Friday, October 30, 2009

Do You Dare?

Halloween has come early to the Library....

Remembering Wax Candy

Another candy themed post in honor of Halloween, from Bill Bryson's memorable and amusing "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid". Bill reminisces about the candies he loved as a child in the 1950s.

"Perhaps nothing says more about the modest range of pleasures of the age than that the most popular candies of my childhood were made of wax. You could choose among wax teeth, wax pop bottles, wax barrels, and wax skulls, each filled with a small amount of colored liquid that tasted very much like a small dose of cough syrup. You swallowed this with interest if not exactly gratification then chewed the wax for the next ten or eleven hours. Now you might think there is something wrong with your concept of pleasure when you find yourself paying real money to chew colorless wax, and you would be right of course. But we did it and enjoyed it because we knew no better. and there was, it must be said, something good, something healthily restrained, about eating a product that had neither flavor or nutritive value."

Story Time @ DPL

Registration for their next session of story times for Dover children will begin on Monday, November 2.
Registration will be divided into two parts:

For 3-6 year-olds there are three different times to choose from:
Monday afternoon 1:30—2:15
Monday night 7:00—7:45
Tuesday morning 9:30—10:15

*Sign-up for the 3-6 year-olds begins at 9:00a.m. in the Children’s Room.
Phone call registration begins at 9:15a.m.
This 45-minute program (attended by the children only) includes stories, finger plays, songs and puppets. A theme related craft or film is also offered during each session.

For 2-year-olds (Toddlers) there are 3 different times to choose from:
Wednesday morning 9:30—10:30
Thursday morning 9:30—10:30
Friday morning 9:30—10:30

*Sign-up begins at 6:00p.m. in the Children’s Room for the toddler groups.
Phone call registration begins at 6:15p.m.
Toddler programs (attended by the children along with their parent or care-giver) include stories, finger plays and songs selected for a two-year-old’s developmental level.
Story times will begin the week of November 9 and continue for 5 weeks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

David Sedaris on Halloween

Remember when you went trick or treating? The joy of dumping out a full bag of candy, sorting it into piles of favorite candies (Snickers, peanut butter cups) and undesirable candies to be swapped with siblings or friends (peppermint patties, lollipops). David Sedaris remembers, and he is at his hilarious best in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Enjoy a brief excerpt below:

I knew that it was just a matter of time before she came into my room and started collecting the candy herself, grabbing indiscriminately, with no regard to my rating system. Had I been thinking straight, I would have hidden the most valuable items in my dresser drawer, but instead, panicked by the thought of her hand on my doorknob, I tore off the wrappers and began cramming the candy bars into my mouth, desperately, like someone in a contest. Most were miniature, which made them easier to accommodate, but still there was only so much room, and it was hard to chew and fit more in at the same time. The headache began immediately, and I chalked it up to tension.

My mother told the Tomkeys she needed to check on something, and then she opened the door and stuck her head inside my room. "What the hell are you doing?" she whispered, but my mouth was too full to answer. "I'll just be a moment," she called, and as she closed the door behind her and moved toward my bed, I began breaking the wax lips and candy necklaces pulled from pile no. 2. These were the second-best things I had received, and while it hurt to destroy them, it would have hurt even more to give them away. I had just started to mutilate a miniature box of Red Hots when my mother pried them from my hands, accidentally finishing the job for me. BB-size pellets clattered onto the floor, and as I followed them with my eyes, she snatched up a roll of Necco wafers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rainy Day at the Library

The weather outside is frightfuland inside the library is rather frightful too....

Listen To This!

The Library received a large shipment of books on CD this week so there are good pickings for audiobook fans. Here is a brief sampling of what has arrived:
True Blue by David Baldacci
You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

More arrive every day so keep checking the shelves!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chaos at the Library!

The library is getting 15,000 square feet of new carpeting---yes that is a lot of carpeting! This project will begin Thursday, November 12th and continue until the installers are done. They will begin on the top floor--lecture hall, trustees room, historical room, etc. and work their way down. A project of this magnitude will obviously bring chaos, confusion, and mayhem. We ask that you bear with us during this time, while we try to move books, bookcases, etc. while still offering quality library services. I think we may all need a sense of humor during these couple of weeks so if you know of any good jokes let us know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Booksale Starts This Saturday

Hoards of workers have been busily preparing this morning for the Friends of the Library's annual booksale which starts this Saturday for cardholders. Box after box of books has been carted up to the lecture hall and they have not finished yet. More information on the booksale will be forthcoming this week. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flu in Dover

It is hard to avoid hearing about the H1N1 flu. Radio, TV, and newspaper articles are covering the spread of the disease, detailing who is affected, how many have died, and what states are hit the hardest. For anyone who has not lived through a severe flu epidemic all the fuss seems to be an overreaction. Read the article from our Dover history page to see what life was like in Dover during the 1918 H1N1 flu epidemic.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Learning to Read? Try Talking to a Dog

Just read a story on CNN's web site titled "Learning to Read? Try Talking to a Dog". I was interested in the article because of the DPL's program with Goldie, a certified therapy dog. If you are unfamiliar with our program please see our blog post from October 16. The article describes the benefits that children can get from reading to therapy dogs:

"The philosophy is simple. Children who are just learning to read often feel judged orintimidated by classmates and adults. But reading to a dog isn't so scary. It won't judge, it won't get impatient, it won't laugh or correct if the child makes a mistake. In a nutshell, dogs are simply excellent listeners. And for shy kids or slow readers, that can make all the difference."

So if you know of any 6-10 year olds who might benefit from reading to a dog,
please give the children's room staff a call at 516-6052

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Horror Fest

Our fearless DVD librarian has ordered up a cauldron of truly creepy horror films for you. Check them out if you dare....

Beautiful Autumn Day

This is a perfect Autumn day to walk down to the Library under clear blue skies, past trees wearing their festive foliage. You may want choose a stack of books and DVDs for indoor entertainment by the sound of the weekend forecast.Even the squirrels are taking time to visit the Library.

Attention Alex Rider Fans!

For all of you Alex Rider fans who can't wait for his new book, Crocodile Tears, to come out on November 17th here is a read alike list you might enjoy:

Dragon & Thief (1st book in the Dragonback series) by Timothy Zahn
Epic by Conor Kostick
Evil Genius & Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks
Fight Game by Kate Wild
H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous-Education by Mark Walden
The Recruit (1st book in the CHERUB series) by Robert Muchamore
SilverFin (1st book in the Young Bond series) by Charles Higson
Sleeper Code & Sleeper Agenda by Tom Sniegoski
Spy High: Mission One (1st in the Spy High series) by A. J. Butcher
Sure Fire & Death Run by Jack Higgins
Thieves Like Us & Thieves Till We Die by Stephen Cole

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Much Maligned Librarian

I read an interesting article in VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates, October 2009) magazine recently detailing the results of a study of teen reading habits. The article outlined some of the key barriers to reading with the first being Difficulties selecting good reading material. I was saddened by several quotes from teens describing why they would never ask library staff for help selecting a book.

"Actually, that's (asking a librarian for reading advice) never occurred to me! I know there are grown-ups there (in the library) and they put the books out but I've never thought that they've probably read quite a few of them or that they would know what people my age are interested in."

"I wouldn't ask a public librarian for help. I'd rather find it myself or just wander up and down the aisles."

Here at the DPL there are several library staff members that are enthusiastic teen literature readers. None of us can claim to be teenagers (though some of us keep trying), but a few have teenage children of their own, and so they do have an understanding of what is being read. I understand the reluctance to ask, but truly we are friendly and approachable people. If you simply cannot bring yourself to ask, or convince your kids to, there are over 20 suggested reading bookmarks in the Teen Loft, and bright yellow bookmarks in some books marking them as award winners. Lastly, in response to the following quote, that was also in the article, we have rearranged the Teen Loft, and the new look can be seen in the picture above. "Most of the books that I've read I've found on the floor. Someone dropped it there and I picked it up and like the look of it."

FYI, the other two barriers to reading are Insufficient leisure time and Negative school reading experiences.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Librarian's Epitaph

As we get into the ghost-y and ghoul-y season, we thought you'd enjoy this. Credit to Ruth Lee, Library Assistant, Gary Byker Memorial Library, Hudsonville, MI.

Librarian's Epitaph
No reference question

Could unflap her,

Until she reached

Her Final Chapter.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Goldie Wants You to Read Her a Story

Goldie, a Certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs International, Inc., and her handler, Karen, will continue their very popular “Paws for Reading” program in Children’s Room this fall. Therapy Dogs International, Inc. is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their dogs for visits in a variety of settings. Their “Paws for Reading” program is designed to allow kids the chance to read aloud to a non-judgmental canine listener in a stress-free environment. While reading to Goldie, children find themselves relaxing, having fun and improving their reading skills!

Goldie has been visiting the library since the spring of this year. She loves a good story but needs someone (children ages 6-10) to read to her. If interested in helping Goldie hear her beloved stories and in practicing reading aloud, sign up for a 15-minute reading session during one of the times listed below:

Saturday, October 10 (10:30-11:30am)
Tuesday, October 20 (6:30-7:30pm)
Saturday, November 7 (10:30-11:30am)

Tuesday, November 17 (6:30-7:30 pm)
Saturday, December 5 (10:30am-Noon)
Tuesday, December 15 (6:30-7:30 pm)

For more information, or to pre-register your child for a 15-minute time slot with Goldie, please call the Dover Public Library Children’s Room at 516-6052.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Halloween

There are still plenty of Halloween books and media available for borrowing in the Children's Room. You will find these items on our large bulletin board display shelf along with great party & costume ideas and craft samples (with instructions) for decorating.

For those of you who like to "give yourself a fright", choose one of the books listed below to read on a dark, spooky night or click on this link ( for a "Happy Halloween" from the Children's Room staff!

Scary Stories
(short stories recommended for grades 4-6)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Book Award Nominees Announced

For fiction:
Bonnie Jo Campbell's American Salvage
Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin
Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Jayne Ann Phillips's Lark and Termite
Marcel Theroux's Far North

For non-fiction:
T.J. Stiles's The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Greg Grandin's Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
David M. Carroll's Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook
Sean B. Carroll's Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in Search for the Origin of Species
Adrienne Mayor's The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy

For poetry:
Ann Lauterbach's Or To Begin Again
Carl Phillips's Speak Low
Rae Armantrout's Versed
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon's Open Interval
Keith Waldrop's Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy

For young people's literature:
Deborah Heiligman's Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
David Small's Stitches
Laini Taylor's Lips Touch: Three Times
Rita Williams-Garcia's Jumped

Winners will be announced on November 18th!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What do you know about Saxe-Coburg and Gotha?

If you are like me your answer to the above question was--not much. We have the perfect remedy to that problem. Join us on Tues., Oct. 20 at 7:00pm in the Library Lecture Hall where Sheila Bolsover will be lecturing on the history of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Do not fear that this will be a dull, dry history lesson because Ms. Bolsover is known as a spirited and witty raconteur. This is a free lecture generously hosted by The Friends of the Dover Public Library. I recently interviewed Ms. Bolsover on her interest in the topic, and here is what she had to say:

How did you become interested in the region of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha?

I became interested in Sachsen Coburg und Gothen because my brother lives there. He married a German. I knew nothing about the region, until I visited him for the first time several years ago. One day we were on a bike ride around the beautiful Bavarian countryside, and he casually pointed to a beautiful building in the woods nearby and told me it was Rosenau, where Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, had been brought up. Suddenly my history lessons made sense. I sat on a bench that Victoria used to sit on when she came to Coburg. In fact, she always said that she wished she was not royal because she would love to have been a hausfrau living at Rosenau. She used to go there a lot and live as an ‘ordinary’ person (Hrmph!!). Personally, I do not think that would have lasted long, not when you are used to minions doing all sorts of things for you. She stayed at the Schloss Ehrenburg in the town centre when she came to visit, as well.

There is a gothic castle on the hill overlooking Coburg (called a Veste in Deutschland), and it is not the kind of regularly shaped Norman castles we are used to in England. It is referred to as The Crown of Franconia, and when you see it from below it does look like a diadem on the top of the hill. It is very beautiful.

According to the House Law of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the full title of the Duke was: We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera. Can you give us some background on this? (I am very happy with my 3 word title!)

It is quite common for the German princes to have all kinds of lands all over Germany and each bit of land comes with a title of some sort and if not – ve maken von oop! I have just read a history of the German speaking peoples and really I am surprised that they had so much history! I thought England was the champion of that, and of course when we were at school in UK the European countries were all bundled together under the euphemism of ‘the continent’. I believe that the Almanach de Gothe was required reading in every German noble’s schoolroom every day, with tests on Friday.

