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October, O October

 I find it alarming that October is already flying by… maybe if we celebrate every aspect of it, it will last longer.  My favorites from the lists below include: (naturally) National Book Group Month; the fact that the Peanuts cartoon is 60 years old this month; and that my Dad shares the same birthday as Jimmy Carter.  Happy birthday, Dad.
                  —Mary Beth

October is:

Holidays in October Include:
Oct. 1: World Smile Day
Oct. 5: World Teacher’s Day
Oct. 11: Columbus Day
Oct. 11: National Coming Out Day
Oct. 11: Thanksgiving (Canada)
Oct. 16: National Boss Day
Oct. 16: Sweetest Day
Oct. 16: World Food Day
Oct. 24: United Nations Day
Oct. 31: Halloween

October Famous Birthdays
Jimmy Carter (39th president of the U.S.): Oct. 1, 1924
Mohandas Gandhi: Oct. 2, 1869

Gore Vidal: Oct. 3, 1925
Anne Rice: Oct. 4, 1941
Chester Arthur (21st president of the U.S.): Oct. 5, 1829
Nora Roberts: Oct. 10, 1950
Eleanor Roosevelt: Oct. 11, 1884
Dwight Eisenhower (34th president of the U.S.): Oct. 14, 1890
Oscar Wilde: Oct. 16, 1854
Shel Silverstein: Oct. 18, 1932
Franz Liszt: Oct. 22, 1811
Theodore Roosevelt (26th president of the U.S.): Oct. 27, 1858
John Adams (2nd president of the U.S.): Oct. 30, 1735

October Historical Events:
Oct. 2, 1950: “Peanuts” cartoon debuts (60th anniversary)
Oct. 6, 1876: American Library Association founded
Oct. 8, 1871: Great Chicago Fire (Peshtigo, WI, forest fire started the same day)
Oct. 26, 1881: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Oct. 29, 1929: Stock Market Crash of 1929


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Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Have you read any banned books lately? I’m happy to say I’ve read quite a few. Here’s a sampling of my subversive reading: The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Lee; Gone With the Wind, by Mitchell;The Fountainhead, by Rand; My Antonia, by Cather; The Wind in the Willows, by Grahame; The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, by Curtis; A Light in the Attic, by Silverstein; Charlotte’s Web, by White; In the Night Kitchen, by Sendak; and The Stupids, by Allard and Marshall—that last being the first book in one of my family’s favorite children’s series.

September 25-October 2 is the annual celebration of Banned Books Week, and here’s what the American Library Association has to say about this event: “Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.”

So if you are looking for some subversive reading, check out this list of 100 Banned and/or Challenged Classics.




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Room to Read

Three Cups of Tea has been a bestseller for about a zillion years.  But there’s another book (that I actually like better) which is similar in its uplifting story and audacious mission. 

It’s called Leaving Microsoft to Save the World, by John Wood (and is available at your local library).  It’s the story of how the international charity Room to Read began its road to success—in the perfectly empty library of an elementary school in Nepal.

Room to Read is celebrating its 10th anniversary and its 10,000th library being built in developing nations.  Here’s an interesting video with founder John Wood.



Are you grateful to be able to read and to surrounded by great materials in every imaginable format?   Room to Read is one way to put your gratitude into action.  I’m so glad people like John Wood are out there doing what they’re doing for the world!
                 —Mary Beth


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Filed under Early literacy, Reading

Thank you, Buck…

…and thanks to the more than 125 people who showed up last night to honor Buck Compton (see related blog) and enjoy his stories.   There were some great laughs, and a standing ovation full of affection and respect.  Also, more men than we’ve ever had at a program! 

I particularly appreciated several young men in the audience who were full of great questions for Buck, like “What kind of gun did you have?”   “What battle do you remember best, and why?”  and “Who are your heroes?”    For his part, Buck’s answers are nearly always positive and definitely always modest.  Any variation of “How did you survive the hardship and trauma of war?” is always answered with a shrug (“You just did what you had to do”) and praise of others (“I was just lucky to be with men of that stature.”)   “What was it like being an Los Angeles policeman?  “Best job I ever had.”    “What’s it like to be a judge?”   “Best job I ever had!”   Followed by a funny story, usually at his own expense.

I realized last night why I felt it so important to invite Buck to be with us.  It’s important to honor him for a lifetime of service, absolutely.  But also, I think there is something about being in the presence of an eyewitness to and participant in historical events: it gives us a sense of something bigger than ourselves.  In this case, too, it puts us in touch with a time when collectively, we pulled together and prevailed.  

Thank you, Buck, and all the veterans you represent.
                             –Mary Beth


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Homework Help Myths

We continue to hear about people who think they can’t use the public library because they have to pay non-resident fees.  We’d like to dispel that myth and assure parents, teachers and students that the resources are available even if they can’t afford a card to check out materials. 

There is no charge to use library materials in the library for studying or taking a test, for using our public or homework computers for writing, or for asking for homework help from our staff.  The public library is open Saturdays and 4 evenings a week, so they can use a library when the school library isn’t open.  We have many new resources—in traditional print format and online.

 The policies about library cards are listed on our website and you may want to know that library cards are available to staff of the Burlington-Edison School District No. 100, local private schools, child care centers and other educational facilities located in Burlington without charge!

 Here are some highlights of our online resources.  They can be used in the library, or, if you have a library card, you can access them 24/7 from the comfort of your home!

 BESD Curriculum, CBA book lists, and new materials are listed in the Online Catalog.

  • Advance your prospects with Learning Express database.  Here you can find practice tests and ebooks for GED, college entrance exams, license exams, civil service skill testing, job-hunting help, etc.
  • Find articles, or research subjects from popular and academic magazines with ProQuest, Expanded Academic Index, and General One file.
  • Researching a specific subject?  Different databases you can use are listed on Reference and Homework A – Z page – look for Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Biography In Context, History In Context, and the Literature Resource Center.
  • Interested in learning another language?   Powerspeak  is an online resource that uses a fun multimedia approach to teach you Spanish, French, ESL, German or Mandarin.
  • Help your younger children enjoy books online with Tumblebook Library.  Listen and watch stories read out loud; use ebooks and audiobooks; see children’s books in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian; and play games and puzzles to learn word, memory, and spelling skills.
  • Questions ? – Ask Us !



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Favorite author writes a new book!

The novel City of Light, by author Lauren Belfer, is one of my favorite books of the last several years. The story takes place in Buffalo, New York, at the turn of the century, when the city is booming (due in part to the coming of electricity). Here’s what’s making headlines in the Buffalo newspapers: environmentalists are pitted against business men over the exploitation of nature for profit; power brokers are controlling people and events to their benefit; new technology is threatening to create a culture of haves and have nots; and, there’s a bit of presidential indiscretion going on. While these might all sound like something straight out of the headlines in 2010, the book is set over a hundred years ago. Mix in a subtle mystery, and just a bit of romance, and you’ve got a great book.

The library recently purchased Belfer’s latest book, A Fierce Radiance, a novel set in New York City during World War II. I’ve been told (by someone whose opinion I value), that it’s not appropriate to review a book I haven’t read.  Since I haven’t yet had time to read this new book by one of my favorite authors, I’m just going to say that I hope she doesn’t let me down. 

I’ll get back to you after I’ve found time to read Belfer’s latest.



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Your chance to meet a real live hero

Here’s an invitation you don’t get every day: come and meet a living legend.    

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6:30, we’re hosting Buck Compton for a conversation about history: making it and witnessing it.  Buck (and I feel way too informal addressing him that way, but he keeps saying that’s what he prefers) has led an amazing lifetime.  I’m really looking forward to hearing some of his thoughts and experiences.

Television viewers familiar with the mini-series Band of Brothers will recognize Buck as one of the members of Easy Company, whose exploits were popularized in the series.  He participated in the parachute infantry regiment, was awarded the Silver Star for actions taken on D-Day, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  After the war, he served with the Los Angeles Police Department, and eventually became a California Court of Appeals Judge, as well as the lead prosecutor in Sirhan Sirhan’s trial for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy.  After retiring, Buck wrote a book, Call of Duty, about his lifetime of service.

The format for the evening will be question-and-answer.  You can bring your questions with you, or better yet, send them to me in advance at maryc@ci.burlington.wa.us.  There is no charge to attend.

To find out more, click here.   I hope I’ll see you there.               — Mary Beth



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Filed under Adult programs, Library events

Unnecessary acts of delight

Libraries attract creative, playful minds.  Since you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you have one, too, and treat you to this: a video of a creative, playful library project which amazes me.  I can’t believe the time it had to have taken; I’m so impressed by the filming and editing; and I really like unnecessary acts of delight.  Hope you do, too.
–Mary Beth



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