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    by Courtney | Nov 06, 2018

    Welcome to our weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Courtney, who works with children and families at our Georgetown Branch Library.

    image of dog and fox puppets
    Have you been looking for a new way to use puppets in your storytime or classroom?  Feeling blah about using the same rhymes to settle everyone down for a story?  Well I have a fun suggestion for you!  I like to use different puppets to be Official Library "Finger Tasters".  I walk around and tell the children that the puppet will taste their finger if they are sitting quietly holding one finger up in the air.  I compliment the kids for following my directions and then go around the room “tasting” fingers. 

    This works best in a smaller group setting.  I usually say things like “You taste like strawberries!  Did you eat strawberries for breakfast?” or “Oh my goodness!  You taste like popcorn!  Popcorn is one of (insert puppet’s name) favorite snacks.”  It’s fun to use a variety of different foods and treats to tell the kids what they “taste” like.  Of course, you might run across a little one who is scared of the puppet.  I then ask if their grown up wants their finger tasted instead and tell them that it’s okay if they don’t want to do it.  I always offer that they can try it the next week if they want to.  I’ve used this to settle down a lot of wiggly storytime-goers. 

    I hope you decide to give it a try sometime.  You’ll get to see a lot of great smiles if you do!  Make sure to have fun with it!

    by Dawn S | Nov 01, 2018

    photo of WWII memorial
    We wanted to learn more...
          but time kept passing by.
    We wanted to remember…
         but time kept passing by.
    We wanted to thank them …
         but time kept passing by.

    Now our time of opportunity has come.

    Saturday, November 3

    Children’s Services Main Library

    2:00 pm

    Discover World War II, An Interactive Family Event 

    There will be a scavenger hunt for people and places associated with World War II, a trivia quiz as well as a chance to personally meet some World War II veterans.

    This is a family-friendly event, however, World War II is a serious topic.  Parents should be mindful of their very young or very sensitive children when coming to this event.

    by Laurie | Oct 30, 2018

    Welcome to our weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Laurie, who works with children and families at the Tecumseh Branch Library.

    image of cartoon ghost
    When it comes to planning October storytimes, the one I look forward to most is Halloween.  With so many books and crafts related to the holiday, it’s nearly impossible to narrow my options down.  I typically start mentioning that I will be hosting a Halloween-esque storytime starting a few weeks prior to the day so that parents and caregivers can be fully aware and prepared for the plan, not only to avoid any issues in case they do not celebrate the holiday, but also to make sure they know they are welcome to join the children in dressing in costumes!  On the day of the Halloween storytime, I always make sure to have some last minute costumes readily available in case a parent or child comes unprepared.

    The Plan:

    BOOK:  Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan

    One spooky night in the fall, Mouse creeps out and hears bats flying: flit, flit, flit! and apples dropping: plop, plop, plop! and children singing: Trick or treat!  What could it be?  Storytimers will love revisiting our old friend Mouse and guessing what each sound means.

    cover image for mouse's first halloween

    SONG/MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:  “Monster Boogie

    Storytimers love dancing the Monster Boogie!

    BOOK:  In a Dark, Dark Wood by David A. Carter

    An old tale with a new twist, storytimers will love this spine-tingling tale with an appropriately spooky surprise ending.  This book has just the right amount of scary for a Halloween storytime without causing too much fright.  It’s a surprise pop-up book at the end and the storytimers enjoy the surprise.

    SONG/MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:  “Halloween Stomp”

    This is another fun dance activity that will get the storytimers up and moving!

    cover image for just say boo

    BOOK:  Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood, illustrated by Jed Henry

    From rattling bones to ghostly footsteps, the best scares of the season are captured in this book that teaches the storytimers what to say in the face of fear: BOO!  This is a fun interactive book that will have storytimers shouting “Boo!” with every turn of the page.  I change the ending of the book so that we end with “Trick or Treat!” and “Thank you!” as this leads us directly into our next activity.

    ACTIVITY:  costume parade around the library and trick-or-treating at the reference desk

    I have the storytimers line up at the door with their parent or caregiver, then we take a wide sweep of the library, taking a lap up to the reference desk where the desk staff are waiting to hand out candy, trinkets, or other fun items to the storytime trick-or-treaters.  I always make sure to have other options besides candy (such as pencils, temporary tattoos, etc.) in case the parents or caregivers prefer them not to have candy.