We have romanticized the marriage of Victoria and Albert, but in essence this was a business arrangement to further the power of the families concerned. Comments?

Most dynastic marriages were matters of state and if your birth was high enough, and you were female, you took what you were given. The male had a bit more wiggle room, but most marriages were to form alliances, etc. When Victoria first met the Saxe-Coburg brothers, Ernst and Albert, she was not very impressed. When Albert came to England, however, to look her over and be looked over, she fell passionately in love with him (ergo, the nine children fast and furiously). Those Victorians might have been prim and proper on the outside but shut those bedroom doors and it seems to have been a romp. In fact she was known to say that the children put quite a damper on things… Queen Victoria was the first monarch, and one of the first women, to use anaesthetic in childbirth, and it popularized it amongs the upper classes in Britain. The proletariat were still pushing and puffing the old fashioned way. Albert never loved her in quite the same way, but he was a straight arrow and did not fool around. Quite provincial in their thinking, those Germans! He was very proud of his shapely legs, and would use every opportunity to pose in tights for the edification of the sculptor, painter, and (presumably) Vicky.

Poor Albert died when he was 42 and Victoria wore black for the rest of her life. She still visited her cousins in Coburg, and stayed in the Schloss Ehrenberg in town and at Rosenau. The guide pointed out to me the spot on the carriageway where she would always stop for a last, longing look back at the Schloss.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Library Will Be Closed Monday

The Library will be closed Monday, October 12, for Columbus Day.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Best Fiction of the Millennium, So Far

Website "The Millions", which covers books, the arts, and culture, polled 48 of its favorite writers, editors and critics and asked each to name their top five novels published since January 1, 2000. Here's their resulting list:

The List:
#20: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
#19: American Genius, A Comedy by Lynne Tillman
#18: Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
#17: The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
#16: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
#15: Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis
#14: Atonement by Ian McEwan
#13: Mortals by Norman Rush
#12: Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg
#11: The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
#10: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
#9: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
#8: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
#7: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
#6: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
#5: Pastoralia by George Saunders
#4: 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
#3: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
#2: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
#1: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Then they asked website readers the same question and here's their list:

Readers' List:
1 The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
2 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
3 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
4 Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
5 The Road by Cormac McCarthy
6 Atonement by Ian McEwan
7 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
8 The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
9 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
10 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
11 Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
12 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
13 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
14 Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
15 Empire Falls by Richard Russo
16 Runaway by Alice Munro
17 The Master by Colm Tóibín
18 Half of a Yellow Sunby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
19 Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
20 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

What do you think? I'm thrilled The Corrections was #1 on the critics' list---it's one of my all-time favorite books. And I'm happy to see Empire Falls and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on the readers' list. What do you think?

New Major Literary Prizes Awarded

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Romanian-born German writer Herta Muller for her depiction of "the landscape of the dispossessed" over the course of 19 books. Muller, who emigrated to Germany in 1987, has written widely about dictatorship in her native country and life as an exile. The Dover Public Library has just one of her books, The Appointment, published in 2001, but many of her works have not yet been translated into English. I have to confess that I'd not heard of knowledge of international authors is woefully inadequate and I must confess to saying "Who?" a few times after several of the Nobel announcement over the years.

The Man Booker Prize (awarded for best fiction in English by a citizen of the British Commonwealth) was given to Hilary Mantel for her new book, Wolf Hall (to be published October 13 in the U.S. and available on that date here at the DPL.) Amazon's reviewer says: "No character in the canon has been writ larger than Henry VIII, but that didn't stop Hilary Mantel. She strides through centuries, past acres of novels, histories, biographies, and plays--even past Henry himself--confident in the knowledge that to recast history's most mercurial sovereign, it's not the King she needs to see, but one of the King's most mysterious agents. Enter Thomas Cromwell, a self-made man and remarkable polymath who ascends to the King's right hand. Rigorously pragmatic and forward-thinking, Cromwell has little interest in what motivates his Majesty, and although he makes way for Henry's marriage to the infamous Anne Boleyn, it's the future of a free England that he honors above all else and hopes to secure. Mantel plots with a sleight of hand, making full use of her masterful grasp on the facts without weighing down her prose. The opening cast of characters and family trees may give initial pause to some readers, but persevere: the witty, whip-smart lines volleying the action forward may convince you a short stay in the Tower of London might not be so bad... provided you could bring a copy of Wolf Hall along."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Toddler Reads

While her mother was busy (playing) on her computer one recent Saturday morning, here is how my grand-daughter decided to spend her time. I've been told that she prefers books to toys (a future librarian?). Her message is clear--you're never too young to curl up with a good book.

