Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Hop, Skip and a Jump Through the Bible by J. Ellsworth Kalas

At first this appears to be a survey course of the Bible with quick descriptions of each book. Dr. Kalas has gone beyond describing each book and ties them together. He begins by talking about why the Bible was written and discusses the plot which begins before Genesis and runs through the Old Testament, the intertestamental period and through the New Testament. As he explains the content of each book he includes explanations about the types of literature and features that help the reader to better understand and appreciate the meaning such as repeated or parallel phrases in The Psalms. Also for each book he explains how it continues the plot line God has revealed to us. Dr. Kalas talks to us about God and His Love for us and His revelation to us. Whether the Bible is a new adventure or an old friend to the reader this book gives a fresh perspective to an ongoing story.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Microsoft Office 2007 Update

Microsoft has just released a compatibility pack for Office 2007 and Office 2007 Service Pack 2. SP2 includes all updates and security patches released to this point. Run Windows Update from the Start Menu, or go to to download.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

I am not a Stephen King fan. Though I follow this with saying that I really enjoyed The Eye of the Dragon, a fantasy published in 1987. When a friend suggested that I read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, I resisted. But I gave in eventually...

Trisha is 9-years-old. She has one brother, Pete, aged 14, and her parents are divorced. Her mom has moved Trisha and Pete to Maine, and Pete is being a teenaged pain about it. He and Mom argue constantly. Trisha feels like her parents might as well have stayed married, since the arguing around the house hasn't decreased at all, just changed players. Arguing is what Mom and Pete were doing when Trisha went off the hiking trail to find a private place to use the bathroom. And they kept arguing long after Trisha realized that she was lost. As night fell she thought she felt something watching her. Over the course of the next few days she found traces of whatever was watching. Signs that it was tracking her. Waiting for her fear to ripen her. Waiting for her to stop. But as fever wracks Trish's tiny body; as she dehydrates and starves; she refused to just lie down and give up. She looks to an imaginary Tom Gordon to guide her through the swamps and back to civilization, and to impart the secret of how to close.

This was an entertaining wilderness survival story, and I liked that the main character was a strong female. My only problem was that her vocab, reasoning and decision making was not that of a 9-yr.-old. It would have been a bit more believable if she had been 12 or so. But, all in all, a good read.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Storm Front: Book One of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to actually read the books people recommended to me (usually, I just smile, nod, and disregard). Recently two of the 7th grade English teachers up at Homewood Middle School recommended the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. In fact, they RAVED about the books. So I picked upthe first book, Storm Front, and started to read…
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a wizard working out of an office in Chicago. He’s a finder of lost things, investigator of the paranormal, and, as far as he knows, the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. He also does some consulting work for the police. And this next case is a doozy – two victims, one male and one female, murdered when their still-beating hearts were thaumaturgically pulled out of their chests. One victim is a high-priced call girl working for Bianca, the local vampire Madam. The other is a friend and bodyguard of Johnnie Marcone, the current head of Chicago’s organized crime. Finding out who-done-it will take all of Harry’s power and deductive reasoning…and even that may not be enough to keep Harry alive when the killer decides to get rid of the meddling busybody on his trail.
Combining a well-plotted detective story with lots of supernatural action and a sarcastic pain-in-the-rear protagonist, Storm Front will thrill fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison. There are currently eleven books in the series, and hopefully many more to come.

Antiques to Die For (A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery) by Jane K. Cleland

Josie's antiques and appraisal business was doing great in this small coastal town. Life was good and Josie was in love with the police chief, Ty. Then her good friend Rosalie was murdered. Certainly someone so young did not expect to leave her twelve year old sister, Paige, so soon. Josie is doing what she can to help Paige through those difficult early days of shock and loss. She has been hired to appraise the estate and find the treasure Rosalie had alluded to-a nest egg for Paige. But what is it and where can she find it? Rosalie's secret admirer and maybe the murderer has become Josie's stalker, too. Though Josie was close to Ty , she did not know she would become so well acquainted with the other officers. They have become her escorts until the case is solved and most everyone can relax. For some reason there was a rift in Paige's family and it looks as though she will live with Rodney's family in California and she has only heard disparaging comments about them. Also, someone learned about Rosalie's dissertation and was interested in making it their own. When did all these supposed friends become so despicable? Who can Josie trust as she helps the police tie all this together to solve several mysteries?

