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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Did You Celebrate National Poetry Month?

At Fairfax County Public Library, we celebrated National Poetry Month (April) in many fun ways.

Tysons-Pimmit Library hosted a “Name That Poet” contest. One lucky customer will receive a $30 gift card to Barnes & Noble for naming all poets correctly. How many can you identify?

Tysons' staff also broadcasted recordings of poets reading their own poems through the speaker system or showed visual poetry clips on their digital display (Billy Collins's animated poetry or Motion Poems for example).

Patrick Henry Library offered “poems for your pocket” – portable, takeaway poems. Each day at closing, staff read a poem aloud instead of playing the customary closing music. Children's poems, Housman, Eliot, Niki Giovanni - something for everyone and an illustration of how poetry speaks in diverse voices to diverse audiences.


At Oakton Library, young budding poets had a chance to create their own lines or copy standard classics onto leaves. Pasted onto a branch, they form a "Poetree".

At Richard Byrd Library, staff created spine poems for teens - books stacked so that the title on the spines create poetic messages. Young poets got the chance to share their favorite poems at a well-attended Poetry Slam Café.

Find poetry books in our catalog here. Or link to the American Academy of Poets, who've sponsored the month's activities since 1996 and provide access to a wealth of poems on their website. Poetry month may be ending this week, but it’s always a good time to ponder a good verse.

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library; Rene Costello, Oakton Library; Vicki Corcoran & Delia Ullbert, Richard Byrd Library; and Vlad Shutov, Tysons-Pimmit Library

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Unlimited Possibilities @ Fairfax County Public Library

This week, Fairfax County Public Library joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week, a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers. 

Libraries today are more than warehouses for books. Instead, libraries and librarians are change agents within their communities – transforming lives through innovative educational resources and forward-thinking programming. Libraries are doing their part to close the digital divide and level the playing field by providing free access to information and technologies that many in their communities would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public to discover and meet the needs of their communities. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or offering a safe haven in times of crisis, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.

Here's a reminder of many of the amazing resources available with your library card -

12 Reasons to Love Your Library Card. The Possibilities are Unlimited. 

How can we better serve you? Let us know!

Image courtesy of the American Library Association

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Against the Odds

It has been said that one should be kind to everyone one meets, because each person is fighting a hard battle. While life certainly involves struggle for everyone, some people swim against stronger currents than others. Accordingly, we derive even more inspiration from the triumphs of individuals with physical challenges. Here are few new titles about exceptional people for a variety of age groups.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls

“One person can change the world.” That is the message of this colorful biography with the appeal of a picture book. Emmanuel was born in Ghana, West Africa, with only one functional leg. In spite of his disability and poverty, he gained fame for the most unlikely of achievements: with no special equipment, he bicycled 400 miles around his country to raise awareness about people with disabilities. His feat inspired the Persons with Disabilities Act in Ghana and earned him awards from Nike and ESPN. Appropriate for ages 4-8.

El Deafo by Cece Bell
With this vibrant memoir in graphic novel format, the author reveals how a bout of meningitis in her childhood caused her have to adjust to wearing the Phonic Ear, a bulky devise to help her hear. She navigates the challenges of school by imaging herself as a superhero tackling the hurdles of life. She becomes El Deafo, Listener for All!  The charming rabbit-eared characters and accessible storyline make this book utterly appealing for ages 8-12.

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw
Shane Burcaw is a bright and engaging young man who just happens to, as he puts it: “have arms and legs slightly fatter than a hot dog.”  Born with spinal muscular atrophy, Shane has never walked and faces an abbreviated lifespan. Nevertheless, he channeled his sharp wit and talent for writing into a contagiously popular blog which lead to this memoir. Now twenty-two, Shane confronts all the nosiest questions about his disability, including how typical situations like being intimate with his first girlfriend or going on a road trip become bizarrely complicated by his physical limitations. Appropriate for teens and adults.

-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

From the Pen of ... Michael Ondaatje

You may already be familiar with Michael Ondaatje from The English Patient. But you may not be familiar with his lesser known The Cat's Table. Find reviews of overlooked works by well known authors in "From the Pen of..." a new series at About Books.

According to Ondaatje, in 1954 a young boy, Michael, set off from Colombo to England on a boat named the Oronsay to meet his mother after an absence of four or five years. The ship was filled with passengers, but the people of immediate interest to him were his fellow diners at the Cat’s Table – the lowliest table as far away as possible from the Captain's table. Included in its’ occupants were his two mates, Ramadhin and Cassius. In the three weeks that followed, the trio roamed the ship exploring dark cavities, skulking on the edges of rendezvous, listening in on conversations, swimming in the first class pool and snatching breakfast before the first class world awoke. They crouched at night near the manacled prisoner who was being transported, watching, absorbing, testing and experimenting in all the adult behaviors they witnessed around them.
Though formal supervision was non-existent, they were befriended by Mr. Daniel the gardener of exotic plants housed in the gloom of the hold; Mr. Fonseka, a lover of literature, and Mr. Mazappa who taught them jazz and bawdy lyrics. In addition, a garish array of characters extended the boys’ education by teaching them how to break and enter, chew and smoke exotic substances, cheat at cards and how to grease their way through sticky situations!
Though Michael entered the ship “trained into cautiousness” from his boarding school’s inequities of authority and punishment, nothing had prepared him for the sexual, psychological and emotional onslaught provided by the parade of passengers – each with his own personal, murky whirlpools. He learned that despite all levels of class and their incumbent barriers, “what is interesting and important happens mostly in secret.” Walled in by the sea, the boys stalked life. The nine occupants of the Cat’s Table, who all seemed non-descript at first glance, unfold petal by petal into glorious, but sometimes, deadly blooms.

And we watch silently as we sit at the Cat’s Table and partake of Ondaatje’s exquisite sustenance.
-Lois Glick, Great Falls Library