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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of Music 2011 by Emily

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is reading through all of the “best of” lists.  I love seeing where my favorites have landed and sometimes I come across things that I missed out on completely.  This year something has changed.  For the very first time I feel compelled to create my own lists. 

It’s become an obsession really, and at the heart of this obsession is a book called “Record Collecting for Girls:  Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Timeby Courtney E. Smith.  Written along the same lines as Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelityand Rob Sheffield’s “Love is a Mix Tape,” Smith wants to interject a female perspective into music writing because as she says “girls get their hearts broken and make mix tapes about it, too.” 

This book is not for everyone.  First of all she focuses a lot (perhaps too much) on how men have shaped her music tastes.  This is a book that I wish I could have read when I was in high school. 

The parts of the book that stand out are about how to build your music collection.  Where do you find out about new music?  What about the future of vinyl?  And of course, my favorite, what are the rules for compiling top 5 lists? 

So, in the spirit of end of the year lists and my new found obsession to create them, it only seems appropriate that I end with one.  

Top 5 Albums of 2011 at Stillwater Public Library

5. “Pala” by Friendly Fires.  Danceable post-punk pop fusion.

4. “Tell Me” by Jessica Lea Mayfield.  Beautiful, dark songs about love.

3. “A Creature I Don’t Know” by Laura Marling.  Neo-folk with a lot more depth than Mumford and Sons.

2. “Tamer Animals” by Other Lives.  Cinematic pop with great percussion from a Stillwater band.  

1. “Let England Shake” by P.J. Harvey.  Highly relevant songs about war written by one of the best singer songwriters of all time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stillwater Public Library makes holiday giving a piece of fruitcake by Stacy

Weston Sumner, age four, and his mother Shawna enjoy a gingerbread house display on a trip together to the Stillwater Public Library.

With just weeks (now days!) to go until Christmas, many people have not completed their shopping.  Whether because it is difficult to find a meaningful gift or because finances are tight, gift giving can be stressful and often can result in overspending.  This year, gift givers will find many inexpensive and unique gifts at Stillwater Public Library to help complete shopping lists.

Anyone who loves to read loves the semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale.  Gift certificates for the sale are available at the Check Out desk and come in $5.00 increments.  Another option is to purchase a Friends of the Library membership.  Annual memberships are $10.00 and allow members to preview and shop the sale before it is opened to the public.  With memberships ending December 31, every person with an annual membership will need a new one for the 2012 book sales. 

A small version of those sales takes place year-round in the library’s north lobby.  The book sale is open during all library business hours, so even shoppers who wait until the last minute can purchase a meaningful gift all the way up to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  A wide variety of novels, non-fiction, young adult and children’s books are available for $1-2.

Shoppers who have at least a few more days to plan have other options.  One is to purchase a book or magazine subscription for the library in the name of the recipient.  Go by the business office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to arrange this gift. 

Another option is a gift to the Stillwater Public Library Trust.  The Trust gladly accepts monetary gifts of any size.  Trust monies are invested and the interest income is available to the library to use for equipment, programs and services.  These gifts have been invaluable in keeping the library running.

A great gift that is absolutely free is a library card.  Parents might consider purchasing a children’s book from the lobby sale and adding a “coupon” with a pledge to take the child to get a card on a specific day.  Both the parent and child need to be present, but as long as the parent lives, works or goes to school in Payne County, then the card is free.

Gift givers might also check out the library’s frugal gift list compiled for a program earlier this month.  It is located on the library’s homepage and contains gift ideas that generally cost $1-2 and take less than one hour to make.  Stop by the library’s craft section for how-to materials on making other similar gifts.

Speaking of books, there is not a much better gift for book lovers than a personalized list of books they are sure to love.  Purchase an inexpensive journal, and then let a librarian know which authors the recipient likes.  The librarian can assist in compiling a list of author “read-alikes” for the journal that will keep the recipient reading for months to come.

