Monday, September 29, 2008

Patron Saints of Librarians

St. Jerome is one of the patron saints of librarians. His feast day is tomorrow, September 30. He is known for his Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate. Jerome is noted with this familiar quote, “Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied.” We have another patron saint as well, Lawrence. His story is a little more interesting. It is said that Lawrence was martyred on a gridiron, while tortured he cried out “Assum est, inquit, versa et manduca. Latin for “this side’s done, turn me over and have a bite.” Every Friday since his death (in 257), it is said that he leads a suffering soul out of Pergatory and into heaven, as a reward for his own heroic martyrdom.

Who’s your patron saint? There are many ways to find out, I used the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (one of our wonderful databases), a book called Saints Preserve Us! Everything You Need to Know About Every Saint You’ll Ever Need, and Wikipedia online.

We’ve got a couple new saint books that are on the first floor of the Faulk Central Library, A Feast of Holy Cards Patron Saints and Ancient & Modern Saints, both by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua. Even though our patron saints are not featured in either book, they are beautiful, full color texts on saints that you should check out nonetheless.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reading Music

It's that time again. Thousands descend upon Zilker Park to hear the tunes, fight for shade, and purchase that all-important t-shirt. I just barely survived the ACL Fest of 2005 with the 108° heat and dust aplenty, so I've been a little leery about going back. Missing Gogol Bordello is my punishment for being a wimp though; check out those gypsy punks if you have a chance!

Once the party's over, amble over to your local library to pick up a recent "musical" novel:

In Hoboken: A Novel by Christian Bauman - Amidst tenements and dive bars and all-night diners, Thatcher and his friends struggle to make meaningful music in a culture turning away from it.

Bass cathedral by Nathaniel Mackey – Mackey, winner of the 2006 National Book Award, presents his fourth volume in his ongoing great American jazz novel with no beginning or end.

Slumberland: A Novel by Paul Beatty - The breakout novel from a literary virtuoso about a disaffected Los Angeles DJ who travels to post-Wall Berlin in search of his transatlantic doppelganger.

Dmitri Esterhaats: A Novel by Russell Hardin - This enlightening story of musical passion documents the coming-of-age of pianist Dmitri Esterhaats as he develops from precocious adolescent to professional virtuoso.

Vivaldi's Virgins: A Novel by Barbara Quick - A fascinating glimpse inside the source of Vivaldi's musical legacy, interwoven with the gripping story of a remarkable young woman's coming-of-age in a deliciously evocative time and place.

Black Will Shoot: A Novel by Jesse John Washington - A fearless page-turner set amid the glories and evils of the rap world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.

David Foster Wallace died earlier this month. Wallace suffered from depression for twenty years, according to his father, and committed suicide in his home September 12.

His writing is a fine balance between quirk, erudition, and humor. Weighing in at a mind-boggling 1,000+ pages, Infinite Jest is a tour de force of late twentieth century American life. Part cultural criticism and part zeitgeist, Infinite Jest has already wiggled its way into the realm of modern classics and will only grow in stature as we reflect upon life at the end of the millennium. Wallace could write short too. His essays run the gamut, from the lobster industry to sports to politics to pornography. No matter to what attention he turned his pen (or keyboard) Wallace wrote with immense intelligence, style, and bravado. Many great writers were notoriously curmudgeons, but Wallace remains well-respected by his students, colleagues, and interviewers. Joshua Ferris wrote kindly of his first meeting with David Foster Wallace.

David Foster Wallace might be gone, but he leaves an impressive and diverse body of work. Funny, witty, and sad, Wallace is worth the read and will continue to be so for generations.

Infinite Jest

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays


Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again

The Broom of the System

Girl with Curious Hair

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Adi vs. Rudolf

I’m a soccer fanatic. In addition to devoting an embarrassingly high percentage of my free time to watching matches, I have a collection of jerseys of which I am very proud and deeply ashamed. Having collected so many jerseys and watched so many matches, I have become very familiar with the makers of these items and their logos. Two of the largest and most popular of these manufacturers are Adidas and Puma. How ironic that these giants of the sports apparel industry were founded by two brothers who originally collaborated and cooperated with each other in a shared quest for business success that ended in each achieving this goal in spite of the other. You can read in great detail about the very bitter rivalry of the Dassler brothers in a newly acquired book by the Austin Public Library entitled, Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sports.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Magazines

Faulk Central has lots of new magazine titles. The annual price of the new subscriptions that are listed below ranges between $50 and $2000 (Nature), very expensive for an individual to pay, but at the Library we can all read the latest issue for free. Click the title to see what the magazine is like, but please visit us to read the printed magazine with the full articles. To search for other periodical tiles held at Faulk or at the branches, use the catalog and select periodical title in the drop down menu. You can also use ejournal finder to see what’s available online.

