APL Recommends

APL Recommends Blog

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?



Monday, July 14, 2014

The Ramones in concertThe last Bruddah has died. Tom Erdelyi, aka Tommy Ramone, was arguably the brains behind one of the most influential bands in rock n' roll. He played drums on their first three albums, produced several others, and shaped the "stoopid" outcasts from Queens into a cultural force that spawned punk rock and put CBGB's on the map.

A tribute in The Guardian summed them up thusly:

"...the Ramones were the best group rock'n'roll ever produced. Not the most inventive, or the most versatile, or the most skilful, or the most emotionally resonant, or the most lyrical – but the best, because every time I put on one of the Ramones' best records, I was reminded of how I felt the first time I heard it."

So, how did you feel the first time you heard The Ramones?

I came upon them serendipitously, picking up a VHS copy of Rock 'n' Roll High School at a video rental store (remember those?) because I thought the title sounded cool. They instantly became one of my favorite bands and set the course for my burgeoning musical tastes. While I never got to see Tommy behind the drum kit, I was able to catch a show with Dee Dee and a few other memorable Ramones gigs before they disbanded. While I don't listen to them constantly anymore, there are always a handful of Ramones songs on my playlists. And there are more than a handful of songs that just need to be listened to when the mood strikes, when there's a need to be transported back to a certain moment in time, and only "I Wanna Be Sedated" or "We're a Happy Family" will do.

If you need to refresh your "Hey, Ho, Let's Go!", the Austin Public Library has many of their CDs, some DVDs with live clips, and a bunch of books detailing their legacy. If you're new to The Ramones, why not start with Rock 'n' Roll High School, Rocket to Russia, or their eponymous debut? I guarantee that it will be a memorable experience.

Gabba Gabba Hey!


Photograph of The Ramones in concert, Toronto, 1976, with Tommy Ramone on drums, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Friday, July 11, 2014

July has been dubbed Parks Month by Mayor Leffingwell and given a theme of “Out is In”. Meanwhile, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging residents to “get outside, change your outlook, and get involved in your community through parks and recreation”.  This sounds fantastic to me. I certainly didn’t move to such an outdoorsy, no-snow, warm-much-of-the-year city to sit at home. There certainly are days that snuggling up with a good book or binging on a TV show is just what I want, but for most of my entertainment I seek things outside of my tiny-ish apartment. Each summer I like to discover a new location to sun, splash and walk through. From a picnic at Emma Long Metropolitan Park to music at the Hartman Park (part of the Long Center) I have yet to be disappointed. The Parks and Recreation department has put together a list of amenities and activities to help you get out there. Simultaneously, I am here to present to you how this theme relates to the library with a list of my own.

Get outside:

  • Enjoy the watering hole with something to read, watch or listen to from the virtual library
  • looking for a new place to go/see/explore - try one of the different guide books on Austin
  • take your exercise routine outdoors with books and dvd’s  on tennis, biking, swimming
  • Expand the flavors at your picnic with cookbook recipes ranging from grilling to paleo

Change your outlook:

Get involved in your community

Friday, July 11, 2014

Page through the Austin Business Journal’s Book of Lists and you’re treated to a smorgasbord of data-driven lists ranking the top companies, events, and organizations in the Austin area. From finance to health care, technology to travel and hospitality, this annual publication is often lauded as the top source of business intelligence in Central Texas. It’s a nifty tool for understanding competitors and finding leads and opportunities.

Take the list of yearly festivals and events in the book’s 2014 edition. Ranked by attendance, the Trail of Lights is #1 with 400,000 attendees, followed by the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo (300,000), Formula One (265,499), and the Austin City Limits Music Festival (225,000). Each entry in this list includes representative sponsors and vendor contact information, useful for those all-important leads.

Pictured is Chris Martin of Coldplay singing at the City Limits Festival (click image for photo credit). Suffice it to say, once you use the Austin Book of Lists, you’ll be singing its praises. The book is available in hard copy at several locations throughout APL, but click here to access a digital copy at any time through our Virtual Library. All you need is an active APL card.

Booklist Categories





APL Recommends

Cover of the book Divergent
By Veronica Roth.
In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.