Friday, September 28, 2007

Meet the Author: Greg Pahl

Greg Pahl, the author of The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook, will visit the Austin Public Library to present tips on what we can do as a community and as individuals to solve our energy problems. Stop by the Faulk Central Library on Saturday, September 29th at 2:00 for an informative presentation and book signing.

Information about local environmental action can also be found through the City of Austin's web site. The site includes an extensive web portal on a wide range of environmental issues. You can also find Austin's Climate Protection Plan, which is striving to make Austin the leading city in the nation in the fight against global warming.

And of course, we have tons of related materials available for checkout at your local library! Here are just a few titles:

Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options

The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity

Feeding the Fire: The Lost History and Uncertain Future of Mankind's Energy Addiction

Alternative Energy: Political, Economic, and Social Feasibility

The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence through Solar, Wind, Biomass, and Hydropower

Who Killed the Electric Car? [DVD]

An Inconvenient Truth [DVD]: A Global Warning

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

Hell and High Water: Global Warming - The Solution and the Politics - And What We Should Do

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Faulkner (would have) turned 110 today

Yoknapatawpha County has its fair share of characters: Dewey Dell, Caddy Compson, Thomas Sutpen, Addie Bundren, and Ab Snopes just to name a few. William Faulkner spent decades weaving tales of this fictitious Mississippi county. Whether making a casket for one’s still-living mother or walking hundreds of miles to find an unborn child’s father, there is something uniquely odd in each Faulkner novel. Every one of them mixes the macabre and the exalted. The Nobel Laureate would have celebrated his 110th birthday today. Celebrate for him and enjoy one of these titles.

Faulkner novels:
As I Lay Dying
The Sound and the Fury
Absalom, Absalom
Go Down, Moses
A Light in August
The Reivers

Faulkner biographies:
One Matchless Time: a Life of William Faulkner
Faulkner: a biography
William Faulkner
Count No ‘Count: flashbacks to Faulkner

Faulkner Movie Tie-ins:
Barton Fink
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Big Sleep (Faulkner wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Rock Central High School

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the 1954 US Supreme Court decision that declared segregated public schools to be unlawful, was severely tested during the attempt to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Would the United States enforce civil rights laws when so many opposed them? It has been 50 years since federal troops escorted nine African-American teenagers to the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School. Central High continues to educate the young people of Little Rock, but it is now also a National Historic Site.

Read about what it was like in Little Rock in 1957:
Bitters in the Honey: Tales of Hope and Disappointment Across Divides of Race and Time

Crisis at Central High, Little Rock, 1957-58

A Life is More Than a Moment: the Desegration of Little Rock’s Central High

Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis That Shocked the Nation

The Long Shadow of Little Rock: a Memoir

Warriors Don’t Cry: a Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High

White is a State of Mind: a Memoir

Find images in eLibrary CE (Curriculum Edition) and History Study Center, two of our subscription databases.

You can find more information about the history of Central High and also find a schedule of 50th anniversary events at these websites.
Little Rock Central High School, National Historic Site
and Central High 50th Anniversary.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Traveling Librarian: West End Library in DC

My co-worker and I just returned from Washington DC and while we were there we visited a branch of the District of Columbia Public Libraries, the West End Library. It’s on the corner of 24th and L Streets in a very unassuming building. Built in 1967, this public Library was the first of the DC Library system to be air conditioned! Right now, the library has a very busy first floor with children’s area, public computers and fiction, non-fiction sections, videos and music sections. The second floor is used as meeting rooms.

We talked to the Reference Librarian at length about being a Librarian and Library things. She, Barbara, was very easy to talk to and was more than happy to talk to us. She told us a little about the history of the Library itself and told us the city wanted to move the branch to the floor above the fire station around the corner! The neighborhood, rightly so, is against that idea. Could you imagine quietly reading your magazine only to be disrupted with the fire alarm! Anyway, as many Library systems across the country, they are going through renovations, remodels, tear-downs and moves. Right now this library has a cozy atmosphere and a friendly and welcoming staff, elements that in the end are what keep patrons feeling happy and coming back.

To learn more about the DC Public Libraries, visit their website here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Thrillers with a Strong Sense of Place

The Unknown Terrorist
(Sydney Australia)
by Richard Flanagan
Examines the power of the media to destroy a life.

(New York's financial scene)
by Lee Vance
Financier goes on the run after his wife is murdered.

Requiem for an Assassin
(Paris, London, Amsterdam)
by Barry Eisler
Slick and fast action about a contract killer with a conscience.

Secret Servant
(London, Amsterdam)
By Daniel Silva
Chilling fast-paced terrorism thriller.

Stalin's Ghost
by Martin Cruz Smith
Renko investigates, with loyalty and courage, a murder-for-hire scheme that leads him to Chechnya and World War II.

For more titles, please see APL's list of recommended Spy Thrillers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Your Family Tree

Many of our customers are interested in genealogy research. Austin Public Library subscribes to two genealogy databases, Ancestry. Library Edition and HeritageQuest Online.

