Do you remember the excitement of going back to school? Pulling out the coolest binder from your brand new backpack? It was awesome, right? Well you can help a child in need start school with that same excitement. Stop by the Library to made a donation of new school supplies to United Way Monterey County's "Stuff the Bus" school supply drive. Needed are all types of school supplies - backpacks, binders, folders, notebook paper, scissors, crayons, pencils, glue sticks - you know the drill!
Thanks for helping students get to back to school fully equipped and ready to learn!
About ten years ago, Stuart Walzer dropped by my office and introduced himself to me. A retired attorney, who had recently resettled in Carmel, he told me that he had founded the L.A. County Bar Association’s Lawyer’s Literary Society, and he was now interested in volunteering to facilitate a regular group book discussion at the Library. I was overjoyed, because this was a frequently requested program that I had hoped to put in place in the Library for nearly two decades, but never had quite the right person to help put it all together.
At the time, I had belonged to a private “living room” book discussion group comprised of girlfriends and like-minded friends of friends for several years, so I knew how these things operated. But facilitating discussions that are open to the public, where there are likely to be people of various ages and backgrounds, with a diversity of ideas, temperaments, and opinions, there is potential for conversational detours that could become tricky to navigate. But here was Stuart Walzer, not only a brilliant, well-read man, but a specialist in matrimonial law – a highly tolerant, diplomatic person with vast skills in getting conflicting parties to come to terms. There are a great many things that I do not know, but when a good opportunity knocks, I know enough to open the door.
For a full decade, Stuart and often his wife Paula, facilitated 172 book discussions at the Library, cultivating a devoted group of readers who enjoyed lively, congenial discussion of mid-to-high level literary fiction, including both contemporary works and classics. I have participated in many of these sessions and always came away deeply satisfied with the shared experience of discussing literature that I had enjoyed in private. Wearing my library hat, I always recognized the value of building community around books and reading. Stuart passed away at age 88 on May 8. This kind, wise, deeply intellectual man with his vast range of interests – a Renaissance man really – will be sorely missed by many people. We at the Library will always be grateful to Stuart for founding the Library’s Literary Circle and for offering this special activity to our community. We send our heartfelt condolences to Stuart’s family, and will always remember him with fondness and gratitude.
The Library will honor the tradition of the monthly Literary Circle established by Stuart, with yours truly attempting to fill his very large shoes by facilitating the discussions. Currently on its usual summer hiatus, the Circle will meet again on Monday, August 26, at 6:30 p.m., in the Library Community Room. We’ll be discussing Adam Jonson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son. I look forward to reacquainting myself with the regular Literary Circle participants and to meeting newcomers, who are always most welcome.
Be sure to add to your reading list Barbara Kingsolver’s newest novel Flight Behavior, which draws from the author’s experience with Southern Appalachian life and her abiding concern with environmental issues.
We meet twenty-something Dellarobia, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage, with two small children, scraping out a living from a failing farmland, in a small, unforgiving Appalachian town. Mistakenly thinking that an extramarital fling will give her respite from the suffocating boredom of her daily life, Dellarobia trudges up the rugged mountains behind their farmland (comically, in her blistering 2nd hand red-hot cowgirl boots) to meet her intended paramour in the hunting blind. Her plan is upended when she reaches the mountaintop and is gobsmacked by the sight of millions of fiery orange Monarch butterflies, displaced from their normal migration habitats because of deforestation and over-development.
As word spreads through the community, the phenomenon is interpreted by some as a religious miracle, and by others, who meant to begin cutting trees on that very land, an evil curse. When the media pounces on the story and it goes national, Dellarobia’s farm and the mountaintop are beset by students and scientists, who encamp for months studying the potential for extinction of this fascinating insect, and unwittingly give Dellarobia’s life new purpose and direction.
April 14-20 is National Library Week, a time set aside by the American Library Association to recognize the importance of libraries to communities.
Often when we think of libraries, we think of books. Today’s libraries still offer books and lots of other resources for information, recreations, and self-directed lifelong learning, But just as important is the library’s role as a community center where people can gather to enrich their lives, engage with their friends and neighbors to address ideas and local issues, share cultural experiences, and find a public place where they are always welcome.
In the words of the American Library Association, “Librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large to discover what their communities needs are and meet them. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.”
April is National Poetry Month and a time to celebrate what Carl Sandburg described as "...the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits." Whatever your personal take on poetry, please take time this April to enjoy reading your favorite poems. If you don't have a favorite, ask a librarian to recommend one to you, and savor one of those slim volumes!
