Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Day

All locations of the Des Moines Public Library are closed today, Monday May 31, for Memorial Day. We will open tomorrow.
A Memorial Day Memory.
When I was a child, my family would visit our Irish relatives buried in the cemetery at St Patrick's on the Lizard. There was never anyone else around and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. (The nearest town was Clare, 4 miles away.)  The cemetery boasted a tiny church on a hill and a little bit of a creek called the Lizard. We never saw any lizards though, which was puzzling.  But it was beautiful and quiet, and while I may not have appreciated it as a child, the memories are nice now.
Have a lovely Memorial Day.

The following site includes a reprint of an article from the The Fort Dodge Messenger & Chronicle, August 23, 1928 that discusses St Patrick's on the Lizard

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Closings

All locations of the Des Moines Public Library will be closed for Memorial Day on Saturday May 29th, Sunday May 20th and  Monday May 31th.  No items will be due on these days. We look forward to seeing you Tuesday June 1!   Also, we are closed Sundays from now until September.

Graphic Source:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sticky Songs' Grandchild

Oompa Loompa. Oh I know it's too late.  Two little words and your  inner platter is spinning already.  Let's throw a little fat on that fire.

Willy Wonka:  Oompa Loompa doompety doo, I've got a perfect puzzle for you. Oompa Loompa doompety dee, if you are wise you'll listen to me.

South Pacific:  Some Enchanted Evening: You may see a stranger.  You may see a stranger, across a crowded room... 

Big Rock Candy Mountain:  Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow, in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Glow Worm:  Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer - Did this become a Dr. Pepper jingle? "It's Dr. Pepper time!"

A little gentler sticky song:  Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera. Yo soy un hombre sincero.  De donde crecen las palmas...

One of the all-time champion sticky songs!  Beyonce: Single Ladies!  Cuz if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it, if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it, wo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh oh.

Uh oh.  Feel free to defend yourself by telling us your sticky songs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sticky Songs Jr.

I'm betting at least one of these will wind up living between your ears today.

Theme from Gilligan's Island:   Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Hokey Pokey:   You put your right foot in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about. Hey! (I added the Hey! Didn't seem right without it.)

Otis Redding:   (Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay. Sittin' in the morning sun, I'll be sittin' when the evening comes. Watching the ships roll in, then I watch them roll away again, yeah...  (I don't know how he sang the italics.)

Cab Calloway:   Minnie the Moocher.  Surprise!  I didn't think of this as being sticky at all until I was reminded of:  Hidey Hidey Hidey Hi, Hodey Hodey Ho, Heedey Heedey Heedey Hee... 

Harry Belafonte:   Banana Boat Song - or as we like to call it - Day-O. Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana, daylight come and me wan' go home.  It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!  Daylight come and me wan' go home...

Go home with one of these.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sticky Songs

They won't leave you alone, will they?  Those songs in your head that get stuck on 'Repeat'.  I had a surprise the other day when this beauty popped up:  Robin William's version of Bruce Springsteen's song 'Fire', as sung by Elmer Fudd: "I'm widing in you caw; you tuwn on the waaaadio".   Oh my.  So I asked some library staff what songs get affixed in their craniums.  For three days I'll share these with you and we'll see what sticks!   We'd love to hear what's playing on your inner radio.

Sticky Songs at the Library:
Beach Boys,  Kokomo. "Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama..."

Gap Band, You Dropped a Bomb on Me. "You turned me out, you turned me on, you dropped a bomb on me".  Plus the bonus 'I -  II - III'.  Pronounced 'eye'.

Jackson Browne, Boulevard. "Nobody rides for free, nobody nobody, Nobody gets it like they want it to be, nobody nobody..."  The extra 'nobody's' are essential.

Here's a song you don't hear every day. One staff member is plagued by the following:
Boom Boom Ain't it Great to Be Crazy? 
Yeah, it's a children's song.  Raise your hand if you've heard it. 
Share your 'ear worms'.  Are they more obscure than the 'Be Crazy' song? A challenge!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sale Sale Sale at South Side Library!

