Saturday, February 27, 2010

Best Free Software of 2009

PCMag lists the best free software of 2009, and provides links to download.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper

As a vampire fan and former Children's Librarian (now Teen Librarian) I could not resist this book. Jane Jameson is the Children's Librarian in her hometown of Half Moon Hollow (and yes, it's as small and redneck as it sounds). The library director, a mean and spiteful woman, seizes upon budget cuts as a way to get rid of Jane and fires her. As severance, Jane is given a $25 gift certificate to Shenanigan's and a coupon for their free potato skins appetizer. Jane proceeds to Shenanigan's and spends her severance on alcoholic beverages, then starts a tab.

On her way home that evening, after sobering up with generous lashings of black coffee, Jane's dilapidated station wagon dies. Jane starts the long walk home, stumbling and falling in the mud. A drunken hunter, also on his way home, sees Jane and mistakes her for a deer - and shoots her. Luckily for Jane, the charming, witty, handsome man who flirted with her at Shenanigan's has also followed her home. And extra luckily, he's a vampire willing to turn her.

What follows is a hilarious story about Jane and her new unlife. Though similar to the Sookie Stackhouse novels in premise (vamps are out and drinking synthetic blood, werewolves are not, etc.) this book is far more comedic. Don't look for drama in this book, but do be prepared to laugh-out-loud.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fifth Annual Alabama Book Festival is Set for April 17, 2010

The Alabama Book Festival is coming! Join the more than 4,000 people in Montgomery on April 17th to meet your favorite authors! And it's FREE!

April 17, 2010

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Historic downtown Montgomery at Old Alabama Town

Free Admission
- website
- blog

The fifth annual Alabama Book Festival will be held in historic downtown Montgomery at Old Alabama Town on April 17, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free public event is the state’s premier book festival—with more than 4,000 people from around the state converging in the capital to meet with and hear from their favorite authors and scholars. A children’s activity area organized by Alabama Public Television is sure to make this a day of fun for the entire family. From children’s authors like Homewood's own Charles “Father Goose” Ghigna to adult favorites like Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, the 2010 event will continue the festival’s tradition of promoting reading and literacy to Alabamians of all ages and backgrounds.

The festival's planning committee is still confirming the list of authors who will participate in the event. Here's a partial list of who has been signed so far: 

    * Rick Bragg, “The Most They Ever Had”
    * Sharon Davies, “Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America”
    * Foster Dickson, “The Life and Poetry of John Beecher”
    * Frye Gaillard, “Civil Rights Guide Book”
    * Rheta Grimsley Johnson, “Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming: A Memoir”
    * Charlie Lucas, “Tin Man: Charlie Lucas”
    * David Magee and Philip Shirley, “Sweet Spot: 125 Years of Baseball and the Louisville Slugger”

    * Sonny Brewer, “The Widow and the Tree”
    * Kirk Curnutt, “Dixie Noir”
    * A.M. Garner, “Undeniable Truths”
    * Susan Gregg Gilmore, “Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen”

Young Adult and Children's Fiction
    * Charles Ghigna (Father Goose), “Snow Wonder”
    * Rachel Hawkins, “Hex Hall Book One”
    * Irene Latham, “Leaving Gee’s Bend”
    * Ginger Rue, “Brand New Emily”

    * Virginia Gilbert, “That Other Brightness”
    * Jennifer Horne, “Bottle Tree”
    * Mary Kaiser, “Falling into Velazquez”

    * Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn, “Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather”
    * Janis Owens, “The Cracker Kitchen”

Publishing Industry Professionals
    * Ron Hogan, GalleyCat and MediaBistro
    * Julie Schoerke, JKS Communications

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quick Image Resizing

Nowadays, it seems we all have just tons of pictures laying around on our hard drive. With the proliferation of higher resolution cameras, the file sizes have gotten pretty big, especially when we are trying to email those pictures or upload them to our social networking sites. Either the email recipient cannot receive large email attachments or it is taking way too long to upload those cute pictures of the dog licking the grandkids face and it is frustrating.

Resizing is the answer, but to do that we have to launch our photo-organizer/editing software, find the pictures one by one and then go into the proper section of the software and re-size the pictures. Another time consuming chore that takes time out of our already full day. There should be a faster way to do this and there is.

Back in the days of yore, Microsoft released Windows XP and along with it, a set of downloadable tools called PowerToys. One of the more useful PowerToys is the image resizer.

The way it works is pretty simple. After installing it, open up My Computer and go to the folder that you have your picture stored in. Right click on the picture and choose the resize picture option, choose the size that you want and click the OK button. It automatically copies the picture and resizes it while giving a new name. It leaves the original picture intact in its original size.

You can download the Windows XP PowerToy from here:

You can also find some other useful Windows XP PowerToys here:

Now what if you have a newer version of Windows, such as Vista or Windows 7? Well you are in luck, because someone decided to make a version that will work on the newer version of Windows.

