Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Now you can send a text message and find a local library

Simply text LIBRARY and your zip code (ex. LIBRARY 35209) to 41411 and you will get a text message with the name, address, and phone number of the nearest library. Wow!

Thanks to Marianne Lenox who passed the word along to us from her blog, The MLxperience, about this exciting service. Ben Ostrowsky, Technologist for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, is the creator and would love to know what you think.

Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott

16-year-old Zira’s dying Ruan mother brought a badly injured Zira to the temple after the fearsome attack that left Rua in the control of the Sedorne. Zira’s memories of her life before that night are gone, until the night ten years later when a Sedorne force, sent by the king, attacks and destroys the temple. As the temple people shelter in the Shrine of God, Zira’s memories are unlocked. She is not poor Zira, warrior priestess in training. She is Zahira Elfenresh, the last surviving member of the royal family of Rua. It is she who should be on the throne as Reia, not the Sedorne king.
Once her identity is known, Zahira becomes the leader of the temple refugees. She leads them, unwillingly, to a Sedorne lord who becomes their ally, and much more. But her alliance with the Sedorne leads many of her followers to doubt Zahira. They want Rua for the Ruan, with all Sedorne either dead or driven out of the land. But the Ruan are not a strong fighting force on their own, so Zahira must unite the Ruan and Sedorne people in order to put an end to the bloody rule of the tyrant Sedorne king.
Zira/Zahira is a smart, strong character reminiscent of Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper or Robin McKinley’s Harimad Crewe. The book is well-written and the story carries the reader forward quickly and seamlessly. I will be the first to admit that I picked this book up because of the striking cover art, but from the very first page I was hooked. I highly recommend this title to fans of fantasy and strong heroines!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

April 1 Virus Alert

Many malware and virus experts report that the latest version of the Conflicker worm will go into action and could cause major problems on April 1st. Version A of Conflicker reportedly used 250 domain names a day, while this new self-updating "C" version of the worm could possibly use up to 50,000.

While there is not a definite answer as to what Conflicker can do, users who get infected may be unable to install Windows security patches, leaving them vulnerable to spam, keylogging, even ID theft. The worm tries to spread itself through shared network folders, so if you use multiple machines on a home network, all your computers could be compromised.

You can download the most recent Microsoft security patches at windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

To see whether or not you're infected you can run a free scan at Windows Live OneCare.

Make sure you're anti-virus software is up to date. If you don't have an anti-virus program, I recommend Avast!, which you can download for free at www.avast.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Online Town Hall This Thursday

Barack Obama will host an online town hall meeting this Thursday at www.WhiteHouse.gov to field your questions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ImagiCon 2009

On March 27-29, 2009, Birmingham will host ImagiCon, a full-scale sci-fi convention at the BJCC.

Here is a brief description taken from ImagiCon's website. For more info and a detailed events schedule go to imagicon.org/gatekeeper.


ImagiCon is a weekend-long LIVE celebration of Science Fiction and Fantasy media. Featuring a broad range of activities and presentations related to the genres' entertainment mediums such as books, comics, television, film, music and gaming, ImagiCon offerings will include electronic and RPG gaming, a vendor hall, and a professional artists' exhibition and sale. ImagiCon will also present live music, demonstrations and performances, costume contests and a masquerade ball, panels with celebrities and authors, workshops with artists and costume designers, screenings of genre films and fan club gatherings of Sci-Fi and Fantasy-related entertainment from across the region.

Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC)
2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35203

March 27 – 29, 2009

Books-A-Million, Best Buy/Geek Squad, Kingdom Comics, LifeSouth, Mix 102.5, Birmingham Area Cultural Arts Alliance

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homewood Public Library Earns National Three Star Rating

Well, maybe it's time to toot our own horn a little. Yes, we are very happy and proud of earning a Three Star Rating in The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service 2009. See the article America's Star Libraries and click Alabama on the map to see all the stars, state by state, then click Alabama again to jump to Homewood Library's listing.

The index rates 7,115 public libraries according to four output measures that indicate public service—circulation per capita, visits per capita, program attendance per capita, and public Internet uses per capita. The top libraries in each category were then assigned five, four, or three stars. A total of 256 libraries in the country received star ratings and only three libraries in Alabama received stars.
Yes, we have the greatest staff who work hard, are very intuitive and pro-community, which leads me to say that we could not have done this without our community. We want to thank our Library Board of Trustees, the Friends of the Homewood Public Library, the City of Homewood, and our patrons who support this library. We strive to be what our community wants us to be. We are very fortunate to be listed among the nation's best libraries, indeed, and will strive to be even better!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ecycling Day Sat. March 21 @ Vulcan Park

TechBirmingham Ecycling Day

Please join us for TechBirmingham’s Ecycling Day at the Clover Crawl on Saturday, March 21, 2009 from 10 AM to 4 PM in the lower parking lot of Vulcan Park.  Technical Knock Out will be on hand to assist TechBirmingham with accepting all old electronics except for television sets.  