Portrait of a Middle Schooler

We are featuring Homewood Middle School in our Art Gallery during April. The Portrait of a Middle Schooler exhibit includes self portraits and other pieces created by the art students of Homewood Middle School. Eric Swope is the Art Teacher. See them at HomewoodPix @ flickr.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Less Cluttered Desktop With QuickLaunch

Usually anytime you install new software, you're presented with the option to "create a desktop icon" during installation. As you add more programs your desktop can become cluttered and covered with icons, which make finding the icon you need a little harder, and it covers up that perfect picture of Myrtle Beach you combed Google for for two hours to use as wallpaper (ok maybe that's just me).

A good way to cut down on icons is to use the QuickLaunch option on your taskbar. With QuickLaunch you can choose the programs you use most often, and create shortcuts on your taskbar instead of your desktop.

Let's say the first thing you do when you sit down at your machine is open Internet Explorer. Instead of clicking your desktop icon, or clicking START then finding Internet Explorer in your programs list, we're going to move Internet Explorer to the taskbar as a QuickLaunch button.

First, right click on your taskbar. This will bring up a menu. Make sure that there is not a checkmark next to "LOCK THE TASKBAR".

Next, click and drag your Internet Explorer icon onto the taskbar. You should now see the IE icon next to your start button. From now on you can launch IE by clicking the QuickLaunch button on your taskbar. Creating QuickLaunch buttons for your favorite programs eliminates the need for a desktop icon,and allows faster access to your most often used programs.


The Children's Dept. is reading more funny books this month...

We're reading more funny books during April! Click them below to reserve in the catalog!

Sleepover Larry by Daniel Pinkwater - Larry the polar bear lives with the Frobisher family at the Hotel Larry, which is named in his honor. One day Larry decides to invite the polar bears from the zoo, including his brother Roy, for a sleepover. Now it's time for blueberry & codfish pizza, dancing, and lots more fun! ~Ms. Becky

Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look -
Alvin Ho is afraid of everything - elevators, girls, and especially school. In fact, Alvin is so scared at school that he never, ever, says a word. But at home he's a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad. ~Ms. Laurie

School Is Falling Down by Louis Sacher
The kids from Mrs. Jewls's class on the 30 th story of Wayside School are back, and this time things are even weirder than before! This time there's a new kid, a trip to the 19 th story, and even a dead rat! After all that happens in these wacky stories, Wayside School will never be the same! ~Ms. Christina

Knock, Knock!
by Saxton Freymann & Friends -
Knock, knock! Who's there? Doris. Doris who? Door is open, so come on in… and get ready for a collection of side-splitting jokes by some of your favorite children's book illustrators! There are fourteen jokes in all, and each one has a funny picture to go with it. ~Ms. Sara

Big Max by Kin Platt - The King of Pooka Pooka needs help finding Jumbo, his missing elephant. No one is better for the job than the world's greatest detective, Big Max! Armed with his umbrella and magnifying glass, Max and the King uncover all sorts of clues. Will they ever find the missing elephant? ~Ms. Heather

Bunny Money
by Rosemary Wells
- It is Grandma's birthday so Max and Ruby are headed to town to buy gifts. As usual Ruby has everything planned out, but Max has his own ideas. When Max makes a mess, the money starts disappearing fast. What will they be able to get for Grandma's birthday? ~Ms. Candice

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Secret (Seasons of Grace, book one) by Beverly Lewis