BBC Music Magazine


Childhood Education

Chronicle of Philanthropy



folk art

Green Builder

Kiplinger Letter

National Law Journal


New African

Rocks and Minerals

USA Today Sports Weekly



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Books from around the world!

If you have been studying a foreign language for a long time, you know that after you reach an advanced level of fluency in the language there are only two things left for you to do: polish little mistakes and constantly refresh all you have learned so you do not loose it. Yes, it is sad, but, foreign languages are like a garden: they need constant care and attention, otherwise, all those verbs, nouns and prepositions that took you so long to master will slowly be erased from your memory. Not to mention how fast languages can change; a word you used five years ago might have a different meaning now or could have disappeared completely from the popular jargon.

At this point you might be thinking: how can I keep up with changes in language and avoid getting rusty? The answer is READING!!!!

This is one of the reasons why the Austin Public Library has a World Languages Collection at the Central Library (800 Guadalupe). This library has books in 29 different languages, including: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, French, Urdu, Croatian, Russian, German, Polish, and Portuguese among others. Some collections are bigger than others, but they all are constantly growing. We also have foreign language magazines and different branches also have books in foreign languages.

A week ago we received a shipment of new books, so, come to the library, check them out, and if you have any reading cravings, even in another language, let us know! We will get them for you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This "Will Rock You in the Head"

Last Wednesday, the largest scientific experiment ever was begun. A particle accelerator, called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), straddling the French-Swiss border sent two streams of protons hurling at each other at light speed from either side of a 17 mile circular tunnel about 333 feet below the ground. In just a matter of time, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (known by its historic acronym CERN) may change the science of particle physics forever by facilitating the discovery of what our universe is really made up of.

What could be gleaned from crazy fast beams of subatomic particles racing toward each other? Well, the beams will crash and converge at four different places within the tunnel creating debris that may reveal a number of our universe’s mysteries. Particle physicists believe the debris may be composed of dark matter (or antimatter) – something we know little about that may be a crucial part of the universe. Many are also hoping to find the Higgs boson, referred to in the media as the God particle; a particle that could be accountable for the mass of all other subatomic particles. Additionally, some physicists believe LHC could reveal new forces of nature and extra dimensions not visible to the human eye.

A minority of physicists are concerned the LHC will cause a black hole or several small black holes that would eventually consume the entire planet. Two physicists, Luis Sancho and Walter L. Wagner, have brought forward a lawsuit in Hawaii to stop the LHC. The men claim the LHC is a “dark matter factory” that will destroy Earth. Despite their protests, the LHC was not stopped, and the majority of physicists do not believe it can cause harm as it will not generate anywhere near the level of energy necessary to create black holes.

So perhaps we are only a few years away from uncovering the secrets of the universe. Or, maybe we’re just a few years closer to being consumed by a black hole. Either way, there’s ample to read about particle accelerators, dark matter, and the Higgs all at the Austin Public Library. And, please don’t miss the rap created by a physics student helping out with the LHC on YouTube. If all of this doesn’t “rock you in the head”, the video hopefully will.

Before the Big Bang: The Origins of the Universe

Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters

Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics

The Hunting of the Quark: A True Story of Modern Physics

Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe

The Particle Century

The Shadows of Creation: Dark Matter and the Structure of the Universe

And don't miss these great articles on National Geographic's website:

The God Particle
Comprehensive article about the LHC and all of the science behind it.

Large Hadron Collider Rap Video Is a Hit

Read Orwell, Save the World

The recent hurricanes have reminded us once again how fragile our earthly existence can be. This past summer, SciFi channel's Visions for Tomorrow initiative asked fans to pick the "Top Things You Must Read, Watch and Do to Save the World." The survey's results have the top three planet-saving activities as reading, recycling and registering to vote. The library can help you accomplish all three - check out the listed books, pick up a voter registration card (deadline for the November election is October 6 ), and recycle your print cartridges at Faulk Central Library.

And what should you read?

1984 by George Orwell
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Stand by Stephen King
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The survey also asked fans what we should watch, and the Library has most of the top titles.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things I don't want on my wall

NPR reports that an art collector recently paid $215,000 for a Swiss man's tattooed back. The walking work of art, Tim Steiner, will appear at certain events to show off the tattoo by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye. Even stranger, Steiner has also agreed that the art collector may preserve the tattoo after Steiner's death! That is one piece of artwork you should make a point to see sooner than later.

