Friday, November 30, 2007

Dial One to Speak to a Real Human Being

Our intrepid Library office manager spends many hours on the phone ordering books and dealing with all sorts of vendors trying to get the best deal for the library. When you spend this much time on the phone you grow to despise those automated telephone systems. One of her favorite web sites is Get Human. They offer phone numbers for hundreds of companies and the numeric codes that will get you out of the dreaded automated telephone system and talking to a real live human.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

As the Seasons Turn

The Circulation Librarian is always finding the cutest bookmarks to tempt unwary readers. They are often seasonal; in October she set out bookmarks that looked like candy bars wrappers. The Hershey chocolate bar bookmark was deliciously realistic. This month’s irresistible bookmarks feature a snowman and a gingerbread man. Why do her bookmarks always make me feel hungry?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Norman Mailer Wins a Dubious Literary Prize

Maybe it’s a good thing Norman Mailer is not alive to personally receive this particular prize. He is the 2007 winner of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for the most awkward description of an intimate encounter. The Literary Review, a British magazine, started the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards in 1993 to “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it”. Previous winners include Sebastian Faulks and Tom Wolfe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Be a Good Host, Visit Your Library

Recently I was checking out stacks, and stacks of books to a mother and daughter, and they were talking about their book choices ..."these are for Uncle Frank, these are for Grandma, some magazines for cousin Lynn...." I suddenly realized they were getting books for their holiday guests--what a cool idea! When I questioned them they said they always borrowed books for their guests--fiction, non-fiction, biographies, magazines-- depending on the tastes of their guests. They wanted their guests to feel at home, and since they were avid readers it just made sense. Okay, maybe Martha Stewart had already thought of this, but I had not. I am definitely going to steal this idea next time I have overnight guests. Be a good host, visit your library.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Teen Readers’ Favorite Book is New Moon

More than 6,000 teen readers across the country chose New Moon by Stephenie Meyer as their favorite book in the annual American Library Association Teens’ Top Ten vote. New moon is the second book in an incredibly popular series about teenage vampires.

The 2007 Teens' Top Ten is:

  1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  3. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles (not owned by DPL)
  4. Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever by James Patterson
  5. Firegirl by Tony Abbott.
  6. All Hallows Eve (13 Stories) by Vivian Vande Velde
  7. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  8. River Secrets by Shannon Hale
  9. Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe (not owned by DPL)
  10. Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Chicken or the Egg?

Libraries have embraced blogs as wonderful ways to communicate regularly with our patrons. That was certainly our purpose in starting one here in Dover. We have a printed newsletter, but we can only afford to print 500 copies a month. Blogs can reach thousands! Plus, we always have a lot more to say than can fit in the 4 pages of our newsletter...about our profession, the books and movies we read and view, our patrons and their stories, funny incidents, etc. ...and a blog just fits our workstyle perfectly. We try to write what we might say in conversation with a patron at the front desk.

Well now, our blog has been included in a new book by library/media/tech guru Walt Crawford called "Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples". He calls our blog a "robust ,varied blog offering a variety of voices on a variety of topics." I think it made his list because we post often, we're sometimes lengthy (mea culpa, that's usually me), we attempt humor, we include illustrations and photographs, and we get some public comments. For whatever reason, we're happy to be included.

However, Walt's book may generate interest by people like me in Libraryland who read his "Cites and Insights" publication, but how do we get regular folk, general ordinary book lovers, to tune in regularly? Does the blog ever really translate into more use of the library or, at the very least, engender good feelings about the library? We thought our blog would be a great (and free) publicity tool but how do we generate enough publicity for the blog itself so that "write it, they will come" actually comes to fruition? But thanks for listing us Mr. Crawford, we'll take all the hits we can get!!

Library Hours for the Thanksgiving Weekend

Library hours for the Thanksgiving Holiday will be:
Wednesday, Nov. 21 - 9am to 5:30pm
Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 & 23 - Closed
Saturday, November 24 - 9am to 5:00pm
Sun., Nov. 25 - Closed

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Listen All the Way to Grandma's House

Are you going to be one of those unfortunate travelers braving the airports over the Thanksgiving holiday? If you are, why not load up your MP3 player with a few audio books to occupy your time? Many new titles have been added this month.

Among the new downloadable audio book titles are:



Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Sijie, Dai

Blue Christmas

Andrews, Mary Kay

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy

Nimmo, Jenny

Creation in Death

Robb, J.D.


Harris, Robert

King Dork

Portman, Frank

A Lick of Frost

Hamilton, Laurell K.

Look Me in the Eye

Robison, John Elder

The Secret Life of Josephine

Erickson, Carolly

Sixteen in Nome

Brand, Max

Stone Cold

Baldacci, David

Third Degree

Iles, Greg

American Creation

Ellis, Joseph J.

Charlie Bone & the Castle of Mirrors

Nimmo, Jenny

Darkness Falls

Mills, Kyle

Double Cross

Patterson, James

The Heir

Bradford, Barbara Taylor

Last Night at the Lobster

O'Nan, Stewart

The Race

Patterson, Richard North

Saying Thank You is a Piece of Cake

Our wonderful patrons know how to keep the librarians’ spirits up. Thank you Joanne and Michael!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Unattended Children at the Library

Late one afternoon last week, a mother dropped off her 10-year old child at the Library while she went to an exercise class downtown. Library policy states that no child under 8 may be left unattended, so the mom was well within our rules in leaving her son in the Children's Room unaccompanied. Unfortunately, she did not realize the Library closes at 5:30pm on Thursdays. We were left with a conundrum: no way to reach the mother (her cell phone was off), and a Library that was closing. Luckily the child was able to reach his older sister for a ride home, but the staff stayed on the premises with the child until she arrived. It's not the first time something like this has happened. I came across a sign in another blog which could offer a possible solution.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And the winners are...

The 58th annual National Book Awards were handed out in New York City this week. Winners included:
FICTION: Denis Johnson for "Tree of Smoke" a novel about two American families swept up in the Vietnam War.

NON-FICTION: "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA" by Tim Weiner who examined over 50,000 official documents pertaining to the 60-year existence of this U.S. spy agency.

YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE: "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian", a coming-of-age story by Sherman Alexie which follows an adolescent boy trying to break away from the life he seems destined to live.


Colorful Creations

Come in and see the exquisite bracelets, necklaces, and earrings crafted by Annemarie in the display cases in the Reference Room and the magazine area. The Library is always looking for local craftspeople and artists who would like to display their work at the Library throughout the year. If you are interested please contact Sandra Erdmann.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Something for the Grammar Freaks

Find out if you know when to use "it's" or "its and "there," "their," or "they're" with this fun little quiz. If you grew up in a household like mine, with a mother who would correct us by saying things like “that is THEY, not, that’s them.” you will find it a piece of cake. I only missed one, don’t tell my Mom, or the Library Director either because she knows her grammar like nobody’s business. Hmmm, was that correct grammar?

Anyway if you have fun with the quiz, and pondering the subtleties of the English language, you may want to check out:

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande
When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It by Ben Yagoda
Spunk and Bite by Arthur Plotnik
Right, Wrong, and Risky by Mark Davidson
Much Ado About English by Todd Watson

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Check Out Those Charities!

My Dad recently called me to get more information on a story he had just seen on Good Morning America. It seems that several Veterans charities had been given failing grades for using under 35% of money collected “on actual bona fide charitable programs”. I was able to find the text of the article on GMA’s website for him as well as passing on websites of charity watchdog groups.

Before you give money this year, make sure to check up on the groups you are interested in at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Booksale Leftovers are now FREE!

We are at the tail end of our booksale, and all the leftovers are now FREE. Come in and haul them away--you can't beat the price!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Is It Too Soon for Christmas?

I don’t want to think about it yet but there are some happy Christmas elves here at the Library that would start playing Christmas music after Labor Day if we let them, and of course crafters need to start their projects before December. These folks will be pleased to know that hundreds of Christmas books and CDs now await them in the Browse Room, at the end of the Non-fiction books.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Medical Memoirs

There are thousands and thousands of families and individuals dealing with devastating physical or mental conditions which are chronic, life-changing, or long-term disorders. Most are kept private and only the bravest among us decide to publish their stories. It’s remarkable to me that some people have the strength and mental foresight not only to keep a record of their health struggles but then have the tenacity to write fascinating personal memoirs about how they coped and survived. Here are some of the recent best:

"Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy" by Geralyn Lucas (362.1969) is a charming, hilarious, yet very frank account of a 27-year-old’s battle with breast cancer. Even while losing her vibrancy and her looks, Geralyn’s journey will inspire anyone struggling with self-image or illness.

"Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" by Kris Carr (616.994) is the written companion to Carr’s wonderful TLC TV documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer”, composed after her diagnosis with rare liver tumors. She covers dating, sex, appearance, recipes, medical and holistic resources including young survivor support groups in this ultimately joyous memoir..

"Sick Girl" by Amy Silverstein (818.5) is fierce and provocative as it details the painful experiences of a young heart transplant recipient who now, at age 42, is a 17-year survivor. Silverstein chronicles her harrowing medical journey and readers can live her nightmare from the inside—an unforgettable and compelling experience.

