Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book vs. Movie Review: Howl's Moving Castle

The Book: 1986

This children's book by Diana Wynne Jones was published in the 1980s when I would have been part of its target audience, but I didn't discover it until the 2000s.  Nonetheless it quickly became one of my all time favorites.  I don't think there is an age limit for appreciating Howl's Moving Castle - it's one of those books that I turn to when I want something comforting, satisfying, and entertaining, and I always enjoy it no matter how many times I've read it before. 
Sophie, our heroine, is a timid and rather bored young woman who bemoans her fate as an eldest sister, because in a land where fairy-tales are everyday realities, everyone knows that only younger sisters lead lives of adventure and romance.  But Sophie's life takes an unexpected turn when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste and finds herself magically transformed into an old woman.  Not wanting to face the shock and sympathy of her family, she runs (or rather hobbles) away, determined to seek her fortune and break the curse.  In doing so, she finds herself teeming up with the infamous Wizard Howl whose magical moving castle has been terrifying the inhabitants of her village.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Buena Park Community Chorus To Perform Patriotic Songs on June 30th

Celebrate the birth of our nation with The Buena Park Community Chorus on Saturday, June 30th at 2:00 pm in the Donna Bagley Community Room at the Buena Park Library. The Buena Park Community Chorus has been entertaining audiences with their musical talents in various venues throughout Orange County since 1968. The Chorus, under the direction of John Faller, will present a repertoire of patriotic songs as well as songs from their summer show.  This is a musical event the entire family will enjoy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Evolution of BPLD's Library Cards (Part 2)

Well, I promised you a part 2 and a part 2 you shall receive (unless you forgot about part 1, then in which case we'll call this part'll be our little secret).  Anyways, I showed you the evolution of our adult cards at the Buena Park Library District in part 1 so this will of course focus on our juvenile cards. 

Let's begin, shall we. 

  • 1982? - 2000
"The yellow card"

The year is 1982.  Ronald Reagan is president, the USSR is beginning to crumble, and kids get their own library card.

This striking yellow card makes perfect sense for children and teens alike as it sticks out, which is great for kids keeping track of their cards.  You'll see below.

  • School ID - Can't find it!
  • Bus Pass - Where is it?!
  • Bright Yellow Library Card - Check! Wow that was easy to find!

See what I mean?

However, remember our little secret from part 1 about the purging of the flies?  Well, it didn't stop at the adult cards.  The juvenile cards also got the dreaded plague.  Once again, I felt the need to reveal it to the world (or whoever is reading this blog) and I circled it in bright red at the bottom for you to see. 

  • 2000 - 2004
"The mouse card"

Times were changing.  Yellow was so last year and lavender-colored cards with a computer mouse and Microsoft Word Clip Art was so in.  The computer mouse represents our growing focus on providing computer access to our community in addition to books.  It was designed by our former employee, Sonia.

And look, there's no purging of any flies on the back of this card as it's been simplified similarly to the adult card.  Unfortunately, you hardly ever see any of these around as the children and teens who had these have grown up and gotten the adult cards.

  • 2004 - present
 To make up for our lack of juvenile cards (I agree, 22 years and only 2 cards to choose from for our young demographic is by no means acceptable!) we gave them a plethora of cards to choose from.

  • 2004 -Present?
"The purple card"

This card was the most popular among children and teens.  Its nice purple color is perfect for youngsters while its maze design is suitable for the more mature crowd.  It was designed by one of our former employees, Sonia or Vince (but Vince designing a purple colored card seems almost absurd so probably Sonia).  Unfortunately, due to the high demand, we have run out of stock on these cards but after numerous requests from kids of all ages, we are seriously considering bringing it back (perhaps yet another blog about a library card?).

  • 2004 - Present
"The hand prints card"

This card is now the most popular since the purple card has been discontinued for the time being.  It is especially popular among younger children because it's bright, colorful, and cheerful.  And there's hand prints everywhere!  And who doesn't like hand prints? For the record, I love 'em! 

  • 2007 - Present
"The gray card"

 This card came a few years later to help complement our other juvenile cards. 

