Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Behind the Scenes - A Family

It takes more than just books to make a good library great.  It takes a community that cares and supports it, a strong Library Board, a group of hard-working Friends of the Library, and an outstanding and dedicated Director, librarians, and staff.   Thankfully, the Haltom City Public Library has it all. If you check out a book, read a magazine or newspaper, log on a computer, ask for information or need something researched, sign up for a class or watch a puppet show, chances are that you will end up meeting most of the library staff.   
But there may be one that you might not have met yet—Rina Aragon, the Library Administrative Secretary-- because she’s working hard behind the scenes for you and the library staff.  She’s the one who comes in early every day to open up the library, gets the mail, makes coffee, creates the fliers for the library events, orders supplies, answers the phones and correspondence, monitors the library expenditures, does the accounting, prepares monthly reports, posts the Library Board agendas and take minutes for the board meetings, manages the various grant funds, etc.   (I’m already exhausted and I haven’t gotten to the second page of the list of things she does so let’s just say she does whatever is needed to help keep the library, the librarians, and the staff functioning.)
Happy Birthday, Rina!
Today, December 7th, is Rina’s birthday so let me introduce her to you.  Rina was born in Manila, Philippines but I won’t tell you what year (and trust me, you’ll never know to look at her that she’s over 39).  She comes from a large family with 8 brothers and 2 sisters, who all have, except for one, immigrated to the United States.  Rina has worked in a law office, been an executive secretary to the president of Consolidated Industrial Gases, Inc. the largest gas company in the Philippines, and worked for the United Nations (in Manila) before coming here.   She has been working for the Haltom City Library since 1993 and is “happily married to a wonderful man” named Leon.  

While all that Rina does, and all the experience and expertise she brings to the library and us, is important, it’s not why we love her so.  It’s because she also brings to work every day a beautiful smile and attitude.  Ask her why she has stayed with the library so long and she'll say,"... because it’s like a family.”   And she’s right.  This is what makes the Haltom City Public Library truly great.  It’s a family.

Happy reading and happy holidays from your Library Blog Mistress!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I am so thankful that when I was growing up my small town had a library.  For me, it was a house of books that could take me to far-away places, make me laugh, make me cry, and even possibly make me sound smarter.  Many of the books that I brought home from the library as a child and young adult had a major impact on my thinking and my life and for that I am grateful.  They still do today. That part hasn’t changed although the libraries of today have changed in so many ways.
Today we can still get books from the library to read and learn from but now we can get them in the traditional paper or an electronic version.  We can check out movies and enjoy family night in the comfort of our own homes and save the dollars we would have to spend at the movie theater for other things.    We can check out music cds to match our moods or broaden our musical taste.  We and our children can learn to appreciate art through books, dvds, the sculptures throughout the building, the contest photographs on the walls and even watercolor classes. We can access the Internet at the library.  We can take classes to get our GED’s or even classes to learn how to babysit (something a particular family in my small town wished I had taken before leaving me with their precious baby for one night!).  Our children can enjoy bedtime stories and have their pictures taken with Santa.  Some of them even got to see an actual piece of the moon a few years ago. 
All the activities and services that our Haltom City Public Library offers is sometimes overwhelming to me--especially when I’m trying to decide which one to write about for the library blog.  But I’m not complaining.  Instead I am thankful for all that our library offers us and our families.  And I’m even more thankful for all the library staff that work so hard to makes these services and programs available for us.  They are, in alphabetic order:  Allison, Ann, BeckyD, BeckyE, Cyd, Dean, Dianne,  Gail, Grant, Jamie, Janet, Jesica, Laura, Lesly, Maria, Patricia, Rina, Robbie, Rosa, Rose, Wanda and Yog. 
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy reading from your Library Blog Mistress

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Library and Community Honors Veterans

When you come to the Haltom City Public Library this month, you will see displays in the lobby celebrating Veteran’s Day as well as along the left wall in the main body of the library.  Please take your time to enjoy and honor these tributes to the men who fought for you and your country.  The displays will remain at the library without the month of November.  Veteran’s Day is officially this Friday, November 11th.  However, some lucky seniors from the Sterling House of Richland Hills Assisted Living will be celebrating early at the Haltom City Public Library thanks to Allison Long and the Library’s Outreach Program.  The library’s Veteran’s Honor Program will be held at the Library’s Imagination Station Thursday, 10:30 – 11:30.  Sterling House will be making a special trek to the Library for this event that is open to the public as well.  Short stories honoring Veterans will be read aloud by Allison Long and there will be sing-alongs of patriotic songs such “God Bless America”.  As a special treat, a short animated film will be shown that tells the history of the Star-Spangled Banner.

A special thanks to Patsy & Cathy & Ann for a great display.  And thanks to Fran Burns for the flags  that are installed around the nautilus for Veteran's Day .

The Senior Center is hosting a Veteran’s Day program Friday, November 11th at 11am and would like to invite everyone to join them. They have secured former Congressman Pete Geren as the keynote speaker and will have the Mayor, several Council members, and Marcia Etie from Kay Granger’s office in attendance.    


Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month.  I don’t know why or who decided November was to be the time for wanna-be’s and professional writers to devote every waking (and even sleeping) hour to writing a novel; an informal research (i.e., done by Google—not a librarian) indicates that in 1999 a group of 21 writers in the San Francisco area started NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. A crazy idea that now has approximately 200,000+ world-wide authors and authors-to-be, including your Library Blog Mistress, attempting to somehow squeeze out 50,000 words that hopefully will one day become the “All American Best Novel.”  We can all dream, can’t we?   Lol
In all seriousness and trust me, these writers are serious, few deceive themselves that their 50,000 words will prove to be publishable or even readable fiction by December 1st.  But there’s where the genius is within the madness.  If the writer is to accomplish 50,000 words in the span of one month, especially one that has a major holiday in it, there ain’t no time for editing  our work. That means the little loud-mouth internal critic that we all have can’t stop us by saying, “Wait, that word is misspelled!” or “Stop, that sentence is incomplete!” or “Whatever made you think YOU could write?”  
It’s the doubt, self-criticism and fear of failure that stops a lot of us from reaching our goals, I think.  At least for me, it is.  There’s a quote that I have taped to my computer screen.  PERFECT is the greatest enemy of GOOD.   (I don’t remember who said it so you will have check with your librarian to find out if you are interested.) Writing 50,000 words won’t produce a literary novel for most of us; it will, however, give most of us a chance to plant the seed for a possible novel.  After December 1st, then the real work can begin. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.  And oh yes, lots of trips to the library to research the various ways a _______ can work.  (Hey, I’m not giving my plot line away!)
It’s not too late to start if you are a writer or have ever wanted to try your hand at it.  This is only Day 3 and you’re only approximately 3,000 words behind.  If you are interested, the website with the history and rules for the annual marathon writing race is: www.nanowrimo.org.

Happy writing and reading from your Library Blog Mistress!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Continuation of Celebrating Books, Art, and Community…..

As a means of encouraging residents’ interest in the arts, the Art in the City Committee coordinated a mural design contest last spring and challenged students at Haltom High School to enter. The contest was co-sponsored by the Haltom City Library 50th Anniversary Committee. Theme of the winning work was to be military in honor of those who had served in the United States Armed Forces.  Winners were announced before the end of school  last year. They are: 1st Place – Erik Johnson; 2nd Place Bethany Ivey.

So that these works could be seen by the public, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department employees constructed two four by 16 foot pallets on the lawn at the library. The students from Haltom High completed the mural by applying the winning designs during the inaugural Art in the City Haltom City Art Festival, held Oct. 1 at the Library. Those who drive by can appreciate the students’ work, just in time for an observance of Veteran’s Day 2011.

A special thanks to Fran Burns who provided this information and photos of the murals in progress, and of course, to all the volunteers of the Art in the City Committee and the Haltom City Public Library's 50th Anniversary Committee for their vision, hard work, and dedication to Haltom City and the library.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Tools for Finding Jobs

According to the Star-Telegram’s article on October 10, 2011, there are “better-than-expected employment numbers” with employers adding 103,000 jobs in September.  Good news. Yet the same article in the Star-Telegram states that “the number of Americans out of work for six months or longer crept up to 6.2 million.”  Not so good news.
The unemployment rate is staying at 9.1 percent which means, chances are, that you or a family member or a friend is unemployed and looking for a job.  This is true for me and a friend of mine.  We both have adult children currently unemployed and looking for work.  My friend and I were discussing yesterday about how frustrated her daughter, a recent UTA magna cum laude graduate, felt when she received feedback from a prospective employer that her resume needed minor tweaking.  I, being the Library Blog Mistress, suggested that she contact the Haltom City Public Library as at one time they had held classes on resume writing.  
That’s when I learned that the classes are no longer available as NTRLS (North Texas Regional Library System) suffered major budget reductions due to cuts from the State Library, their funding source (the State Library sustained  a 64% budget cut, largest of any state agency).  But there is good news according to Lesly Smith, our Library Director.  The Haltom City Public Library has just subscribed to a new database called ResumeMaker.  It can be found on the Library’s website, http://www.haltomcitytx.com/HC_Public_Library/PublicLibrary.html and is free to all Haltom City Public Library card holders.  I wish I’d known about this website before my son paid $150 to have his resume written!  Another new database, www.TWDL.org  which offers multiple job listing websites, will be available on the Library’s website as well. 

