Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cookbook Awards

James Beard 2007 Cookbook Awards were announced recently. Some of the award winners are listed below. Please click on the title to see which library location has the book or to place a hold.

Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by James Oseland

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt and Ted Lee.

The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining by Cheryl Alters and Bill Jamison

Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day by Roy Finamore

Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass

The Soul of a New Cuisine: a Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson

The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg

Monday, May 21, 2007

Chick Lit Novels into Film

From the 1996 publication of Bridget Jones’s Diary that started the chick lit trend to the television sensation Sex and the City (based on the 2001 book by Candace Bushnell) that captured it on screen, chick lit has become a major pop culture phenomenon. One of most striking features of chick lit novels, is how often they are made into moves or TV series.

JoAnna Barrett's new novel, Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom, has been generating a huge amount of buzz- not least because actor Hugh Jackman will produce the movie. Mr.Jackman has been quoted as saying, "It's a great read and a great laugh - and now we guys know what's really going on in there." Ms Barrett will be discussing and reading from her book Wednesday, May 23, at 7:00 on the 2nd floor of the downtown Faulk Central Library.

Looking at the Library's Chick Lit reading list, I found several other chick lit titles that will be on the screen soon: Bergdorf Blondes , The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Good in Bed , Sammy’s Hill, and one of the biggest chick-lit books,
The Nanny Diaries.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Library Video Contest

Gale is the world’s largest reference and research publisher (books and databases) for public libraries and educational institutions, and to show appreciation to libraries and their users, they have announced a video contest.

Make a video between 30 seconds and two minutes long that describes what you love about the Austin Public Library (or any other library) and you could win a $10,000.00 grand prize in Thomson Gale’s I Love My Library video contest to split with the library you designate. The contest is open to both library users and library staff.

Load your video on Librareo, Thomson Gale's YouTube channel, before midnight on Friday, May 25, 2007 to enter. By June 1, 2007, Thomson Gale judges will determine the top five finalists based on creativity, unique portrayal of love of libraries and the services they provide, and overall appeal. The top five videos will be featured for a nationwide vote that will be held June 1-11. The video with the most votes wins the grand prize.

Find the complete contest rules, downloadable video releases and sample videos on Gale’s Web site. And if you enter the contest, please let us know by making a comment on the blog.

Thomson Gale publishes many databases, which you can access remotely through Austin Public Library, including Health Reference Center Academic, Infotrac Custom Newpsapers,
and Literature Resource Center.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Programs at Faulk Central Library!

The Faulk Central Library is gearing up to offer a new selection of free events and programs on the second floor. Keep an eye on our web site for information about upcoming author visits, dance lessons, computer classes, book clubs, and musicians.

Two upcoming events feature authors who set their novels right here in Austin:

JoAnna Barrett, author of The Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom, will visit on Wednesday, May 23rd at 7:00 p.m. According to Ms. Barrett’s web site, the book started out as a “non-fiction look at the social evolution of women’s bathrooms since the Industrial Revolution” but evolved into a novel that has been optioned by CBS and Paramount Studios.

Karen Olsson will be here June 18th to discuss her novel Waterloo with the newly founded Downtown Book Club, which will meet on the third Monday every other month from noon to 1:00 p.m.

A few nonfiction titles to provide some background to these novels are:

The Book of the Bath

Fifty Years of the Texas Observer

Once Upon a Time in Texas: a Liberal in the Lone Star State

If you have any suggestions for programs, leave us a comment here, stop by the second floor reference desk, or contact us through Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Have you seen an Alebrije?

Alebrije? What is that?? Alebrije is the a Spanish word used for “Imaginary” or “Fantasy.” It is used to describe a style of fanciful and surreal animal carvings with near-psychedelic paint schemes that has been developed during the last 20 years in three small villages in the State of Oaxaca, 200 miles south of Mexico City, by the Zapotec Indians.

These works of art are mythical creatures with origins traceable to ancient Mexican religious beliefs that fuse contradictory forces represented by a variety of animal and human features. Hallucinatory and whimsical, the figures embody the spirit of some god or protective power. Alebrije carvings have become the center of a marketing phenomenon that has spread not only to the United States and Canada, but also to several European countries.

