Austin Public Library Blog

If you are unable to reach the Ask a Librarian system through the usual links, please try http://library.austintexas.libanswers.com. or call 512-974-7400 for asssistance.

The Library will CLOSE at 6 PM on Wednesday, November 25.  The Library will be CLOSED on Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27 for Thanksgiving. The Virtual Library is still available 24/7.

APL Blog

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Misty Copeland, soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, writes with candor, balance, and warmth about the racial and socioeconomic biases she had to overcome in her inspirational Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. Misty came to ballet late, as a 13-year-old, via a Boys and Girls Club community class. Now, at thirty-two, she has not only performed some of the most coveted and challenging roles in classical ballet, including Swan Lake this year; she has also danced atop a grand piano during Prince's 2010 Welcome 2 America, and was featured in a commercial for Under Armour that within a week of its release had more than four million views on YouTube. She has also just released a new children's book, titled Firebird, where she encourages a young dancer to have faith in herself. "You will soar, become a swan, a beauty, a firebird for sure," she writes. Once again, check out a book and get inspired at the library. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you’re in the mood for a chuckle, check out these GIFs – image files that load in your browser and play short, looping animations. A GIF is kind of like a punchline made over and over again, so it wasn't too hard for me to find a few that pinpoint funny moments in popular movie comedies available at APL. Follow the links next to each title for some loopy good fun in different formats and editions, including digital.

1. Isn’t it bromantic?

21 Jump Street (2012) | DVD

2. Mean...

Mean Girls (2004) | DVD

3. You go, girl.

Some Like It Hot (1959) | DVD 1, 2, 3

4. Mug shot.

The Big Lebowski (1998) | DVD 1, 2, 3, Blu-Ray

5. Different Strokes.

The Hangover (2009) | DVD 1, 2, Blu-Ray

6. Swoosh.

Modern Times (1936) | DVD, Blu-Ray, Streaming Video (Criterion Collection)

7. Seriously.

Tiny Furniture (2010) | DVD, Blu-Ray, Downloadable Video (OverDrive)

8. #SorryNotSorry

50/50 (2012) | DVD, Blu-Ray

9. Stop what you’re doing and listen.

Anchorman (2004) | DVD 1, 2

(Except for #7 and #9, all GIFs are sourced from Giphy.com. Top Image Credit: Adam Ross via Flickr Creative Commons.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

El premio literario Tomas Rivera se otorga a los dos libros publicados anualmente que mejor reflejan la vida de los mexico-americanos que viven en este país. Este premio fue fundado por la Universidad Estatal de Texas (Texas State University) para honrar su labor como educador, escritor y promotor de la cultura mexicoamericana dentro y fuera del país.

El señor Tomás Rivera, uno de los principales pioneros de la literatura Chicana fué un reconocido autor, poeta y educador. Nació en Crystal City, Texas el 22 de diciembre de 1935. Sus padres eran recolectores migrantes y él mismo de niño trabajó en los campos. Como muchos niños migrantes recolectores, era difícil para él acudir a la escuela, pues el calendario de trabajo en los campos interfería con el calendario escolar. Los veranos lo encontraban trabajando en el medio este de los EE UU, en estados como Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan y Dakota del Norte. Cada comienzo de año tenía que desatrasarse de lo que cubrieron el año escolar anterior.  No obstante, con el apoyo de su abuelo, Rivera perseveró en sus estudios y en su sueño de ser escritor algún día. Rivera se enroló en una universidad de dos años en 1956, y por ello tuvo que dejar su trabajo de recolector, para poder obterner su primer diploma universitario.

En su galardonada novela semi autobiográfica, ...y no se lo tragó la tierra Rivera describe muchas de sus experiencias como migrante recolector.  Como chicano humilde, Rivera vivió en carne propia el racismo y las dificultades que los mexicoamericanos tenían que atravesar para hacerse valer. El sobrellevó este obstáculo con su gran empeño en avanzar su educación. En 1958 Rivera se graduó con una licenciatura y una maestría en educación de la que ahora se llama Texas State University. Luego  en 1964 obtubo una segunda maestría en literatura francesa. Por ese entonces se dedicaba a enseñar  inglés y español a estudiantes de secundaria. Siguió trabajando en escuelas públicas hasta 1969 cuando consiguió su doctorado en Literatura y Letras Románcescon una concentració en español de la Universidad de Oklahoma.

A tan solo diez años de recibir su Ph.D. y después de varios puestos administrativos en universidades en Texas, se convirtió en regente de la Universidad de California, Riverside donde publicó muchas de sus obras. Tomas Rivera viajó extensamente leyendo y promocionando la literatura mexico-americana por todos los EE UU, México y Europa.

El Doctor Tomas Rivera dejó una huella profunda tras su partida en 1984. Numerosas escuelas se nombraron en su honor, también un instituto de política y varios centros estudiantiles.

Su entusiasmo y amor por la literatura mexicoamericana y por ver reflejada la vida de este pueblo en cuentos e historias sigue dando fruto. El premio de literatura que lleva su nombre, fundado en su honor por la Universidad Estatal de Texas en 1995 es un ejemplo de su legado. 

