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Database Blog

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.

Virtual LibraryIt's no secret that tablets, smartphones, and all sorts of mobile devices are exploding in popularity. To maximize that powerful computer in your hand, check out the apps and mobile sites available through the Austin Public Library. If you need to learn Portuguese in a snap before a trip, get the Mango Languages app. Do you want an app that downloads and streams music? Freegal Music can help you out with that. Need eBooks and audiobooks for afternoons at Barton Springs? OneClickdigital and OverDrive have thousands of books for every age and taste. Do you just want to while away the summer paging through magazines, but don't want to cart them around? Head to Zinio and download unlimited mags to your device.

All of these apps are free for you to use with an Austin Public Library card. If you get stuck with the setup or confused by the different login processes, Ask a Librarian! We're happy to get you set up and on your way.

A few months ago, The New Yorker featured a piece on pictures of libraries for Robert Dawson’s book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay. The Austin Public Library was proud to find that the George Washington Carver Branch was part of the slide show. With a fantastic mural, by the Austin artist John Fisher, adorning an outside wall and a rich history as the first branch to serve Austin’s Black community the Carver Branch has established itself locally and nationally.

Now, to better serve the rich and diverse citizenship of Austin, the Carver Branch has been awarded an enhancement grant from The Texas Book Festival. This will benefit the already existing collection of materials focused on African American history and culture. The Carver Museum, which sits next door to the Carver Branch, and the African American Cultural & Heritage Facility take on the task of creating exhibits and programming dedicated to African American scientists, artists, activists and the like. Meanwhile, the library looks to extend those learning opportunities through its available modern and updated texts.

As a nation, we recognize Black History in the month of February. As an evolving human society, we ought to do more. Having resources like the Carver Museum, African American Cultural & Heritage Facility and Carver library branch can bring a view into recent history unlike what is glossed over in school books and tourist destinations.

Here are some ways for you to do more:

  1. Visit Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District and local landmarks
  2. Explore what the Austin History Center has to offer which includes an interesting series of vignettes titled Black in the Past
  3. Using your Austin Public Library Card delve into databases
  4. Tap into a variety of other resources
  5. Attend the eighth annual Austin African American Book Festival where the Carver Branch is holding a book sale this Saturday, June 28, 2014
  6. Be sure to check out the lobby displays and an unveiling of the newly purchased materials in the fall of 2014 at The Carver Branch.


The OatmealI've been in a comics rut lately, just sticking to authors I already know well, and only reading series that I'm acquainted with. To get some ideas for new titles, I went to Comics Plus and browsed around. Comics Plus: Library Edition has digital graphic novels and comic books that I can check out for a week and read on any device. I can search for an author or series that I know about, or really mix things up by clicking on a randomly-chosen publisher and scrolling through their available issues. I'm able to preview titles before checking them out, and I can check out ten titles at a time! I have a bunch checked out for the next seven days, and I'm looking forward to getting out of this comics rut. Even if I don't like a selection, it returns itself in seven days—no fines, no problem.

If you'd like to browse through some different titles without effort or expense, grab your library card and login to Comics Plus. They've got comics and graphic novels in all genres for all ages, and you may just find your new favorite comic book there.