Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seven Questions with Staff - Alison


Today's edition of our "Seven Questions with Staff" series features Miss Alison! Alison has been with us at the library since mid-2005 and is - among many other things - our Children's Librarian and can usually be found working on our Children's Floor. We hope you learn a little bit about her by reading her replies to our Seven Questions!

Q: What are a few of the best books that you've read recently?
A: I recently finished Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J.K. Rowling's second Cormoran Strike book (The Silkworm) and really enjoyed it; he/she writes a good old fashioned British mystery. Our Blum House Book Club just met to discuss Half Broke Horses by Walls, and it proved popular all around. I loved the feisty, gumption-filled protagonist. This summer my seven year old and I have discovered the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows and she thinks they are hilarious. I appreciate them because they are even fun for me to read, unlike some other children's books (yeah, Junie B. Jones, I'm looking at you).

Q: How would you describe where you grew up?
A: I grew up in Dumfries, Scotland, a big town in a rural area close to the English border. It's beautiful, with lush green grass, rolling hills, red squirrels, hedgehogs, excellent architecture, and good tea (and it doesn't rain as much as people in the US think!).

Q: What was the last gift that you gave someone?
A: My parents just spent two weeks here, and I gave my Dad a Cardinals jersey to confuse his friends when he plays football (soccer) back home.

Q: If you could trade lives - "Freaky Friday" style - with another staff member, who would you trade with and why?
A: I'm going to say Grahm. He's always got a suspicious looking smile on his face and I want to know why.

Q: Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster?
A: We visited Loch Ness when I was about 8 and I am still disappointed that Nessie did not reveal herself to me. I'm not going to say I don't believe, because a little mystery is fun in life and there's no way humans have it all worked out.

Q: What's your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
A: If somebody else is making it, I'd like some crepes rolled in sugar, covered in syrup, drizzled with lemon juice, and liberally garnished with fruit. And a cup of tea to go with it, please.

Q: What have books taught you?
A: Almost everything I know, and more every day!

Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant

Murder Mystery Clue #8

Here's Clue #8, which is the final clue is our Summer Reading Murder Mystery! Have you put together the pieces and solved the crime? If so, grab your Solution Sheet and join us at our Murder Mystery Finale Dinner this Saturday night (August 2) at the Blum House. Dinner will be provided as part of this event. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On This Day In...2012

On this day in 2012 musician Bill Doss died at the age of 43. Doss was best known for his work with the band Olivia Tremor Control and for co-founding the Elephant 6 Recording Company. Elephant 6 was a loose collective of bands that began in 1991 with Doss and three of his Ruston, Louisiana high school friends (Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum, and Will Cullen Hart). By the late 1990s Elephant 6 had grown to become a major force in American indie rock, with dozens of bands from across the country releasing music and often finding commercial success. Bill's own band Olivia Tremor Control broke up in 2000 however, and shortly after that the E6 collective entered a long period of dormancy.

Available through Your Library (click on the link to request these items):
  • Singles and Beyond by Olivia Tremor Control - The singles collected on this compilation include some of the very earliest Elephant 6 releases, and offer excellent introduction to this group's psychedelic pop magnificence.
  • Travellers in Space and Time by The Apples in Stereo - After releasing a couple of albums with his post-OTC band The Sunshine Fix, Doss began to tour and record with his old buddy Robert Schneider's Apples in Stereo. By the time of this 2010 album Doss was credited as a full-fledged member.
Posted by Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Murder Mystery Clue #7

Here's Clue #7 for our Summer Reading Murder Mystery! There's only one clue left before the August 2nd Finale Murder Mystery Dinner at the Blum House, but there's still time for you to sign-up and play along! It's not too late to join in on the fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seven Questions with Staff - Jed


Here’s the second installment of our “Seven Questions with Staff” series! Jed’s been with us at the library for almost four years. He has a variety of jobs around the library, but some of his favorites are doing graphic design, marketing, teaching computer classes to beginners, and planning fundraisers. When he’s not at work, he’s usually spending time with his family or is involved with an event around the community.

Q: What are some of your favorite albums?
A: “Songs for Silverman” by Ben Folds, “In Between Dreams” by Jack Johnson and anything by The Format, Bruno Mars, Cold War Kids, Gavin DeGraw and Coldplay.

Q: What types of photos do you “Like” on Instagram?
A: Scenic photos. Food photos. Animal photos.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places to go in the area?
A: The St. Louis Zoo, CityGarden, Willoughby Farm, St. Clair 10 Cine ($3 movies, yeah!) and any Goodwill/Salvation Army Store, ever.

Q: What’s the last film that you saw at a movie theater?
A: The Fault in our Stars. (Again…gotta love that St. Clair 10!)

Q: Growing up, what was your first real job?
A: Aside from mowing lawns, my first job was at Collinsville’s Dairy Freeze (on St. Louis Road).I think I was one of only a handful of male employees in its storied history. I worked there for four summers, I think.

Q: If you could be on one Reality TV Show, which one would you choose?
A: The Amazing Race.

Q: Do you have a celebrity doppelganger?
A: I’m told that I look like Tom Cruise at least once or twice each week, and I’m not really sure how I feel about that.

Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Murder Mystery Clue #6

Happy Cluesday! Here's Clue #6 for our Summer Reading Murder Mystery! Be sure to register to play along at the library's Main Desk today if you haven't yet! :)


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Murder Mystery Clue #5

Happy Cluesday! Here's Clue #5 for our Summer Reading Murder Mystery! Still haven't registered to play along...? You still can! Just visit the library's Main Desk to sign-up.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Superheroes - Modern Myths

 
Superheroes have become an entertainment juggernaut the like of which the world has never seen before.  Characters like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man have become fixtures in modern media around the world to an extent that eclipses even Mickey Mouse in his heyday. It is not unusual to see their likeness plastered just about anywhere, be it hawking merchandise in stores or teaching kids morals in schools.
The staying power of costumed crusaders alone is a feat that has barely been achieved in history. Batman and Superman first hit pages more than seventy years ago and they are as popular with kids today as they were back then. It is not just that these heroes have endured, it is that they continue to grow more popular as time marches on. In this regard it could be argued that they have already eclipsed some of their fictional peers such as pulp characters like Tarzan and cartoon hall of famers like Bugs Bunny. Today’s heroes occupy a realm alongside the great myths of the old world. It is not impossible to imagine that in the future Superman will be held in the same esteem as Hercules and other myths are today.
DC Comics more or less started the ball rolling in 1938 when Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1. From there DC was off to the races, introducing nearly all of their characters who we still know today, such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash, over the next few years. Marvel Comics would jump on board with the introduction of Captain America in 1941 but would have to wait nearly twenty years to assemble a roster that could compete with DC’s. It wasn’t until 1962, when a young man named Stan Lee entered the scene, that Marvel would recruit its most well known characters like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and The X-Men.
There are generally considered to be four main eras in superhero history. A fifth age, sometimes dubbed “The Platinum Age”, constitutes comic books before Superman. The superhero archetype began with Superman in what is now recognized as the beginning of “The Golden Age” of comic books. Superheroes sprouted up in a more conservative world and one engulfed in World War II. As such, heroes were wholesome and patriotic while villains were generally one dimensional and unsympathetic. These more straight forward stories rarely dealt seriously with social issues and represent a simpler, more innocent time in popular entertainment.
Comics transitioned in to “The Silver Age” at the start of the Sixties. This period is marked by comics embracing their capacity to be a vehicle for social discourse. In the changing world of the 1960s, comics and superheroes began to first navigate the choppy waters of culture and society.  “The Bronze Age”, considered to run somewhere from the early seventies to late eighties, more aggressively confronted rampant social issues such as alcoholism, drug use, and racism.
Since the late 1980s comic books have widely been considered to simply be in “The Modern Age”. A more nuanced and specific analysis reveals two different trends for superheroes at the turn of the millennium. “The Dark Age” of comics began in the late eighties with super hero stories taking a more grim and violent turn with writers like Grant Morrison and Todd McFarlane. An emphasis on the occult and demonic was a trend at the time with characters like Spawn, The Crow, and Blade rising to a new level of prominence.
In the 2000s super heroes invaded the big screen and took over the Hollywood market with a consistent string of big budget, box office home runs and an overwhelming flood of nearly any comic title movie studios could get their hands on. While super hero movies had been big before with knock out hits like 1978’s Superman starring Christopher Reeves and 1989’s Batman directed by Tim Burton, it wasn’t until Marvel Comics took a stab at cinema that things really took off. 2000’s X-Men performed above expectations and when Spider-Man shattered records in 2002 the wheels officially came off. Since 2000 there has been more than fifty (!) super hero movies including ground breaking hits like The Avengers and The Dark Knight. There is no end in sight either, as Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios have multiple hero movies a year already scheduled almost all the way up to 2020.
Comic books from this time reflect the shift and have begun to transition to what I have dubbed “The Blockbuster Era”. In an attempt to hook fans of the movies and appeal to the ever expanding market of new kids growing up in the hero craze, books have generally moved away from the bleak exploits of “The Dark Age” and have adopted their big screen counterpart’s penchant for family appeal, accessible stories, and a heavy focus on action and spectacle.
The library is a natural home for super heroes, who despite their far reaching influence in to all realms of marketing are still at essence characters of media. From page to screen, we have superhero fans of any age covered. There is even a brand new “Superheroes” display in the Graphic Novel section on the main floor highlighting a rotating selection of the most popular and significant titles. Whether you are a longtime fan or a rookie looking for something to read, come to the library today to spend some time with your favorite heroes!
Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk