APL Recommends Blog

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!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eliot Ness, leader of the Untouchables, was born April 19, 1903. It seems appropriate, given the Twenty-First Amendment, to pour up a drink to celebrate the man who kept the nation sober and the gangsters in Chicago on the lam.

To get you started, check out our cocktails selection! We’ve got themed books (like The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook, or The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook) and books with recipes based on your favorite beverage (Viva Tequila; Vodka Distilled; American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye; and even Bitters). If you’re feeling a little bit scientific (and dare I say snobbish?) about your drinking habits, check out The Drunken Botanist. You’ll discover the histories of the plants humans have used to make booze over the centuries.

Now, the romance of gangsters and G-men of the 1930’s is hard to resist. Find out more about Eliot Ness by reading a new biography out by Douglas Perry. So whether you tip your hat or raise your glass, the library’s got your interest in Prohibition-era America covered!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Biography at its best is a good read, it appeals to a natural human instinct for gossip, and it answers a real need within us to understand each other better. And it is a noticeable achievement of the new biographies on our catalog list - Recommended Biographies -  that they all begin with the premise that human nature is complex, and as is true with everything else in the world, you have to take the good with the bad. Biographies include cyclist Lance Armstrong, labor organizer Cesar Chavez, General Douglas MacArthur, and poet Marianne Moore.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

JazzIt's a busy time with lots of events to observe and celebrate. It's National Poetry Month, Earth Month, Passover, Easter, National Library Week, and the upcoming National Day of Puppetry. But did you know that it's Jazz Appreciation Month? Whether you're an aficionado or getting started with jazz, the Austin Public Library has over 3,000 CDs and hundreds of books that you can absorb and pore over. You can also stream jazz tracks and albums from our Virtual Library with Freegal Music and American Song.

Not sure where to start? Throw on some timeless Louis Armstrong and check out his collaborations with chanteuse Ella Fitzgerald. Explore the stylings of Duke Ellington, the originality of Miles Davis, the inventiveness of Thelonious Monk, and the ingenuity of Charles Mingus. You can head into your local branch and browse through the selection, and check out whichever titles and covers grab you. We also have plenty of movies about jazz, including documentaries, biographies, and concerts.

So come check out some Jazz through the Austin Public Library, and have something else to celebrate this month!

Jazz Sax photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, April 11, 2014

With the arrival of spring, I think I’m ready for a change of scenery. After all, the planet is re-decorating too: have you seen the bluebonnets and other wildflowers putting a pop of color around our highways and byways?

I’m out of ideas, though, so I thought I’d turn to my branch’s home decorating section (Dewey call number starting in the 747's). Not only do we have idea books, we’ve got books covering specific styles and lifestyles (green and eco-friendly, for example). If maybe just a fresh coat of paint will get you going in the right direction, we’ve got color palette theme books; if new pillows or a slipcover for your worn-out couch is more your thing, check out our fabric swatch books (only pictures, not ACTUAL fabrics) and our books on recovering upholstery. (These last are not for the faint of heart: have you ever seen a couch frame taken down to the skeleton? Gracious, but that’s ambitious!)

For more up to the minute home fashion choices than book publishing can offer, check out our Zinio magazine subscription database. With your APL Card, you can get access to the current issues of House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Country Living, and Dwell. Flip through the pages on your mobile device or tablet, just like the print version!

With all the money you save NOT buying books and magazines, you’ll have some dough left over for accent pieces!