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APRIL 27, 2007
33 years!
If you stopped by the Monterey Public Library staff room this afternoon, you might be lucky enough to share some celebratory cake and ice cream with Joe Johnson, reference librarian at the Library for 33 years today.

That means Joe first began work in Monterey during the last century - and millennium! (Not to worry, Joe - I did too :)

A lot has changed in the library world in the past three decades. Nowadays Joe spends more time with online databases then clipping files, with print stations and personal computers than mimeograph machines and reviewing movies on DVD instead of reel-to-reel.

And yet, a lot hasn't changed. For over thirty years Joe has been a welcoming presence at the reference desk, an expert guide through the sometimes confusing, unreliable and seemingly endless universe of information and a supportive and valued colleague.

Thank you Joe for your years of service, and your commitment to the Library - informing, inspiring, delighting and educating all - the Library IDEA! And Happy Thirty-three from all of us.

posted by Kim BB

Categories: Director's BlogIn the Know

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APRIL 25, 2007
Walking Around Downtown Monterey
Just one of the many great things about the library is its location in historic, downtown Monterey, which so wonderfully integrates beautiful gardens, historic buildings and its business district.

Today I ran a few errands on foot for the library. From the library, heading north on Pacific Street and turning to my immediate right, I passed the Stokes Adobe (now a restaurant), built in 1833. The house was home to Dr. James Stokes, and his wife Josefa Soto de Cano. During the period between 1844-48, the house was greatly enlarged by Stokes and it became the site for most of Monterey's social functions and balls. Crossing Hartnell, and walking down Polk Street toward Alvarado, I passed Casa Amesti (on the left), a Mexican era adobe and later the gracious home of famed interior designer Frances Elkins. On the right, I passed the Cooper-Molera complex which includes a restored 19th century home, a store, barn and extensive gardens. After completing my errands on Alvarado Street, I took a short cut through to Calle Principal for my return to the library. Crossing Calle Principal at the southwest corner of Jefferson, I took another short cut through the Larkin House garden, back to Pacific Street. The peaceful garden is lovely at all times of the year, but in late April, the fragrant roses are in full bloom and the rhododendron bushes are spectacular! I didn't really have to stop and smell the roses, but the garden was filled with their perfume! Besides, I was on company time.

This brief excursion was a pleasant reminder to me that Monterey is so rich in history, charm and beauty that it can certainly be enjoyed in great big bites, such as in a weekend tour or a full week's vacation. But it can also be savored on a day-to-day basis, in small nibbles.

Next time you visit the library, take a detour on foot around the downtown neighborhood. You'll find it filled with history, lovely gardens, museums, restaurants and shops. You can even ask at the library for related information, brochures and maps or contact us for more information.

Do you have a favorite historic walk-around Monterey that you'd like to share with us? (Photo: Casa Amesti)

posted by Jeanne

Category: In the Know

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APRIL 24, 2007
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Books about books and reading are always welcomed in the library, so when I heard about The thirteenth tale, I was looking forward to reading it, especially when I saw many library customers checking it out.

I wasn’t disappointed. After I started reading, I felt, like Margaret Lea the protagonist,“‚ĶFor at eight o’clock the world came to an end. It was reading time.” I wanted to drop everything and read until I finished.

A reclusive writer and the sheltered only-child raised by a bookseller are brought together by a missing story. Books and reading are given their due as a worthy life’s work in this atmospheric tale.

From the beginning there are twists and turns as the heroine discovers more about the revered, elusive author, Vida Winter, and the missing tale in her book. I was left wanting to know more about Margaret, the teller of the story, however, and I was never completely satisfied.

Here are some other books about books and reading that library staff and I have enjoyed recently. Please share your favorites, too and let me know what you thought of The thirteenth tale.

Camel Bookmobile Masha Hamilton

Special Topics in Calamity Physics Marisha Pessl

Ex Libris: Confessions of a common reader Anne Fadiman

Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The secret of lost things Sheridan Hay

The mobile library Ian Sansom

posted by Mariann

Category: Staff Reads

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APRIL 17, 2007
Countdown, installment 2! Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
It’s the second installment of our countdown to the arrival of the seventh in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling . Today is April 18, the release date is July 21. Only 95 days left!

There was something new and different about J.K. Rowling’s magical world when it was still brand new. In the Library it has been so exciting to see the devotion and interest in reading produced by the series. What other good books were you led to by the Harry Potter frenzy? Readers of all ages went wild and I loved recommending lots of other books (especially for kids,) to read to occupy their minds while waiting for each new installment. The second book just increased reader’s appetite for good books. Here are a few of my favorites. Do you have any you’d like to add?

Golden compass by Philip Pullman

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

Ella enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Which witch? And The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

Half magic by Edward Eager

Sabriel by Garth Nix

When we come back to the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Dursley family continues to be unhappy about having him around. He is better at magic and is now able to threaten Dudley and get an amusing reaction.

