Austin Public Library Blog

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Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Night Crafters time at Central again!  Come join us at 6:00 on the 2nd floor to learn how to write in the art of calligraphy!  We have calligraphy pens, paper, rulers, and even some colored pencils to decorate.  It's the perfect time to learn this craft and possibly create something beautiful for that special person in your life, maybe even your MOM (Mother's Day is Sunday, May 10th)!  We'll have a special guest teacher, Holly Zeiner, past president of the Capital City Scribes.  She will have handouts and will offer tips and clues to writing with ease.  As usual, feel free to explore our Pins and other items to check out from the Library.  

Night Crafters are held the last Monday of the month at the Central Branch.  We meet on the 2nd floor in the programming area from 6:00-7:30 pm.  For more information, please call 512-974-7400, option 1.  This is an adults onlycraft program.  There are lots of family and children programs, check the calendar for when and where.

WHAT: Night Crafters - a monthly craft night
WHERE: John Henry Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe Street
WHEN: Monday, April 27, 2015, 6:00-7:30 pm
WHO: ADULTS interested in crafting
CRAFT: Calligraphy

Friday, April 24, 2015


Guest post by Andrew Murphy in support of Talk Green to Me: Sustainable Living Series.


The Unforeseen is a must-see for anyone living in Austin and especially so for those that enjoy escaping the brutal summer heat by cooling off in Barton Springs, which is for many, ‘the soul of the city.’ The opening scene of this 2007 film begins with footage of the Frost Bank Tower being built in downtown Austin with American poet Wendell Berry narrating his own work: "What had been foreseen was the coming of the Stranger with Money. All that had been before had been destroyed. A new earth had appeared in place of the old, made entirely according to plan." Looking at the opening scene today, eight years after the film first screened, it’s hard to not notice how much Austin has changed in the last decade, which is precisely the topic of the documentary.

The focal point of the film addresses how development threatens Austin’s precious Barton Springs and highlights the passing of the 1992 Save Our Springs Water Quality Ordinance, which was heavily supported by Austin residents. The city ordinance briefly protected the natural spring source from development threats only to be later trumped by state law, which further opened the doors to new development in Austin. The effort to keep Barton Springs preserved continues as do development concerns in the eleventh largest city in the USA. special screening of The Unforeseen with filmmaker Laura Dunn present participating in a Q&A with the audience takes place at our Terrazas Branch as part of the Library's Talk Green to Me campaign. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

As an ardent gardener, I have realized that the success of any garden is keeping up with the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. This can become overwhelming, if your garden flourishes!  Timely harvesting and deciding how to eat or store the fruits of your labor are often more difficult than all the work involved with planting in the first place. You also find out that assistance at any phase of the process is much appreciated. If we all work together, we can do anything.

Well, that’s what one farmer realizes when he cannot pull up his prize-winning turnip on his own, in the story of The Big Enormous Turnip. This rich, traditional Russian folktale about collaboration is a favorite of all ages and there are countless versions of the story since the original version was written over 150 years ago, but the basic story is this: A farmer goes into the garden to harvest a turnip (radish, carrot, potato), but it is so big the farmer cannot pull it out alone. Members of the family and animals from the farm help to pull it out. Often the smallest animal is the one that makes it all possible. What a great life lesson that is!

This month, Literature Live! is excited to bring you The Big Enormous Turnip, our printable puppet story for April! Click the PDF image below to download and print the puppets, decorate them and attach them to sticks, straws or clothespins.

Check out a copy of the story online or get it from one of the books below, and then you’re ready to put on a show!