Looking for employment is a hard and often discouraging process with the job seekers to wonder: Where do I look for job opportunities?  Why haven’t I gotten that interview?  And how much longer can I go without any income coming in?  Thanks to the Haltom City Public Library, job seekers will now have new avenues and resources to help make their search a more successful venture.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arts In Haltom City Are Well And Thriving

HEADLINE:  Sue Sylvester, cheerleading coach for the “Cheerios” on “Glee”, one of my favorite TV shows, is running for Congress in her home state of Ohio.  Her platform (or should I say agenda) is anti-arts in public schools.  “Arts are expensive,” she says, “and we can’t afford them anymore.”  Of course, if you have ever watched “Glee”, you know it’s a musical satire and the character of Sue Sylvester is portrayed as being more than slightly skewed. 
Still, as in most fiction and fantasies, there’s an ounce of truth in Coach Sylvester’s platform.  Many states and cities across the nation are struggling financially and public funds for the arts have been or are threatened to be drastically reduced, leaving the communities and libraries to fill the voids.  Thankfully, there is not a lack of arts in Haltom City, nor a lack of support for the arts here, not with two major artistic events being held at the Haltom City Public Library starting in the month of October, 2011. 
On Saturday, October 1st, the City of Haltom City will hold its first ever Art in the City at the Haltom City Public Library!  The responses from local artists have been overwhelming, guaranteeing that all types of art media will be available for you to purchase and treasure.  (Early Christmas shopping mecca??)  The art event will be from 10:00 to 5:00 and admission is free.  Your library blog mistress plans to be there and hopes that you will be there too.

Starting on Saturday, October 15, 2011 and continuing through November, even perhaps early December, Watercolor Painting Classes will be available at the Haltom City Public Library.  Haltom City’s very own award-winning “Artist in Residence”, Bennie Johnson Woods, will be teaching the classes.  Cost is $90 and the class is limited to 20 participants.  Please look for the outstanding article on Bennie Johnson Wood in your latest Haltom City’s newsletter, Crossroads.

These may be difficult times for the arts but your community and your library are not only keeping up with the pace, they are setting it!  So how about letting them know what a good job they’re doing?   They’d love to hear from you.  E-mail me at:  libraryblogmistress@gmail.com and I’ll forward your comments and suggestions to them.

Happy Reading from your Library Blog Mistress

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blog Postings Moved to Fridays

Please come back on Friday.  Typically I have been writing the library blog on Wednesday evenings and posted it either Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.  I'm embarrassed to say this but since I've started exercise boot camp which meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings, I've found that I'm left with  little time and even less energy to write the blog after class on Wednesday nights.  This proves my theory that exercising is not that good for you.... or maybe that if I had started exercising years ago, I wouldn't be in such bad shape.  lol   Regardless, I'm sticking to the exercise class and my commitment to the library blog; just rearranging my schedule a bit.  Especially since the boot camp instructor states that every hour of exercise adds 3 years to one's life.... or was it every 15 minutes of exercise?  Hum.  Maybe I need to ask one of the librarians to research that for me.  I don't want to overdo a good thing if I can help it.


Library Blog Mistress

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Join an Email Book Club!

Have you ever wanted to join a book club but can’t find one that matches your book taste or meets at a convenient time?  Have you ever faced the dilemma of trying to decide which book you want to check out of the library or check out a book only to find out that you don’t like it after the first chapter or so?  The answer to these questions is as simple as logging onto the Haltom City Public Library’s website and clicking on this photo of Suzanne, of dearreader.com.

Then sign up for the Email Book Club of your choice and start reading.    There is Fiction, Nonfiction, Teen, Business, Romance, Good News, Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Audio, Classics, Authorbuzz and Kidsbuzz to choose from.
Every day, Monday through Friday, you will receive in your email a five-minute selection from a chapter of a book.  By the end of the week, you'll have read 2-3 chapters and will know if this is a book that you'll want check out of the library to finish reading.  Each Monday, deareader.com starts with a new book.  The Email Book Club is free, fun and you will make a new friend, Suzanne,  the face behind dearreader.com. Her comments are delightful and helpful and she evens shares her favorite recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins with you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fun Escape-From-The-Heat Read

From Guest Book Reviewer, Carolyn Davidson Brewer.....

I decided this time that I wanted a light, fun read and selected Pampered to Death by Laura Levine.   This title is part of the Jaine Austen Mystery series – a modern day sleuth.  I expected a tale similar to a Murder, She Wrote TV episode.   And I was not disappointed.
Even though a murder is involved, this was a fun read.  Jaine Austen is headed to a retreat, which she believes to be a quiet time to read, nap and enjoy culinary treats.  What she gets is sweaty hikes, a hunger diet and the joy of being badgered for her muffin top.   I could really identify with this character, very aware of her flaws, but has accepted them, put on her lipstick and is heading out to skip through life. 
There are several quirky characters: Mallory Francis – a mouthy, diva movie star, studly Clint – another movie star and Cathy – who is always babbling and happy – even while starving!  And I can’t forget the cat, aptly named Prozac.  If you have ever owned a cat, you get the name. 
Pampered to Death is a quick read that is a great get-away book.  Be a sleuth, have some fun and get some snacks – the talking about food will make you head out for pizza.  A side note are the emails sent by Jaine’s parents – not part of the plot – but hysterical. 
As always, Carolyn, we love your book reviews and we really appreciate your support for this blog.  Again, folks, this is your blog so if you read a book that touches you in some way, please submit your book review to the: libraryblogmistress@gmail.com.  All ages of readers are welcome to contribute book reviews and suggestions for other subjects to include in your Haltom City Public Library blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Haltom City Stories Project

The year-long Haltom City Public Library’s 50th Celebration has not only honored the library’s beginning, it has honored its future with their evening of To Kill a Mockingbird panel discussion and dramatic readings this past Thursday. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said it best in their editorial on Saturday, August 6th, 2011. “The Haltom City library, which began in small, cramped quarters five decades ago in a community that still practiced segregation, now has sprawling facilities offering a variety of entertaining and challenging programming. It is symbolic of the change that has occurred in America and the community that it serves over the past 50 years.” 

The library continues to stretch out to their community to embrace its history with an upcoming program on Saturday, August 20, 2011 titled “Haltom City Stories Project”.  This unique program, held by artist Christopher Blay in collaboration with the library and a grant from the Arts Council of Northeast Tarrant County, offers an opportunity for Haltom City residents to share and document their personal stories of what it was like to live in Haltom City.  Christopher Blay's inventive project will create an artistic audio/visual archive that defines the city and it residents.  Participants will be photographed and have 3-5 minutes to tell their story for this project.  The recordings will be available for check out from the library and will become part of the library’s archives. 

The standing-room-only audience last Thursday evening got to be part of a “frank, passionate exchange…on their lives, their experiences with race and class and the state of American justice.” as written in the Star-Telegram editorial.  The “Haltom City Stories Project” is now an opportunity to record your personal experiences in Haltom City and its significance in your life.  I hope that you don’t miss it.  Artist Christopher Blay, the library, and the Arts Council of Northeast Tarrant County is giving you a chance of a lifetime to help define the special qualities of Haltom City that has made it a special place for you to call home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ann's Travel Tips

I love to travel, but I just might love to PREPARE for travel more. I can extend an eight-day vacation to weeks and even months by making lists:  what to pack or leave at home, what to turn off or unplug. After the airline or train tickets are purchased, the rental car reserved, the hotel/B & B/vacation home is found, I then get to the FUN part. I go to the library and search for books SET IN my travel locale and books by authors FROM that city, region, or country. 
In the late 1970s, I read Watership Down by Richard Adams when planning--—and during --a trip to England and Scotland. The main characters (rabbits) Fiver, Hazel and Bigwig made engaging travel companions.
Traveling to New Mexico (Santa Fe, Taos and Cimarron)   I read Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist’s illustrated autobiography and The Stone Garden, the biography of Billy to Kid.  I also checked out books about Anasazi ruins, the Philmont Scout Ranch, the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and Tony Hillerman mysteries.
Touring from Calgary to Vancouver by rail  I read about the construction of the Trans-Canadian railroad and resorts like Banff. I found an intriguing novel by Timothy Taylor about Stanley Park in Vancouver.  Taylor’s main character is a chef whose father lives in a crude camp in the city’s 1,000-acre park.
Going from Montreal to Halifax by rail   For this recent trip, I learned a new trick: read juvenile non-fiction if you are looking for a concise overview of your topic.  (the picturesque and efficient St. Lawrence Seaway, the remarkable tides in the  Bay of Fundy, the settling of British Halifax).   I should have read up on coping mechanisms. I slept on the floor at JFK Airport after a thunderstorm (and heavy air traffic from dignitaries attending a UN meeting) delayed our flight home.
Get thee to a library as part of your travel planning. Pick a vacation spot like Vermont, Newfoundland, New Orleans or Wyoming. Pulitzer-Prize winning-author Annie Proulx says her characters “fall out of the landscape” and has written about each in Heart Songs, Shipping News, Accordion Crimes, and Close Range: Wyoming Stories. 

Happy Reading and Traveling from Guest Blogger, Ann Bastable

Many thanks to Ann for submitting this article to the blog and giving the Library Blog Mistress a much-needed vacation.  The Haltom City Public Library Blog is YOUR blog so please feel free to submit articles or a book review to: libraryblogmistress@gmail.comNo editing will be done without your permission and you will always be credited for your piece.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

They Won’t Want To Miss It!

Tell your family, friends, neighbors, and put it out on Facebook and tweeter (or is it twitter?) about the upcoming panel book discussion and dramatic readings from To Kill a Mockingbird, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 1961, author Harper Lee, that is being held at the Haltom City Public Library on Thursday evening, August 4th, 7:00 p.m.  (Please note that the subject matter may not be appropriate for young children.) This special event is held as part of the library’s 50th Birthday celebration.
Great literature like To Kill a Mockingbird impacts our lives, our thoughts, and our society in so many different ways.  Each panelist was selected for their unique insights to this great novel.  Bob Ray Sanders, the Panel Moderator, is an award-winning columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and author, Dr. Judy Alter, is a retired editor for TCU press as well as being a mystery writer.   Mike Cochran, a retired Associated Press Correspondent who covered the John F. Kennedy assassination, has also written several nonfiction books.  Haltom City’s Mayor, Richard Hutchison, is an Adjunct History Instructor at TCC and Marisa Hafley is an English teacher who teaches To Kill a Mockingbird at Haltom City High School. 
Actors from the Artisan Center Theater will add also their own personal interpretations to selected passages of To Kill a Mockingbird with their dramatic readings from the book. 
All this plus you promises to make Thursday evening, August 4th, 2011, at the Haltom City Public Library a night of lively discussions and entertainment that we will all remember.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Come Back In A Few, Okay?

Due to technical difficulties, the Library Blog Mistress will be posting the Library Blog a little later than usual.  Please check back late Thursday morning or early afternoon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

For Us Gals - Lisa Scottoline

I just finished Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel, Save Me and I loved it.  I’m surprised, too.  Not because I don’t like this author, I love her, but because this particular novel starts off with a raging school fire.  I escaped from a fire many years ago and once you’ve been through something like that, the senses never forget.  But Ms. Scottoline  captured this reader and carried me through the flames into the main story – a woman who had to choose between saving her daughter or someone else’s.  Rose does what we like to think we would do—manage to save them both.  Perfect ending?  No, only the beginning of a powerful, compelling story of a woman who did the right thing and it backfired.  She finds herself being sued and criminal charges filed against her for abandoning the child that she had carried to safety before going back for her own daughter, Melly.  She can lose her home, her husband, and perhaps even her freedom. As she struggles to find out what went wrong, why Amanda, the other little girl, went back into the burning school cafeteria, Rose also has to face her past and the secret she’s kept from everyone, even her husband.
Lisa Scottoline, a prestigious trial lawyer, is a unique author, one who can write women’s fiction that holds you captive until the very end and nonfiction that will make you split your sides from laughing. I didn’t discover Lisa until I saw her first nonfiction book, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog sitting on a shelf at Barnes & Noble.  I normally don’t pick books just because of their title but come on, this was so different and I’m such a dog lover, no way was I going to pass it up!  I'm now reading her second nonfiction book, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and I'm finding it just as warm and real-life humorous as her first.  Lisa also writes a delightful weekly column that you can read on her website: www.lisascottoline.com. 
Happy reading from your Library Blog Mistress

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summertime Books, Movies, and Guest Book Reviewer

It seems that we just can’t stop talking about what a hot summer we are experiencing this year.  But hot, hot summers are the norm for Texas and you’d think we’d be used to the heat. This Texas-transplant hasn't but I’m not sure that even true Texans can really ever get used to 100+ temperatures.  So what can we do to ease the summer “too hot to step outside” blahs?  How about relaxing with a good book and  then watch a great movie?  
Of course your Library Blog Mistress has two suggestions:  To Kill a Mockingbird and The HelpThese two outstanding books have been made into outstanding movies and both are showing in August.  The movie, To Kill a Mockingbird,  will be shown at the Haltom City Public Library on August 6th as part of the celebration of the library’s 50th anniversary and the 50th year anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird being awarded the Pulitzer Prize.  On August 10th, the movie, The Help, will be released and it promises to be as good as the book.   Haven't read it yet?  Our guest blog book reviewer, Carolyn Brewer, just finished reading it and shares her insight with us below.  
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Review by:  Carolyn Davidson Brewer
I decided to read this book before the movie hits the theaters this August.  I had already seen the publicity posters so I had preconceived notions about the characters.   Emma Stone, one of my favorite young actors, plays Skeeter and she will be perfect. 
It is the 60’s in Mississippi and racial relations are in the news.  Skeeter, a journalist wanna-be, decides to share what it is really like to be a “colored maid” raising the children of the local white families.   This is a serious subject, but Kathryn Stockett provides much humor and amazement at these turbulent times. 
Minnie and Aibileen, both long time maids to prominent families in the community, share their fears and pain as they deal with snide comments and disrespect from some, but great admiration from others.   You fast become vested in the well-being of the maids and want to jump in the pages and fight for them. 
I laughed out loud at local antics and thoughts of the white socialites who let the maids raise their children, but wouldn’t share a cup of coffee at the kitchen table with them.  I cried for the maids’ children having to share their mother’s time and facing the unfairness of Mississippi in the 60’s.  You will cheer for Skeeter as she faces doubters and antagonists blocking her dreams of publishing.  She is torn between the world of being a white socialite but also seeing the disparity among the equality of all people. 
This book isn’t just about race, it is about friendship, loyalty, facing your fears and learning to go on when times are tough, all sprinkled with humor and laughter.  It is a great combination. 
A special thanks to Carolyn Brewer for this review.  If you've read a book that has touched you (kiddos and teens included too) in some way and would like to do a book review, please e-mail it to: libraryblogmistress@gmail.com

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wow! What a summer!

