Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mad Magazine

In the mid-sixties when I was (ahem) younger, the best day of the month was when MAD magazine came in the mail. I’d buy a couple of bags of sunflower seeds, hole up in my room, and spend all afternoon reading every word of MAD, stopping only after I’d carefully tri-folded the back cover (there’s a trick to it). My mother professed to be appalled by my taste in literature, but if my MAD went missing, I’d usually find it on her bedside table.

William Gaines began publishing MAD in 1952, and by the early 60s, all of the artists and writers that made MAD great, Dick DeBartolo, Frank Jacobs, Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragonés, Al Jaffee, Paul Coker Jr., Dave Berg, and Don Martin, were on board. It was a fun place to work because Gaines was a MADman. When MAD’s only subscriber in Haiti failed to renew, Gaines flew the MAD staff there to get him to change his mind. He did.

Gaines died in 1992, and MAD began its creep toward corporatism, finally accepting advertising in 2001. Now it’s a slick, colorful, watered-down version of its formerly black-and-white, independent self. There are still funny bits, but its editors are no longer fearless, and circulation is less than one tenth what it was in 1974, MAD’s heyday.

Still, it was a good run. The library has these books that commemorate it:

Mad Art: A Visual Celebration of the Art of Mad Magazine and the Idiots Who Create It Evanier, Mark

Mad: Cover to Cover: 48 Years, 6 Months & 3 Days of Mad Magazine Covers Jacobs, Frank

Mad: The Half-Wit and Wisdom of Alfred E. Neuman: Classic Pearls of Idiocy

Completely Mad: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine Reidelbach, Maria

MAD About the Sixties: The Best of the Decade

Good Days and Mad: A Hysterical Tour Behind the Scenes at Mad Magazine DeBartolo, Dick.

(Austin Public Library subscribes to MAD magazine and MAD Kids.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Get Organized!

Spring has arrived, so it’s time once again to do some spring cleaning. If you have a stack of books sitting around your house, consider donating them to the library. We accept donations of best sellers and popular titles for the Library's collection. Hardback books in good condition can be dropped off at any Library location. Paperback books can also be dropped off at any Library location for the Friends of the Austin Public Library Book Sale. Some branch libraries also have magazine give-away tables so you can leave magazines and take a few you haven’t read. Contact your local branch to find out if they offer this service.

Need more help to get organized? We have tons of books about house cleaning and organization. These are just a few of the available titles:

Spring cleaning : the spirit of keeping home

Speed cleaning 101 : cut your cleaning time in half

Cleaning and the meaning of life: simple solutions to declutter your home and beautify your life

Feather your nest: the complete guide to outfitting, cleaning, organizing and caring for your home

Clean like a man: housekeeping for men (and the women who love them)

How clean is your house?

Coming clean: dirty little secrets from a professional housecleaner

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Traveling librarian went to the Architects and Engineers Association Library in Costa Rica

I was lucky enough to visit Costa Rica one more time (it's so pretty there that once you go there you want to keep going back!). This time I visited the Architects and Engineers Association Library located in San José. This library is very new; it was formally inaugurated a year ago, but it has been serving patrons since the 1990s. It has a collection of 500 electronic documents and 3000 documents in hardcopy. It mainly compiles laws, technical articles, thesis, and papers.

This library serves approximately 12,000 members and adds 1,000 new members every year. All documents are related to the areas of engineering and architecture. This library is located in a small room in the building with a beautiful view of the North Mountains. The library is run by a single laborious librarian who was the initiator of a digital library for the library's associates which has been very popular and welcome. It's amazing what one person can do!

So if you are planning to buy or build a house in Costa Rica, this is a good place to get information about development laws, and even architectural venues in the country.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Literary Cookbooks

Writers often interject descriptions of food or meals partaken in order to move a story along, to add vivid detail, or as a way of depicting character. Writers are often good cooks themselves. Please savor the list of books below that include recipes drawn from your favorite books and authors.

Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
Alice b. Toklas

Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food & Flavor
Laura Esquivel

The Book Club Cookbook: Recipes and Food from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors
Judy Gelman

Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them
Shaunda Wenger

A Feast of Words: for Lovers of Food and Fiction
Anna Shapiro

Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen

Patricia Cornwell

Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader
Jan Karon

The Jane Austen Cookbook
Maggie Black

Kafka's Soup: a Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes
Mark Crick

Read It and Eat: a Month-by-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus
Sarah Gardner

Stirring Prose: Cooking with Texas Authors
Deborah Douglas

Taste of Murder: Diabolically Delicious Recipes from Contemporary Mystery Writers
Jo Grossman

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Digital information, how much is out there?

