Trying to decide between watching Men’s Super Combined- Slalom or having a romantic movie date this Valentine’s Day? Maybe it would be a great day to marry the two ideas and watch a documentary about two great Olympic Athletes, and follow it with a romance.
For a dvd on Olympians, enter the world of extreme snow boarding and learn about the rivalry between fierce rivals Shawn White and Kevin Pierce in HBO’s Documentary, The Crash Reel. These half pipe legends face each other in Vancouver’s Winter Olypmics, until a devastating crash threatens the life of one, while the other finds glory.
As a romantic movie choice, try Valentine’s Day. On a single day, a group of people from Los Angeles face obstacles as romances are found or lost. A young boy wants to give his first love flowers, a florist plans to propose to his girlfriend, grandparents struggle with their marriage, a couple meets on a plane and more as people face the challenges of love in this intertwined story of relationships.
Just have time for one movie? Try The Cutting Edge. After a disastrous Winter Olympics, the Captain of the American Hockey Team, Doug Dorsey’s Hockey career is over after a devastating injury. Kate Moseley, part of the Figure Skating pair, has a disastrous fall. Not willing to give up their Olympic dreams, they end up paired together to compete in figure skating at the next Olympics. Enjoy as these two strong willed people learn to fight together, and fall in love in the process.
Kristi~Adult Services Librarian~Highland Square Branch Library
As this long January comes to a close, with day after day of weather below zero degrees and even worse wind chill, the question is more when will winter end, than how do we know it’s winter? Allan Fowler’s children’s reader, How Do You Know It’s Winter? talks about snow, skating and sledding, but with the temperatures as cold as they have been, for many it’s been best to stay at home, get a blanket and a hot beverage, and read a good book! Here are some books we have at the Highland Square Branch Library, inspired by the cold weather.
The World of the Polar Bear, by Norbert Rosing, contains page after page of polar bear photographs, as well as pictures of the arctic environment, and other plants and animals that reside there, with this book being organized by season. Among the many things we learn is that baby polar bears like to play by pulling on their mother’s ears, a mother polar bear will call back her straying cubs by making a puffing sound called chuffing, and that baby cubs will nap on their mother’s backs.
Look Inside an Igloo, by Mari Schuh, is a children’s book that explains how the Inuit build igloos by cutting blocks of hard snow, using tools of bone. Then they stacked the blocks in a circle and packed soft snow between the blocks. Cutting a doorway, they built a tunnel with snow blocks for an entrance. Finally, a block of clear ice was used for a window, which let light in. As the snow froze to ice, the igloo became a strong home.
Snow is Falling, by Franklyn Branley, discusses how water vapor freezes into snowflakes, which can fall as single flakes or form clusters. Snow has beneficial effects on our environment. By covering plants, it acts like blanket, keeping the wind, ice and cold from hurting them, helping many plants survive winter. The blanket of snow also keeps wind and cold from worms, mice, moles and chipmunks, which stay underground all winter. Finally, melted snow helps bring water for wells, streams and rivers.
Face to Face with Penguins, by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott, is the story of how this married couple went to the island of South Georgia, to be immediately welcomed by a group of King penguins, which stopped several feet away to inspect them. Fascinated by the birds, they wrote this book about what they learned. Penguin’s heart beat slows from its normal 60-70 beats per minute to 20 when it is underwater, to preserve oxygen and lengthen the period it can stay under water. They also can pop out of water like rockets, then grasp an ice slope with their claws to climb up ice slopes, since they have no hands to pull their bodies up. Also, penguins lay their eggs in an area called a rookery, and often keep them warm by balancing the eggs on their large feet.
