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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Did you know that a whole week of enchantment happened in San Antonio in May? The first-ever Children’s International Puppet Festival  was hosted at the Tobin Center by the Children’s Fine Arts Series. Puppet troupes from France, England, and Vietnam joined four American troupes to make magic with not much more than a few bits of wood and string.

I was especially excited to see the styles of puppetry and story-making of the French, English, and Vietnamese artists. Troupes Le Clan des Songes (France) and Mimika (England) performed wordless shows, while the Golden Dragon Water Puppets of Saigon presented a show with lots of talking and music. It was amazing to discover that it didn’t matter whether a show had words in it, or if it did, whether I could understand them. All three of these troupes moved their puppets in surprising and magical ways to create stories that captured my heart. Be sure to keep an eye on the Tobin Center’s website for news of next year’s puppet festival in early May!  In the meantime, join us right here in Austin as we create exciting puppet magic of our own.  Check our Youth Events Calendar for Literature LIVE!'s Tortuga del Mar, coming soon to a branch near you!

Here’s more about my favorite shows at the festival:

Le Clan des Songes' "Fragile"

Carrying his magic bag, the puppet hero of “Fragile,” by Le Clan des Songes, takes a trip along a road that turns out to have a mind of its own. You might have taken a trip or two just like that. Can you tell that the puppeteers are right onstage moving the puppets? The curtain hiding them is made of light – amazing! Take a few moments to see snippets from their wonderful show here:

Mimika Theatre's "Landscapes"

Mimika’s beautiful wooden set, placed under a cozy fabric dome, became a desert, a sea bottom, and Antarctica. Two puppeteers, mime artists by training, created simple, beautiful, and sometimes funny dances of animals interacting in these environments, watched over by a hungry eagle looking to feed its chick. To tell the stories, the artists created and danced with a whole menagerie of hand and rod puppets, plus motorized towers of small fish, plus bigger fish, and a jellyfish made from colanders, and they even showed animated videos!


Golden Dragon Water Puppets of Saigon

Oh my goodness, these puppets are really in the water! This troupe is a Vietnamese national treasure, performing ancient stories in which villagers live ordinary lives planting rice, raising ducks and scaring away hungry foxes, catching or not catching fish, and playing games. Fish swim, water dragons spit fire and fight over colorful balls, and water goddesses dance. Six musician-actors sit on the sides, make music on ancient instruments, and act out all the parts using their voices, but where in the world are the puppeteers? (Answer: They’re in the water, too! Their puppets are on long, long rods, so the puppeteers can move them from behind the curtain, unseen by us. Some of the rods have triggers so dragons can spit sparks or a man can blow smoke out of his ears!) See some fun from their show here:

Here are some puppetry books for you to enjoy:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In 1977 NASA launched two space probes from Florida into the stars. Nearly 40 years later Voyager 1 and 2 are beyond our solar system, sailing through the cosmic ocean of interstellar space. Each probe carries a copy of the Golden Record, a 12-inch gold-plated phonographic disk etched with encoded photographs, sounds of nature, greetings in 55 languages and music. It’s like a global mix tape for E.T., meant to preserve the sound and fury of humanity as it lived on this tiny planet of no practical importance to Stephen Hawking’s ever-expanding universe.

If eons from now humanity’s soundtrack is found, its otherworldly owners will hear the likes of “Melancholy Blues” by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven, “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. NASA lists the eclectic handful of music selected for the Golden Record, and Carl Sagan discusses these choices further in his 1978 tome Murmurs of Earth, an eBook in our Virtual Library.

The largest library on Earth, the Library of Congress (LOC), also accounts for the record’s contents. In 2007 the LOC inducted the entire album into the National Recording Registry, an ongoing project to preserve the “words, sounds and music that embody who we are as a people and a nation,” as LOC head James Billington put it for the 2015 inductees. All-encompassing and awe-inspiring, the registry contains 425 recordings to date. Every year 25 recordings are added from among nominations made by the general public. A growing Golden Record for the ages!

The spirit of these preservation projects is both irresistible and gamely impossible. It makes you ask: what music would I submit to the stars? How would I choose? “It’s all in the mind, y’know?” George Harrison once said. I trust a member of the Beatles (whose 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is in the registry) to tell it like it is. It’s instinct, and it’s personal. Below are the first 10 songs for my Golden Record listed in chronological order. I encourage you to make a go of it, too – a Golden Record for yourself, if not the ages. With your library card and Freegal Music, you can stream up to 3 hours per day, download 5 tracks per week and create personal playlists, all for free.

# Song (Year) Artist Stream or Download (Album) Borrow CD
1 We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder (1990) Bernice Johnson Reagon American Song (River of Life - Harmony 1) The Civil War Soundtrack
2 The Star Spangled Banner (1991) Whitney Houston Freegal (Whitney Houston Live) Whitney Houston Live
3 The Scientist (2002) Coldplay YouTube A Rush of Blood to the Head
4 Transatlanticism (2003) Death Cab for Cutie YouTube Transatlanticism
5 Fans (2007) Kings of Leon Freegal (Because of the Times) Because of the Times
6 Little Lion Man (2010) Mumford & Sons Freegal (Sigh No More) Sigh No More
7 Outro (2011) M83 YouTube Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
8 Step (2013) Vampire Weekend YouTube Modern Vampires of the City
9 Song for Zula (2013) Phosphorescent Freegal (The Spectacular Now Soundtrack) Muchacho
10 I Wanna Get Better (2014) Bleachers Freegal (Strange Desire) Strange Desire


(The Golden Record GIF is sourced from

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Technology! We all have our fun gadgets that we use on a daily basis. Of course, these amazing pieces of equipment are always accompanied by their own power cord (or two). We have the perfect solution for keeping all of those wires in check. Come to Night Crafters, where we are creating colorful cord wraps that bind your chargers in order to save space and avoid the dreaded tangle!

