Austin Public Library Blog

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Friday, August 29, 2014

If there's one thing that's important here at Recycled Reads, it's volunteers. They shelve, they sort, staff the front desk, they take in donations and do crafts. We are so grateful for you guys! Today's blog post, we want to especially thank a specific volunteer, Amy, who provided the craft idea and photos for this blog post out of the goodness of her heart. Yay, Amy!


Old or damaged book cover from a paperback book

Graph paper

Thread and needle

Paper for backing


Step 1:

Using the graph paper, map out what you want your design to be.

Step 2:

Punch through the paper & book cover at the points where the stitches will go through.

Step 3:

Begin embroidering.

Step 4:

After you've finished embroidering, take a piece of paper, cut to size and attach as a backing.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Espionage, Frock Coats, a Mysterious English Boyfriend, and a Looming Dissertation Deadline!

Combine the Scarlet Pimpernel with Bridget Jones’s Diary and you get Lauren Willig’s amusing Pink Carnation series.  The series follows Eloise Kelley, a Harvard graduate student in history, working on her dissertation research in London.  In her quest to find more information on Napoleonic War era spy the Purple Gentian, Eloise meets his descendant, Colin Selwick and the romantic sparks fly.  The others in the series follow the romance between Eloise and Colin as well as the exploits of the circle of spies and the women who fall in love with them.  One of my favorite books is The Garden Intrique which features a spy under cover as the most absurd poet with examples of his work.  If you are in the mood for a light read with humor, then you will want to try these.  Willig began the series while she was still in law school at Harvard University during her summer break. 

The eleventh installment The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla was just released and there is one more book promised.  Willig’s stand-alone books also deal with plotlines spanning the decades.  This type of genre is now called time slip.  Time travel novels deal with a character traveling back or forward in time and the plot is linear to one period.  Time slip novels switch between plots and time periods, though there are usually some unifying themes or threads.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Learning a foreign language is a challenge at any age. But it’s a challenge with a proven benefit: it’s good for you. Like the vitamin-rich mango fruit, it improves the cognitive functions of your brain, enhancing memory and intelligence.

The makers of Mango Languages, an online language learning program, must have sensed the juicy possibilities of hitching their product to such a brain-friendly fruit. Deliver that product to libraries, and you (the customer) reap the benefits. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. With your APL card, you can give it a try. Ready, set, Mango!

Through our website, APL cardholders can take Mango courses for over 50 languages and 17 ESL options. From Thai to Biblical Hebrew, Finnish to Brazilian Portuguese, courses are available both online and on a mobile device through the Mango app. With the Mango app installed on your mobile device you have a free foreign language class right in the palm of your hand. Perfeito for when you’re on the go.

The app in action.Click on the graphic at right for a glimpse of the app in action. The graphic combines four screenshots that I grabbed from an iPad while taking the Brazilian Portuguese course. In general, each course is divided into units, units into chapters, and chapters into lessons. A lesson combines grammar lessons with interactive listen-and-repeat vocabulary exercises. A lesson also provides cultural insights that allow you to place what you’re learning in context.

Eu uso Mango. Você deve usá-lo, também! If you need assistance, the Mango Languages website offers an FAQ and you can contact Mango support. You can also Ask a Librarian at APL anytime.


One of the virtues of the Virtual Library is that it provides APL cardholders with an abundance of digital content, including databases that are mobile-friendly and that you can access through apps when you’re on the go. This blog post is one in a 6-part series that will sample a few of those mobile-friendly databases. The series is published twice a month, using the blog tag On the Go.

(Main Image Credit: Parshotam Lal Tandon via Flickr Creative Commons)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who says cartoons are just for kids? Sometimes I hide behind my youth librarian-ness as an excuse to watch Adventure Time, but it’s time to admit that I’m an adult who enjoys the show. In a world that’s full of drama shows and news hours packed with sad, heavy things, it’s refreshing to watch a show that’s about best friends who really get each other and have a good time together no matter what they’re doing. Finn and Jake’s crazy antics are quite entertaining – they go on epic quests for legendary hero books, save princesses from the evil Ice King and solve murder mysteries.

Austin Public Library has a ton of Adventure Time materials to check out, including the first three seasons of the show! While you’re catching up, re-watching your favorite episodes, or taking a break from reading all the graphic novels, why not work on some Adventure Time crafts? You can find character papercrafts here – make sure you print out your characters on cardstock so they’re extra sturdy!  If you prefer freehand art, try your hand at a Lumpy Space Princess watercolor painting; all you really need to know how to paint are a star and a cloud.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For your Labor Day delectation, FUN PACK #3 offers

for check out:


and yours to keep:

       frog and cow silicone oven mitts, or hand puppets that deflect heat; your call

Be the first to call 512.974.7400, option 1, and ask for the COOKING FUN PACK, and it’s yours to pick up at the Central library downtown. You'll need your library card


UPDATE: COOKING FUN PACK has been claimed! Congratulations! Thanks for playing. 8/26/14, 3:25 p.m.



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