Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May is National Scrapbooking Month

Can't imagine why Scrapbooking has its own month? Or why it's capitalized? You would not believe how gorgeous and elaborate scrapbooks are these days. Chipboard, layering, epoxy stickers, rubber stamps, metal embellishments. Edit and print your own photos, then buy packets of pre-made theme supplies - themes like camping, Halloween, family history, graduation, 3rd grade. (I had no idea 3rd grade could be so exciting!) You can commemorate anything with a scrapbook. And they can be very expressive and unique heirlooms. Take a look at samples that appear in the books below, and beware of eye-popping!

Tantalizing textures : ideas and techniques for scrapbookers / Trudy Sigurdson.

Scrapbooking techniques for beginners / Rebekah Meier.

Painted scrapbook pages : create one-of-a-kind pages with simple painting techniques / Melynda Van Zee.

Fabrics & florals : scrapbook styles : 100+ ideas for "dressing up" your pages! / Jill Miller.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chocolate and Joanne Harris

The author of Chocolat is coming to Des Moines! Chocolate and books, two of my favorite things. Did you see the movie? The scene in which Alfred Molina literally wallows in chocolate? Oh my. This author totally gets chocolate. But guess what? Joanne Harris has a new book out. And it's a sequel to Chocolat! In The Girl With No Shadow Vianne still concocts chocolates, but in Paris instead of small-town Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. The delightful dollop of magic remains. And we get to re-visit the chocolaterie run by a woman who knows exactly which chocolates we need. The author, Joanne Harris, will be speaking at the Central Library Thursday, May 1, at 7 PM. As with all AVID events, attendance is absolutely 100% free.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Classic Broadway on DVD

Hey! Did the posting about the Pajama Game get you chomping at the bit for more? May not be live, no smell of greasepaint (what does that smell like anyway?) but we have beaucoup Broadway Musicals on DVD throughout our library system.

King and I
Best. Waltz. Ever.
Sweet Charity
Not just Shirley MacLaine, you get bonus Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly
Liza Minelli's look has been set in stone ever since. See it when it was fresh!
West Side Story
Who hasn't wanted to do the crouching finger-snapping dance? And once the Officer Krupke song gets in your head it will not leave. Trust me.
My Fair Lady
Gotta go with the clothes on this one. Mobile works of art.
Annie Get Your Gun
Could she get any louder? Betty Hutton defines dame. A bracing experience.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Library of Congress!

April 24, 1800. Only 24 years after the United States was established, Congress discovered the need for a library of their very own. They spent $5,000, and voila! A library. The first Library of Congress was burned down when the British invaded the Capitol in 1814. At this point Thomas Jefferson stepped in with his large collection of books and re-established the library. In 1851 35,000 volumes were destroyed by fire! Was the Library doomed? Third time's the charm - The Library of Congress is now comprised of 3 buildings, one of which, the James Madison Memorial Building, is the largest library building in the world. There are 130 million items in the Library of Congress today. Take that, British invading force of 1814! Enjoy your birthday, Library of Congress! You’ve earned the celebration.
Source: World Book Encyclopedia 2007; vol. 12 pp 264-263

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

pj's and jazz hands

Pajama Game is playing at the Des Moines Playhouse through May 4. But you knew that, and you know it's based on the novel 7 1/2 Cents by Iowan Richard Bissell. So let's talk Fosse. Pajama Game was Bob Fosse's first full-blown choreography job. His revolutionary style with its sinuous, hip-thrusting sexuality was a revelation. Fosse won a Tony right out of the box for Pajama Game, an Oscar for Cabaret, and an Emmy for Liza with a Z. First person to have all 3 awards in his pocket. Plus, Fosse is said to have popularized "jazz hands", an example of which you see here. Though they're usually not so colorful. Fosse's fictionalized life story can be seen in the film All That Jazz.

Source: St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. St. James Press, 2000, as reprinted in Biography Resource Center.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Water. More than is really necessary.

Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.

Thomas Tusser A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry, 1557
Source: Bartlett'sFamiliar Quotations, 2002 p. 151

And the product of April monsoons? It has been mighty wet in good old Des Moines and if, like me you have a slightly leaky basement, what to do? Bring lawn chairs down and enjoy a damp afternoon by your own personal creek? Sounds lovely, even if the fishing is really really bad. But your house would perhaps prefer another option. Should you decide to tackle this problem, here are some helpful books:

Home, water & moisture problems : prevention and solutions /
by Branson, Gary D.
The JLC guide to moisture control : practical details for durable buildings /
from the editors of the Journal of Light Construction
Popular mechanics weatherproofing & insulation /
by Jackson, Albert, 1943-, Day, David, 1944-, Popular mechanics

Monday, April 21, 2008

Alexander McCall Smith

Ah, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Don't let the name fool you, these are neither sweet nor particularly mysterious. Instead they are small gems that introduce you to an African culture and land from an insider's point of view. And makes very clear that the cultures on the continent vary drastically. Mma Ramotswe, our lady detective loves Botswana unreservedly, the people, the government, and especially the land. She is a woman of a traditional build and decided temperment. The books are almost like Victorian-set novels, the mores and ways of thinking are so different from that of jaded American culture. The books are slight, and warm and just the cure for a reader tired of too much blood and complications.

