Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Albuquerque's Sister Cities

What is a sister city?  According to Sister Cities International, "A sister city, county or state relationship is a broad-based, officially approved, long-term partnership between two communities, counties or states in two countries. A sister city, county or state relationship becomes official with a signing ceremony of the top-elected officials of the two local jurisdictions... Sister city partnerships have the potential to carry out the widest possible diversity of activities of any international program, including every type of municipal, business, professional, educational and
cultural exchange or project. following approval by the local city councils."  The Sister City Program began in 1956 as a creative force for international cooperation and goodwill through community action.

Albuquerque formed its first sister city relationship in 1966 with Sasebo, Japan.  Currently, Albuquerque has nine sister cities: Alburquerque, Spain; Ashgabat, Turkmenistan;  Chihuahua & Guadalajara, Mexico; Helmstedt, Germany; Hualien, Taiwan; Lanzhou, China; Rehovot, Israel; & Sasebo.

Learn about Sasebo & the Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation, all-volunteer organization, coupled with continual support from Albuquerque’s City Hall, on Thursday, June 30th at the North Valley Library!

Monday, June 27, 2011

International Ingredients

Yum.  I love to try food from other countries.  I'm particularly fond of paella (Spain), sushi (Japan), & ratatouille crêpes (France).  Albuquerque, I find, has a fair amount of international culinary delights.  I like to check out Gil's Thrilling (& Filling) Blog for restaurant reviews, & some of my favorite haunts for shopping include Talin Market, A-Ri-Rang Oriental Market (great Korean lunch counter-closed for the chef's summer vacation until July 15th), & 99B Market.  I used to stop by Fremont's Fine Foods, but right now I think they offer catering & special orders only.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because you have the chance to enjoy the culinary wizardry of local chef Gilda Latzky, who has been teaching a series of cooking classes for adults for our Summer Reading program, "One World, Many Stories". There a still a few spaces to squeeze into for her July offerings, Cooking French (@ Los Griegos Library) & Cooking Chinese Food (@ Juan Tabo Library).  Her sessions are always popular & fun-don't miss out!

If you are interesting in traveling the culinary world from the comfort of your own home, don't forget to check the recipe offerings from the library catalog!  The subject "international cooking" alone brings up 115 items, & you can also search by country.

What are your favorite international cuisines?  Local restaurants serving international food?  Do you have a favorite international cookbook?  I could always use more suggestions...

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

“I wished I had died before I loved anyone but [Hadley].”
~Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast 

This is a gem of a book. The Paris Wife, a fictionalized account of the first of Hemingway's four wives, Hadley Richardson, is written primarily from her perspective.  Why is Hadley the Paris wife?  She & Hemingway moved to Paris together in the early 1920s, & most of the time Hemingway spent in Paris was with Hadley & their son, "Bumby".  (Hadley & Ernest-or Hash & Nesto, or Tatie, or Tiny-were crazy about nicknames.) They were married for six years.

The story begins with their meeting in 1920 & ends with Hemingway's death in 1961, although after Hadley & Ernest divorced in 1927, they met only once.  Paula McLain seems to really have gotten under the skin of Hadley-a portrait she bases on sources such as A Moveable Feast & Bernice Kert's The Hemingway Women. I found myself drawn to the character of Hadley right away. The prose is beautiful ("My life was my life; I would have to stare it down, somehow, & make it work for me" was one of my favorite lines) & the details of Hadley's early life, her meeting with Hemingway, & her reaction to his death are very moving.

If the story of the Hemingway marriage isn't gripping enough for you, there is quite a cast of supporting players: Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas; Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald; Gerald & Sara Murphy. All are very realistically portrayed, & woven into the fabric of the story in a very natural way. The hard drinking & fast living lifestyles of these Jazz Age characters is brought vividly to life.

The Paris Wife is an intense, compelling read, even for-or perhaps especially for-those who know how the story will end.  Whether or not you are familiar with Hemingway's life, you will enjoy this delightful portrait & finely crafted tribute.  You will not want to put it down-I didn't! 

To read an interview with Paula McLain, visit The Hemingway Project website.

