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    by Kay S | May 10, 2017
    You know when I read a romance novel, I often ask myself “would this relationship really
    work?” Would a stuffed-shirt aristocrat really go for a wild-eyed suffragette? Would a h_guhrkePankhurst thumping suffragette really go for an “I’m-better-then-you-I-rule-the-world" man? We live in such a fantasy world in Romanceland, sometimes I think we believe that these relationships would work. We rely heavily on the author to “make it so.” When I picked up The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke, I pretty much thought that no matter how different the hero and heroine were, in the end I would be sure they would have a believable happy ending. You see, Laura Lee Guhrke excels at writing complex characters which match up. So, I started reading.

    The book starts out promising. Henry Cavanaugh, Duke of Torquil, is a little peeved because his mother has sent a letter to Lady Truelove (a gossip advice columnist) asking for advice. You see, his mother is in love with a man much younger than herself and that man is an artist – gasp. Well, Henry is a tried and true top-drawer aristocrat. His word is the law, his hand is iron, and he jumps tall building in a single bound (oops, wrong guy). Dressed in his most threatening ensemble, he rushes down to confront Lady Truelove only to be greeted by Irene Deverill, the editor of the newspaper. First of all, he is shocked that it is a woman who has control of the paper -- then he is shocked because she refuses to retract the story or give his mother’s correspondence to him. He would probably be even more shocked if he knew what we the readers know – she is Lady Truelove. She doesn’t back down. The newspaper is her baby and I say that in the strongest words I can. She has taken over the family’s crumbling paper and made it into a success – she loves what she’s doing. This is not a standard Romanceland device created to make her look spunky. No, the author has created a strong woman who actually believes in what she’s doing. She. Loves. Her. Work. She is also a suffragette and that too is written in such a strong way I’m not really sure it works in a historical romance. And, for me this is where I start running into problems. Both Henry and Irene have stronnnnggggg convictions. While I may not agree with some of Henry’s bulldozing techniques, he is a responsible man who cares for his family and the people who are his responsibility. He is a landowner in a changing country, he knows there are people who depend on him just to survive.

    The Truth about Love and Dukes was an interesting study in two different dynamics, two different ideologies. There was a constant battle between the two, but all the while the hormone monkey was playing with them. For me the lines are drawn so realistically that I had a hard time accepting this couple would have a happy ending. The only way I could see for a historical Romanceland happy ending was for one of them to give in, to dilute their beliefs. In the end, both do some giving. But I was not a happy camper and here’s why.

    My muddled reasoning. For almost the entire book, whenever Irene and Henry are together I felt as if I was watching a debate team. It was a constant battle between the two of them – over and over. That is, of course, between protected humpy-bumpy (if you get my drift). I grew tired of the constant battle of ideologies. Maybe I was in a bad mood, maybe I had outside stress weighing me down, maybe I should have put the book away for another day – but I didn't. It wasn’t until almost the very end when Irene ripped into Henry about his standards that I started to enjoy the book. That was when she turned from a constant, nagging, I’m-on-my-soapbox woman into someone who made sense – and said the right things. I think what really bothered me was that Irene and Henry were so far apart in their beliefs, I had a hard time believing even with their giving/taking at the end that they could ever have a good partnership. I say that because even though we like to see opposites attract, I really think a good partnership/marriage/whatever must be based on having something in common, a sharing of ideas and supporting those ideas.

    Bottom-line. I was disappointed with The Truth About Love and Dukes. Laura Lee Guhrke has always been a solid writer for me, but, in this case, I don’t think she succeeded with the complex issues she was trying to bring forth. For some people, this will be a fantastic read but for me the couple were too far apart in their beliefs and the constant haranguing continued for far too long.

    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 Craig B | May 08, 2017

    cover for Brantley Gilbert's album, The Devil Don't SleepGilbert’s new album, The Devil Don’t Sleep, has its moments of ascension, like the pronouncement of a female acquaintance to be a “smokin’ gun” and the keening quality of a cry to “let it rain, let it rain, let it rain”.  If you like rock-infused country you should give this album a try.  It certainly delivers on the “infused” part with nearly every one of the album’s mid-tempo songs borrowing something from that other genre of music.  And I just have to publicly appreciate this level of commitment, the borrowing even goes down to the title of track 1, “Rockin’ Chairs”

    Suggested Use: Again, if you dig rock-infused country music, this is a great album to order fast food to on a Friday night; tunes to blare from your Pioneers as you grin at the folks on the other side of the drive-thru window letting them know you’re about to have a great weekend.

    by Kay S | May 05, 2017
    Beverly Jenkins has been awarded the 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement beverly jenkinsAward. This is one of the highest honors Romance Writers of America bestows on authors. This award is presented to a living author in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre. 

    Beverly has been in the business of blood, sweat, and tears (that's writing) since her first book Night Song was published in 1994. She specializes in 19th century African American life and has over thirty published novels to date. Born in Detroit, she graduated from Cass Technical High School and attended Michigan State University where she majored in Journalism and English Literature. 

    Congratulations Ms. Jenkins!!!

    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 Evan | May 03, 2017
    Serious geeks may be disappointed by Helen Keen's recent book, The Science of Game of Thrones. The British comic and science TV personality doesn't reveal how to wake the dead or mother your own dragon.

