Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS!

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown's War Against Slavery, by Albert Marrin. 

John Brown is a man of many legacies, from hero, freedom fighter, and martyr, to liar, fanatic, and "the father of American terrorism." Some have said that it was his seizure of the arsenal at Harper's Ferry that rendered the Civil War inevitable.

Deeply religious, Brown believed that God had chosen him to right the wrong of slavery. He was willing to kill and die for something modern Americans unanimously agree was a just cause. And yet he was a religious fanatic and a staunch believer in "righteous violence," an unapologetic committer of domestic terrorism. Marrin brings 19th-century issues into the modern arena with ease and grace in a book that is sure to spark discussion.
Ida M Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business - And Won! by Emily Arnold McCully.

Born in 1857 and raised in oil country, Ida M. Tarbell was one of the first investigative journalists and probably the most influential in her time. Her series of articles on the Standard Oil Trust, a complicated business empire run by John D. Rockefeller, revealed to readers the underhanded, even illegal practices that had led to Rockefeller's success.

Rejecting the term "muckraker" to describe her profession, she went on to achieve remarkable prominence for a woman of her generation as a writer and shaper of public opinion. This biography offers an engrossing portrait of a trailblazer in a man's world who left her mark on the American consciousness.
Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation, by Sally M. Walker.

The Mason-Dixon Line's history, replete with property disputes, persecution, and ideological conflicts, traverses our country's history from its founding to today. We live in a world of boundaries—geographic, scientific, cultural, and religious. One of America's most enduring boundaries is the Mason-Dixon Line, most associated with the divide between the North and the South and the right to freedom for all people.

Sibert Medal–winning author Sally M. Walker traces the tale of the Mason-Dixon Line through family feuds, brave exploration, scientific excellence, and the struggle to define a cohesive country. But above all, this remarkable story of surveying, marking, and respecting lines of demarcation will alert young history buffs to their guaranteed right and responsibility to explore, challenge, change, and defend the boundaries that define them.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, by Rick Riordan.(Audio, narrated by Jesse Bernstein.)

A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.

So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives listeners his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that." 

Greek Mythology, by Ken Jennings.

Unleash your inner genius and become a master of mythology with this interactive trivia book from Jeopardy! champ and New York Times bestselling author Ken Jennings.

With this Junior Genius Guide to Greek mythology, you'll become an expert and wow your friends and teachers with all the best ancient stories: how Prometheus outsmarted the gods, how Achilles's heel led to his death, and how we mere mortals always seem to get mixed up in so many misadventures. With great illustrations, cool trivia, and fun quizzes to test your knowledge, this guide will have you on your way to whiz-kid status in no time!

Heroes in Greek Mythology Rock! by Karen Bomemann Spies.

From mere mortals facing the gods, to brave men and women taking on the most difficult of challenges, Greek mythology is full of exciting and dangerous adventure. These myths reflect the actions, problems, and feelings that are common to all human beings.

Author Karen Bomemann Spies concentrates on the most well-known of the heroes, including Heracles, Atalanta, and Jason and the Argonauts. She explores the relationship between ancient Greek hero myths and modern-day fairy tales. Expert commentary and question-and-answer sections supplement each story. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dexter Free Library turns 90!

This year, the Dexter Free Library observes its 90th anniversary. Director Jennifer Thomas talks about the library - past and present - and invites us all to come out to help celebrate.

Come and join the Dexter Free Library on Wednesday, August 20, as we celebrate the library's 90th birthday! All events are free and open to the public. (Details here.)
The Dexter Free Library was founded with grocery coupons collected largely through the efforts of the women in Dexter.  An advertising contest in 1924 offered volumes of the classics as prizes.  Dexter won the second prize of 250 volumes.

Until 1957, the library was moved from building to building in the village of Dexter, at times located in the homes of the librarians.  In 1948, the library was given property on East Kirby Street by the descendants of prominent village citizens. 

The library joined the North Country Library System in 1948.

We have accomplished much in the last several years. The interior of the library was painted and brightened up significantly, new shelving was installed, we changed over from using CPUs to thin clients at all of the public and staff work-stations and recently purchased and installed a new media return and book drop.

Sending blankets overseas.
Last year we introduced a new initiative called Say Yes To Nice. With this program, our goal was to encourage community members to choose to do good and to provide such opportunities through the library. We held several events under SYTN including hosting the entire Dexter Elementary School for an anti-bullying event last fall. It was exciting to have them join with us and to have approximately 20 community volunteers on hand to help out. The Elementary school adopted SYTN as their anti-bullying program for the school year.

We also collaborated with the elementary school to collect Christmas cards for seniors in area nursing homes. Our biggest community project under SYTN was our knit and crochet afghans that were sent to wounded warriors in Germany. The community response was tremendous and we sent 20 afghans overseas. In fact, I was recently invited to meet with some knitters who had continued to create blankets. They just donated 12 additional afghans that will be distributed to veterans or seniors later this year. We now have a SYTN collection featuring books (on manners, bullying, how to get along with others, etc.) to share with the community.
Learn more about Say Yes To Nice (Watertown Daily Times, 9/14/2013)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New children's e-books added!

I Kill the Mockingbird, by Paul Acampora.

When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to "destroying the mockingbird." Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books.

Life on Mars, by Jennifer Brown.

Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable.

But when Arty's family announces they're moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever—especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, "Mr. Death" isn't terrifying at all—he's actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?

For fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce's Cosmic and Jack Gantos's Dead End in Norvelt comes a heartwarming story of true friendship—earthly or otherwise. 

Steering Toward Normal, by Rebecca Petruck.

Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He's chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he'll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool's Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf's mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne's father, too.

Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy's chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop. What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bookstore binge.

I had the day off yesterday and spent it with my sister, driving to Ithaca and back. No reason, apart from the fact that it was a trip we could complete during the business day and that she'd never been there before. It turned into a bookstore binge. Because when you live in an area without bookstores*, it's easy to binge on them when you find a couple.

The haul from Buffalo Street Books.
Our first stop was Phoenix Books, which is a big red barn on Route 13 heading south. This is the kind of place that gives my sister hives, because although there is a system of organization, it's not very obvious, and it's not very neat. (Cobwebs, books stacked haphazardly on the floor, etc.) However, we spent about half an hour looking around** before heading on our way.

We had a little time to kill before lunch, so we parked the car and took a walk around the block, only to stumble upon Buffalo Street Books, a sweet little indie. I had no intention of buying anything - I rarely intend to buy anything - but as soon as I spotted a title I wanted to give as a gift, well, the seal was broken, as they say.

After lunch, we took a stroll through the commons and were lured into a used bookstore (that I didn't actually catch the name of) by a sign outside advertising records. But we didn't even make it to the vinyl section, because you had to walk past fiction to get there, and by the time we'd done that, our parking meter was due to expire. (And had, by the time we'd walked back to the car. No ticket, but I did receive a handy card reminding me of the correct way to park between meters. To which I said some not nice words.)

We drove back to Syracuse and wrapped up our trip with a stop to Barnes and Noble. Because, well, bookstore binge. 

*My town has one small used bookstore I've been known to frequent and a library book sale that I cannot resist. We also have the book section at Target and bestselling paperbacks in many fine drugstores. But as for an establishment that specializes in the sale of new books, no. No, we do not.

**I was half-heartedly looking for anything by a particular author on my TBR list, a) because she's on my TBR list, but b) because I'm not so good at browsing aimlessly. I love serendipity, but serendipity seems to work better for me if I'm looking for something else in the first place, something I am only lightly committed to actually finding.

New e-books: Picture book madness!

Baseball Is... by Louise Borden and illustrated by Raúl Colón.

The ultimate celebration of an all-American sport, this picture book captures the joy and the history of baseball—and knocks it out of the park!

Don't wait for Opening Day to start your baseball season! Crack open Baseball Is... and revel in the fun of this all-American game! Perfect for the stats-counting super-fan and the brand-new little leaguer, Baseball Is... captures the spirit of this cherished pastime, honoring its legendary past, and eagerly anticipating the future of the sport that is "stitched into our history."

Grandfather Gandhi,  by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk.

Mahatma Gandhi's grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.
How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger?

One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi's village.

Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud?

Some Bugs, by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel.

Grab your magnifying glass!
Find your field guide!
And come hop, hide, swim, and glide
through this buggy backyard world!

Featuring insects including butterflies and moths, crickets and cicadas, bumblebees and beetles, this zippy rhyming exploration of backyard-bug behavior is sure to have insect enthusiasts of all ages bugging out with excitement!

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, by Lois Ehlert. 

The renowned Caldecott Honoree and illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom provides a moving, intimate, and inspiring inside look at her colorful picture book career.

Lois Ehlert always knew she was an artist. Her parents encouraged her from a young age by teaching her how to sew and saw wood and pound nails, and by giving her colorful art supplies. They even gave her a special spot to work that was all her own.

Today, many years and many books later, Lois takes readers and aspiring artists on a delightful behind-the-scenes tour of her books and her book-making process. Part fascinating retrospective, part moving testament to the value of following your dreams, this richly illustrated picture book is sure to inspire children and adults alike to explore their own creativity.

Weeds Find a Way, by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher. 

Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant...these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display!

From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants and is sure to have little ones chanting, "Way to go, weeds!"

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crafty time!

As ever, North Country libraries are up to some crafty shenanigans. (As ever, I sit back and watch, not being crafty myself.)

Linda from Gouverneur submits this googly-eyed friend she likes to call Herman. All you need is construction paper, some kind of adhesive (tape/staples/glue, pick yer poison), and of course, googly eyes. Rumor has it that Linda keeps an emergency stash in her desk, which I condone wholeheartedly.

Herman, the Happy Caterpillar.

Herman, side view.
 Meanwhile, in Lowville, Dawn shares her latest creation - converting a humble footstool into a minion. Clever, right? (Want to make your own minion? Download her pattern!)

Thanks, ladies, for keeping me in the crafty loop!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Rebecca Donnelly Welcome Interview.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a few new directors in our system this summer. Recently, I had a chance to electronically sit down with Rebecca Donnelly and chat about her new gig as Norwood Public Library's new director.

Angela: We'll start simple. First question: Who are you?

Rebecca: Are you saying I'm not a complicated and interesting person? Because it's true.

I'm a former children's librarian, although I'm ambivalent about putting it that way. I've worked in circulation, but I also did children's programming, and now that I'm a director, I'm still doing children's collection development, programming, and outreach. But I spent six years as in the Youth Services department at the main branch of Rio Rancho Public Library in Rio Rancho, NM, and that's where I really learned about children's services. Who else am I, besides a librarian? Uh...

Angela: Well, shoot. My next question was going to be 'Where did you come from?' but you kind of covered it with the New Mexico background. 

Rebecca: Before I moved to New Mexico, I lived in Florida for five years, which is where I got my start volunteering and working in libraries. I volunteered to do preschool storytimes at the Air Force base library where we were posted, and when a job opened up in the circulation department, I sneaked right in. Before Florida, we were in California, where I grew up and where I spent a lot of time at my local library. In fact, I just saw yesterday that Maggie Stiefvater was doing an event at my hometown library--the fancy new one, not the old Carnegie building I used to hang out in. Watching your former libraries grow and change is kind of like hearing that your old friends from high school are actually still alive and kicking without your daily support and intervention. How is it possible?

Rebecca Donnelly leads a parachute activity.
Angela: One of my old libraries had a security guard who looked like a latter day Omar Sharif, and it STILL throws me off that he's not there anymore. It's been ten years.
But moving right along. Florida, New Mexico, California. How'd you hold up in the North Country this past winter? (Which was, by all accounts, a doozy, even by local standards.)

Rebecca: I picked my six favorite sweaters and didn't take them off until June. It was a rough introduction to the North Country, but winter only happens once, right? It's all kayaks and apple- picking after this?

Angela: Absolutely. That's all it is. Go ahead and chuck those sweaters. Serving as the interim director at Norwood was your first gig as director, right?

Rebecca: Yes. I have briefly been a supervisor before, but this is my first directorship.

Angela: Any surprises?

Rebecca: It's been pretty smooth so far. I've been very gratified to see how happy everyone seems to be that I'm on board permanently. I'm starting slowly--a little shifting to use the space better, a little magnetic paint for fun, and I plan to start making some more connections in the community soon. I haven't had any real surprises except that it doesn't rain chocolate drops on me like I thought it would.

Angela: Well, not in your first year. Last question - what are you reading?

Rebecca: Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. It's a classic Newbery Honor book that has rightfully been reissued. Two cousins discover an elderly brother and sister living in a deserted summer colony, and their reaction to the quaintness of the relics of late 19th century life is very much what a modern reader might think of the 1950s, and yet the narrative is so charming and energetic that you don't feel you're reading something almost sixty years old.

Angela: I will check it out. Thanks for talking with The Frozen Librarian, Rebecca!


Usually, my storytime voices are premeditated, and I've got a whole catalog of them. Thanks to a misspent youth watching BBC adaptations, I can do a passable British accent, and I can also go south of Mason Dixon if need be. I've got my child voice, my mom voice, my monotone Bored Potato voice. I remember taking the time and energy of an audiobook narrator to ensure that each of my voices of Mac Barnett's Chloe and the Lion - still one of my favorite read-alouds - was truly distinctive.

Sometimes, though, voices just come out. Unbidden.

Case in point: I laid my hands on a slightly older title this week: Big Plans, by Bob Shea and illustrated by Lane Smith. You'll know Bob Shea as the man who recently gave us Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great and the Dinosaur vs. series, and Lane Smith, well, you'll just know*. I read this one aloud to myself at home (like you do) and found myself using a voice that was a strange blend of Katharine Hepburn, John F. Kennedy, and John Lithgow when he gets all crazy eyes. (Or as my friend Michele says, "The best kind of John Lithgow.")

This unexpected voice thing has happened to me before only one other time - when my monster from Peter McCarty's Jeremy Draws a Monster suddenly started using what one bystander described as a very thick Bronx accent. (I've never been to the Bronx, so I can neither confirm nor deny this.)

I hope this is the kind of thing that happens to other people.

*Although I'm slowly coming to understand through conversations with non-librarian friends that although children's authors and illustrators are my rock stars, they're not necessarily everyone's.