Due to system maintenance, the Library catalog will not be available on Sunday, April 27 between 7:30 AM and 11 AM. There may be brief outages to the Virtual Library and Online Databases during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Austin Public Library Blog

Books Blog

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest blogger intern Anna W.

What comes to mind when you think about the South American country of Peru?  Perhaps it’s the mysterious ancient Inca civilization and the famously beautiful ruins at Machu Picchu.  Or maybe it’s the world-renowned cuisine, featuring dishes like ceviche, empanadas, butifarra, and chicharrón.

You may have also heard about the country’s breathtaking landscape and biodiversity.  Peru’s geography has 28 individual climates and 90 micro-climates, and includes picturesque beaches on the Pacific coast (which happen to have some of the best surfing in the world) as well as towering snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains.  Did you know that Peru’s Colca Canyon has a depth of 13,650 ft?  That’s twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!  Or perhaps you’ve heard of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at an elevation of 12,507 ft.  The lake’s floating islands are inhabited by the Uru, a pre-Incan people who speak Quechua and live a traditional lifestyle centered around the totora reeds that they use for food and medicine. 

Two-thirds of Peru’s land is covered in tropical Amazon rainforests, which are home to thousands of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, and insects - including more than 1,300 species of butterflies!  Peru is also famous for its handicrafts, especially colorful hand-woven textiles, as well as wood carvings, instruments, paintings, jewelry, and more.

Are you itching to go to Peru so you can experience its culture and natural beauty first hand? Let us help you plan your trip!  The library has an outstanding selection of Peru guidebooks as well as the online Travel Collection database with over 200 up-to-date eBooks from the Gale Virtual Reference Library.  The library also provides access to Mango, a free online language learning program so you can brush up on your Spanish before you go.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating country?  Fortunately for us, Peru’s capital city Lima is one of Austin’s 12 International Sister Cities.  This sister relationship was established in 1981  "for the purpose of interchanging cultural, historical and peaceful thoughts, concepts and beliefs".  You can read more about Austin’s Sister and Friendship Cities Program here.

In celebration of this cultural exchange, the Yarborough Branch is hosting Peru Fest on Saturday, April 26th from 10am-5pm.  This event will feature crafts, art, storytime, music, Peruvian snacks, an author talk and other cultural events.  While you’re there, be sure to check out the book display featuring a collection of titles by Peruvian authors along with Peru guidebooks, cookbooks, children’s books, photography and reference books, and more.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest blogger volunteer Tiffany C.

William Shakespeare’s exact birthday is unknown, but it is traditionally celebrated on April 23, 1564. He was baptized on April 26 and passed away April 23, 1616. 2014 marks his 450th birthday!

Precious little is known about his life, although the vast number of works Shakespeare has left behind—nearly forty plays, and over 150 poems—has fueled speculation about his religious affiliations, if any, to Protestantism or Catholicism (then outlawed by Queen Elizabeth I), his sexuality, and even the authorship to his literary cannon.

Explore more about the one simply called The Bard with Austin Public Library (APL). If you missed Yarborough Branch’s showing of “Anonymous” on April 17th, you can still check it out from the APL. This month we also are featuring a book display about all things Shakespeare. And the streaming videos of his plays available from APL are cool!  Do an advanced search on our catalog, Bibliocommons. Type “Shakespeare” in the box for a keyword anywhere search. Then click the box for streaming video for format. It brings back a long list of videos – comedies, tragedies, and histories -- to watch.

Celebrate The Bard’s 450th birthday with the help of the Austin Public Library!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Starting a brand new book series can be really exciting and excruciating at the same time – you get to know new characters, discover new places and go on exhilarating new adventures. The downside to starting a brand new series is the part where you have to wait a whole year (sometimes more!) for the next installment of the marvelous new world you just dove into. If you’re like me, waiting can be torturous! As soon as you finish the first book in a new series, you want to tell everyone you know (and I mean EVERYONE) how amazing the story was and that they should all read it, then you speculate about what will happen in the next book, you might even read some fan fiction, follow the author’s blog, and generally obsess. Eventually, you might move on to another fantastic book when BAM you hear the next book in the series is out and you run to the library because you absolutely HAVE to know what happens.

Do you know what’s even more satisfying than starting a new series? Finally finishing one! After years of nail-biting, obsessive, agonizing commitment, you at long last discover the fate of your favorite characters. Sigh. What a relief.*

If you hate playing the waiting game, and you won’t start a series until ALL the books have been published, you’re in luck! Here are a few young adult series that are wrapping up this year (hooray!):

  • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire (May 27, 2014)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters (April 8, 2014)
  • The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising (June 17, 2014)
  • The Selection series by Kiera Cass: The Selection, The Elite,The One (May 6, 2014)
  • The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me (February 4, 2014)
  • The Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, The Retribution of Mara Dyer (November 4, 2014)

*Never mind the grieving period you may experience once you’ve finished said book. It might look something like this:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We’re in the middle of book-ordering season—well, actually everything-ordering season. Do you have any suggestions? Know of something you’d like us to own? Book, magazine, movie, comic, downloadable, newspaper? Something crazy expensive, like Scientific American (just an example; we subscribe online), or something free like The Austin Chronicle (already get that, too)?

How about a database? A couple of years ago we got requests for JSTOR. Voila! JSTOR.

Give some thought to what you’d like in the collection at the New Central Library. We’re planning a demonstration kitchen there. Have a favorite cookbook you’d like to share? We have a million of ‘em already, but maybe the one you like best isn’t among them. Take a look at our catalog and see: bibliocommons. How about computer titles? We buy a whole lot of “learn-your-computer” books, but maybe there’s some niche program we don’t know about that you’d like a manual for. We’d like to hear about it. Any subject, any thing. Send us a line. Here’s the link to Suggest a Title.

Friday, April 18, 2014

There’s no better place to get medical information than from a licensed physician. The Library and librarians know that of course. But we also know that people can gain a sense of empowerment and comfort from being able to find information on your own when it comes to health conditions and prescribed medications. Being in a doctor’s office can also be pretty overwhelming which makes it hard to take in all the information you’re given.

That’s when resources like the Physician’s Desk Reference can be a real asset. The PDR has been an annual publication since 1947 and provides information on prescription drugs gathered from the Federal Drug Administration as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers. The print version, which you can find in the reference collection of every Austin Public Library location, contains an index of manufacturer’s, the brand name and generic name of medications, a product category index (showing which medications are used for specific conditions/symptoms), and of course extensive entries on each drug that include descriptions, related clinical studies, information on drug interaction and more. Some of it is pretty dense but it provides really useful overviews of both medications and the conditions for which they are prescribed.

PDR is the definitive work of this type but it’s not the only reliable source for this information. You can also find great information from PDR’s online counterparts – PDR.net and PDRhealth.com – and the National Library of Medicine’s service Medline Plus.

Looking for more information on health research and resources, check out the library’s Health Resources page with lists and links to tons of information available to you for free through the library! And of course, don’t forget to ask your doctor!

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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 Almuerzo de vampiros
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Almuerzo de vampiros es una parábola acerca de los cambios, a veces ridículos y hasta brutales, que la madurez impone sobre los ideales de la juventud. Y también es una sátira sobre la obsesión contemporánea por la inmortalidad: esos hombres y mujeres rabiosamente bellos y prósperos que quisieran vivir como si no pudieran morir. Como si fueran vampiros.

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