Judah Byler is an Amish sheep farmer. He and Lettie are the parents of Adam, Joe, Grace and Mandy. Lettie's parents live under the same roof but in their own side of the house. Each person knows their jobs and they do them which makes for harmonious living. But lately Lettie has been restless and has even been seen walking the roads and pastures during the night. She hasn't told anyone what is bothering her. Judah is busy day and night caring for the ewes and new lambs. Grace is of courting age and often attends the singings on Sunday evenings. One day Lettie talked to Grace about Henry. She just wanted Grace to think now what married life to such a quiet man would be. The next evening Henry proposed to Grace and she accepted. That very night Grace saw her mother leaving with a suitcase and she wouldn't stop when Grace called out to her. Where was she going and why? Later Grace found the letter Lettie had left her. Judah read it, too. The contents of that letter really did not help the family. As the community learned of Lettie's absence the rumors began to fly. How many people are hurt by the actions of one?

In a city far removed from Amish country lives Heather, a successful woman who has received devastating news from her doctor. Instead of following the prescribed treatment she has decided to take a lengthy vacation at an Amish bed and breakfast run by a neighbor of the Bylers. She hopes an alternative treatment will heal her and being in this peaceful setting is already helping her spirit.

Homewood Public Library Earns Highest Distinction - A Blue Ribbon Award

Gov. Bob Riley presented Homewood Public Library a letter and certificate of recognition for earning a Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Library Service. In order to receive this award, a library must meet or exceed more than seventy specifications based on the population of the city or county that established the library. To date, only nine libraries in Alabama have received this award. The award was presented by the Public Library Division of the Alabama Library Association. Read Gov. Riley's letter and Gov. Riley's Certificate of Recognition.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Foxmarks upgrades to Xmarks!

Foxmarks Update
If you use Mozilla Firefox's "Foxmarks" add-on, which synchronizes your bookmarks and favorites across multiple computers, make sure and update to the new version, Xmarks.

Foxmarks has changed its name to Xmarks, because now you can run the browser syncing program on IE8, Firefox, and Safari.

Get the install at


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Backing Up Your Work with Autosave in Office 2007

I was helping a college student a few days ago with a resume on which she'd spent several hours working. As Murphy's Law would have it, there was a total power flicker, only for a few seconds, but she lost all that work and had to start from scratch.

A great way of avoiding this kind of headache is to take advantage of the "autosave" feature in Microsoft Office 2007. With autosave you can configure Office to automatically save your projects as you create and edit them, without any extra effort from you.

From your document window, look to the top left corner of your screen, and you'll find the Microsoft Office button. Click once and you'll get a drop down menu. At the bottom right of your menu you will see a rectangular button labeled WORD OPTIONS.

Clicking WORD OPTIONS will open the word options window. In the menu on the left of the window click SAVE, this opens up a menu allowing you to configure all save options for Office 2007.

Near the top of the window you will see a checkbox with "Save Auto Recover Information" and a number box to the right. For example, if you enter a "5" into the number box, Office will automatically save your document every 5 minutes. So every five minutes, Office will save any changes or additions to your document automatically at that point.

Just below the Save Auto Recover Information line, you will see AUTO RECOVER FILE LOCATION. This location is where Office will auto save your files and where you would find your files should your computer crash, Office freeze up, or you accidentally close your document without saving.

You will see that the default "Auto Recover File Location" is located on a folder on the "C" or main hard drive. You can choose any folder, or create your own folder for the auto save location, or you may want to click the BROWSE button to the right to save to an external hard drive or usb drive, just in case a serious error on your hard drive occurs.


New! Kids Catalog (Just for Kids)

Try our new Kids Catalog - a catalog especially for kids! Click the graphic and visit a place where kids can find just about anything they're interested in ------------>

Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman

Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman - Here is a hilarious collection of poems sure to tickle your funny bone. This book has tons of zany pictures, too! There's “Old Ned” with a horse on his head, “Walter Lackwards” whose head is on backwards, and many more! 

~Ms. Dona, Children's Dept. Head

Tasty Reads Book Group Meets April 14th

We will be discussing Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews.

Join us for food and fun! 

