Friday, February 27, 2009

You're on the Team

Always wanted your own trading card? One that showcases your marvelous qualities and multitudinous achievements? This is a fun generator. Why not crank it up for the family reunion? Or as an ice-breaker at some kind of function where an ice-breaker would be welcome. Do people still break ice? Just upload your driver's license picture and away you go! Unless you don't want to look, how shall I put it, not at your best? There's got to be one photo that let's your true beauty shine through. Pick that one.

Here's the Trading Card Maker

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Go South

Have you been to the South Side Library lately? You should stop in and check out the many many improvements:

Increased shelving space for New Adult Books. Yay! More new books!

Children’s New Book section has new shelving with areas for book displays. Yay! We get to look at even more new books!

The chair lift is cooler than cool. Now everyone has access to the kids' books and teen loft. Yay!

Yellow accents on desks and signage! New carpet and blue and red book stack ends! The place is so colorful a visit will perk you right up during this apparently endless winter.

Last but not least, the library has bigger and better public rest rooms. And I know we all like that. Yay!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's it Like for the Women?

Want to know what it's like to be a woman in tough places, tough times? It's hard. Almost impossibly so. Womankind chronicles Nancy Leigh Harless' work as a nurse in third-world and war-torn countries. Her essays explore the bonds between women and the extraordinary courage she encounters around the world. Harless - a member of the National League of American Pen Women - will discuss her book, plus the history and impact of the NLAPW, at the Central Library on Saturday February 28, 1 PM.

Womankind : connection & wisdom around the world / Nancy Leigh Harless.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reruns Aren't Always Bad

I've been blogging here for over a year! Who knew I'd find so much to blather about? When I started I wrote several blogs on library services, policies, etc. I think it's time to dust those beauties off for those of you who may not have seen them. And those of you who did see them might welcome a refresher. Both of you.
How to place holds on your favorites from your very own home computer!
1. Find your book (cd, dvd, what have you) by typing in the search box at the upper right of the home page.
2. Click on the title of the item you want.
3. Just above "Copy/Holding Information" there's a box that says Request Item. Click on it!
4. Now we need your library card number and PIN - the PIN is the last 4 digits of your phone number.
5. After you've entered those, click on Login.
6. Next you get to choose your pick-up place. To select a library different from the one that's showing, click on the arrow next to the box that has the library name in it.
7. And... click on request, get the message that your request has been successfully placed. Boom! You have reserved your stuff! Now you can sit back and wait to be notified that we're holding it for you. Easy as pie.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Le Cinema

You're dying to know what our cousins around the world like in the way of American movies!Do they love the indies? The R-rated comedies? Turns out they like pretty much the same stuff we do. Well, maybe except for Hancock. I don't think it was quite that boffo here. Yes, Variety sticks to the classics. Boffo.

The top 5 American money-making movies overseas for 2008:
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount)
2. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
3. Mamma Mia! (Universal)
4. Kung Fu Panda (Paramount)
5. Hancock(Sony)

Source: Daily Variety; 1/5/2009, Vol. 302 Issue 2, p1

Friday, February 20, 2009

Park(ed) on Ingersoll

Hey, did you know there used to be an amusement park over by Greenwood Park? Just north of Greenwood you could ride a roller coaster, watch a show, get some taffy - President Theodore Roosevelt even spoke there in 1903! Plus elephants! Hard to imagine. Ingersoll Park was privately owned and only around for a short time. The park opened circa 1900 and closed up shop in 1912. For more information on that part of town, check out the website of the Ingersoll Park Neighborhood Association. To read the message on the lovely postcard shown, visit the Des Moines Public Library Postcard Collection.

Sources: Des Moines Tribune, 11/21/1978 p.1, 3
Des Moines Tribune, 9/25/1975 p.34

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eagles Outdoors

There are a couple organized opportunities for eagle-watching coming up in the next few days. First you can Lunch with Eagles Friday, February 20 at Scott St. Dam in downtown Des Moines. For more information call 515-323-8907. But you definitely don't have to eat what the eagles eat. If you miss that one, there is the Saylorville Bald Eagle Watch on Sunday, February 22. There will be outdoor viewing at selected sites around the reservoir, start at the Visitor’s Center 10-4. For more information call 515-276-4656. Organized eagle-watching. Because we don't want you stumbling around out there on your own. Because we care. (Cue the chimes...)