The DPL Children's Room has over 300 Board Books in our "Toddler" collection for your little ones. They cover a variety of topics...colors, numbers, letters, Mother Goose, food, and vehicles, to name a few. Here are some of the new books that have been added to our collection:

My First Mother Goose by Tomie DePaola
Saffy Looks for Rain by Paola Opal
Clap hands by Helen Oxenbury
Caillou: potty time by Joceline Sanschagrin
Vroom! by Leo Timmers
Peek-a-Boo by Rosemary Wells
Fish Kisses: a bedtime story by Marianne Richmond--on order (per Miss Elsa's recommendation!)

We Love To Hear From You!

We have really enjoyed reading all the answers to the reading habits quiz. You so inspired us with your enthusiasm that we figured out a way to get comments to show up on the side of the blog. We hope to hear more from you!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reading Habits

Last month the world celebrated Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, or BBAW, from September 14 – 18. One way in which this occasion was marked was to survey book bloggers about their reading habits. As I was looking over the survey I thought some these would be interesting questions to ask our patrons. So, here goes:

Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack?

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters or are you able to put the book down at any point?

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Are you the type of person who reads only one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

Do you organize your books? (By genre, title, or author etc.?)

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Library Housing All You Need to Know...

I just finished reading A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. The main character, Catherine Land, leads a complicated life in which she goes from loved daughter, to prostition, to wealthy man's mistress, to finally answering an ad for a "reliable wife". She does have a constant in her life and that is the library, or maybe it would be more accurately described as books and learning. There were many great quotes about libraries in the book, but I loved this one because I can picture the character standing in the large Philadelphia library taking in the sights, the sounds and the smells.
"...She sewed, and she discovered the big library. She remembered her mother telling her that the library housed all she would ever need to know, about history and art and science.

It terrified her at first. On her initial visits she could only stare, not knowing what to ask for or where to turn. Finally she asked for a book, a book on sewing, and she read it, sitting at the long tables, taking notes with a pencil she had stolen from one of the stalls in the market.

Learning became her. She loved the smell of the books from the shelves, the type on the pages, the sense that the world was an infinite but knowable place. Every fact she learned seemed to open another question, and for every question there was another book. She learned the card catalog. She never learned more than she needed to know." (page 169-170)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yet Again, the Image of a Librarian

Occasionally, I've written about how the image of a librarian is portrayed in the media: the stereotypical bun-wearing, bespectacled, shushing woman in sensible shoes and tweeds. I've always tried to combat this stale and hackneyed portrayal with more positive images of today's library professional. But last night, on one of my favorite TV shows, Project Runway, my most adored judge, Michael Kors who's always got the perfect quip about the week's outfits, had this to say about Christopher and Epperson's shirtdress: "an unattractive nightshirt riff on Americana that might have looked fetching on a librarian circa 1979."

As the hairs rose on the back on my neck (almost uncurling my bun, thus getting hair caught in my eyeglasses neckchain), I initially thought "well, here we go again...another insult for librarians" and "how could Michael do this to me?". Then I looked at the dress again and the truth was there: I think I did have this dress back in 1979! Michael was right again! Here's the dress, what do you think, librarian or not? Sadly, I have to vote YES!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

We Are Fearless Readers

Dover Public Librarians celebrate Banned Books Week by reading our favorite banned and challenged books.Where's Waldo by Martin Handford was challenged due to a partially exposed breast in the beach scene of the book. The woman was covered up in the 1997 special edition of the book due to the controversy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

We Are Fearless Readers

Dover Public Librarians celebrate Banned Books Week by reading our favorite banned and challenged books.
Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling are frequently challenged for promoting witchcraft, anti-family themes, violence, disrespect to adults, lying, cheating, stealing, and rule breaking. According to The American Library Association, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is the top Most Challenged Book of 21st Century (2000-2005)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

We Are Fearless Readers

Dover Public Librarians celebrate Banned Books Week by reading our favorite banned and challenged books.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was challenged for being sexually explicit and having offensive language.