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  Archived Posts From: 2009


This week’s new arrivals

Written on: November 11th, 2009 in Blog Posts


Click on the links below to get lists of new items available from the Delaware Library Catalog in various formats (lists will open in a new window):

  • All New Items
  • New Audio Books
  • New Books
  • New DVDs

  • blog-posts

    Native American Heritage Month

    Written on: November 10th, 2009 in Blog Posts

    War Mothers from Zig Jackson's Native American Veterans series.

    On October 30th, President Obama officially declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. This year’s theme for the month’s observations is “Pride in our heritage. Honor to our ancestors”. You can read the official proclamation below, or click on the link to download a copy

    There’s an official heritage month website, with an abundance of information about the history of Native Americans and their contributions to their country, along with online exhibits and resources for educators.

    Of course, there are a tremendous number of great books available from the Delaware Library Catalog on Native American history and culture. You could do a lot worse than Dee Brown’s magisterial and controversial “Indian history of the American West” Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I vividly recall being shocked and enlightened by this account of history from the side that “lost”- it sparked a continuing interest in the purpose of writing about history and the importance of the survival of unofficial narratives.

    The President’s announcement keenly noted the participation and sacrifice of Native People’s in the U.S. Armed Forces, which throughout this nation’s history has been enduring & significant. While many books have focused on the “Code Talkers” who contributed to the success of the U.S. war effort in the Pacific Theater, historian Alison Bernstein argues in her book American Indians and World War Two that enlistment and service in combat by Indian troops was instrumental in the Native American political awakening of the later 20th Century. You can check this book out from a Delaware Library Catalog library or review it at the Google Books website in a limited preview:


    Blue Hen Book Award Winners!

    Written on: November 9th, 2009 in Blog Posts


    Sponsored by the Children’s Services Division of the Delaware Library Association, the winning books are voted on by young readers from a list of nominees prepared by Delaware youth services librarians. This year’s winners were announced on Saturday November 7th:
    A couple of boys have the best week ever, by Marla Frazee
    Nightmare at the Bookfair, by Dan Gutman
    Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins


    Faeries are the new Vampire!

    Written on: November 9th, 2009 in Blog Posts


    In a change of pace for this week’s summary of reviews from the New York Times- this week’s edition included a special on children’s books that contained some must-read titles for all ages. And in my case, some titles that I have read recently and enjoyed a great deal.

    I was most moved by Nick Kristoff’s review of 14 Cows for America, the story of a Masai community’s response to the 9-11 attacks. Masai culture teaches that “to heal a sorrowing heart, you must give something dear to your own” and so the tribe gives the great gift of 14 cows to the U.S. people. The most moving thing about this tale is that it is a true story.

    Dinotrux? There should be a law against writing a children’s book that combines dinosaurs and heavy construction equipment! But the reviewer liked this obvious boy-bait.

    Scott Westerfield (author of Uglies, amongst other very popular titles) most recently wrote Leviathan, and I most recently finished reading this very gripping ‘steampunk’ novel for young adults.

    In this first of (at least) a trilogy, British “Darwinists” battle with the industrial-warfare obsessed Prussian “Clankers” for the loyalty of the true heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War One era Europe. It’s a fast paced adventure yarn with tremendous inventiveness- the description of the hulking kerosene-powered war machines of the Clankers versus the genetically reimagined monsters of the British Empire (including the Leviathan of the title, an airship constructed from crossing helium-excreting microorganisms with a blue whale). The moral dualism is fairly trite for an adult reader, I suppose, but it doesn’t get in the way of cross-dressing imposters in his Majesty’s Navy, treacherous Bosnian assassins, and aerial artillery in the form of metallic bat excrement. It’s a good choice for younger advanced readers as well- a challenging, long read but without the more sophisticated themes of a lot of young adult books.

    There was also a special feature on Young Adult titles- it looks like the vampiric domination of the best-seller lists in this demographic may be about to be ended- by fairies, no less. It’s not suprising that books with themes centered on transformation, alienation, and forbidden love are clicking with these readers (sounds familiarly like a certain Edward Cullen et. al.) Melissa Marr’s Fragile Eternity and Aprilynne Pike’s Wings amongst several others, receive very positive reviews.


    Libraries in the media

    Written on: November 6th, 2009 in Blog Posts

    Too funny to ignore- this week’s edition of Parks and Recreation points out why we are a force to be feared:

    “[The library is] the most diabolical, ruthless, bunch of bureaucrats I’ve ever seen…They’re like a biker gang, but instead of shotguns and crystal meth they use political savvy…and shushing.”

    “The library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history…They’re mean, conniving, and rude…and extremely well read, which makes them very dangerous.”

    [Caution: the clip below contains ever-so-slightly salty language at about the 0:30 second mark. And do not drink milk while viewing the clip- you may laugh so hard that it comes out of your nose.]


    Q: Can I read Consumer Reports online? Full-text?

    Written on: November 5th, 2009 in Q & A's

    Older woman laptop

    A: Yes!  All you need is a Delaware Library Card and PIN to read complete issues of Consumer Reports online.  It’s even searchable!

    Click here and enter your library card number and PIN.  Select the date you want from the right to read that month’s issue.

    Below are directions on how to search for other magazines and journals:

    • Enter your library card number in the upper right where it says User ID
    • Enter your PIN in the box below User ID
    • Click Login for more features
    • Select Online Magazines and Journals from the green bar
    • Type in the title of the magazine or journal you are looking for and click search (in this case Consumer Reports)
    • Consumer Reports comes up as the first hit.  Select MasterFILE Premier (the first tab under the title).  The date displayed shows that we have issues going back to 1991

    Now, you are in the EBSCO database.  From here, you can read specific issues by clicking the dates to the right.  Or, you can select “search within this publication” and then when a new screen appears click search again and advanced search to search for articles and reviews within all issues of the magazine.

    Although lots of our magazines and journals are full-text, not all of them are.

    Thanks for using Ask a Librarian Delaware.  Have a question?  Ask us!


    October Searches

    Written on: November 5th, 2009 in Blog Posts

    Here are some of the most popular subject search terms used in the Delaware Library Catalog during October:

    Wordle: October subject searches in the Delaware Library Catalog

    Meanwhile, over at Delaware Tech., returning students were interested in the following:

    Wordle: Community College searches in the Delaware Library Catalog


    Top Ten lists

    Written on: November 5th, 2009 in Blog Posts

    2000_10_4_prevColum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin was recently voted’s best book of 2009- Here’s some more of Amazon’s top 10 titles:
    Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
    Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
    Crazy for the Storm: a Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollstead
    The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
    Stitches by David Small (graphic novel)

    Here are some selections from the Publishers Weekly top ten:

    • Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey (Knopf), ” juicy, appalling, hilarious and moving anecdotes with verve, sensitivity and perfect timing.”
    • Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon (Ballantine) is a “gripping account of colliding fates..utterly unputdownable.”
    • Big Machine by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau) is “a blazing story and an astute commentary on race.”
    • Stitches, by David Small (Norton)- “A graphic novel to bring us all back to comics..will pull you along panel by panel and tear your heart out.”
    • Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford (Penguin Press) “a brilliant case for the intellectual satisfactions of working with one’s hands”


    How to customize your searches

    Written on: November 4th, 2009 in Tech

    Here’s a quick guide to custom search options, in response to a question from a library user who wanted to know how to search for videos and DVDs specifically in the Delaware Library Catalog

    Free online screencasting tool

    You can limit your search to a particular library from the main search page, but custom search is very handy if you are interested in a specific item media or type, or want to search within a genre or age group.


    Anti-Bullying Resources in the Delaware Library Catalog

    Written on: November 3rd, 2009 in Blog PostsLearning

    bullying (Note: this posting was updated on October 13th, 2010) This month’s Young Adult Library Services, a periodical for library staff who work with young adult and teen users, includes an outstanding article featuring anti-bullying books, magazines, and online resources.
    While Delaware schools feature a number of outstanding anti-bullying programs, along with a statutory requirement for school districts to implement, it’s still a national problem that has a terrible impact on children- the NEA estimates that 160,000 children skip school each day to avoid bullying, and it’s the main safety concern of girls aged 8-17, according to a 2003 Harris Poll. For Gay and Lesbian teens, the vast majority suffer some form of bullying on a regular basis, and most do not feel safe at school.

    The Delaware Bullying Prevention Association recommends these titles to teachers and parents

    UPDATE: The ebook publisher Ebrary recently made these selected titles freely available at their Cyberbullying Information Center, some of which are also available in print through your library

    The YALSA article recommends the following novels and short story collections for young adult readers:

    • Alt ed, Catherine Atkins’ modern day “Breakfast Club” features the stories of outcast students in a special detention program
    • In Ian Bone’s Sleep Rough Tonight, a student seeks to escape being bullied by becoming friends with a violent peer
    • Traitor Game is B.R. Collins fantasy novel that includes bullying amongst its themes
    • Sharon Draper’s The Battle of Jericho explores the blurry line between hazing, initiation, and bullying
    • Donald Gallo’s On the Fringe is a short-story collection
    • Endgame by Nancy Garden
    • Sue Mayfield’s Drowning Anna deals with a bullying-related suicide
    • Shana Norris deals with cyber-bullying in her novel Something to Blog About
    • Bullying’s relation to school violence is explored in Give a Boy a Gun

    One final selection for pre-school and early grades is the multiple award-winning One by Kathryn Otoshi, which mixes fundamental numeracy concepts with a message about difference and acceptance.

    The article also recommends a number of websites which provide anti-bullying information to various audiences, including, a kid-oriented site which includes links for parents and professionals;, which is maintained by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of Health and Human Services, is also aimed at kids and provides worksheets, comics, and animated webisodes dealing with the topic. Online resources on cyberbullying include and Finally, the George Washington University’s Hamilton Fish Institute is a clearing house for all kinds of information, research and resources on all aspects of school violence including bullying.

    UPDATE: In the aftermath of the Tyler Clemente tragedy there has been a renewed focus on the impact of bullying on gay teens. produced this factsheet on the issue (opens in a new window), as did the advocacy group Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). You can view the GLSEN resource page at this link.

    Finally, it’s crucial to remind the victims of anti-gay bias: for most, it does get better: Video Testimonials on YouTube