Monday, August 31, 2009

This Week at Watha T. - August 31-September 7

Good Morning Neighbors!

As you can probably tell from this awesome promotional image, we've got a Wii! Starting this Wednesday we'll be playing Wii Sports on the TV in the Teen room at 5:00. It's going to be beyond awesome.

Also, please know that we will be closed on Monday September 7th in observance of Labor Day.

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

Monday, August 31

7:00: Meeting of the Watha T. Daniel Library Friends

Tueseday, September 1

10:00: Preschool Story Time
4:00: Book Talk

Wednesday, September 2

5:00: Wii Sports
6:00: Comic Book Discussion Group

Thursday, September 3

10:00: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, September 4

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

Saturday, September 5

10:00: Family Story Time

Sunday, September 6

2:00: Random Awesome Movie Matinee

Monday, September 7

Closed in observance of Labor Day Holiday

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Few Old Favorites, Rediscovered...

I grew up in Buffalo, NY, right on the Niagara River. When you're a kid, you don't always realize the most obvious facts of your circumstances; after all, you've had no experiences to tell you what is extraordinary (or not) about the place you're growing up in. For instance: I would never have guessed how formative it could be to grow up on the border of another country.

Canada was this vague notion, at best, or maybe just those nice people across the water who really aren't all that different from us. This elephant in the room of my childhood, though, presented itself in a really subtle way - all my favorite programs, the ones from which I derive my very first memories, were Canadian. I went through my whole life without realizing that; until this morning, when a friend of mine became a fan of Mr. Dressup on Facebook. Can of worms!

Mr. Dressup was a kindly gentleman with a pair of puppet friends, Casey and Finnegan, and a magical trunk full of costumes which he would occasionally have to coax open with a song and some tickling. He always had some craft or other, making any number of accessories for his costumes out of cardboard, markers and the like - always something you could do at home if you had the materials on hand. I've always carried fond memories of that program, but never realized he was based in Toronto.

Naturally, this set me off on a Google frenzy, and suddenly I'm recalling the wonderful songs of Fred Penner (who lived in a log) and Sharon, Lois and Bram (before their Skinnamarink fame): all got their start on the CBC, and I got to see them because I lived right on the edge of another nation.

All this nostalgia was really great, and reminded me of what it was like to be a child, in love with the magic that comes with stories and songs. So, this morning, story time was dedicated to the memory of Ernie Coombs, aka Mr. Dressup, who taught me (and probably many thousands of other children in Canada and Western New York) how to pretend I was someone else, make accessories out of just about anything, and always wake up with a smile.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In The News: Farewell To Reading Rainbow

You know it's an end of an era when something that you cherished as a child finally ends. Today is the final day of Reading Rainbow on PBS. The show ran for 26 years, and due to financial problems and a change in the philosophy behind PBS children's programming Reading Rainbow will fade into history.

I grew up a PBS kid. I remember watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow, probably in its very first years on television. One of the episodes I remember vividly was where they read "Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears." The distinctive African cover art from that book was emblazoned in my mind and I've never forgotten it.

One of the things that I loved about Reading Rainbow, and part of the reason why Rainbow has fallen out of favor with PBS is because it instills kids (and adults alike) with something that no other show can, the joy and love of reading. Recently I attended a training workshop on early childhood literacy and one of the primary categories relevant to early literacy skill building is "print motivation." When we read stories to children that they love it increases the likelihood that they'll want to read more and more. That's why children love to read the same book over and over, and why they crave series with characters that they recognize. Reading Rainbow took that extra step by including book reviews by children for children sharing the titles of books that they loved. I can't tell you how many times I picked up a book because someone else told me it was good (I still do that). And when it comes from someone your own age, even better.

But don't take my word for it... We have a huge selection of the Reading Rainbow video series here at Watha T. Daniel Library. Get the video that goes along with one of the books you're reading with your child and read along with the show. Or get a copy of one that you may remember from your younger days and relive your childhood.

Now to find LeVar Burton and ask him where he found the fountain of youth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This Week at Watha T. - August 24 - 31

Good Afternoon Neighbors!

Sorry I couldn't get my act together and put up the weekly calendar on time this week, but better late than never. We're finally finished with all of our Summer Reading Programs and back on target with our regular weekly programming. I hope to see you around!

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

Monday, August 24

2:00: American Sign Language
6:00: Social Justice Lecture Series - The Works Progress Administration and the Art of the Depression

Tuesday, August 25

10:00: Story Time
4:00: Book Talk

Wednesday, August 26

6:00: Knitting Circle

Thursday, August 27

9:50: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, August 28

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

Saturday, August 29

10:00: Story Time

Sunday, August 30

2:00: Sunday Matinee: Heroes

Monday, August 31

7:00: Open Meeting: Watha T. Daniel Library Friends

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Talk: Evil Genius

It's week three of our in house weekly book talks. Make sure you join us every Tuesday at 4:00 at Watha T. to hear about the latest crazy thing we're reading. This weeks topic was the "Evil Genius." Here's what I picked.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Doctor Impossible is the classic definition of the evil genius. Here's just a taste of his cliche, but unique brand of villainy "When life gives you lemons you squeeze them, hard. Make invisible ink. Make an acid poison. Fling it in their eyes." Just great stuff here, super heroes vs. super villain. And the fight scenes are awesome.

MW by Osamu Tezuka

From a book with comic-book-like villainy, to a comic with novelesque villainy. MW is the story of Michio Yuki, he seems like the perfect guy, a handsome actor with everything going for him. But his beautiful exterior is the perfect disguise for the twisted soul underneath. Only Father Garai know Michio's secret and Michio pushes Garai to confront his own twisted soul. But Michio's plans are bigger and more deadly than Garai could have ever imagined.

Loop by Koji Suzuki

This is the sequel to Ring, the novel that inspired an entire series of films in both Japan and America. But the sequel to the novel goes to an entirely different place than the films, a much weirder and scarier place than any of the films could have gone in my opinion. Sadako, the girl from the well has escaped thanks to the unwitting help of a journalist has been unleashed upon the world. And her plans are so much more horrific than you can ever imagine.

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Fans of the Dexter series on Showtime will love the books. This is the second in the Dexter series and unlike the show, the novels take us on a joyride of horror and terror that is completely out of control. Someone is mutilating people from Sargeant Dokes's past, and Dokes's sins are coming back to haunt him with a vengeance. Perhaps one of the sickest things I've ever read. The evil genius at the heart of this one is not Dexter, but someone far more sick than you will ever find.

Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton

In the most recent installment of the Meredith Gentry series, Meredith finds herself mother-to-be, and expecting twins as well. But the plots to destroy her life and her bid for the throne of the Unseelie Court of the Fae are no less than they ever were. And first among them is Cel, her cousin, son of Queen Andais, the reigning monarch of the Unseelie. Cel may be mad, but he is born of the Sidhe and he has had centuries to hone his wits and wickedness. Can he take the throne from Meredith?

The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike

Alex, Jane and Sukie find themselves older, much older, and feeling the pull of time. None of them can quite make out what to do with their lives so they decide to return to the scene of their previous maleficia, Eastwick. But someone in Eastwick has not forgotten the slight that the witches did to their family.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This Week at Watha T. Aug. 17-Aug. 24

Good Morning Neighbors!

We've passed the halfway point this month. Can you believe it? I know I can't believe it. This is the last week before DC Public Schools start up again. Make sure you get your kids in here to claim the final summer reading prizes this year.

Here's what we've got in store for you this week at Watha T.

Monday, August 17

2:00: American Sign Language Class
6:00: History Book Club: Plato's Republic, chapters 6-7

Tuesday, August 18

10:00: Preschool Story Time
4:00: Book Talk

Wednesday, August 19

4:00: Urban Fiction Book Talk

Thursday, August 20

9:50: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, August 21

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
12:00: Anime Club presents: Naruto

Saturday, August 22

10:00: Family Story Time

Sunday, August 23

2:00: Heroes

Monday, August 24

2:00: American Sign Language
6:00: Social Justice Lecture Series: The Works Progress Administration and the Art of the New Deal

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The WPA, the Arts and The New Deal

The WPA , Works Progress Administration, was an agency created by the New Deal in the thirties to promote the arts as well as build public works. It was responsible for hiring out of work artists to create posters, paint murals, and put on plays. The WPA made possible the creation of a set of works of art that reflected a sense of community and social responsibility that made these works unique. It is useful to look back on this less individualistic time when the collective destiny of society was more in focus.

There will be a lecture discussion on the Depression and the Arts that will cover this topic at Watha Daneil Shaw Library. The event will be held on August 24th at 6:00 pm. The location: 945 Rhode Island Ave., NW two blocks from the Shaw metro at 10th and Rhode Island.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Week at Watha T. August 10-17

Good Morning Neighbors!

Just two more weeks until DC Public Schools start up again, so make sure to get your kids in here to get any last minute summer reading done. And it's still not too late to turn in your summer reading pages for you or your children get your last minute prizes either. Come on teens! We've still got a good number of mp3 players to give away. Get those reading lists in!

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

Monday, August 10

2:00: American Sign Language
6:00: Social Justice Lecture Series: Labor Leaders and the Great Depression

Tuesday, August 11

10:00: Preschool Story Time
4:00: Book Talk

Wednesday, August 12

6:00: Open Knitting Group

Thursday, August 13

9:50: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, August 14

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
12:00: Anime Club presents Naruto Nation

Saturday, August 15

10:00: Family Story Time
2:00: Be Creative Kids Activity

Sunday, August 16

2:00: Heroes

Monday, August 17

2:00: American Sign Language
6:00: History Book Club discusses Plato's Republic chapters 6 & 7

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spooky Books for Strange Children

Are your children a little....strange...?