For more books about Hemingway ex-wives & family, consider Caroline Moorehead's Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life, about the journalist who was Hemingway's third wife, & Running with The Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways, written by Valerie Hemingway, Ernest's secretary & the wife of his youngest son.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sylvia Beach & the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties & Thirties by Noel Riley Fitch

This is simply one of the best biographies I have ever read.  Detailing the life of Sylvia Beach & her milieu from her birth in 1887 until 1962, the year she died, Sylvia Beach & the Lost Generation is the most comprehensive study I have read of the era.  It is such a full and vibrant portrait of Sylvia Beach & all the literary figures, American, French, English, that passed through the doors of her famous bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, that you will never be bored, despite the 400-plus pages of this tome.

For me Sylvia Beach was one of those names you hear in connection with Joyce & Hemingway, a woman who owned a bookstore that both those illustrious Lost Generation authors frequented. Reading about her life, one of three sisters, daughter of a pastor from Princeton, New Jersey, who ended up living in Paris for over 40 fascinating years & meeting everyone worth knowing, was quite an education.  Sylvia & her family first went to Paris in 1902, when her father was associate pastor of the American Church of Paris.  They moved back to Princeton in 1905, but Sylvia, & to a lesser extent her mother & sisters, had already fallen for Europe's charms.  Sylvia went to Italy in 1907, to Spain in 1915, finally returning to Paris in 1916.  She opened Shakespeare & Company in 1919, with the help of her family & of Adrienne Monnier, owner of her own (French) lending library, La Maison des Amis des Livres, who for 38 years would be Sylvia's "sister, lover, mother & mentor".

Shakespeare & Company was an English language bookstore & lending library that attracted English-speaking literary lights of the early 20th century but also famous French friends, such as the poets Paul Valéry & Léon-Paul Fargue (who alarmed her with his nocturnal prowlings, which he called his "ministry of the night"),  & writers Valery Larbaud, Jules Romains, & André Gide (winner of the Nobel Prize in 1947).  The walls were full of pictures of "the Company", many taken by Sylvia, & out front was a hand-painted sign featuring a bust of Shakespeare.  In the confines of the shop, Sylvia rubbed shoulders with Gertrude Stein (at least in the early days), Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, William Carlos Williams, Kay Boyle, Janet Flanner, John Dos Passos, & Elizabeth Bishop, to name a few luminaries. Shakespeare & Company also sold books by mail to other writers such as Yeats & the Sitwells, as well as the little literary magazines of the era, such as transition, This Quarter, Criterion, & Poetry-with Sylvia contributing to them a few times (mostly translations). The bookshop was not just Sylvia's job, it was her vocation.

In 1920 she met Joyce, which would be a turning point, because for a decade her life would be wound up with the Irishman & his family; Shakespeare & Company published Ulysses, & Sylvia was one of the two women who financed the Joyces' extravagant lifestyle while he wrote-the other woman was in England, so Sylvia also found herself running Joyce's errands & acting as his secretary on many occasions. This took up a lot of her time & Adrienne thought affected Sylvia's health. Also, Gertrude Stein no longer visited the shop, since she was feuding with Joyce.

Besides her long-running commitment to the welfare of James Joyce (& publishing 10 editions of Ulysses), some of Sylvia's other projects during her years in Paris including putting on an exhibition about Walt Whitman & putting a roof over the head of composer George Antheil.  In fact, a great deal of Sylvia's time seems to have been spent as a facilitator-finding someone to translate something, finagling a loan for someone, giving discounts to those in need (in fact, letting Hemingway walk out with any books he wanted).

Sylvia kept Shakespeare & Company going through the Depression, but it would not survive the war-she closed its doors dramatically in 1941, worried the Nazis would confiscate her stock. There is a Shakespeare & Company operating in Paris currently, but it is a different store, opened in 1951, & renamed Shakespeare & Company after Sylvia Beach's death.  This bookstore also has a grand literary tradition, serving as a base for writers of the Beat Generation-but that is another story.

Check out Sylvia Beach & The Lost Generation to learn about this remarkable woman, the linchpin of a literary generation, & also for its anecdotal history of other writers: the profligacy & dependency of the illness-ridden Joyce; Hemingway's many women, his delight in fatherhood, & the ox-tulip incident; the unfulfilled life of longtime member of the Company Robert McAlmon; & all the others who flit in & out of this stunning biography.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Library Tour: Cherry Hills Branch

Welcome to Clifford's library.  At least, you'd think it was Clifford's library!  Many kids are asking to see Clifford or "red dog" pretty much as soon as they enter the building.  Clifford is on loan from a generous library employee, but based on his popularity with the junior library customers, hopefully he will never leave!

However, though Clifford is the library mascot, Cherry Hills did not choose to be Bigreddogland for the Summer Reading program, instead going by the name "Cherrytopia" on your Summer Reading passport.   The branch has traditionally embraced fruit-related elements in their decor, & good friend & sometimes employee Alysa DeMella created the beautiful flag (from the Teen Advisory Board's design) & the "Cherrytopians" graphic. 

Cherry Hills Library  is located at 6901 Barstow NE, located at the corner of Harper Road and Barstow Street, one block east of the intersection of Harper Road and Wyoming Boulevard. It's a brick building with a green roof! The library is adjacent to the Del Norte Shopping Center whose tenants include McDonald's and Walgreens-for directions by car or bus, visit the ABC Libraries' website. The library has 18 public computers including 2 express and 2 children's. Cherry Hills also offers many of the standard amenities of the ABC Libraries' branches: fax service; voter registration forms, None for the Road DVDs, & bus schedules are all available, but the branch does not have a magazine swap. Cherry Hills does have a community room & 2 study rooms for public use.

What delights await you when you choose Cherrytopia for your summer fun destination?  Cherry Hills is one of three branches (the other two are Erna Fergusson & Taylor Ranch) that are open 7 days a week.  After you enter its portals, once you find the book return (to your right, under the big red flag-customers always miss this!), you can sit out the summer heat in comfortable chairs or study in carrels.  Browse an array of displays, including one devoted to Staff Picks & one dedicated to mysteries-this month, it's Female Sleuths!  The display case changes out monthly-during Summer Reading, however, you'll be able to ogle the prizes you could win instead.  Make sure to check out the Turkmen books in the International Collection & feel like a real world traveler! If you are the kind of person who doesn't like to ask questions at the Information Desk, there is a library map to help you navigate the branch.

The great nation of Cherrytopia is taking its Summer Reading responsibilities very seriously.  All visitors are encouraged to stop by the Travel Agency, where one of the charming teen volunteers will sign them up for the program & distribute weekly prizes. (Make sure you check out the national costume of Cherrytopia, on display!) The Bureau of Internal Affairs is here to make sure your library checkout goes smoothly, so if you have any difficulties with the 3 self-checks or need to renew your card, the folks at the Bureau will be happy to help.  Also, the Cherrytopia Tourist Board will be your cruise directors-need help on the computer?  Can't find the book on the shelf? Need assistance placing a hold?  These local experts will keep your library experience flowing smoothly.  Just don't ask them to dance the national dance of Cherrytopia, the Cherry Cha Cha-it's only done on important ceremonial occasions.

The Cherry Hills children's area (or "Reading Realm National Park") is the hub of Summer Reading activities at the branch, where there will be fun programs for kids, tweens, & teens.  There is Introduction to Mandarin Chinese,  Teen Tuesdays (next week is Origami!), monthly first Saturday Chess Club, Star Wars Crafts, Preschool Art: Bubbles, and more!

But don't worry, adults, you haven't been completely left out!  Stop by the event tower (above) & pick up a flier or visit the Cherry Hills webpage for news on An Itch to Stitch, the library stitch group; the branch's 2 book groups; computer classes...the list just keeps going on!  The library's webpage will tell you what's on display at the branch each month  (with printable booklists) & also features Staff Picks & a gallery of photos taken at some recent events.

Make sure you check the "For Teens" page of the website weekly to find out more of Cherrytopia's customs & symbols!  The teens came up with our beloved national anthem, with a little help from How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt.

While you're in the area...
Cherry Hills is a pretty new part of town (the library was built in the late '90s), but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do around here!  Check out the Heritage Hills Park- it has playgrounds, sports fields, benches, & "tremendous views of the volcanoes, Mount Taylor and the Sandia Mountains". If you want to get some exercise while in the area, the paved loop around the Albuquerque Academy runs along Academy/Ventura/Harper/Wyoming and is approximately a mile on each side-this friendly trail is very popular with walkers & runners. Are you a fellow yarn addict?  Make a stop at Village Wools a priority. You can also get your food shopping done-the library is between Whole Foods & Trader Joe's-& there's ample shopping (Target, Kohl's) & eating (Five Guys Burgers, anyone?) opportunities on Paseo between Barstow & I25. A little further down the road, stop for great baked treats at Just A Bite.  This area is always growing. One of the library's newest neighbors, North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, features a computer cafe, community rooms, fitness room, classrooms, and meals.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb

I feel like I am cheating slightly by including this in my Paris: The Luminous Years challenge, as very little of this book takes place between 1905-30.  I'm grandfathering this book in because who could be a bigger player in Paris' Luminous Years than the city itself?  Plus, this book is good.