Harry misses Ron and Hermione, especially after he realizes they were not really ignoring him over the summer. The Weasley’s welcome him back with open arms, and help him feel part of their family.

The new and popular Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher takes Harry under his wing, but I wonder if Harry learns anything from him. Lockhart doesn’t seem the “Dark Arts” type. But he has an award-winning smile.

Clues are piling up in the deepening mystery of Voldemort’s power. Snape is as confusing as ever, I think that he dislikes Harry, and that he is very powerful, but not a bad-guy, though all evidence is to the contrary. Do you think he will turn out to be a friend or a foe?

Dumbledore appears once in a while to help and advise Harry. For some reason, he seems to hide his feelings of protectiveness to Harry. Do you agree?

Here are some questions for you: 1. Did you find any good books when you were waiting for the other Harry Potter books to come out? What were they, or which one was your favorite?

2. I, personally, think there’s a lot more to Aunt Petunia than meets the eye, what do you think?

3. How badly do you think Harry needs Ron and Hermione’s help?

4. What do you think of Lockhart? Does he help at all, or just get in the way?

5. Is Snape good or bad? It’s a common question that everyone likes to discuss, but what do you think?

posted by Mariann

Category: Harry Potter

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APRIL 16, 2007
Two Thumbs Up
I just finished one of the best books I've read recently: Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian.

I don't way to say very much about it because I think the less you know, the better it will be but here's a brief synopsis:

The story is about a social worker named Laurel who was brutally attacked a few years back while she was in college. She ends up working in a homeless shelter, and after one of their clients passes away they find a large collection of photographs and negatives. These photos turn out to be professional quality and of many famous people during the 60's and 70's. The question is posed, did the homeless man take these pictures, and if so, what caused his life to change so? Laurel also finds within the collection some photographs that appear to be connected to her attack, and soon she finds herself completely sucked into the search to find the truth.

The other fascinating thing about this book is how it ties in characters from the Great Gatsby. This may sound strange, but once you read the book I think you’ll agree how brilliant it really is.

posted by Kim S.

Category: Staff Reads

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APRIL 14, 2007
National Library Week
During April 15 - 21, 2007, we invite you to join us in celebrating National Library Week. This is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association, and an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries. During this week, we encourage you to drop by and check out the many, many resources that the library has to Inform, Delight, and Educate All. That's the Library IDEA!

posted by Jeanne

Category: In the Know

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APRIL 2, 2007
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
To celebrate the 7th and final Harry Potter book (which will be coming to a library near you on July 21st!) we here at the library are conducting a count-down discussion right smack here on this blog. So welcome and come join in the fun!

We're kicking things off with book number one: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!

When did you first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Were you one of those people that discovered it right off the bat? Or did you only pick it up after every one of your friends and family had read it?

Personally I was working at a bookstore around the time that the first two books were starting to hit US bestseller lists. I was wary at first, being not normally a huge fan of fantasy titles, but after my co-workers started to rave on and on about them, I decided to give them a go. I picked up The Sorcerer's Stone and have been a Harry Potter addict ever since.

Looking back now, I think I'd have to say that the first book is my least favorite. I don't know about you, but I thought it started a bit slowly. All the good adventures don't seem to happen until they arrive at Hogwarts, plus I'd also have to say that reading about Harry's life with the Dursleys is pretty depressing and the whole first section of this books takes place with the Dursleys!

However, I'd have to say that I was really impressed with the ending. Getting though all those obstacles and then that trick with the mirror was very cool. It definitely left me very eager to start book number two.

Anyways, what do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree with anything I said or add your own thoughts or questions in the comment area.

Also, here's a poll to get us started - please add your answers below:

  1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite?
  2. If you could be one of the characters in the 1st book, who would you be and why?
  3. Do you think the Sorting Hat assigned Harry to the right house?
  4. Pop quiz: at one point in book one Harry gets something on his wand that looked like "lumpy gray glue", do you remember what this really was?
  5. If Diagon Alley did indeed exist, what would be the first place you would visit and why?
  6. How many times have you read the first book?

posted by Kim S.

Categories: Harry PotterTeen Zone

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APRIL 1, 2007
Ch-ch-ch-changes
What do you think of the Library's new website? (Although it's April Fool's Day today, our new look is for real - really.) We've redesigned our website to help you find information more easily and our banner to match the City of Monterey's new look.

Late Friday I had the wonderfully disconcerting experience of leaving my desk (with the old website up) for a minute, then returning to hit "refresh" and see the new look seamlessly replace the old. For a moment, the speed and essence of change, loss and renewal was right there on my desktop.

I'm grateful for the time, talent and technology that went into launching the Library's improved online presence - and developing and maintaining the old. And "tweaks" (small and large) will continue every day. Keep visiting us online - and let us know what you think.

posted by Kim BB

Categories: Director's BlogLibrary Tech

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