This project will involve a sewing machine, but don’t let that intimidate you! The template is simple and practical, so stop by for a night of stitching and good company. All supplies provided.

WHAT: Night Crafters: Fabric Cord Wraps
WHERE: Manchaca Road Branch
WHEN: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 6-8
WHO: Adults interested in crafting.

Related Books:
Cover of the book Sew useful : 23 simple storage solutions to sew for the home
By Debbie Shore.
Shore has created ingenious storage solutions to keep your home and garden neat and beautifully styled. The projects are all simple to make using a basic sewing machine.
Cover of the book Keep this, toss that : unclutter your life to save time, money, space, and sanity
By Jamie Novak.
"Quick answers to the one key question everyone needs to answer in order to get organized and save their time, money, space, and sanity: "Should I keep or toss this?""--
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ya faltan solo unos días para terminar el año escolar. ¡Qué increíble cómo vuela el tiempo! Pronto nuestros niños saldrán por esas puertas escolares a toda velocidad para gozar del tiempo libre. ¿Y qué van a hacer estos chicos durante el verano?  No se preocupe. Además de pasar tiempo con amigos, de corretear el balón y montar en bici e ir a Zilker Park a nadar pueden venir a La Biblioteca para divertirse.

Todas las sucursales de La Biblioteca Pública de Austin además de la biblioteca central tendrán programas especiales para entretener a niños y a familias, desde horas de cuentos, hasta presentaciones de científicos que trabajan con reptiles como culebras. Si a su niña le gustaría saber cómo se siente una culebra, tráigala a La Biblioteca! Si a su niño le gustaría ver a un tiburón (fuera del agua) y examinarlo de cerca, tráigalo a La Biblioteca. Si lo que les gusta es la música, no se preocupen, tendremos a una variedad de artistas que nos deleitaran con sus tonadas. Entre estos está Cántaro, un grupo que viene directamente desde México para conquistar a niños y grandes con sus chistes, cuentos  y canciones. En fin, mire este enlace para saber más sobre las diferentes presentaciones que tendremos.

Pero hay más. Una de las cosas más agradables para los chicos es que en la temporada de verano se pueden desquitar de los horarios firmes y pueden leer aquellos libros que realmente les gustan, no los que les ponen de tarea. Es verdad que hay algunos pequeños y chicos que dicen no gustar de esta diversión, pero para mí, dicen eso porque no han encontrado el libro para ellos. Para facilitar a que encuentren el anzuelo, La Biblioteca también promociona su Programa de Lectura de Verano. Para tomar parte en este programa todo lo que tienen que hacer es recoger su fichero de lectura de La Biblioteca, o bajarlo de nuestro sitio, comenzar a leer un libro, apuntar su título, y seguir haciendo esto sucesivamente hasta que sientan que han leído suficientes libros. A partir de julio tendremos premios disponibles para aquellos chicos y chicas que regresen con su fichero de lectura.

 ¿Todavía no saben que libros recomendarles a sus chicos para que lean? En esta lista encontrarán  algunas sugerencias, desde libros clásicos como Platero hasta libros más recientes como Bajo la misma estrella. También tenemos algunas sugerencias para los más pequeños. Quién sabe. A lo mejor después de seguir algunos de estos libros recomendados, uno de sus niños insista en comer paleta o en invitarlo a jugar al béisbol. ¡Prepárense, pues la aventura está por comenzar!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We admit it, trying to figure out all the downloads and logins for the Virtual Library can be confusing. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can simply stream what you want in your browser.

For nearly instantaneous music, millions of songs are yours to stream with a couple of clicks. American Song has thousands of tunes with unlimited streaming, and all you need is your Austin Public Library card and an internet connection. It's a great way to explore all genres of music, popular and esoteric. Freegal Music gives you three hours of streaming tunes a day, every day, with your library card and PIN. You login, find the music you want, and click Stream Now. It's that easy.

If you're looking for movies, check out The Criterion Collection, Ambrose Video, and The PBS Video Collection. Hundreds of feature films and documentaries are ready to stream with your library card. You can also stream movies and TV series from OverDrive after you login and check them out. You'll find everything from newer releases to exercise videos, and have them for a week at a time.

For quick audiobook access, OneClickdigital audiobooks can stream on any internet-connected browser on your device. Skip the download process and click on "Chapter 1" of your title to listen immediately. Here's a handy how-to for getting started.

OverDrive has in-browser streaming for many of its titles, using OverDrive Read for eBooks and OverDrive Listen for eAudiobooks. When you find an item you want, simply click "Listen" or "Read" to start.Your place will be saved on any device, and you can bookmark or highlight your favorite passages.

Take advantage of these simple steps to start using the Virtual Library. If you have questions, Ask a Librarian!


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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.

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Cover of the book Angelology
By Danielle Trussoni.
When twenty-three-year-old Sister Evangeline accidentally stumbles upon some mysterious letters exchanged between the late mother superior of her convent and the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller, she is thrust into an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.