Do you find that strangeness refreshing?

Did they get it from you in the first place?

If you and your kids enjoy the thrill of a good scare, or share a sense of humor that makes other people a little nervous, then we've created the perfect place for you. At Spooky Books for Strange Children, we share our love of horror and the bizarre, review books for kids and young adults on those themes, and encourage your feedback and dialogue.

We are also on Facebook.

Check us out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In The News: To Cook Or Not To Cook

As part of our efforts to expand the scope of the blog we're going to be doing a series of articles on here looking at hot topics in the news and how we at the library can help expand your understanding of the topic.

In last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, wrote an article entitled Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch where he explores how television cooking shows migrated from instruction based cooking like Julia Child into "dump and stir" shows like Rachel Ray and butch cooking challenge shows like Iron Chef. He also mentions Nora Ephron's new movie Julie and Julia as an example of someone discovering the love of cooking, and along the way finding the key to unlock her own passions as a writer.

It's a great piece of writing, and as someone who busts out Julia Child's "The Way To Cook" a couple times a month it made me want to rethink my cooking priorities.

Here's a list of some of the books Pollan discusses in his article, and a few others, along with the library call number so you can locate them here at the DC Public Library.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Penguin, 2008
Call Number: 613 P771

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Penguin, 2007
Call Number: 394.12 P773O

Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell, Little Brown, 2005
Call Number: 641.5092 P884

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, 40th Anniversary ed., Knopf, 2001
Call Number: 641.5944 C536A

My Life in France by Julia Child, Knopf, 2006
Call Number: 92 C535
Also available as an mp3 audio book via Overdrive

Top Chef: The Cookbook text by Brett Martin ; recipes edited by Liana Krissoff and Leda Scheintaub., Chronicle, 2008
Call Number: 641.5 T673

In the Heat of the Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, Wiley, 2004
Call Number: 641.5 R178

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, Clarkson Potter, 2007
Call Number: 641.5 W329

Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book by Rachel Ray, Clarkson Potter, 2008
Call Number: 641.555 R264R

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, Norton, 2001
Call Number: 305.4209 F899F2

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, Knopf/Random House, 1993
Call Number: 305.4 B386

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri, William Morrow, 2008
Call Number: 647.9573 F465

The Physiology of Taste by Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Penguin, 1994
Call Number: 641.01 B857A5

Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham, Basic, 2009
Call Number: 394.12 W941

Monday, August 3, 2009

Under the Sea

It's been a busy Summer, here at Watha T. (over nine thousand, indeed!), and since we've had an influx of summer supplies, we've gone full tilt into our Saturday morning story-time crafts. Last week, we finally replaced our butterfly mobile with an aquatic counterpart, made from Rainbow Fish and paper-plate jellyfish. Now, when we go to the Children's room we really have to fight the urge to hold our breath! Refreshing...

Other projects this summer have included catapults, sun-catchers and Project Runway style t-shirt redecorating with Eric. Last Saturday, we made pinwheels, and this Saturday after story time we'll be making fun monster-face sun-visors to keep off the August heat.

Can you believe it's August already?

This Week at Watha T. Aug. 3 - Aug 10

Good Morning Neighbors!

I can't believe it's August already. Next thing you know the kids will be back in school. So, make sure to stop by and catch the end of the summer reading program special performances with the Washington National Opera's "Cinderella" program this weekend!

Also, starting this month is our weekly book talk series. Come and find out what's new at the library and what the staff here are reading.

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

Monday, August 3

2:00: American Sign Language Class

Tuesday, August 4

10:00: Preschool Story Time
4:00: Weekly Book Talk

Wednesday, August 5

6:00: Comic Book Discussion Group
6:30: Capitol Letters Writing Center Volunteer Orientation Program

Thursday, August 6

9:50: Mother Goose on the Loose

Friday, August 7

10:00: Rock Along with Casey
12:00: Naruto Nation

Saturday, August 8

10:00: Family Story Time
11:00: Washington National Opera presents Cinderella

Sunday, August 9

2:00: Heroes

Monday, August 10

2:00: American Sign Language Class
6:00: Social Justice Lecture Series: The Labor Movement and the Great Depression

Sunday, August 2, 2009

We're Over 9,000!

Forgive me for using a tired 4-chan meme, but I've been dying to do this for months.

Each month I compile the usage statistics for the Watha T. Daniel Interim Library and send a report to administration, and this then gets reported to the board of trustees. Among the statistics we keep are 1) the number of visitors to the library, 2) the number of new library cards issued that month, and 3) attendance at library programs (as well as many other things).

During the month of July we had 9,170 visitors at Watha T. Daniel, and we had 1,218 children adults and teens at library programs. All that AND we had two days of holiday closures for the fourth of July!

Thank you for supporting the Watha T. Daniel Interim Library, and thank you for putting us over 9,000!