The South Side Library, at 1111 Porter, is having a Blowout Book Sale through June 30!  Buy a quilted wall hanging, perfect for a child's room or classroom, originally $69 now going for $15!!  Donated videos and books-on-tape for one dollar!!!   Paperback books one dollar!!!!  You cannot afford not to go!  The South Side Library plans to purchase more shelving and updated equipment in the Teen Area.  You get amazing deals and the library buys swell stuff.  What's not to love?  The sale will be held in the library lobby during open hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 1 PM - 6 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM
Come shop!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Domino Men One of the Best Books I Read in 2009

Why is it my favorite books are so hard to describe?  Oh right.  I like convoluted plots and outrageous ideas.  Here goes:
Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes
A Review
We're in modern England but a few things are different.  Why, you ask?  Because Queen Victoria made a deal with something Unspeakable!  In a quite civilized manner, of course.  So there's a secret organization trying to stave off the pro quo of her quid (quid - former British monetary unit - Ha!). The grandson of one of these agents has been prepared, unbeknownst to him, to sing the classic "How do you solve a problem like the Unspeakable?".  Add in two schoolboy-clad, men-like creatures that speak like Tweedles Dee and Dum but are bad bad bad bad bad.  And you will not believe what the Unspeakable actually wants. If you read it before breakfast prepare to believe more than six impossible things.  And like it! Highly recommended for those who enjoy having their minds blown, man.

You might also like The Somnabulist in which the Tweedles make their first appearance.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recumbent in a good way - in honor of Bike to Work Week

Recumbent bikes!   Also called 'lawn chairs' 'easy chairs' or sometimes just 'bents'.  Pretty undignified names - until you get a look at those babies.  They're not the prettiest bikes at the ball.  On the other hand they are comfy and the pedaler can really put her back into it. So much so that the bikes have been banned from racing.  They're outlaws!  Since 1934!  And now you can get  a 21-speed model.  That would blow them away in France.  A friend of mine loves her 'bent'.  (That one must be the cool nickname.) She says it's easier on the knees and hers has a shock absorber.  Hey!  I found yet another name for them: 'recliner bikes'.  Looks like you're in kind of a reclining position, but I do not see any cushions.  I'll wait for the model that does.

Lean back and enjoy! Comfortable bicycling by Kalmer, Doug; Countryside & Small Stock Journal 09-01-2009
Recliner Bicycles by Tolme, Paul; Newsweek International 11-05-2007
All accessed through eLibrary

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Looking and Finding

Like maps? Really big maps? Perhaps bound together in the convenient format of a book? You, dear readers, are looking for an atlas. Ok, maybe you knew that, but did you know we have an atlas with maps of historic railroad lines? Did you? All right then. The Des Moines Public Library stocks all kinds of atlases and we've got them in all our locations. Sometimes you can't check the atlas out. Some are so gigantic they might not fit through the door anyway. But perfect for a lazy afternoon when you just want to sit in the library and find out where stuff was in the Middle Ages. If you don't get lost on the way to the library - for lack of a map! - a world of colorful exploration awaits you. Come see! Comme sa! Couldn't resist. Not even sorry.

Some Atlases
Graphic source:  Library of Congress

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It was Mount Saint Helens

Thirty years ago today the United States experienced the largest volcano eruption ever recorded in the contiguous states. Approximately 65 people were killed. Following a 5.1 magnitude quake inside Mount Saint Helens, first came the landslide. The spot in which the landslide took place had been bulging before it broke off. You do not want your volcano to bulge. Then came the eruption. Turns out when lava mixes with snow and ice what you have is a lahar, which is reminiscent of wet cement. Don't let that comparatively benign description fool you though, the stuff was plenty hot. The lahars vaporized huge amounts of groundwater and when that steam blew, craters as large as 400 meters (1,300 feet) were blasted out. Nasty. The whole thing lasted about 9 hours. Here it is thirty years later and only a smattering of plants and animals have returned. So, not a garden spot but at least the lupines are back! And who doesn't like lupines.