The Austin History Center lists biographical sources for in-depth research on local residents, and the Texas State Library houses thousands of resources to help you trace your family tree. There are also websites, some free, that can help you build your family tree.
Family Search

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Alex (1976-2007)

Alex, the famous grey Amazon parrot, passed away unexpectedly last week at the age of 31. As a psych major in college, I saw numerous videos about this remarkable bird and his many talents in my cognitive psychology classes. He knew 100 English words and could count and distinguish colors and shapes. In my favorite clip, someone sprayed him with a water bottle, to which he squawked happily "shower!" He was thought to have the mental capabilities of a five year old. An online video of Alex is available from Scientific American Frontiers.

Dr. Irene Pepperburg purchased Alex from a pet store and began teaching him for her cognitive research at several universities, most recently Brandeis University and Harvard. His achievements seemed to indicate that he was able to learn and communicate with humans rather than just mimic what he heard. However, there is some controversy about just what his abilities meant. For more on the fascinating topic of Alex and animal cognition in general, check out the following titles:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Man in Black

Johnny Cash died on this day four years ago. His career spanned half a century and took him everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry to Austin’s own Emo’s. His list of collaborators reads like a who’s who of the music world; Elvis, Willie, and Bono all took a turn crooning with the Man in Black. From the black land earth of the Arkansas Delta to fame, fortune, addictions, and redemption, the man lived it all. The Austin Public Library has numerous Cash recordings you can check out. We also have a nice collection of writings about and/or by him. Put on some black and grab a nice read.

Literary Cash: unauthorized writings inspired by the legendary Johnny Cash

Cash: the autobiography

I was there when it happened: my life with Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash: the biography

The man called Cash: the life, love, and faith of an American legend

Johnny Cash live at Folsom Prison: the making of a masterpiece

Johnny Cash: he walked the line, 1932-2003

Winners got scars too: the life and legends of Johnny Cash

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let’s go hunt for books!

If you find a book in a market, bus stop, park bench, or any public place that seems to be forgotten by his or her owner, look inside the book cover for a Book Crossing label. If you find one, it means that this book was left there for you to pick it up, read it, and “release it” at another public spot for others to read. This book can then travel from hand to hand, from person to person, between cities and even countries. The purpose of Book Crossing is to transform the world in a big library.

Right now, there are 585,204 people from 130 countries in the world participating in this project. To get involved, you can visit the Book Crossing web site, sign up and then participate by “releasing” some of your favorite books or by “catching” the books left by others. The Book Crossing web site is a fundamental tool of this project. Here, you can find information about places where certain books were released, or you might find the information about somebody who caught one of your books. But what is more important, this web site provides forums where people share ideas about this project and the books they have read through it. In a way, this is like a big book club.

Do you want to know which books have been released here in Austin? Let’s go see!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reliable Books about China

I have recently been reading The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper that I thought was just about business. I was surprised to find interesting articles about books, popular culture, consumer electronics, and health. One recent short article that I enjoyed was a list of reliable books about China compiled by Oliver August, the Beijing bureau chief of Times of London. You too can easily read the newspaper by accessing the
Factiva database from home. On Factiva’s homepage, click “News Pages”, and The Wall Street Journal is the third choice.

The Bridegroom by Ha Jin
Please Don't Call Me Human by Wang Shuo

Hermit of Peking; the Hidden Life of Sire Edmund Backhouse by Hugh Trevor Roper
God's Chinese Son; the Aaiping Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan by Jonathan Spence
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
by Peter Hessler

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Job Hunting

Finding a new job is a necessary evil that I can’t imagine anyone enjoys. The job search itself can be tedious, and once you find opportunities, the torture of filling out innumerable job applications begins. (Why oh why can’t there just be one standard application for all jobs?). Then you have to update your resume, write cover letters, and prepare for interviews. It’s stressful and time consuming, especially if you are currently out of work.

But, if you're looking in Austin, take heart. According to an August 18, 2007 Austin American Statesman article, "Austin's strong job market keeps humming along in high gear, with job growth last month [July] at a 4.6 percent annual rate, the highest this year."

For helpful hints on all aspects of the job hunt, visit our online Job Searching Resource Guide. It includes sections on Finding Job Postings on the Internet, Overseas Jobs, Finding Companies and Organizations, Local Organizations That Can Help, Resumes, and Salary Information.

We also have several new books available for checkout:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Closed for Labor Day

Austin Public Library is closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday for Labor Day.

Labor Day is one of the few national holidays to mark the contributions of a particular segment of the population to society. In addressing the special nature of the holiday, Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, said: "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day ... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation." The establishment of Labor Day reflected the growing power of organized labor in Gilded Age America. The first Labor Day was celebrated Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, when close to 20,000 working people marched to demand an eight-hour workday and other labor law reforms. The parade was repeated annually without interruption, but not always on a Monday, until several states and then Congress in 1894, settled on the first Monday in September.

The Library will be open again on Tuesday. We will return refreshed and ready to serve you tomorrow.

No Library materials are due on dates the Library is closed for holidays, but overdue fines do accrue during holidays.