Monday, March 28, 2011

Tumble Books!

A new feature on the Children's Page is the link to Tumble Books, an online collection of animated talking picture books. In addition to the Easy Books, there are read-alongs with highlighted text and book-related games and activities. (Just click on KIDS at the bottom of the Library's home page.)

Many of the titles found on this site can also be found at our Library on the Children's Room shelves!

-- Contributed by our Children's Librarian

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Patrons Who Read This Also Liked ...

One of the most challenging and most enjoyable part of being a librarian -- at least for me -- is Reader's Advisory.

Most of you are probably aware of's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" feature. Find an item on Amazon, and halfway down the page you'll see a list of further suggestions for you based on what you're already viewing. Look up a Harry Potter book, for instance, and Amazon will suggest the rest of the series to you -- along with books from the Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and Charlie Bone series. The idea is that, if you're looking up Harry Potter books, you're probably a fantasy fan to boot -- and Amazon will suggest similar products to you in the hopes that, y'know, you'll buy a few more things in addition to what you'd actually come to the website for. What you may not know is that we here at the library have our own methods of "suggesting similar items" to our patrons.

Many Monroeville Public Library patrons do know that they can ask us librarians and library staff members for book recommendations. And if you've never tried it before, keep in mind that at the library, you've got the added bonuses of:

A.) a real live person thinking about what you might like to read next, and

B.) no need to purchase your selection. We won't try to talk you into buying something here, after all -- we're happy just to have you leave with a (free) book in your hands that you're excited to try. And so, to that end: Reader's Advisory.

Reader's Advisory is part reference, part service here at MPL. We've got an actual Reader's Advisory guidebook section (located near the Front Desk), where you can find guides to reading suggestions like Read On Historical Fiction: Reading Lists for Every Taste, The Real Story: A Guide to Non-Fiction Reading Interests, Blood, Bedlam, Bullets, and Badguys: A Reader's Guide to Adventure/Suspect Fiction, and many more guides to suggestions of what you might like to read next in your favorite genres.

But we've also got a building full of librarians and library staff who are eager to help you find your next great read. There are all sorts of recommendations we can make to you, too. Ask us about the last great book we read. Or, if you find a staff member whose reading tastes are a bit different from yours, tell us about your favorite titles and authors and we'll think up some "read-alikes" for you -- read-alikes being, of course, books that are similar to each other (like our Harry Potter example up above).

Suggesting books that people might like to read can be challenging -- and also a lot of fun. As the teen librarian, I find that sometimes it's quite simple to come up with a title my teen patrons might like. ("Do you have any books about vampires?" is pretty easy to answer!) But sometimes, I've got my work cut out for me -- particularly if someone is looking for a good western or romance, two genres I myself don't read particularly often.

Of course, that's part of the fun and the challenge, to come up with a good book suggestion that might be outside our individual realm of expertise. At that point, we'll probably turn to outside help -- pulling up database listings of read-alikes for your perusal, or flagging down a fellow staff member who we know happens to share an interest in the genre you're looking for. (My co-workers know that I'm the Go-To Gal when it comes to science fiction recommendations, for instance -- and, hey, if anybody out there is looking for a great graphic novel suggestion, I'd be more than happy to help!)

So if you're looking for something just like the book you finished ... or for the latest great thriller ... or for something different entirely ... stop by our library and check out everything our Reader's Advisory services have to offer. We'd love to help you find your next great read!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Staff Recommendation #1: "Life" by Keith Richards

"Life" by Keith Richards, with James Fox

Staff Review by B. Kendig

Keith Richards's new autobiography does not disappoint. This 564-page tome, with 32 pages of photographs, is witty, self-deprecating, and, at times, poignant. There is, for instance, the phone call he receives when he's about to go on-stage, with the news that his 3-month-old son, Tara, had just died. Through such memories, we fans get a glimpse into the real Keith, who has always been my favorite Rolling Stone.

He writes a lot about his family and early years. One vignette depicts how he and his aunt would sing "When Will I Be Loved?" together (which also happens to be my favorite Everly Brothers song). Goodness, he and I would have so very much to talk about if ever we sat down for a chat! The book also tells of his first great romance with Ronnie Spector in Detroit, his mercurial relationships with group founder Brian Jones and Mick Jagger, and, of course, Anita Pallenberg, already a movie star in her own right when she met the band -- and his American wife Patti Hansen.

He is unapologetically still the quintessential "bad boy." For any scholar of the Sixties, "Life" is a must-read.

Request "Life" by Keith Richards, with James Fox

Request the Large Print version of "Life"

Request the Audiobook of "Life"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New & Improved @ MPL!

It's been awhile since our last update, but we're back to announce our returning, improved "New @ MPL" blog! Coming up are some great new features that we hope will make for a more engaging, informative, and enjoyable blog experience for our patrons and readers.

Now you'll be able to enjoy weekly updates not only about what's happening at our library, but also receive updates on upcoming book, film, movie, and game releases; read postings on current informational and entertainment trends; and check out staff reviews of our personal recommendations.

Looking forward to seeing you around the blog! And in the meantime, be sure to check out our other great features @ MPL online:

-- Articles, websites, and online resources about today's news and top stories.

-- Monroeville Public Library's very own monthly podcasts for teens and adults.

-- MPL on Facebook! Find out what's happening at our Library and leave comments and feedback for us.

And be sure to take our online survey to tell us what you love best about MPL before we join the eiNetwork this spring! (Find out more about our catalog migration when you take the survey.)