Monday, June 30, 2008

This Week at Watha T. - June 30-July 6

Good Evening Neighbors!

Here's what we've got on tap this week at Watha T.

Monday, June 30

4:00 p.m. Doctor Who Series One Finale - Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways

Tuesday, July 1

1:30 p.m. Catch the Reading Bug - Butterfly Mask Making

Wednsday, July 2

10:00 a.m. Story Time for 3-5 year olds with Miss Tracy
4:30 p.m. Maryland Science Center
6:00 p.m. Youth Chess Club
6:00 p.m. Big Kid Movie Night - ANTZ

Friday, July 4

Closed for the Holiday

Saturday, July 5

10:00 a.m. Youth Chess Club

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Doctor Who Series One Finale

Doctor Who Series One
Monday June 30

Over the course of the last 10 weeks we have shown one episode per week from the first series of the new Doctor Who. This monday we will show the final two episodes of the first series, Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways. These episodes are out of control INCREDIBLE pieces of television, and together they make an amazing film. It brings together threads that were woven into every episode of the series, and brings it to an absolutely amazing conclusion... Well, it leads into the next series of course, but it's still wonderful.

Come and join us!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chess Club

Chess is a game I never learned, but should've. I was always playing in rock bands and rock bands don't play chess :) But more and more it's been coming up in conversation: "You don't know how to play chess?" or "No chess? What's the matter with you?" or "Would you please move to another table, sir? We're trying to play a game here!" But I'm just trying to learn!

Just like in the case of music, it's not easy learning complex games or languages as an adult. Hard, but not impossible (yay!). That's why you've got to start early, and your Shaw library is starting at the beginning.

Your Watha T. Daniel Library has an active chess club for
ages 8-16:
Wednesday nights 6:00-7:30pm and
Saturday mornings 10:00-11:30am

I'm not embarrassed that I'm almost thirty and have zero knowledge of such a universal game. I'm not embarrassed when ten-year-old chess players laugh because I don't know a rook from a book. In fact, I welcome it. Our chess club instructors are secretly going to get me up to speed so I can show those ten-year-olds who's boss.

Please do take advantage of this fun resource. I've never seen people get so deep into a game--there's something magical about it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rejoice iPeople!

The day has finally come! DC Public Library is the first library in the country to offer MP3 audiobook downloads that connect to apple devices like iPod and iPhone as well as thousands of other MP3 players including those from Creative, Sony, Samsung, Rio, SanDisk and most cell phones.

The initial OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks catalog selection features more than 700 popular novels, children’s books, foreign language learning titles, and classic works and is growing rapidly as publishers join the program. This is in addition to the over 4,000 audiobooks already available in the Windows Media format that are Digital Rights Management protected, as well as downloadable music, and video.

In order to download OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks, you must install the free OverDrive Media Console version 3.0. OverDrive Media Console provides users with a superior audiobook listening and navigation experience with newly added support for easy transferring of OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks to iPod®, iPhone™, and iPod® touch. This new release also includes a ‘burn wizard’ feature for creating standard audio CDs from download audiobooks. Users can obtain the free software at

To start downloading just go to and see what we've got.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Night At The Opera

Classic Film Series
A Night At The Opera
6:00 p.m.

Have you ever seen a Marx Brothers movie? Well, this is definitely the place to start. A Night at the Opera is one of the funniest movies ever made, and it came out in 1935!

Next month: Singin' in the Rain

Monday, June 23, 2008

This Week at Watha T. June 23-Jun 29

Good Morning Neighbors!

Here's what we've got on tap this week at Watha T.

Monday June 23

4:00 p.m. - Doctor Who - Boomtown
6:30 p.m. - Community Design Meeting for the future Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library

Wednesday June 25

10:00 a.m. - Story Time for 3-5 year olds with Miss Tracy
6:00 p.m. - Classic Film Series: The Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera

Thursday June 26

10:30 a.m. - Catch the Reading Bug: Marc Spiegel "Storyteller Extraordinaire"

Saturday June 28

10:00 - Email Basics

Friday, June 20, 2008

Victorian Literature

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I like vampires and Victorian London and Poe and all things eerie, as long as they’re not depressing. I finished The Turn of the Screw recently, a great creepy ghost story and thought I’d write about that. But since our Summer Reading theme is transformation, I thought I’d pick something more fitting. [Enter Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray]

This is one of those novels that you disappear into. It’s not scary exactly, but it is quite unsettling. A gorgeous young man named Dorian Gray poses for a painting by artist Basil Hallward. The artist soon becomes fascinated and later obsessed with Dorian’s physical grace and beauty, eventually believing that his captivating subject is the reason behind Basil’s artistic reawakening. Then the really weird stuff starts happening.

Lord Henry Wotton, a close friend of Basil, has great influence over Dorian, soon turning Gray on to his own hedonistic world view. Knowing that one day his own beauty will diminish, Dorian becomes convinced that the only thing worth saving in life is beauty. I don’t want to ruin the story, but let me just say some very interesting transformations begin to happen on Basil’s canvas!!!

The Picture of Dorian Gray is Victorian, but it also has the added benefit of being as readable as anything written today. Wilde knew what he was doing. Please check it out from my Favorites shelf at the Watha T. Daniel Library. Trust me, it's awesome.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cormac McCarthy Rules!

So, you’ve seen the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men by now. You may have even rented the DVD and watched the extras. If you did, you probably remember the name Cormac McCarthy. I watched The Charlie Rose Show with the film's directors (The Cohen brothers) and actors and every other reference was to the extraordinary story-telling power and grace of the book's author, Cormac McCarthy. In fact it was more like Cormac McCarthy Cormac McCarthy Cormac McCarthy… Though the topic at hand was their recent Academy Awards, the actors and filmmakers kept coming back to McCarthy.

McCarthy tends to stick with the Southern Gothic and post-apocalyptic genres because that’s what he does best. Take for example another brilliantly dark novel by the author, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road. Think Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle mixed with Don DeLillo’s White Noise, but darker. The Road is a beautifully written, genuinely creepy post-apocalyptic dystopian tale of a father and son making their way across a barren wasteland after an unknown cataclysm has wiped every other living thing off the face of the earth. If, for the reader, modern times summon feelings of eminent doom, The Road is a thoroughly moving story, and truly not too dark for the casual reader, unless they are a casual reader of 'Desperate Housewives' novelizations. But seriously, please do check out The Road from my Staff Picks shelf at the Watha T. Daniel Interim Library. You'll be glad you did.

Author Websites

As a Children's Librarian, I love going to authors websites to find out about future projects, download activity sheets and find program ideas . For instance Kevin Henkes has information about his Pictures Books, Mouse Books and Novels. If you click on Mouse Books, the link takes you to a page with great characters like Lilly, Julius, Owen and many more. You can also go to Fun and Games from this page. Fun and Games has printable coloring sheets, mazes, word searches and recipes for snacks to help you throw your own mouse party!

Another great website is Jon Scieszka's Trucktown. This interactive site is great for those young ones who love all things trucky. The site is extremely easy to manipulate. Each character has their own page with a printable coloring sheet, poster, and Trucker's License. The Trucker's License has the name of the truck, likes and dislikes, and best friend. Some of the characters, like Jack Truck, also have online games for the kids to play. Another great aspect of this site is while the page is loading the child can clean the windshield, toot the horn, turn on the siren or rev the engine. How cool is that! There is also a page just for parents.

I have, and will, used stories staring these characters in story time and other themed programs then finished them with an activity from the sites. The children really get into the activity or craft, since they feel a connection with character. I know practically all authors have websites, but we don't have enough room to add them all here. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Country

Adult Book Club
Wednesday, June 18
7:00 p.m.

Tonight our Adult book club will be discussing James Baldwin's amazing reverie of a book, Another Country. The novel follows the stories of several New York City residents in the late 1950's, their lives, their loves, and the complexity of racial relations and sexual identity. Reading Another Country is like being in someone's dream. The narrative floats between the present condition of the person, then their thoughts lead them back into memories of the past that vividly illustrate how they got to where they are now. Sometimes tragic, sometimes loving, but always filled with emotion, Baldwin's style is absolutely amazing.

This book is recommended for people who like reading stories where the characters are the main focus, and also people who love language.

Next month: Revenge by Mary Morris

Monday, June 16, 2008

This Week at Watha T.-June 16-22

Good Morning Neighbors!

It's book club week at Watha T. So, stop by and chat with us.

Monday, June 16

4:00: Doctor Who - The Doctor Dances

Wednesday, June 18

10:00: Story Time for 3-5 year olds with Miss Tracy
7:00: Adult Book Club discusses Another Country by James Baldwin

Thursday, June 19
3:30: Young Adult Book Club discusses Freak Show by James St. James

Saturday, June 21

2:00: Buggy Summer Saturday for kids

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Up And Running

Sorry for the silence neighbors.

As you may have guessed, Watha T. Daniel was hit pretty hard when the power went out across the city on Friday. Our power came back on around 10:15 a.m. on Friday, but all computer service was out nearly the rest of the Friday and much of Saturday as well. Our IT department has been working extra hard bringing servers back online, and yesterday we had about 75% of our computers online and running by the end of the day.

We had to reschedule our class on blogging, cause you can't really blog without a computer. So check back later to find out when we'll be blogging together.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mr. Derby Nursery Jam and Show

Today we hosted a packed crowd of over 70 kids for the Mr. Derby Nursery Jam and Show, and WOW was it great! Mr. Derby has a great selection of jamming versions of well known children's songs like "Under the Sea" and "Row Your Boat." He also did some great TV theme songs like "Elmo's World" and "Dora the Explorer." Even better than these were some of his amazing original pieces like the jamming alphabet song, the bunny hop, and some awesome dance tracks.

This program is part of the children's summer reading program, "Catch the Reading Bug." After the show the kids got to go on the extreme mobile and get books and prizes!

We've got more awesome shows coming this summer, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Knit On!

Watha T. Daniel Knitting Club
Wednesday, June 11
6:00 p.m. til close

Get your knitting needles, crochet hooks, latch hooks, knifty knitters, bamboo skewers, and yards of yarn and join us for our monthly knitting group. It doesn't matter what you're working on, or even if you've ever knit anything in your life. Your friends and neighbors, and some of our capable staff members are on hand to help you learn. So stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something Rotten...

I love when an author recreates and modernizes an old classic. Author Alan M. Grantz does this with Something Rotten. It's the retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet told in present day from Horatio's point of view.

The story takes part in really stinky Denmark, Tennessee. Horatio is visiting his best friend Hamilton Prince for the summer. Hamilton's father died two months ago. His mother remarried so fast that she used the same flowers from her husbands funeral at her wedding. Trudy didn't just remarry, she married Claude, her dead husbands brother. Hamilton is not dealing with this at all well. Hamilton is pushed over the edge by a video of his dying father, looking pale like a ghost, who tells Hamilton that he's being poisoned to death. Horatio promises Hamilton to find out who poisoned his dad.

After seeing Hamlet performed in the park on Friday night to listening to Something Rotten on Saturday. I was amused by the names; Hamilton/Hamlet, Olivia/Ophelia, Rosco and Gilbert/ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It cracked me up when Horatio commented on how he thinks authors are unimaginative when they just retell an old classic. This modernization of Hamlet was so accurate I wondered if everyone was going to die. SPOILER ALERT: not everyone dies. So, for those who had to read Shakespeare in school or love the modern versions of the old classic Something Rotten is a must read or listen! It's better than the cliff notes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Born on a Blue Day

I've become a sucker for this kind of book - a well-written, accessible memoir that gives us a chance to see life from the point of view of someone else, especially someone whose life has special circumstances. The last book that did that for me was Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, an account of his son's addiction to meth.
Today, I just finished reading Born on a Blue Day in which Daniel Tammet talks about living with Asperger's syndrome as well as being a gifted savant with amazing mathematical and linguistic abilities. Asperger's is a form of autism which makes it a challenge for Daniel to connect emotionally with others and makes just living in the world from day to day very difficult. I think that I was mostly impressed by the way that Daniel's parents and family offer him unconditional love and the way that he approaches life with a great deal of courage and flexibility. Although Daniel's circumstances are extraordinary, I realized that the choices he has to make are really no different from those that any of us do... to look beyond our own experience, to challenge ourselves, to discover the particular way that we will love and connect with others, to be ok with who we are and even learn to celebrate our own gifts. Daniel's unique journey of making these choices makes for a special reading experience.

Born on a Blue Day is in our biography section. Come take a look.

This Week at Watha T. - June 9-June 15

Good Morning Neighbors!

Here's what's on tap for this week of library programming at WTD.

Monday, June 9

4:00: Doctor Who - The Empty Child
6:00: Bee Movie

Wednesday, June 11

10:00 a.m.: Story Time with Miss Tracy
6:00: Knitting Circle

Thursday, June 12

10:30: Mr. Derby Jam and Show

Saturday, June 14

1:00: Blog Your Life

Saturday, June 7, 2008

BIG Energy Savings

BIG Energy Savings
Saturday, June 7

Learn the biggest summer energy savings tips from the District Department of the Environment. Shave your passive energy use and save your money. Get green at home to grow green in the bank.