Related Books:
Cover of the book The giant turnip
By adapted by Henriette Barkow ; illustrated by Richard Johnson ; Farsi translation by Parasima Ahmadi-Ziabari.
Cover of the book The gigantic turnip
By Aleksei Tolstoy & [illustrated by] Niamh Sharkey.
A cumulative tale in which the turnip planted by an old man grows so enormous that everyone must help to pull it up.
Cover of the book The social network
By [composed, arranged, performed, programmed, and produced by] Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Cover of the book The social network
By [composed, arranged, performed, programmed, and produced by] Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Cover of the book Digger pig and the turnip = Marranita poco rabo y el nabo
By Caron Lee Cohen ; illustrated by Christopher Denise.
In this adaptation of a traditional folktale a dog, duck, and chick refuse to help a pig prepare a turnip pie but nevertheless expect to eat it when it is ready.
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Believe it or not, sometimes rules and restrictions exist to make things more interesting. Imagine basketball in a world where you do not have to dribble the ball. Soccer would be far less interesting if you were allowed to use your hands. It would not even be soccer anymore. Football… well ok. Football is already boring (I may be in the minority with this opinion…).

Now take the idea that restrictions can make things more interesting and apply it to words. What would it look like if you limited yourself to expressing an idea with only fourteen lines, each one ending in a word that rhymes with the last words of some of the other lines in a specific pattern. AND, each line must conform to a specific meter, or rhythmic structure. Sounds arbitrary? More so than not being allowed to take three steps without bouncing a ball on the floor? Or what if you had a big idea or emotion, but could only use three lines of five, seven, and five syllables to get that idea or emotion across? It is tricky to fit a little idea into seventeen syllables, let alone a big one. Writing a beautiful poem in a specific form is the linguistic equivalent of an amazing solo drive on the basket that ends with a windmill dunk (without traveling, NBA all-stars).

The best thing about this analogy is that it almost immediately stops working! Remember when you conceded that most of the time sports without specific restrictive rules like dribbling or no-hands would be less interesting? With poetry, sometimes bucking all of the rules and writing without rhyme schemes, specific meters, or a certain number of syllables per line does not ruin the poem. Poems in this style can be as great as or greater than their restrained brothers and sisters.

April is National Poetry month, and we are ready for it at the library. Come down to any of the Austin Public Library locations and try out a book of poetry. There are books of poetry about every topic you could think of. Maybe you like funny poems. Maybe you like edgy poems about serious, even life-threatening topics. Maybe reading a book of poetry will inspire you to write your own poem. You should!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On the first episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new Star Talk TV show, George Takei asked what Dr. Tyson thinks will be the big discovery in his lifetime. Tyson said in the next decade or so, we’ll be certain of extra-terrestrial life.

Landing on the moon was big; this is bigger. The proof will be circumstantial. We won’t have a Martian paramecium to look at under a microscope (or maybe we will!), but we are finding that there is water where conditions appear dry; that fossil formations on Mars mimic algal mats on earth; that there may be warm oceans under the ice of the moons of Jupiter; that comets can deliver organic molecules to planets; and that planets orbiting a star may be the default setting. Lone stars might be rare.

Add to what our rovers and telescopes are teaching us about astrophysics what we know about biology--that natural selection operates on Skeetran 4 just like it does on Earth--and we are approaching statistical certainty that we are not alone.

The library is always with you, too.  


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The APL Blog promotes Austin Public Library's resources and services through thematic item lists from our collection; topics related to today's events and news; research tips; programs and events; and databases.

APL Recommends

Cover of the book The killer wore leather : a mystery
By Laura Antoniou.
"In Manhattan's Grand Sterling Hotel, home of the annual Mr. & Ms. Leather contest, last year's hunky but haughty winner lies dead on the floor of his suite, mysteriously wearing only a pair of frilly, bright yellow panties. Cormac 'Mack' Steel made a lot of enemies during his year wearing the studded leather sash, not the least being his co-winner Mistress Ravenfyre. But she is not alone--there are over three thousand attendees from all over the world at this year's event, some of whom had very personal issues with the fallen leather world royalty. Enter Detective Rebecca Feldblum, who must navigate a world of doms and subs, masters and mistresses, pups and trainers, leather, latex and lingerie, to discover who murdered the late Mack Steel--and hopefully do it before the weekend is over and everyone goes home"--Page 4 of cover.

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