For help arranging any of these gifts, call 405-372-3633 or email 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Funny book blogs by Stacy

My favorite books are about real life—so that includes a lot of stories about death, divorce, illnesses, dying dogs, catastrophes and other melancholic topics.  If you have similar tastes, you may need a laugh, so here are a few funny book blogs that will make up for all of the usual misery you like to read:

I am pleased to find some authors are giving books better, more descriptive titles (see “Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons which is in fact about angry housewives who eat bon-bons and “Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children” which is actually about a school for peculiar children run by a woman named Miss Peregrine).  However, most books do not have titles that describe what the book is about.  That is why every book club discussion guide ever written includes the question:  “Why did the author give the book this title and what does it mean?”  

Better Book Titles is a blog that allows submitters to retitle books to better describe what the reader can expect.  Just think how much easier it would have been to have had these titles in choosing whether to read the following famous books: 

·             “A Clockwork Orange” Anthony Burgess.  Retitled: “Way Easier to Watch than Read.”
·             “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson.  Retitled: “This is the First Book I’ve Read in Six Years.”
·             “War And Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.  Retitled: “War and Peace and Russians and Hard Names to Remember and Even Harder to Pronounce and Lots of Talk, Talk, Talk. And Snow.”
·             “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer.  Retitled: “1001 Reasons it *Stinks* to be Vegan.”

Beware—some of the retitles are a bit risqué.

Most libraries have “deselection” policies.  We use these guidelines as a way to remove outdated material and to keep information up to date and reliable.  Awful Library Books is a site that contains actual, current library books that should have resulted in a librarian getting her license revoked!

From 1978's "The Complete Guide to Disco Dancing" by Karen Lustgarten
535 libraries own this title (including one here in Stillwater).

·              1978’s “Child Safety is No Accident: A Parents’ Handbook of Emergencies.”  A major concern of this book includes not letting children play in or around mine shafts.
·              1963’s “Let’s Visit Australia.”  In discussing Australia’s troubling low population, the author explains that “there is a fear that if Asians are admitted, soon there would be so many people of the yellow races that the white Australian way of life would be in danger.”
·              1988’s “The Re-Mating Game: Dating and Relating in Middle Life.”  Top tip? Why not try a Love Boat style cruise?

Bless their hearts—sci fi readers like my dear hub feel like they must eternally justify their reading habits.  In reality, it is just those awful covers that give many sci-fi books a bad rap.  Good Show Sir contains the best of the worst of these covers.

If you’ve come across an awesomely funny book blog, send it in.  We all need a good laugh!

Stillwater, OK

Monday, December 5, 2011

Small Business Services: Online and In Person by Stacy

If you have a small business or are thinking about starting one, then be sure to check out the library’s many resources located inside the library and online.

We recently created a new Small Business Center which pulls together our hardcopy small business resources into one convenient location.  The SBC includes materials on everything from starting a business, dealing with employees and filing taxes to merchandising, marketing and rescuing a failing start-up.  We also post local business related classes, brochures and tax materials in the same area.  When the 2011 tax forms arrive, look for publications like Tax Guide for Small Business, Retirement Plans for Small Business, Business Use of Your Home, and be sure to pick up forms like the W-2 and 1099 MISC year-round from us.

Our online Small Business Reference Center is a great resource if you can’t make it into the library.  This service, located on our database page under EBSCO HOST, includes hundreds of full text industry-specific trade journals.  Just a few titles include “Restaurant Hospitality,” “Retail Merchandiser,” “Auto Week,” and “Travel Agent.”  It also includes the most popular Nolo business titles such as “Legal Guide for Starting and Running a Small Business,” “Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies,” “Marketing Without Advertising” and twenty more.

E-Reader users should visit our downloadable service.  While we’ve only begun to collect business e-books, we do have several including “Branding Your Business” by James Hammond, “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do about It” by Michael E. Gerber, and “The New Positioning: The Latest on the World's #1 Business Strategy” by Jack Trout.

Whether you come in to visit or stay at home using our website, the library has reliable, up to date information for your business.  Just ask at the Help Desk for assistance or explore online at