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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Library On the Go with Bookmyne

Looking for an easy way to connect to the library while on the go? Fairfax County Public Library has two options for customers who wish to check accounts, search for books and place holds on their mobile devices—Bookmyne and FinditVA.  These apps offer access to your account after a quick set up and are available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. You can also find links to both from the Library’s webpage.
After experimenting with them, I’m a fan of Bookmyne and have been happy to use it in place of the retired Fairfax County Public Library iOS app. Bookmyne offers mobile access to view your checkouts, renew books, search the catalog for new books and place holds. You will even find directions to libraries near you, including their phone numbers and branch hours.
As an added bonus, there is a Suggested Reading tab that allows you to link to Goodreads recommendations. Spin the Awards wheel to generate a variety of award winners: from “2014 National Book Awards Longlist” to “Pulitzer Winners: Biographies and Autobiographies” to “Florida Teen Reads” or pull up the Popular tab to see a list of New York Times bestseller lists by category.

 The only downside I’ve found to Bookmyne is that it doesn’t offer a virtual library card or Visual ID. However, your favorite barcode app can serve that purpose. What also works for many customers? Take a picture of your barcode with your smartphone and save it to your camera roll or on your home screen.
With the help of apps like Bookmyne and Overdrive, which gives you access to thousands of e-books and e-audiobooks on the go, Fairfax County Public Library is everywhere you are. 

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Great Googly: It's the Cricket World Cup!

Are you familiar with any of the following terms: silly mid-off, wicket, googly or short leg? No? Chances are you aren’t a fan of the sport of cricket. That’s alright, because the library has a wide selection of books to help you learn about cricket as we approach the 2015 Cricket World Cup being played in Australia and New Zealand Feb. 14 - March 29. The Cricket World Cup debuted 40 years ago and is played every four years amongst the top ranked countries. The West Indies won the inaugural tournament in 1975 and India won the most recent tournament in 2011. The Cricket World Cup is played in the One Day International (ODI) format that sees matches last 7-8 hours.
We have materials to get you up to speed on the rules and terminology of cricket, provide background information on important events and eras in cricket and even to enjoy a bit of cricket in literature and television.
A good place to start is Learn to Play Cricket by former England cricketer Mark Butcher or Cricket for Dummies by former youth cricket coach Julian Knight. Either of these books will see you on your way to understand the difference between a googly and a doosra as well as getting a general idea of the game and its different terms, teams and formats.

The Cambridge Companion to Cricket provides a deeper analysis of cricket’s major eras and events from its start in England through the Bodyline scandal in Australia to its commercialization with Kerry Packer and Lalit Modi. Edited by Anthony Bateman and Jeffrey Hill, each chapter in this book is written by a different author including leading cricket journalists David Frith and Rob Steen.

Is learning where exactly short leg or silly mid-off is located on a cricket pitch too overwhelming? You can read a novel that mentions cricket instead. Cricket graces the pages of many English novels like Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers, Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell and any number of P.G. Wodehouse works. If you’re looking for more recent titles where cricket plays a central role, try Joseph O’Neil’s Netherland, a novel detailing the life of a part-time cricketer in New York after 9/11, or The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka, which uncovers Sri Lanka’s greatest ever spin bowler.

Want to take in the action on screen instead? Cricket plays a central role in the eighth episode of Downton Abbey’s third season, and “Dead Man’s Eleven” is an episode of Midsomer Murders that finds one of the detectives opening the batting for the local team while also trying to find out who done it.

The library has you covered if you’re up for learning a bit about the second most popular sport in the world.
- James Cullen, Great Falls Library

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Great True Crime Reads for Serial Fans

This holiday season millions of listeners downloaded the podcast Serial, making the series the most popular podcast in history and creating new converts to the true-crime genre. Serial, a spin-off from the creators of “This American Life," is an investigative podcast that examines a new case each season. In 2014 the show dove into the murky waters surrounding the 1999 murder of Baltimore County high school student Hae Min Lee. Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was swiftly convicted of her murder and is currently serving out a life sentence in prison. Serial’s stylish, yet thoughtful episodes take listeners deep into the often conflicting details of a case that proved addictive for the show’s fans.  

So while you’re waiting for Season 2 to air later in 2015, check out some of the library’s true-crime offerings:

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. Truman Capote pioneered the use of fictional devices to enhance true-crime reporting. This classic tale covers gruesome 1959 murders in a small town in Kansas.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. Erik Larson's detailed account of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago alternates between the architect of the fair and a disturbing serial killer who set up a macabre “World’s Fair Hotel” nearby. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story. John Berendt takes you on a tour of the eccentric characters that populate this southern city. He looks into the trial of socialite Jim Williams for the murder of his sometimes companion Danny Hansford.

Sebastian Junger's book A Death In Belmont looks at the case of a young, black man who is speedily convicted of a 1963 murder. However, the crime bears all the hallmarks of the serial killer Albert DeSalvo, better known as the Boston Strangler.

Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence by Bill James is a breezy walk through some of history’s most sensational crimes and the impact they have had on our culture.

John Grisham’s The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is a gripping account of a 1982 conviction overturned in 1999 with the help of the Innocence Project due to DNA evidence.

-Susan Ranieri, Vladimir Shutov and Rebecca Wolff, Fairfax County Public Library