You can find that version here:

Over the years, I have found that this PowerToy was well worth the time it takes to download and install. It has been a time saver, both professionally and personally and it is one of the first tools that I install on a new system. Give it a try and see if you agree.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Maid for Murder: A Squeaky Clean Charlotte LaRue mystery by Barbara Colley

Charlotte LaRue has owned a cleaning business for thirty years serving the Garden District in New Orleans. During this time she has acquired a reputation for excellent cleaning, punctuality and not sharing the family secrets of many of her wealthy clients. One of those families is the Dubuissons who own an amazing mansion and have employed Charlotte for years. She has seen their daughter, Anna-Maria, grow into a lovely young woman with a fiance and Jeanne Dubuisson's mother, Clarice St. Martin, grow old and show signs of senility. Needless to say, Charlotte was distressed when one evening Jeanne called Charlotte to come clean the room where her husband, Jackson, had been murdered. Of course, Charlotte did as requested for such a good friend and client. Then after she had done her usual excellent job of cleaning, the police informed her that they were not done with the crime scene and in fact had left crime scene tape around it. The tape was gone when Charlotte arrived. Why had Jeanne removed it and had the area cleaned? Charlotte had conflicting emotions about helping the police, including her detective niece, find Jackson's killer. Because the evidence might point at some of her clients. 

Reserve Maid for Murder: A Squeaky Clean Charlotte LaRue mystery by Barbara Colley in the catalog.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Romance is in the air! How about some new romance titles...with a twist?

NEW! Romance is in the air!

In February thoughts turn to hearts, cupids & Valentines, so we decided to share some recently published Romance titles…but these titles have a suspenseful twist! Download the list.

New Teen Titles are Coming Soon to Homewood Public Library!

NEW! Coming Soon!

Download some of the great titles
we’ve ordered for our Teen Department. They will be published this month, and you can put one on hold today and be the first to read it when it arrives! 
Call 205.332.6624.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ala. Library Assoc. Public Library Div. Midwinter Conference

Kathy is a Children and Youth Advocate, Vocal Advocate for the disabled and the aging population, works with incarcerated women, two-time Mrs. Alabama, and currently serving as Director of Governor Bob Riley’s “Connecting Alabama” project.

Over the last few years, Kathy Johnson has spoken to over 80,000 people. She is a wonderful motivational speaker who inspired and moved us with her own personal story. We learned that as librarians we can influence, impact and empower the people we serve. We were challenged to leave with a new found pride in our profession. To be inspired for 2010!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The statewide kickoff of The Big Read: Alabama Reads

Montgomery Advertiser's video of The Big Read: Alabama Reads Statewide Kickoff Tues. Feb. 2, 2010. Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom reads the prologue to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Tempest Tales by Walter Mosely

If someone told you to go to Hell would you go? What if that someone was St. Peter himself? Would you be bold enough to take a step back, look over your life, and decide, “Nope, I’m not going”.

That’s what the latest character in Walter Mosley’s novel does. Tempest Landry unexpectedly finds himself damned to hell for living the life of an unrepentant sinner. However, before descending to the bowels of the never regions he questions why he should be sentenced to Hell.

Tempest is sent back to earth with the Head Accounting Angel. It’s the Accounting Angel’s job to get Tempest to agree that he should indeed go to Hell. If he agrees, all is well; if not, then all hell will literally break loose in Heaven and Hell.

Can an angel fall in love? Can one man say no to both Heaven and Hell? Read The Tempest Tales to find out. We also have this book-on-CD.

~The Circulator (L. Jones)

CCleaner Drive Cleaner

CCleaner is one of the top free drive cleaners/utility tools available for Windows operating systems. As of January 2010, CCleaner boasted over 375 million downloads.

CCleaner drive cleaning tool works with IE, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari browsers. It removes temporary files, browsing history, cookies, download history, and password/form history. CCleaner can also be configured to wipe the entire free space on your hard drives, removing any random bits that get strewn out during program installations.

It also cleans Recycle Bin and clears your recent documents list.

What puts CCleaner ahead of other drive utilities are its tools beyond browser cleaning.

CCleaner also includes a registry cleaner that can remove missing .dlls and unused file extensions that accumulate after installing and uninstalling programs. The registry cleaner has a super simple user interface, with a one click "scan for issues" and one click "fix selected issues" button.

3 other great tools are found in the "Tools" section of CCleaner. You can uninstall programs directly from the CCleaner tools menu, and the interface is much easier than using Windows control panel.

You can also enable and disable programs that run during startup from the "Tools" menu. This is something you'd normally have to do using the "msconfig" command from the Windows command prompt. CCleaner makes this process much simpler, and does not require restarting your system.

There is also a "System Restore" option in the "Tools Menu" for more advanced users that can help diagnose Windows errors likely caused by faulty drivers or user error and will restore your system to its last successful restore point recorded in Windows.

CCleaners clean and simple interface along with its easy to use system tools is a great tool for everyday users to keep their system clean and running optimally.