If writing poetry is your pleasure, join poet and teacher Patrice Vecchione for a Poetry Writing Workshop on Saturday, April 20, 2 - 3:30 p.m. Adults and teens age 14-up are welcome. It's free of charge, thanks to the Friends of the Monterey Public Library and a grant from Poets and Writers, Inc., but reservations are required. Call 831.646.3949. Visit www.monterey.org/library for more details.
By the way, Patrice has a brand new book of poetry out, and will be selling and signing copies of it immediately following the workshop!
For the 5th consecutive year, Monterey Public Library has been voted "Best Library in Monterey County" in the Monterey County Weekly's Reader's Poll! We admit that have a great staff - friendly dedicated folks who engage the community, deliver materials and services to delight, educate, and inspire, including books, movies, music, cultural programs, Internet access, information, and resources for self-directed life-long learning. We have a vibrant early literacy program, creative activities for children and teens, and a local history collection that is a treasure trove of written, audible, and visual meterial that preserves our community memory.
This doesn't sound particularly humble, but we can't help being pretty proud of the work that we do! At the same time, we happen to think that all the libraries in Monterey County do a great job, and when a library - any library - is recognized for the benefit it brings to a community, it reflects well on all libraries.
Nevertheless, we gratefully accept this honor and thank MC Weekly readers for the vote of confidence!
I do it all the time, whether browsing in a library, book store, or online. The New York Times recently published their favorite book covers of 2012 in a slideshow of 19 images. There are some great book covers among this selection but one that really caught my eye was in slide number 12, from Penguin’s Drop Caps series of 26 classics with covers filled with fanciful illustrations, surrounding the enlarged first letter of the author’s last name. The designs are a collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley. Personally, I think these book covers are gorgeous, but I’ll let you be the judge.
P.S. This illustration is an example of drop caps from the Book of Kells.
John Scalzi is, among other things, a science fiction writer whose popular works include the Old Man's War series and Redshirts, which takes a Star Trek in-joke and turns it into an unusual story that is hilarious and moving at the same time.
Scalzi is also the "proprieter" of one of the longest-running blogs on the Web, Whatever. This morning Whatever features his Personal History of Libraries. I highly recommend the entire post, but here are a few excerpts:
Finally I arrive at my present library, the one in Bradford, Ohio. It’s a small library, but then, Bradford is a small community, of about 1,800. For that community, the library holds books, and movies, magazines and music; it has Internet access, which folks here use to look for jobs and to keep in contact with friends and family around the county, state and country. It hosts local meetings and events, has story times and reading groups, is a place where kids can hang out after school while their parents work, and generally functions as libraries always have: A focal point and center of gravity for the community — a place where a community knows it is a community, in point of fact, and not just a collection of houses and streets...
My library is used every single day that it is open, by the people who live here, children to senior citizens. They use the building, they use the Internet, they use the books. This is, as it happens, the exact opposite of what “obsolete” means. I am glad my library is here and I am glad to support it...
I am, in no small part, the sum of what all those libraries I have listed above have made me. When I give my books to my local library, it’s my way of saying: Thank you. For all of it.
The Friends of the Library's 8th annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting Benefit was a huge success. Tickets sold out, there was a lot of delicious chocolate and wine, lots of conversation and fun, a great silent auction, and good music. The Friends raised over $14,000 for books and other library resources. What a magnicifent example of community spirit! A huge heartfelt thanks to the Friends, our guests, and all the local bakeries, grocers, candy makers, restaurants, wineries, and other businesses and individuals who contributed, and to the local media who helped get the word out.
Diane Wolkstein, folklorist and children's author has passed away at age 70. She was in the forefront of the storytelling revival movement, becoming New York City's "official" storyteller in 1967, earning a salary of $40 per week telling stories in the city's parks.
She went on to be a major force in the national storytelling circuit, and appeared in the Monterey Public Library's Stories for Adults series in 1988. Over time, she enlarged her original repertiore of fairy tales to specialize in folktales from every part of the globe. She retold her versions of these stories in over two dozen children's books.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”So begins Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudicepublished 200 years ago, January 28, 1813.
This tale is set in genteel rural England during an era in which marriage was of utmost importance to young women, and particularly so for the five Bennett sisters, whose family fortune was entailed away from the female line, leaving them with nothing else to attract prospective husbands but their beauty and wit – which the sisters possess in varying degrees. The story centers around the second eldest sister, the feisty and quick–witted Elizabeth, whose relationship with the haughty Mr. Darcy gets off on the wrong foot, leading to a series of misunderstandings.
