I just watched the most recent installment of the Star Trek franchise: “Into Darkness.” It was fan-tas-tic! Yes, I’m a trekkie. No, I don’t dress up and go to conventions, however, I would not completely rule that out in the future. I don’t know what it is about this particular science fiction series that attracted me to it? I guess it would have to be the crew’s sense of adventure, “their continuing mission to go where no man has gone before,” and the technological gadgetry—I long for a transporter beam on heavy traffic days on I-90. And don’t get me started on the replicator, you speak into a computer and instantly dinner appears. Sweet!
Not all franchises were the same, though. While the original Star Trek, conceived by Gene Rodenberry in the early 1960’s, was revolutionary with its introduction of new technology and casting of African-American and Asian characters, the sets were garish and plots were loose at best. It is with Star Trek Generations that I feel the franchise really gained legitimacy and a larger fan base. Star Trek Voyager introduced the first, if not the only, female captain with Captain Kathryn Janeway. However, the franchise started to decline with shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise; a combination of production quality, cable networks and time slot. The latest movie reincarnations have notable television and film director J.J. Abrams at the helm, who has produced such films as Super 8 and Mission Impossible III. Abrams has been credited with reviving the struggling franchise.
Fortunately for KCLS patrons, they don’t have to go very far to get their science fiction fix because we have plenty of titles in our collection. Below are some notable picks and resources to find your next science fiction book:
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Originally published in 1932, Huxley’s teriffying vision of a controlled and emotionless future “Utopian” society is truly startling in its prediction of modern scientific and cultural phenomena, including test-tube babies and rampant drug use.
The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett
1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man’s-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? 2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive–some say mad, others allege dangerous–scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever. The “stepper” enables a person using it to step sideways into another America, another wherever that person happened to be, another Earth. And if the person using it keeps on stepping, they keep on entering even more Earths. This is the Long Earth. And the further away a stepper travels, the stranger — and sometimes more dangerous — the Earths become.
Darth Plagueis, by James Luceno
Darth Plagueis, a Sith Lord who knows the Dark Side so well that he has power over life and death, joins forces with his apprentice, one-day emperor Darth Sidious, to try to dominate the whole galaxy.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit.
I’m an admitted foodie, and my weight scale can attest to it! Personally, if cable television only carried the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, I’d be a happy camper. Make no mistake, though, I do more than just watch cooking shows, I do actually implement a lot of the recipes and techniques. So, you can imagine my excitement when the King County Library System announced “A Place at the Table,” a series of programs based on food, nutrition and preparation techniques.
A Place at the Table is more than a recipe exchange; it’s a confluence of local authors talks, book group discussions, cooking techniques, and food themed programs, like Dining at Downton Abbey, which will focus on food in art. Below is a listing of some of our upcoming programs, but for a complete listing please visit our web page here.
Building Your Own Urban Pantry – Canning 101
Presented by Amy Pennington, gardener and author of Urban Pantry
Plan now, save money and eat like a king all winter long by using the skills learned in this short and informative class where we will preserve savory and sweet preserves for your cupboards and mid-winter gift giving.
Thursday, April 25, 7p, Covington Library
Saturday, April 27, 2p, Renton Highlands Library
Saturday, May 4, 11a, Kent Library
Sponsored by the Friends of the Kent Library
Tuesday, May 7, 7p, Enumclaw Library
Wednesday, May 8, 7p, Shoreline Library
Sunday, May 12, Bothell Library
Food is Love. Food is Pleasure. Food is Everything.
Presented by Matt Freedman and Tiberio Simone.
La Figa: Visions of Food and Form is a book about natural beauty and fresh flavors. Featuring a spectacular collection of photos of models of all shapes and sizes, ages and colors wearing nothing but the edible creations of James Beard award-winning chef Tiberio Simone. The book examines the relationship between food, touch and the ingredients that make life delicious. The book also includes twenty Tiberio’s favorite recipes.
Dining at Downton Abbey: A Trial by Fork
Presented by Tames Alan
Explore a time of forgotten elegance, when one changed in dinner clothes and chose jewelry to reflect candle light; a time where setting the table was an art and serving a meal was a well-choreographed dance. Food historiam Tames Alan will demystify the manner, menu and accoutrements of a formal 12-course dinner as would have been eaten upstairs at Downtown Abbey before the outreak of World War One.
