When politics gets mean and dumb, you can cheer yourself up by walking into a public library.
By Garrison Keillor
June 27, 2007 | Consumer confidence was down in June, and so was mine, though for other reasons. I see politics stuck in a spiral of dumbness and the Republican candidates -- the Cavalcade of Unhappy White Men -- leading the way. The other day, Mr. Giuliani came out against "putting government in a situation where government is in charge of so many different things," and a short time later he called for the government to build a fence the length of the Mexican border, "a technological fence," which I guess means something fancier than a mud fence, possibly using kryptonite. And shortly thereafter, he and his fellow Republican candidates arm-wrestled to see who could be more in favor of torture, or "enhanced interrogation techniques," as it's called now.
When politics gets mean and dumb, you can cheer yourself up by walking into a public library, one of the nobler expressions of democracy. Candidates don't mention libraries -- they're more likely to talk about putting people behind bars and no coddling or shilly-shallying with appeals and that judicial nonsense, just throw them in the dungeon and stick their heads in the toilet and do what you gotta do -- and yet when I walk into the library near my house and see a couple hundred teenagers studying, most of them Hmong or Vietnamese, I see the old cheerful America that Washington has lost touch with, the land of opportunity.
The library is the temple of freedom. Growing up, we kids were aware of how much of our lives was a performance for adults. In school, at church, in Scouts, adults were watching, cueing you, coaching, encouraging, commenting; but in the library, you didn't have to perform for the librarian. She simply presided over an orderly world in which you had the freedom of your own imagination. The silence was not repressive but liberating: to allow your imagination to play, uninhibited by others.
Of course, a boy's imagination headed in some directions that the public library could not satisfy, or would not satisfy -- I thought that those particular books were kept behind the librarian's counter and that if she liked me, she would let me see them, so I was a very, very good boy, but then it dawned on me that she probably thought a very, very good boy wouldn't be interested in that sort of thing. (This would happen to me often with women.)
Libraries have rushed forward into the new age (whichever one we're in now), and the word "librarian" is out. They're Information Professionals now, and it's a Media Resource Center, and it's wired to the max. Just as we novelists have become experiential document specialists producing sensory-data-based narratives encoded in a symbolic format that informally we refer to as English. But a library is still a library. It's a place where serious people go to have the freedom to think without anybody poking and prodding them, in the company of other serious people who sit silently around us and yet encourage us in our own pursuits and projects.
My old hometown Carnegie library with the columns and high-domed ceiling was irreplaceable, and so of course it was torn down by vandals in suits and ties and replaced with a low warehouse-looking library that says so clearly to its patrons, "Don't get any big ideas. This is as good a library as you clowns deserve." But the spirit lives on, in the ranks of dedicated women and men who run the place.
Dragonsdale. Drake, Salamanda (author). Illustrated by Gilly Marklew. May 2007. 288p. Scholastic/Chicken House, hardcover, $16.99 (0-439-87173-5). Grades 3-6. REVIEW. First published June 1, 2007 (Booklist).
Illustrated chapter books that don’t belong to cookie-cutter paperback series are increasingly rare; the same goes for light, straightforward fantasies for early middle-grade readers. This title, the first in a hardcover series by an author who claims to be a 16-year-old resident of its made-up world, fills both needs with unusual flair. Set in a land where dragons and their (mostly female) riders train to compete in equestrian-style tournaments, this will delight precisely the audience it’s meant to—young girls who find tame dragons captivating. The story centers on Caroline, who lives and works among dragons but is forbidden to ride. Smoothly folded-in elements include the intense bond she forms with a particularly obstinate, spirited dragon, and the mean-girl machinations of a snotty rival. A literary achievement? Of course not. But the intense emotions of flight and competition are well realized, and details of hoof and stable have been cleverly adapted to the fantasy context, from mucking out fireproof stalls to flying an airborne obstacle course. It’s also worth noting that these dragons don’t speak to their riders, who must rely on subtler cues, which sidesteps the overly convenient interspecies communication found in so many fantasies. Finished off with a die-cut cover and Marklew’s appealing pencil drawings, this one will soar right off the shelves and send readers wheeling around for more.
It's great to live here, and just as nice to visit.
Whether you own a home on one of our tree-shaded streets or stay in a motel on Lake Michigan's shore, you'll appreciate our blend of modern city services and natural beauty.
Lake Michigan defines our city, touching some five miles of our southern and eastern sides. Neshotah Park, a popular gathering place, provides several hundred yards of white-sand beach for swimmers, sunbathers, volleyball players and castle builders.
Our city also stands at the junction of two of the state's most scenic bicycle trails. On the 5-mile Mariner's Trail, you can ride north from Manitowoc in the lake's cooling breezes, just a few yards from the water.
Continue through Two Rivers and you pick up the Rawley Point Trail, which winds six miles through the pine and hemlock forest, all the way to the historic Rawley Point Lighthouse at Point Beach State Park.
