Summer time in Austin, Texas cannot be defined by the temperature outside. If it were, then we wouldn't have a Fall or Spring. Instead, universities, teachers, parents, and especially students define it by the months-long reprieve from the daily obligations of school. Retailers and restauranteurs mark Summer as when the tourists come to town. For festival goers it is the time between SXSW and ACL. For myself, I like to honor its arrival by joining the Summer Reading Program at my neighborhood branch of the library. Because I continue to work full time during that period of the calendar I can't necessarily devote more time to reading. Therefore, I have adopted my own personal challenge. Each year I have a goal to use the summer months to try a genre I don't normally read. Last year it was graphic novels and the year prior was nonfiction. In doing so, I discovered that I rather enjoy graphic novels and that they include so much more than superheroes. I also learned that I mentally focus much better on nonfiction material when I listen to it rather than read it, especially when it's read by an enthusiastic and passionate author or actor. So far my favorite of these is Michael Pollan, most notably known for Omnivore’s Dilemma, and who has a new one out soon I look forward to trying. I haven't decided yet on this year's genre, but it will undoubtedly be a mind opening experience. The pretty great thing about APL is that no matter which subject matter or material type I choose, I will have tons of titles from which to pick. The other awesome thing about summer reading in Austin is being part of the Summer Reading Program. It is a great way to inspire kids to join the youth summer reading program and encourage people all over town to read by showing off your progress. I have seen whole families come in to pick out items they planned to read together. Now that makes me excited about summer!
Austin Public Library Locations
Twin Oaks Branch
The current Twin Oaks Branch, located at the corner of South Fifth Street and West Mary Street, was built to replace the former Twin Oaks Branch, which was located in a lease space since its inception in 1956. Since 1992, the Branch had been in a 5,360 square foot storefront space in the Twin Oaks Shopping Center located near the intersection of South Congress Avenue and Oltorf Street. In the 1998 City of Austin General Obligation Bond Election voters approved the funding to build a permanent 10,000 square foot branch to serve this area of the city. The new Twin Oaks Branch opened in August of 2010. This modern and sustainable Branch, designed by Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects and built by Jamail & Smith Construction, features a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) template that incorporates recycled bricks for the exterior, recyclable carpeting and furniture fabrics, and a sophisticated lighting system that automatically dims when there is sufficient day light. The Branch is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a 25.2 kW solar energy system that generates about 32,760 kWh annually (power sufficient for about three standard sized homes). The building also includes 15 huge timber trusses made of reclaimed Douglas Fir which saved about 30 large trees. The Twin Oaks Branch interior design scheme earned a First Place Commercial Interior Design Award for Sustainable Design in 2010.
Upcoming Events at the Twin Oaks Branch
Tuesday, June 11
Tuesday, June 18
Friday, June 21
Tuesday, June 25
Friday, June 28
Tuesday, July 2
Friday, July 5
Twin Oaks Branch Blog
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing.
Shakespeare Sonnet 98, 1-3
There are so many things that come to mind when one mentions Spring: rain and gardens full of flowers are abound. Sunnier skies and warmer breezes lift people’s spirits. It is a season of rebirth. Then there are the celebrations: Passover, Easter, Vernal Equinox, May Day, Earth Day and the various Flower/ Garden festivals. A Spring occasion maybe less commonly known is April 23, the celebrated day of William Shakespeare’s birth and death, "Shakespeare Day."
Like so many others I didn’t much like reading Shakespeare in school but then I saw one of his plays performed live and I was hooked. I went from saying “ugh” at the assigned Romeo and Juliet in high school to voluntarily taking a Shakespearean acting class in college. I still prefer the performance over the reading because set, costume, music and strong acting complete the experience for me. These days you can find Shakespeare modernized, immortalized, dissected and fictionalized in a variety of formats. Search the APL catalog with the keyword ‘Shakespeare’ and you get 1,714 results. I was pleasantly surprised to find there are things geared for the younger set like graphic novels, and a relatively new feature, video streaming.
At the Austin Public Library we couldn’t possibly let the opportunity for Shakespeare themed programs pass us by. During April we will be doing everything from movie screenings to a scholar lead discussion.