    CRAFT:  cookie decorating and coloring

    After trick-or-treating, we head back to the program room where we decorate sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles.  We even have apple cider on hand to eat with our cookies.  If parents or caregivers would prefer not to have their storytimer decorate cookies, I provide coloring pages or another fun craft for kids to color or take home for later.

    by Becky C | Oct 29, 2018

    We Gave Our Best

    Saturday, November 3, 2018
    1:00-3:00 pm
    ACPL Main Library - Meeting Rooms BC

    Join us for this unique opportunity to meet local veterans of World War II at Kayleen Reusser's book launch party! The third book in Kayleen's WW II Legacies series--We Gave Our Best: American World War II Veterans Tell Their Stories--features stories and 100+ photos of thirty-four local GIs who served in the Army, Navy, Army Air Corps, Marines, WASP, and WAVES.

    Veterans will be available to sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase.
    by SM | Oct 29, 2018

    Enjoy these new teen paranormal and horror fiction novels for Halloween...



    Scott M
    Scott M, Editor - Scott is known around Shawnee Branch and about town as the “Library Dude” and is kind of squirrelly!  His favorite short story is Leaf by Niggle written by JRR Tolkien and he also works for chocolate brownies and Rice-Crispy treats!


    by Aisha H | Oct 26, 2018

    I have three words to describe Netflix’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: De. Light. Ful. It’s also charming, entertaining, and hilarious. I don’t normally have the desire to rewatch a movie right after I’ve seen it, but this one tempted me.

    via GIPHY

    There are some differences between the book and the movie, but the basic plot is Lara Jean has a hidden hatbox of letters written to five boys she’s had crushes on over the years. She never intended for the boys to read the letters; they were just her way of expressing and working through her feelings. But those letters get mailed (not by Lara Jean, but by someone else revealed later on), and then the fun starts. The movie has some of the core rom-com tropes (two people that society doesn’t think belong together and a fake relationship intended to make someone else jealous), but I felt the cast elevated it to a movie you’d want to watch over and over again.

    Clearly the movie release has resonated with readers because all the book and audiobook copies of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before are checked out. Even most of our copies of the sequels, P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean, are checked out.

    If you're interested in other YA books turned into recent and upcoming films, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken; Ashes in the Snow which is based on Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys; and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas are ones to seek out.

    Aisha’s favorite authors are Lisa Lutz and Lorrie Moore. After years of resisting the librarian who owns a cat stereotype, she found Otis, the best giant little kitty ever created, and is now never without a cat hair somewhere on her clothing. 

    by Kay S | Oct 24, 2018
    Yes, it's once again time for a few upcoming fictional releases! Romances! Women's Fiction!! Fantasy! Horror! Mystery! Inspirational! You name it, we got it! This list does not include any non-fiction books - only make believe. Some of them will make you go aahhhh and some will scare you. These are just a few which landed on my radar. And, as always, the dates here are the publishing dates not the dates they will appear on your library shelves (plus sometimes a publisher changes the date and doesn't let me know).

    Historical Romance
    Valerie Bowman  Valerie Bowman
    Kiss Me at Christmas
    Playful Brides series
    October 30
    Anna Bradley Anna Bradley
    More or Less a Temptress
    The Somerset Sisters series
    November 13
    Grace Burrowes Grace Burrows
    My One and Only Duke
    Dukes in Disgrace series
    November 6
    anthology Tessa Dare
    Sarah Maclean
    Sophia Jordan
    Joanna Shupe
    How the Dukes Stole Christmas
    October 15
    Julia London Julia London
    Seduced by a Scot
    Highland Grooms series
    October 30

    Historical Fiction

    Edward Carey  Edward Carey
    October 23 
    Therese Fowler Therese Anne Fowler
    A Well Behaved Woman
    October 16
    Louisa Hall Louisa Hall
    October 16

    Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction/New Adult/Mainstream Fiction
    John Boyne John Boyne
    A Ladder to the Sky
    November 13 
    Jenny Colgan Jenny Colgan
    Christmas on the Island
    Mure Island series
    Contemporary romance
    October 16 
    J Kenner J. Kenner
    Lost With Me - adult
    October 23
    Cathy Lamb Cathy Lamb
    The Man She Married
    October 30
    Debbie Mason Debbie Mason
    The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A Feel-good Christmas Romance
    Contemporary romance
    October 30 
    Nicholas Sparks Nicholas Sparks
    Every Breath
    October 16 
    Patrick Taylor Patrick Taylor
    An Irish Country Cottage
    Irish County series
    October 13 

    Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Suspense

    Taska Alexander Tasha Alexandra
    Uneasy Lies the Crown
    Lady Emily series
    October 30
    Katrina Carrasco Katrina Carrasco
    The Best Bad Things debut
    November 6
    John Grisham John Grisham
    The Reckoning
    October 23
    odonnell Paraic O’Donnell
    The House on Vesper Sands - ebook
    October 18
    cj sansom C.J. Sansom
    Shardlake series
    October 18

