Monday, August 31, 2009

Have Some Fines Waived … Feed the Needy … Get a New Library Card!

If you’re looking for a bargain, then look no further. During the month of September, the Homewood Public Library will once again take part in the Food for Fines Drive. The Library will waive $1 in late fees for each canned good donated up to $10 per library card. We will not accept any canned goods without an expiration date or those that are expired.

If that’s not a bargain, we’ve got something else for you. Also during September, we will give you a chance to exchange that old worn out card for a brand new one at no charge. This does not apply to cards that have been lost. You must present your old card to receive a new card.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher

This story illustrates how WWII turned life upside down for many people- including those waiting here for loved ones fighting somewhere in the world, either North Africa or England, Europe or the Pacific.

Margo and Dottie, Lucy (Anderson) and Penelope worked at Gowen Field in a defense plant. They rode a bus together, worked together and ate lunch together as they formed supportive relationships. Margo's son, Greg, was fighting somewhere in the world. Dottie and Greg were engaged. What Margo did not know, yet, was that Greg fathered Dottie's child before going to war. Lucy's husband, Richard, is also fighting somewhere and Lucy is more lonely than she realizes. When the owner of the grocery market innocently approached Lucy about becoming friends, things got out of hand. Penelope sees her friends and total strangers doing their part for the war effort either fighting or rationing or collecting things like rubber. Her husband, Stewart, is home with a hurting back. He is not even working at a defense plant. Penelope wonders if his back is really hurt or if he is a coward. Pen is very frustrated with him, the children and her life. These four friends have each other for support but is that enough? Communicating with their loved ones is difficult knowing the censors will be reading very private messages. And some things may be better left unsaid in a letter anyway. Margo, Dottie and Lucy were feeling their way, doing what they could to survive and keep hope alive. Pen was more lost in her feelings and behavior. But they were all friends and so they tried to help each other as much as possible.

R.I.P. Challenge!

The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge is simple: Click the link to read about the challenge and sign up, then read four books in any of the spooky genres (mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural, etc.) by October 31st. When you're done, write a review for each. If you have a blog, post the books you plan to read and your reviews when you're done. If you don't blog, our library catalog has a great feature that lets you post your review for anyone to read. You could also post the reviews on Facebook, MySpace, or another social networking site.

I've officially entered the challenge, and I'm a total horror wimp. I'm also the Teen Librarian, so I've chosen the following Teen titles:
Hell Phone by William Sleator
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austen
The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Stay tuned for my reviews!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Will Survive! Stories about teens surviving on their own in extreme circumstances

These are just some of the teen survival books we're highlighting in September. If you're interested, reserve them in the catalog by clicking the title/author.
Apocalypse by Tim Bowler 15-year-old Kit & his parents must ground their sinking sailboat on a rocky island inhabited by a primitive sect who believe the stranded family has been sent by the devil. And will they be able to escape the islanders, who clearly want to kill Kit? An ordinary teenage boy faces a world filled with malice in this eerie, haunting thriller.
Death Mountain by Sherry Shahan While traveling to visit the mother she has not heard from in almost a year, Erin & another teenage girl become lost in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains & must struggle for six days to survive. 
Exodus by Julie Bertagna In the year 2100, as the island of Wing is about to be covered by water, 15-year-old Mara discovers the existence of New World sky cities that are safe from the storms & rising waters, & convinces her people to travel to one of these cities in order to save themselves. Sequel: Zenith .
Footprints in Time by Petru Popescu While Jack is visiting his father, a research scientist in Tanzania, their plane goes down over the savanna, killing everyone but Jack, who meets a mysterious creature who helps him survive.
Gone by Michael Grant In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of 14 suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not. Sequel: Hunger .
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Sequel: The Dead & the Gone.

