Mayor's Book Club

The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation together with the Mayor's Office and the Austin Public Library invites you to an afternoon with 2011 National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward, author of this year's Mayor's Book Club Selection, Salvage the Bones.

The event will include an introduction by Mayor Leffingwell, a reading and a Q&A with Jesmyn Ward. A reception and book signing will follow the Q&A.

Be sure to check out a copy of Salvage the Bones from your local Austin Public Library location and join us for the other Mayor's Book Club events!

“The Mayor’s Book Club is a great way to advocate literacy and promote a sense of community through a shared experience. We are happy to announce that Jesymn Ward’s novel “Salvage the Bones” is this year’s selection and are thrilled that Ms. Ward will be joining us in Austin to kick off our  11th annual event." - Mayor Leffingwell

1:00 PM
Event Location:

Events Blog

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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:


Friday, March 28, 2014

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

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

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!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Me…. geek?
As a matter of fact, yes, I do geek.
At least according to the “Geek the Library” campaign’s application of the word, I do. From their website “geek” used as a verb means:

1. To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for.
2. To express interest in.
3. To possess a large amount of knowledge in.
4. To promote.

Repurposing words is not a new trend. At one time, “cool” was used exclusively in reference to temperature; then it became an alternate way of saying “fashionable”. Similarly, OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative, has embraced the idea of repurposing geek as a verb and it has subsequently become the driving force behind a national campaign.
Since I am employed by the public library, I have a vested interest in the continued existence of them. Unfortunately though, not everyone understands the value of these institutions, nor the challenges they face; such as budget constraints and logistics for the services provided. This is where comes in. By enlisting libraries across the country, and using social media and printed materials the OCLC strives to “spread the word about the vital and growing role of your public library, and to raise awareness about the critical funding issues many U.S. public libraries face”.
But don’t just take my word for it. Go geek for yourself.

Here are some ways to get your geek on:

• Visit the personalized photo booth during SXSWi at the LABRARY

• Visit any local APL branch during regular business hours and apply for your very own card.
There are no residence restrictions and they are applicable at all physical locations plus the virtual library.

• Visit the to discover more about the campaign
Take the quiz on library funding, see what you can do to support public libraries and, best of all, personalize your “I geek” message.

For those of you wondering:
I geek….origami, reading, art, sports, comedy, and play.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  Guest blogger Shannon G.

You've paid your debt to Uncle Sam all year, so if you get a little cash back as a tax refund, be sure to make the most of it. Thinking about planning your next big trip? Consider Finland as an option.

Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, Russia to the east, and Estonia to the south across the Gulf of Finland. The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills and an almost endless amount of lakes. Finland contains 37 national parks, which certainly makes it a desirable travel destination.

Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern region. Above the Arctic Circle, in midwinter, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months, and correspondingly, midnight sun in the summer, with no sunset even at midnight. The Aurora Borealis is seen regularly in the fall, winter and spring here.

Finns have a self-conception and reputation for being reserved and sparing with words. Small talk is not valued. Accordingly, words and verbal promises are likely to be taken seriously. The rapid spread of mobile phones, computers, and other communications technology is creating a society that is highly interconnected, regardless of the nature of interpersonal interactions and demeanor. Finland has the highest per capita use of the Internet and cellular phones in the world.

Children´s culture in Finland is one of the most developed in the world. One of the three existing schools of architecture for children in the world is ARKKI in Helsinki. There are several children’s festivals focused in literature, movies, theatre and so on. Basic education in arts is very well developed and accessible all over the country, and it has proven its effectiveness in producing surprising number of world class musicians, singers and conductors compared to the small size of the nation.

Finland is also known as the land of weird championships. Most known of them are the wife carrying and swamp football but there’s also rubber boot throwing championships, mobile phone throwing championships, snow swimming championships and… stick horse racing championships.

So you’ve finished your taxes and unfortunately a trip to Finland isn’t in the works. Not to worry; the library has many interesting books, DVDs, and CDs about this northern country. And coincidentally, this month will be playing host to the Finnish Folk band Vellamo. In Finnish mythology, Vellamo is the goddess of the sea. Pia Leinonen, originally from the arctic region of Lapland, is Vellamo’s lead singer. Her exquisite voice combines her love and vast knowledge of Finnish folk music with the western singer–songwriter tradition in a unique and beautiful way. Joni Tiala, originally from the Finnish port of Kokkola, began playing guitar at the age of 11. He is now a master of several stringed instruments.

Vellamo combines the rich tradition of Finnish folksong with an appealing “retro” sensibility, creating an exotic and magical acoustic experience. Stop by and check out our book cart display providing more information about Finland whilst listening to a free show performed by Vellamo at the Yarborough branch library on Wednesday, February 18th from 7-7:45 p.m.

Friday, February 14, 2014

For over a month we simply could not stop talking about it....2013 … done, over, finished. Now that you have settled in to 2014 and are well on your way to recouping, rejuvenating, reapplying, reinventing, redoing, remaking...or whatever your "re" is… we at Austin Public Library, hope it includes being a part of the library community; and we are proud to say that there are many ways to do that. With computers, wifi, checkouts (done both physically and digitally), databases, meeting spaces and more the Austin community has a wealth of services. Today I am focusing on the "more" I usually have in mind - adult programming.

Note: in case readers haven't yet deduced this point, adult programs is the department for whom I write this blog.

At APL we provided an array of programs designed for the adults in our city throughout the last year.

Some of 2013’s best events included:

  • Author visits – Ben Fountain, J.A. Jance, Kevin Powers and Matthew Sturtevant
  • Movie screenings –based on books, community cinema, bad film fest
  • Art on display – during EAST and WEST studio tours
  • Sustainability - Rebate Austin, Upcycle This, Leaf for a Leaf
  • Summer Reading – this year included some fantastic prizes like KOBO e-readers (with a one-on-one instruction session from a library employee) and reusable bags
  • Book Groups – Mystery, Graphic Novel, YA for Adults
  • Public Safety/Awareness - Bike Rodeo, VIN Etching with APD, Financial Literary Seminar
  • Regularly scheduled programming - Adult craft night, Language Practice, Computer Classes

In the event you missed these or did not find something to match your interests, now is the time to give APL your feedback as we plan for the 2014 Adult Programming Events. Although an assortment of both new and returning favorites are already in the early planning stage, you are still both invited and encouraged to share your suggestions. Perhaps you love the idea of joining a book discussion group but there isn’t one in your neighborhood. Maybe you know about a great community initiative with which the library could partner. Time to speak up! Use the "comments" section to do so. I’m looking forward to reading your feedback, input, and suggestions.

Additionally, you can peruse what is already on the calendar, or take a quick peek at some upcoming events listed below. Each title allows you to click on it and get more information.