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Horror

    Ben Aaronovitch Ben Aaronovitch
    Lies Sleeping
    Peter Grant series
    November 13 or maybe November 15 or maybe 20 - just watch for it sometime in November, it's coming!
    Christine Feehan Christine Feehan
    Leopard's Run
    Leopard People series
    November 6
    Stephen King Stephen King
    October 30
    Nalini singh Nalini Singh
    Archangel's Prophecy
    Guild Hunter series
    Urban Fantasy
    October 30

    Young Adult/Teen

    Talley  Robin Talley
    November 1
    Jennifer Yu Jennifer Yu
    Imagine Us Happy
    October 23

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    Lynn Blackburn Lynn H. Blackburn
    In Too Deep
    November 6
    Angela Hunt Angela Hunt
    Jerusalem's Queen: A Novel of Salome Alexandra
    November 6
    Karen Kingsbury Karen Kingsbury
    When We were Young
    Baxters series
    October 16
    Robert Whitlow Robert Whitlow
    Chosen People
    November 6

    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Angie Fetters-Nitza | Oct 23, 2018
    maybe something beautiful cover

    The Allen County Public Library will be celebrating the 13th annual “Read for the Record” event on Thursday, October 25. Each year, more than 2 million people in libraries, classrooms, community centers and homes participate in the world’s largest shared reading experience. “Read for the Record” is hosted by Jumpstart which is an organization that provides language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities and promotes quality early learning for all. The event helps promote early literacy and language skills, and it provides a positive reading experience for children. This year’s book selection is Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López. Join the Allen County Public Library at one of the locations and times listed below to participate in this important literacy event.

    Aboite Branch
    10:30 AM

    Dupont Branch

    11:00 AM

    Georgetown Branch

    10:15 AM and 11:00 AM

    Main Library Children’s Services

    1:30 PM

    Shawnee Branch

    12:45 PM

    by Dawn S | Oct 23, 2018

    Welcome to our weekly installment of Sharing the Storytime Joy!
    Today's post is by Dawn, a children's librarian at the Grabill Branch.

    Once a month I visit the Rainbow Childcare in Leo. I love visiting Miss Marjo's class and her other preschool friends. In September I started with some new students and I tried to keep storytime simple and help get everyone in the rhythm of how my visits work and what I expect. I know librarians get a bad rap for shushing people, but I like a lot of interaction while I'm doing storytime and I even encourage kids to talk while I read.
    Here are two books we read that work perfectly for my kind of kid/librarian interaction:
    cover image for do pigs have stripes
    Do Pigs Have Stripes?
    By Melanie Walsh
    This one is a natural! Each page has a bold, goofy picture with a question similar to the title. Do pigs have stripes? Of course not! Kids love yelling out "No" or making guesses about what animal is partially pictured. It also works great for extending thinking. Does a mouse have a green spiky tail? No! Some kids say it's an alligator and some guess crocodile. Well, what letter will we expect to see at the beginning of the word if it says 'alligator'? How about if it says 'crocodile'? See how we're practicing letter knowledge? On the page with the elephant feet that asks "Are these the feet of a pussy cat?" most kids will guess elephant without hesitation. But why? I ask them to tell me WHY they think it's an elephant. Some say the feet look big. Some say they're grey like an elephant. It gets them thinking about how we categorize things and how we use background knowledge when we read.
    cover image for bear and hare where's bear
    Bear and Hare: Where's Bear?
    By Emily Gravett
    This is a simple story about two friends playing hide and seek and one friend, Bear, who always chooses terrible spots to hide. Preschoolers can relate. The great part about using this for a read aloud is that everyone gets lots of counting practice. We count along with Hare then all say "Where's Bear?" They laugh at the silly places Bear tries to hide and are honestly concerned when Bear can't find Hare. It's short, sweet, and provides lots of places for verbal interaction.

    Preschool storytime is one of my favorite parts of my job and these books always bring smiles AND conversation. Fun for everyone!
    by Emily M | Oct 22, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further! Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    SeaPrayerSea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

    Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini burst onto the literary scene in 2004 with his wildly successful debut novel The Kite Runner.  Over the next 10 years he released two additional novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2008), and And the Mountains Echoed (2014), and while they never reached the same level of popularity as The Kite Runner, I found them to be every bit as wonderful.  Hosseini writes with achingly beautiful prose about Afghan and Afghan-American life, family, and love.  If you’ve not read his first three books, I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    Hosseini’s latest release, Sea Prayer, is something completely different.  It is not a full-length novel, like his others books.  Essentially it’s a long poem, featuring gorgeous watercolor illustrations.  At only 48 pages long and requiring less than ten minutes to read, it could easily be mistaken for a children’s book.  While Sea Prayer can certainly be read by or with a child, it is a book for adults and children alike, a book for everyone.