Each of the wooden sculptures are hand-carved from the wood of the Copal (or Copillo) tree. Each piece is hand-sanded and painted in bright and exciting motifs. You can see great attention to detail in their beautiful painting and “pointillist” style. The smallest colored dots are often applied with the tip of a cactus needle.

Next time you visit the Faulk Central Library, look for the Alebrije exhibit we are having during this month, and if you are curious about this creatures you can also check out some books like:

Crafting tradition: the making and marketing of Oaxacan wood carvings by Michael Chibnik

Monday, May 07, 2007

Live from the Met

Whether you are a true opera aficionado or only recognize a few tunes from Bugs Bunny cartoons, you can experience the sights and sounds of New York’s Metropolitan Opera right here in Austin. Live and encore performances are broadcast from the Met to participating local movie theaters with high definition screens and surround sound. The next best thing to being there! The last show of this season is an encore broadcast of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) on May 15th. You can also tune into broadcasts online or through SIRIUS Satelllite radio.

In addition to these options, the Austin Public Library has plenty of performances on CD and DVD, as well as books for Austin opera buffs. Here are just a few of the book titles we have to offer:

How-To-Do-It Articles in Magazines

We sometimes receive questions through our Ask a Librarian service about finding patterns or instructions in older magazines. Today a customer asked how to make a folded paper fan with bamboo sticks. Instructions were finally found in a 1978 Better Homes & Gardens article. A useful tool for finding "how to" articles in magazine is the index to How-To-Do-It Information. Central has the printed volumes for the years 1963-1999. To see what magazines Central subscribes to and how long issues are kept, please see Periodicals under Research Tools.

If you would like to make a paper fan for your wall, please follow these instructions:

Cut a half-circle with a 27-inch radius from sturdy foldable or figured paper such as wallpaper.
Mark the curved edge, dividing it into 48 evenly spaced areas.
Draw spokes from the center point out to the edges.
Score and fold into accordion pleats.
For spokes, use 25 strips of 30-inch long, 1/2 inch wide split bamboo.
Lay the pleated paper facedown.
Glue one strip to every pleat.
Stack all strips at the center point and join with sturdy brass wire.

Friday, May 04, 2007

AZÚUUUUUUUUUUCAR: Let’s Celebrate Latino Music Month!!!

In 2005, the Austin City Council declared May to be “Latino Music Month” in the City of Austin. Last year we celebrated the first official “Latino Music Month” and over 150 performance of Latino music took place in over 70 different venues. You can check out the Austin Latino Music Association (ALMA) website to see a calendar of events going on this month.

If you are a fan of Celia Cruz, Almita Rodríguez, Cachao, Oscar D’Leon, Juan Luis Guerra and other great Latin American artists, the Downtown Library has a small display in the CD Music section on the first floor dedicated to our Latino Music Collection. Come check out some great music or suggest some new titles by posting a comment or emailing us here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I can see my house!!!

Lately there has been a boom on websites offering satellite images of Earth, with the most popular one being Google Earth. With this Google feature it is possible to visit cities and look at some of their historical or famous buildings in 3D. So, for instance, you can go to Paris, and view the Eiffel Tower from the air as if you were in a helicopter. Pretty cool, huh? Google also offers Google Maps, which is much simpler than Google Earth. With this tool you can find an address on a map, but then you can also see a hybrid map that will show the address that you were looking for posted on a satellite map, giving you a better idea of how the area you are going to travel looks like.

NASA also offers a similar software with satellite images of Earth. It is called NASA World Wind and if you love topography this is a great resource for you. It has images not only of our planet but also of the Moon and Mars. Microsoft did not want to be left behind and put out its product Virtual Earth. With Virtual Earth you can see maps and 2Dand 3D pictures of cities and their buildings.

Unfortunately, to take advantage of these different software programs you have to download them to your computer. But hey, if you don’t want to do that, you can always come to the Austin Public Library where we have Google Earth installed on our computers.

You can visit and get more information about the programs listed above by visiting the following links: