Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Facebook Group

I've created a new facebook group for parents, teachers and librarians of children who have a taste for scary, strange or horrifying stories. It's called Spooky Books for Strange Children. If you have an account on FB, head over and check it out.

(If there's enough interest, I may make a separate blog here on Blogger - thoughts?)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Week at Watha T. May 26-May 31

Good Morning Neighbors!

It's the last week of May, and that means it's the last week of our SaturDocs documentary film festival here at Watha. Come and catch the final film in the series "Stories From the Quilt" this Saturday at 3:00.

Here's what's going on this week at Watha T.

Tuesday, May 26

10:00: Story Time

Wednesday, May 27

6:00: Open Knitting

Thursday, May 28

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, May 29

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents: Deathnote

Saturday, May 30

10:00: Family Story Time
12:00: Magic the Gathering Group
3:00: SaturDocs: Stories from the Quilt

Sunday, May 31

3:00: Folk Tales with Nick

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Celebration of Mo Willems

Just for the fun of it, we've decided to make tomorrow morning a Mo Willems days: we'll be reading four of Willems' amazing and hilarious stories for Saturday Morning Storytime, including The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, I am Going to a Party, and everyone's favorite, Knuffle Bunny!

After that, we'll follow up by coloring some of the characters from the stories!

For those of you who'd like to share the fun at home, check out Pigeon's awesome website. We found ton's of cool games and character bios, as well as a full list of Mo Willems books (there's even one for slightly older kids, called You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tech Tuesday: How to use a Playaway

Hey Neighbors.

Are you into recorded books? I'm becoming more of a fan of them all the time. I recently listened to Carson McCuller's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" on a Playaway. For those of you who don't know what this is, think of it as a single audio book on its own mp3 player. We've got a wide selection of them for children, teens and adults as well. Stop by and check it out!

Here's a little introductory video to help you get started.

Monday, May 18, 2009

This Week at Watha T. May 18 - May 25

Good Morning Neighbors!

This monday marks the end of our weekly homework help sessions. If you kids haven't met with our tutors yet, this is the prime opportunity to use their help for those end of the school year projects.

Also, we've got our first Summer Reading program event of the year. Come and check out the Nicolo Whimsey Show with your young ones.

Here's what's happening this week at Watha T.

Monday, May 18

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: History Book Club discusses: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Tuesday, May 19

10:00: Story Time

Wednesday, May 20

4:00: Urban Fiction Book Club discusses The Best of Everything by Kimberla Lawson Roby
6:00: Big Read Discussion: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Thursday, May 21

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose
10:30: Nicolo Whimsey Show

Friday, May 22

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents Deathnote

Saturday, May 23

10:00: Story Time
12:00: Magic the Gathering
3:00: Saturday Documentaries: When the Levees Broke

Sunday, May 24

3:00: Folk Tales

Monday, May 25

Closed in observance of Memorial Day

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Paul Robeson Series in June

Join us at 2:00pm, every Sunday in June as we celebrate the film career of one of the greatest and most controversial figures in 20th Century American history, Paul Robeson.

In addition to being an accomplished singer and actor of screen and stage, Robeson was a tireless activist and staunch supporter of African American equality and workers' rights. Each week, we will show one of his seminal works:

June 7: Body and Soul

Robeson's silent screen debut, directed by Oscar Micheaux. Robeson here plays dual leading roles as a corrupt itinerant minister and an innocent, soft-hearted inventor. The movie was an early independent film, controversial for its criticism of the church and churchgoers and the educational differences between characters.

June 14: Proud Valley

Directed by Pen Tennyson, this film exemplifies the political activism behind Robeson's artistic choices. He plays an American sailor joining with Welsh miners to protest their mistreatment at the hand of their wealthy bosses; Robeson's labor sympathies are highlighted, as is his lifelong commitment to social justice.

June 21: Emperor Jones

Directed by Dudley Murphy and based on the play by Eugene O'Neil, this is Robeson's first sound-era film, in which he reprises the role of Brutus Jones. He was already familiar with the character, having performed it onstage, but this was the first "big-budget", headlining movie with star-billing for an African-American actor. This is often considered Robeson's most "iconic", breakthrough movie role, though he was already known onstage for his long-running portrayal of Othello.