    Sea Prayer is the prayer of a father for his son as their lives are ravaged by war.  According to the note in the book, it was inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015 while trying to reach Europe.  Read this book. Savor it.  If necessary, cry over it.  It will only take ten minutes of your time and you will be a better person for it. 


    The Trees by Conrad Richter

    The TreesFrom the late 1930s to the 1960s Conrad Richter was one of the great American writers of historical fiction, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1951 for his novel The Town.  Most of Richter’s works focused on the development of various American frontiers.  While I’ve read plenty of historical fiction about the settling of the original 13 colonies, the western plains, and the American south, this was the first historical novel I can remember reading about the settling of Ohio, the state where I grew up. 

    Today, Ohio is the 7th most populous state in the country, with three substantial metropolitan areas (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland), as well as huge swathes of highly productive farmland.  But in the late 18th century, Ohio was a vast, dense forest, aptly described by Richter in the book’s first paragraph as having a “midday twilight,” as the vegetation was too dense for the sun to fully shine through.  It is in this “midday twilight” that we meet Worth and Jary Luckett and their five children.  Worth, a hunter, has decided game in Pennsylvania is too scarce, and has packed up his family to move to the wilds of Ohio.  Unlike America’s favorite pioneer family, the Laura Ingalls clan, the Lucketts have no horses and wagon to carry themselves and their supplies.  They travel on foot, barefoot, bringing with them only what they can carry. 

    Told primarily through the eyes of 15-year-old Sayword, the family’s oldest child, the reader is immersed into the primitive world of these earliest settlers, where privation, loneliness, and danger are the norm.  Despite all of this, Sayword is the epitome of what modern readers expect a successful pioneer woman to be: stoic in the face of any hardship and willing to work endlessly from dawn to dusk without complaint.  The greatest strength of this book, in my opinion, is the historically accurate dialogue and use of contemporary narration to fully saturate the reader into the time and place being depicted.  The authenticity of the language rings true in every sentence.  Furthermore, The Trees, together with its sequels, The Fields and The Town, is not only the personal story of one pioneer woman, but the story of an entire society as it transitions from a people reliant on hunting, to a people reliant on farming, to a full-fledged town.


    SistersFirstSisters First: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

    The child- and young adult-hoods of Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush could never be categorized as normal.  As children, they were first the grandchildren of the U.S. president, and later the children of the governor of Texas.  As young adults, they were the daughters of the president of the United States.  I picked up Sisters First because I couldn’t help but wonder life must have been like for these women during their formative years. 

    Sisters First is written in a breezy, conversational style, with the sisters taking turns writing short chapters which are presented (roughly) in chronological order.  Overall, the book is pleasant and interesting, with funny and bittersweet anecdotes from the women’s growing up years.  They manage to defend some of their behaviors that were so harshly criticized by the media without sounding defensive, and while they don’t spend much time discussing their political views, there’s a nice section by Bush about how she disagreed with her father on the issue of gay marriage, and how they maintained a civil discourse through their disagreement.  In the Acknowledgments, Hager and Bush describe the book as a love letter to each other, but to me it felt more like a love letter to their parents and grandparents, for whom their deep love and respect is obvious.  For a book about life in a political family, Sisters First felt surprisingly apolitical, a refreshing respite in today’s political climate. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read lately?

    EmilyLong before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


    by Craig B | Oct 19, 2018

    cover for Jonathan Coopersmith's non-fiction book, FaxedOnce in a while one still has to send a fax and it can be difficult to remember where exactly one can find that specific service.  Well, I’m happy to say that it can be found at two locations of the Allen County Public Library: the Main Library at 900 Library Plaza in downtown Fort Wayne and the Georgetown Branch at 6600 East State Blvd in Georgetown Square.

    The fax machine at the Main Library is located on the first floor in the Great Hall and the Georgetown Branch fax machine can be found in the public computing area.  Because the machines are self-serve, they can only send faxes; they cannot receive.

    The first page of any fax sent costs $1.75 and every subsequent page costs $1.00 (up to 15 pages).  Both fax machines only accept a credit card or debit card as payment and are accessible during regular business hours.

    For questions or assistance with more facts about these fax services be sure to contact the Main Library at (260) 421-1200 or Georgetown Branch at (260) 421-1320.