 This card is...well, it's sort of popular...among teenagers pushing 18.  This is the guy card.  The manly card.  The mature card.  The card kids or teens choose when they want to look tough or adult like.  It takes a while to notice but there's a large computer mouse taking up about half of the card on the left which leads to...well, we all think it's a CD, computer, and a book (perhaps to emphasize that we're tech savvy, which we are! But I'm no mind-reader).  To really find out what it means, you would have to ask our former co-worker, Vince, who designed it (I really gotta stop giving him a hard time in these blogs but I'm not feeling like it today).

What's your favorite?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ukulele Group and Hula Dancers Perform on Saturday, June 23

Experience the Aloha Spirit on Saturday, June 23rd at 2:00 pm in the Donna Bagley Community Room as the Ukulele Group, E Mele Hana, and hula dancers, Ka Hula O Ke Ole Kino, present a Hawaiian music and dance extravaganza. E Mele Hana, under the direction of Susan McCormick, has performed in various venues in Southern California. The entire family is invited to join us for an afternoon of Hawaiian music and dance.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day / Don't Mess With Truman or Vonnegut

To commemorate Father's Day, here are obscure fun facts about some notable dads, courtesy of Mental Floss:

Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera’s father-in-law. Rivera’s marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, “If I see Gerry again, I’ll spit in his face.” He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

The Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely” isn’t about a woman he’s lusting for; it’s about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song. 

In 1950, after the Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman’s daughter’s concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: “Some day I hope to meet you,” he wrote. “When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

Read the article in full here, and make sure to wish your dad a Happy Father's Day tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NBA Finals

The 2012 NBA Finals have begun. If you don't watch the series, you'll miss a great matchup between the young but poised Oklahoma City Thunder and last year’s runner-up, the Miami Heat. Here are a few books in our library's collection to tide you over on non-game nights. Let's go, Thunder!

The Book of Basketball
Absurdly thick at 715 pages

Character Driven
Biography of ex-Laker Derek Fisher,
currently #37 on the Thunder

They Call Me Coach
Reflections of the late John Wooden,
who built a basketball dynasty at UCLA

LeBron James: A Basketball Star Who Cares
If you're not a fan of LeBron James,
give this children's biography a try.

We Love You Melville, We Really Do

We have seen neither hide nor phantom hair of our resident ghost cat for the last month or so and I, for one, kind of miss him.

Do ghost cats take summer vacations?

Or perhaps Melville is jealous of all the attention Chase the dog has been getting at the library...

Every Tuesday evening, from 6:30 to 7:30, kids from all over town come to sit with Chase and read him a story of their choosing.  Chase is a gentle Golden Retriever who loves hanging out with kids, helping them practice their reading skills, and encouraging their love of books.  It's no surprise that he's pretty popular with patrons and staff alike!

But we still love you Melville, and we don't want you to feel unappreciated.  So, as an offering of friendship, I made you this awesome yarn ball to bat around...

I'll leave it on my desk for you.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The (Giant) Community Bookshelf

Kansas City, Missouri is home to an amazing piece of architecture that had our staff "ooohing" and "aaahhing" with delight.  It happens to be both literary themed and related to public libraries, so it naturally piqued our interest!

The facade of the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library's parking garage has been outfitted with a series of 25 foot tall book spines, all arranged to resemble a bookshelf fit for a literary giant!

This surreal (and just plain cool!) structure is referred to by locals as the "Community Bookshelf".  A fitting name as community members and library patrons helped select the titles on display.

If you ever find yourself in downtown Kansas City, do make time to visit this amazing landmark!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Here Ye Here Ye, a Buena Park Library District New Book

Driven by James Sallis

Released April 2012

If you're a fan of the film, Drive, which was based on the novel of the same name by James Sallis, then you will be a fan of the sequel, DrivenIt delivers more neo-noir, with its minimalist plot, short vignette-like chapters, and poetic-yet-street-tough dialogue.  For all those wondering if The Driver lives at the end of the original, yes, he does!  Seven years have passed putting the murders of Nino and Bernie Rose behind him and he is actually trying to live on the straight and narrow as he now goes by the fictitious name of Paul West.  The novel grabs you from the first page when his fiance, Elsa, is murdered by a couple of hitmen and all hell breaks loose.  The Driver goes back to his old habits sinking back into anonymity, and with the help of his friend, the ex-gangbanger Felix, The Driver seeks his revenge.  The Driver also confronts his past in more ways than one with the help of his friend from the first novel, the eccentric screenwriter Manny (whom he shares ridiculous conversations with), and newcomers such as the "fixer" James Beil, who shares an important connection with him, The Driver's platonic girlfriend Billie, and her father, the ex-cop Bill.  One of the strong points is that Sallis creates these mysterious characters, yet they are beautifully etched with crisp dialogue where you feel that you know them already.  But the best part is that The Driver's past comes back to haunt him as one by one, various hitmen go after him and one by one they falter, and I might say, in detailed fashion, almost as if Sallis really enjoyed describing how they were dispatched.  And of course, there is a lot of driving, whether it's a car chase, working in a garage, or taking a spin around town.  At just 147 pages, Driven can almost be considered a novella; every word counts.  And even though it can be hard to keep up at times as the plot is chopped up in a non-linear fashion including flashbacks from the first novel and concealed descriptions, it is definitely worth the read where you really get to see the perseverance of what The Driver is made of; he is driven.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Evolution of BPLD's Library Cards (Part 1)

Since we switched to a Computerized Integrated Library System in 1982, our loyal patrons have been using library cards to check out books.  To complement our "Show us your Library Card" campaign that we're promoting currently, I thought it would be fun to present to you the evolution of our library cards since that time.  No library cards were harmed during this presentation.

  • Pre-1982? - 2000
"The original"

One of the great mysteries of the library, no one really knows when this card was first distributed but some of our senior librarians have claimed that this card was here before our Dynix ILS, which we switched to in 1987.  Our previous ILS was a system in collaboration with the Anaheim Public Library and this went as far back as 1982.  So pick a year, any year between 1982 and 1987 and we'll call that the beginning. 

This practical card has no nonsense about it: title at the top, our lovely library below, barcode, and our address.  Many patrons still carry this card today.  Though it isn't laminated and therefore quite thin (and some patrons end up carrying just a stub of it, hey, I would too, it's a classic!), they still work.  However, there is one flaw.

If you flip the card over and check the conditions of borrowing, you'll notice one little thing that I felt the liberty to show.  And I circled it in bright red just to make sure that you don't miss it.

Yes, you're seeing that correctly.  "We purge our flies annually" has been something that we've been trying to hide for years but with the permission of our director, we decided that we could finally reveal it to the world.

The whole back story behind this is that when we were making an order of this card from our print vendor back in the day, it was sent to us via fax (yeah, I was shocked too in learning that fax machines were around in the 1980s).  Many employees took a look and proofed it.  But the "l" and the "i" in "flies" looked the same, especially in a faxed copy that was not so clear as they are today.  Needless to say, it went unnoticed.  But when someone pointed out the flaw, we immediately ordered a new print of the card with revised wording (hey, we're an educational institution!) and put the defunct version in the back room, something never to be spoken about again.  But due to budgetary constraints, we actually had to dip into our old supply of these "mutant" cards and distribute them to the public.  Though some patrons did notice, no one really made a big deal.  Moral of the story: don't trust fax machines built in the 1980s! 

The revised version is shown below:

We simplified the conditions of borrowing, deleting the first sentence, adding "Library Card" to the title, and of course "flies" has been replaced with "files." 

  • 2000 - 2005
"The picture card"

I've always had a soft spot for this card.  It's the card I received when I turned 18.  It contains a very nice picture of the library along with the front wall that's cleverly placed (in real life and on the library card, it's a win-win!).  Many of the employees here also like it the best and the picture was taken by a former employee of ours, Doug.

And check out the back.  It's been simplified with the name, address, phone number, and barcode number. Like I said, win-win.

  • 2004 - 2007
"The Sonia card"

This card is properly named because one our former employees, Sonia, designed it.  This begins the era of our more durable, thicker plastic cards giving it a nice glossy look.  Many of us really enjoyed this card.  Sadly, it's actually quite rare to see someone with it because of its short lifespan.   

The back of the card continued with the simple format but with bigger font for the information.  Ooohh.