If you can’t repair, refurbish, or reuse your used electronic device, the next best thing is to recycle it! Electronics consist of valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials, conserves virgin resources, and results in lower environmental emissions (including greenhouse gases) than making products from virgin materials. So clean out your office, your attic, your garage and bring all your old electronics on March 21st to be recycled.  Join us for a good, clean day of fun after you help the environment inside Vulcan Park for the Clover Crawl. 

Did you know???
Recycling 1 million desktop computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of over 17,000 passenger cars.
Recycling 1 million cell phones saves enough energy to power more than 19,000 US households with electricity for an entire year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Your all-time favorite mystery?

What is your favorite mystery novel of all time?

graphic from sparror.cubecinema.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guilt by Association by Gilbert Morris a Danielle Ross mystery

Dani Ross was called home to run her father's detective agency in New Orleans. After she studied the finances and other case records she decided to hire another investigator. Amazingly, an ex-cop came to the agency seeking employment about that time. Though he was something of a maverick he seemed a capable investigator. This allowed the agency to win more contracts which were needed to keep afloat. Dani went to meet a client in a remote location and did not return to the office. She was no where to be found. The new employee, Ben, went in search of her and was himself kidnapped. That was when he found Dani. Both of them joined others being held prisoner in a silo which had been altered to hold people captive. Each day the mastermind, Maxwell Stone, spoke to the prisoners on camera and speaker. He wanted his captives to confess to something they had done but they didn't know what it was. As the weeks passed various people became ill and one died. Lists were made by Dani and a WWII submarine commander, Karl, trying to figure out why each of them were there and what Maxwell Stone wanted from them. It became apparent to all that there was no way out and Stone would gradually kill them all. There must be something they could do to stop him. But what could that be?

Three Springtime Books for Kids

Its been so nice outside lately that it feels like Spring is upon us. Spring is a season for gardening and growing. Here are three books for children that I think they will "grow" to love:

Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan is a nice little book that not only teaches children about colors but also teaches them about fruits and vegetables. Each color has a corresponding fruit and/or vegetable that brings the color alive. Beautiful photographs paired with simple text make this book a treat for the little ones. Recommended for ages 2 to 6.

This book follows Rabbit in the Springtime as he plants his carrot garden. He waits for his carrots to grow so that he can have his favorite dish: carrot soup. But, when its time to harvest his crop, Rabbit's plants are missing!! He ask all of his friends but none of them have seen them. Read Carrot Soup to find out what has happened to Rabbit's glorious carrot crop. Recommended for infants - 6 years of age.

This "growing" book is for the older kids. It is filled with wonderful ideas for the budding gardener. With easy steps that kids can follow and activities that parents will love, What Shall I Grow? by Ray Gibson will have kids growing their own plants and/or flowers in no time. What a great book for Spring! Recommended for ages 4-8.   

-Carrie L. Boyd, intern and book lover

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Big Sister is So Bossy She Says You Can't Read This Book by: Mary Hershey

I won't lie...I thought this was going to be a fluff sort of book. Based on the fun cover I felt my assumption was spot on. I was so wrong, though. It was anything but fluff.

Effie's dad is in prison for a white collar crime, and her big sister Maxey has just stolen money from the Scout's treasury that Effie is responsible for. I identified with Effie through her struggle over what to do about her sister's thievery. I'm a little sister too, and it can be tough to stand up to your big sis. My dad was never in prison, but he was in the Army. Because of that he was away a lot. Effie's dad was away, too, and at a time when she really needed him. So, what does she do about her sister? How does she deal with her dad's absence? I'm not telling. You'll have to read it to find out.

This story is very well written and a hidden treasure in the library stacks. It's much more than I had anticipated.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Generations Online in 2009 published by Pew

Have you seen Generations Online in 2009 published by Pew Research Center?
Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their twenties do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).--from Pew

Some interesting stuff:

  • The biggest increase in internet use since 2005 can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group
  • Younger internet users use social networking sites (Facebook-my insertion) to keep track of and communicate with friends, and Teens and Generation Y are also significantly more likely than older generations to send instant messages to friends.
  • 74% of internet users age 64 and older send and receive email, making email the most popular online activity for this age group
  • Online teens are also significantly more likely to play games than any other generation, including Generation Y, only half (50%) of whom play online games.
  • The workplace online network is expanding to include more Generation Y users. Internet users 18-32 are going online more than ever to do research for their jobs. In 2007, 51% said they used the internet for their jobs other than for email, compared with 44% of the same group in 2005.
Read more here >> http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1093/generations-online .