    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Miriam | Oct 18, 2018

    We have been waiting all year for this special history program!
    image of storyteller

    Next week the wait is over as premiere Hoosier storyteller, Doyne Carson, brings to life the story of Abraham Lincoln’s youth in our Main Library Theater. She will portray Abigail Gollaher, the sister of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood friend, Austin Gollaher in this exciting dramatic presentation. In a time when technology, media hype, and glitz catch our attention, the simple act of a well told story still completely captivates us!

    image of young abe lincoln statue 

    Important information to know:

    These programs are designed primarily for 4th and 5th grade public, private, and homeschool students. 

    The Tues. Oct. 23 program is completely full. 

    There are still spaces for the following programs:
    Wednesday, October 24 - 9:45 am
    Wednesday, October 24 - 12:45 pm
    Thursday, October 25 - 9:45 am

    Please call 260-421-1220 to reserve your spot.

    by Carrie | Oct 17, 2018
    • ACPL Writers' Series: Romance Writing 101
    • Sunday, November 4, 2018
    • 2:00 - 4:00 pm
    • Main Library, Meeting Rooms B & C

    Romance is one of the hottest selling genres on the fiction market. But how do you turn your story into page turner? This class will focus on adding the fine details to make your romance into a book readers can’t put down. Whether you’re new to writing, new to romance, or looking to strengthen your skills, this class can help take you to the next level.

    This workshop is part of the ACPL Writers' Series.

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen is the author of several regency-era romance novels and short stories with The Wild Rose Press and Musa Publishing, including her most recent, A Deal with Lord Devlin. Jennifer is also the Festival Director and an instructor at StoryStudio Chicago. Her short story “Tooth” (published with Streetlight Magazinewas nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She's currently working on a historical mystery.

    by Dawn S | Oct 16, 2018

    Welcome to our weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Carrie, who works with children and families at our Waynedale Branch Library.

    ouline of child dancing
    During Storytime, I like to move a lot. Our group ranges in age from infants up to about age 5, and we have a lot of energy first thing in the morning. We certainly read a book or two and do some fingerplays, but we also spend a lot of time stretching and dancing around. We use ribbons or scarves weekly as we twirl and jump. Sometimes we pretend they are different objects. Can you use your scarf like a hat? Can you fly it like a kite? Can you toss it in the air and catch it like a falling leaf? How would it look as an elephant’s trunk?
    outline of child dancing

    We try to do at least one activity which crosses the midline each week, too. By moving your hands or feet across an imaginary line down the center of your body, you are developing skills useful in writing and reading. You are building connections between the two sides of your brain. You are also building motor skills necessary in daily tasks like writing and tying your shoes. Can you hold your scarf in your right hand and swish your left shoulder? Can you hold it in your left hand and tickle your right foot? Can you stretch your right arm all the way out to your side, sweep it up, up, up into the air over your head, and down to the left shoulder? Can you pass it into your left hand and try to stretch that one out and up, up, up and over to your right shoulder?
    outline of child dancing

    I like to follow up all the stretching and bending with a dance to expend some energy. A favorite is The Freeze by Greg & Steve. We dance along with the music however we want, but when the music pauses, we try to freeze in place! It’s a lot of fun, and I love to see the amazing dance moves each person invents. Dancing with the scarves and ribbons is fun, and it fills the room with color. You should give it a try!

    image fo pile of scarves

    We use these scarves, but you could easily use handkerchiefs, inexpensive squares of patterned cotton material, or any other lightweight fabric.

    As the weather turns cold and rainy, turn up the music and dance around! It’s good for your brain!

    by Craig B | Oct 15, 2018

    Book Review: Peter Taylor's winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, A Summons to Memphis

    Wikipedia uses the term “ruminations” to describe some of the working of themes in A Summons to MemphisPeter Taylor’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Summons to Memphis, a term I always associate with the grinding, less than moderately paced “chewing of the cud” by cows (probably because cows are literally “ruminants,” who practice “rumination;”  the same word, differently numbered definition).  And there certainly is a “chewing of the cud” pace to this novel allowing for these “ruminations” to develop over time, which I do appreciate, but even at only 209 pages I’m not sure the narrative is dynamic enough to really make this a great novel.  See this post’s title.  But no! It’s fine, it’s fine.  Who am I to disagree with the Pulitzer Board?  I mean, I certainly enjoyed the book on some levels, but it also made total sense to me that Peter Taylor is better known as a short story writer (during his career he wrote several collections of short stories and only three novels of which “Summons” is his second) because of the way the story is paced and “ruminates” and especially the way it ends with an image that is open to interpretation and doesn’t tell us anything directly; a sort of slow zoom out by the writerly camera while “ruminating” on things that seem less-than-directly related to the events we’ve just witnessed (ah, the power of metaphor?).  All of this smacks of short story writerisms, writerisms that often work powerfully in the condensed, tense nature of a short story, but perhaps only make for a sleepy novel, confusing at the end, because in novels we are mostly concerned about what happens whereas in short stories we invest in mood, in atmosphere (someone else has said that surely, I’m remembering that from somewhere, I did not pluck that out of the aether, not me, the master of the run-on sentence) and are delighted by obtuse metaphors and languid commentary on the human condition. 

    Anyway … no biggie.  I enjoyed reading the novel and now I know who Peter Taylor is and I enjoyed reading about Nashville, a city with a special place in my heart (good old Franklin Pike) and Memphis, a city I’ve yet to visit.  Speaking of, I bet Taylor’s got a slam-bang whopper of a short story about Memphis.  Can anyone vouch for “A Walled Garden?”  That really may be right up my alley. 

    Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Craig B | Oct 12, 2018
    cover for Eminem's album, KamikazeI quite appreciated the stereo effect that made my ears feel full of bubbles at the beginning of "The Ringer," the opening track for Eminem’s newest album, Kamikaze.  I also was quite taken with the confrontational cleverness Mr. Mathers employs to make his point about what he thinks of his critics, though I personally try to err on the other extreme in my responses to “constructive” criticism.  All of that said, though, I still think, that for self-destructive, frustrated lyricism I’d have to turn to the Old 97s album, Wreck Your Life, which is probably mostly a subjective personal preference, and yet, if my memory serves, Wreck Your Life is an album that is objectively easier to listen to with the windows down.

    Suggested Use: I had an instructor in college once who seemed to find Eminem’s music quite cathartic in its “to the fore” aggressiveness and I think this album manages to keep that tradition alive.  So, had a bad day?  Filled with rage at something you heard on the news?  Hesitant to shout expletives into the air or practice your primal scream?  Pop Kamikaze into your dashboard (roll the windows up!) and lose yourself in congested, traffic-filled road construction, too cool to care about having to be anywhere, unlike that Celica that cut you off yesterday and that Sunday-Driving Datsun in front of you now; you’ve got Eminem to do the shouting for you.

    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Dawn S | Oct 11, 2018
    We're getting some great new media for kids! Here is just part of the collection.
    And don't forget, each of these items is available in other formats as well, like print books and ebooks, or downloadable music.
    books on cd sign
    cover image for unbelievably boring bart cover image for the third mushroom
    cover image for school for crooks cover image for so done
    cover image for royal crown
     books on playaway sign  cover image for adventures in wild space
    cover image for judy moody and the right royal tea party
    cover image for squirm cover image for life according to og the frog cover image for otherwood
     music cds sign cover image for dog on the floor
    cover image for kidz bop christmas
     cover image for wiggle pop  cover image for keep it real
    cover image for the pit hits
    by Kayla W | Oct 10, 2018
       A Retrospective: Telltale Games

    Clementine: He's just always blaming me for stuff

    Lee: Like what?

    Clementine: Puttin’ a bug on his pillow…

    Lee: Did you do that?

    Clementine: ...Yes.
    - The Walking Dead: Season 1



    This is going to be a long and confused one.

    I am really struggling to find meaning behind the loss of so much potential, and even more than that, the loss of actual, really good moments of genuine storytelling magic. Of course, it would be callous to first not acknowledge the loss of the livelihoods of many employees in a company that has folded - be it as (allegedly) toxic an environment as I have heard it is - in an industry that these people have fought tooth and nail to get into.

    In case you haven’t heard, Telltale Games is shutting down, only fulfilling work they are contractually obligated to make for Netflix with a skeleton crew, and then will disappear into the ether of time. They are stopping production of their last project in the works, the final season of
    The Walking Dead.

    Honestly, some of this stuff is so genuinely aggravating and heart breaking that it helps to think of the things that remind you of why you cared about a company in the first place.

    I’ll say what has, to me, to be the greatest accomplishment of this soon to be defunct game studio, which is to center the crown jewel of their game series around a character who is simultaneously one of my favorite female characters as well as my absolute favorite child character, in the form of Clementine. She is a character of color and has multiple moments in the game I played (the First Season) that show her vulnerability, her strength, her sense of humor, and her personality.

    Make no mistake: when
    The Walking Dead: Season 1 debuted in 2012, Clementine was a revelation, not only in terms of being a video game character, but in the general culture as well. Before Alloy, the return of Lara Croft, and a year before Ellie would shock an industry by putting a non-objectified female protagonist on a video game box cover art not just alongside a man, but in front of him, Clementine proved to a world that shouldn't have needed the confirmation that female characters have complex and engaging stories to tell in this medium. And it wasn’t just a small portion of people who thought this as well. In an industry dominated by people, both in the business and its consumers, who believe enjoyability relies on big budgets, male-coded protagonists, and graphics that go above and beyond, a tie-in game for The Walking Dead that is known largely because of the strength of its girl protagonist became the dark horse winner of multiple Game of the Year awards from many gaming publications in the year it released.