It seems the library is the hottest place in town, and I am not talking temperature. We have nearly 1000 participants registered in our summer reading program. WooHoo! Tuesday Family Movie Nights have been a tremendous hit. Thanks to the Friends of the Haltom City Public Library we were able to provide popcorn to the attendees. I am excited to announce:we are now the proud owners of a carnival style corn-popper. That alone earns a fist-pumping" yes!"Can you believe,the library has featured 5 films thus far and we haven't burned any corn yet .Thankfully, no one has had to endure that "lovely" smell. I will admit, the aroma of the freshly popped treat has lured many a  patron to the theater, whose intention was  to quickly drop by the library and retrieve a book or two. We still have one Family Movie Night before our summer reading program draws to a close. The last film to be shown is " Dogs and Cats: The Revenge of Kitty" on Tuesday, July12 at 6:30 pm. What a wonderful way for you to relax and beat the heat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Need Help? Ask Your Librarian

Last week I wrote a little teaser about a very special cabinet and a plea for help for doing book reviews for the library blog.  I am not a librarian but I’ve always heard how much librarians love to help their patrons.  Well, I’m a believer now. OMG!  I’ve never seen the Library Director of the Haltom City Public Library move so fast when she read that. (Okay, I am kidding—a little).  The next thing I knew I was receiving copies of multiple e-mails that she’d sent out to her many various resources saying,  "the Library Blog Mistress needs help".  Most folks can’t say no to Ms. Smith so I think the library blog will be having quite a few guest book reviewers in the upcoming weeks.  And that’s the way it should be.  Librarians and readers – a perfect combination for a successful and vibrant library and library blog.
Now for rest of that story about a very special cabinet that I promised I would do this week...nope...I'm not going to do it.   I simply cannot do it justice so this adorable story of “Lonesome Hank” is one that you have to read yourself and one you will have to hear for yourself.  I will tell you that it is a story of reinventing oneself after being retired and finding hidden talents.  You can find “Lonesome Hank” in center stage at the Library’s main lobby, patiently waiting for that special someone to hear his sweet music and read his story.   It looks like you just might find Librarian Grant Vaden, Lonesome Hank’s creator, mentor, and storyteller, hanging around with Hank in his spare time too.  (That’s another strange thing that I’ve noticed about librarians.  They always seem to spend their spare time at the library!)
Speaking of spare time, I hope that you have managed to find or borrow a copy of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird to read for the upcoming August 4th panel discussion to be held at the Haltom City Public Library.  I know I’m heading for Half-Price Books this weekend for my copy.
And if you have been waiting to hear who the winners are for the library’s writing contest, the wait is almost over.  The four judges for the Library’s 2011 Annual Writing Contest have been busy reading all 194 entries that were received for this year’s contest and will be meeting tomorrow to review their favorites and select the final winners.  The winners should be announced shortly.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stay Tuned for Next Week's Blog

How many of you know what this is a picture of?  A sewing cabinet where needles and threads are stored, a cabinet with drawers full of a dentist's instruments of pain, or maybe a jewelry or crafts storage cabinet? Or....  I think you will be surprised to learn the story of this very special cabinet next week.  Hint:  It had magical powers when I was a child and it still does today, only of a different kind.

The Library Blog Mistress needs your help!  She can only read so many books a week and needs book reviewers to write a short paragraph on their favorite books they have read this summer.  Please contact me at libraryblogmistress@gmail.com if you would like submit a book review and see your name on the library's blog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Reading Club 2011

The Haltom City Public Library’s Summer Reading Club 2011 is in its 4th week.  While the kickoff and registration was on May 28th, there is still plenty of time to register and start filling out your reading logs.  (I hear there are going to be prizes too!) We have until 8:00 p.m., July 13th before we have to turn in our reading logs. When I came into the library tonight to pick up some books on hold, Allison Long wowed me with the number of participants that have registered so far:  818!  Now that’s a lot of folks, young and not so young, reading.  What a better way to honor the Haltom City Public Library Turning 50 and enjoy the hot Texas summer by digging up a good book to read?   Not being one who likes to feel left out, I immediately picked up my registration form so that my reading hours can be counted too.  So now the count is 819! Let’s see if we can get 900 summer reading club members for 2011!  Won’t that be a grand party if all 800-900 of us turn out for the library's Summer Reading Finale on Friday, July 15th at 2:00 p.m.?

