Tuesday, January 29, 2008

check it out! Books

The winner of the coveted Independent Fiction Award, Out Stealing Horses is a Norwegian novel about boyhood and adulthood, fathers and sons. Per Petterson's moving tale is set at a remote cabin on the Swedish Norwegian border. Sixty-seven year-old Trond has moved there after losing his wife three years earlier, and it is in this setting that he reflects back on his 15th summer, the last time he ever saw his father.

The Irish Times calls this "A special miracle of a book....The genius of this beautiful, candid work lies in its tone of gentle, if at times angry, reflection. There is no sentimentality, no easy nostalgia, only truths and an honest response to the experience." This is truely a wonderful book that is hard to put down; I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another Book Recommendation: Kabul Beauty School

There have been several books written about the plight of Afghan women but Kabul Beauty School:an American woman goes beneath the veil by Deborah Rodriguez takes a fresh perspective. Rodriguez traveled to Afghanistan to be an aid worker and nurse shortly after the fall of the Taliban. She soon discovered her training as a hairdresser and cosmetologist was in huge demand for both western workers and a small group of Afghan women. After befriending a number of these Afghan women, she found that even under a burqa, these women still had pride in themselves and their appearance. Using a great deal of ingenuity, she opened a small beauty school in Kabul to train her new friends in basic cosmetology. Through laughter as well as tears and lots of tea, she was embraced as a true friend and discovered that she could help her new Afghan friends change their lives for the better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Check out the new databases!

I'm sure you noticed the new pictures showing off our new databases on the homepage. We've been using the Automotive Repair databases here at the Information Desk for a long time. They are especially useful for makes and models missing from our Reference shelves. For instance, if someone you know drives an '86 Camry, we have no repair manuals for that particular car. But fear not! For we can still bring it up on computer and get wiring diagrams, how to take the brakes apart and and how to gap the plugs! Try a couple of searches with your favorite vehicle and see what you find. This is really a handy resource and now we have the Small Engine Repair database to go along with it.

So get those scooters ready for spring - only 58 days until springtime!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't be down just because we're closed!

What a wonderful holiday to celebrate all that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did while he was alive and the changes he helped bring about. However, this means the library is physically closed and there are a lot of sad faces out roaming Flathead County aimlessly. Our web page provides access to eBooks, databases, links and information, 24 hours a day. You can surf the catalog from home and place books on hold in other Montana libraries.
Stop by and visit- even when the doors are locked.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Book Recommendation: Identical Strangers

Ever wonder what it would be like to have a twin? Or what if you had a twin, but didn't know about it? That's what happened to twins Elise Shein and Paula Bernstein, who were separated as infants and reunited at age 35. They've co-written the book Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited. It's a fascinating account, full of information about the biology of twins, the nature vs. nurture debate, and adoption practices in the middle of the 20th century. The book also packs in a fair amount of suspense as the twins, once reunited, try to discover the identity and circumstances of their birth mother. Highly recommended; this is a totally engrossing read.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Poetry in Motion

Audio books are the greatest, aren't they? As I was meandering through my housework on Sunday, I listened to Billie Collins Live at Symphony Space. Did you know some poets are as funny as the best stand-up comedian? Collins' poetry (he's pictured at right) is witty, tender, accessible, and moving. If you are not sure that poetry is your cup of tea, I think his work can change your mind. He's responsible for the Poetry 180 Project: a poem a day for American high schools and was the United States Poet Laureate for two years.
After laughing with the symphony space audience for an hour or so, I put on our somewhat native son's two disc set Eat stone and go on : the recorded poetry of Richard Hugo. Hugo (1923-1982), who taught for many years in the English Department at the University of Montana, published eight books of poetry. And listening to him reading those poems is nothing short of heavenly. Be warned that the sound quality is not great (they were recorded over 25 years ago, after all) but one can't help being moved by that deeply satisfying voice reciting what is my favorite of his poems: "Degrees of Grey in Philipsburg."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Audio Books to the rescue!

I recently trekked to Seattle for a residency at the University of Washington, as did 2 other Flathead County Library staff members. As I putted my way to the West Coast, I listened to audio books that I checked out before I left. They were wonderful and cured me not only from boredom but from stress. I was stuck on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass because of avalanche control members in progress. I pulled to the side of the road and cross-country skied down the freeway ditch. When I was tired of that, I popped my Audio Book back in and hung out with the truck drivers. Thanks Audio Books, y'all are my heroes!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Growing a Reader

Parents often ask the Children’s Staff the question, “How can I help my child to be a better reader?” You have to remember that reading doesn’t just happen. It is a skill that must be nurtured from a child’s earliest years. Also, once children know how to read, they still need gentle coaxing and support to reach their full potential as readers.

Here are some tips that might help nurture that growing reader:

  1. Read with your child.
  2. Make sure they have plenty to read.
  3. Bring them to the library and let them choose what they would like to read.
  4. Respect their choices.
  5. Notice what interests them, and then help them find books about those things. Any of the librarians can help, too.
  6. Tell stories. This is a great way to pass on family history and build your children’s listening and thinking skills.
  7. Go places and do things with your children to build their background knowledge and vocabulary. This gives them a basis for understanding what they read.
  8. Be a reading role model. You can share and discuss what you read with your child.
  9. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, or food labels? Magazines can often help reluctant readers improve; the shorter articles don’t seem overwhelming.

Let us know how we can assist you as you grow those readers!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stop on by to see us and check out our selection on your favorite waterfowl. Use our computers to research how ducks can forever change your life. The microfilm machine is ready to search for ducks and their history in Woodland Park. Pretty much, we can fulfill all your information needs and we're proud of what we do best!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Third Place

As we start this new year, I have been thinking about a recent visit I made to a library near where my daughter lives. This library is about 5 years old and is part of a complex that houses a performing arts center, city administrative offices, the police department, a fire station, and a sculpture garden. There is also enough parking for 750 vehicles. One of the most compelling ideas that this library represents is their commitment to the philosophy that the library is the “Third Place” (a concept that states a “Third Place” is where one would choose to spend the most time after home and work or school). In working towards being the “Third Place”, they have created a place that is much more than just a spot to pick up a good book, an interesting movie or check your email. Of course, you can do all of these things, but this library has created a destination where one can relax and read in front of a fire, attend a concert, watch a movie on a Sunday afternoon, meet an author or learn about all of the sea life in their saltwater aquarium. Themed spaces define each area of the library which are each fantastic areas to spend time. My favorite is the “Craftsman” area that holds of the magazines and newspapers. This entire community has strongly supported the library from the time when it was one little building in the middle of a cow pasture and they haven’t forgotten that beginning. In so many ways they live by a simple saying, “Honoring the Past; Imagining the Future.” Even with this community’s tremendous growth, they have managed to keep their focus, which was at times extremely difficult, on working together to ensure the library is a “Third Place” for the whole community.


Happy New Year to all of you from the Flathead County Libraries Staff! We hope that this year will bring the best to you and your loved ones. Stop by and fill out a How'd we do form so we know what to include in our list of resolutions. 2008 will be the best year ever at your local library, so stop on by and visit us soon.