Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading APPtitude

In the past few weeks we learned of a new app called “Novel Engagement”, put out by Romance Writers of America (RWA).  Available on iTunes and Google play, its purpose is to help “readers discover romance novels and connect with authors…there are five main sections to the app: Books, Authors, Events, Reader Zone, and More.”

This got us thinking….are there other apps out there that might be of interest to readers?  We started researching beyond the romance genre to see what we could find.  A general Google search of “reading apps” yields a lot of results along the lines of audio book and eBook “readers,” that is apps that provide content.  We were more interested in apps that help you find your next book or favorite author.

The app that most closely resembled that for which we were searching is the Goodreads app. We have individual accounts with Goodreads and have thoroughly enjoyed the free website, which is basically a social network for readers.   Their app allows readers to “discover and share books…, find new and interesting books by browsing personalized recommendations based on books you've read and your favorite genres…,see what your friends are reading, write book reviews, and keep track of what you want to read.”  The further advantage to Goodreads is that it crosses genres.  We’ve yet to find a genre that we are interested in finding books in that does not have a list on Goodreads. 

We really wanted apps that were genre-specific, like the RWA app, but did not have much luck.  Western Writers of America has an app that will let you search for literature set in the American West in all genres.  iTunes has “Sci-Fi Library” which has a core collection of 100+ sci-fi novels but I could not find any related to mystery, inspirational, or fantasy; we found nothing similar in Google play.   There are plenty of apps that will come up for all of these genres, but they provide content rather than suggestions or recommendations.  If you read YA, you can check out “Teen Book Finder” (right) for ideas of what to read in that genre. 

There are also different apps that allow you to keep track of what you’ve read (similar to Goodreads), depending on your device.   Apple offers “iReadItNow” (left) through iTunes, which is more like a reading journal app, but allows sharing via Twitter and Facebook.  This app is not free, so it has many premium features.  Android devices have a free app called “To Read – Reading List,” (right) also more of a reading journal than anything else.  

We went searching for genre book apps and these are the ones we discovered.  Do you use apps to find books to put on your ‘to-be-read” list?  If so, do you keep it general or do you have a certain type of book app that you use?   Let us know!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January's Adult Reading Challenge "Clues"

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”  Walt Disney
This year’s Adult Reading Challenge is called Hidden Treasure and is based on Walt’s quote.  We want you to find the treasure of good books in your bid to finish this year’s challenge. Instead of racking up miles going to foreign countries, or traveling to different time periods, we give you a list of “clues” which are subjects and you choose a book based on the clue. There are 4 preprinted clues on the list you receive when you sign up for the challenge. Then each month 2 more clues are released here on our blog and other social media sites.  If you haven’t signed up yet, come in and see Stephanie or Rhonda to join the game. For those who have signed up here are your clues and explanations:

Dragons-This one is super easy you can read any book that has a dragon in it, has the word dragon in the title, or has a picture of a dragon on the cover.

Art- This one requires a book about visual art or a museum setting. For our purposes we will go with the Britannica Encyclopedia’s explanation of traditional visual art. This includes painting, drawing, sculpting, and printmaking. 

Quilting-This clue requires the book to be about quilts or for a character in the book to be a quilter.

Spy Thriller- A book that has a spy for a character or is about any of the alphabet agencies will work.

2 additional clues:
In honor of the King of Rock and Roll’s January 8th birthday, read a book that has music as the theme. It could be a fiction book that has a musician as a character or the opera or Broadway as a setting. Of course if you prefer non-fiction it could be a biography of a musician or a history of genre of music or about a particular instrument.

The second clue is to read a book by an author born in January.  A few suggestions to get you started are Karin Slaughter, Stuart Woods, Laura Lippman, and Isaac Asimov. If you have a favorite author look them up and see what month they were born, they just might work for this month’s clue. Of course the list for both of these clues will be added to the Suggested Reading Guide found in the Reference Department on Friday, January 9, 2015.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Library cozies up in the month of January!

Decatur Public Library has a long history with quilts.  This past October we held our 34th annual quilt show, continuing the tradition of “decking our halls” with cozy, quilted art.   Beginning on January 2nd we will take our love of quilts to another level: a show AND SALE!

Ordinarily our quilt shows are just that: displays of quilts submitted by numerous artists.  The first ever Quilt Show & Sale will be different in a couple of ways.  For this show, all quilts have been crafted by one artist, Annette Byrd, who will be offering the quilts for sale.  This time, if you see a quilt you love you will have the opportunity to purchase it! 

Annette has been quilting for over forty years, resulting in an abundance of exquisitely crafted works of fabric art.  She has displayed her quilts in our October shows and in other quilt shows across the country, and has won awards.  One of Annette’s quilts is even in the permanent collection of the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville!

Since she was a librarian at the William Bradford Huie Library in Hartselle for many years, Annette has a lifelong devotion to libraries.  We also consider her part of our library family, since she worked at the Hartselle Library when it was a part of the Wheeler Basin Regional Library system.  In addition to showing her quilts and offering them for sale, Annette will donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale to Decatur Public Library.

We hope you will stop by during the month of January to see the amazing quilts.  We combed Annette’s quilt inventory to find a selection of different styles, sizes and techniques to display.  We think you’ll be enchanted by the fabrics, colors and artistry of Annette’s work!  


Detail of "Monet's Garden"

Detail of "Baltimore-South"

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Caught Reading During Banned Books Week

Awww, I should have put some bunny ears on....