Shelby, my rescue dog, is a reader too and she wants everyone to know that Iris Johansen’s bestselling book, EVE, is a “keep-the-dogs-up-all- night” book.   This psychological action-packed mystery starts off with a bang literally in the first two sentences in Chapter 1.  "Two minutes.  The explosive was in place….”  The book flap states that with the help of her best friend, CIA agent Catherine Ling, Eve is finally close to finding the man who kidnapped and murdered her young daughter years ago.  Yet, there is much more to this story:  two teenager lovers who separate then are reunited by their past, their magical daughter, Bonnie, who comes to them in their dreams, and their search for Bonnie’s murderer. Interwoven throughout the story is also the power of friendship between two women and the love of a husband who must fight to keep his marriage intact and his wife, Eve, safe from her first love, John Gallo, a professional killer. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hard to Choose Just Three

I hope that everyone got to read Bob Ray Sanders’s column in yesterday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram for several reasons.  One, he’s one of my favorite columnists.  Two, he’s a great supporter of libraries.  Three, this week he writes about one of his personal dilemmas: culling his list of favorite movies, books, and music down to three per category for the Fort Worth Library’s annual Summer Reading Challenge.   Judging by all of the titles that he listed as some of his favorites, he has quite a bit of work left to do to get to the three finalists. (And no, I’m not telling you what any of the titles are – you need to read his column for yourself.)   I wasn’t surprised that most of the movies he liked weren’t my favorites (it’s a guy vs. gal thing probably).  I expected our taste in books to be similar and I wasn't disappointed.  But I was totally surprised with his excellent taste in music.  He likes the same music and artists that I do!  
If you read his column, you know that he is going to be one of the four guest panelists for Haltom City Public Library’s upcoming August 4th evening event, “The Songbird Still Sings: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize Award for To Kill a Mockingbird".  In addition, he is going to be the panel moderator for the book discussion so it's no surprise that this book and the movie are on his ‘favorites’ list. 
I tried last tonight to compile my own list of my three most favorite books and I now understand Bob Ray Sanders’s dilemma.  Maybe if I could just raise the limit to ten or twenty, wait, maybe thirty if I counted my favorite childhood books, then maybe I could …..  Nope, can't do it. I’m either fickle or well-read.   I prefer to think I’m well-read.  I wish.  lol.  After much thought, I'd have to say my three favorite books are:  Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Atlas Shrugged.
So what are your three favorite books?  E-mail your three book titles to: libraryblogmistress@gmail.com and let’s find out what’s Haltom City’s three favorite books are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Attention Haltom City readers and surrounding neighborhood readers!  I have a challenge for you, myself included.  There are three parts to it but I guarantee they will all be easy.  The hard work has already been done by the Haltom City Public Library’s 50th Anniversary Committee, other volunteers, and the library staff. 
The first part:  Our reading assignment for the summer is only one book.  A timeless classic, Pulitzer Prize winning novel that has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  You’ve already read it?  So have I, years ago.  It’s a book worthy of reading again and I don’t know about you, but I know that my perspective and insight has changed over the years so I’m eager to read it again with wiser eyes.  The deadline for completing our reading assignment is August 4th.  (Please note that the book covers serious and mature themes.)
The second part:  Show up at the Haltom City Public Library at 7:00 sharp on August 4th for “The Songbird Still Sings: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize Award for To Kill a Mockingbird".  Expect an evening of stimulating and exhilarating panel discussions and dramatic readings.  I can promise you that we will not be disappointed, not with the caliber of guest panelists that they have somehow managed to obtain and the actors/actresses from the Artisan Center Theater doing the readings. 
The third part:  Come back to the library on Saturday, August 6, at 2:00 p.m., sit back, relax and enjoy the academy-award-winning film of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird.  (Please note that the film covers serious and mature themes.)
All three parts sound like fun, don’t they?  Then why the challenge?  Because I know from personal experience what an enormous task it is to plan such an event.  I know how difficult it can be to find and select the just-right guest panelists, then beg or bribe them to agree to be on the panel, coordinate everyone’s time and schedule, and then do the same for the dramatic readings.  The timings of the discussions, the dramatic readings, questions and answers sessions, how to publicize the event, etc.  all have to be decided. And then there's those hundred or so other little things that were almost forgotten that have to be tended to.  It takes hard work, dedication, and soul to pull off this type of grand event.  These good folks have done more than their fair share. 
Now’s it our turn.  Let’s not let them down.

Fondly, your library blog mistress

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Bit Spoiled? You Betcha!

The Haltom City Public Library always makes me feel so special.  They spoil me a tab bit too but I’m not complaining.  I like sitting back in my comfy desk chair and using my computer to screen shop through the current NY Times Best Sellers list for Fiction, Nonfiction and Advice books when I log onto the MetrOPAC Online Services that I accessed through the Haltom City Library’s website.
MetrOPAC is the combined catalog for Haltom City, Benbrook, Burleson, Fort Worth, Keller, Richland Hills, and Watauga. Books and movies found in their catalog may be transferred, upon request, to any library in the MetrOPAC system for resident cardholders to pick up.
Once I see a book or DVD that I want, I can request it from whichever city that has it on the shelf and it’s delivered to my library of choice, the Haltom City Public Library.  If I’m put on a waiting list, it tells me how many patrons are ahead of me.  I can check daily or weekly to see where I am at on the waiting list if I want to, but I don’t really need to because, get this, I get a phone call when my book is ready to be picked up!  How easy is that?  And this is the really unbelievable part—if I’m in a hurry or have a lot of books to pick up or it’s raining, all I have to do is call the library ahead of time and they will have my order ready to pick up at the drive-thru window.  I don’t even have to get out of my car if I don’t want to!   I haven’t used the drive-thru window yet because I personally like to go into the library and roam through the book displays to see if any additional books might catch my fancy.  Plus I like the big smiles I get whenever the librarians and staff assist me.  Like I said, they make me feel special.  But then, they do their best to make sure EVERY patron feels special and gets a tab bit spoiled.  So let's all go get spoiled!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

School's Out Next Week!