    Lighthearted nerds, however, will enjoy Keen's spritely style and her research into just how close this world is -- or is not -- to the many fantastical elements of George R. R. Martin's great creation. He is the author of the Song of Ice and Fire book series, which is the inspiration for the Game of Thrones TV series.

    The Science of Game of ThronesYou want to make  your own Valyrian steel sword? Keel will get you as close as she can, including what to look for in just the right iron ore meteor.

    It is known that Winter Is Coming in Westeros, but Keen notes that Martin said his tale is partly an analog for what scientists say about our real world: Summer Is Coming. She tells how, ironically, bubbles in Antarctic ice cores help drive that prediction. 

    Giants, choking poisons, dire wolves, the surprisingly successful sex lives of beta males (Samwell Tarly), the magical power of a king's blood -- Keen brings you up to date on these and many more just in time for the TV show's much-anticipated new season in July.

    As to the even more-anticipated sixth novel  in the series, making it arrive immediately is beyond anyone's scientific or magical powers. So, in the mean time, check out Keen's  little book and then amaze your friends with the physics of 700-foot-high ice walls before the big one (maybe?) comes tumbling down. And if you've got other Game of Thrones-related fan books to recommend, post your suggestion in a comment below. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky C | May 01, 2017
    Are you ready for festival season in Fort Wayne?  It's just around the corner.  The Cherry Blossom Festival, now in its 11th year, will take place May 7th at the Main Library.  If you'd like to experience a bit of Japanese culture ahead of time, we have a variety of items in our collection.  Here's a peek:

    Japanese Melodies for Flute and Harp
     Storytelling in Japanese art
     Art of Sumi
     Six Hidden Views of Japanese Music
     Walking the Kiso Road
     The Japanese Tea Ceremony
     Japanese Art
     Japanese Cooking
     Art of the Japanese Sword
     Art of Japanese papercrafts
     Japanese Ghosts and Demons
     Art of Japanese Gardens
     Japanese Art of Stone
     Classic Haiku
     Japanese Culture
     A Zen Harvest
     Shanks mare

    Previous Cherry Blossom Festival posts:

    Festival season begins.  Includes a few facts about this event and our sister city relationship with Takaoka, Japan.  Posted May 18, 2012.

    Cherry Blossom Festival.  This is a link to several posts from our What's Happening blog.  2014, in particular, is worth a look as it offers a few photos from previous years.

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Evan | Apr 26, 2017
    Allen County Reads Laurie ProctorIn this month’s Allen County Reads, Laurie Proctor, minister emerita at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, shares her love of reading. 

    "My parents were rather voracious readers and I’m sure their habits influenced me for the good.  I can’t imagine life without reading books."

    When I was three, my mother, father, and I moved to a new post-war development in what was then the little town of Belmont, California, south of San Francisco, the city of my birth.  As soon as we moved, we began making trips downtown to the library which was located in city hall.  We went to the library every week and checked out the limit which I think was seven books.  When I was old enough (I think I had to be able to write my name), I got my own card.  The librarian, who lived around the corner, said she loved my parents because they kept the circulation count up.  The library later moved into a much larger facility closer to where we lived, and I went with my parents or rode my bike by myself. 

    I had a two-book set of fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.  I looked forward to waking up very early on weekend mornings, before anyone else was awake and sometimes before the sun was up.  It was a treat to read these tales in bed in the quiet part of the day.  Later I read Nancy Drew mysteries, but other than those, I did not have a favorite genre such as horse books, which were common among my girlfriends.  Our fourth grade teacher read Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series to us.  They were such fun and I probably read some of those and others like them.

    I was a good reader, near or at the top of my class which is ironic given that I scored very poorly on a reading readiness test that I took before kindergarten.  My parents did not censor my reading so I moved onto “adult” books at a relatively young age.  I read Peyton Place when I was thirteen (not that I really knew what was happening) and Psycho when I was a sophomore.  I think I took my reading cues from my mother, although I never acquired her love of sci-fi.

    My love of mysteries has grown over the years.  For a time in my 30s and 40s I sought out women authors writing about women detectives such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, and Nevada Barr.  Later in life, I have been attracted to detectives’ stories with male protagonists who are reflective, wondering about the meaning of life.  My favorite authors include Henning Mankell, P. D. James, Michael Connelly, Louise Penny, and Ian Rankin.  I’m a fan of British and Scandinavian mysteries as well as those by Carl Hiaasen, whose characters could not be described as reflective, but they are enjoyable.

    Mysteries provide a counterpoint to the non-fiction writing into which I plunge, tackling various subject areas.  Politics and social criticism are favorite topics.  When I was studying for a Master’s Degree in Earth Literacy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, my reading was heavy with science and environmental books.  Then it was gardening, especially sustainable efforts, and always cookbooks, although I admit to reading at them, not cover to cover, as the mood strikes me.  I almost forgot my obsession with self-help books of all kinds: decluttering, diet and health, time management.  And then there is Zen Buddhism.  

    I am now in two book groups.  I joined both primarily because I enjoy the people, but also to challenge myself to read more fiction.  Given the times in which we live, I try fiction from other cultures as a way of understanding people.


    by Emily M | Apr 24, 2017

    Looking for a good book recommendation? Look no further!  Here are a few good books I’ve enjoyed recently.

    Book Review:  The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber


    The opening sequence of this book features a mother who, along with her husband and two older children, is lowering her six-year-old daughter into a well.  The mother, Rachel, is frantic, terrified, praying ceaselessly for her daughter’s safety, yet she doesn’t stop from placing her young child into this dark, dangerous place.  Why would someone do such a thing?  Because the DuPrees are a homesteading family in the Badlands of South Dakota in the early twentieth century.  There’s no running water, no nearby neighbors, and the family’s well has run so low that simply lowering a bucket into it yields no results.  Six-year-old Liz can use a cup to scoop the last dregs of water into the bucket, keeping the family and their livestock hydrated for just a few more days. And so begins the story of Rachel DuPree and her family’s attempt to survive in one of the most formidable landscapes in the country.

    For fourteen years Rachel and her husband Isaac have homesteaded in South Dakota, and as a result have 2500 acres and a wooden (rather than sod) house to show for it.  However, as the drought worsens and more and more of their neighbors are giving up and leaving their homesteads behind, Isaac remains determined to do whatever it takes not only to hang on to what they have, but also to acquire the land their neighbors are relinquishing.  As an African-American man, Isaac believes that land ownership is the secret to gaining equal status to white men.  Rachel, on the other hand, is worried for their children, for their current needs that so often seem to go unfulfilled, as well as for their future prospects.  Through a series of flashbacks, the reader learns about the non-conventional start to the DuPree’s marriage, and how that start has influenced Rachel’s unwillingness to confront her husband on the decisions he makes.  While the DuPree family wrestles with the forces of nature that threaten their survival, Rachel wrestles with balancing her desire to please her husband with what she believes is best for her children.

    Book Review:  A Square Meal:  A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe


    I’m completely fascinated by what people eat and why, so when I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it.  Ziegelman and Coe set the stage for their culinary exploration by looking at how Americans ate prior to the Great Depression (World War I and the 1920s), allowing the reader to see how the 1930s diet differed from the preceding years.  Additionally, they provide a thorough explanation of the differences between how rural and urban Americans ate (generally speaking, of course).

    Two large factors in how Americans ate during the Great Depression, which the authors delve into with great detail, were emerging nutrition science and the types of relief aid granted to hungry Americans.  In fact, I learned much more than I expected about how the U.S. government approached providing relief during this time period. (It was different than I thought!) 

    Finally, some of the most interesting, although not necessarily appetizing, aspects of this book were the sample recipes from the time period.  So if you have a hankering for creamed spaghetti with carrots, prune pudding, liver loaf, or jellied lime and grapefruit salad, be sure to pick up a copy of A Square Meal.

    Book Review:  The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    TheGoodEarthWinner of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, The Good Earth was written by Pearl S. Buck, the daughter of American missionaries who spent most of the first 40 years of her life living in China, and explores the life of a Chinese peasant farmer, Wang Lung, in the early years of the twentieth century.  The reader meets Wang Lung as a young adult on his wedding day and follows his story for decades through marriage, children, poverty, and wealth.  While the Chinese Revolution wages in the background, Wang Lung remains mainly ignorant of its existence as he focuses with ruthless singularity on his land: keeping it, expanding it, providing for his family with it.  Wang Lung is portrayed as a man of good moral character, who struggles with the corruption that wealth so often brings. 

    While The Good Earth is Wang Lung’s story, it is also an exploration of traditional Chinese culture, particularly the oppression of women.  Wang Lung’s wife, O-lan, is the epitome of what a good wife should be – dignified, nearly silent, and unendingly hard-working for the benefit of Wang Lung, yet Wang Lung seems largely unappreciative of her efforts, and rewards her with disloyalty and, at times, cruelty. 

    Ultimately, The Good Earth is a rich, compelling read, exploring the complexity of humanity, of family, of tradition, and of wealth and poverty.

    What good books have you read lately?

    Click here for more book reviews written by Emily

    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 | Apr 21, 2017

    This Summer ACPL will be turning the Great Hall of the Main Library into a bazaar of unique contributions from a variety of local artists.  Here are a few folks we are happy to introduce as participants:

    Robert Owen

     original image by Robert Owen

    Gregg Coffey

     original image by Greg Coffey

    Heather Houser

    original image by Heather Houser

    Valerie McBride

    original image by Valerie McBride


    Janelle Young

    original jewelry by Janelle Young


    It’s not too late to join in the fun.  Artists apply here by May 1 for a booth space.  Art enthusiasts join us between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July 15th, the last weekend of the Three Rivers Festival, for the Artist Fair itself.  Budding artists take advantage of the several programs being offered throughout the day on July 15th designed to allow you to bloom including Watercolor, Simon Says Art, and Chainmaille Jewelry!

    And don't forget to check out our online calendar for more Summer events!

    by Craig B | Apr 19, 2017
    cover for Wallace Stegner's novel, Angle of ReposeBook Review:  Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

    There is a moment that I found particularly meaningful in Wallace Stegner’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner, Angle of Repose, in which he defines wisdom as knowing what one has to accept.  At that point in the narrative, after around 450 pages of material that many would certainly decry as dull, the definition honestly seemed a bit self-serving, even as it was illuminating.  Any reader of this post should take with a grain of salt my acceptance of the moment, my even gleeful highlighting of it in this blog as a bright spot, because my reaction to its “wisdom” may have less to do with its actual perspicacity, and more to do with 450 pages of being beaten down and heaped up into an “angle of repose”.  For those of us unfamiliar with the terminologies of engineers, the "angle of repose" is literally the angle at which any material stops avalanching over itself as it is heaped against, say, the wall of a ditch. **SPOILER ALERT**, metaphorically, it's the angle at which I stopped trying to resist or escape. 

    Now, I’m being a bit hard on Mr. Stegner and his book.  There are some exciting undercurrents to Angle of Repose.  There’s something here about cultural divides and the generation gap, the nature of forgiveness, the “Doppler Effect of history", and a fascinating look at the story of the American West.  I actually did enjoy the book … but still … a book that drives the reader to resignation …  I wonder if Stegner ever did any method-acting?

    There's also this to consider:  Angle of Repose is at the heart of a large controversy.  Many of the letters one of his characters writes are lifted directly and indirectly from an actual individual’s letters from the 19th century.  Is this plagiarism?  Cheating?  Is the acclaimed Dean of Western Literature a sneak-thief?  Maybe, but Stegner doesn’t seem to have been bothered by the controversy.  He just kept on writing and lecturing and getting an award established for himself (the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental or American Western History came about in 2010). 

    I want to read more Stegner.  His National Book Award winner, The Spectator Bird, seems like a likely candidate (it helps that it’s only 214 pages).  Stegner’s an interesting and thoughtful writer and I’d like to see something else he’s done.  It’s just that there’s only so much time and he’s already taken up a lot of mine.

    Of all the things in life we have to learn to accept, whether we grow wise or not, I am truly thankful Stegner managed to establish something that would be a pleasure to accept for someone, somewhere who has found some way to write something awesome about the environment or the West or both.  Even if he also wrote a book I kind of apologize to readers for recommending.

    Craig is reading all of the Pulitzer-prize winning novels in chronological order.  He's then challenging himself to review each title in 15 minutes or less.  Click this link for his previous reviews.


    by Kay S | Apr 17, 2017
    Yes, it's time for a few upcoming releases! These titles are due to be released between April 15 and May 14, 2017. These are of course not the only books which will be released, just the ones I've heard good things about. And, remember the above dates are not the dates they will appear on your library shelves.

    Historical Fiction
    Lenora Bell
    Lenora Bell
    Blame it on the Duke
    The Disgraceful Dukes series
    April 18
    Elizabeth Boyle Elizabeth Boyle
    Six Impossible Things
    Rhymes With Love series
    April 25
    Celeste Bradley Celeste Bradley
    Wedded Bliss
    Wicked Worthington series
    May 2

    Claire Cameron Claire Cameron
    The Last Neanderthal
    May 2
    Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction/Mainstream Fiction
    Fredrik Backman Fredrik Backman
    Mainstream Fiction
    May 2
    Tessa Bailey Tessa Bailey
    Too Hard to Forget
    Romancing the Clarksons series
    Contemporary Romance
    April 25
    Julie James Julie James
    The Thing About Love
    Contemporary romance
    April 18
    Beth Kery Beth Kery
    Behind the Curtain
    Contemporary Romance
    May 2
    Laura Moore
    Laura Moore
    Making Waves
    Beach Lane series
    Contemporary Romance
    April 25
    cd reiss CD Reiss
    Contemporary Romance
    May 1
    Maisey Yates Maisey Yates
    Slow Burn Cowboy
    Copper Ridge series
    Contemporary Romance
    April 18
    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
    David Baldacci David Baldacci
    The Fix
    April 18
    Deb Caletti Deb Caletti
    What’s Become of Her
    April 18
    Sasscer Hill Sasscer Hill
    Flamingo Road
    April 18
    Lisa Jewell Lisa Jewell
    I Found You
    April 25
    Iris Johansen Iris Johansen
    No Easy Target
    Eve Duncan series
    April 25
    Elle Kennedy Elle Kennedy
    Midnight Target
    Killer Instincts series
    Romantic Suspense
    April 25
    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
    Jennifer Ashley Jennifer Ashley
    Red Wolf
    Shifter's series
    Paranormal Romance
    May 2
    Marie Brennan Marie Brennan
    Within the Sanctuary of Wings
    Lady Trent Memoirs series
    April 25
    Kresley Cole Kresley Cole
    Wicked Abyss
    Immortals After Dark series
    Paranormal Romance
    April 25
    Jennifer Estep Jennifer Estep
    Elemental Assassin series
    Urban Fantasy
    April 25
    Robin Hobb Robin Hobb
    Assassin’s Fate
    Fitz and the Fool series
    May 4
    Nina Koch
    Gini Koch
    Alien Education
    Katherine "Kitty Kat" series
    Science Fiction
    May 2