Chocolate Desserts to Die For! The Complete Guide for Chocolate Lovers, by Bev Shaffer, shares her passion for chocolate. Many of us really want chocolate over the holidays, when it’s cold, or pretty much any other time at all. This book has a guide for chocolate tasting, helping you rate chocolate to find your favorite, based on some criteria like flavor, whether they evolve over time, interact with each other, or have different phases. Does it have bitterness, acidity or astringency? Is it mild or severe? And how does it rate on its three phases, being what you feel in a few seconds, what you feel while it slowly melts, and what you feel once you have swallowed it. If rating your chocolate is not enough for you, enjoy the recipes in this book like Gooey Caramel Pecan Brownies, Simply Sublime Double-Chocolate Pudding, and Fudge Nut Deep-Dish Pie.
Hopefully learning about these books will bring you a little winter cheer. For some winter reading, brave the cold and stop in to see us at the Highland Square Branch Library.
Kristi~Adult Services Librarian~Highland Square Branch Library
Last weekend, Twelve Years a Slave took home the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture–Drama. Based on the book Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, this 1853 memoir is the story of a free black man who is abducted and sold into slavery during 1841 in Louisiana. Published shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and both detailing the horrible conditions of slavery in Louisiana, Twelve Years a Slave sold over 30,000 copies and was considered a best seller at the time. Eventually the book fell into obscurity, until being rediscovered in the 1960s. In 2013, the movie version, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor was released, earning a great deal of critical acclaim.
Also nominated for Best Motion Picture–drama was Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Based off the book Philomena : A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search by Martin Sixsmith, this explores the true story of a young unwed teenage Irish woman who is sent to a convent after becoming pregnant. Forced to give up her child for adoption, work at the convent to pay off her cost of her stay, and treated with disapproval by the nuns, this is the story of a mother’s yearning to find her son. Year’s later, approached by Philomena’s daughter, journalist Martin Sixsmith helps Philomena search for her lost son in America, and through their quest the atheistic journalist comes together with devout Catholic Philomena.
For a list of 2014s nominees and winners, check out the Golden Globes website.
Our reduced hours become effective Monday, January 6.
Here they are for your convenience:
Branch Library Hours of Operation
Monday – Tuesday – Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday – Friday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Main Library Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Program times may have changed so we encourage you to call the branch library before attending.
It’s the holiday season, and you may still be shopping. Consider checking out a children’s music CD to add to your shopping list. I love my professional collection of children’s CDs. They are a treasure of fantastic songs to use during a story time presentation to get the children moving, and my three-year-old son loves listening to our favorite songs in the car when I take him to school, run quick errands with short drives, and also during longer road trips.
My Favorites: “Five Little Ducks,” “Bathtime” to use while blowing bubbles, “Shake My Sillies Out”, and “All I Really Need”
You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
My Favorites: “Little Bird, Little Bird”, “Three Little Birds” and “Who’s My Pretty Baby”
My Favorites: “Jumping and Counting” and “May There Always Be Sunshine”
Where Is Thumbkin? published by KIMBO Educational
My Favorites: “Where Is Thumbkin?” and ”Peanut Butter”
Rocketship Run by The Laurie Berkner Band
My Favorites: “Rocketship Run”, “Five Days Old”, “Candy Cane Jane”, and “Fast and Slow”
My Favorites: “Moon Moon Moon”, “Pig on Her Head”, “The Goldfish”, “I Know a Chicken”, and “Under a Shady Tree”
My Favorite: “Color Game”
Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner
My Favorites: “I Really Love to Dance”, “Clean It Up”, and “Little Red Caboose”
Tiny Tunes Music for the Very Young Child by Carole Peterson
My Favorites: “Five Plump Peas”, “Walkin’ Shoes”, “Walk, Walk”, and “Everybody Has a Face”
My Favorites: “Jump Up, Turn Around” and “Family Goodbyes”
Kids In Motion by Greg and Steve
My Favorite: “The Freeze”
Rock and Roll Garden by Bari Koral Family Rock Band
My Favorites: “Pop”, “Clap It!”, and “Dance All Day”
My Favorites: “The Sneezing Song”, “Hands Are for Clapping”, “Old Sock Stew”, “I Took a Bath in a Washing Machine” and “Alabama, Mississippi”
Action Songs for Preschoolers by Georgiana Stewart
My Favorite: “Statues”
My Favorites: “Beethoven’s Five Finger Play” and “Bananas”
My Favorite: “Stick to the Glue”
Whaddaya Think of That? by Laurie Berkner
My Favorite: “We Are the Dinosaurs”
More Singable Songs by Raffi with Ken Whiteley
My Favorite: “Six Little Ducks”
- Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian
One of the fun things about libraries is seeing where things wind up being shelved. In my humble opinion, some of the best things ever written were done without any particular audience in mind. For example, CS Lewis’s thingy about wardrobes, or that Harry Potter series that was kind of popular for a while there. They don’t talk down to kids, and they don’t pander to adults. They just kind of tell a story, and whoever likes it is welcome to it.
