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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Sale Room

Did you know that we have a book sale room at the Library?

Not many people realize that we have a book sale room on the lower level of the library. It is a small room but it contains a book for everyone's interest. If your ever in the Library and are in need of a good book take a stroll down stairs and take a look. We get many books in almost new condition donated and they are waiting for their new home. Paperbacks are only 50 cents, books on CD are $1 and hardcovers are only $1.You can even get VHS tapes for 50 cents and DVDs for $1 on occasion.  Where else can you find such great books for such a small price. We have many of the popular authors such as John Grisham, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton and even James Patterson. We even have books perfect for young readers and board books for tots. These book are perfect for a trip on a beach or a ride on a plane where you wont have to worry about when they are due back. Best of all the money goes  to the library fund so we can offer more things to our patrons. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Joe Hill wrote one of my favorite books ever, Horns.  We don't own it at PDL, but if you like quirky books that question religion and the nature of good and bad, then it's definitely worth interloaning through MelCat.  

But it's been years since Horns came out, and I've been anxiously awaiting something new from Hill.  Luckily, his new book, Nos4a2, comes out in April, and I can't wait.  Although it's pretty easy to find a plot description--"When Charles Talent Manx, an unstoppable monster who transforms children into his own terrifying likeness, kidnaps her son, Victoria McQueen, the only person to ever escape his unmitigated evil, must engage in a life-and-death battle of wills to get her son back"--these simple sentences never do justice to the complexity and beauty of Hill's writing.  And if none of this makes you want to check this book out, then maybe the fact that Hill is the son of Stephen King will create some interest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Where are you spring?

March is supposed to only come in like a lion, but the month is nearly over and there is nary a lamb in sight.

Obviously the lion ate the lamb, because I am still having to scrape my windshield every morning and my kids built a snowman yesterday.

It's hard to believe that Easter is less than two weeks away. I think that I am going to have to buy my daughter a cardigan to wear over the pink Easter dress my mother bought her.

The inclement weather makes me incredibly happy that we are having an indoor easter egg hunt at the library. I have slogged through mud and nearly been blown away by wind looking for easter eggs with my children. I draw the line at snow or rain, though.

We have had small Easter egg hunts for young kids during story time, but Cory (our director) gave me permission to hide eggs throughout the entire library this year. I think that it is going to be a blast. Young children (toddlers through first grade) will look for eggs on the lower level in the children's area and 2nd graders and above will get to hunt for eggs upstairs.

For only $10 I was able to order nearly 300 eggs from oriental trading and we are already filling them with stickers, tattoos, candy, and even McDonald's coupons. Several eggs will also contain a special "book coupon" that will entitle the child to a free book.

 Notice the grass? Next week it will be snow, slush, muck, and mud. 
I will be extremely grateful to be indoors. 

The Saturday before Easter Sunday (March 30th) I have teens coming at 9am to hide eggs and the big hunt will begin at 10am. I also plan to have some Easter crafts and games for kids.

I think that I go a wee bit overboard for holidays and special events, but I blame my parents for that. My mother decorates for every holiday, including St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, 4th of July, etc. and buys her grandchildren gifts for each one.

Next Saturday I am looking forward to seeing the library full of children with Easter baskets and wearing bunny ears (yes, I have made headbands for kids to color and wear).  Kids can bring their own basket or we will have paper bags to decorate and fill with loot.
I had to include this picture. Eeyore has always been my favorite!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gail Carson Levine

Hi, my name is Zoe Slisher and I am the guest blogger for today. I am 11 years old and in the 6th grade at Portland Middle School.

Gail Carson Levine and her dog, Baxter
Last Wednesday Newberry Honor author Gail Carson Levine  made it to our library. Some of her more popular books are Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and Dave at Night; but she has written many more and they are all amazing! I LOVE to read, especially fantasy, so it was REALLY cool to meet her! Not only that, but I was able to interview her!!!

I interviewed Gail after Kristie (the Portland Youth Librarian) and I picked her up from the airport. During the interview I asked her six questions.

Question 1: Do you like the movie Ella Enchanted?
Gail Carson Levine with Ella and Char
Answer: It was very different from the book but she did like it. Gail thought Anne Hathaway was a great Ella.  

Question 2: What is your favorite book that you wrote?
Answer: Gail's favorite is Dave at Night, because of the connection to her father. Gail's father was raised in an orphanage in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance and Dave at Night is a fictional version of his childhood. 

Question 3: What kind of books do you like to read?
Answer: Gail likes the author Terry Pratchet and poetry.

Question 4: If you couldn't be an author, what would you want to be?
Answer: Gail would like to be the strong woman at the circus.

Question 5: What are your hobbies?
Answer: Gail likes to walk her dog (Baxter, photo above), read, and lift weights.

Question 6: How long does it take for you to write a book?
Answer: It takes a few months to a couple of years for Gail to write a book.

 We also talked about the Disney Fairy books. Gail wrote them for Disney and had only two rules: she had to include Tinker Bell and no Peter Pan. What was even more interesting, though, was that Gail created several of the fairies used in the animated Tinkerbell movies.

Overall it was a great experience to meet an accomplished author. Gail was super nice. If you want to learn more about her she has an amazing website with her biography, books, news,email, and a blog that gives advice to young writers. Click here to check it out: Gail Carson Levine.

Gail and I at the Portland District Library

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Comics Are Novels Too!

With the ideas that Hollywood is pulling for it's movies lately, it's evident that comic books are on the rise as a medium (or that they're lazy, either way). Regardless, there hasn't been enough recognition by the general public for comic books/graphic novels. Comics tend to be revered as childish and a lesser form of reading, and while I can agree that some comics have more value than others, as a medium they haven't gotten much respect.

Graphic Novels, which is what I would call a Trade Paperback, are what you would buy at, say, a Barnes & Noble if you weren't looking in the magazines. They are paperback books of multiple issues of a comic book put together for sale. These are what i buy for our local library. They also sell, after an entire series has run, Omnibuses. An Omnibus is the ENTIRE series in one big book, and usually in hardcover. its like if you took those TPBs and bound THOSE together in an even bigger book. They're pretty expensive, but if you love that particular series, they are the best way to hold on to them. So in order from smallest to biggest: single issue "comic" < Trade Paperback < Omnibus. 

Now that you have an overview of classification, I want to outline why exactly that matters. Comics are viewed as a lesser form of reading as I said before. Yes, reading an issue id going to take you all of about 10 minutes at best, but when you're reading issue after issue, it adds up. Trade Paperbacks are then like a regular book if you will. They carry plenty of text and hold onto part of the whole story or a particular series. A TBP to me is like one book of Harry Potter. With that in mind, what in the world does a Omnibus correlate to?? It would be like taking all the Harry Potters, 1-7, and releasing them as one book, with a tremendous amount of story and an overwhelming amount to take in and read. That description alone would justify Graphic Novels as a genre, but size doesn't matter, Content, Context, Canon and Continuation are what matter.

Graphic Novels carry a story in a different way than a regular novel would. The addition of visuals on every page, all the time, adds nuance and depth that some authors cant evoke out of text. There are something things that should be kept subtle, or almost hidden but not out of sight, and it may be difficult to add those into a novel without giving them away. In any case, Graphic Novels can tell a story in a different,  eye-catching way. There may be instance when you could go pages without running into a word, or have fewer than 10 to a page and you may evoke much more drama, feeling, or story than you could in a chapter of a New York Times Bestselling Author. That, my friends, is the happy marriage of Context and Content that fuels the basic needs and necessities of most Graphic Novels. 