6:30 - 8 pm in the Lucretia M. Somers Boardroom

We enjoy refreshments described in or related to the foods in the books we discuss! 

Call 205.332.6620 for more info.

See you here!

Dennis Nichols Voted Alabama Library Association President

Congratulations to Dennis Nichols, Head of the Adult Services Department at Homewood Public Library, who was voted President of the Alabama Library Association. The association is composed of members from all types of libraries in the state including public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries and college, university, and special (law, medical, business, etc.) libraries.

He began his three-year commitment in April 2008, during the annual Alabama Library Association state convention held in Birmingham. He served as President-elect for one year and assumes the office of President this week. 

In April 2010, he will become Past President, a position he will hold until April 2011. During the three-year period, he will be a voting member of the Executive Council of the Alabama Library Association.

Go Dennis!

Monday, April 6, 2009


The following books are scheduled to be released during April.
Reserve your favorites in the catalog today by clicking the links below!
(release dates subject to change by publisher)

The 8th Confession by James Patterson



(Jefferson County, Alabama) – National Library week is celebrating 50 years, as our public libraries countywide celebrate 30 years of cooperation. Due to the  current recession, libraries have been in the national and local news more than ever.

Since August, more than 400 articles on the surge in library use have been published nationwide in magazines, newspapers, and on web sites.

CBS Nightly News, Feb. 2009 reported: “Libraries are becoming the ‘hot spot’ for just about everyone.”

“HOT” library uses right now include assistance with job searches, filling out online job applications, and creating email accounts for perspective employees.  A recent Birmingham News (March 29, 2009) article told the story of a woman who was laid off and had to discontinue her internet connection so she visits her local library daily to perform job searches.

Katie Couric, Dec. 2008, reported that: “Americans are saving money, and keeping the looming recession at bay, by going to their local libraries to rent books, CDs, and DVD’s.”, Feb. 2, 2009: “Business Brisk at Area Libraries: In bad times, free resources are a hot commodity.”

Jefferson County libraries have become hot spots also.
In 2008 …………
  • Over one half of Jefferson County residents had a library card
  • Jefferson County residents checked out over 5 million items
  • The 39 libraries of Jefferson County owned nearly 2 million items 
  • The staff countywide answered over 1 million reference questions 
  • Nearly 4 million residents used Jefferson County library databases remotely 
  • Nearly 4.5 million people visited the 39 public libraries in Jefferson County 
  • Jefferson County libraries had 599 public PCs countywide that last year had nearly 400,000 users and made 1.6 million internet searches 
Thanks to our funding partners - - The cities of Jefferson County that fund their local libraries; the Jefferson County Commission; and funding from the Alabama State Legislature - - residents of Jefferson County have world-class library service to help them weather this economic storm.

Your local public library is a tremendous public resource.  Public libraries continue to be the best bargain in town. Visit any of the 39 public libraries in Jefferson County and rediscover your local library!

Pat Ryan
Jefferson County Library Cooperative

Friday, April 3, 2009

GottaBook: Charles Ghigna - A Poem Is...

This is a re-blog from our extra-special hometown poet and children's author, Charles Ghigna, who is just as nice and humble and friendly and he is TALENTED! Enjoy!

GottaBook: Charles Ghigna - A Poem Is...

Jonesing for some new movies?

Try some of these movies:

Slumdog Millionaire (Rated R) - Starring: Dev Patel and Freida Pinto - Mumbai's Police Sergeant Srinivas and his Superior detain and interrogate a suspect by the name of Jamal Malik, who they suspect of cheating a popular Indian TV game show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire). They have evidence that Jamal has had no formal education and was a career-thief as a youngster, and are determined to find out how he knew the answers using any method possible....even torture.

Seven Pounds (Rated PG-13) - Starring: Will Smith - Haunted by a secret, Ben Thomas looks for redemption by radically transforming the lives of seven people he doesn't know. Once his plan is set, nothing will be able to stop him. At least that's what he thinks. But Ben hadn't planned on falling in love with one of these people and she's the one who will end up transforming him.