Source:  A Fresh Look at Mount St. Helens. By Perkins, Sid. Science News, 4/24/2010
As accessed through Ebscohost

Monday, May 17, 2010

Face It!

Have you noticed that the Des Moines Public Library has a Facebook page linked from our home page?  Not just any Facebook, it's all about the DMPL!  We are so modern.  Wouldn't you like to be our friend?  We're nice.  And we stuff our Facebook page with all kinds of handy-dandy information.  You get updates on programs and all our blogs post to Facebook as well as in the original blogger page.  It's almost an aggregator. I'm so proud that not only do I know that word, I know what it means! Mostly. I'm almost modern.
Take a look at our Facebook Page.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shaun Tan - Children's Book Week Star

Guess what!  It's Children's Book Week! If you haven't seen Shaun Tan's books, oh my goodness.  They are just exquisite. The stories are sophisticated and emotionally complex.  The Arrival follows a new immigrant's frightening first steps in his new country.  The Lost Thing is utterly charming while being completely inert. So there's humor too, folks!  But not in The Rabbits which was actually written by John Marsden and illustrated by Tan. That one's kind of devastating.  Am I selling these?  If not, try Tan anyway.  Your eyeballs will thank you. 

Shaun Tan Books

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Smartest Babies Ever...Maybe

You would not believe how forward-thinking Des Moines was on the topic of children's intelligence. In 1943, the Iowa Children's Home Society administered I. Q. tests to the children they took in. According to Director Miss Esther M. Jaquith, scientists 'in the child welfare field' produced a test that could be administered to babies as young as 3 months. Three months.  How much can you learn about IQ based on what, eye movement? Smile response?  Burp activity?  Those must have been some tests, back there in 1943. I'm thinking there may be something more sophisticated today, involving wires and such. To read more about the Iowa Children's Home Society, you can find the article I quoted in:  The Des Moines Register, 10/21/1943, p.17.  Unfortunately it doesn't tell you where the heck they got the tests.

Source:  Fun Facts
Graphic Source: Karen's Whimsy

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weddings - well you can just buy everything I suppose.

It's all about making stuff for weddings now. Which is pretty cool, but what about people like me who don't know their way around any kind of sewing, needlework, woodwork etc.  Since we have about 20 books on this subject you'll be sure to find something even I could do! My sister and I made a 'craft' by rolling and stacking towels then decorating them to look like cakes. I can work with safety pins.  Using our wide variety of books you can learn to make favors, journals, hair accessories.  And if you think it's too close to the wedding, how about The DIY bride crafty countdown : 40 fabulous projects to make in the months, weeks & hours before your special day?  That's right, hours.  Kind of makes you look like a piker if you don't craft something. Don't say we didn't war - I mean, help you.  Always with the helpful.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Now where did I put that grain of sand...

Ever feel like your Google search comes back with the same answers over and over again, no matter how you phrase it? Soon you're buried up to your neck in stuff you can't use. Why not let the Reference Staff at the Des Moines Public Library System work on that search for you? We do this for a living! We know how to use limiters, specialized searches, and we have a pretty good idea of how the information was probably phrased. Plus, we can evaluate sites and get you the most reliable information. Call us at 283-4152 and press 3 as soon as you hear the recording start. We're on it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Find that Online Resource!

As you know, the Des Moines Public Library has fabulous research aids. Fix your car, take a test, find a company, do a little genealogy - more fun than you can hardly stand. But you gotta find em' to use 'em. So follow these easy steps. I know, that's what they say in souffle recipes. But this time it's true.