    Chloe Neill Chloe Neill
    Blade Bound
    Chicagoland Vampires series
    Paranormal Romance
    April 25
    Martha Wells Martha Wells
    All Systems Red
    Murderbot Diaries series
    Science Fiction
    May 2
    Young Adults/Teens
    Kelley Armstrong Kelley Armstrong
    April 18
    Jennifer Smith Jennifer E. Smith
    May 2
    Suzanne Young
    Suzanne Young
    http://www.suzanne-young.blogspot.comThe Adjustment
    Program series
    April 18
    eric dickey Eric Jerome Dickey
    Finding Gideon
    April 18
    Inspiration Romance/Mainstream Fiction
    Amy Clipson Amy Clipston
    The Beloved Hope Chest
    Amish Heirloom series
    May 9
    Melanie Dickerson Melanie Dickerson
    The Noble Servant
    Medieval Fairy Tale series
    May 9
    Melanie Dobson Melanie Dobson
    Catching the Wind
    May 9
    Katie Ganshert Katie Ganshert ,
    Life After
    April 18
    Catherine West Catherine West
    The Memory of You
    April 28

    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 Becky C | Apr 14, 2017
    National Library Week 2017

    Ask us what we love about working for the Allen County Public Library, and you'll receive a variety of answers.

    • "I get to connect with other people who love reading as much as I do!"
    •  "Questions!  I'm a curious person and every time I'm asked a question, I'm given the opportunity to learn something new."
    •  "Everyone is welcome here.  It doesn't matter how much money you have, where you're from, what religion you practice (or don't).  It doesn't matter how old you are (or how young you are).  Ethnicity doesn't matter.  Sexual orientation doesn't matter.  Everyone has the same opportunities for personal growth and enrichment."
    •  "I make a difference in someone's life.  Every single day.  I can't think of anything better."
    •  "We get to connect hungry minds with information, provide technology and help people use it, and watch young people turn into readers."
    •  "I love helping people."

    Here are a few photos with a few more answers from the less camera-shy of us!  Click on each photo to view it as a larger image.

    Audio Reading Service
       National Library Week Erica
     National Library Week Mary    National Library Week Michal
     National Library Week Dori    

    Thanks for celebrating another National Library Week with us!  And please feel free to share what you love about ACPL in the comments!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Becky C | Apr 13, 2017

    National Library Week 2017

    National Library Week Georgetown

    "Google can bring you back 100,000 answers.  A Librarian can bring you back the right one."  Author Neil Gaiman.

    ACPL has been an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of Allen County since 1895.  122 years!  We began with 3606 volumes in a room in City Hall; today we have the main library downtown and thirteen thriving branch locations.  Our collection has grown to include millions of books -- but that's just a small part of what we offer.  Not only do we provide a variety of physical materials like books, dvds, music, and videogames, but we also provide access to online resources.  We offer Maker Labs and a variety of programming for all ages.  And that's still just a portion of what we do.

    Today's ACPL is a creative and engaging center for our community.  As the workplace and economy shifts, we are here to connect you with the resources you need to shift with them.  Information overload?  We can help!  Finding reliable, trustworthy information is what we do.

    Do you have a story about how the library has impacted your life?  Please share it with us in the comments!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Cheryl M | Apr 12, 2017

    National Library Week 2017


    My favorite movie librarian is Bunny Watson, portrayed by Katherine Hepburn, in 1957’s Desk Set. Bunny is intelligent, intuitive, resourceful, and a master retriever of facts. She has remarkable powers of recall and can recite from memory “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore and “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    She manages the library of a broadcasting company in New York City, with a small, dedicated staff of three female colleagues.  There are shelves of books, file cabinets, and index cards (all neatly arranged).  There is also office gossip, quirky visitors, the Legal Department across the hall (consisting of all men), and a sense of fun.

    Bunny is fact-smart but a bit blind in the romance department. Having been strung along for years by a handsome, aspiring vice president (who takes her for granted), Bunny is unexpectedly attracted to an enigmatic engineer who comes to scrutinize her library.  Spencer Tracy is Richard Sumner, the affable but evasive engineer.  Who is he? Why is he pacing off distances and measuring things with a tape measure in her office?  Is her job in jeopardy?

    Desk Set the library

    In a scene that was possibly written for the pure pleasure of a wonderfully witty Tracy-Hepburn repartee, Sumner invites Bunny to a brown-bag lunch on a rooftop patio on a windy, winter day.  He quizzes her mental agility with mathematical word problems, logic questions, and palindromes. His astonishment and admiration for her grows with each of her quick, confident answers.  Bunny, with clues from office gossip, begins to suspect what Sumner is up to.

    The late 1950s and early 1960s signaled an evolutionary time in libraries and offices.  Computers -- big, bulky mainframes, with whirling reels, blinking lights, and strange levers, were taking over basic clerical functions.  Bunny’s company recently installed a computer in the Payroll Department. Could this computer, called EMERAC, put her and her colleagues out of a job?

    Desk Set the computer

    I like the conclusion to this movie because although the computer is installed, everyone keeps their job.  Bunny is adaptable after her initial skepticism. She is in her element, retrieving facts and feeding them to EMERAC, and having a grand time.  Her erstwhile company beau gives up, though, as he sees Richard and Bunny’s growing mutual collaboration is no match for his too late, lame marriage proposal.

    This is a fun movie and a tribute to the work of librarians.  There is a memorable scene, brief but joyous, of the office Christmas party – librarians and secretaries are dancing the Jitterbug with the men of Legal, champagne corks are popping, the party seems to be migrating around the building, and it shows that librarians are not all work, but love to let loose and have fun, too! 