The admirable Mr. Alexander McCall Smith has written many other books, See him tonight at Hoyt Sherman, 7 PM. And hope he talks about Mma Precious Ramwotse.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Earth Day

The official Earth Day is Tuesday April 22. Here's something cool happening in the metro.
Earth Day Trash Bash
Yeaahh, sounds appealing. But what a great idea! Operation Downtown has amassed a force of corporations and associations to clean, clean, clean! Volunteers, the salt of the earth, will be picking up the litter that is always revealed by the spring thaw. Plastic trash bags every where. They may not be able to get them out of the trees, but there will be much scooping of the ground on streets and trails. This goes on from 1-4, then refreshments are served outside City Hall. Rosters were to be completed by April 15th but if you'd like more information call (515) 208-0277. And if you notice people scurrying around Tuesday afternoon cleaning like mad, say, "GO EARTH DAY” or something suitably supportive. Then don't litter.

Friday, April 18, 2008

If you build it...

They will come and stand over you and tell you what you're doing wrong. In great detail.
Hey! Like to work with your hands? We have more how-to books than you can shake a two-by-four at. DVD's too. Whatever it is, build it anyway. That'll show 'em.

Outdoor fix-it 101 : projects you really can do yourself by Steve Willson.

More woodworkers' essential facts, formulas & short-cuts : figure it out, with or without math by Ken Horner.

Dare to repair [DVD] : a do-it-herself guide to home improvement

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

National Library Week!

Yaaay! It's that time of year when we celebrate libraries! Wheeee! I'd like to tell you we rented slides and whack-a-moles but we are waaay too dignified for that. We are however suspending all shushing for the week. Just kidding! How can we celebrate NLW without shushing? It's like celebrating St. Pat's without pinching people who don't wear green. You don't do that? Oh. Well, anyway The American Library Association says this all started in 1958, so the celebration is 50 years old this year! Julie Andrews is the honorary chair so yeah, we're cool. Go ahead and smile at a library this week. Better yet, stop in and use our services. Have we got stuff for you!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can You Believe It? Another Book Sale!

This time the North Side Library is having a major book sale. The North Side Library is at the corner of 5th and Euclid, just 3 blocks west of Park Fair Mall. The book sale continues now through Saturday April 19th, come in and browse and buy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Slow Readers Unite

Good news for people who like to take their time reading. The Des Moines Public Library system allows for two, count 'em, two renewals! The checkout period for books, magazines, CD's and audiobooks is three weeks. If you time things just right and no one has a reserve on your item, you could potentially keep your item for 9 weeks. So don't hold back, go ahead and achieve your dream of reading War and Peace. Unless Oprah mentions it and we suddenly have 217 reserves. Then all bets are off.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take Back the Night

Attend this event at Hy-Vee Hall, tonight at 6 PM. The admission is free and you'll hear choirs and speakers, watch dancers and drama, all in support of victims' rights. In the U.S. the movement started in the 1970's, but there is speculation that the origins lie in Victorian England's protests by women who demanded to be safe at night. The focus has shifted to all victims of abuse, all types of support. Come on out tonight!
For more information, contact: (515) 286-2020

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Charlton Heston, days later

Charlton Heston died Saturday April 5, 2008 at the age of 84. What can I say? Movie legend, 1960's civil rights activist, NRA president, and one darned handsome man. A mystery wrapped in an enigma. Plus he entered the national lexicon with this quote from the movie Planet of the Apes: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape". Which Charlton Heston will you miss? Get more tidbits about Mr. Heston from the Biography Resource Center. Or read his autobiography In the Arena.

Other Sources:
The Columbia World of Quotations

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Central Library's Second Birthday!

Can you believe it's been 2 years already? The computers are hopping, we get tons of children for programs, people check out their own books, and most everything still looks new. Join us from 11-1 in the Gateway Gallery for a piece of cake!

Monday, April 7, 2008

East Side Book Sale

The annual Friends of the East Side Library Book Sale runs all this week. So 'run' on over there! (Ha!) It's a terrific sale, amazing bargains on all sorts of books, magazines, movies, more, more, more! The East Side Library is at 2559 Hubbell Avenue. The sale is open during the regular East Side Library hours: Monday - Thursday 10-8; Friday 10-6; and last day, Saturday 10-5.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Fresh Baby is a Happy Baby

There is a bit of a baby boom at the Des Moines Public Libraries. In honor of this lovely trend and in honor of National Poetry Month, here is a gem from one of America's most popular humorous poets:

Ode to a Baby by Ogden Nash
A bit of talcum
Is always walcum

Short, sweet and to the point. Correct spelling optional. Help yourself to some Ogden:
Selected poetry of Ogden Nash
Everyone but thee and me by Ogden Nash

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Could You Use That in a Sentence?

Lutetium. Ever had that word in a spelling bee? Me neither. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, running at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines from Tuesday April 8 − Sunday April 13 will no doubt feature more exotic words. (But they may be easier to use in a sentence). Plus it's a musical! Do the sentences have to be sung? Must the spelling be delivered in rhyme? To discover answers to these and many more questions, let's all go!

Read about spelling bees: American bee : the National Spelling Bee and the culture of word nerds : the lives of five top spellers as they compete for glory and fame by James Maguire.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Author Spotlight

Cherie Priest is a new author who would show great promise, except that she is already there. Her Eden Moore series has all the intrigue of a mystery with a bit of the supernatural thrown in. Eden sees ghosts, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes very bad. The city of Chatanooga Tennessee and that area of the South in general appears as a character itself, richly developed. Refreshingly, the horror is not based on any of the European traditions. Priest has worked the supernatural elements in a very American and modern way. Doesn't hurt that the books covers are gorgeous and truly convey the feel of the books.
Recommended, in order: