Austin Public Library Blog

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy National Friends of the Library Week! This is a time to celebrate volunteer organizations that promote and support their local libraries. We’d be remiss if we didn’t take this week to thank our own Austin Public Library Friends Foundation.

Not only are these library lovers dedicated to supporting us by “increasing public awareness about the library and its importance to the community” (according to their mission statement), they have some amazing programs of their own!

Check out the Foundation’s Badgerdog Writing Workshops (all led by professional writers) for children and adults. The Foundation’s annual New Fiction Confab gathers notable, currently publishing authors in Austin to lead writing workshops and read from their latest work. Follow the Foundation on Facebook and Twitter and learn how you can become a member today!

If membership is not for you, library love is more than enough to make you a friend of libraries. We love our friends and they love us. To celebrate this week of mutual affection, here are 5 memes via APL’s Pinterest page filled with bibliolove. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Austin Arbor Day! That’s right, it’s Austin Arbor Day 2014, a celebration put on by the City of Austin Urban Forestry Program in partnership with Treefolks. This morning, over 70 volunteers got together to plant 80 native trees at the Boggy Creek Greenbelt. You might even remember that at Austin Arbor Day 2013, trees were planted at our own Ruiz Branch!

One of my favorite Recycled Reads finds over the years has been a well-loved copy of Famous Trees of Texas, of which the Library still has a few circulating copies. This book, published by the Texas Forest Service (first in 1970), highlights trees that helped complete the scene in some major moments in Texas history. As if one book coupling Texas history with historical trees is not enough, when I went to look in our catalog for Famous Trees of Texas, I discovered that a guy named Ralph Yznaga wrote a book in 2012 inspired by the old Texas Forest Service books. His is called Living Witness: Historic Trees of Texas (pictured above). According to the book's description on BiblioCommons, "The photographs in Living Witness premiered at the groundbreaking of the Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center," a local treasure!

Read more about Austin’s Urban Forestry Department here and remember: A tree you plant on Austin Arbor Day (or any day!) could live to see any number of momentous occasions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Imagine having millions in your pocket. Imagine what you would do and where you would go. I’m talking about the kind of currency that libraries thrive on: millions of pieces of information -- names, addresses, phone numbers, financial figures, and more.

A to Z Databases is a powerful digital resource that combines the GPS facets of mobile mapping with the insightful data sets of an annual report. Basically, you take the white and yellow pages of 220 million residents, 30 million businesses and executives, and 1.1 million healthcare professionals in the United States, pack them into one search tool, and get a research-friendly alternative to Google Maps.

If you’re an APL cardholder, you can access this resource for free online through the library’s website and on a mobile iOS device through the A to Z Databases app. With the app installed on your iOS device you can find and map businesses and personal addresses nationwide, by city/state, or by current location (GPS). Moreover, you can search by category and by phone number, if that’s all you have to work with.

The app in action.Seeing the app in action best illustrates how it differs from a tool like Google Maps. Click on the graphic at right for a glimpse. The graphic combines four screenshots that I grabbed from an iPad to show the data revealed when you locate a specific business (top two screenshots, showing industry codes and revenue trends) and a personal address (bottom two, showing length of residency and neighborhood information).

Using A to Z Databases on a desktop or laptop computer enables you to access even more features, such as the ability to create free mailing lists and sales leads. Still, the A to Z app is a handy research tool with nothing less than millions to its credit. The wealth of knowledge on the go!


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.

(Top Image Credit: Martin Abegglen via Flickr Creative Commons)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When it rains, it pours literary prizes. Last week Patrick Modiano received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Peter Englund, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Literature, said Modiano is well-known in France, but unknown everywhere else. Seems a curious choice then, but he is certainly known throughout the world now. Publishers are rushing to print his work and make them available to libraries and bookstores. The Austin Public Library has ordered several of his novels.

Earlier this week Richard Flanagan received the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Flanagan’s novel depicts a surgeon in a Japanese POW camp along the Burma Death Railway. AC Grayling, chair of judges, praised the book: “The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.” Flanagan’s father, a survivor of the Burma Death Railway, died the day his son completed the novel.

This morning the finalists for the National Book Awards were released: four categories, five titles per category, twenty finalists. The winners (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature) will be announced November 19.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mi cantante favorito Joan Manuel Serrat será homenajeado.

La Academia Latina de la Grabación® ha anunciado a Joan Manuel Serrat como La Persona del Año 2014, uniéndose así a una  distinguida lista de previos homenajeados en la que figuran Miguel Bosé, Plácido Domingo, Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra entre otros. La ceremonia se efectuará el 19 de noviembre del 2014, en el Mandalay Bay Convention Center de Las Vegas. .

Soy una ferviente admiradora de Serrat y transcribo a continuación las palabras del Sr Gabriel Abaroa Jr., Presidente/CEO de La Academia Latina de la Grabación: "Su profundo y brillante estilo de composición, su poesía tanto en español y catalán, su estilo lírico aunado a su único y magnífico talento convierten a Joan Manuel Serrat en una figura musical atesorada y de leyenda. A través de su talento, arte, pasión y dedicación a su oficio, su obra ha llegado a sus admiradores por el mundo. Es un privilegio poder reconocer a un hombre con una carrera tan ilustre y socialmente consciente, y esperamos ansiosamente esta celebración a su creatividad y legado".

Serrat nació el 27 de diciembre de 1943 en Barcelona, España. Incursionó en el mundo de la música siendo muy joven. Canta en Catalán y Español. Su música es pura poesía, su estilo único. El 18 de febrero del 2015 Serrat cumplió 50 años de su primera aparición artística en público. Por sus fuertes posturas políticas se auto-exilió en Méjico por algunos años y regresó a su tierra natal después de la muerte de Franco en 1975.

Su álbum “Mediterráneo”, mi preferido,  y que contiene una canción con el mismo nombre,  lo hizo un artista muy admirado y popular en los países de habla hispana de todo el mundo. La canción Mediterráneo fue considerada por la revista Rolling Stone (2006) como la mejor canción pop española de todos los tiempos. Mis canciones preferidas: Mediterráneo, Aquellas pequeñas cosas, Pueblo blanco, Barquito de papel, Penélope, ¿cuáles son las suyas?

En nuestra biblioteca tenemos su música….¡Escuchenla, les encantará!


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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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