Friday, August 28, 2009

School's In for Autumn

With apologies to Alice Cooper, it appears that school was not out forever. In fact, it is just around the corner. As children sigh and parents rejoice, I'll just remind everyone that the library is a tremendous resource for students and their parents. Not only do we have great books and magazine, but also so outstanding online resources available at home. All you need is your library card.

To highlight just one such resource: Britannica Online provides a wealth of information on a variety of school topics including: Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. It also includes an online dictionary, atlas, in-depth analysis of countries around the globe, and a continually updated news feed from the BBC News and other sources. As a bonus, there is a search function that allows you to look up particular topics of interest with a pretty good result in most instances.

Additionally, the website is actually subdivided into age appropriate resources for Elementary, Middle, and High schoolers. The default is to the High School page, so if you want to explore the Elementary or Middle School pages, you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the front page and click on the Elementary or Middle School "buttons".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Meet Dewey Renew

Dewey isn't real, but he is cute. He's joined the library for a short time to tell everyone about the importance of renewing their library materials. If your materials are due, please return them or renew them-- you can do it online, by calling us, or by stopping into the library. This is particularly important now because beginning Monday, October 5, the library will begin charging fines on overdue children's material.

The renewal periods and fines will be the same for children's materials as they are for adult materials. As Dewey says, "Don't delay, renew today!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rant or Rave: Inkheart

It is a truism that movies from books are never as good as the book. There are a few that come close, The Lord of the Rings being the shining example, but even there the books outstrip the movies despite the excellence of the films. Inkheart is not the exception to the rule. I will throw out a big rave for the book-- it is an intriguing and extremely well-written book-- but the movie... not so much. As a frame of reference, the key and intriguing plot device for the book and its sequels is the ability of a few rare individuals to actually read things out of a book-- people, animals, items, etc.

Actually, Inkheart's not a bad movie, so I wouldn't say I was ranting against it. Actually, it's a rather entertaining movie, which I can say with some confidence because I saw it without having read the book and thought it was pretty good. But its downfall is trying to be a film version of an extremely good, somewhat iconic book. Were the movie a standalone creation it would be fairly entertaining, reasonably well crafted and pretty well acted.

But it IS based on a book, yet some of the key bits in the movie NEVER happen in the book and, in fact, actually run counter to what happens in the book. The chief example of this (spoiler alert for the movie) is when, in the movie, one of the main characters reads aloud from The Wizard of Oz and brings the tornado OUT of the book, thereby freeing them from captivity in a dangerous and spectacular manner. It's a good scene and fun to watch.

It is also completely and without exception NOT in the book, Inkheart. Nothing remotely like this is in the book. So, it's a bit of stretch to have a key event in the movie center on something that is made up out of whole cloth.

So, best case scenario, watch the movie before reading the book. This is what I did and I found the movie entertaining, though certainly not great. Fun and entertaining. Then read the book and appreciate just how much better it is than the movie. Alternatively, if you have already read the book but not seen the movie, check it out but realize going in that it is NOT going to be a visual rendition of the book you love so much as it is a fun story utilizing many of the same elements of the book you love.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Apologies for the lack of blogging over the last 10 days. Things have been a bit busy here at the Mukwonago Community Library, but I hate leaving big holes in the blogosphere.

Last week Wednesday and Thursday, our architects were in the house to hear from the community on its needs, wants and concerns. We had a number of very good sessions and I think they went back to their offices with a full quota of information and feedback to digest. At the next workshop, September 8 & 9, they will be presenting a variety of different approaches to the expansion question, along with the pros and cons, and then seek further feedback on which of the proposals strike a chord, which are duds, and what elements of each spark the most positive response.

On Friday of last week, we recognized the fine work of our two high school senior artists, Anna Boelck and Jessica Schreib, for creating the beautiful Giving Tree in the lobby. The leaves on the tree recognize all of the generous individuals and businesses that have donated to the expansion fund to date-- so as we begin fundraising in the near future, we're looking to add still more leaves to our tree. The Library Board and the Friends of the Library both came out to thank the artists for creating a lovely work of art that will grace our lobby for many years to come.

Monday and Tuesday were catching up days, as the staff "reassimilated" huge quantities of materials that were returned now that the Summer Reading Program is completed. Additionally, we have already started planning for our fall events. Miss Jane has some great programs coming up later this year, and there are some fun adult programs queing up for your consideration as well.

Yesterday was Wii day, with open Wii gaming in the afternoon and the evening. The new Wii Sports Resort was a popular choice for our gamers, but some of the "classics" like MarioKart and SuperSmash Bros. were also popular. Another day of Wii play is on tap tomorrow, from 9:30-11:30 and from 2-4. Stop in and try your hand at archery, frisbee golf, 100 pin bowling (very cool!), and many more.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Last Day: Zuchinni Recipe Contest

Today is the last day for entry into our Zucchini Recipe Contest. You don't need to submit a sample today-- just the form and the recipe. Actual samples will be judged next Monday night. Remember there are three areas to enter recipes in: Breads & Muffins, Desserts, and Relishes & Other-- so give us your best! And while you're at it, submit the recipes to the Chamber of Commerce, too. They are looking for recipes for their cookbook.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tres Cool

The Louvre is now available online. Simply visit: to explore the musuem's vast collection. You can search by keyword, by room or by department (paintings, sculptures, etc.). Additionally, there is a special area for new acquisitions.

The search engine itself is a little clunky-- it took me about 15 minutes to find the Mona Lisa room (room 6 of the Grande Gallerie-- that's her waaaayyyy at the end), and there is no actual image or information on the Mona Lisa or many of the other prominent holdings of the Louvre. Which is odd-- wouldn't da Vinci's works be some of the first, if not the very first, works you'd include? The only reason I can think that they haven't is preservation concerns, but there must be a way of getting a good image of the painting without damaging it, right?

Finding the Venus de Milo was easier, though still a little awkward. The close-up shots are also very cool, though not necessarily easy to spot-- they pop up off the tiny links below the image of the sculpture herself. And the captions are all in French, unfortunate but not surprising.

Despite these shortcomings, the ability to virtually "tour" much of the Louvre is very cool, and the close-up imagery of many of the world's most famous artwork is extremely cool. Hopefully, they will add the other premier works of art in the future.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Schedule for Listening Sessions

The "final" version of the listening workshops for next Wednesday and Thursday is this:

Wednesday, August 12

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Executive Session: Building Committee
Introductions, overview of workshop
Key issues and upcoming workshops scheduled

10:35 – 12:00 Library Staff Group I
Collection sizes
Service issues
Patron and staff program needs

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Friends of the Library, Library Board, neighbors

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Break/Working

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Library Staff Group II
Collection sizes
Service issues
Patron and staff program needs

5:45 – 7:00 Dinner

7:00 – 8:30 Neighborhood Group Listening Session

Thursday, August 13

9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Municipal Staff (at village hall)

10:45 - 12:00 p.m. Business/Chamber of Commerce Group

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Working Session

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Report out and adjourn

Most of this workshop is focused on getting input from the library staff and municipality, but we do want community feedback as well. The prinicple place for community input during this workshop is 7-8:30 on Wednesday, August 12th. If you can't make that time, however, the public is welcome to attend the 1-2:30 slot on Wednesday and the 10:45-nooon slot on Thursday. If none of those times work, stop in during one of the staff sections.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quote for the Day

It's important to be surrounded by people who think differently than we do. We don't learn anything if we surround ourselves by people who think the same way we do.
--Ted Olson (bottom of the page)