  • 2007 - Present
"The blue card"

And this takes us to the card that we use today.  This was designed by another one of our former employees, Vince.  He was actually studying to be a graphic designer and you can see that in the card's abstract design.   Also worth noting is that our web address has changed to  Hey, it's easier to type than the old one.

Perhaps you're wondering why this is titled part 1.  Well, stay tuned for part 2, the evolution of our juvenile library cards.

What's your favorite? 

June Sale in the Volunteer Guild Bookstore

Put some sizzle into your summer reading!


Passions will be ignited!
Bodices will be busted!
Rogues will be tamed!

Come on in during the month of June
for some discount summer lovin' 
and your wallet will love you too!! 

Volunteer Guild Bookstore Hours:
Tues & Wed: 10am - 6 pm
Thurs: 10am - 7:30 pm
Fri & Sat: 10am - 4:30 pm
Refreshments for Sale • For more info call 714-826-4100 x 123

Remembering Ray Bradbury

Legendary science fiction and fantasy author Ray Bradbury died this past Tuesday at the age of 91.  Bradbury was considered a pioneer of  20th century science fiction literature along with Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein.

A prolific writer, Bradbury leaves behind a body of work that includes 27 books and over 600 short stories.  His most celebrated novels include The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.  Bradbury also made his mark in Hollywood, having penned the screenplay for the 1956 film version of Moby Dick along with several episodes of The Twilight Zone.

Bradbury was also a tireless advocate of public libraries, stating that: " Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."

If you'd like to learn more about Bradbury or explore his work, the Library has a wide selection of material to choose from.

the screenplay for the 1956 film version of Moby Dick, and authored several episodes of The Twilight Zone.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Happy 90th Birthday, Newbery Medal!

Ninety years ago this month, a hallmark in children’s literature was born: the first Newbery Medal was awarded on June 27th, 1922.

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association to the year’s most distinguished American children’s book. Its namesake is John Newbery, an Englishman born in 1713 who is credited as the first publisher and seller of children’s books. Mr. Newbery published many books from his London bookshop, The Bible and Sun, including A Little Pretty Pocket-Book in 1744 and the bestselling The History of Little Goody-Two Shoes in 1765.

Title page of A Little Pretty Pocket-Book

If a book you authored were awarded the Newbery Medal, you would receive the distinct honor of having a Newbery Medal engraved with your name. The medal of bronze was designed in 1921 by American sculptor René Paul Chambellan and depicts a man presenting a book to a boy and a girl.
The Newbery Medal

A complete list of Newbery Medal winners can be found here. My personal favorites are the 1979 winner The Westing Game, a mystery starring a comical and colorful cast of characters, and the 1986 winner Sarah, Plain and Tall, an idyllic novelette that is startlingly moving for its simplicity in exploring weighty themes of love, loss, and longing.

Children’s books are not only for children! Whether you are 8 or 80, you will do yourself a favor by opening these Newbery Medal winners and allowing them to captivate you with their wonderful captivating powers. You can find the library’s Newbery Medal collection at the entrance to the children’s room.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Free Gardening Program on Saturday, June 9

Mr. Robert Shaw will present the third program in his gardening series “Growing a Green Thumb” on Saturday, June 9, 2012 from 10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. The presentation will be held in the Library Board Room located on the second floor.  This program is free and no reservations are required.  Attendees can enter an opportunity drawing for several gardening books to be held at the end of the program.

Mr. Shaw will be covering the topics of Vegetable Gardening and Yard Maintenance. With Southern California’s favorable climate, it is never too late to start a vegetable garden.  Mr. Shaw will discuss what can be done now to plant a garden and how to maintain the garden you already have (including such topics as fertilizing, pruning, and pest control).

Currently, there is a movement towards local and sustainable food production and consumption. And what could be more local than growing vegetables in your own backyard (or front yard for that matter)?  One title you might consider checking out is "Edible Landscaping" by Rosalind Creasy. This beautifully illustrated book discusses ideas for incorporating edible plants into one's garden, including information on some less well-known plants like ginger, pawpaw, and lotus. For other recently acquired gardening books try this list

And if you are looking for “room to grow”, don’t forget that the City of Buena Park has a popular Community Garden program where residents can rent a plot of land for gardening (see the City’s website for more information).