Friday, March 6, 2009

Recommended Reads: Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time

In 1993, a lost and drifting Greg Mortenson headed to the mountains of Pakistan to do the only thing that he knew gave him any purpose in life: climb one of the world's most towering mountains, K2. After a failed attempt, Greg found himself disappointed, exhausted, and disoriented in the norhtern Pakistan countryside. Helpless and wandering, he wound up in a small Pakistani tribal village. Although many of the villagers had never seen an American before (and a pale skinned, blonde headed one at that), they welcomed him with open arms and nursed him back to health. With wellness came clarity and Greg knew that his life had forever been changed by the kindness and humbleness of the people of Korphe. He saw the simple lives that they lead but the desperation that they had for more. They weren't greedy by any means; they simply wanted a proper school for their children. They yearned for education and a way to protect their sons and daughters from being brainwashed by the extremist Muslim instituitions that seemed like the only form of education available. While they too were devout Muslims, the villagers of Korphe knew there was a better way to live out their faith. Mortenson knew it too and also saw education as the answer. Before he left the village of Korphe, he promised the people that he would return someday to build them a school...Mortenson kept his promise and the Korphe School was completed in 1996. That was not the end, however; Greg's promise became a vision and his vision became a campaign to improve the lives of Pakistani and Afghani children forever.

A real-life adventure of compassion, this book will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. No matter what your political, religious, cultural, etc. beliefs are, this book will have you sharing a cup of tea with your neighbor and believing that if we just give each other a chance and work together, peace can happen in even the most desolate parts of the world.

-Carrie L. Boyd, intern and book lover

You can find this book on Homewood's shelves
in the Adult Non-Fiction department:
371.822 Mor
Request it online from JCLC

Also, check out the reading guide,
created by Mortenson himself

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Alabama Author Gin Phillips Wins Award

Gin Phillips, an Alabama author, has won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for The Well and the Mine

The Discover Awards honor the works of exceptionally talented writers featured in the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" program during the previous year. In 2008, the Discover Great New Writers program featured the work of 63 previously unheralded fiction and non-fiction writers. --from Reuters website

"The Well and the Mine is an enthralling book, enthralling in the best way, without a whiff of showoffy pyrotechnics or earnest sentimentality. Like Willa Cather's, Phillips' language is deep, clear, strong, and true; and her characters are at once interestingly familiar, human, refreshingly strange, and complex. The novel's structure is deceptively sophisticated -- the narrative flow is so compelling, it almost obscures the subtle technical skill that went into its making. The Well and the Mine is pure pleasure to read, and achieves the quietest but most rewarding of literary endeavors: a good story, well told. Gin Phillips is truly a great new American writer." ~Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man --from Barnes & Noble website

Gin Phillips will be at the Author Award Luncheon at the ALLA (Ala. Library Assoc.) conference in April! You can reserve her book in the catalog.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington

Here is the ultimate dictionary of Big Mama saying not to chase the chickens, or they won't lay eggs. But I'm the chicken-chasing queen! I've got to chase after my favorite, Miss Hen, no matter where she goes. Her feathers are shiny and she's plump, but fast as lightening. Will I catch her? You'll have to wait and see! 

Reserve The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington in our catalog.

~Ms. Christina

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Libraries See Upturn in Midst of Economic Downturn

"The economic downturn has libraries around the nation reporting higher traffic numbers. Some use library computers to search for jobs, officials say." ~al.com

Read the article, Birmingham area libraries see big upturn in activity in face of economic downturn on al.com including information from Homewood Public Library, Emmet O'Neal Library, the 19 member libraries of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, and the Alabama Public Library Service.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mozilla Firefox "Foxmarks" Bookmarks Organizer

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, once stated that his mission was "a computer on every desk and in every home". His dream has been realized three and four times over. I currently use 2 computers at work, a desktop at home, and a laptop, so usually I'm never far away from 1 of 4 computers at any given time.

The problem with this is that I can never get all my computers "synced" with the same programs, browers, music, bookmarks, pictures, etc.

Mozilla's popular Firefox browser has solved the browser and bookmarks problem with its "Foxmarks" add-on.

Simply google "foxmarks". You will have to download and install the Foxmarks software on each computer you use. Once installed, you will be prompted to register a Foxmarks username and password, then Foxmarks instantly syncs your browser's bookmarks on whatever computer you're using at the time, which is wonderful if you like one-click access to websites you use numerous times daily, and if you decide to delete or add bookmarks, Foxmarks will automatically sync those changes on your other computers.


Homewood Teens on goodreads

The Teen Dept. is using goodreads.com www.goodreads.com/homewoodteens to list what teen books Ms. Heather has read (or is reading, or wants to read) and what she thinks of them. So if you're in need of a good read, check out her suggestions! And don't forget to check out their blog, Homewood Teens Know Books, at homewoodteens.blogspot.com for suggestions by other teens!