Thursday, May 14, 2009

Librarian Secret #7

Do you need a copy of a birth certificate, death certificate, marriage license, or certificate of divorce and you don't know how to find it or who to contact? Visit the Center for Disease Control's Where to Write for Vital Records page to find out. Simply click on the state or territory where the event occurred and follow the directions for obtaining the records you need.

The next time you need a vital record, I hope you will remember this tip! (FL)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope all of you moms out there have a great day!

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review: Hello, Cupcake

Title: Hello, Cupcake
Authors: Karen Tack & Alan Richardson
240 pages
Houghton Mifflin Co

I enjoy cupcakes! They are so compact, easy to eat, and generally delicious. What could be better than a cupcake? A really cute cupcake.

Hello, Cupcake is a fabulous book on everything you need to know to make delicious, adorable cupcakes for any occasion. You will find basic "cupcaking techniques" like how to spread frosting, designing with frosting, building with other edibles, and drawing and gluing designs for your cupcakes. The best part is, you don't have to be a professional pastry chef or own a lot of fancy utensils to make these delightful treats. Hello, Cupcake even includes directions for making a cupcake wedding cake, topped with an edible bride and groom. If a cupcake wedding cake doesn't appeal to you, how about werewolves, penguins, clowns, or sharks? These are only a few of the imaginative, delectable delights you will be able to construct with the guidance of this terrific book.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys baking.

If you are interested, the authors have a Web site with more cupcake tips:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thank You, Bev and Missy

A big Thank You to Bev at Merry Weather and Missy at Missy's Book Nook for so graciously nominating me for the "You Don't Say" award. The award is given to those who take time to leave comments on other blogger's sites. It is easy to leave a comment when you find a site you enjoy and that appeals to Merry Weather and Missy's Book Nook do to me!

I hope you will take time to check out their wonderful book blogs.

While I am not passing the award along, I would like to say thanks to Book Calendar, Barney's Book Club, and Genteel Arsenal for being faithful commentors on my blog. Please visit their wonderful sites.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Information

Librarians constantly keep up with current events. We need to know the latest news in order to be prepared for questions patrons may have regarding something they have seen on television or read about in a newspaper or magazine. Usually they want to know where they can find additional information on the subject or where they can find a copy of the article.

With the growing concern of Swine Flu, and its coverage via television, the Internet, and print sources I am certain people will be inquiring where they can locate up-to-date information on the virus. In my opinion, the best sources are the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization). The CDC is tracking the number of cases as well as where they are occurring, and posting the existent numbers on their Web site. They also give information on the Swine Flu such as symptoms and things you can do to stay healthy. The WHO is tracking international cases of the flu.

I hope you find this information helpful and that you all stay healthy! (FL)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Librarian Secret #6

People often stop by the Reference Deck to ask what day a particular holiday will occur on. Of course, I can always just check the calendar but sometimes they want more specific information - like what is the holiday about, when did it begin, etc. When asked for this type of information, I usually turn to Infoplease's Holidays in America Web page. The site has fun, historical and traditional facts about the holidays Americans have come to love and celebrate.

Did you know that Mother's Day was made a national holiday in 1914 or that Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day? Check out this site to learn even more fun trivia about your favorite holiday! (FL)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review: The Complete Illustrated Book Of Herbs

Title: The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs
400 pages
Readers Digest

I love beautiful book covers. It is often the cover of a book that piques my curiosity about what is inside and makes me want to investigate the actual pages of the publication. Sometimes the content doesn't live up to the expectaion of the image on the jacket and I'm left disappointed. In the case of this book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs, I was delighted both by its beauty and its subject matter.

The book contains informative, interesting, and useful information on over 100 different herbs. It begins with an A-Z directory of herbs which includes how to "cultivate, use, and store" them. Other chapters include: Gardening, Herbal Medicine, Natural Beauty, Around the Home, Craft, and Cooking. Each chapter contains lovely, colorful illustrations and instructions on how to use herbs in practical ways...from treating colds to making your own facial scrubs and laundry detergent to creating a table centerpiece and preparing soup with herb dumplings and much, much more! This book is packed full of everything you to need to know about herbs and how to use them.

Recommended for anyone with an interest in herbs, cooking, crafts, and natural beauty and cleaning products. (FL)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen.
Luke 24:5-6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Librarian Secret #5

Are you planning a trip and want to know how far it is from one destination to another? GEOBYTES offers an easy to use City Distance Tool that will calculate that information for you. Just type in the name of the city of origin in the first search box, and the city of destination in the second search box, and click the next button. You will be directed to a page with different locations that include your cities' names. Select the correct entries for your search and click on find distance. Just for fun, I calculated the distance from San Francisco, California to Rome, Italy. I found out the distance in miles is 6,253. Of course, you can also calculate short distances, for example, the distance in miles between Pasadena, CA and Los Angeles, CA is 11.