    Desk Set Christmas Party Scene

    cheryl-mCheryl likes reading, bicycling, scrapbooking, travel, history, and cats. Because every life tells a story, her favorite books to read are biographies.
    by Emma R | Apr 11, 2017

    National Library Week 2017

    MSS in action

    You checked out The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. Maybe you found it in Readers' Services, Teens, or Children’s; maybe you found it at a branch. You return it. And you don’t see it again until you’re browsing the shelves and there it is. Your book. The one with the bookmark that you forgot and thought you'd lost forever.

    Where did the book go after you returned it? And how did it get back on the shelf?

    At some point or another, it passed through MSS.

    Wait, what?

    MSS stands for Material Support Services. You don’t see this department because MSS is in the basement at the Main library. You sometimes see us pushing carts, shelving books, or dropping something off in a department.  MSS is one of the cogs that keeps ACPL up and running.

    What happens in MSS that’s so important?

    If you returned your book at the Main library, we pick it up from one of our drops. We have four — a walk-up book drop off of Ewing Street, an inside book drop near the Check Out desk, an inside book drop near the Plaza Security desk, and the drive-up book drop off of Wayne Street.  We check each drop about once an hour.  Every book that is returned is checked in by us. 

    Wayne Street book drop conveyer belt

    If you returned your book at Main, but it belongs at a branch location, it has some more traveling to do once it gets checked in. Down in MSS we sort all of the materials into courier tubs.  The tubs are then picked up by our couriers and taken to the proper branch location.

    Courier tubs


    If you returned your book at Main and it belongs at Main, it takes a trip down our sorting line. 

    A busy day

    Each of those lines has tubs going to different departments in Main (Readers' Fiction, Children’s Non-Fiction, Popular Library, etc). What happens next is loading, and depending on the day this can happen quickly or slowly — each section of a department has its books loaded onto a cart and pushed out into the hallway for shelving

    Carts of books


    Now, most of you know the departments at Main — Readers' Services and Children’s on the first floor; Business, Science & Technology, Teens, and the two departments of Art, Music & Media on the second floor. What some of you may not know is that underneath your feet are two levels of storage…and they are HUGE—as in, over 1,000,000 books kind of huge!

    We spend a lot of time in storage. If we’re not returning items to their places on the shelf, or shelf reading (which is, literally, just us ‘reading’ the shelf and making sure everything’s in order), then we’re fetching items people have requested from storage and bringing them upstairs. 

    Whew. We do that all day, every day, and make sure that the book you returned—remember The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?—is back on the shelf for you or the next patron to enjoy.


    *Photo credits go to Keri, Lorie, and Emma (MSS).

    by Craig B | Apr 10, 2017
    National Library Week 2017

    coffee-and-bookMy day at Grabill Branch Library pretty much begins and ends with coffee.  Not that I really need the caffeine, I mean, we make it so weak, I’m not sure there’s any caffeine in it.

    Grabill is the smallest ACPL location if you're simply considering square footage, but we're popular.  Our circulation statistics are consistently high.  During our busiest times, the noise levels can sometimes crescendo quite excitingly.

    Some of the highlights of my day at Grabill are questions about how to use Overdrive and Hoopla.  I find something very satisfying about helping customers make sense of their mobile device and gaining access to vast electronic resources in the form of ebooks (such as Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and digital music recordings (such as the new Ryan Adams album, Prisoner).

    Another highlight is when new materials arrive aboard the courier truck.  It’s a little bit of Christmas every day to receive shiny new books, DVDs, and magazines to put on our shelves.  It’s even better when upon checking those new materials in, they immediately “trap” for a hold that a savvy customer has placed when they were still on order. 

    One of the final highlights of my day at Grabill Branch Library is simply seeing the variety and number of folks who come into our building.  I love seeing them find what they need and leave smiling.  I sometimes envy them the sunshine they step out into but I don’t have to envy the sunshine they seem to be feeling on the inside.  I helped create that sunshine and I feel it, too!  And that's not just the caffeine talking.

    by Becky C | Apr 07, 2017

    How do librarians know what titles are coming out when?  How do we decide which of those titles we'll purchase for the collection?  We have several sources, but Publishers Weekly (PW) is one of my personal favorites.  PW reviews around 9,000 books a year. 

    For this month's post, I've taken the liberty of going through the February issues of Publishers Weekly (PW) and sharing the upcoming releases their reviewers are most excited about.  Each of these titles received a starred review.  We don't have all of these titles in the collection yet -- most are due to hit the shelves in bookstores and libraries this month -- but you can place a hold on your copy now.  Or, if you're like me, and you're typically at the 5 holds per person max, you can keep tabs on your picks a couple of ways.

    My favorite way to keep track of books I want to read is through ACPL's catalog.  Heather wrote an excellent post on how to do this -- click here for the details.  Goodreads and LibraryThing are also options.

    Which of these catches your eye?  The Last Neanderthal and Ararat have made my list!