Marley & Me (Rated PG) - Starring: Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston - After their wedding, newspaper writers John and Jennifer Grogan move to Florida. In an attempt to stall Jennifer's "biological clock", John gives her a puppy. While the puppy Marley grows into a 100 pound dog, he loses none of his puppy energy or rambunctiousness. Meanwhile, Marley gains no self-discipline. Marley's antics give John rich material for his newspaper column. As the Grogans mature and have children of their own, Marley continues to test everyone's patience by acting like the world's most impulsive dog.

Twilight (Rated PG-13) - Starring: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson - Bella Swan is a clumsy, kind hearted teenager with a knack for getting into trouble. Edward Cullen is an intelligent, good looking vampire who is trying to hide his secret. Against all odds, the two fall in love but will a pack of blood thirsty trackers and the disapproval of their family and friends separate them?

Bolt (Rated PG) - Voice Acting by: John Travolta and Miley Cyrus - Bolt tells the story a dog who plays a heroic dog in a hit TV show and has some trouble recognizing that he doesn't even have superpowers. This becomes something of a hindrance when he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City. From there he has to make his way home with the help of a manky old cat and an overweight hamster in a plastic ball.

Body of Lies (Rated R) - Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe - United State's Central Intelligence Agency's Middle East Representative, Roger Ferris, is based in Amman, Jordan, and is keeping a watch on a 'safe house' and believes it to be frequented by young Muslim males. He has information that Al Saleem may be behind terrorist attacks, but lacks any evidence to apprehend him or any of his associates. His plan to implicate Dubai-based Architect, Omar Sadiki, not only fails, his Iranian girlfriend, Aisha, gets abducted, and he must decide whether to surrender himself to her abductors to negotiate her release or leave her to their mercy.

Changeling (Rated R) - Starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich - Los Angeles, 1928. A single mother returns from work to find her nine-year-old son gone. She calls the LAPD to initiate a search. Five months later, a boy is found in Illinois who fits the description; he says he's her son. To fanfare and photos, the LAPD reunite mother and son, but she insists he's not her boy. The cops dismiss her as either a liar or hysterical. When she joins a minister in his public criticism of the police, they in turn use government power to silence and intimidate her. Meanwhile, a cop goes to a dilapidated ranch to find a Canadian lad who's without legal status; the youth tells a grisly tale. There's redress for murder; is there redress for abuse of power?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Looking for a funny children's book?

We are reading funny books in the Children's Dept. during April. You can find all these @ our library or reserve them in the catalog! Drop by some time!

The Great Montefiasco by Colin Thompson

Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish

The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka

Jake Drake, Class Clown by Andrew Clements

You Must Be Joking: Lots of Cool Jokes by Paul Brewer

My Weird School books by Dan Gutman

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Big Chickens Fly the Coop by Leslie Helakoski

Greatest Jokes On Earth by Matt Rissinger

Baseball Jokes and Riddles by Matt Christopher

George and Martha books by James Marshall

Geraldine and Mrs. Duffy by Holly Keller

The Silly Book by Stuart E. Hample

Doctor Ted by Andrea Beaty

Bug Jokes by Hugh Moore

That New Animal by Emily Jenkins

Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

HPL Children's Dept.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Terrific Teen Reads for Adults

Since the phenomenons of Twilight and Harry Potter, many adults have been turned on to the plethora of well-written fiction published for teens. Teen books typically have tightly woven plots that move quickly, as well as excellent stories and character development. Here is a short list of teen books that adults may also enjoy. Click the links to reserve in the catalog:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
After the mutant Erasers abduct the youngest member of their group, the "birdkids," who are the result of genetic experimentation, take off in pursuit and find themselves struggling to understand their own origins and purpose.

Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes "Puppy" to a pair of "Dogs," as the Provost's Guards are called, she uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall's Lower City. Note: The audiobook version of this title is excellent!

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. Note: This is another fabulous audiobook!

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected.