Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Scanners in the Library

We have new microfilm readers in Kalispell and Whitefish for those that didn't know. They are hooked to a computer and do a very good job of "crisping" the image of old microfilm. We have 22" widescreen monitors attached that make it easier to read the vertical layout of a newspaper page.

We also have regular scanner computers in Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish that you can use to scan photos and old slides into a digital image. Documents can be scanned into .pdf documents or an editable Word document. The fun never stops in the digital world of the Flathead County Libraries!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Books: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

I just had the good fortune to take a little trip down to Tucson, Arizona for a vacation. I spent a few days getting to know phainopeplas, saguaros, javelinas, prickly pear cacti, and other desert flora and fauna. My literary companion on the trip was the excellent novel The Hummingbird's Daughter. Set in late 1800's Mexico, the book tells the story of real life Teresita, the Saint of Cabora. Born to a 14 year old Yaqui girl known as The Hummingbird, Teresita grows up under the watchful eye of Huila, a midwife and healer. Eventually, as mystical, political, and social events collide, Teresita becomes an international sensation as a miracle worker.

The Hummingbird's Daughter is a fascinating and dazzling portrait of a woman and her country. As author Gail Tsukiyama writes, Urrea's landscape is "swollen and untamed, populated by rich, educated Dons, Mexican soldiers, valiant revolutionaries, dusty vaqueros, poor Yaqui and Mayo Indians, spiritual healers, and corrupt politicians."

If you're a fan of historical or literary fiction, add this book to your reading list!

Monday, November 26, 2007

check it out! films

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, 17 of us (a golf professional, home economics teacher, insurance salesman, wheatfarmer, horsewoman, classics professor, homemaker, flight attendant, librarian, student, IT professional, etc) sat around the table and one by one told the others what we'd want to be if we weren't what we were now. The kids got to say what they want to be when they grow up. Having just watched Carlos Saura's Blood Wedding, I announced that I would like to be a flamenco dancer. Watch the movie and you'll understand why. Saura's Flamenco Trilogy--Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El Amor Brujo--was recently released as a Criterion Collection Eclipse series. This first film is incredible--whether or not you appreciate dance you'll be amazed at the beauty of the dancers, the beauty of the dance, the beauty of the music, and the incredible camera work that captures it all.

"Carlos Saura began what would become his trilogy with this depiction of a single dress rehearsal for choreographer Antonio Gades's adaptation of poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca's tale of passionate revenge. No mere recording of a ballet, Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding) uses gripping camerawork and heart-pounding rhythmic editing to evoke the experience of moving with the dancers every step of the way."

Friday, November 23, 2007

We'll take what you don't want

Cleaning out your old books, VHS cassettes, DVD's, etc? You can donate them to the library to be added to the collection, sold at the Friends of the Library annual book sale or the ongoing sales at your local library. It's a great way to support the county libraries and get rid of the clutter. Write it off for taxes and smile knowing that you made a difference- one piece of junk at a time!*

*Wayne's World should in no way be misconstrued as junk, nor is any other book or movie that you are donating, even though I clearly stated that it is junk.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Every State, Providence and Continent

Help us record a hit in every state of the U.S., every providence in Canada and every continent on the globe. We've been using a new tool since the release of the new web page that allows us to see where the traffic is coming from. (City only, no conspiracy theories here!) On your next vacation for the holidays, log on to the web page and blog from grandma's house or after deep-sea diving. IF we accomplish this monumental task, the director has agreed that there will be free books, DVDs, etc. to check out AND a special bonus gift, she will even let people use the computers for free ; )

Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Literature of the West at High Country News

The October 29th issue of High Country News, the magazine "For people who care about the West" includes book reviews and information about Western literature, new and old.

Scroll down the page to "Book Reviews" and check out a fall reading list, a new book by Deirdre McNamer about Montana, a new collection of essays by William Kittredge, two books about wildfires, and a 'best of' list of books about the Pacific Northwest.

