Students will learn how to create and customize blogs in order to post text, images, video, and more to a web site. The class will explore the features of several popular blogging sites, including WordPress, as well as how to search for and link to other people's blogs. Class prerequisites: Internet experience, mastery of mouse handling, valid e-mail account.
Getting Started with Blogs
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.
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!
"...a beautification in my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics. To me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the manmade world to harmony. To bring order, usefulness, delight to our whole environment. And that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping."
These are Lady Bird Johnson’s words and from these words one can tell she was well ahead of her time. She had a passion for native flora and conservation before it was the hip thing to do. Given the plethora of rich and amazing Texas wildlife, it is easy to imagine how this passion spread to others. These days you can drive along many a Texas highway and see the result of her life's work. It was probably appropriate that she went to the University of Texas at Austin, since this city also tends to be on the cutting edge when it comes to beautification. We boast Lady Bird Lake Trail, a non-paved trail in the heart of town, Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring as the go-to local watering hole, and the Barton Creek Greenbelt, an expansive piece of land used for outdoor recreation.
Despite this city's rapid growth, especially over the last decade, it has managed to maintain a vision of being harmonious with the environment. The most recent commitment being a bag ban to reduce the unnecessary waste associated with single use plastic bags. Meanwhile, the City of Austin Departments continues to work toward a goal of operations being carbon neutral by 2020. I believe that the former First Lady and Austinite would be proud and continue to call this place her home.
As individuals and families we can be part of harmonizing the man-made and natural worlds by thinking about how we live our daily lives, through choices we make and ideals we impart on the next generation. I can think of no better time than this coming week, as Earth Day is April 22nd, to be inspired and get involved.
You can start by attending Austin Public Library’s program, Rebate Austin!, where attendees will learn ways to save money and reduce their impact on the environment. Continue your quest by exploring some websites dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson, and to beautification here in Texas and Austin. By the end of the week you will be ready for some outdoor Earth Day festivities.
April is poetry month. Do you want to write a poem? Perhaps, more specifically you’d like to write a Minimalist poem. I was told "keep it simple yet elegant". Easy enough, right? Well, it helps if you know what that means. I can honestly say I did not have an established definition of Minimalist Art prior to my agreeing to do this blog post. So I did a little research and sat down with artist, Andrew Stearns, whose work is currently featured at the Hampton branch.
There is a "fine line between boring and exciting", he says in defining and elaborating on Minimalist Art. He went on to say that the "success or failure of the piece lies in composition and editing...the challenge is to reach that point where you have a balance of elements". In his work he plays with color, shadow, line and form to achieve an abstraction of what we normally see as everyday objects. In Minimalist Poetry the Artist manipulates words through font, size and placement on the page to achieve a similar result. It is in this approach of "…taking out distraction to invite you [the viewer] in" where the various Minimalist Art formats agree. So while Andrew takes a photograph another may sculpt a form, compose music, or put pen to paper.
I will admit I often don't feel like I understand what to think or feel while experiencing a piece of Minimalist Art. But, viewing Andrew’s work on his website and at the Hampton Branch, then talking with him about it made me embrace the genre. The beauty of Minimalist Art lies in its simplicity. It allows you "…to go in and respond and experience" something personal. The artist may "…makes it look easy but it takes your breath away."
In fact, the collaboration of his work and invitation for patrons to write their own minimalist poem inspired me. I was struck by a black and white piece of his hanging in the hall and constructed my own poem (featured as the picture for this blog post). This was definitely a learning experience for me, something Andrew says he hopes visitors get from viewing his work. “Capturing the world in a different way and experiencing something new” is his goal as an Artist.
If you are interested in a learning experience of your own try one of the following:
- view Andrew Stearn's work and write a poem at the Hampton Branch at Oak Hill
- explore some databases through the APL virtual library
- visit the Blanton and other venues featuring Minimalist Art around town
- check out materials devoted to the minimalist style at any Austin Public Library branch
If you could invite any famous person in history or in the world over to your house for dinner, who would it be? What would you talk about? Would you have some burning questions that you hoped the person would answer for you? For me, the answer to that question is easy—I’d invite all my favorite authors, because I would really like to know exactly what they are like in person and exactly how they managed to come up with their stories and what inspired them, so on and so forth! For instance—who exactly WAS Shakespeare? How did Charlotte Bronte come with the idea of Jane Eyre? I have a whole list of questions for J.K. Rowling and Tolkien on their books! But it is unlikely that I’ll ever get those questions answered and it makes me quite irritated! So, it is with great excitement that I announce the Austin Public Library has been able to arrange for Laini Taylor and Margaret Stohl to come for a visit at the Yarborough Branch Library on Wednesday, April 9th at 7pm!
Laini Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of Days of Blood & Starlight, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, the Dreamdark books: Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the National Book Award finalist Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter, Clementine. Her website is www.lainitaylor.com.
Margaret Stohl is a lifelong science fiction fan, former video game designer, coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series, and author of Icons. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her family. Her website is www.margaret-stohl.com.
This is going to be a really special author visit with a whole lot of things going on!
• Q&A with the authors! Now you can get your burning book questions answered!
• Daughter of Smoke and Bone series-branded masks for everyone!
• Book signing of Laini Taylor’s latest release, Dreams of Gods & Monsters and Margaret Stohl’s Icons (sold by B&N at the event).
• Daughter of Smoke and Bone series themed photo booth with wings, horns, blue wigs & more!
• Book-themed refreshments & more!
Plan to arrive early as space is limited! The library will also have library copies of the authors' books to check out!