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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When the thermometer hits 103 degrees and you’re wrinkled as a prune from hanging out in the pool—you’re going need something new to do, right? It’s too hot go outside. You’re “vehically-challenged” and can’t really go anywhere. The buttons on your game console have lost their spring from countless rounds of Donkey Kong. Now is a great time to flex your drawing skills! Brush off those dusty pencils, erasers, and markers—there’s a whole new world of art waiting for you! It’s no big deal if you’re bad at drawing; just remember that Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel in one day.  (It took him four years!)  You can experiment with many different styles and mediums--comic strips, fine art, still life, watercolors, oil pastels or just even a pencil and eraser. The Austin Public Library has a huge collection of art and drawing instruction books that you can work with to improve your inner Salvador Dali persona!    


Also--If you are up for some fun at the library, come over to the Ruiz Branch’s Drawing Club. It is a popular program for youth at Ruiz Library. We explore various themes and incorporate free drawing. Participants are encouraged to express themselves in the most positive and artistic way. Cool prizes and certificates are given for outstanding composition, originality and creativity! Kids, ages 7 to 17, are welcome to the monthly program, (always on the second Tuesday of the month) at 5:30 PM.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Are you using the For Later shelf? Do you know how it works? Need some instruction? Here’s a link to a page we call How to Use the Catalog; you’ll find the following link there: Learn more about shelves. (Some library lingo is ambiguous, but these are a couple of aptly named pages.)   

Let me tell you about the For Later shelf because it’s my favorite feature of bibliocommons, in fact, since I usually end up there anyway, I’m getting in the habit of starting at the For Later page.

Log in to your account here My APL. On the next page, hover the mouse over My APL and a menu will drop. Look at the middle column, MY COLLECTIONS. The third option under My Shelves is For Later. Click it.

Now you’re in My Shelves/For Later. Click Add Title. You can search the next box just like you search the catalog (although you have fewer choices). Type into the rightmost box Struck by Genius—don’t change anything else—and click Search. The list on the next page is our three holdings of the recent book by Jason Padgett in three formats, downloadable, book on paper, and audiobook. You can click on the Add button on the left, and voila! There it is on your For Later list.

But here’s the best part: If you’re looking for something we don’t own, something brand new, say, that hasn’t come in yet, you can search Amazon for it--from this page--and add it to your list, even though it isn’t in our catalog! Here’s how to do that.

Let’s search the next John Grisham book, Gray Mountain, we don't have it yet, it doesn't come out until October. Type Gray Mountain into the search box. You get Thunder Mountain and books set in the mountains, but Grisham’s Gray Mountain isn’t there. How can you put it on your list to remind yourself to slap a hold on it as soon as you see it in our catalog?  Scroll down the page until you see a red Search box at the bottom. Click it, and you’re searching Amazon for the book. And there it is on the next page, top of the list. Click Add, and you have a reminder for October with a pretty blue thumbnail and everything!

Take a look at your list now. You should have two books on it. Notice there’s a Place a Hold button to the right of Struck by Genius. Because we own it, you can place it on hold from this list. Notice there’s no hold button next to Gray Mountain, and when we get Gray Mountain, though they’re working on it, bibliocommons won’t offer you a hold button on this list. You'll have to click on the book title and place a hold from the catalog page.

But still. For Later. Pretty cool, eh?



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Today we celebrate the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination in employment, schools and public places. During the 1960s both African Americans and Mexican Americans took part in national movements intended to bring down racial barriers.This was a time when African Americans faced death threats for trying to vote and restaurants had signs that read “No Mexicans”. Women were not allowed to be police officers. The act was signed into law 50 years ago on July 2 by President Lyndon Johnson. With the stroke of a pen - actually, the stroke of 72 ceremonial pens - Johnson exploded the old America and laid the cornerstone of the new. As we look back at its passage, this landmark legislation was the direct result of advocates, artists, community leaders, elected officials and everyday people working together to fight for its passage. Many of these people are the subjects of the new books on this list. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Eli Wallach died last Tuesday.  If you’ve watched The Good the Bad and the Ugly 20 times, as every human should, he’s the reason. If you’ve had to splash your face with cool water (or sip iced lemonade) after the swing-set scene in Baby Doll, thank Eli.

He was in Austin at the book festival a few years ago signing his memoir, The Good, the Bad, and Me. The Alamo was packed—we were going to watch Tuco with Tuco! Mr. Wallach spoke for a bit before the movie, but didn’t stay for the screening; it was disappointing, but jeez, he was more than 90 years old, and I bet he’d seen that movie more than I have—and that’s saying something.

The greatest 20 seconds of acting in thespian history—and I include all roles from the dawn of theater in Greece—is Tuco’s change of mood as he drives away from his brother’s monastery. I’ve spent the last half hour trying to describe that scene for this blog, but I can’t. You’ve got to see it for yourself. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

You may have read the article “Girls Gone Geek” in a recent issue of the Austin Chronicle. It mentions Gail Simone’s famous (in some circles) list Women in Refrigerators. The list – a reaction to Green Lantern's girlfriend being murdered and stuffed into a refrigerator – draws attention to the way (mostly male) comics creators brutalize women in their storylines. She makes a startlingly long list of the characters and then gathers some reactions from people in the industry. I started to think about this and feel pretty happy about how far we’ve come! I mean, think about all the women who create comics these days. It made me extra excited to flip through our brand new reference title “Icons in the American Comic Book.” Only, there aren’t any human women in it. Oh sure, Wonder Woman has an entry and Batgirl too. Just among the names of people actually making comics, zero ladies. So, bummer. But I won’t hold it against Greenwood who does make plenty of high quality reference books on other topics.

But it made me feel a little blue for a moment. But there’s plenty of good news to focus on too. For one thing, browse any graphic novel collection and you’ll start to notice lots more ladies than you would have 10 years ago (although it was harder to find a library with a graphic novel section ten years ago too). You’ll see Roz Chast’s new book Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? just a couple shelves away from Alison Bechdel’s critically acclaimed memoirs (yes, plural!). And there’s the hilarious Unlovable series by Esther Watson as well as the informative and moving memoirs by Marjane Satrapi. And while these are awesome books, they’re not “comics.” They’re illustrated memoirs and graphic novels. Did I mention they’re awesome? They are.

But what about the boys clubs of DC Comics and Marvel?  They’re getting better! I promise. My goal for the day (among other things of course) was to make a list of comics (superpowers, tights, fights kind of comics) created or illustrated by women. I’ll admit it’s slow going but I was pleased to see how the numbers jump from year to year. Hopefully, before long, I’ll have a full list of comics for adults with women’s names in the byline.

Here’s what I’ve got so far! Let me know if I’m missing any good ones!

Women in Comics

You might also like Chicks Dig Comics and Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics.  

P.S. I still recommend taking a look at Icons of the American Comic Book next time you’re at Central! It’s right next to Women in the Comics!


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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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