International Data Group (IDG) did a study to learn the amount of digital information produced by individuals and organizations around the world. According to their report , the amount of digital information produced is equivalent to thousands of tons of books or comparable to 12 towers that cover the distance between planet earth and the sun.

Every day, individuals share more than 100 billion of MP3 files, and YouTube disseminates 100 billion videos every 24 hours. In one year people take more than 100 million pictures with their cell phones and 150 billion pictures with their digital cameras.

The storage unit that has been used is the gigabyte, but because of the large amounts of information produced, very soon we will see a new unit called an exabyte or the equivalent of 100 billion gigabytes. When this storage unit is exhausted, we will use zettabytes that will correspond to 1,000 exabytes.

Many people thought that libraries were going to disappear with the digital information age, but on the contrary, for libraries this influx of resources creates new challenges for finding reliable information quickly and easily, and storing and securing this information. Libraries are going to stay around, but we will have to reinvent ourselves to better serve our patrons.

To read more about this study you can visit the following links:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Music is in the air...

Springtime is here, and we're reminded again why we are lucky to live in this town. I'm speaking, of course, of South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music festival that brings hundreds of musicians from around the globe to Austin to entertain music industry bigwigs and fans for five days and nights. There's never a shortage of live music in Austin, but from March 14-17 we will be absolutely inundated with new tunes.

Two of my picks are Boris, a loud metal sludge trio from Tokyo, free at Auditorium Shores Saturday the 17th at 5 pm, and later that night at 12:30 am the Stooges, Iggy Pop's legendary band together again, at Stubb's, and probably impossible to get into unless you have a badge.

If you're not able to get in to the Austin show, check out these DVDs and CDs from the library:
Live in Detroit
DVD 782.42166 LI (2004)
Iggy Pop & the Stooges live in Detroit

Raw power
CD MA IGGY 2530 (1997)
Iggy and the Stooges

Lust for life
CD MA POP 3015 (1990)
Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop! Live San Fran 1981
DVD 782.42166 IG (1981)

The big keynote speaker of SXSW this year is Pete Townshend, taking a break from the current Who tour. Not sure where or when Pete might be performing, but you know it'll be even harder to get into than the Stooges show at Stubb's. You might check out these DVDs and CDs instead:
Best of Pete Townshend
CD MA TOWN (1996)

Pete Townshend's Deep End live!
CD MA TOWN (1986)

Who's next
CD MA WHO 2392 (1995)

Who's next
DVD 782.42166 WH (1999)

Tommy and Quadrophenia live: with special guests
DVD 782.1 WH (2005)

And of course APL's own: John Schooley and his One Man Band will be performing Wednesday, March 14, 11:00 p.m. at the Lava Lounge Patio. See him now, before those industry bigwigs find him and whisk him away from us!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bestsellers at the Library

If there are no publishing problems, it takes about two to three weeks for a book to become available for check out after it appears on the New York Times Bestseller list. Sometimes we are really lucky and get a new bestseller in a week and a half.

The life-expectancy of a bestselling novel has halved within the last decade, according to a long-term study of fiction bestsellers by Lulu, the world's fastest-growing source of print-on-demand books.
The average number of weeks that a new No. 1 bestseller stayed on top of the hardback fiction section of the NYT Bestseller list fell from 14 in the 1970s, to 22 in the 1960s, to 5.5 in the 1990s, to barely two weeks in 2005.

In the 1960s, fewer than three novels reached No. 1 in an average year; and in 2005, 23 novels did. About 57% of the fiction bestsellers that debuted on the 2005 hardcover lists had runs of less than a month. Two fiction bestsellers that stayed on the list for longer than average were The Kite Runner and the The Da Vinci Code. Today I saw 6 copies of The Da Vinci Code on
the shelf at Central, so I guess everyone has read that book.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chat with a Librarian

Ever click “Chat with a Librarian”, seen this message pop up -- Welcome to Austin Public Library's Chat with a Librarian. A librarian will be with you momentarily.-- and wondered what’s happening on our end? Here’s how it works:

So you’ve carefully considered your question, spent time making it as clear and concise as possible, and now your cursor hovers over Login to Live Chat. When you click, we librarians in Telephone Reference hear our computers sing “TA DA!”, and that’s how we know you’re there. One of us sets aside what she’s doing as fast as she can (while your computer vamps with that Welcome… message), opens the chat window, accepts your request and we’re off!

Some questions are asked so frequently that we’ve developed FAQ scripts to cut and paste into the chat window; for example, we have scripted directions for how to put a book on hold. Others are unique and complicated and we might ask for contact information from you so we can do more research and e-mail you back. Mostly we try to answer your question while you’re logged in to chat

Give our chat a try, if you haven’t already, and spread the word!