Photo Courtesy Gerry Rowland

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

George Washington Carver

This is his year. An opera about George Washington Carver recently debuted - "A Dream Fulfilled: The Saga of George Washington Carver" as performed by Opera Iowa. The piece was written by Michael Patterson, a music teacher at Simpson (the college attended by Carver) so it is truly homegrown. And no skimping on the peanuts. There's a whole song devoted to their glory. The only performance scheduled that is open to the general public will be Friday, February 27, 7:00 PM at the Theatre Cedar Rapids. For more information, contact Erin Thomas at Here's a really interesting book to read about GWC:

George Washington Carver in his own words / [edited by] Gary R. Kremer

Des Moines Register 2/3/09

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Sign up for the Spring Adult Reading Program! You get a free canvas bag! I kid you not. It's nice, too. I just picked one up and it is big (about 15 x 15), sturdy and the handles/straps are long enough to go over your shoulder, which I really like. Because you cannot have enough free hands. Sign up at any of our buildings. Then get book review slips, fill them out with info on the books you're reading anyway and the slips can go into a drawing for a Borders Books gift certificate, one per building. Is that not cool? I mean kids get a stupendous reading program every summer, it's nice to have a little something for the old I mean adult folks. Did I mention the bag? Get signed up before they're gone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day

Since this year is Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, let us now praise the guy. He spent all of 3 days in Iowa in his life, during his days as a lawyer. Spoke in Council Bluffs in 1859. Apparently the crowd was appreciative even though the refreshments - chicken and cake - had been stolen! Ah, chicken. Even before the Civil War it was the required dish at a speaker's event. We have more books on Lincoln than you can shake a beard at. OK, that was lame. But the books aren't.

Hey! The author of the book to the left, John Stauffer, will be speaking Wednesday February 18 at the Central Library, 6:30 PM. bonus!

Books about Abraham Lincoln

Reference Source: The Lincoln Institute Presents Abraham Lincoln's Classroom

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Loooooooove?

OK, Friday the 13th and love. There's the movie Shaun of the Dead with its touching bromance between man and zombie. And of course every horror movie has its lovers ... but not for long! On the other hand there's been an explosion in vampire romances. Oh yeah, everything has its own romance sub-genre now: zombies, ghosts, werewolves, mermaids, dragons! (I don't even want to know how that last one works.) They're all up to their nasty little knees in love. As if that weren't enough there is a sub-sub-genre we'll call Sex-and-the-City comedy paranormal romance. And these women know just how to write them.

Katie MacAlilster's Aisling Grey and Love Spell series

MaryJanice Davidson's Undead series

Kimberly Raye's Vampire Love/Dead End Dating series

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Candy Loooooooooove

My favorite! All that heart-shaped goodness made of chocolate, marshmallow, chocolate, and the Necco wafer stuff. Good old candy hearts - conversation hearts - were first factory-made in 1902. NECCO has to make about 100,000 pounds of these babies every day to meet the Valentine demand. Then about 8 billion are sold in six weeks. Conversation hearts were invented in the 1860s by the brother of NECCO's founder. Civil War era candy! In their first incarnation they had printed paper notes tucked inside. A sample message: "Please send a lock of your hair by return mail." Creepy. I'll stick with "Luv U". By the way, my italic font function is working just dandy. If you were wondering.

Books that feature the phenomena of conversation hearts:

Here's the generator I used to produce these library-themed confections: ACME Heart Maker

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looooove of Eagles

Tomorrow, Wednesday February 11th at 6:00 PM, the Central Library is presenting a free viewing of the film American Eagle. As seen on IPTV! Meet film-maker Neil Rettig! But first you have to take a look at the life-sized eagle nest replica in the lobby. It's huge! Iowa is prime eagle-watching territory, especially along the rivers in the winter. Have you ever seen the juveniles? They seem to get adult-sized really fast but they still have their fuzzy baby feathers and they're kind of clumsy and dorky. Then they grow up to be exquisitely handsome and graceful fliers. Gives a girl hope.