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


THE QUILTS  for this year's annual show are going up today and will be on display in the library throughout the month of October!  We are proudly showing off the work of many talented local quiltmakers!

After enjoying the quilt exhibit, be sure to check out our NONFICTION books about quilting (Dewey Number 746.46) or go upstairs to the FICTION section to find some of the Elm Creek Quilts series of novels by Jennifer Chaiverini.

I have sewn a few quilts over the years, but have yet to finish one to display in the library's show. For instance, the star block here is from a baby quilt  I was designing for my grandson Desmond; I started it before he was born, and he is 3 years old now, and the quilt is still in pieces!   The photo to the left is a project I have been working on the past few months, and no it isn't done yet either!

I do have an antique (circa 1890's) velvet crazy quilt top in the library display cases (along with other vintage quilts).  I purchased the quilt from an antique shop in the late 1990's-- with the intention to embroider the top and finish the quilt, which is yet another unfinished project!  I took the quilt top to be appraised at Antiques Roadshow last year in Knoxville, TN; they verified the date but my pretty quilt isn't worth much more than the 100$ I paid for it. Still, as I said,  it is a pretty thing.

 Despite all my own procrastination and lack of productivity, I do  love having the quilt show in the library. I am always so impressed and inspired by the creativity of our local artists! It makes the library all that more inviting and colorful and cozy.

And, all these quilts do make me quite nostalgic-- for NAPTIME!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Favorite Banned Book in Alabama

MY favorite "banned book" is the children's picture book THE RABBITS' WEDDING, written and illustrated by Garth Williams. (He also, notably, illustrated  two other of my childhood favorites, STUART LITTLE and CHARLOTTE"S WEB.) 

Illustration from The Rabbits'Wedding by Garth Williams
In our library collection at E WILLIAMS

WHY was this book BANNED?

Montgomery Home News, Feb 1959

TIME June 1, 1959

This book about civil rights can be found in out Alabama Room Collection at ALA 027.4761 GRA.
It contains a chapter on  "Librarians and the Civil Right Movement, 1955-1965" with a significant portion devoted to Emily Wheelock Reed and the Rabbits' Wedding Controversy.

Link to Los Angeles Times Obituary for Emily Wheelock Reed: 

There is even a stage play, called ALABAMA STORY, about the controversy over the book.
Synopsis: Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Alabama Story tells the story of state librarian Emily Wheelock Reed, who orders a seemingly innocuous children's book called The Rabbits Wedding and ignites a state senator's segregationist ire in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama. A finalist for the 2014 National Playwrights' Conference, Alabama Story is a gentle fact-based drama that unfolds at a pivotal time in American history.

includes a 25 pg except of the playscript.

Thursday, September 11, 2014



This will be a day to celebrate and raise awareness for reading on digital devices. Readers around the world are encouraged to take part in the largest digital reading event by choosing from millions of free eBooks from their local library or purchasing an eBook from a retailer online.

Throughout the day on September 18, OverDrive will be celebrating the holiday by giving away tablets and devices every hour on and through social media to readers who tell their story of what eBooks mean to them. Readers can use the hashtag #eBookDay on Facebook or Twitter to tell their story, or comment directly at


If you are new to eBooks, be sure check out and learn about borrowing, downloading and syncing eBooks. You can also access information via the EBOOKS tab and links on our library homepage.

To make your digital reading even more convenient, OverDrive will be releasing a NEW APP for Android, iOS, and Windows  (to be released Sept. 15, 2014)! The new version will make setting up your device even easier and no longer require authorization from Adobe. Another feature of the new app will allow Epub formatted books to be returned early before their due date.

This is all good news for tech savvy patrons who want to get the most from all the digital resources DPL has to offer.

 Now, for your amusement...CONFESSIONS OF A LOW-TECH LUDDITE:
I'm an old school kind of gal when it comes to reading; I like hard copy, “real” books.  I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the eBook revolution, and mostly because my job in the library required me to become familiar with the evolving technology. It's thanks to our patrons, I've been introduced to the wild world of of eBook downloads and apps for Kindle, Nook, and Android.

I finally gave in and purchased a NOOK e-reader for myself about a year ago. I've read maybe a dozen eBooks since then. Of that number, I checked out most of them via our digital collection in CameliiaNet, and bought a couple others online from Barnes & Noble. (Just so,you know where my loyalties still lie, In comparison, I've read over 100 print books during the same time frame.)

However, giving credit where it is due, there are some positive things I have to say about my limited eBook experience:

--The first eBook I purchased to read was a 1500 page biography, and I readily admit it was so much easier to handle my Nook and not have to tote a physical book of that size around with me.
--During my lunch break from the library, I often like to go walk at Delano Park. I have on occasion used my Nook to multi-task and read while I walk. The e-reader is less cumbersome than holding and flipping pages in a print book would be during exercise. (and since Delano offers a mile path to circle around on, I'm not too much of a danger to myself or others while reading on the move.)
--There are some books available in our library catalog which we have available ONLY in eBook format; so this is the only way to read them and not miss out.
--I do like the GloLight feature on my Nook; it makes reading in the dark or dim light possible.
--I’ve worn glasses since a very early age, and my eyes aren’t getting any better as I get older. I've noticed that sometimes font size or style in print will give me issues with readability. My e-reader has the capability to easily enlarge the print, and without the added bulk of a hard copy Large Print volume.

Even an old print diehard like me can see that there are positive aspects and advantages to digital!

So, celebrate  International Read An eBook Day on Sept. 18th!!! I'll even fire up my Nook and join you.  But please come to the library any day and check out what’s in the stacks as well.  :)