June 28: Jericho

Directed by Thornton Freeland, Robeson described this as his most satisfying role, depicting a positive image of a black man of courage, honor and intelligence who works toward a life of happiness and success. He plays an officer in World War I, who escapes to Africa to avoid a court-martial; once there, he forges a new life among the Taureg.

We hope you can join us for these amazing films, as well as all the other great programs we have lined up for the Summer months.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Watha T. Daniel Summer Concert Film Series!!!

The Watha T. Daniel Library is proud to announce a series of films of live music performances starting in June and continuing through July. Every Saturday at 3:00PM we will show some of the best live concert films that are out there. Here's the lineup:


06/06/09: Bob Marley and the Wailers

06/13/09: Motown the Early Years

06/20/09: A John Lennon Tribute Concert

06/27/09: Music of New Orleans


07/04/09: [ Library Closed for Independence Day ]

07/11/09: Rolling Stones documentary (by Martin Scorsese)

07/18/09: Handel Messiah

07/25/09: Sonny Rollins Live in ’65 & ‘68

We hope to see you there!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

This Week at Watha T. May 11 - 18

Good Morning Neighbors!

Have you been reading any of our new collection of Japanese books in translation? If not, come and learn a little bit about Koji Suzuki, the Stephen King of Japan, and other Japanese horror writers this Wednesday.

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

Monday, May 11

3:30: Homework Help from Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: Lecture Series: Human Rights, A History

Tuesday, May 12

10:00: Story Time

Wednesday, May 13

6:00: Open Knitting Group
7:00: Book Talk: Japanese Horror

Thursday, May 14

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, May 15

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club presents: Deathnote

Saturday, May 16

10:00: Story Time for Families
12:00: Magic: the Gathering
2:00: Be Creative Children's Activity
3:00: Documentary Film Series presents: Amandla!

Sunday, May 17

3:00: Folktales with Nick

Monday, May 18

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: History Book Club discusses: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Story Time: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We had an AWESOME day at Story Time this morning. Given the vast amounts of rain we've been having I figured it was only appropriate to read a whole bunch of stories about rain. We read:

The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
If Frogs Made Weather by Marion Dane Bauer
Rainy Day by Patricia Lakin
Are You Ready To Play Outside by Mo Willems

For our craft activity we made little umbrellas. Come and check them out hanging up in the children's room.

We also sang my favorite campfire song "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea." I even made this fabulous felt board illustration to help everyone sing along. Because you know:

There's a fly on the tongue of the frog on the bump on the log on the hole in the bottom of the sea.
There's a fly on the tongue of the frog on the bump on the log on the hole in the bottom of the sea.
There's a hole, there's a hole,
There's a hole in the bottom of the sea.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sci-Fi Review - Anathem

In Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson spun tales of operatic immensity, balanced by hyper-modern sensibilities and an uncanny knack for not simply telling, but creating the future. In Anathem, Stephenson simultaneously lampoons and pays homage to the philosophical tradition, and its relationship with the rest of the world. Like all of his works (with the possible exception of Snow Crash), this book is a tome. At 935 densely packed pages, it's pretty heavy reading, but if you have the patience to unravel the story, it's very much worth the effort.

The protagonist of the story, Fra Erasmus, is a part of the "Concent of Saunt Edhar", a monastic sanctuary for philosophers and theoreticians who have withdrawn from the "saecular" world of religion and applied sciences. The avout who dwell in the concent are isolated by degrees between "tenners", "hundreders" and "thousanders" - the number of years between periods of contact with the Extramuros for each Order. If this paragraph confuses you, you may want to go with something a little lighter. If it intrigues you, I promise, the story will go on to titillate and satisfy your baser intellectual urges.

Anathem is a deeply allegorical story, taking place in a world which is the intellectual mirror of our own. Half the fun in reading it is in deciphering the subtle references, in unlocking the code in which the book is written. Conversations often take the form of codified dialectic, in the western philosophical tradition, and a good number of the "historical figures" from the book are directly derived from that tradition. Philosophy buffs will get a kick out of some of Stephenson's more oblique references and quirky references to recognizable schools of thought.