I think I can safely say that I have never read a history of a place like this one before.  The idea of an "adventure history" piqued my interest, & I have not been disappointed by Parisians.  Author Graham Robb has taken incidents in the life of Paris between 1787 & the present day, using French historical figures from Napoleon to Marcel Proust to François Mitterand as narrators, & has woven together a very illuminating read. Different sections take different forms-"Expanding the Domain of the Possible", about the student riots in May 1968, takes the form of an examination, & "Lovers of Saint-Germain-des-Prés", starring Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre, Juliette Gréco & Miles Davis, is written as a script-without being annoyingly gimmicky.

I really felt like I learned something about the city & its people from this book & its judiciously chosen snatches of history. From Charles-Axel Guilliamot & the beginnings of the Catacombs to the files of Sûreté to the alchemists of Notre Dame, from the real-life Mimi who has been immortalized in La Bohème to Baron Haussmann to Madame Zola to the creation of the Paris Métro (or Métropolitain), Robb takes highlights & sideshows & scandals over history to create, perhaps not the most complete portrait of Paris, but one of the most entertaining you will ever read.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Library Tour: Juan Tabo Branch

(Boy Reading, dinosaur, and background art by Adrienne, for her puppet show)

And I think to myself... what a wonderful world!

As Louis Armstrong sings for the puppet show at every Music and Movement session this summer, what a wonderful world it is at Juan Tabo Library, indeed!

Located on busy Juan Tabo Boulevard, the library is still a quiet, serene place--set down from the road, and embraced by two walled gardens, its windows look out on greenery and landscaping, rather than on the ample parking space around the building. (It is, in fact, a park and ride station for public transit!) The unconventionally shaped library was dedicated in December of 1983, and has been a neighborhood fixture ever since.

Nearby, you can enjoy Mexican food at Garcia's Kitchen, or have an Irish Pub experience next door at O'Neill's. A bit further afield, you can celebrate Greek culture at either Zorba's or the Mykonos Cafe. You could shop at Albertson's or Smiths, and even take care of your recycling at the City Recycling center at Montgomery and Tramway! And of course, our neighbors across the street at Lowe's can help you with your home needs while you're in the neighborhood.
The Juan Tabo Library is located at 3407 Juan Tabo Blvd NE, between Comanche and Candelaria, on the west side of the street, just south of the North Glenwood Hills arroyo.

Featuring a full-sized children's area across the building from the adult area, Juan Tabo gives opportunites for patrons of all ages to enjoy the library space in their own ways--whether it's using one of our eleven adult computers (or three children's computers), finding a quiet spot near the adult garden windows to read or work, or joining rambunctious play at the puppet show in the children's area (a kind donation from Jim Fisher, in memory of his wife, Mary Ann), or settling down to color.

The library offers the full range of the collection--books, videos, books on tape and CD, music, digital downloads--and help from librarians to find what you're looking for. Remember, if it's not on the shelf, that doesn't mean you can't get it! Just ask about a hold, if you see it in the system, or Interlibrary Loan if you don't! Our goal is to help you find what you need.

Ever wonder what you're going to read next? Sometimes, you just need an idea to get started.

Each part of the library features displays--themed displays of same-colored books, similar subjects, points of interest to go along with programs, displays of multiple copies of books. This year's summer reading theme has inspired a travel book display, a folklore display, and a display of postcards sent to Juan Tabo from all over the country and all over the world.

Adults at Juan Tabo enjoy a wide variety of activities, from poetry readings to cooking programs to our monthly book group, BookWorms, which meets the second Tuesday of each month at 1:30, to talk about books they have chosen. The books represent a wide range of interest--recent titles have included both the classic play The Glass Menagerie and the YA novel The Giver--but the strongest interests have been in mysteries, New Mexico-related books, and current fiction and non-fiction. For the meeting on July 12, members are reading their choice of biographies about Eleanor Roosevelt--new members are welcome! August's book will be Child of Rainless Year, by Jane Lindskold.

Juan Tabo is also actively reaching out to teens, with our YA area--decorated by the new Teen Council--and many activities for teens. This summer, in conjunction with the summer reading theme of world travel, Juan Tabo has become the ancient Greek city-state of Juantapolis... a suggestion that first came from our teens, and was chosen from among many other options. This has inspired the creation of the Argonauts, our classical mythology club for teens and tweens, as well our Percy Jackson inspired game of Capture the Flag. Teenage leaders are also the driving force behind the teen Dungeons and Dragons group, the Gamers' Guild, which meets every Saturday this summer at 3:00 p.m. New members are welcome for all of these events!

The children's area is always fun, with its bright book characters hanging from the ceiling, the dinosaur rug, the puppet show, the zoo's worth of stuffed animals to play with, and our newest edition, a five foot tall blue plastic dinosaur, donated by Councilwoman Jones... who still has to be named! The rogues' gallery of puppets and stuffed animals are constantly in use, from Dragon the puppet to Teddy Tonks, the pink teddy bear and the gang leader, Captain Cupcake, the blue octopus. These well-loved friends are there to welcome children back whenever they come.

Children's programming happens all the time--whether it's Read to the Dogs on the fourth Saturday of each month, Lego Club on the second Saturday, or Art Through the Ages on the first Saturday, 1:00 is a great time to drop by. During summer reading, our programming takes place on Saturday mornings at 10:30. There are two storytimes available--either Music and Movement with Adrienne on Tuesday and Thursday at eleven, which features toe-tapping songs and musical instruments, or Preschool Passport with Miss Barbara on Fridays at eleven, which features more books, kids' control over Old McDonald's farm (and over languages for Frere Jacques) and a craft or coloring sheet.

Juan Tabo... what a wonderful world to visit!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Library Tour: Main Branch

Ahoy there, maties!  All you jack tars seekin' to add the treasures of Summer Reading to your duffle bag need look no farther than the shores of the Great Piratopia of Mainiac Island (Main Library)!  His Majesty Kevin, King of the storied, swashbuckling outpost of Mainiac Island & Pirates & Libraries, & his most piratical crew would have it no other way!  You don't have to go all the way to Davy Jones' locker to find Mainiac's treasure chest, & Admiral Natasha, Commodore Veronica, & Captain Rachel will keep you so entertained you'll be ready to dance a hornpipe! So, me lads & lasses, head smartly down to Mainiac Island & don't give me any bilge talk!

Has any branch taken its role as a purveyor of Summer Reading adventure more seriously than Main Library?  The jury's still out on that one...but you should definitely make "Mainiac Island" one of the stops on your summer peregrinations & check it out! Bust out your Summer Reading passport & show those nautical types Downtown that you are a true drivelswigger (one who reads about nautical terms too much)!  Or maybe that's just me.. Argh...

Main Library is located at 501 Copper NW, a light brown brick building on Copper Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets downtown-for directions by car or bus, visit the ABC Libraries' website. Opened in 1975, it was designed by local architect George Pearl, whose striking modern interpretation of traditional southwest architecture received a design award from the American Institute of Architects.The library has 39 public computers including 4 express and 4 children's and 3 for teens (the children's & teen terminals are downstairs in Main's Childrens Room. Main also offers many of the standard amenities of the ABC Libraries' branches: fax service; voter registration forms, None for the Road DVDs, & bus schedules are all available, but the branch does not have a magazine swap. Main Library has an auditorium, a community meeting room & 5 study room for public use.

Main Library is unique in our system for having 3 floors! Upstairs is ABC Libraries' Customer Services & the Genealogy Collection (it has been decided that the collection will not return to the Special Collections branch when it reopens in August or September), as well as adminstrative offices. Main's genealogy area is a great space for the new genealogy researcher.  They have charts to start your family tree, a genealogy computer lab, modern microfilm machines, & access to & Heritage Quest. The New Mexico Genealogical Society has an office there; there are volunteers in the library every day to help you & you will have access to Journal obituaries & other resources compiled by the society.  Also, looking for an old yearbook?  We've got them!

On the ground floor, you can find the central check-out, Information Desk, most of the public computers, & fiction & non-fiction for adults.  I like the big, helpful subject signs in non-fiction!  There is a lot of seating, including the bistro tables, where you can eat & drink items bought in  the ABQ Coffee Connection, Main's coffee shop!

I took advantage of  the early morning hours to stop in at the ABQ Coffee Connection for a cup of joe & a breakfast burrito (served from 8 - 10 a.m.), which really hit the spot!  Open for both breakfast & lunch, the Coffee Connection has a nice menu (the bistro desserts looked yummy) & when you buy a 12 oz. bag of beans, all profits benefits The Friends for the Public Library!

Heading downstairs, you will find the Friends' Bookshop & the site of the monthly Used Booksales.  You do not want to miss  those!  Most of the items donated to the library end up at these sales, & the money that is raised funds library programs.  The auditorium (where the author events co-sponsored with our community partner, Bookworks, are held) is also on this level.

Also downstairs you'll find the Children's Room & the Teen Zone! As I noted earlier, those Mainiacs have gone all out decorating for Summer Reading, but wait, there's more!  In the Story Pit, there will be Pirate movies on Fridays! There are 3 weekly storytimes plus Read to the Dogs!  & teens will be able to build a robot and/or stencil T-shirts.  After these events, you can kick back in the patio area outside of the Children's Room.

Apart from children's programming, Main Library also offers free one-on-one computer sessions on Thursday afternoons. Stop by the info desk or call 768-5141 during business hours for more information or to sign up.  For a list of all events, visit the library's webpage.

I think there are already a lot of great reasons to visit Main Library this summer, because, in addition to all the things I've already mentioned, there's more!  Main has a lot of art in & around it, much of it a permanent collection, part of the 1% for Art program.  When I visited, there was an antique bottle display; A Celebration of Cats, from various elementary schools; the monographic prints of ARTEXT; Don Quixote: An Appreciative Selection...the list just goes on.  Even the pirate ship in the Children's Room was donated by the Albuquerque Museum & there is a new sculpture in the Tom & Jo Thomason Garden on the patio!

You really have no excuse not to stop by Mainiac Island this summer!  In fact, you can get your parking validated if you park in the parking garage on the southeast corner of 5th & Copper...& the  library has its own bus stop!  But, if you are looking for other things to do in the area...may I suggest a stop by the KiMo Theater?  A visit to to 516 Arts, a nonprofit artspace? A stop by the Downtown Grower's Market?  The Harwood Art Center, the Albuquerque Museum, & all of Old Town are just a hop, skip & a  jump away!  & if you need a nosh, consider Cecilia's Cafe (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) or the inspired modern cuisine of the Slate Street Cafe.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Literary Links for Summer Reading

Summer's here, & with it the lists of recommended reads for the "beach" (or wherever you'll be lolling away your hot summer days).  Here are some lists recommended by The Reader's Advisor Online:

Books to Bury Yourself In

Indie Booksellers Target Summer's Best Reads

Women's Summer Fiction

Men's Summer Fiction

10 Books That Will Fry Your Mind This Summer

11 excellent novels for summer reading

Summer fiction: around the world in 24 books

& of course, in honor of our Summer Reading program, "One World, Many Stories/Un Mundo, Muchas Historias", there are also "Novel Destination" booklists created by the staff to consider!  Challenge yourself to read around the world, or across the states, with these two collections of booklists. Each list gives facts about the country or state in question, the library call numbers for nonfiction, and selected literature to read. Another option might be the website Bibliotravel "for books that take you away". Also, check out the library's Booklists for Adults & Teens, Monster Mashups, &  Sherlock Holmes Universe.  Don't forget to share what you're reading in the abcreads book banter forums!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Library Tour: Erna Fergusson Branch

This painting of Ron Weasley in the children's area is by an ABC Libraries staff member.

To paraphrase the Cars, "It's magic when you're at Erna Fergusson Library."  Or at least that's what I thought when I visited this branch.  Erna Fergusson was my first branch library when I moved to Albuquerque back in 1992, but the new building is something else! Cherry/See/Reames Architects, who redesigned the library back in 2003 & won a merit award from Albuquerque American Institute of Architects in 2005, say "the new design almost doubled the size of the original building and changed the location of the front door, providing better pedestrian access for both facilities. The tower helps patrons locate the library on the busy street. The new space has high ceilings and clerestories to provide natural lighting to the new volumes. Triangular light monitors were added to the original low ceiling space to bring in more daylight there." I was just amazed that, for one of the city's larger branches on a busy thoroughfare, the building was peaceful inside & many of the windows featured tranquil views of the lush green landscaping.

Erna Fergusson Library is located at 3700 San Mateo NE, on the east side of San Mateo Blvd  between Comanche Road  and Montgomery Blvd -for directions by car or bus, visit the library website. The library has 19 public computers including 2 express and one children's. Erna Fergusson also offers many of the standard amenities of the ABC Libraries' branches: fax service; voter registration forms, None for the Road DVDs, & bus schedules are all available, but the branch does not have a magazine swap. There is a bin in the lobby for you to drop off donations to Roadrunner Food Bank. Erna Fergusson does have a community room & a study room (soon to be two) for public use. It's the only branch where you can return materials easily via the drive-up book drop, located near the northeast corner of the building!

The library is one of the three in the system to be named after literary New Mexicans.  To learn more about Erna Fergusson, visit the New Mexico Office of the State Historian.  You can also find works by & about her in the library catalog, by subject & author search.

Inside the library, there are a lot of comfy chairs & cosy nooks for you to get settled into!  The high ceilings & windows gave it an almost meditative air in the early morning when I visited.

Now that our Summer Reading Program, "One World, Many Stories/Un Mundo, Muchas Historias", has begun, there are even more fun things to do when you visit Erna Fergusson ("The Grand Duchy of Fergilund" on your Summer Reading passport). The Erna Fergusson webpage has separate sections for events for babies & preschoolers, kids, teens, & adults. I am particularly smitten with programs like "Ballroom Babies", a Music & Movement class for babies up through 6 year olds; the drop-in 2nd Saturday Crafts for kids of all ages; Poetry Around the World, a free writing class for ages 10 - 18 (registration required); & the Sunday Stitching Society. & those are just their regular events! During Summer Reading, watch for programs on ikebana, fantasy miniature painting, Balinese dance, & more!

Of course, no visitor to Erna Fergusson can fail to mention the Alphabet Soup cascade & cairn, as well as the concrete & asphalt Alphabet Soup, which are completely delightful! This 1% for Art piece was created by artist Pete Beeman.

If you choose to make a stop at the Erna Fergusson Library during your summer peregrinations, you will not be at a loss for things to do in the area! The Palo Duro Senior Center & Montgomery Pool are right next door; Montgomery Park is nearby, featuring benches, sports fields, playground, & trails; one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Siam Cafe, is up the street a ways, or, if it's earlier in the day, the always yummy Wolfe's Bagels is at Montgomery & San Pedro.

As a library employee, I appreciate a good display!  This is a display of blue books, handy for folks who don't remember the title as well as they remember the color of the cover.  I know we've all had that problem at one time or another!

Monday, June 6, 2011

"If you can't play nice, play roller derby!"

Pippi Longshocking & the Merciless Scrapper here.  At least, those would be our monikers if we were derby girls.  Instead, we are just hardcore fans, writing to tell you how much we love roller derby & why you should check out the Duke City Derby!

We went to see the roller derby last Saturday & had a blast as usual!  There were 2 bouts, the Hobots vs. the Taos Whiplashes & the D.I.A. vs. the Santa Fe Discobrawlers.  We love to watch Maria von Scrapp, 67 Stitchez,  C. Anemone, Spittin Venom, Tronsexual, Killer Queen , & all the rest do their thing! Watching both bouts, we were there from 6 - 10 p.m.  Yes, we are the dedicated derby fans who stay for the whole four hours! Both bouts were really close to call-in the second bout, the Discobrawlers came from 50 points behind to nearly tie the D.I.A.-& we were on the edge of our seats a lot of the time. For some more photographs, visit Flickr: Taos vs. Hobots & Hobots vs. Taos Whiplashes (two different albums of Saturday's bout).

Derby meet & greet.

Want to know more about roller derby in New Mexico? From the Duke City Derby website: "Duke City Derby began in August of 2005 with 10 determined skaters and a head full of dreams. Flash forward to 2011 and DCD is 4 teams strong with DIA and the Hobots representing ABQ, the Santa Fe Disco Brawlers and Taos Whiplashes. The All Star Munecas Muertas, DCD's travel team previously went into the WFTDA Western Regional Tournament ranked 17th in the nation and took out the #1 ranked team to earn a trip to the WFTD National Championship!"

The D.I.A. (Derby Intelligence Agency) bench.

The season is already underway, but goes on until October, so take a look at Duke City Derby 2011 Season Schedule to see what bouts you'll be able to take in!

This looks like a hip check to me!

For the rules of roller derby (Merciless & I are still figuring these out!), you can visit the WFTDA Standardized Flat Track Roller Derby Rules, or the Duke City Derby site has the short & sweet version.

We couldn't not give a shout out to our favorite player, Conan the Librarian of the Taos Whiplashes! &, while we're talking librarians, don't forget to check the library catalog for these derby related items:

Down and Derby: The Insider's Guide to Roller Derby by Alex Cohen and Jennifer Barbee

Whip It

Derby Girl by Shauna Cross (the book on which Whip It was based)

Want to be a derby girl? DCD holds weekly open practices for any interested men and women ages 18 and older. Check out the practice schedule here.  The Duke City Derby is also looking for referees & is starting a junior league!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Library Tour: Ernie Pyle Branch

Pick up a postcard & a brief history of Ernie Pyle & the library when you stop by!

As your friendly roving library reporter, I am ready to do what it takes to entertain you.  I not only visited Ernie Pyle Library, I worked there all day to get the full flavor of the place! It was a fun day, & I learned a lot from the friendly & helpful staff. This branch is certainly not your average library. Opened as the first branch library on October 11, 1948, this house was the home of roving columnist Ernie Pyle, his wife Jerry, & Cheetah the dog from 1940 until the deaths of Ernie & Jerry in 1945.  They bequeathed their home to the City of Albuquerque. Ernie Pyle Library houses a number of Pyle's personal items & memorabilia, & a memorial, Brave Men by Williard Schroeder, is located on the south lawn.  In 2006, the library was awarded Historic Landmark Status.

Ernie Pyle Library outdoor attractions: Brave Men memorial, porch built by Ernie Pyle, turtle bench, & Cheetah's grave.

Ernie Pyle Library ("Isle de Pyle" on your Summer Reading passport) is located at 900 Girard SE, a small white house with green awnings in the residential neighborhood halfway between Central Avenue & Gibson Blvd at the corner of Santa Monica Street and Girard SE. Visit the library system website for driving directions & bus routes. The library offers many of the ABC Libraries' typical amenities-there are 2 public computers available, a fax service, & materials such as voter registration forms & bus schedules can be picked up here.  Ernie Library has no study rooms or community room for public use.

Once inside the library, you will find it is quite tiny. Every closet & window ledge is in use! & the sign on the circulation desk is not joking-you do return your items in the kitchen, where books are also checked in & a Brita water pitcher functions as a water fountain.  To get to the children's room, you will walk through the kitchen.

Scattered around the library (don't miss the pictures above the windows- I did on my first go-around!) is the library's collection of Ernie Pyle memorabilia.  There is a display case by the DVDs, but the curious will find many more artifacts in the branch's five rooms.  I was particularly smitten with G.I. Joe doll. 

The day I worked at Ernie Pyle, they had their first Picnic Storytime of the summer, held on the north lawn on Wednesdays at 11:30. The Picnic Storytime has won several local accolades & usually makes the list of fun things to do in town during the summer! Preschoolers and their families are invited to hear stories beneath the beautiful sycamore tree, & bring a blanket and a picnic lunch.  You can read about Picnic Storytime & other programs at Ernie Pyle Library on the library's website.  The branch will also be featuring Read to the Dogs storytimes in the summer, & their Summer Reading events include Magician John Polinko & Musical Instruments from Around the World with Michael Stanwood.  Additionally, those interested in Ernie Pyle will find the "Who was Ernie Pyle?" section of the website informative.  You can check the catalog under the subject heading Pyle Ernie 1900 1945 for books by & about Mr. Pyle.

Unleash your reading superhero at Ernie Pyle this summer!  With its close proximity to the University & Nob Hill areas, you will be able to while away many hours during your trip shopping (many cute little stores like Papers & The Yarn Store at Nob Hill), eating (try some international cuisine at Annapurna's World Vegetarian Cafe or get a caffeinated beverage at Café Giuseppe) & maybe even taking in a Mom's Matinee selection at the Guild Cinema (the last Saturday & Sunday of each month) or the Will Power Summer Shakespeare Festival at The Vortex! Or, if you'd rather picnic & play, Hyder Park, one of my favorite Albuquerque parks, is right around the corner.

Ernie Pyle Library is also featured in the book Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love : Treasured Libraries of the United States and Canada, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, which you can find in the ABC Libraries catalog.