    Fiction coming to the collection April/May 2017

     Long Black Veil
    Ladys Code of Misconduct
     Ride Rough
     Wild Ride
     The Last Neanderthal
     The Golden Legend
     What It Means
     A Rising Man
     American War
     Anything is Possible
     Prussian Blue
     Change Agent
     Dangerous Games
     An Extraordinary Union

    Non-Fiction coming to the collection April/May 2017

    An American Sickness
     Salt Fat Acid Heat
    Citrus Recipes
     Fact of a Body
     Mans Better Angels
     Gods Red Son
     Taking My Life Back
     Potlikker Papers
     Financial Diaries
     Richard Nixon
     Between Them
     My Life with Bob
     Darwins First Theory
     Chiltern Firehouse

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Craig B | Apr 05, 2017

    cover for Khalid's album, American TeenAs an old guy (I’ll be 37 soon), I appreciated the low-key delivery and epicenter insights, into what it means to be an “American teen” these days provided by Khalid’s debut album, American Teen.  With sentiments involving this newest generation’s take on the “American Dream,” the inhibiting nature of limited cash flow, and digital ethics/GPS privacy, this album has a lot to offer, even beyond educating an old guy on “kids these days.” (Glad to know they still find winter cold.)

    Suggested Use: If you’re a teenager, this seems like a great album to chill out with just before first period, maybe on that walk to school or while you’re taking a moment to update your web-comic or something, in the Commons.  If you’re a bit older, lock the doors, pull the blinds, and absorb this album’s beats and battery of experiences while you fill up your pill organizer for the week, because who knows?  You might just run into a teenager again one of these days and find you have more in common with them than you knew.

    by Becky C | Apr 03, 2017

    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  That's six years of awesomeness!  As we celebrate another National Poetry Month this April, here's a look back at one of our favorite posts.  Originally published April 27, 2014.

    As another National Poetry Month begins, let’s celebrate with some Book Spine Poetry from around the internet.  What is Book Spine Poetry?  It’s when someone takes a titled book, places another titled book underneath it, and continues to do so until a verse has been created that can be read from top to bottom.  Some are witty, some are whimsical, some are subtle, and some are profound.  Have you ever tried it?  If so, please share your pics in the comments — I’d love to read them!

    Book Riot
     Brain Pickings    
     Book Bug
     Nina Katchadourian    

    Becky's previous poetry-related posts:

    April Rain Song: With all of the rain we've had recently, Langston Hughes "April Rain Song" is the perfect poem to enjoy this month.  This post includes a link to Liev Schrieber reading the poem.

    Mad, bad and dangerous to know:  Lord Byron was THE Bad Boy of his time.  And yet, he wrote simply beautiful poetry.  This post includes a reading of his poem "She Walks in Beauty". 

    Are you a Cumberbabe?:  Benedict Cumberbatch reads John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge.  Sigh.

    Celebrating a soul who selected her own society:  Emily Dickinson was a keen observer with a playful sense of humor.   Her poetry explores the complexities and passions of relationships as effectively as her verse also examines spirituality and nature. 

    The Raven read by James Earl Jones
    :  No one does spooky like Edgar Allan Poe — unless it’s James Earl Jones reading Edgar Allan Poe!

    William Butler Yeats:  Yeats’ poetry was characterized by his quest for “unity of being,” which he pursued by considering opposites:  action and  contemplation, life and art, fair and foul.  Bonus:  this post includes a link to a video of Colin Farrell reading "When You Are Old".  Sigh.

    Walt Whitman:  What made Whitman noteworthy?  What made him risque?  Read this post to find out!

    Dances with the Daffodils:  "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth is one of my favorite poems about spring.  What do you think of it?

    Langston Hughes:  Hughes was among the first black Americans to earn his living solely from his writing and public lectures.  He wrote "April Rain Song".  He also wrote "Dreams", another of my favorite poems.  Discover more about him in this post.

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Evan | Mar 31, 2017

    Editor's Note:  As You Like It began publishing content in 2011.  That's six years of awesomeness!  Here's a look back at a post we originally published March 18, 2015.

    Growing up far from Civil War battlefields, my first visualization of them came via a book: The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War. Its painted two-page bird’s-eye views — complete with tiny soldiers marching across golden fields and green forests and firing tiny cannons — engrossed my 10-year-old imagination and spurred me toward the many battlefield visits I have taken. It also fueled my lifelong fascination with maps.

    This month, as I plan a vacation and work on a hobby project, I am absorbed by maps; some are in books and some are on the Internet. Although each has advantages, I wonder whether in another computer generation, map books — despite all their beauty and utility — will become unprofitable. Many online map images still load slowly or are hard to read, but Mapquest, Google Maps, and the like are amazingly helpful, and the slickest websites can give you views of old maps that rival the experience of holding the original documents in your hands.

    For instance, we have a book called Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War that features Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil Warmaps made during that time. It’s a large book, and the images of the maps  are somewhat  readable.

    But take a look at this set of old Civil War maps on the Digital Public Library of America website. The DPLA is a large collection of images from libraries, archives and museums across the country. It’s still in its toddlerhood and can be awkward to use, but when you get to this kind of good stuff, it impresses. In the lower right corner is an icon that enlarges the image to your full screen, and you can use your mouse roller to easily zoom in or out. The upshot is that you can comfortably see details that you’d have to put your nose on a paper map to equal.

    Battle Maps of the Civil WarI expect map books to be available as long as I’ll want them, but it’s easy to imagine that my grandchildren will never open one as adults. Assuming Internet speeds improve, the color, detail and utility of maps on a tablet or comparable device will just be too good, and too easy to find. (If you think, however, that I’m wrong, I’d be interested in reading why in a comment below.)