Complimenting the intellectual grandiosity of the book is the adventure story at its heart. Like most of Stephenson's books, there is a love story at the center of this tale, which manages to transcend the details and put them into perspective. In every one of Neal Stephenson's books, there is a core of (more or less) fixed characters. The most vital of these is the hero's girl - the one who gives him an anchor, keeping him from being set adrift by his own story. She is pragmatic, emotionally conscious, occasionally mysterious and always challenging, but most important, she brings out the best in him.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Importance of Being Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, the well known First Lady and wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, was one of the main American delegates to the UN who helped compile the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration was put forward by the United Nations in 1948, three years after the end of World War Two. It was also Eleanor Roosevelt who was one of the leaders of the United States Delegation for the committee on human rights and she was the one who prodded the committee to put forward a new formulation of the idea of human rights to the world, one that reflected the challenges of a world recently united by the struggle of a World War.

In a relatively new book entitled " A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Mary Ann Glendon shows how it was the enthusiasm and commitment of Ms Roosevelt that helped to bring the early UN to a focus on human rights as the basis for a new world order. She helped to direct the human rights commission to agree upon a common formulation of human rights for all nations. She also encouraged the United States’ State Department to stand behind our principles of democracy and human dignity when those principles were questioned by some new nations. According to Ms Glendon, it was her good sense and idealism that made the committee work and it was her fame that helped to sucessfully publicized the Declaration of as a new Magna Carta for the twentieth century.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a world figure at the time, one of the few American women of stature who helped direct the political work of the New Deal, served the causes of civil rights, sought to improve conditions of the poor, and brought about agricultural reform. She worked both within and outside of government. She became a symbol after her husband’s death of the American ideals of democracy, human rights, and social welfare for the masses of people. She became most famous for advancing the cause of universal human rights within the United Nations and bringing a greater idealism to the purposes behind the world organization as it came upon the world stage to become the major player that it remains today.

This week at Watha T. May 4-10

Good Morning Neighbors!

We've got all kinds of good stuff going on this week at Watha T. You may notice that our regular lineup has changed a little bit. Let us know if there was a program cut that you just absolutely can't live without, and we'll work it back into the schedule.

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

Monday, May 4

3:30: Homework Help with Capitol Letters Writing Center
6:00: Making Paper Flowers (children's activity)
6:00: The Basics of Recording Your Own Music

Tuesday, May 5

10:00: Story Time
3:30: Summer Reading Kickoff Party
Come sign up for summer reading, get free books, and have a sweet treat
6:30: Public Meeting: Friends of the Watha T. Daniel Library
This meeting will be to discuss the installation of a vegetative roof at the new Watha T. Daniel Library at 7th and Rhode Island.

Wednesday, May 6

6:00: Comic Book Discussion Group with Eric

Thursday, May 7

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, May 8

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
4:00: Anime Club Presents: Deathnote

Saturday, May 9

10:00: Story Time
12:00: Magic the Gathering for Teens
3:00: Documentary Film Series presents: Brothers and Others

Sunday, May 10

3:00: Folktales with Nick

Friday, May 1, 2009

Horror Review - The Vampire of Ropraz

In The Vampire of Ropraz, Jacques Chessex explores the power of myth and superstition in the cold, bitter countryside of Vaud, Switzerland in the early 20th Century. The book is translated eloquently from its original French by W. Donald Wilson, but loses none of its stark poeticism.

The title of this book could have multiple meanings. In one sense, it refers to the hero (and villain) of the story, Charles-Augustin Favez. Favez is accused of a series of grizzly crimes involving the desecration and mutilation of the bodies of three recently-buried young women in the area. In another sense, the Vampire is Ropraz, for the real focus of the story is not on the twisted stable-boy Favez, but the twisted society from which he emerges, calling out for his blood regardless of innocence or guilt. Finally, it could represent the 'woman in white' who visits Favez during his confinement to satisfy her own terrible needs.

Favez' guilt or innocence is incidental to the story; just because he is a scapegoat, after all, doesn't mean that he didn't do it. Instead, the important point to draw from the novel is the way society reacts to what they believe is the truth, or wish to be the truth. The most satisfying aspect of this book was, paradoxically, its opacity. There is no clear answer, no explanation, no vindication. The whole point is, rather, the obscurity and desolation of an obscure and desolate people in a cold wasteland of petty superstitions and subtle derangement.