1. Stop in at our home page at
2. In the gray box to the right, click on Online Resources.
3. Scroll on down and click on your resource of choice.
4. Pick out your database of choice and give it a click.

If you are in one of our buildings, you are ready to search.
If you are accessing us from home you will need your Des Moines Public Library card number and PIN (usually the last 4 digits of your phone number).
If you are accessing Learning Express from anywhere you will need to set up a user name and password after entering your library card number and PIN. 

Of course you could cheat and just Click Here. But where's the fun?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Name That Mess! Friday Generator Fun

Any disheveled areas in your house?  Any non-disheveled areas in your house?  There are times when my abode is covered in paper.  Books, mail, magazines, craft projects.  I do try to keep  two spots scraped off.  But that means there are many places in my house which would benefit from signage.  I could use 'Put Your Clean Laundry Away!' in the guest room. That stuff does pile up.   And my husband is very accepting - until he can't stand it anymore.  Maybe he could use some signs!  Anyhoo, have fun with the Messy Area Sign generator.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

By Association

The Encyclopedia of Associations can be quite the intriguing read.  There are organizations for people with all kinds of interests!  For example, the DeLorean Owners Association.  Both of them joined! A few of the groups strike me as bad ideas. I'm just not getting the positive of the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia.   But oh to be a card-holding member of the Society for Creative Ethics!  I'm not a crook, I'm just expressing myself.  Then there are the brave brave members of Friends of Feral Felines.  I'm pretty certain feral felines are not all that friendly. Surprisingly, the Friends of Vic and Sade group is no more.  Defunct.  Who are Vic and Sade and why are they no longer loved? It's just sad.   For more information you can take a look at the entries and find out what the societies do. Questions will be answered.  With actual facts.

The Encyclopedia of Associations

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spanish PelĂ­culas de Terror

At least I call them horror movies: Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, The Orphanage. The films are definitely Spanish, definitely scary and there is a bit of the supernatural in each one. They're all about children which effects the mood, less about the jumping-out 'Boo!' terror and more about psychological responses to strange and stressful goings-on. Genuinely chilling, and for you non-Spanish speakers don't be put off by the language difference. Listen in Spanish and read the subtitles, it adds to the atmosphere.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Was My PIN Again?

Ah, the eternal question. Those magic numbers you need if you want to use our fabulous online resources, get into your account to renew stuff, or use the internet computers in our libraries.  Most of the time it's the last 4 numbers of your telephone number. Unless we have an old phone number for you, or you may have actually picked out your very own personal PIN. If what you've got doesn't work, give us a call at 283-4152 and press 3. You provide us with your Des Moines Public Library card number; we look up your PIN for you.  And maybe get a little updating done in the process.  Everybody wins!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Mathematicians' Names

These mathematicians are great and they have great names! Let me introduce you to:

Fibonacci: 1170-1240 (approx). The Fibonacci sequence, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, is a series that appears with mysterious frequency in nature.   Each number after the first two are obtained by adding the preceding two numbers together. The spirals formed by the centers of daisies pine cone scales and leaves, follow the Fibonacci sequence. Hmmmmm.
Charles Babbage: December 26, 1791 - October 18, 1871.  Babbage was looking for a cheap and accurate method of producing tables to replace those laborious instruments put together by hand using the human noggin.   In 1822 he built a small hand-cranked machine "that could compile and print astronomical and logarithmic tables to an accuracy of six decimal places". Genius? Definitely. Father of computing?  Sounds like it.

AND...  Norbert Wiener: November 26, 1894 - March 18, 1964. He worked up a "mathematical description of the flow of information".  Guess what this is called?  Besides information theory. Cybernetics!  Way back in the 60's!   So he had that going for him plus the best name ever for a mathematician.  Or anyone else, really.

Source:  Biography Resource Center.  To read more, select Biography Resource Center; input your Des Moines Public Library card number and PIN then do a search for the mathematician of your choice!