Now on Canon and Continuation: Canon is defined as a fundamental principle or general rule. If you have ever heard anyone complain about a new graphic novel based off an old one or something similar, one thing they may be complaining about is this. We love our heroes/villains/etc. the way they are, we're accustomed to it. When a new writer takes over and needs a fresh new story about the same characters, they tend to mess with our laws of the universe which can be scary. It would be like if Batman's parents were still alive, Krypton wasn't blown up, or Spider-Man had his own Spider-Hummer. Why would Spider-Man need a Hummer? There is a certain strength that these characters have built up over their comic runs, and to change that is to start all over, in some cases literally.  Continuation is important to any story. If you have a certain series run hundreds of issues, but along the way there was a change in writer or illustrator or something, you might see that series change a bit. But to change large amounts of information and character traits is something really absurd. Some characters may not even have anything change between different runs; I'm a huge Punisher fan, and he could run through a series fighting crime lords, his next series cleaning up the inner-city slums, then fight off a league or monster-killing hunters and never have a trait change. He is Frank Castle through and through. Continuation is that safety and familiarity you get when your Canon stays Canon.

And allllll this I just wrote was just applying to super-hero comics and the like. There is a simple beauty to contemporary Graphic Novels. Contemporary ones are based closer to real life events; they don't feature super heroes 90% of the time, can show off life events in a clarity regular novels take so long to show. Life lessons can be learned from these or heartstrings can be pulled. I've made sure to stock a decent collection of these in our library and they tend to be just as interesting as the fictional Graphic Novels.  If you get a moment, check out our Graphic Novels in out Teen section to see some of the titles I've collected. I can always give a good recommendation.

 And as always, if anyone has any recommendations or requests for me to look into for our library, I'm always open to suggestions. My e-mail can be found on my profile at the bottom of this post.

Left: Decent story, good morals, humor, and multiple outlooks on life; Koko Be Good is a good start for anyone. 

 Right: Runaway is a Marvel comic about a group of L.A teens who find out their parents run an evil organization. Teenage rebellion takes over as the use their inherited greatness to stop their criminal parents.

 There's also a lot of great web comics out there that meet alot of the criteria I listed here. If you don't mind a little illegal materials in your reading, check out Octopus Pie!

I have just finished reading, HEADS IN BEDS, by Jacob Tomsky a memoir of the hotel business, I found it interesting, and well writen. I knew little of how the large  hotels run, all the in and outs of the job, from bellhops, to laundry, desk clerks, parking att. and room cleaners.  I enjoyed the book . JKM

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Saturday was the 109th birthday of Dr. Seuss and the library celebrated with  a Sneetch themed party!

This is one of my absolute favorite Dr. Seuss stories (along with The Butter Battle Book) so I loved working on the crafts, decorations, and other details. 

The kids decorated star belly Sneetch belts with green and yellow tissue paper.            
 As you can see, they looked adorable!
We also had Dr. Seuss hats to color and some Seussical games to play. The Sneetches like to play ball on the beaches, but everyone seemed to have just as much fun with balloons and green star wands.

To top things off the kids ate green star cookies and watched the animated version of The Sneetches!

I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see so many kids at the library having so much fun.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Great place to raise kids....

I love working at this library.  My daughters practically grew up here, and now with a 4-month old granddaughter, I hope the trend continues.  I'm pretty sure it will, considering my daughter asked me for her old stack of Berenstain Bears books - hoping to share them with little Molly Elizabeth someday. 

When Lindsey asked about the books, I went downstairs and found them in a tote.  Looking through the 20+ books, I was surprised/tickled to see where she and her younger sister had used these books for their very own "library".  In their little-kid hand-writing, they had written due dates in the back - (curiously the books were always due on August 11th!) - and they included their own library numbers for check-out.  I loved it.

When interviewing for this job, I was asked "why" I wanted to work at the Portland District Library.  I told them this story and how much the library had always meant to us.  I don't imagine they have many interviewees with tears running down their cheeks, but that's how much this library means to me - and mine.

I love seeing kids coming in through the front door with their folks - excitedly running downstairs to see what new treasures they might find.  No better place to "raise" kids, than at the library!