My favorite selection is the literary trivia quiz; you can see the questions online and make your guesses, but to find the answers you'll need to visit the library and take a look at the hard copy of the magazine - on the shelf in the periodicals at the Main Library. Consider it a bit of a scavenger hunt, and take some books home with you to get started on your wintertime reading.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An Ode to the Print Reference Collection

Anyone who has recently visited the second floor of the Main Library, may beg to ask the question – where have all the reference books gone? Within the last two months we have reduced the print reference collection to nearly half its size, and branches in Columbia Falls and Bigfork are doing likewise. Our print reference collection at the Main Library has represented a wide breadth and scope of authoritative and respected resources – not to mention the hard work and dedication of librarians who have cultivated the collection to respond to the questions and needs of the community.

So, why the dramatic reduction? Technology and space. With resources like Google people can discover more information and become more independent searchers. The way librarians once created collections, which were supposed to be more mediated, has changed dramatically: we now create access points in the “wider web” to the content we hold for our customers. World-wide, we as information professionals, have to rethink traditional notions of reference, as well as how to organize the collections and what kind of collections we should have. Our online Auto Repair Database is a great example of this shift.

Space is another issue throughout the Flathead County Library system. As our collections grow, so do the communities' need for services such as free access computers and relaxing places to sit. Many of the reference books have been moved to the Adult Non-Fiction collection and are now able to check out. Others that were dated and/or the information is better found online, have been given to the Friends’ of the Library or discarded, while long runs of serials have been moved to storage.

While some reference materials will always remain viable, the daily duties and the tools used to achieve FCL’s Plan of Service Goals have changed dramatically. Technology has penetrated every facet of library service and these changes in turn have affected how staff and customers interact with and structure libraries. These changes keep a library relevant, shape how libraries are perceived, and most of all - how libraries are used.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

check it out! books

If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime you may also enjoy Kiara Brinkman's debut novel, Up High in the Trees. There's no mystery here really, but the novel unfolds as a mystery would; all the information comes through Sebby, the 8-year-old narrator who is struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. Because Sebby suffers from an Asperger's type illness his sensory perception of the world is sharply focused, which is believably rendered in his narration. His "feelings" come across in letters that he regularly writes to his teacher. This is a sweet, simple novel that has a few definite flaws (why isn't anyone paying more attention to this family's unravelling?) but it's also a quick and satisfying read. Suitable for teens as well as adults.

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Book Reviews

Thanks to a volunteer, Joan Smith, we will have a book review page accessible at We will continue to add more reviews on that page and on this blog. Also, at the bottom of the iBistro library catalog page, there are a number of book lists and bestseller lists. One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of great books to delve into on gray, winter days!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cattle drive at the Columbia Falls storyhour

Our square cardboard cow yielded 30 square cardboard cartons of milk for storyhour kids today in Columbia Falls. Not bad for such a young cow. Her udder is a surgical glove filled with water. Small holes were added at the last minute, before the dairy workers arrived. She proved easy to milk and friendly too.

Monday, November 5, 2007

check it out! music

Loudon Wainright III's newest CD, "Strange Weirdos: music from and inspired by the film Knocked Up" is wonderful--balanced, evocative songs that will get you thinkin' and eventually joining in. In his July, 9, 2007 New Yorker article, Ben Greenman says:
On “Strange Weirdos” (Concord), which is nominally the soundtrack to the film “Knocked Up” but pretty much plays like a new solo record, Wainwright is as good as he’s ever been. Almost forty years into his recording career, he has not only retained his sharpness of wit but has also learned to cut with greater skill.
I have yet to see the film, but after listening to this collection of songs, I've put it on hold also.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The new web site!!

Okay, so I'm ecstatic that we have a new web page. I've been working on it and collaborating with others for so long that I've learned to overlook any faults that it has. We want to make it better and would love your input on the successes and failures of the new site. Is there something missing still? Are things not clear? Do you want the old site back? Let us know! Comment here, in person at the library or click on the feedback link at the bottom of each page associated with We love having you stop by, so show us some love back by giving us the add to your Favorites or Bookmarks.

Friday, November 2, 2007

check it out! books

I just read a wonderful new novel by Helen Schulman called A Day at the Beach. The novel takes place in the 24 hours immediately before and after the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001. The Falktoph family, she a dancer, he a coreographer, live with their two year old son in a loft apartment directly across from the twin towers. As the city is laid bare so is the relationship and marriage of this couple. I had read Don DeLillo's Falling Man in late summer and that too captures the emotional landscape of a few people following the events of September 11th. But I liked Schulman's book much better.