"Never Give Up" by Tedy Bruschi (796.332) tells the inspiring story of the 31-year-old New England Patriot linebacker’s debilitating stroke, the surgery to repair a hole in his heart, his recovery, and eventual return, eight and a half months later, to the ranks of professional football. Go Pats #54!

"Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s" by John Elder Robison (362.196) tells the painful growing-up memoirs of a man who was not diagnosed with this highly-functioning type of autism until he was 40. Robison is Augusten Burroughs’s (“Running with Scissors”) brother so you may be already familiar with their dysfunctional family.

"My Lobotomy" by Howard Dully (617.481) heart-wrenchingly describes his 1960 brain surgery in which icepick-type instruments were inserted through his eye sockets to sever his frontal lobe and cure his supposed mental illness. Dully shows great courage in telling his story, especially about what drove his parents to such an unconscionable act.

"Born on a Blue Day" by Daniel Tammet (362.196) is an engaging and intriguing first-person account into the mind of a high-functioning, 27-year-old autistic savant. Tammet learned Icelandic in a single week and recited pi up to the 22,514th digit. He also experiences synesthesia, which enables him to experience numbers and words as shapes, colors, textures and motions.

"The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness" by Elyn R. Saks (616.898) is the gripping memoir of a life spent grappling with hallucinations, medications, and psychoses, and one woman’s path toward coming to terms with her schizophrenia. Saks overcame much to now lead a full life as a law professor.

We’re happy to add that all of these authors are doing well! Good health to all!

The View from the Library

We are fortunate be situated in a lovely old Carnegie Library building. The icing on the cake is the often dramatic view we have of Dover’s City Hall, a much younger but still impressive building. I have seen City Hall obscured by large drifting snowflakes, threatened by lightning, and caressed by rainbows. Yesterday it was glowing with sunlight, against a backdrop of storm clouds.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Guynd: a Scottish Journal by Belinda Rathbone

Do you dream of restoring a crumbling villa in Tuscany, a farmhouse in France, or a stately home in Great Britain? After Peter Mayle’s best-selling books on his life in Provence, many people had that dream, and some actually went out and lived it. Belinda Rathbone stumbled into her new life as the mistress of 400 acre estate in Scotland, complete with a decrepit Georgian mansion when she married John, Laird of Guynd. The house is in need of rescue, as is John. He is overwhelmed by the weight of hundreds of years of family history, and years of family stuff that has accumulated and no one dares discard. Belinda battles her husband’s compulsive need to save dusty piles of old curtains, pieces of linoleum, and shabby, stained clothes. ‘If the Scots are frugal then there is none more frugal than John. It’s not so much that he is averse to buying things, but that he will never throw anything away. “Trash,” “rubbish,” and “garbage” are simply not words in his vocabulary, except when he accused me of “creating trash”.’ You will feel as though you are witnessing the house come alive through Belinda’s efforts as she scrubs, repaints, redecorates, and renovates the Guynd. There are plenty of local characters to add flavor to her story, particularly among their troublesome tenants. This Scottish journal becomes the story of a marriage, as well as the story of a house. ““I knew when I married the man that I married the mansion.” My only complaint is that the book ends abruptly; I still want to know, “what happens next?”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Books to Movies

This fall there are a plethora of movies coming out that are based on books. Seems great but I am always suprised at how little publicity that the author of the original book gets when the movie comes out; most times it is not even mentioned that the film was based on a book. Scandalous! For me, that seems like a pretty important piece of information, but then again I am just a nerdy librarian. Do you think that if the general public knew that the movie was based on a book they might want to read the book afterwards? Probably not, but it is a hopeful thought. Anyway, here are some of the movies that are coming out:
  • "Love in the Time of Cholera" based on the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel stars Benjamin Bratt and Javier Bardem.

  • "Mist" is based on a story by Stephen King that appeared in "Dark Forces" and "Skeleton Crew".

  • "Atonement" is based on the Ian McEwan novel, and the movie stars Keira Knightley and Vanessa Redgrave.

  • "The Other Boleyn Girl" (great book, by the way) was written by Philippa Gregory, and is only one of her novels based on Henry VIII. The movie stars Natalie Portman and Scarlet Johansson.

And for the kids...

  • "The Golden Compass" based on Philip Pullman's very popular Dark Materials series. The movie stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig (should 007 be in a kids movie?).

  • "Charlie Wilson's War" based on the book by George Crile, and starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Book Sale Bargains: a buck a bag or box!

Prices have been reduced today to a dollar for a bag or box of books. There are still plenty of books to choose from in all categories, including children’s books. How ever you want to carry them out, it’s a bargain!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Teenager that Made My Day

The Library has a suggestion box in the Teen Corner. We never know what will be waiting for us there: earnest ideas for improvements, pleas for certain books, or rude suggestions. This time we found a note that made us smile.