever made.  Teach Yourself Visually Chess by Jon Edwards not only goes into the different key positions and moves of the game, ti does so using large color photographs to guide you each step of the way.  Other instructional books on chess include 1001 Chess Exercises for Beginners by Franco Masetti, The Chess Player's Bible by James Eade, and Learn Chess Fast by Raymond D. Keene.

Another popular board game is checkers, but what do you do when you're tired of playing the game?  Carol Lynch Williams offers a solution in the children's book 24 Games You Can Play on a CheckerboardYou can learn checker games from other countries like Turkey, France, or Japan, or play games like Pyramid Checkers, Box the Fox, or Catching the Pigs.  You can even play Solitaire Pyramid Checkers for those days when you have to go it alone. 

The library also carries books on learning poker, Scrabble, and many other sorts of games.  So feel free to check out one of these books for the next time you're tempted to play in the house!

Article Contributed by Tony Redman, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Superhero Graduation at Library's South Branch Welcomes Heroes-In-Training" | Article from the Abilene Reporter News

Thanks to Timothy Chipp and Nellie Doneva from the Abilene Reporter News for coming out to Superhero Graduation Day at the South Branch Library, and for this story.

Photo by Nellie Doneva
Costumed children running through walls, smashing garbage with Hulk hands and crawling through an obstacle course turned the Abilene Public Library's South Branch from its normally subdued atmosphere into a school for superheroes Friday.

Children's Librarian Alyssa Crow couldn't help but enjoy the atmosphere as she helped the heroes "graduate" from the summer reading programs, this year focused on the larger-than-life costumed crusaders that have gained so much popularity since comic books turned into major motion pictures.

Photo by Nellie Doneva
"It's chaotic," Crow said, taking a breather from the physically demanding portion of the library's obstacle course.

Last year, summer's reading camp focused on science, with staff setting up experiments in a portion of the library's space.  Two years ago, pirates ruled the seven seas and the waves of book shelves turning the library into a treasure map to explore.

So it's a tradition now for the last weekday in July to turn the library into a funhouse.

A number of families and groups partook in the afternoon's festivities, including one led by Gibel Cedeno and Alicia Gonzalez.

Photo by Nellie Doneva
Their three young heroes Spider-Woman (Sophia Gonzalez, 3), Spider-Man (Jose Rosario, 3), and Superman (Rodrigo Moreno, 3) keeping them safe said they had a blast going through the many obstacles set up in front of them.

As for their favorites, the fire ring, featuring orange, yellow and red streamers flowing from a hula hoop, was mentioned.  So, too, was a crawling portion where the heroes needed to avoid touching black balloons among a mixture of multicolored obstacles suspended from the ceiling.

Sophia said she had a great way to avoid the black ones, therefore keeping herself safe to grow up a little more for next summer's reading events.

"I went under them," she said.

Book-To-Film Adaptations: August 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 theaters, as well as checking out the books they're based on.

Fantastic Four
Starring: Miles Teller
Release Date: Aug. 7
Inspired by: Fantastic Four
Author: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Summary: A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest-running superhero team, centering on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways.  Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. 

Dark Places
Starring: Charlize Theron
Release Date: Aug. 7
Inspired by: "Dark Places"
Author: Gillian Flynn
Summary: Libby Day was only seven years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse.  25 years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night. 

Z for Zachariah
Starring: Chris Pine
Release Date: Aug. 28
Inspired by: "Z is for Zachariah"
Author: Robert C. O'Brien
Summary: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Aug. 2)

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.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F LEE
Summary: In the mid-1950s, a grown-up Jean Louise Finch returns home to Maycomb find that her adored father is not as perfect as she believed.

#2: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 28
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Summary: A psychological thriller set in the environs of London.

#3: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 64
Call Number: F DOERR
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II; the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Weekly Events @ Your Library (Aug. 3-8)

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, visit our main website to take a look at our program schedule.  And remember, all programming is offered FREE of charge.

Aug. 3 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Join us for the monthly session of the South Branch's Teen Book Club, designed for avid teen readers in the community to come and share popular fiction materials with your peers.  Join us for a great discussion, snacks, and help choose what we'll read next. 

Aug. 3 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Gear up for a fun crafting session where we'll show youth, ages 8-15, how to create their own stylish bracelets using fabric scraps.  The finished product will certainly look awesome, so don't pass up on your chance to join the fun. 

Aug. 4 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're a young adult who loves anime, join our monthly club at the Main Library. We engage in a number of activities from watching hit anime shows, discussing everything anime and manga related, and a host of other items, and all led by Amanda Sasser. Come be a part of this monthly club at your library. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tremain's Book Corner: "Redeployment" by: Phil Klay

Author: Phil Klay
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary: This collection of stories takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guild and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In this book, a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died."  In "After Action Report," a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.  A Mortuary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains - of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both.  A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel.  And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System," a young Foreign Services Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them baseball.  These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.

