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Fractured fairy tales September 24, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, E, J fiction, J is for Juvenile.
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A fractured fairy tale is a story that uses familiar fairy tale characters, settings, or plot elements, and alters the story’s point of view or setting, or mixes up characters from different stories to make a new, usually humorous, story. Think Shrek.

The new movie Sydney White could be considered a fractured fairy tale: Amanda Bynes plays Sydney, a college freshman who, together with her seven socially challenged friends, saves the day and meets her prince.

Fractured fairy tales tend to engage so-called “reluctant readers”. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Frog Prince Continued, both by Jon Scieszka, contain enough humor and familiar elements to ease kids into the story. Michael Buckley‘s Sisters Grimm series does the same, in the context of the detective story.

Here’s a nice list of fractured fairy tales from the Children’s Literature Web Guide – it starts with picture books and then lists books for older readers.


Into the Wild September 24, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, DVDs, Fall, fiction, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, nonfiction, YA.
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Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer‘s engrossing nonfiction book about the life and mysterious death of Christopher McCandless in the Alaskan wilderness, has been made into a movie, in theaters now.

Support your copies of Into the Wild with other books by Jon Krakauer, and other tales of wilderness survival (or not), such as the following (click “more” for a list).


Family Films display September 22, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, DVDs, great ideas, problem solving.
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Family films shelved together

We like this idea, also spotted at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Public Library, for a bunch of reasons.

Shelving G and PG-rated films separate from the PG-13 and R-rated titles makes parents and caregivers more comfortable about perusing the shelf with their children: they don’t have to worry that a movie with a provocative or scary cover is going to leap out at the toddler and scare him or her.

Plus, movies that appear to be kid-oriented but which in fact are rather intense for younger viewers, such as Transformers and Spider-man, are rated PG-13, so they aren’t in this section. No more arguments about the superhero movies.

And lastly: the librarians at the Miller Branch say that they can’t keep this display stocked fast enough! Their DVD circs improved measurably after separating the Family Films from the, er, Adult Films.

“Home-work” display September 22, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, Fall, props and drapes.
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“Home-work” display

Cooler weather brings out the do-it-yourself-er in some people. A display of books on landscape design, home repair, deck building, etc. can be accessorized with bricks, paint cans, hand tools, and other easily-obtained items. This display in Howard County uses a length of Astroturf as a drape.

Manga manga manga! September 18, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, BCPL best practices, graphic novels, great ideas, manga, paperbacks, problem solving, science fiction, series books.
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Graphic novels at Towson

Here’s one way to display paperback series in an eye-catching way:

Stack each issue of the same series horizontally, with the least shelf-worn issue face-out on top.

If there are more than 4 or 5 issues of the same titles, space permitting, you might want to put the face-out issue to the immediate left of the stack.

Summer Reading Central September 17, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, dump, fiction, great ideas, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, summer, wire shelving.
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Reading list titles shelved together

Here’s a time-saver (not to mention a shelf-space saver), spotted at Howard County’s Miller branch.

Take those tried-and-true perennial reading list titles (Animal Farm comes to mind, also A Lesson Before Dying, Things Fall Apart, Night, A Tale of Two Cities) that we keep multiple copies of just for summer, and give them their own little fixture. Here they’ve used paperback carousels, but a batch of dumps might work well too.

You can save a bunch of shelf space by keeping your multiples of Watership Down and 1984 off the regular fiction shelves.

During the summer, it’s one-stop shopping for the folks who come in clutching their lists, and you could even wheel the whole unit to some inconspicuous place once the summer reading season is over.

The War by Ken Burns September 17, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, Fall, nonfiction.
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“Peleliu Island…Marines move through the trenches on the beach during the battle.” September 15, 1944. Fitzgerald. 127-N-9527. Photo from the National Archives collection Pictures of African Americans in WWII.

Premiering on September 23, it’s The War, a seven-part documentary series that tells the story of World War II through the stories of the war’s veterans. Letters are read, grainy footage is aired, hearts are broken.

Expect increased demand for WWII histories and historical fiction. Satisfy your patrons with lots of books, and with supplementary information from such online sources as the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project and the National Archives center for Veterans and their families. In addition, each of the U.S. Armed Services have extensive archive sites for unearthing the history of individuals, companies, battalions, ships, etc.


Naval Historical Center

Coast Guard

Marine Corps Research Center

National Museum of the US Air Force

The War display at Howard County's Miller branch

“The War” display at Howard County’s Miller branch.

