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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

For Chocolate Fans

Join us this weekend, when the Fairfax City Regional Library will celebrate Fairfax City, Virginia’s annual Chocolate Lovers Festival with a series of events, including “Chocolate Lovers Crafts for Youngsters” at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 3 and “Stories With a Hint of Chocolate” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 4.

The festival, now in its 16th year, attracts a crowd with such events as a Taste of Chocolate, featuring vendors who offer a sampling of chocolate treats, and the Chocolate Challenge, with sculptures and other sweet, edible works of art. Each year the festival donates a portion of its proceeds to a local organization. The Women's Center in Vienna, VA is the recipient of the 2007 grant.

Other library events during the festivities include:

Saturday, February 3 at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“Magical Moments with Jonathan Austin.” Magic, movement and fun! Held at Ceremonial Court Room, Old Court House, 4000 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax.

Saturday, February 3 at 2 p.m.“Glass Harp Music Performance” presented by Jamey Turner at the library branch.

All ages are invited to these free events, which are both cosponsored by the Friends of Fairfax City Regional Library. In the meantime, check out:

The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking With Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger.

The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone With a Passion for Chocolate by ChloƩ Doutre-Roussel.

Chocolate Therapy: Indulgent Recipes to Lift Your Spirits by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley.

Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum.

Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lit for Kids

This week the American Library Association announced its annual Caldecott and Newbery Medals for the best in children’s picture books and literature. The 2007 Caldecott winner is Flotsam by David Wiesner, in which a young beachcomber finds a vintage underwater camera and quickly develops the fantastical photos he finds. According to Booklist, Wiesner, who has won several Caldecotts, “offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings.”

The 2007 Newbery winner is The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. In the California desert community of Hard Pan, 10-year-old Lucky eavesdrops on 12-step program meetings from her hiding place behind Hard Pan’s Found Object Wind Chime Museum & Visitor Center.

“‘Lucky’ is a perfectly nuanced blend of adventure, survival (emotional and physical) and hilarious character study . . . as well as a blueprint for a self-examined life,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Jeri Kladder. “Through Lucky’s experiences, we are reminded that children support one another just as needy adults do.”

Check the Fairfax County Public Library’s Web site for a list of past Caldecott and Newbery winners.

Monday, January 22, 2007

National Yours, Mine and Ours Month

In the 2005 film "Yours, Mine and Ours", featuring Dennis Quaid and Renee Russo, the couple attempts to blend 16 kids in a comedy about the trials and tribulations of a stepfamily. In real life, such families find the process much less comedic. January has been named “National Yours, Mine and Ours Month” to focus attention on the skills needed to make stepfamilies work.

The Stepfamily Foundation estimates 1,300 step families form each day, and
organizations such as the National Stepfamily Resource Center offer help for these sometimes rocky transitions, including articles on finance, co-parenting, co-grandparenting, and where to find counseling if necessary.

For more on the art of step-parenting, check out:

Stepmotherhood: How to Survive Without Feeling Frustrated, Left Out or Wicked by Cherie Burns.

Stepliving for Teens: Getting Along With Stepparents, Parents and Siblings by Joel Block.

Becoming Family: How to Build a Stepfamily That Really Works by Robert Lauer.

Blending Families by Elaine Shimberg.

Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage and Parenting in the First Decade by James Bray.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Move Over, Abby

Does your book group need some tweaking? Are there too many no-shows? Do some members talk too much, and others too little? Well, just ask Miss Paige Turner. She’ll have your group running smoothly in no time. (Thanks to the Waterboro Public Library blog for steering us to Miss Turner.)

However, if all you need is a few ideas for books your group can read, there are a number of resources on the Fairfax County Public Library’s Web site. Start with our list of book discussion kits that can be checked out from our branches. The kits contain 10 copies of the same book, plus discussion questions and information about the author. You can also get ideas from our book reviews and Web Sites for Readers. You’ll find links to everything from book awards to bestseller lists and the best in fantasy, horror, mystery, romance and other fiction genres.

Don’t belong to a book group? Well, this is a great season to join! Here are a few adult book discussions coming up in the next week. You don’t even need to have read the book on your first visit; just drop in and see if it’s a gathering you might regularly enjoy.

Centreville Regional Library
Monday, January 22, 10 a.m. Sully Book Club. Brookland by Emily Barton.
Tuesday, January 23, 7 p.m. Novel Society Book Discussion Group. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

Martha Washington Library
Monday, January 22, 7 p.m. Mystery Group. The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin.

Patrick Henry Library
Monday, January 22, 7:30 p.m. Book Discussion. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez.
Thursday, January 25, 1 p.m. Book Discussion. White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

Sherwood Regional Library
Saturday, January 20, 10:30 a.m. Reading African Authors. Dr. Michele Simms-Burton discusses Amos Tutuola's The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Brush of Ghosts. Sponsored by the Friends of the Sherwood Regional Library and the Black Authors Book Discussion Group.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pooh Day

Tomorrow marks the birthday of A.A. (Alan Alexander) Milne, the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh. Born in 1882 in London, Milne is remembered for his children’s stories in Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. Pooh also appears in poems in When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.

According to Wikipedia, Milne named the bear after a toy owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who in turn was the basis for the character Christopher Robin in the stories. Supposedly Christopher had named the bear after “Winnipeg,” a bear he and his father saw often at the London Zoo, and “Pooh,” a swan they encountered while on vacation. The bear, nicknamed “Winnie,” was known for its sweet disposition, which inspired Milne’s character. Christopher’s actual toy bear can now be seen in the Donnell Library Center Central Children's Room in New York City.

While the stories are memorable, it’s the illustrations by E.H. Shepherd, who also illustrated Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows, which probably turned the books into classics.

Pooh is so popular that the books have been translated into numerous languages, including the Latin version, Winnie ille Pu, which was the first foreign-language book to make the New York Times bestseller list in 1960. Pooh has leant his simple philosophy to a range of topics. Riffs on Pooh include:

Postmodern Pooh by Frederick Crews.

The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff.

Pooh and the Millennium by John Tyerman Williams.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

The Pooh Perplex by Frederick Crews.

Pooh and the Philosophers by John Tyerman Williams.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Monday, January 15 marks the 21st year that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has been celebrated as a federal holiday on the third Monday in January. (It also falls on Dr. King’s actual birthday this year.) President Ronald Reagan signed the bill recognizing the holiday on November 2, 1983 and it was first observed on January 20, 1986.

According to Wikipedia, the holiday was first proposed after Dr. King’s death by trade unions. After Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 with the help of unions, he endorsed the holiday, as well. The King Center then turned to the public and corporate America to lobby for the holiday. The strategy worked, particularly after Stevie Wonder released the single "Happy Birthday" in 1980 to publicize the campaign, and six million signatures were collected and sent to Congress endorsing a special day to honor Dr. King.

There was opposition to the holiday, in particular from Senator Jesse Helms. President Ronald Reagan initially opposed MLK Day, but backed down after the bill to establish the holiday passed 338 to 90 in the U.S. House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the U.S. Senate. Check out:

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.

At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years by Taylor Branch.

In Remembrance of Martin by Idanha Films. (DVD)

Ring Out Freedom: The Voice of Martin Luther King and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement by Fredrik Sunnemark.

Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir by Dexter Scott King.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Classic Literature at the Fairfax County Public Library

Recent media reports that claim our library system is eliminating all copies of classic literature from our shelves are absolutely incorrect. Although we occasionally reduce the number of copies of a particular title -- perhaps trimming Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls from 110 copies to 108, for example -- we’re committed to offering classic texts by western culture’s leading authors.

Here are a few examples of the number of books we offer which were specifically mentioned in the article:

Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak -- 50 copies of books, CDs and cassettes.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner -- 99 copies of books, CDs, cassettes and large print books.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway -- 108 copies of books, videos and cassettes.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams -- 116 copies of books and videos, including in some volumes of collected plays.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- 359 copies of books, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, videos, e-books and large print books.

Because of the growing demand for more books in more formats and languages, we have to balance the need to offer classic literature, and satisfy public demand, within our limited space. We can’t warehouse every book that every resident wants to read. We use industry standards, computer data and the expertise of librarians with decades of professional experience to offer a hard-working, comprehensive collection to the public.

We take our stewardship of public property very seriously and strive to prudently manage the public’s investment in the library. Our efforts are paying off: we’re on track to have our books checked out more than 12 million times by the end of this fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over FY2005 when we began our new “weeding” process. We commend our customers for their strong support of the public library.

Edwin S. Clay III, Director
Fairfax County Public Library

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

National Get Organized Month

If you have resolved fight clutter in the new year, then January is the month for you! The National Association of Professional Organizers offers its tips for National Get Organized Month, January 1-31.

Among them:

● Sincerely question whether you need to keep each piece of paper that comes into your life. If you do need it again, consider getting it from the Internet or library.

● Each person must find the organization system that work best for him or her.

● In choosing a planner or organizer, evaluate your needs and style. Do you prefer paper-based to electronic? Do you just need a to-do list or do you need to take notes?

● Organization is a process. Think about being organized or staying organized rather than “getting organized.”

You may also want to consult these books for expert advice:

Getting Organized: The Easy Way to Put Your Life In Order
by Stephanie Winston

Unclutter Your Mind: One-Minute Tips by Donna Smallin

Organizing Magic: 40 Days To a Well-Ordered Home and Life by Sandra Felton

Organizing for Success: More Than 100 Tips, Tools, Ideas, and Strategies for Organizing and Prioritizing Work by Kenneth Zeigler

31 Words To Create an Organized Life by Marcia Zina Mager

If you've got some tips for taming the chaos, let us know.