I hope you will check out this site the next time you need to know the distance between two cities! (FL)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Librarian Secret #4

Mailing a letter or a package and you don't know the zip code? Visit the United States Postal Office Zip Code Lookup

You can search by exact address, partial address, city, or company. Not sure if the state abbreviation for Arkansas is AK or AR, or if Mississippi is MI or MS? Don't worry. The site has a link to state abbreviations as well.

Make sure your mail gets to the right place....use the correct zip code and state abbreviation. FL

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Librarian Secret #3

When people used to talk about Spam, they were referring to a meat product that came in a can at the local grocery store (it still does, if you're interested). As a young couple, my husband and I ate a lot of it. For those of you who aren't familiar with Spam, it is a cheap version of ham and goes well with Pork 'n Beans! Unfortunately, when you hear the word spam nowadays, it is most likely pertaining to the vast amounts of unwanted emails that show up in inboxes across the country every day. If you have ever wondered if there is a place to report these unwanted emails, the answer is YES.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a Web page dedicated to this purpose. They put all of the information they receive from reported spam into a database and use the knowledge to "generate cases against people who use spam to spread false or misleading information about their products or services" (FTC Web site).To access the FTC Spam page and learn how to report spam, click here:

The only good spam, comes in a can. I hope you have enjoyed this Librarian Secret!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review: Eat, Memory; Great Writers at the Table: A Collection of essays from the New York Times

Title: Eat, Memory; Great Writers at the Table: A Collection of Essays from the New York Times
208 pages
W.W. Norton & Co
ISBN-10: 0393067637

I love food. I love hearing about it, looking at pictures of it, collecting recipes on how to prepare it, and reading about it. It is no wonder, then, that this book caught my attention when I saw it on the New Book Shelf at my library. I knew I had to read it and I'm glad I did. However, it really isn't a book about food. It's more about the events, experiences, and memories of life.

In 2004, the food editor of New York Times Magazine, Amanda Hessler, began a column called Eat, Memory. She asked writers to submit "essays about an important moment in their lives that involved food." The only stipulation was that the stories could not be "sentimental". This book, Eat, Memory, is a compilation of twenty-six of the best articles; written by a variety of authors, chefs, playwrights, and others.

Each essay is unique, evoking its own emotion as the writer reveals personal and sometimes intimate details of their food related memory. As I stated earlier, the essays really aren't about the food, but the events surrounding the "food moment". In "Paris Match," Ann Patchett writes about an argument she had with her boyfriend (now husband) over dinner at a very expensive restaurant in Paris (I empathized). In "Bean There," Tucker Carlson tells about an hilarious experience he had while working at a B&M Baked Beans factory during college (I laughed). In "Line of Sight," Gabriell Hamilton, a New York City chef, describes interviewing and working with a blind man for one horrible day in her restaurant (I cringed). I found all twenty-six compositions to be exceptional - each connected by the commonality of food, yet vastly different in terms of place, emotion, desire, and recollection.

For those of you who may be thinking you don't want to read a book about food that's really not about food, don't despair! Most of the essays are followed by a recipe that correlates in some way to the story. Recommended for food lovers, memory keepers, author fans, and those who enjoy essays. (FL)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Librarian Secret #2

If you are of a certain age, you may remember calling 411 when you needed to find a phone number. After all it was quick, easy, and best of all free. I guess you can still call 411, but it is no longer gratis. Which probably explains why librarians get so many calls at the reference desk requesting phone numbers (really). When this happens, the site this librarian turns to is AnyWho. AnyWho is basically an online phone book that is maintained by AT&T. As long as the person's number isn't unlisted, you should be able to find it. The site also contains yellow pages for business numbers, a link to international "phone books", area codes for the U.S. and Canada, and a reverse look up feature. If you have never used reverse look up, you might want to try it; just because it is that amazing. Well, maybe not amazing, but it is a cool feature. Let's say someone calls you and you see their number on your caller ID, but no name attached. To find out who this mystery caller is: log on to AnyWho, click on the reverse look up tab, type the number into the box provided, and click find. If that person has a listed phone number, their identity will be revealed!

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks Librarian Secret. The next time you need a number and don't want to pay the 411 fee, try AnyWho or call your local library. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Review: The One Hundred by Nina Garcia

Title: The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
Nina Garcia
304 pages
Collins Living
ISBN-10: 0061664618

In The One Hundred, fashion expert, Nina Garcia outlines 100 accessories that she deems timeless and classic assets to any woman's wardrobe. The pieces are listed and described in alphabetical order; beginning with A for the A-line dress and ending with Z for the zippered hoodie. Along with explanations as to why the pieces are included in her 100 list, Garcia gives fun trivia and historical facts regarding some of the items. Did you know, for example, that Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses were first designed in 1936 or that the cardigan was named after the seventh Earl of Cardigan in 1874? Garcia also gives helpful advice on selecting items, where to find them, and how to wear them (not all 100 include this information). Another enjoyable addition to the book are quotes, interspersed throughout, such as this one by Helena Rubinstein: There are no ugly women, just lazy ones (for some reason, I find that comforting). For those who fancy "seeing" what the author is describing, The One Hundred includes illustrations of the various fashions mentioned. Personally, I would have preferred photographs. While I did not agree with all of the choices on Garcia's top 100 list, I did find useful information regarding classic pieces as well as practical fashion tips. Recommended for anyone interested in fashion and/or fashion trivia.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Librarian Secrets

Librarians do a lot of research. In the olden days, librarians had to search through reference books (yes, we still use them occasionally) to find answers to questions like:
  • What is Woody Allen's real name?
  • What are the symptoms of lupus?
  • What is the exact longitude for Petaluma, California?
  • Where can I find an old map of Little Rock, Arkansas?
We still get questions like these everyday and most libraries have subscriptions to wonderful online reference databases to help find the answers. However, there are also many good resources available on the Internet and librarians use these as well. I call these Internet sites "Librarian Secrets." Of course, they are not really secret. I plan to start recommending some of my favorite ones here, on this blog, as a regular feature.

The Librarian Secret for today is: Who2?

This Web site contains over 3,000 biographies of famous people, including real and fictional characters as well as some famous animals. The site is easy to use and provides a search box and alphabetical index. You can also search by birth year, categories (actor, chess player, political figure, etc.), birth place and various other features. Do a search for Woody Allen, and you will find out his real name is Allen Stewart Konigsberg!

I hope you will try this site the next time you need some quick facts about a famous person.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Title: The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
240 pages

Authors Joan Didion and John Dunne had been married for 40 years. They had just returned home from visiting their comatose daughter in a nearby hospital when John suddenly died of a heart attack. This moving memoir chronicles Didion's life the year following her husband's death (including her involvement in the care of her daughter, Quintana, who continued to struggle with illness). Didion candidly exposes her raw feelings of loss, discusses her stages of grief, and tries to grasp the terrible events that had befallen her. For me, some of her most poignant words are found on the first page: "Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant." Anyone who has experienced the loss or severe illness of a loved one, whether expected or unexpected, knows there is a learned truth in those statements. Recommended for readers of Didion or Dunne and those who are exploring the subject of grief.

Note: After reading this book, I became curious as to what happened to Quintana. I found my answer in this New York Magazine article.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Title: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Hardcover: 288 pages
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN-10: 0446407410

You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy reading this heartwarming and endearing book. In the winter of 1988, in Spencer, Iowa, a small kitten was found in the book drop of the public library. The frightened, dirty, and freezing feline was taken in and adopted by the library staff (Myron was the director). Dewey soon became the official library cat and was named--Dewey Readmore Books. Dewey is the story of the impact this stray, lovable ball of orange fur had on the town, the library patrons, and on Myron. Intertwined with tales of Dewey, Myron reveals many of her own personal struggles and triumphs making this a truly inspirational read. Recommended for animal lovers and/or library lovers. Actually, recommended for anyone who likes to read! (FL)

If you would like to see video of the "real life" Dewey, click here:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Breakfast at Sally's by Richard LeMieux

Title: Breakfast at Sally's
Richard LeMieux
Hardcover: 432 pages
Skyhorse Publishing

Richard LeMieux had it all: a successful business. a loving family, luxury cars, and plenty of money in the bank. That is until his business went under, his mental health declined, and he lost everything. LeMieux found himself homeless; living out of a van with his faithful companion, Willow (the Wonder Dog), in Bremerton, Washington. Breakfast at Sally's (Sally's is what the homeless call the Salvation Army) chronicles LeMieux's life as a homeless man. This moving, heartfelt narrative gives the reader an intimate look at homelessness and challenges many of the stereotypes regarding who the homeless are and how they arrived there. LeMieux's story also testifies to how important institutions like the Salvation Army and local churches are to the well-being of the homeless in their communities. Recommended for readers who enjoy human interest stories and anyone who has ever wondered what it might be like to be homeless. (FL)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Title: Wishful Drinking
Author: Carrie Fisher
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 1439102252

Carrie Fisher's slim memoir is packed full of big laughs as she recounts her unusual life. Fisher begins by informing the reader she has had electroshock therapy for severe depression. She states: "I tell my story, partly to reclaim whatever I can of my former life." Her recollections, while not given in detail, are illuminating and for the most part hilarious. I say for "the most part" because they are sometimes very sobering. Whether she is describing herself as a product of "Hollywood in-breeding", discussing her famous parents (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher), expressing what it is like to wake up with a dead man, detailing why George Lucas told her she couldn't wear a bra under her Princess Leia costume ("there's no underwear in space") , or reminiscing about her two failed marriages--she does it with style, wit, honesty, and humor. Recommended for fans of Carrie Fisher and readers with an interest in celebrity lifestyles. (FL)