It’s a Big Big Read September 7, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, Fall, fiction, programming tie-ins, props and drapes, science fiction.
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October’s Big Read puts us in the unusual position of having tons of new copies of one book to merchandize – let’s make the most of it! Posters, bookmarks, CDs and Reader’s Guides are on their way to your branch, but it’s not too early to start thinking up display ideas.

You might:

  • Line copies up on all the aisle ends
  • Stack them on tables and counters
  • Lay them flat on shelf tops

And don’t forget props and signage! Fahrenheit 451 is about censorship and book burning, so you might display lists of banned books, toy firefighter helmets or fire trucks to make your display stand out.

As the books disappear, back up this selection with other books by Ray Bradbury, books from the frequently-challenged lists, and other books on dystopian societies.

“When I grow up…” September 6, 2007

Posted by sneaks in J is for Juvenile.
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Randallstown mural, left side

Randallstown mural, right side
Randallstown mural, right side

Liz Burnett created this wonderful new mural for Randallstown’s children’s section. Darcy Cahill writes: “Our goal in the mural was to stimulate young people to think about their futures and what they might like to do when they grow up…Liz did a fantastic job portraying this with a lot of child appeal!”

What a fabulous piece of work!

Who is this “Master Chief” fellow?* September 6, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, Fall, games.
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Halo 3 is hitting the streets September 25, and it’s going to be pretty big. “Pretty big” like one million have already been ordered.

Backing up a little: Halo 3 (and its precursors, Halo and Halo 2) is a game, described as “a team-based third-person 3D shooter, set in an exceptionally complex futuristic setting.” Halo and Halo 2 were available as games that you played on PC or Microsoft’s Xbox, but Halo 3 will be available only on the Xbox 360.

Sony’s Playstation platform has long been the most popular of the game platforms, with Nintendo’s Wii coming in second since its introduction last holiday season. Microsoft hopes to surge ahead with Halo 3. It may happen, or it may not, but Halo 3 definitely represents a big event on the video game shelves, and your other Xbox games may be in higher demand for users who can’t get their mitts on a copy.

* According to the game’s website: “The Master Chief was the sole Spartan to leave the Reach system aboard the Pillar of Autumn (with the exception of Linda-058 in cryo). For all he knew, he was the last Spartan alive. All of humanity depended on him, for even after their defeat at Halo 04 the Covenant were still strong, and there were new enemies and variables to contend with that Earth knew nothing about: the Flood, the Forerunner, and their creations, such as 343 Guilty Spark.”

Does that clear things up?

Happy New Year 5768! September 6, 2007

Posted by sneaks in coloring pages, display topics, Fall.
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Augment your displays of seasonal books on Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot with coloring pages and activities from the following sites:

Torah Tots

PBSKids (Ramadan)

Eduplace (Ramadan)

And don’t forget the “Let’s talk about it” bookmarks!

Baltimore Book Festival, Sept 28-29 September 6, 2007

Posted by sneaks in Fall.
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The annual Baltimore Book Festival will be held in Mount Vernon Place, on the 600 block of North Charles Street, Sept 28-29. Have a look through the festival’s stage schedules – there are sure to be some authors participating in the Literary Salon, cookbook authors on the Food for Thought stage, or kids’ authors on the Children’s Bookstore Stage that you’d like to spotlight. Local authors will be showcased on the CityLit Stage. Full alphabetical list of participating authors here.

Lake Wobegon on Cathedral Street September 6, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, Fall.
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The Enoch Pratt Free Library presents an evening with Garrison Keillor reading from his new Lake Wobegon novel, Pontoon. If you wish to attend, the event is Sunday, October 14, 6pm at the Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street. There is limited seating, doors open at 5:30pm.

You might take this opportunity to showcase Garrison Keillor’s previous efforts, along with the Prairie Home Companion movie and audio books.

“A tenor for heaven’s choir” September 6, 2007

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Luciano Pavarotti has passed away at age 71. Celebrate the great tenor’s life and achievements with opera books and CD’s – and Italian cookbooks. Search CARL on Pavarotti and/or “three tenors”.

Meanwhile, savor the great opera singer’s range and sense of humor with this strangely stirring video of a duet with none other than great soul singer James Brown.

Karma Dogs September 4, 2007

Posted by sneaks in programming tie-ins.
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In case you missed it, the wonderful Karma Dogs program was written up in the Baltimore Sun this weekend. The article was Good doggies by John Woestendiek (Ace’s dad).