Ding dong, the school bell stops ringing this week.  Woo hoo!  I remember how thrilled I always felt when school was over for the summer.  To me, summer meant sleeping in, going to the pool, biking, hiking and reading away many a summer afternoon while relaxing in the hammock.  But as much as I looked forward to summer vacations from school, I also ended up getting bored.  I’d get too sunburned at the pool, it’d be too hot to ride my bike, and usually the abundance of bugs and snakes discouraged me from hiking.  Even as much as I loved reading, a few weeks after school was out for the summer, I’d start whining for something different and fun to do.
Then I grew up, had a family of my own and guess what?  Come summer, I’d get to hear the same refrain that I used as a kid, “There’s nothing to do!” 
Well, that’s not going to be a problem at the Haltom City Public Library and their 2011 Summer Reading Program. Tuesday nights, starting June 7, will be Family Movie Night at the library.  Showtime will be 6:30 p.m.  Thursdays, starting June 2, will be Teen Time with topics on writing, poetry, photography and even a poetry slam open mike session.  Creative teen time starts at 2:00 p.m. And on Fridays, starting this week at 2:00 p.m., OMG, there will be a different special guest every Friday to entertain all the young-at-hearts! Nope, no way anyone can be bored this summer.  And what’s the best of all—there will be books, books and more books to choose from for lazy summer day reading. 
Yes, it’s going to be a cool summer at the Haltom City Public Library thanks to Chesapeake Energy, Friends of the HC Public Library, N. TX. Regional Library System, Texas State Library & Archives, and the hard-working but fun loving Haltom City librarians.  Check the city’s website for details or pick up a flier the next time that you are at the library.  I might even sneak away from work myself for one or two of the fun activities but don’t tell anyone. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You’ve Written It – What’s Next?

You’ve written your short story or your poem to enter into the Library’s 11th Annual Writing Contest.  You worked hard on it, even putting your heart and soul into your written work.  You’ve checked it twice and then again for any misspelled words (never trust Spellcheck) and grammatical errors.  You send it into the contest in time to meet the May 31, 2011 deadline.  You’ve done the best you can and you want your hard work to win a prize.  But what do the judges want?
The judges for the library contest take their work very seriously too.  They know how hard writing a good short story or a poem can be.  Every entry is read by the judges.  Last year there were over 300 entries.  That’s a lot of reading!  So what makes a short story or poem become a winning one?  The story or poem that hooks the judge’s interest right away.  The one that touches the judge in some way by making the reader smile or chuckle, become teary-eyed or sigh.  One that makes the reader care what happens next.
After the judges read all the entries, they meet to discuss and review their favorite selections.  The judges can be passionate about the pieces of work that touched them and they will even argue a bit (but always in a friendly way) about why their favorite piece of work should win.  And even if only one judge really, really loves a short story or poem, that piece of work will probably win honorable mention or fourth place. 
Every writer wants his or her piece to be a winner.  And the short story or poem that you have written and entered into the contest is a winner.  It’s a piece of art that only you could have created with your words and hard work.   Not everyone can do that so be proud of yourself and your writing.  We are.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Library Blog Mistress Reading....

For those of us old enough to know Shirley MacLaine:   the movie star legend, best-selling author, and philosopher who is out-spoken and a bit of a kook with a wry sense of humor.  Wouldn’t you like to sit down and eavesdrop on her conversations?  Listen to her confessions of Hollywood romances and what she really thinks about  the old Hollywood when it was still glamorous, the Rat Pack, Robert Mitchell, Elizabeth Taylor, Fidel Castro, aging, UFO’s and reincarnations?  Wouldn’t you like to know why she’s not over vanity but is trying, why she can’t remember if she’s over memory loss and why she is over the gallows of fame, rude people and people who repeat themselves?  Well, if you read her latest book, I’m Over All That and Other Confessions, the # 11 nonfiction book on the New York Times list, you might feel just a tab bit guilty for eavesdropping but you’ll love every minute of it.   I just finished it and I did. 

I've now started reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.   I saw the movie trailer and knew I wanted to see it.  After all, it's about a circus and who isn't intrigued by the big tents, exotic animals and carneys?  But I'm someone who prefers to read the book first, then go see the movie.  The book is not going to be a disappointment, I can tell.  I was hooked before the end of the second page with the "Disaster March".  It’s going to be a fast-pace, action-packed ride I can tell.  And judging from the movie reviews, I’ll get to enjoy the experience again.