Jane Austen’s clear-eyed understanding of a woman’s place in Regency society, her wise observations of people and manners, her sparkling dialogue, and ironic sense of humor make this story fresh and fun to read even at the ripe old age of 200 years.
Join us for a performance of "Dearest Jane" a one-man show written and performed by Howard Burnham on Tuesday, February 5, at 7 p.m. In the show, we meet the elderly Revenend Henry Austen in 1850, as he recalls his beloved sister, Jane. Celebrate the bicentennial of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
For ages 16-up. Admission is free, but reservations are required. 831.646.3949 or email email@example.com
Born this day, January 4, 228 years ago in Hasse-Kassel, Germany - Jacob Grimm who, with his brother Wilhelm, collected and published their first volume of fairy tales in 1812. Among them were such classics as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Bremen-Town Musicians, and The Frog Prince.
The Library building is closed on Thursday and Friday December 27 and 28 for the first--and noisiest--part of a project to replace the tile and waterproof membrane on the Terrace. The work is important because water from the damaged Terrace floor leaks into the nonfiction area below during heavy rains. The project was funded by the City of Monterey Neighborhood Improvement Program.
The Bookmobile will be in service as usual on Thursday, December 27. The Library will reopen at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 29.
The Terrace repair project--with some noise, parking lot closures, and other disruption--will continue for most of January.
The Monterey Public Library will present Winter 'Round the World; a Multi-Cultural Celebration on Saturday, December 8, 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., a fun and informative day of music, entertainment, displays, celebrating winter traditions from many cultures. The event will include exhibits, crafts, story circles, and dance, illuminating aspects of winter holidays. There will Chanukkah songs with Alisa Fineman and Kimball Hurd at 10:30 a.m., Italian and Irish Christmas songs by Marylee Sunseri at 1:30 p.m. Among the traditions represented will be Russia, Mexico, China, Spain, India, the Middle East.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Monterey Public Library, Winter 'Round the World is part of "Holiday Monterey", an international celebration of the season for families in downtown Old Monterey . All ages are welcome and admission to the Library event is free. The Library is located at 625 Pacific Street, Monterey. For more information call 831.646.3744 or visit our Web site.
Bring non-perishable, unopened food items for donation to the Monterey County Food Bank to the Monterey Public Library, Bookmobile or Pacific Grove Public Library between Monday, November 26 and Monday, December 31 and have library overdue fines forgiven. The Monterey Public Library is located at 625 Pacific Street, Monterey, and the Pacific Grove Library is located at 550 Central Avenue, Pacific Grove. For more information call 831.646.3747 or 831.648.5760.
Tickets are now available for the Friends of the Monterey Public Library's annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting Benefit. The Friday, February 14, 7 - 9 p.m. event includes a dazzling array of chocolate goodies and wonderful wines to sample, live music, and a silent auction. All proceeds benefit the Library. (Ages 21-up only.) Tickets are $25 in advance at the Help Desk or $30 at the door. These tickets make GREAT holiday gifts!
Have you ever wondered about the origin of Monterey's "Christmas Angels", which can be seen each December in historic downtown? Commissioned in 1956 to dress-up downtown with holiday decor the reflected our community's past and to make a departure from the usual glitter and tinsel, artist Erica Franke Barton created the angels to suggest the images of California's mission Indians. They stirred up a great deal of controversy at the time, but are now pretty much loved by all!
For more information about the history of Monterey's "Christmas Angels", drop by the Library and see the exhibit on display through December.
In Samoa, where Robert Louis Stevenson spent his final years, he became acquainted with Miss Annie Ide, the young daughter of Henry Clay Ide, the U.S. Commissioner to Samoa. Stevenson learned that Annie was unhappy that she never had a proper birthday celebration, having been born on Christmas Day. Stevenson, declaring that he had no further use for a birthday, decided to give away his own birthday, November 13, to Miss Ide. He drew up a “legal” document and delivered it signed and witnessed to Annie’s father, along with the following letter:
19 June 1891 Dear Mr. Ide,
Herewith please find the DOCUMENT which I trust will prove sufficient in law. It seems to me very attractive in its eclecticism; Scots, English and Roman law phrases are all indifferently introduced and a quotation from the works of Haynes Bayly can hardly fail to attract the indulgence of the Bench.
Yours very truly, Robert Louis Stevenson ========== Join us tonight, Tuesday, November 13, at 7 p.m., at the Library, for a panel discussion of Stevenson, the travel writers, with a panel of RLS aficionados discussing their own travels in the great writer's footsteps, with selected readings. Admission is free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.