Wednesday, April 10, 7p, Maple Valley Library
Saturday, April 27, 11a, Renton Library
Wednesday, May 1, 7p, Des Moines Library
Saturday, May 4, 1p, Mercer Island Library
Sponsored by the Mercer Island Friends of the Library
Monday, May 14, 7p, Lake Hills Library
I grew up in a bilingual (English/Spanish) household, which had its advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage being that I could communicate in both languages, a skill that has paid off in the long run as Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States (US Census). The disadvantage was having to interpret for my dad. Don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy to do this and saw it as my duty to do so; however, it was those moments when there was a dispute over something like a discrepancy on the light bill or an unknown deduction on the paycheck (this was especially grueling), that interpreting was anything but fun. You see, my father has a colorful way with words…in Spanish. I had to get creative with interpreting his colorful words, so as not to create a scene (my father was already doing a good job at that). There were many a time when I would rather crawl under a rock than interpret for my dad. He’s come a long way now and can communicate in English on a basic level, but he always begins the conversation with: “My English is not so good.” A poor disclaimer for what is about to come.
Luckily for our patrons today, the King County Library System has online tools that facilitate the learning of foreign languages. All from the convenience of your own home. Mango Languages, Transparent Language and Little Pim are language learning databases that incorporate multi-media to make learning a different langague fun and easy. Library patrons can create a profile to keep track of their learning or they can jump right in and practice. The service is accessible from home or in the library with your library card and PIN no# (typically the last four digits of your phone number). This service is really convenient, as hard copy language learning materials can sometimes be checked out. So instead of leaving empty handed, or having to place a hold on the item, patrons can start learning immediately online.
Technology has come a long way and I wish this service had been around when I was growing up having to interpret for my dad. It would have saved me from a lot of embarrassing moments. I do cherish those memories, however, no matter how mortifying at the time.
I am very fortunate to have a great group of friends. I think most of us will admit to having good friends, but only a handful of “best” friends. There is a difference, good friends will go with you to the movies, chat up with you at a gathering; however, “best” friends pick you up from the airport and look after you when you’re sick. Whatever the case, our friends serve as a support network (or crisis response depending on the situation) for those life moments that bring joy or overwhelm us, or when we simply just need someone to talk to.
Here at the Bellevue Libraries we are extremely fortunate to have a great group of Friends, they’re the Bellevue Friends of the Library (BFOL). If you have ever attended a library program at the Bellevue, Lakes Hills or Crossroads branches, chances are that it was supported by the Friends. Everything from the Summer Reading Program to the Halloween Book Giveaway, our Friends are there to support us. Friends groups are dedicated community volunteers who help public libraries manage book donations. Proceeds from book sales go right back to the library through programming, staff and collection support. Want to learn more about the BFOL? Click HERE.
How can you help?
- Become a member: $7 student/senior, $15 individual/family, $100 business
- Donate books at any of our branches: Bellevue (downtown), Lake Hills or Crossroads
- Buy books from our book sale locations: Corner Book Shop at the Bellevue Library or Lake Hills
Become a Bellevue Friend of the Library today!
Signs that fall is here: the leaves are changing color, there is a nip in the air, Monday night football (interrupted only by the relentless political ads) and Life After High Schoool. Yes, Life After High School. If you are a sophomore, junior and most definitely a senior, fall is also a time when many high school students start pondering what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.
If you are one of those people who has always known what you wanted to be when you grew up, then great! You get a gold star. However, if you were like me, I had no idea what I wanted to do upon graduation. All I knew is that I wanted a paycheck and a nice car (and at the risk of disclosing my age, I also wanted parachute pants and a glittery glove).
Lucky for you, though, King County Library System can help you explore your post secondary education options via our Life After High School (LAHS) web guide. Whether you are going to college or not, this web guide helps you navigate the post high school maze, including information on financial aid and scholarships, college rankings, finding a job and volunteering. So, instead of staring at the gazillion Google search results when researching life after high school, why not use the Life After High School web guide, which has been put together by brilliant librarians who know good information when they see it.
In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6), I thought I’d share an excellent article a colleague of mine wrote that incorporates Hispanic Heritage and intellectual freedom.