Personal Review: What an amazing read for after finishing it, you can easily see how it won the National Book Award for Fiction.  Providing 12 stories, each powerful in its own right, they cover different areas of the armed forces and the men who have served in Iraq.  As the author is also a veteran of the war in Iraq, he brings first-hand knowledge and experiences to the stories, which added to the strength and impact of each story.

It's sad to think there are people in America who have either forgotten, become sensitized to, or just plain don't think about what's going on overseas.  The fact that brave Americans are risking their lives each and everyday are getting tossed aside when it comes to the mundane distractions in our lives.

This book will force anyone to stop and think, not only about the war we're in, but war itself.  I must admit, I myself have been guilty of not always being cognizant of what's gong on, but this book helped to give me a whole new eye-opening respect and appreciation for everything these brave servicemen and women do day in and day out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

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 Gunman
Starring: Sean Penn
Summary: A sniper on an unscrupulous slaying team kills the minister of mines of the Congo.  Terrier's successful kill shot requires him to go into hiding to safeguard himself and his team from revenge.  Terrier goes back to the Congo years later, but soon discovers himself to be the target of a paid hit gang associated with the minister's assassination. 

Starring: Jim Parsons
Summary: A lovable misfit from another planet meets a girl names Tip.  The two unlikely friends embark on the greatest journey of all time. 

Author: C.J. Box
Summary: 20 miles across the North Dakota border, detective Cassie Dewell has been assigned as the new deputy sheriff of Grimstad, the oil capital of the state.  With oil comes money, with money comes drugs, and with drugs come the dirtiest criminals hustling to corner the market.  12-year-old Kyle has been written off as the "slow" kid.  He witnesses a car accident and takes a mysterious bundle from the scene, he's in possession of a lot of money and packets of white powder.  Has his luck changed?  While Cassie is propelled on a collision course with a murderous enemy, she finds that the key to it all might be Kyle who keeps showing up where he doesn't belong. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Talking Technology @ Your Library" ~ @ the Library Article

I've been called the "digital librarian," but I can't help it if I'm attracted to all things technology-related.  For those of you who see me at the library, it's rare to see me without my smartphone, iPad, Surface, laptop, or all four at once.  Technology has become a part of our lives, helping to make things a little easier.  But did you know your Abilene Public Library has a lot to offer as well?  Whether inside our branches or on-the-go, we've got great services available for free.  All you need is a valid library card.

First and foremost, OverDrive is the service I talk most about.  Introduced in 2008, those with Kindles, iDevices, smartphones, and more have been making use of this popular service to checkout digital eBooks & audiobooks for free.  With a great selection, no late fees, and wireless checkouts, it's certainly a favorite of many patrons.  Check it out for yourself by visiting us online and clicking on the OverDrive Logo.

Hoopla, which I've dubbed "Netflix for Libraries," is our latest digital service, where you can stream movies, audiobooks, music albums, books, and more for free.  Unlike OverDrive, items in Hoopla are always available for checkout 24/7, which is a great benefit for streaming services.  Whether on your mobile device or a PC, patrons may checkout 8 titles a month, and just like OverDrive, they return themselves when they're due.  I'm certain you'll be impressed by titles you'll find available through this service.

The AWE Early Literacy Stations for kids is another popular service at all three library locations.  Each station connects youth to over 60 educational games across all subject areas from reading to science.  Kids have fallen completely in love with them as they don't even realize they're learning while having fun.  Plus, even better for the parents, none of these stations allow youth access to the Internet.  That alone can certainly give some parents great peace of mind, and kids don't even notice it's not there.  Look for them on your next visit to the library and test it out...although I must warn you there might be a struggle to pull them away.

Everyone's on the lookout for Hot Spots (places that carry a Wi-Fi signal to log onto and access the Internet) these days.  Did you know each library branch is a local hot spot?  We offer free access to Wi-Fi during our normal hours of operation.  Bring in your laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more, and make use of this complimentary service.

Computers are also a big draw at your library, and we offer free access with a library card.  The only charges are for printing at $0.15 per page in black & white and $0.45 in color, which is still a deal.  Public terminals are available at all branches, and we even offer lab PC's to access Microsoft Office applications.  The library's PC's are usually in high-demand and all are offered on a first-come, first-served basis; however, feel free to reserve one if all are in use.  You may also call ahead and staff can place a reservation for you over the phone.  It really is the best way to ensure a PC will be ready for you when you arrive.

If you're into social media, you're in luck.  Connect with us through the most popular social media platforms out there including Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Podomatic, and Tumblr to keep up with what we're doing.  You can find links to each on our main website.

That only scratches the surface of the technology your Abilene Public Library offers.  With access to children's eBooks through TumbleBooks, online databases, viewing the latest materials with Wowbrary, and more, we know how to stay on top of the latest in technology.  Ask us about any of these services on your next visit and take advantage of what we have to offer.

Article Contributed by Me (Tremain Jackson), Manager of the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library