    This game came after the (to me) disappointing tie-in games for both Jurassic Park as well as
    Back to the Future, a fact that deserves notice. The game should have been more than a victory lap for a game studio I had never even heard of before playing this game – it should have been like that moment in a sports’ movie where the protagonist is raised up to be carried off into the sunset while the credits roll.

    But they didn’t stop there. They followed up with a great party game collection like The Jackbox Party Pack, and truly great tie-in, such as The Wolf Among Us (a game that lead me to the comic book series that it acts as a prologue into, the truly ground breaking Fables), Tales from the Borderlands, and even a Batman tie-in game that I have heard fantastic things about. They did so much work and told a variety of different stories that it boggles the mind. Heck, I just learned they did a LEGO tie-in that’s also a Star Wars tie-in!

    Alas, the problem with their closure has been one that I have seen coming for a while now. In the same way that figuring out where to start with explaining why this company matters, explaining what will cause this company to join the list of tragedies I have lived through that originate from being a gamer is not easy.

    The top off the list has been easy to spot for someone who played The Walking Dead: Season One back when it first came out. Even back in 2012, the game is far from intuitive, the system it touts about being able to make a significant impact with your choices on the game’s narrative is a pretty blatant lie, and the engine it had kept on life support even for that time was showing its many failings. I may have pointed out five of their games that I have played and can confirm or otherwise have it on good authority that they are true gems, but they have more than four game series under their belt that are chores to play or are otherwise just not good. That's not a great track record, to be half great and half bad, if not outright terrible. I know awfulness is relative, but from what I have heard, people who love the games I have pointed out earlier felt varying degrees of disappointment from or outright anger towards the following titles: Guardians of the Galaxy,
    Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future

    Keep in mind: all of this came after the 2012 success of The Walking Dead: Season One. They did all of this in the five years and some change between that game and this year.

    And then there’s the curious case of Minecraft: Story Mode.

    It is a game that fatigued me so much that I did not have the will to seek out
    Tales from the Borderlands or Batman. This is the game that I would point to as proof positive of the inherent failings of the Telltale system. Also, I love The Wolf Among Us, but when it came time to put the controller down and the end credits rolled, I got the feeling that the story wasn’t fleshed out enough, but the big problem was the wheezing game engine it relied on. Cue Minecraft, a game I picked up because I felt nostalgic for Telltale Games’ work and out of curiosity for how they could re-invent another game's world.

    At first, it’s a dizzyingly fascinating experience. Some of my favorite comedians, in the form of Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn fill out starring roles, and there’s a gentle comedy to the whole thing. But it quickly becomes apparent that the game engine has been pulled over from the Playstation 3 era into the next, and it works as well as you would imagine it would. Which is to say that it doesn’t. Lag eats into time you need to make split decisions and into scenes meant to be action-packed or emotional. The mood of the narrative doesn’t know if it wants to be lighthearted, which would fit the context of the game and the game’s community it has taken from, or bizarrely emotional. For all of the lagging and the misunderstanding of Minecraft’s appeal which is, understandably, crafting, the major problem of the game came from a complete dissonance between the perceived mood of the narrative and what it actually is – and should have been.

    I do hate spoilers, and I am sorry, but the only way to explain the problem is by spoiling the end of Minecraft: Story Mode, so you have been warned. Spoilers abound for the following two paragraphs(!)

    There is a scene in the game where the comic relief pet pig, Reuben, dies. Mind you, this is after the events of the game have lead to some apocalyptic doing, which lead to the destruction of a lot of stuff as well as what can be surmised to be the deaths of many – human – characters. But when the protagonist, Jesse, finds his pig dramatically dying, not only does he have an emotional breakdown that he has lost his best friend, but this pig is given a funeral that would be fitting for a major political figure. In light of the deaths of many people.

    Oh. My. Word. I don’t even understand how a writer could think that this is an appropriate idea to have in a Minecraft game, but here we have the death of Reuben the Pig to act as an appropriate metaphor for the whole debacle. Potential buried beneath mediocrity that had no reason to be there, then topped off with something that pulls you out of the experience so hard you remember it (ironically enough) years later.

    And then there was the non-surface level “oops” of this company, in the form of being overly zealous in a way that reminds me of an novice player of any city builder sim and expanding too bleeping much too bleeping fast with no infrastructure in place to support it, getting the rights for every hot property imaginable to make a game out of it all at once, and then the cherry on top – its (allegedly) very Konami-like mistreatment of workers. That last one hurts especially, because I envision people making things I like not having to do so in an uncomfortable, toxic – damaging – environment.

    On top of it being a bad environment to produce in, this was a company apparently well-known for implementing the industry plague known as Crunch. Crunch is a term that encompasses the practices of working overtime on a project – typically to the point where it interferes in a person’s life, taking away their sleep and personal life. The funny thing is that there are believers in Crunch who think that it somehow results in a better end product. I don’t see how pushing people or a group of people like an abused beast of burden is going to make anything good, especially if it is something that is a piece of art or something that requires craftsmanship to produce. You end up getting a sub par product, and it’s no small collateral that the people who made it become disillusioned or burn out.

    Yes, the burn out in this company is legendary, much like CD Projekt Red, apparently where starry eyed workers were being chewed up and spit out through this system so fast it could make your head spin. To boot, the company went out on a nasty note because it had apparently hired a lot of new people the previous week, and then all of their workers were let go without any severance pay. Whoa.

    The final insult seems to be that as soon as the end came, the final season of The Walking Dead was killed halfway through, leaving people who paid for the full season hanging in the wind. Guys, paying for something like this up front is sometimes a bad idea. I’ve heard of a lot of people losing money they gave game projects on things like Kickstarter, but I am not surprised that one of these Season Passes that video game publishers have been hawking has turned out to be a bad choice. After all, a game company, whether it’s the work of one guy or hundred – thousands – of people is basically the same thing. I would also not be surprised if a few somebodies sue the ex-heads of this company for their treatment of their workers as well as charging customers for a product they never deliver on. Update: while writing this, I found out that the ex-employees are currently in the process of suing their old bosses.

    If there’s extra insult to injury, it has to be the fact that people who have invested themselves emotionally into The Walking Dead will get absolutely no closure, besides the second episode of the season. Update: while writing this, apparently the last season is due to be given to another studio to finish. A bad reminder, perhaps, that this game meant so much to its players and to many of the people who made it, but that at the end of the day, it was still a product and was discontinued like Crystal Pepsi.

    Wow. This went on a lot longer than I expected. I was more emotional and had deeper concerns on this subject than I thought I did when I started.

    I am honestly very interested in hearing what you have to say about this. Do you have any good memories of the company? Do you think this is a pattern that might spread to more of the game industry?

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Susan | Oct 09, 2018

    Welcome to our new weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Susan,who leads the Music and Movement Storytime at our Dupont Branch.

    cover image for the busy little squirrel
    At a recent Music and Movement Storytime we read the book The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. The children made the animal sounds as each asked Squirrel to play. But, the answer was always the same "He was so busy!" This repeated phrase makes it a great book for shared reading (parts for you to read and parts for your child). Read it together to find out why Squirrel was so busy!

    We enjoyed doing this flannelboard chant, too. Especially, the CRUNCH at the end!
    image of flannel board tree with worm and apples

    Five Little Apples Hanging in a Tree


    (chanted to Five Little Monkeys)

    Five little apples hanging in a tree,

    Teasing Mr. Slinky worm, can’t eat me, can’t eat me!

    Along comes Mr. Slinky worm quiet as can be…


    Continue with 4, 3, 2, 1

    by Evan | Oct 08, 2018

    A Sand County AlmanacYou read to get beyond your regular life, right? Fun, learning, excitement -- going somewhere beyond your usual routine. 

    Yet, there's a special thrill when what you read does connect to your life. The novel's main character likes your favorite wine. The biography is about someone your grandfather knew. The history mentions a martyr of your faith.

    The lure for me is places I have been -- or been near. Travel writing goes there directly, of course. (Miles from Nowhere, anyone?) Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon novels take me to national parks I have seen. Same for anything about the battlefields or cities I have visited. If I can connect even a small part of my life to what I am reading, the reading becomes more of me.

    The latest catch is a classic -- Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, one of those books I've been intending to read, since I lived, as a young man, near where it takes place. That would be Sauk County, Wisconsin, a lovely land of green hills and farms and bits of sandy Wisconsin River banks including Prof. Leopold's. 

    Leopold died 70 years ago, right after writing the book. The almanac and his other writings helped give the wilderness preservation movement more ability to compete with land development than it had in his day. Sauk County was also where I was introduced to the idea that hunters are conservationists -- or at least can be. And it was where I interviewed a preservationist about his tiny new project -- the International Crane Foundation, which is now a world-renowned force for wildlife. 

    So, reading A Sand County Almanac more than 40 years later was bittersweet, as I wish I had read it then, learned from it, and maybe visited Leopold's land. But maybe I will yet take that trip, and create an even closer bond between great writing and my own life experience.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.