Author: Jessica McClinton-Lopez, Teen Librarian, Issaquah Library
Hispanic Heritage is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th every year. It is recognized as a month to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Hispanics to U.S. heritage and culture. That time period also houses another very important event in our culture, society, and libraries: September 30th-October 6th Banned books Week. During Banned Books Week, American Library Association’s office of Intellectual Freedom office works to bring attention to titles of books commonly challenged or banned in our society, the consequences of censorship and banning of books, and to the importance and meaning of the freedom to read.
Why do people challenge or try to ban books? According to ALA, most of the time it is because well meaning people think they are protecting children from offensive language, language that is sexually explicit, or books that are unsuited for certain age groups. This year and in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to raise awareness of a recent and different challenge to the freedom to read that took place in Unified School District in Tucson Arizona.
In January of this year, under Arizona House Bill 2281, politicians removed books that supposedly taught about the suppression of minority groups by white people. On the list included titles such as Sherman Alexie’s Ten Little Indians, Paolo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed Matt de la Peña’s Mexican White Boy, Rodulfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street, and Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Reports indicated that books were confiscated from the hands of students despite protest from students and teachers in the program. In the state of Arizona, the effort to disband the Mexican American Studies program and remove books from the classrooms was and is largely reflective of political issues in the state.
Whether you agree or disagree with the politics in Arizona, our ability to provide books from many perspectives is something libraries and a democratic society need to uphold. In fact, it is the mission of the King County Library System is to provide free, open and equal access to ideas and information to all members of the community. When things like this happen in other states, it is a good reminder of the importance of our mission. We as librarians and library staff strive to defend access to our collections every day so that what happened in Arizona will never happen in our libraries.
For a list of Banned Mexican Studies Books visit http://www.newstaco.com/2012/01/31/a-copy-of-tucsons-banned-book-list/
For ALA’s list of commonly challenged or banned authors by year, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedauthors
For more information on Banned Books Week, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned
For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month, visit http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/
For more information and details on the Tucson book banning and a video, visit http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=3904
And for information on the Librotraficante Caravan, which took a stand and smuggled Banned Books back to Tucson visit http://librotraficante.com/
I recently lost my phone and the subsequent call to the automated claim center to replace it was less than pleasant. We’ve all been there; the endless automated options; the perpetual looped messages, e.g. “your call is important to us, please continue to hold.” In the meantime you’ve aged just a little more, when all you wanted to do was talk to a real person. Somewhere, somehow, customer service in the digital age has morphed into anything but customer service. Not at the King County Library System (KCLS). At any time during open hours, there is always someone you can talk to. With back-to-school right around the corner, this type of service is more useful than ever, especially for homework help questions. Whether you’re seeking face-to-face or online tutoring, we are to help. The Study Zone (SZ) program is a FREE program available to school-aged children (K-12); volunteers are ready and available to help students with their homework questions throughout the school year. Not every library offers face-to-face service, so call your nearest branch for more information. If the service is not available at your branch don’t panic, because we offer the service online through Tutor.com (a valid KCLS library card is needed to access this service). Reference service is also available through Ask-a-Librarian, via e-mail, chat or phone. Any other questions, you can call the Answerline. Never be placed on perpetual hold again, instead call KCLS for all your information needs.
I struggled with math and science in high school, the Pythagorean theorem and the Periodic Table were definitely not my friends. I was completely satisfied with a “C” average for most of my freshman and sophomore years. Yes, I was a slacker. That is until my junior year when my high school instituted an incentive program encouraging “challenged” student like me to take advanced math and science courses. The program awarded cold-hard cash: $50 for a “B” and $100 for an “A” earned. Well, that was all the motivation this poor student needed. From then on it was the honor roll for me–much to my parent’s relief. The King County Library System is applying the same concept to get teens READING this summer. Yes, money just for reading! Here is how it works:
This is a video book review contest. Teens take their favorite book; tell us about it on camera (the more creative the better) and they enter a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards to Best Buy. Teens need to set up a YouTube Account and upload their video files by Tuesday, July 31 and cannot be more then three minutes long. This is an example of last year’s winners: http://youtu.be/nQ9NAZXz4nk .
Read 3/Get 1 Free
Read Three, Get One Free is a book-review-and-reward program that is available at any KCLS community library. Participating teens in middle school, junior high or high school may select a FREE paperback book for every three books you read and review. In addition to the FREE book, during the summer, teens are also automatically entered in a drawing for $25 gift certificates to places like: Zumiez, Barnes & Noble, and Best Buy. The drawings go through Friday, August 31st.
It pays to read this summer!