Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Traveling Librarian: Speer Memorial Library

Hello! I've just returned from the Rio Grande Valley where I visited the Speer Memorial Library in Mission, Texas. This wonderful library building has just been through a major renovation. I am told it is now the largest physical public library building in South Texas.

This great library has over 250 Internet computers (!); a bank of meeting and study rooms; a patron lounge stocked with snack machines looking out onto a small garden; a HUGE children's area with plenty of space to lounge around and read a book; and across from the adult reference desk, there are three exhibit displays. Currently, some of the displays featured are: photographs and materials from Cleo Dawson, the author of She Came to the Valley; photographs and materials from the William Jennings Bryan archives; and a memorial to soldiers from the valley serving overseas.

If you're ever in the Rio Grande Valley and want to check out a beautiful public library, Speer Memorial is the place to stop. - Your Traveling Librarian

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School...

The summer is over and it’s time to head back to school. Soon, it will be time to write papers and study for exams. Come to the library for help with all your homework woes.

The Wired for Youth page has a “Homework Helpers” link; on this page you can find help for all of the following categories: homework, internet indexes, internet search engines, databases, reference, research papers, biographies, current events, geography, history, government, mythology, people & culture, (full text) books online, math, science project sites, science, TAKS practice tests & readiness guides, and typing!

The Library Database page also has links to databases that can help with all grade levels of homework. There’s even a link for help in writing reports.

It’s all here…just come on in and look around. Don’t forget, call, email, or chat with a librarian if you need help!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How do you say “Hi” in Tamil?

When we speak to others using our native language, we don’t stop every second to think about how we conjugate verbs, we just speak and they understand. Communication in our own language seems so easy! But in reality, to learn a language is a complicated task, something we figure out when we are trying to learn a foreign language ourselves.

You will have to memorize new words, letters, sounds, pronunciation, spelling and sometimes characters. Plus expressions, idioms, jargon and slang; to learn a new language seem like something impossible to do! But all of this is worth it, learning other languages is also learning about other cultures, other ways to approach life and a wonderful way to make friends!

Austin Public library has language learning resources for approximately 65 different languages! Contact us for more information.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

How much do you know about traveling libraries?

Did you know that the first mobile library known in history belonged to Abdul Kassem Ismail, a Persian vizier who traveled with 400 camels that carried 117.000 volumes through the desert with him? What a personal library!!!

The first mobile library in the United States was a horse-drawn cart and was started by Mary Lemist Titcomb in Maryland in 1905.

Mobile libraries in the world have transported books not only by horse but by donkeys, llamas and camels (like the vizier did!). Cars, trains, boats and lately buses have also transported books to communities with accessibility problems or with limited resources to maintain a library. Very interesting, don’t you think?

More information on traveling libraries:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Invest wisely...

OK, your mother wants you to invest some of her money in a Spanish company that you have never heard of. You would like to find some reliable information on how risky the investment would be. You can research what investment experts are saying about the company in Factiva, an online database that has news and business publications from 152 countries in 22 languages, plus company reports and current and historical market data. After searching Factiva, you find that Standard and Poor's has given the company a B++ rating, which is a fair rating, but not secure enough for your mother's investment.

For answers to your database questions and help in how to use them, go to the Austin Public Library's Database Help page.