Teen Dept. 205.332.6624

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Britannica Webinars for Alabama Parents Sept. 16

Attention Alabama Parents! Learn all about Britannica Online materials available to you courtesy of AVL! The 45-minute webinars will be held on September 16, 2009, and following are the titles:

  5-5:45 AVL / Early Childhood Resources for Parents, PreK to 2nd Grade
  6-6:45 AVL / Britannica Online Resources for Parents, Grades 3-5

Additional information is available at 


Defiance is based on the true story of the Bielski brothers, Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George Mackay). The Jewish brothers supposedly led a shady life before WWII and those skills come in handy in 1941, when the Nazis and their local collaborators start rounding up Jews in Belarussia. The Bielskis lose most of their family, but these four brothers escape into the forest, only to find other Jewish refugees there also. Tuvia and Zus end up defacto leaders of this ragged group, trying to find food and shelter and keep everyone safe from Nazi patrols, but the brothers don't always agree on how that should be done. Eventually they part, Zus joining a Russian partisan group and Tuvia staying with the ever growing refugee camp, but each in their own way, resisting the Nazis and the trying to keep their humanity amidst horrendous times.

I especially liked how the refugees were portrayed as humans, not saints, with understandable flaws and social baggage. They espouse the idea of community, but they have to struggle, just as hard as they do against the Nazis, to attain that lofty goal. And they do not always succeed. But they also have moments of wonderful humanity, sharing and love -- and overall, an amazing will to live, not just survive. And that's what makes Defiance an inspirational movie, rather than a depressing one.

Liev Schreiber, as usual, does a fantastic job playing Zus. If you are a fan of Daniel Craig's sharp dressed, coolly competent James Bond, then you might not like his turn as Tuvia Bielski, a Jewish resistance fighter in WWII. He spends most of the movie in the woods, unkempt, unshaven, and uncertain about his role as leader of the hidden Jewish refugee camp. And yet, I think this is one of his most moving roles yet and definitely worth checking out.

Reserve your copy of the DVD.
Reserve your copy of the book by Nechama Tec this movie is based on.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We've Got Children's "Books Made Into Movies"

These are some books that we also have on DVD or are about to be released as movies in the theatre. Check our website for more suggestions.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett - In the town of Chewandswallow, they do not have any grocery stores. Their weather is different from our own, and the sky provides all of their food! The townspeople are used to rain made of juice, snow made of mashed potatoes, and hotdogs falling from above. This was all great until one day when the weather shifted, only bringing food that was too gross or too big to eat. The people of Chewandswallow knew they needed to do something, but what? ~Ms. Dona
Matilda by Roald Dahl - Matilda Wormwood loves to read, but her parents care more about television than books. She goes to the library anyway and reads all of the books there! The headmistress at Matilda's school, Miss Trunchbull, is a tyrant. She believes that intimidation is the best policy. Meanwhile, Matilda has discovered that she has a very special talent, which she confides to a kind teacher named Miss Honey. ~Ms. Sara
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien - Mrs. Frisby is a little mouse with a big problem. She needs to help her sick son get away from the farmer's spring plow. She asks the rats that live under the rosebush for help only to discover strange truths about these rats. The rats knew her husband because they were all animals in a lab, subject to tests that made them much smarter than normal animals. Then the farmer calls exterminators to cure the rat problem, and it is up to Mrs. Frisby to help them as best as she can. ~Ms. Laurie
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt - Winnie Foster flees her stuffy, privileged life by running into the woods. There she meets the kind but peculiar Tuck family. By drinking water from a magic spring, they all have gained the power to live forever. This immortality comes with a price though. The Tuck family is forced to live in hiding. They offer Winnie water from the spring. She is forced to choose either an everlasting life in isolation or a normal life back home. ~Ms. Becky

Monday, August 24, 2009

Organizing Music, Podcasts, & Audiobooks in iTunes

I use my iPod most every day in three distinct ways. When I run or bike, I want my iPod set to shuffle through random songs. When I’m working, I listen to technology related podcasts in chronological order. Commuting to work in the morning can sometimes take up to an hour, and then I usually put on an audiobook to pass the time, and I want my audiobook to hold its place when I turn my iPod off, and pick back up in the same spot when I want to listen again.

The problem with these three uses is that by default, iTunes treats all these media in the same way. If I set my iPod to shuffle, I’ll get random songs, then all of a sudden shuffle to an hour long podcast. To get back to music I’ll have to concentrate on taking the player out of the armband, and fiddling with the click wheel to skip the podcast or navigate back to the music menu, which is not very safe if you’re biking on a public road. I’ve also invested three or four hours in an audiobook, my battery run out, then when I go back to my book it starts at the beginning, and I have to click forward trying to figure out where I left off.

