Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Resource Spotlight: Ancestry, Library Edition

Available only in the library, Ancestry (Library Edition) is an invaluable resource to beginning genealogists and a starting point for more advanced genealogists. According to their website:
The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes); Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes); The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630; Social Security Death Index (updated monthly); WWI Draft Registration Cards; Federal Slave Narratives; and a strong Civil War collection. Ancestry Library Edition updates continually, with more indexes and original images added all the time.
My favorite part of Ancestry is the print outs you can get of the census records--no more flipping through microfilm for me! If you would like a "behind the scenes" pdf that they give to librarians to show us how to search check out Proquest's Product tour sheet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

From Books to Movies (or T.V.)

Last night I watched the movie Holes for the first time and I wished I had read the book first because I'm kind of a stickler for reading the book before I see the movie. If you're like me, then you'll want to read these books before you see the movie or, in one case, the t.v. show.

by Robert J. Sawyer
While pursuing an elusive nuclear particle, an experiment veers off course and for a few moments, the consciousness of the entire human race is thrown forward about twenty years, giving everyone a glimpse of their own future.
Now a show on ABC.

My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.

The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Caught in an impossible-to-resolve situation that spans the boundaries of temporal reality, this tale of a plucky librarian who is accidentally cast back in time focuses on the romantic complications of time travel.

Julie and Julia
by Julie Powell
The author recounts how she escaped the doldrums of an unpromising career by mastering every recipe in Julia Child's 1961 classic, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," a year-long endeavor that transformed her life.

Public Enemies
by Brian Burrough
An analysis of Depression-era bank robbery and its most notorious figures discusses the factors that influenced the period's crime rates, the formation and early work of the FBI, and the contributions of J. Edgar Hoover.

by Sapphire
A courageous and determined young teacher opens up a new world of hope and redemption for sixteen-year-old Precious Jones, an abused young African-American girl living in Harlem, raped and left pregnant by her father.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deweying it by the Numbers: 500s

I had a gentleman of about 10 or 11 years old come to me during our Sunday hours at our Southeast Branch with a serious question: "Can you tell me where the books about black holes are?" It turns out, he knew more about black holes than any children's book would show him, but he still wanted pictures of black holes. We ended up finding a couple in more general books in our 500s section--the sciences. He blew me away with his knowledge: that black holes are portals to the other side of the galaxy, that there is a black hole in the center of our galaxy, that there are different types of matter but he personally doesn't believe in the dark matter theory...

For this person, the books about science opened up a realm of possibilities. Sure he could have chosen the more useful books in the 500s on geometry, or different types of insects, or how the weather works. But he chose the more fantastical side of science last weekend, and for that I thank him for the best conversation I've ever had about science. In his honor, I now present to you my favorite books on the subject of black holes and the universe:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Public invited to vote for Best of National Book Award winner

For the first time ever, the public is being asked to help vote for a National Book Award winner. The award is for the Best of the National Book Award, which will help celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the National Book Award. Entrants who provide an email address will have the chance to win 2 tickets to the National Book Award ceremony, as well as hotel accommodations.

The National Book Award began in 1950 in New York City's famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The award has typical been, as their website says, "an award given to writers for writers." There are currently 4 categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. Eligible books must be written by an American citizen and are nominated by either a publisher or a NBA panel chair. Finalists are announced in October and NBA winners are announced in November at the awards ceremony.

Click here to vote

The six finalists for the Best of the National Book Award are:

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner
The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good Grounds For Books - September meeting

Good Grounds For Books just keeps getting better and better. Anita's and Robin's books both spurned lengthy, intense discussions over the subject matter. I was so blown away that I put both books (and a few suggested by other readers) on request. Want to know what we all read? A list follows.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Everything Matters!

Imagine you’ve known from the moment you were born when and how the world was going to end. When you know how everything on Earth dies, how do you manage to create a life for yourself? This is the situation Junior Thibodeau finds himself in. While still in utero, a mysterious voice makes itself known to Junior and explains that in a little over 36 years, on June 15, 2010 (at 3:44 p.m. EST) a comet will hit the Earth and instantly vaporize every combustible thing on it. Everything Matters!, by Ron Currie, Jr., tells us the story of Junior and his family while raising some very big questions about life, the universe, and existence itself. There's also a little bit about baseball. There are chapters told from the point of view of Junior, the various members of his family, and a mysteriously omniscient narrative collective that speaks directly to Junior in numbered paragraphs counting down to the inevitable end. Can the fourth smartest person in the history of humanity save the world? Even if he does, will that solve anything? Good questions. Do the answers matter? Yes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Unrequited Reading

Neil Gaiman's home library puts mine to shame. So many books, so little time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I recently was introduced to a site called LibraryThing. It is a social networking site for book lovers. You can go to and sign up for a free account. It will allow you to catalog books you have in your home library, find other people with similar reading interests, receive suggestions of books you may enjoy reading, talk about books on discussion forums, and submit and read book reviews. The cataloging info is based on Amazon, the Library of Congress and more than 680 other world libraries. I have just began cataloging books I have at home and look forward to adding titles on a regular basis. You use tagging to provide a subject access to your library of books, as well as searching other people's libraries.

The great thing about it is that it connects people based on the books they share. As you add a book to your library it connects you to other people on LibraryThing that have the same book in their library. This gives you access to other peoples libraries and and they have access to yours.

Another feature in the WikiThing option is I See Dead People's Books, which is a collection of libraries of famous dead people. This includes real as well as fictional. Another interesting feature is the Your Unsuggester. This is a list of books, based on what you already have in your library, that you are the least likely to want to add. This is a great opportunity to broaden your reading interests and read something really new and different.

It's a fun site where you can catalog your own Library online, and network with other people who share your reading interests. You can blog and talk in a variety of ways. Under Groups you can join others who have your own reading interests. I joined Librarians who LibraryThing. Other groups include Historical Fiction, Science Fiction Fans and many many more. It even has one for Name That Book for us who have read a book and cannot remember the name of it.

So if you love reading, then LibraryThing is the place for you. If you are looking for something new to read then LibraryThing is the place for you. If you are looking for people who share your reading interests then LibraryThing is the place for you. If you want to catalog your personal library at home then LibraryThing is the place for you.