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.  :)

Friday, September 5, 2014



I'm thinking the above should be my new profile pic, at least for September to promote....

OUTSIDE THE LINES is a weeklong celebration 

Sept. 14-20, 2014 

 to reconnect you with the creativity, technology, discovery, 

and all the fun and unexpected experiences 

happening in libraries today.

Btw, yours truly is facilitating the craft sessions for Ribbonwork Flowers and Origami Cranes! I'll provide more information about these workshops soon. :)


Although I write here about library topics which interest me and often from a somewhat personal point of view, this is not simply “MY” blog.

Neither is it totally accurate to say "it's the Decatur Public Library's blog".  (Actually, the library staff produce two blogs; this one and one from the Children's Department.) This is a blog by and about the library, and is part of of our social media outreach, but...

 It really belongs to YOU.  Together, we are all “River City Readers”.

I read recently that a successful blog should be updated at least 2-3 times per week, and that it doesn't reach "critical mass" until about 50 entries have been posted. At that point, the blogger is in the groove of writing, and  there is enough steady content to make a discernible online presence to potential readers.

I'm going to make that commitment, to do my part, to step it up and post enough to reach that positive tipping point.

One of the characteristic aims of a blog is to create an online community around content (in this case the library and all the cool stuff we offer), and comments help make that happen by providing the opportunity to turn an exchange of information into a conversation.

So, let's start talking! I need your help. What would River City Readers like to see and read here? What information do you need or want? What interests you?

Here are some ideas for what this blog's offerings could include:

Lists of  recent additions to library collection.

Notices of upcoming library events.

Book reviews.

Read-A-Like lists.

Online book club.

Showcase DPL’s services and  update resources.

Online Suggestion Box and Feedback.

Educational pieces about library related topics.

Slice of library life essays.

Web Links.

Photographs and images.

So, what can I do for you? And, remember, COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I am employed here at Decatur Public Library as a Reference Assistant. Part of my job is writing this River City Readers blog. I love to read books, especially Science Fiction. I am left-handed and am an identical twin. I have a lot of tattoos. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Sloths are my favorite animal. Walking and running are the types of exercise I enjoy most. I eat a mainly vegetarian diet but also like to bake fancy cakes. I also spend a lot of time here in Alabama happily sewing and doing crafts.

Instead of using words, if I were to describe myself using the Dewey Decimal System (and books available in our library’s nonfiction collection) I would be:

025.52 MAN
028.9019 NEL
J 152.3 LIN
303.48 ROS
391.65 GIL
394.2646 SKA
J 599.313 GUI
641.5 SRO
641.865 NIL
796.42 MCD
746.44 CHA
809.3876 LEG

Who are you? Come find yourself at Decatur Public Library!

Books Referenced:
The truth about reference librarians / by Will Manley. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c1996.
025.52 MAN
Lost in a book : the psychology of reading for pleasure / Victor Nell.New Haven : Yale University Press, c1988.
028.9019 NEL
The language of the night : essays on fantasy and science fiction / by Ursula K. Le Guin ; edited and with introductions by Susan Wood. New York : Putnam, c1979.
809.3876 LEG
Tattoo history : a source book / by Steve Gilbert. New York : Juno Books, 2000.
391.65 GIL
Death makes a holiday : a cultural history of Halloween / David J. Skal. New York : Bloomsbury, 2002.
394.2646 SKA
Born to run : a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen / Christopher McDougall. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
796.42 MCD
Sloths = Perezosos / by Julie Guidone.Pleasantville, NY : Weekly Reader, 2009.
J 599.313 GUI
Forks over knives : the cookbook : over 300 recipes for plant-based eating all through the year / Del Sroufe ; with desserts by Isa Chandra Moskowitz ; and with recipe contributions by Julieanna Hever, Judy Micklewright, and Darshana ThackerNew York : The Experiment, 2012.
641.5 SRO
Complete cake decorating : techniques, basic recipes and beuatiful cake projects for all occasions / Angela Nilsen & Sarah Maxwell. New York : Lorenz Books, 2002.
641.865 NIL
Say everything : how blogging began, what it's becoming, and why it matters / Scott Rosenberg. New York : Crown, c2009.
303.48 ROS
Alabama stitch book : projects and stories celebrating hand-sewing, quilting, and embroidery for contemporary sustainable style / Natalie Chanin with Stacie Stukin ; photography by Robert Rausch New York : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008.
746.44 CHA
The left-handed book / by Rae Lindsay. New York : F. Watts, 1980.
J 152.3 LIN 76-87180
Double take : the story of twins / Dainel Jussim. New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Viking, 2001
J 306.875 JUS

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Genre Reading: Just My Type

According to a recent article in WIRED magazine:
“There are multiple theories for the genre dominance in digital publishing, including the appeal of anonymity offered by e-reader devices, which don’t display the cover of a potentially embarrassing book for all the world to see.  But the digital delivery system also offers immediacy and ease of access for material that often is serialized and written to make you want to know what happens next, as soon as possible. Liate Stehlik, senior vice president and publisher at HarperCollins, subscribes to that idea, at least partially. Genre fans, she says, became “early adopters” of the digital format because e-books are the optimal format “for people who want to read a lot of books, quickly and frequently. Digital has replaced the paperback, certainly the paperback originals. I think the audience that gravitated to eBooks first really was that voracious reader, reading for entertainment, reading multiple books in a month across multiple genres. “

While I find the idea of a “plain wrapper” e-book pretty silly, and I disagree that paperback novels have quite yet gone the way of the dodo (nor do I want them to),  I thought the concepts about genre books and their user base of fast, frequent and, high quantity readers, espoused in the WIRED article, were quite interesting.