So I finally took the time to learn to configure iTunes to treat all my media differently.


I leave my music albums in their default settings, which iTunes will play sequentially or in shuffle mode.


If you don’t want your podcasts popping up in your shuffle mode RIGHT CLICK on the title of one of your podcasts in the iTunes podcasts menu. This will bring up a menu and you’ll click on “GET INFO”.

Click on the fourth tab from the left labeled OPTIONS.

The third checkbox is labeled MEDIA KIND. You can categorize your podcast in two ways. If the dropdown menu shows MUSIC, your podcast will start from the beginning each time you play it. If you’d prefer iTunes to hold the podcast’s place if you have to stop listening and pick up later, click the dropdown arrow and choose AUDIOBOOK, then in the fifth checkbox(REMEMBER POSITION) choose YES.

To keep your podcasts out of your shuffle mode, check the fifth checkbox(SKIP WHEN SHUFFLING) and choose YES in the dropdown menu. iTunes will now skip all podcasts when shuffling your music.

Repeat the same steps for your audiobooks and iTunes will automatically tag and sync your media to your iPod with your new settings.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Mice Are Nice, written and read by Charles Ghigna a.k.a. Father Goose

Father Goose reads one of our favorite children's books from his "tree house" office in Homewood, AL.

Charles Ghigna's "Magic Tree House" Virtual Tour

Mr. Ghigna takes us on a virtual tour of his office -- what he likes to call his "Magic Tree House". Thanks, Mr. Ghigna, for showing us where the magic happens! Mr. Ghigna is a nationally published local Homewood, AL author and visits the library quite often.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Winning Rock Band @ the Teen Finale '09

These are the four individuals who won the Rock Band Tourny. We put them all together to form the Winning Band! Prizes were awarded to the winners!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are you ready for the Tasty Reads Book Group?!

Tasty Reads Book Group
Second Tuesday of the month
6:30 - 8 pm
Lucretia M. Somers Boardroom

We enjoy refreshments described in or related to the foods in the books we discuss! Click below to reserve your book in the catalog and come join us.

Is social media a fad?

Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tailgate with techno-horror author Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler, best selling author of Infected and one of the pioneers of podcasting books direct to his audience is planning a book tour/tailgate of a different stripe for his mainstream release of his novel The Rookie. His plan is to stop in a number of cities on his way home after Dragon Con in Atlanta and the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area is first up. He is only going to stop if he can get enough people to confirm for the event.

The event will be held in a family friendly sports bar with a short reading, a discussion and then grab a bite to eat with Pope Siglericus XXX.

If you are not familiar with Scott's work, you can download free podcasts of his work from Itunes and the library has copies of Infected and Contagious for checkout.

Scott writes techno-horror and his novels will drag you in and I have not been able to put down any one of the ones I have read.

Check out the link to sign up for the Tailgate with Scott Sigler at Eventful.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Stars for a Light Cheney Duvall, M.D. #1 by Lynn and Gilbert Morris

Cheney Duvall graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Women's Medical College which was the end and the beginning of her long road to becoming a doctor. Now she would secure a position and be a good doctor. But this was in a day when women were accepted as nurses but not usually as doctors. When Asa Mercer arranged to take a large group of single women to Seattle he needed to hire a physician. He met Cheney and was delighted to hire her as a doctor for the women and as chaperon, too. The ship left New York and would sail to Havana, Panama City, San Francisco and finally Seattle. They were barely underway when many women were laid low by sea sickness. This included Dr. Duvall. Her male nurse, Shiloh, was a great help as he was not affected by the motion of the ship and sea. The voyage was a time to truly get to know each other on board since they were "captive" in a small area floating on the waves. Not only was there sickness of the body which Dr. Duvall did her best to treat, greed and jealousy were major problems. Even the Pinkertons and Panamanian guerrilla forces were involved in the journey to the newly settled west called Seattle. Cheney set out to be a good doctor for the women and then return home in six months. She learned that one never knows what will happen next.