Photo of Eagles at Red Rock Dam courtesy Gerry Rowland

Monday, February 9, 2009

Looooooove Poems From the Experts

Say you want to make your own valentine. You've got it all cut up in a big heart and the doilies and glitter applied liberally. Now you'd like to add a sentiment a bit more meaty than 'Happy Valentine's Day' but you don't want to use the Love Poem Generator because well, it's weird. Why not use poems from the experts? We have many many books of love poetry including your Browning, your Rossetti, your Poe. Remember those greeting cards in the 70's or 80's that had a pastel rainbow in the background and a nice soothing poem on top? The poet was Helen Steiner Rice, folks, and she may have kept that segment of the greeting card market afloat single-handed. If you want a nice little phrase in contemporary language, check out the Queen of Pleasant Poetry.

Friday, February 6, 2009

And the inevitable Looooooooove Songs

Ah, the songs. Too many to mention, we can only scrape a few off the tip of Cupid's arrow. Let's pick out odd titles. There's Mickey by Toni Basil. Wickedly viral - you've got it looping in your head now, don't you? Then Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly With His Song sounds pretty but hey! What's with the killing? Total Eclipse of the Heart. Bonnie Tyler. Can you smell the hairspray? But you can't beat the classics like I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket and I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Plus everyone's fave Huggin' and Chalkin'. Yes, 'chalkin''. These last three beauties are part of our loose sheet music collection. Stop in at Central if you'd like to browse through more snappy tunes in the Popular Songs collection. Oh wait! I forgot Muskrat Love by the Captain and Tennille. Without them, this list would be pointless. There's always room for a modern classic.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Love of loooove words

So if it ends in phile or philia, somebody loves it. Even if it's not especially lovable. Ammophilia: love of sand. Not that I dislike sand per se, but since it is completely inert and without personality I'm a little surprised that the stuff could be beloved. Cacophonophilia: love of harsh sounds. OK, maybe your sweetie has a perpetual cold. Nanophilia: love of short people. Well this one needs no explanation. Everybody loves the short. Tropophilia: Love of seasonal extremes. Have we got a state for you! Extremes changed daily! Osmophilia: Love of various smells. This one could get pretty dicey. I am so not going on a road trip with an osmophile. At least that doesn't mean love of Donny and Marie. Twice in one week, folks! I wonder how often I can work them in... And for those logophiles among you (lovers of words/language), some potentially fun books:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Puppy Looooove

As Marie Osmond would have it, (or was it Donny?) puppy love involves two very young people who can't help themselves and are sorely misunderstood. But sometimes puppy love is just love of a puppy. They're so cute and fat and they look at you with those sweet eyes that just adore you and you just want one bad. If you're gonna get a puppy, get the right one. Do you have kids? Cats? Can you cope with a dog who is very energetic or needs lots of training? Have you got a fenced in yard? And you thought you'd just pick out the cutest one. Ha! In real life it doesn't work that way buster. The good news is we have more dog books than you can shake a schnauzer at. By the way, don't try that. It annoys the schnauzer.
Just the puppy books
A squadrillion books about dogs

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Looooooove Poems - Homemade (kinda)

So you'd like to write your guinea pig a special poem because he is just the sweetest and the cutest. But alas, you stink at the art of putting words together. Have I got a generator for you! Head to this site, type in the terms that best express your deepest feelings about Pinky Paws and this site will deliver unto you an actual poem: Love Poetry Generator
Here is part of one I generated. Breaks your heart, doesn't it?

My Love
Your skin glows like the tomato, blossoms glowing as the hyacinth in the purest hope of spring.
The evening floats in on a great downy woodpecker wing.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of tea.
In the quiet, I listen for the last squeaky of the day.

Hey! Now that I've go you thinking about them, click here for some Guinea Pig Books.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February is Loooove Time

You don't have to be in love to enjoy Looooove Time. You can love your friends, family members, your pet Beta, your house, your really comfortable shoes. (Ah, comfortable shoes.) It's all loooooove. And we will be celebrating love! Probably long enough for you to get sick of it. Today's looooooove note: the Central and North Side libraries have copies of a new magazine called Victoria. It's devoted to the age when it was common for friends to write long flowery letters, calling each other 'darling' and 'dear heart'. I'm talking totally platonic middle-aged female friends here. These people knew about expressing love. The new Jan/Feb 2009 issue has an article featuring sumptuous photos of Victorian Valentines. Take a look, dear heart.

Graphic source: HubPages Vintage Valentines