Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting to Know Us: Amy Stafford

Amy Stafford

Senior Reference Assistant, Woodland West

I wanted to be a writer / parapsychologist / astronaut / bookstore owner when I was in elementary school. So far, the parapsychologist and astronaut parts haven't worked out (I've never seen a ghost and when the Challenger blew up I decided staying on Earth was fine with me), but I did work for a total of 6 years at a bookstore, and, so far, nearly 4 years in public libraries. Woodland West Branch has been my home since May 2008. I handle both adult and teen services at my branch.

I am a graduate of the University of North Texas (whoo!) where I studied poetry and fiction writing. My first publication was in Pank and I was once brave enough to be a guest poet for a poetry event where, I am happy to say, the sheer terror of standing in front of an audience did not cause me to pass out.

Most of what I read is fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror are my favorites), although poetry is a given. I read a lot of teen fiction. I mean a lot. When I read non-fiction, it tends to be on the humorous side (how to become a ninja, how to survive a zombie apocalypse). I like to crochet, visit National Parks, pretend my cats are my children, play embarrassing board games with my family (Quelf, SingStar), and teach my niece and nephews irritating things that will annoy their parents.

If you need help with teen fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, or poetry I'm your gal.

Book Favorites:

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Adventures of Cow
by Lori Korchek

The Knife of
 Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness

DVD Favorites:

Much hilariousness ensues as Sean uses his acute powers of observation to fake being psychic & solve crimes with best pal Gus.

The Inspector
Lynley Mysteries

Based on the
Elizabeth George books.
Try if you enjoy Prime Suspect.

The Secret of NIMH
One of my favorite childhood movies. Try the book
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.

Music Favorites:

10,000 Days
Desribed as
alternative rock with heavy metal sounds. Called "the thinking person's metal band."

Kimya Dawson
Hilarious music for children and families. I don't have kids and still love listening to this.

6 and 12 String Guitar
Leo Kottke
Kottke is just plain brilliant. If you're a guitarist, Kottke is someone you should get to know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good Grounds For Books - November Meeting

Yet another fabulous meeting. We did really well this time around; We actually finished a few minutes before noon instead of going over by 20 or 30 minutes! Laureen brought in some wonderful coffee mugs that she found in a catalog and some of the members (including myself) just had to own. We also threw in a little info about our upcoming Holiday Tips and Tricks program. But you're here for the books, so here they are!

Notes From the Dog
by Gary Paulsen (Juvenile Fiction)

King Dork
by Frank Portman (Young Adult Fiction)
While I Was Gone
by Sue Miller (Adult Fiction)

Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: the biography of a cause
by Tom Gjelten (Non-Fiction)

In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s war on the great panic
by David Wessel (Non-Fiction)

Santa in a Stetson
by Janet Dailey (Romance)
Murder is Binding
by Lorna Barrett (Mystery)
A Season of Gifts
by Richard Peck (Juvenile Fiction)
Dick Francis books (Robyn re-visited some previous reads) (Mystery)

The Romanov Prophecy
by Steve Berry (Fiction)
The Alexandria Link
by Steve Berry (Fiction)
True Compass
by Edward Kennedy (Non-Fiction)
Book of the Dead
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Fiction)

Eye of the Needle
by Ken Follett (Fiction)
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman (Juvenile Fiction)

Where Men Win Glory
by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)
Under the Banner of Heaven
by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)

Links to our catalog

During our update to our catalog software, you may experience some broken links from the blogs or the website to the catalog. This is a problem we expected to encounter. We are working to update the links.

Thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catalog Maintenance

The Library's online catalog service will be unavailable on Tuesday, Nov. 17 while we upgrade the software. Patrons and staff will not be able to access account information or lookup or reserve books. We anticipate the service will be available again on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Teen Books: Not just for, well, teens anymore

If you've been living under a rock, than you may not know that teen/young adult fiction is the fastest growing market in the publishing industry. Some people will say that this only happened in the past 5 to 10 years, but it started long before that.

My family shopped at Taylor's bookstore (my middle school years) when they were still around. Taylor's had a Young Adult area and, despite being a fan of more adult authors like Tolkien and Stephen King around age 10 and 11 (my dad should have hidden the Stephen King books better because I frequently scared myself reading parts of Misery and Pet Sematary), I latched on to books in the Young Adult section like crazy. It started with R.L. Stine's Fear Street series, progressed to Christopher Pike, Richie Tankerseley Cusick, and L.J. Smith (back when she first wrote the Vampire Diaries books!).

I witnessed the rise in popularity of young adult fiction firsthand and I get so excited every time I see an adult reading a young adult book. My mom reads every young adult book I give her and often passes them on to co-workers. And I see plenty of adults perusing our young adult section at the Woodland West Branch.

Here are some suggestions for some great young adult reads that adults will also enjoy:

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Little Brother
by Cory Doctorow

by Neal Shusterman

The Knife of Never
Letting Go

by Patrick Ness

The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
by Jack Gantos

A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Not Your Mama's Crafts

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I discovered I am a crafter. Sure, my mom taught me how to crochet when I was in elementary school, but I wasn't any good at it (mostly because I was very, very impatient; okay, I still am). Sewing was out of the question. I would most likely stitch a piece of fabric onto my hand. Sharp objects are best kept as far away from yours truly as possible. I stuck to books, writing, music, and sports. It's okay to get beat up and bruised when you play basketball, but not so much when you're trying to make an afghan.

I took another stab at crafts a few years ago when my best friend, whom I believe is wise in all things artistic (i.e., she doesn't accidentally stab herself with craft supplies on a regular basis) learned to knit and then started teaching knitting classes for TCU's Extended Education program (where she herself first learned). And, holy cow, I wasn't half bad. I have since started sewing MP3 and cell phone holders with felt and even sewing a skirt or two when I feel brave enough (and when I am wearing proper safety gear).

The Do-It-Yourself (or DIY) movement has really thrived in the last few years and there are now tons of great websites, blogs, classes, and books to help even the most clumsy crafter (re: me) figure out how to make something decent. The Arlington Public Library has a great selection of crafting books.

Pretty Little Patchwork by Valerie Shrader

Subversive Seamster
by Melissa Alvarado

Amy Butler's Little Stitches For Little Ones by Amy Butler

Cute Stuff
by Aranzi Aronzo

Big Girl Knits
by Jill Moreno

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano

We even have books for guys!

Son of Stitch 'n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men
by Debbie Stoller

The Crochet Dude's Designs for Guys
by Drew Emborsky

Crafty Blogs & Websites
Get Crafty

If you want more craft book suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here on the blog. =)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Resource Spotlight: Overdrive downloadable audiobooks

Recently, an unexpected eye ailment caused me to miss a day of work. Generally, if I am not feeling well, I might spend the day on the couch catching up on my favorite television shows on DVD. However, previously mentioned eye ailment did not allow this type of activity to help pass the time until my afternoon eye appointment (p.s. it is very hard to get an eye appointment on a fall day when kids are out of school). Reading my much anticipated celebrity biography was also pretty much out of the question. I was certain I was doomed to a day of complete boredom. Luckily, I realized Arlington Public Library offers downloadable audiobooks! First, I downloaded the Overdrive media console to my computer. That was pretty easy. The hardest part was selecting which book I wanted. I ended up with Middlesex, a book that I have been meaning to read because I have seen it on so many of my friends' bookshelves (it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction!). I easily added it to my cart and checked it out with my library barcode number. I had a little bit of trouble downloading my title to the console. It turns out that I needed an update to my Windows media player, but Overdrive gave me directions on how to get that update directly from the console (if you have problems downloading titles, check out the guided tour). After that, I was able to download the entire book at once and play it right from my console. I think this weekend I am going to transfer the title to an MP3 player so I can listen to it while I run errands. Few selected titles (signified with a CD and a flame) allow you to burn the book to a CD. This is great for me, because I mostly listen to audiobooks in my car. With this option, I don't have to worry about skipping and such from overuse (unfortunately, many of my favorite titles also the favorites of others...those disks can get warn out fast). Another great thing about downloadable audiobooks is that you don't physically check in an item- your loan will just expire. This means you can't forget to turn in a material, so you can't get a fine! So a potentially lame day was rescued by this awesome resource provided by my library. Now I'm hooked on downloadable audiobooks!