Other tattoos have been preserved for posterity, although not as artwork. In fact, evidence of tattooing exists on a mummified human body known as the Iceman from 3300 BC. And, to come full circle, the image of the Iceman now graces the arm of Brad Pitt and others. For more on the fascinating world of tattoos check out these titles:

Tattoo Art

Decorated Skin: A World Survey of Body Art

Here's Looking At You: A Celebration of Body Art

The Body Art Book: A Complete, Illustrated Guide to Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body Modifications

Vanishing Beauty: Indigenous Body Art and Decoration

The Tattoo Encyclopedia: A Guide to Choosing Your Tattoo

Bodies Of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community

Tattoo History: A Source Book: An Anthology of Historical Records of Tattooing Throughout the World

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Check mate. Basque style

What do you get when you put six of the world’s top chess players in an air-conditioned, soundproof, glass box? I know. It sounds like the beginning of a terribly unfunny joke. In actuality, you get the Grand Slam Chess Final, currently being contested in the central plaza of Bilbao, Spain. This two week double round-robin tournament pits six incredible players, from seventeen-year-old Norwegian prodigy (Magnus Carlsen) to the veteran Ukrainian (Vassily Ivanchuk). While the world title is not on the line, serious money is: $212,000 to the winner and $42,000 to each just for playing. Carlsen leads, but there are three days of play remaining. You can follow the rest of the tournament over at ChessBase.

I bet Carlsen wins the tourney, but I’m pulling for Ivanchuk.

Whether you play in the park, occasionally play friends, or have been trying to beat your grandfather since he taught you the game, the following guides will improve your chess.

The Amateur’s Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions into Chess Mastery

The Reassess Your Chess Workbook

Play Winning Chess

Chess Strategy in Action

Winning Chess Strategies

Monday, September 08, 2008

“You will walk into a room and tap your phone on the wall…and the room will know who you are.”

I have been looking into the future of reference services lately. I came across an article that mentioned providing instant messaging as yet another tool available to librarians in trying to meet the informational needs of our clientele. As soon as I read this passage I very quickly realized that the provision of services through cell phones would become increasingly ubiquitous as time passes. In fact, the idea of networked computers integrating themselves seamlessly into our daily lives is exactly what Takeshi Natsuno of Japan’s NTT DoCoMo envisions. As part of the promised Third Wave, Takeshi Natsuno and the company he works for, is trying very hard to develop an all-in-one phone that would take the place of cash, keys, credit cards, business cards, and personal identification just to name a few. Imagine a time when you will be able to simply tap your phone against a pad and pay for groceries or movie tickets or program your DVR and air conditioner so that once you arrive home from work, your living space will be at a comfortable temperature with your favorite T.V. shows or movies ready to go.

The Austin Public Library has several resources available to help you uncover yet more technological possibilities slated to become reality regarding cell phones in the not too distant future. I’ve included a brief list of articles I found using the Science and Technology Collection below.


A Remote Control for Your Life

Mobile Communication and the Transformation of Daily Life: The Next Phase of Research on Mobiles

The Cell Phone, Now That's Entertainment

People, Mobiles and Society: Concluding Insights from an International Expert Survey

Friday, September 05, 2008

Legal Music Downloads

Downloading free music legally has been called a "swirling cesspool" because there are many murky areas that have not yet been decided by court rulings. The Recording Industry of America and the record companies seem to go after people who download hundreds of copyrighted songs. But you can get free music without being sued. Sources for free, legal downloads are listed below:

Apple's iTunes Free Single of the Week (under iTunes store)
Amazon's MP3 page
Rolling Stone's Rock & Roll page
Artist - 200 free downloads
KUT's Texas Music Matters Song of the Day

A new free music website is more like an internet jukebox. streams the audio of millions of songs found on Youtube. Next month the site will include the video.

Many public libraries are offering music download services to their customers. We hope that sometime in the near future Austin Public Library's budget will allow us to offer that service too.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Academic Novels

The Fall 2008 semester has started, and perhaps new plots for an academic novel are beginning to percolate in the minds of the students and professors. Academic novels, or fiction set in colleges and universities, often make satire out of an eminently susceptible institution. Below are some of the best academic novels written, arranged chronologically.

Lucky Jim
Kingsley Amis
Good-humored satire of postwar British academic life

Vladimir Nabokov
Russian-born professor

The War Between the Tates
Alison Lurie
Breakup of the marriage of a prim professor and his wife in the 60s

Small World
David Lodge
Literary conferences

Wonder Boys: A Novel
Michael Chabon
Parody of the American fame factory and a piercing portrait of a wrtier/professor

Moo: a Novel
Jane Smiley
Setting is a large midwestern agricultural college, whose faculty and students are depicted with sophisticated humor

Straight Man
Richard Russo
Lampoon of academia set in a dysfunctional English department

Human Stain
Philip Roth
A college professor is forced to resign for alleged racism.

Joe College
Tom Perrotta
Great novel about college mores in the early 80s

I am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe
Chronicle of college sports, fraternities, drinking, coeds, and sex

My Latest Grievance
Elinor Lipman
Radical professor parents raise their daughter in a unique and open manner

Publish and Perish
James Hynes
Characters' quests for academic credibility puts him or her in peril