Mouse Guard is an example of that dynamic in graphic novel format. If you look in the catalog, you’ll see it shelved variously in adult, teens, and children’s areas. And, honestly, it fits any of them. The series follows, well, the Mouse Guard. It’s a band of warrior mice who look out for their fellows and protect them from such threats as owls. It’s got a kind of Medieval feel to it, with the mice being very concerned with chivalry. The tension often is generated when one honorable intention butts up against another obligation.
This particular volume picks up the backstory of the Black Axe, a kind of mythic artifact that makes brief appearances in other volumes. It’s one of those kind of stories of loss and duty that hearken back to the roots of English literature, and it still works surprisingly well today.
Librarians find a lot of interesting things in books, but nearly all are — this is an assumption based in hope — left accidentally. We get lots of checks, a handful of photos, and various tickets, flyers, and other ephemera. One of the librarians here at Highland Square once found a leftover chicken wing. Thankfully, just the one time (and she didn’t specify, but I assume it was still delicious).
So it’s not unusual in and of itself that when I hit about page 40 of the new Maggie Stiefvater book, The Dream Thieves, there was something left by the last person who checked it out. What was unusual was what it was: A simple note saying the reader had enjoyed it, and hoped the next person would as well.
Now, as a professional librarian, my by-the-book reaction should probably have been to call the police immediately and report someone abusing our property, and also notify Fairlawn schools to have them put cautionary messages in the permanent files of all their students. But I really found this note rather touching.
It also has me thinking that this is something unique to paper books. Much as I love my e-books, you just can’t stumble upon random feedback like this. For example, Goodreads has lots of user-submitted reviews, but in order to view them you have to actually be looking. It prevents the kind of improvised intimacy of a random note from a stranger. It’s also something unique to libraries (maybe also used-book stores, but even that seems a stretch). I mean, if you’re finding weird notes in a book you’ve just purchased you’ll probably be wondering why it didn’t come with a discount.
There’s a certain kind of magic created by people who share a book. And like any magic, it’s best served up with an air of mystery. For those reasons, this anonymous note really made my day, and this is something of which I wholeheartedly approve, as long as the note’s not left on a chicken wing. Of course, don’t let me catch you at it, either, because, again, standard practice in library circles is to come down on miscreants like this like a she-bear taking on someone who tried to write a note on her cub.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, that Fairlawn student is entirely correct. This book is great. You’ll probably want to start with its predecessor, The Raven Boys.
Lighthouses are part of our country’s history, and appeal to many’s sense of wonder of the past. People think what it was like to live in the past, in remote coastal areas, often several days travel away from even the closest of villages. Lighthouse Keepers kept lights burning day and night, year round, to warn sailors away from dangerous areas of the coast. Some lighthouses were even on remote islands. Not only did the Lighthouse Keepers tend their lights, but they often risked their lives to rescue the shipwrecked in the middle of terrible storms.
