Stefanie's blog

MLK Day of Service

The Sunken City dvd cover image

Many people across the country observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by participating in the MLK Day of Service, coming together--this year on Monday, January 16--to serve their neighbors and their communities. Whether you are going to participate in a service project or not, the following films tell stories of service and activism that will impress and inspire you.

Sunken City: Rebuilding Post-Katrina New Orleans When Hurricane Katrina devastated and nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans, it was only through the efforts of millions of volunteers that life found a way to carry on. Celebrate the achievements of the people who rebuilt this shattered city, and explore the government structure whose haphazard response may have threatened the lives, and livelihood, of many.

It's List Season!

My Morning Jacket Circuital album cover

It's List Season! Best-of lists are popping up everywhere, and music lists are my favorite of the best-of lists. Here are some lists and their top choices of 2011. Several of the lists below have Bon Iver and Adele in their top three, but there is some variety in the picks.

Topping Stereogum's list is Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls, followed by Drake's Take Care and the eponymous Bon Iver.

Don't miss the last films of the Film Fiesta!

Film Fiesta Image

Don't miss the last night of the Film Fiesta: "It's All about the Food!" on Wednesday, July 27. See the films Tortilla Heaven and Like Water for Chocolate at Su Teatro at The Denver Civic Theater, 721 S. Santa Fe Dr.

Arrive early for the tortilla feast! Doors open at 5:30 p.m., movie begins at 6:30 p.m. seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis. All events are FREE and open to the public, except for parking in some cases. Free parking is available on the street for those that arrive early. Lots are available for $3.00 on the north and south sides of the theater.

Su Teatro at The Denver Civic Theater--303-296-0219.

Three Film Fiestas left in July!

Film Fiesta image

Three free Film Fiestas remain in July at Su Teatro at the Denver Civic Theater! On the remaining Wednesdays in July--July 13, 20 and 27--see movies, performers and food related to various Latino cultures.

Plus, Byers Branch Library has related book displays and some children's activities during their regular hours.

All events are FREE and open to the public, except for parking in some cases. Free parking is available on the street for those that arrive early. Lots are available for $3.00 on the north and south sides of the theater.

World Refugee Day: One Refugee without Hope is Too Many

Book Image: Living in America

World Refugee Day is Monday, June 20 and we are reminded of the estimated 15.6 million (2010 according to UNHCR Global Trends Report) refugees worldwide. Who is a refugee? A refugee is essentially a person who has had to flee his/her home country out of fear of persecution. Refugees from many countries are resettled in Colorado every year, from Burma (Myanmar), Somalia, and Sudan, among others.

Learn more about refugees by reading these personal stories for children:

Bindweed Beware!

No Bindweed! Image

This spring I vowed to stop using Roundup and other pesticides in my yard and garden. I thought I knew what I needed in order to begin my newest battle against the onslaught of bindweed, but on a whim I looked up bindweed in the library's database of Gardening, Landscaping & Horticulture Articles and got even more help for my fight!

In seconds, I had 7 articles to read. The first article listed had two pieces of information I wasn't aware of previously that I'm going to add to my strategy: it's more effective to attack the bindweed with a spot treatment in the fall (in my case, with my new product of choice--vinegar), and if you water the weeds first, the plants will be healthier, photosynthesize more and thus more of the vinegar will make it to the root system. My next vow? Use the library's databases more!

Winter Blues and Wanderlust

525 Best Beaches

Dreams of travel seem to work just as well as garden and seed catalogs to fight the winter blues. There are so many travel guidebooks filled with tempting text and inviting images, most themed by location, but some themed by type of activity or area of interest. Here’s a list of the big guidebook series as well as a few other titles to help get you through the next cold front...and maybe even plan a trip.

Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: The Rough Guide to the World

Fodor's 535 Best Beaches: In the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico


AAA Road Atlas 2011: Canada, United States, Mexico: Travel with Someone You Trust

Audio Books for Holiday Road Trips

Audio books can help the miles go by faster on a holiday road trip. With the holds service on hiatus, this is a great time to explore DPL's Audio eBook collection for titles to download or to visit the closest branch location to browse books on CD in person.

I’ve found that some of the best audio books are juvenile and young adult fiction. Short stories are also a good option because you can listen to one story—or a couple of stories—and then take a break to converse with whomever you're traveling with, listen to music, or just silently enjoy the scenery until you’re ready for another story. Plus, a good audio book must have a great reader to tell the story: even a good story can’t survive a bad reader. Here are some favorites:

Fall Back! Fall Back!

book cover image

Light has been a big topic of conversation this week since this Sunday, November 7 at 2 a.m., we change our clocks back to standard time. The most popular sentiment seems to be dread--of evening commuting in the dark, of the end of having enough light to play outside or work in the yard at the end of the day.

Plus, research suggests that the return to standard time affects us in a variety of ways, from disrupted sleep to an increase in car vs. pedestrian accidents. On the bright side, this change could lead to the need for more napping, contemplating day, night and the nature of time or just generally cozying up to the realities of seasonal changes. Judging from the literature, the whole concept appears to be contentious:

Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time David Prerau

Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize for Literature

(Book Jacket Image)

This week the Swedish Academy awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature to Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa.

The War of the End of the World has been my favorite Vargas Llosa book so far, a fictionalized account of a community of marginalized people who followed a fanatical leader to desolate, impoverished northeastern Brazil at the end of the 19th century.

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