The Point Beach State Forest forms Two Rivers' northern boundary. Its 2,900 acres of woods and sand dunes and six miles of unspoiled public beachfront attract thousand of visitors year-round.
Of course, many prefer to ride the lake's waves. Our marinas dock numerous pleasure boats and a thriving sport fishing community. Charter captains are glad to show anglers why we say Two Rivers is "Where the Big Fish Bite." Each year, they bring in trophy catches of brown and rainbow trout, coho salmon, and the ultimate prize, chinook salmon, some weighing 30 pounds or more.
You'll also enjoy learning about our history. The Rogers Street Fishing Village celebrates the lives of the commercial fishermen who helped build our city and the small fishing fleet that still brings in whitefish, chubs and smelt for restaurant meals and family dinners. A few blocks away, historic Washington House marks our city's official status as the "Home of the Ice Cream Sundae." An antique soda fountain there lets you order up a sundae and remember how it used to be.
Our residents enjoy our quiet, safe neighborhoods. The new Sandy Bay Highlands subdivision, perched on a hill on our east side, offers dozens of quality lots for future homeowners. It's just a mile or so away from our brand new high school, opened in 2002.
Two Rivers has a robust manufacturing and service economy, a downtown shopping district where retailers offer old-fashioned personal service, plenty of lodging, and good places to stop for a meal.
Pay us a visit. You may find yourself wanting to stay for a lifetime.
Wednesdays from 2 until dusk Saturdays from 7 AM until 1 PM
The market is a fast-growing addition to the Main Street program. All summer long, Central Park is filled with great produce and wonderful hand-crafted items from our vendors. The market puts on numerous special events during the year including the Honey Festival, Dairy Promotion, Bless Your Pet day at the market and new this year, the Potato Festival - a salute to the spud!
Market Special Days: June 2 - Bring your pet to market June 16 - Dairy Princess & Dairy Promotion July 7 - Eunice Kuehnl's Apron Show July 14 - Market Madness July 21, 25, & 28 - Christmas in July Aug. 11 - National Farm Market Day Aug. 18 - Customer Appreciation Day Aug. 25 - Honey & Harp Festival - with Becky Folgert 2007 Wisconsin Honey Queen Sept. 8 - Grandparents Day
Lester Public Library has increased its Web presence by utilizing what is known as ‘social software.’
Social software as defined by Wikipedia (a fine example of social software in and of itself!):
Social software enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication. Many advocates of using these tools believe (and actively argue or assume) that these create actual community, and have adopted the term "online communities" to describe the social structures that they claim result. They are used inside organizations or by communities of practice/interest
The more specific term collaborative software applies to cooperative work systems and is usually narrowly applied to software that enables work functions. Distinctions between usage of the terms "social" and "collaborative" is in the applications not the tools, although there are some tools that are only rarely used for work collaboration.
“The Deadly Embrace” is the winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction for 2007
W.Y. Boyd Literary Award recipient named
CHICAGO –Robert Mrazek’s novel “The Deadly Embrace” is the winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction for 2007.
The W.Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. The $5,000 award and citation, donated by author W.Y. Boyd, recognizes the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.
“Robert Mrazek has written an excellent work on a critical period in the Second World War,” said jury chair Robert Schnare. “It is a very compelling tale that enables the reader to obtain a perspective of what it was really like in war-weary England in the days before the Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944.”
The intrigue, the tension, and the secrecy surrounding those critical days before the invasion are chronicled through the eyes of American officers, Lieutenant Elizabeth “Liza” Marantz and Major Sam Taggaret. They must uncover who is killing women who may know the date of the invasion. We follow these two individuals as they battle the British and American chains of command in their effort to uncover the identity of the individual to compromise the invasion.
The author uses his narrative to keep the reader in suspense as Lieutenant Marantz and Major Taggaret race frantically to discover who is behind this conspiracy. This, according to Schnare, helped depict the stakes that were at risk in keeping the vital secret of the invasion from the Germans in order to save thousands of Allied lives and not alter the course of the war.
Members of the 2007 W.Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award Jury are: Chair, Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.; Lawrence Clemens, United States Naval Academy, Nimitz Library, Annapolis, Md.; Nancy Davenport, Consultant, Washington, DC; Maxine Reneker, Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library, Monterey, Calif.; James Schenkel, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and Ronald Steensland, Panama City, Fla.
The W.Y. Boyd Literary Award will be presented on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
Featured review: Reference Shearer, Benjamin F., editor. Home Front Heroes: A Biographical Dictionary of Americans during Wartime. Jan. 2007. 3 vols., 935p. Greenwood (978-0-313-33420-7). Here is a unique A–Z biographical dictionary that profiles 1,001 individuals whose actions “affected how the United States made, supported, perceived, and protested its major war efforts from the Revolution to Gulf War II.” The editor is a librarian who has written and edited several reference works, and the 65 contributors are experts in history and other relevant areas. Numerous black-and-white portraits enhance the biographical sketches, which highlight the subjects’ wartime contributions (although some oddly allude to multiple marriages and offspring when those details seem irrelevant)....