When I chose lighthouses as a topic for a presentation, I became fascinated with them, so decided to share a few of the things I learned. The first book I read was called Gracie the Lighthouse Cat, by Ruth Brown. This children’s story is about a mother cat and her kitten who live in a lighthouse. While the mother cat is sleeping, the kitten goes exploring, and gets stuck out in a horrible storm. The mother cat eventually finds and rescues her kitten. But in this book’s illustrations, a real event is revealed. Grace Darling was a Lighthouse Keeper’s daughter, and during a storm, she saw a shipwreck. Even as the mother cat rescues her kitten, the real story unfolds as Grace Darling and her father bravely take a rowboat out in the storm and rescue of 9 shipwrecked people. Grace Darling became a heroine in England for her diligence and bravery.
Loving this picture book, I started researching more about lighthouses, and realized I had never wondered how long ago civilizations had built them. We have many historical lighthouses in the United States, but were they used throughout the world? To my amazement, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was a lighthouse called the Pharos. This structure, built in the port of Alexandria of Egypt, was built in the beginning of the beginning of the third century BC, and stood for about 1,200 years, until it was destroyed by an earthquake. One of the many purposes, over time, for this tower was to help the Roman Merchants find Alexandria and trade with the city, for its harvested food grown along the Nile River. Some records indicate a mirror or lens may have been used to project its light further to sea.
Over time, different types of fuels were used in lighthouses, and different types of mirrors or lenses were experimented with. Lighthouse Engineering became an occupation, with the duty to design and build improved lighthouses. In 1822 a French Physicist named Augustin Fresnel invented a type of lens that could concentrate light into a beam that was visible 20 miles out to sea. This lenses could be as tall as 12 feet, with rings of glass prisms above and below it’s center, and resembled huge glass beehives in a metal structure. Most United States lighthouses weren’t converted to using the Fresnel lenses until the 1850s. Each unique lens helped give each lighthouse its characteristic, which is the unique lighthouse beam that helped sailors identify the specific lighthouse and location. One of the Lighthouse Keeper’s duties was to clean soot from the hundreds and hundreds of small lenses that made up the huge structure.
Information on these topics and much more are available on lighthouses. Historical works discuss how lighthouses were built and talk of the people who lived there long ago. Travel guides are available for those who want to visit lighthouses, often now converted to stores, museums or bed and breakfasts, or preserved as historic sights. There are stories of shipwrecks, haunted lighthouses, and the brave Lighthouse Keepers who risked their lives to rescue people lost at sea. Visit your local library to find out more.
Kristi~Adult Services Librarian, Highland Square Branch Library
On Nov. 5, voters will be asked to select four candidates for Akron School Board. That’s a race that is vitally important, but will never get the kind of attention we see in higher-profile races like mayor or city council. This time ’round we have seven candidates, three of them incumbents.
Last week, all seven candidates were on hand to answer questions submitted by the public here at the library. There were about 40 people in the audience, and the forum went on for roughly two hours. Here’s the event recorded in its entirety, divided into two YouTube files.
Tonight’s was another really great Block Watch program organized by Summit County Councilman Frank Comunale.
This month’s guest was Akron Police Department Sgt. Mike Lugenbeal, who shared some general crime prevention tips. These included:
Make sure the doors to your home have locks that can’t be opened from the outside. Many doors have windows within 40 inches of the lock, which means a criminal can fairly easily break out the glass and then reach through to unlock the door.
Can criminals see valuables through your windows at night? Make sure blinds or other window coverings keep your belongings private. These days, large televisions that can be spotted from outside are a hot item for burglars.
Secure window-mounted air conditioners. If such units are simply held in place by the sliding window, it’s a pretty simple matter to remove them and gain easy access to a home.
Eliminate any tall shrubbery that could be used as convenient cover for someone working on opening a window.
Make sure your address can be easily seen from the street, so that emergency responders can find you.
Record serial numbers of valuable items, and take photos of jewelry, so any stolen items that later turn up in a police evidence room can be reclaimed.
If you’re planning to be away from home, have someone gather mail and newspapers for you, shovel snow from walks, and so on to avoid advertising the fact that your home is unattended. Lugenbeal noted that Akron police offer a service called an Away From Home Report. If you call 330-375-2181, police can send a cruiser by your home daily to check around and make sure everything looks alright.
The next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6 pm. See you there!