En estos días donde es difícil encontrar libros de calidad en español para niños es bueno usar herramientas como listas de libros galardonados y ampliamente reconocidos como obras con meríto, para poder seleccionar los mejores libros para nuestros jóvenes lectores. ¿Por qué no pasar un rato ojeándolos? Podrá así a lo mejor encontrar tesoros literarios que hasta ahora le hayan pasado desapercibidos. Abajo encontrarán algunos libros galardonados con este premio, disponibles en su Biblioteca Pública de Austin.

Para más información sobre los meritos de selección de los libros ganadores de este premio puede visitar la página de internet: http://riverabookaward.org

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are you too busy with school and holidays to take a drive in the country to see our Texas trees turning color? Sure, it isn’t New England, but we have some maples and oaks and golden sweetgum that put on a show. 

The U.S. Forest Service’s site says we’re past peak color, but the cities of Athens and Tyler beg to differ. They’re saying the recent cold snap will help the leaves turn in about a week. If you're interested in touring our state parks, here's the Texas Parks and Wildlife's fall foliage page

We lost 10% of our trees in the drought. If you’d like to plant some future fall color, here’s some advice about planting from Treefolks (and maybe a free tree!), and the city’s trees site. And here’s the library’s information guide about waterwise gardening and Texas natives. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

To finish out our IMLS Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries Project funding period, Recycled Reads' Managing Librarian, Mindy Reed, has spent the early part of the fall traveling and speaking about Recycled Reads at various events.

The following is a guest post written by Mindy on the heels of her return from the International Conference on Books, Publishing and Libraries hosted by the International Journal of the Book in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference was the last stop on her “tour,” which also had her speaking at EntreLib, the Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as well as ReuseConex, the International Reuse Conference and Expo, right here at home in Austin, Texas.

***

A Book By Any Other Name

I just returned from the Books, Publishing and Libraries Conference at Simmons College in Boston. We discussed topics such as evaluating collections, licensing of digital materials, and open source content. We talked about the role of libraries in communities, which allowed me ample opportunity to brag about Austin Public Library. This was an international conference so I had the opportunity to speak with people from Israel to Portugal, the UK to Canada. I am always proud to represent Austin in general and the APL in particular. I know there is a certain amount of wonderment about Austin's New Central Library. After the two-day conference, I began to realize that our new Central Library in particular and the library system across Austin will be a state of the art library and a traditional library. From the fifteenth century into the twentieth century, libraries served as places of collective knowledge where people came to learn, discuss and study. Being a depository was one of many functions libraries have always maintained. I am excited about the programs, exhibits, performances and workshops that will be a part of our new Central Library, modern marvel that will be true to the legacy of libraries for centuries.

If you’ve viewed our web-based training, you might by now be familiar with what I’ve coined, “The Container Speech.” My argument here is that content is king—and the container is just a matter of preference. Lo and behold, my own argument was demonstrated to me as I was in the middle of rereading a favorite book of mine: Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.

Before leaving town, I had the audiobook Flight Behavior in my car and listened to the luscious narration while often stuck in Austin traffic. I was about 2/3 complete when the time came for my New England trip. Recycled Reads had a weeded copy at the store I could have purchased to travel with, and APL had a digital copy I could download to my ereader. (I prefer ebooks when I travel because they take up less room.) As a reader I had a choice: hard copy, digital or audio. I ultimately decided to wait until I returned to Austin to finish listening to the novel—there’s nothing like a good story to get you through Austin’s traffic—but I started wondering: Are all these formats books? Sometimes I like to curl up in a corner with a book, sometimes I like to be read to and sometimes I want to travel light. By having different containers to fit my reading needs I can always have access to the content that interests me.  Is it still a book if it is a digital file or an audio broadcast? In my case I don’t read (or listen to) Barbara Kingsolver books; I enjoy the author’s stories and will consume them any way I can get them. What do you think?

***

Graphic by Laura Kraus used with permission for the Sprouting Green Weeding Practices Web-Based Training

Related Books:
Cover of the book Flight behavior : a novel
By Barbara Kingsolver.
Set in the present day in the rural community of Feathertown, Tennessee, this novel tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a petite, razor-sharp 29-year-old who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen. Now, after more than a decade of tending to small children on a failing farm, oppressed by poverty, isolation and her husband's antagonistic family, she has mitigated her boredom by surrendering to an obsessive flirtation with a handsome younger man. In the opening scene, Dellarobia is headed for a secluded mountain cabin to meet this man and initiate what she expects will be a self-destructive affair. But the tryst never happens. Instead, she walks into something on the mountainside she cannot explain or understand: a forested valley filled with a lake of silent red fire that appears to her a miracle. In reality, the forest is ablaze with millions of butterflies. Their usual migratory route has been disrupted, and what looks to be a stunningly beautiful view is really an ominous sign, for the Appalachian winter could prove to be the demise of the species. Her discovery of this phenomenon ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever. After years lived entirely in the confines of one small house, Dellarobia finds her path suddenly opening out, chapter by chapter, into blunt and confrontational engagement with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large.
,
Cover of the book Flight behavior
By Barbara Kingsolver.
After years lived entirely within the confines of one small house, Dellarobia finds her path suddenly opening out and ultimately leading into blunt and confrontational engagement with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large. Over the course of a single winter, her life will become the property of the planet and, perhaps for the first time, securely her own.

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Cover of the book Americanah
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

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