We may be Mystery Buffs, History Mavens, or Sci-Fi Fans, but many readers often repeatedly choose to enjoy the same type of book over and over.  Reading not just for entertainment, but also for comfort, we like knowing what to expect from a book, perhaps not the individual plot, but in terms of  the broad feel, style, setup or resolution of a story. As readers, we know what we like, and we know what we want, and that is often a story in a particular genre.
Genre refers to an assigned category which identifies the type of book (also musical compositions and films) through a short one- or two-word subject description.  Similar stories are grouped into categories recognized by both readers and the book industry.  
The majority of our library’s collection is broadly divided between “Fiction” and “Nonfiction”, but DPL does make use of genres to organize a substantial part of the collection. For instance, within Fiction, we have separate shelving for Romance Paperback, Inspirational Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Western and Graphic Novel.  The CamelliaNet catalog also allows readers to browse and filter results for digital material by genre.
Following is a list of some literary genres and sub-genres. Whether available in electronic or print format, we have books from all of these categories available at Decatur Public Library! What are you favorites?  (Personally, in nonfiction, I love reading MEMOIRS, and in fiction I lean heavily toward Speculative Fiction and its various sub-genres.)  If you are ready to branch out beyond old standbys, what piques your interest to try as something new? This is by no means a complete list of genres; can you think of others?


Space Opera                                                           Fiction in Verse
Hard Science Fiction                                           Political Satire
Urban Fantasy                                                       Experimental Fiction
Urban Fiction                                                         Historical Romance
 Amish Inspirational                                           Pulp Fiction
Cyberpunk                                                             Family Saga
Steampunk                                                             Magical Realism
 Travel Adventure                                               Sword & Sorcery
Action                                                                       Fanfic
Brit Lit                                                                      Alternative History
Children’s Lit                                                         LGBT Lit
Dark Fantasy                                                         Humor
Literary Fiction                                                     Short Story Anthologies
Offbeat/Quirky                                                     Movie/Television Tie-In

Cozy Mystery
Crime Noir
Southern Gothic
Contemporary Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Paranormal Romance
Chick Lit
Dystopian Fiction
Conspiracy Thrillers
Military Suspense
Medical Suspense
Historical Fiction
Illustrated Picture Books
Police Procedural Mystery
YA Fiction

 A few nonfiction genre categories:
Photo Essay                                                            Biography
Memoir                                                                    True Crime
Self Help                                                                  Pop Culture
Politics                                                                      How-To
Travel Guides                                                        Playscripts
Poetry                                                                       Crafts &/Hobbies
Sports / Leisure                                                    Narrative History

--Heather W. Ward, Reference Assistant

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

POSTCARDS: a reading challenge update

The READ THE WORLD Adult Reading Challenge is going full steam ahead and will continue until December!  If you haven’t already gotten a passport, there is still time to begin your own reading journey.  Visit the Reference Department as your first destination, and then the world is your oyster!

We currently have issued a grand total of 109 passports to reading challenge participants.  Our 100th passport was issued on 6/19/2013 to Sarah Klimko; congratulations, Sarah! Additionally, there are also a dozen DPL staff members taking part in the challenge (we do collect passport stamps, but are ineligible for prizes).

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a short trip; think of it as an extended cruise, rather than just a quick weekend getaway.  When you complete one passport level (Tourist or Explorer), you can always UPGRADE to a higher level during the year.  So far, there have been 7 readers upgraded and two intrepid Globetrotters who have finished their 40 book passports and started off around the world for a second tour!


Will Bynum was our first patron to complete the Globetrotter level.  For this honor, he was informally presented with a copy of the novel “Around the World in 80 Days”.  Jean Coquilt has also reached patron Globetrotter status! On the staff side, Rhonda Bolan also speedily completed her Globetrotter passport!  (I’m almost there, but not quite home yet, with 35 books read!)

Just a reminder about passport validation: Please have all book information properly recorded in your Passport, and have the corresponding circulation receipts with you, before stopping at Reference for a stamp.

For reading suggestions, be sure to check out the Book Display cases located next to the DVD/CD Media Room. I’m going to try to keep these going with a variety of travel themes and challenge suitable books identified by country.  Additionally, there is also a binder in Ready Reference listing more available titles and their associated countries.

Our challenge goal is to visit AS MANY COUNTRIES AS POSSIBLE.  Currently, 127 countries around the globe (and around the library) have had travelers. 

Where will you go next?