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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Volunteers by Stacy

Summers are the busiest time of the year at the library.  Everyday, thousands of kids, teens and adults stream through our doors.  Each week, we have three programs on Tuesday for children and families, a Wednesday program full of 50-70 young adults and two screenings of a family film each Thursday with loads of popcorn and kids.  We also have about 1500 children and teens signing up for the reading programs, turning in reading logs and looking for bunches and bunches of books.  

With all the increased activity, we definitely need an increase in help.  The summer volunteers’ primary duty is to staff the Summer Reading Program registration desk. These volunteers assist with registering new reading club members, receiving club member’s reading lists, and recording coupons earned by each club member.  Volunteers also help the children’s librarians when the registration desk is slow, doing activities like shelving picture books, straightening the shelves and preparing the hundreds of crafts the librarians need for storytime.

The Children’s Department appreciates volunteers of any age, but you must have completed fifth grade and the hours worked cannot be counted toward any court requirements.  Volunteers are asked to commit to a regular schedule of two hours every week (at the same day and time) throughout June and July.

If you’d like to spend a bit of time in a cool, friendly environment this summer helping foster children’s love of reading, then come and volunteer with us!  The children’s volunteer application is on our homepage or you can pick one up at the Children’s Help Desk.

Stillwater, OK.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Portrait of the Author by Danielle

The most awesome author "photo"--the book is cut out as the author!
It's interesting to see an author’s picture on the back cover of the new hardbacks as they come across my desk at Stillwater Public Library.   For me, the picture location, body position, lighting, expression and personal energy tell me a lot about the person, a lot about their courage, mettle and ardor.  The author picture provides personality to the book and gives the reader a better sense of what the author is really like.  We have heard that it's very difficult to become published the first time. Would-be authors usually have to go through a long process of finding an agent, waiting while the agent shops the book, hoping that a publisher picks it up.  If a contract is offered, revisions may be required. When someone's work is finally published, what a great accomplishment it must be for them.   

So, why don't these new authors, who have gone through so much in writing something that is worth publishing, take time to have an absolutely great picture taken for their author picture?

A nice, modern author photo from Darlene Franklin-Campbell's "Uncommon Clay-Poems."
For example, one of the books that came across my desk pictures a young woman wearing a tank top, sporting a tattoo on her upper arm, and holding a bottle of beer.  You may think this was a statement picture, or a picture that had something to do with the subject matter of the book, but the book was a general fiction novel.  Then there are the pictures that look like the photographer hurriedly said to the author "quick stand against this brick wall so I can take the picture that will go on the back cover of your new book".   Hasn’t the photographer or author heard the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words?  An author picture should be appealing.  Some photographs look like the picture was taken using a cell phone camera.   Maybe budget was an issue; however, there are several places that take photos for identity purposes that are affordable.

A photographer friend of mine suggested these points to follow.  Using a digital camera, take the picture against a solid colored background. Take several pictures, so you have choices. Make sure the flash is turned on and turn on all the lights in the room. Step a few feet away from your background so you don't make a shadow behind your head. Smile! You want to look friendly. 

The master of author photos circa 1980s.
Observations?  You don’t have to be Danielle Steele to have a great picture on the back of a book.  Though, it can’t hurt to add some of the wonderful elements in her pictures like the long gowns, jewelry and a red chaise lounge with cute dogs!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bullying by Gayla

Bullying seems to be on the rise and can happen to anyone.  With all the hype surrounding the upcoming documentary “Bully” (aka The Bully Project), I wanted to let parents, caregivers, children, teens, adults, and teachers, know about the many resources available on this topic at your local Stillwater Public Library.

Working in both public and private schools for many years, I have seen bullying first hand.  I can tell you that it’s very real and happens everyday.  Bullying can have tragic consequences such as suicide, often from the cruel words of children. 

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain” by author Trevor Romain (Juv 302.3) uses jokes and cartoons to teach tried-and-true ways to deal with bullies.  You will find yourself laughing with Trevor as he shows you how to become Bully-Proof.

“Adventures With Travis And Presley:  How to Deal with a Bully” by Travis Brorsen and Renee Settlemires (E 371.5) features Presley being bullied and shows how he learns to deal with a bully.  This easy-to-read book also comes with an optional accompanying DVD.

Bullies And Victims” by Suellen Fried can be found on the Juvenile Parent’s Shelf (371.5).  Advice is given to parents and educators to help children handle the devastating trauma of being bullied and provide concrete solutions to reduce bullying.
As we struggle to find answers, help can be found in our Children’s department.  We have fiction and non-fiction, easy and juvenile books, DVD’S, and books on the Parent’s Shelf.  Many lives have changed because of bullying.  We need to take a stand and do all we can to stop bullying.  Children are too precious!

Stillwater, OK.