    By the way, our copy of the old American Heritage book can’t be checked out of the library, but there’s a newer title, which appears to have the same illustrations, that can. It’s called American Heritage: Battle Maps of the Civil War.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Mar 29, 2017
    Book Review:  Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

    When I first read the title of Tessa tessa dareDare's latest novel, Do You Want to Start a Scandal, my mind immediately sang the Beatles song,Do you Want to Know a Secret. Then I started to hear review rumblings of a song from Frozen and I thought, what are they talking about? I had to look up the songs from Frozen and found Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Well - that's a fine howdy-do. Which is it, Secret or Snowman? I don't know, but I wish whoever is thinking of these oh-so-clever book titles would stop because now I have two songs going through my head.

    Now on to the book with the silly title, Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare. This book started off great and I thought that at last there was light at the end of the tunnel - and there was - sort of. This is a hard book to review.  Not only is there a delightful heroine, but it also has one of the funniest scenes I've read in a long time. The problem is that the book doesn't maintain its momentum alllll the way through.

    I adored the heroine, Charlotte Highwood. Some people may not because she is a tad bit outrageous. She does things that are not at all historically correct, so if you have an issue with trying to keep your characters in their time period, this book may not be for you. In this case, I enjoyed the fun and I smiled a lot through the beginning of the book.

    Charlotte has a problem - her mother. Her mother wants to see her final daughter married and she is pushing her at any male who crosses her path - and, I do mean pushing. Her mother actually pushed her in front of a horse, with a bachelor on its back, just to get his attention - the bachelor, not the horse. What this incident actually did was make Charlotte the talk about town, and not in a good way. Men began taking the long way around, just to stay out of her path.

    Even though she is highly embarrassed, Charlotte doesn't really care toooo much (except for the occasional sneer aimed her way). You see, she has a plan. She and her best friend in the world, Delia, are going to be spinsters forever and ever. Not only that, but they are going to see the world. One of the more poignant issues in this story is Delia and Charlotte's friendship. Ms. Dare does a fine job of writing about what happens to a close friendship when a third party starts to interfere. This was another part of the book which I found special.

    Brain talk. Charlotte's physical persona lived in the time period she was supposed to be; she was quiet when faced with the people around her. But she had one sarcastic little brain. Reading her inner comments was quite a lot of fun. I found this part of Charlotte's characterization amusing - not everyone may.

    Laugh out loud warning. I was unable to sleep. It was 2:00am. I retrieved my Nook, crept back into bed, and tried to open it up. Of course I have the music setting turned up really loud, so I threw my pillow over my Nook when the light and noise erupted. Husband still asleep. I started to read. And, then there came a scene involving a mother, a daughter, the you-know-what-talk, and a basket of vegetables. It was a laugh-out-loud-hand-over-mouth moment. This scene made up for alll of the hero's flaws.

    Piers Brandon is in a study, rifling through a desk (which doesn't belong to him), when he first encounters Charlotte. It doesn't initially dawn on Charlotte that he's snooping -- she's on a mission. She came to warn him to stay away from her because her mother has set her sights on him as a future son-in-law. This scene had all the makings of a screwball comedy - I'll make this short. Charlotte tells her story, Piers listens, they hear a noise, they hide, two mysterious someones enter the room, those someones precede to use the desk for some hot whankee-roo, Piers and Charlotte listen, Charlotte giggles, the mysterious couple leave, Piers and Charlotte think everything is clear, they tip-toe out, a monster 9-year old boy screams Murder, they are caught in a compromising position. There is more to that scene, all of which was very funny.

    I had a lot of fun with all of the wild shenanigans which went on in this book. I loved how Charlotte made lists and dragged Piers into trouble again and again. However, the story lost some of its glow because of Piers. If Piers had just been charming and ironic throughout the whole book, I would have been really excited about this tale. But he had a dark side. No, not a dark side! On top of that he's a spy. No, not a spy! He was at the same house party as Charlotte because he was trying to find a spy or there was something slightly shady about his host (Delia's father). So, he's sneaking around. But that's not the part of the book that threw me out of my enjoyment. For some reason, he's not worthy of Charlotte. Oh no, not worthy! He has to prove to her that he's a really rotten. How does he do that, you may ask. Well, he sets fire to the house. Just a small wee fire - enough to smoke up rooms and send people fleeing into the night screaming. Well, I guess if you want to prove you're the wrong kind of person, you burn things down. Yep, that would do it for me. Of course, he explains it all and she forgives him. But when I read this, I stopped and wrote - "what the crap was that all about?" That is a direct quote from my Nook notes. After all of the fun, charm, wit, and laughter, there was a scene thrown in which made no sense to me. Must all of our heroes be dark and in need of saving? And, in such an outrageous, overboard, silly way? If only that scene hadn't been in this book.
    Overall. For the most part I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed Charlotte's zany character and I loved Piers trailing along with her because he couldn't help himself. I enjoyed the lightness, fun, and humor which abounded throughout the story. If only the "what was that" scene had not been included in the story, I would have given this book a glowing recommendation. I still recommend Do You Want to Start a Scandal, but just be prepared for a bounce-out-of-the-book scene involving Piers.

    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.