Presented by Charles Satterfield, Energy Program Specialist


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Teen Book Talk

Teen Book Talk
Thursday, June 5
4:00 p.m.

What's a book talk anyway?

Well, unlike a book club, a book talk is way more informal. At a book club normally everybody has read the same book and they're there to discuss the book and it's issues. But at a book talk, it's a free for all. We'll talk about any book that we've read, no matter what it is, so that other people can find out if they like those books or not. It's simple, just show up, and talk about something. No preparation required. No lengthy discussions about the literary merits of Dostoevsky's influence on blah blah blah. Nope. Just people who love books, talking about books.

So come round and join us. We'll have cookies and drinks and tons of books to share.

This is a part of the Metamorphosis summer reading program for teens.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

James and the Giant Peach

Big Kid Movie Night
James and the Giant Peach
Tonight, 6:00 p.m.

James is a typical british lad, raised by two horrible, nasty, mean old ladies. One day the peach tree in their front yard grows a massive, huge, enormous, giant peach. James falls inside of it, and he discovers some giant insects. They all become best friends and go on an adventure with the giant peach.

It's a wonderful movie, and a combination of live action and clay-mation. Stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Community Design Meeting - June 23

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library
Community Design Meeting
Monday, June 23rd, 6:30 p.m.

The DC Public Library is hosting a community design meeting to involve community residents and library patrons in plans to design and construct the new Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library.

Please join the DC Public Library staff, the Davis, Brody, Bond, Aedas design team and your neighbors to discuss the plans for the new Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library. Please feel free to contact Archie D. Williams ( if you have any questions regarding this event.

For information regarding previous meetings check out the construction page.

The Wasp Factory

Consider [ The Wasp Factory ] (Pretty please :)

When we think of Scotland, we usually think of ‘The Highlander’, single-malt Scotch, Scrooge McDuck, and kilts. I’ve been there, but all I remember is being bitten by a dog. A Scottish dog, though, which is kind of exotic. Anyway, Scottish author Iain Banks had a different Scotland in mind when he wrote his controversial but highly acclaimed first novel, The Wasp Factory.

The Library of Congress uses the following keywords to categorize The Wasp Factory: fathers and sons, Scotland, serial murder, teenage boys, psychopaths, murderers. Just wait—it gets better. The novel is set in a small island near Scotland, where a boy and his father live their bizarre lives isolated from the rest of the world. The boy is a secret. There is no legal documentation proving he was ever born, and his father keeps him on their private island for fear of being thrown in jail. The boy, Frank, practices his own violent religion and regularly stages wars with the other inhabitants of his island, namely the rabbits. Oh, and he’s a sociopath and a murderer. His brother is too, but his brother doesn’t live on the island anymore—he is in an asylum for lighting sheepdogs on fire and then…well, use your imagination.

If you are already wincing at the thought of reading about burned dogs, let me tell you that I was also very resistant at first. I never would’ve heard of The Wasp Factory if it hadn’t been for the recommendation of a library patron who warned me that some people might find it disturbing. You mean everyone? She gave the same basic introduction I’ve given, to which my reaction was NO WAY! Even as I made my way warily through the first dozen or so pages I thought seriously about returning it to the shelf. But I stuck with it, and it turned out to be one of the most interesting reads I’ve ever had. I promise.

In addition to his normal fiction—and I use the word normal loosely—Iain Banks also writes award-winning science-fiction (see Consider Phlebas) under the name Iain M. Banks. So, please consider Mr. Banks for your own sake, and check out The Wasp Factory from my Favorites shelf at WTD.

Monday, June 2, 2008

This Week at Watha T.-June 2-8

Good Morning Neighbors!

We've got some awesome movies this week and our first book talk for teens, and our Saturday is FULL of awesome programs. So, check it out!

Monday, June 2
4:00 p.m.: Doctor Who - Father's Day

Wednesday, June 4
10:00 a.m.: Story Time for 3-5 year olds with Miss Tracy
6:00 p.m.: Big Kid Movie - James and the Giant Peach

Thursday, June 5
4:00 p.m.: Teen Book Talk

Saturday, June 7
10:00 a.m.: Customizing your MySpace page
1:00 p.m.: Big Summer Energy Savings