Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Journey Through Life, in Books (The Early Years)

I have seen so many good book lists recently. So, here is my own rendition. There is one book, per year, leading up to early adulthood. Here is a journey through the earliest years of life, in books:

1. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
Easy Reader, Picture Book

The Giving Tree tells the story of a boy, and a tree, who loves the boy very much. This is an equally sad, yet true tale, which affirms the need to discover self-worth.

2. The Five Chinese Brothers, by Claire Bishop
First Grade, Picture Book

Part fable, part a narrative of brotherly love, this is one of those stories which burrow in your mind, and never quite leave. Five brothers have astonishing abilities, and one day, there are serious consequences when their powers run amok.


3. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
Second Grade, Picture and Chapter Book

Written for children and adults, this charming story tells the story of an otherworldly young boy who leaves his home planet. In doing so, he encounters a variety of adults, in different stages of their lives Although whimsical, it is a philosophical exploration human aging, behavior, and the dangers of narrow-mindedness.

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
Third Grade, Chapter Book

After the Baudelaire children become the Baudelaire orphans (which doesn't take too long in this story), their life is never quite the same. This tale contains so many colourful villains that you just have to wonder: where exactly is Child Services? Despite this, kids and adults will equally enjoy the peculiar dialogue, bizzare reappearance of leeches, sugar bowls, and rather abominable, but well-dressed villains.


5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Fourth Grade, Graphic Chapter Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a story half-told through hundreds of richly illustrated pages, half through a well-woven narrative. Also made into a film, the story revolves around an orphaned boy who keeps clocks operating in a train station after his father passes. It is a story of loss, redemption, mystery, and the truth that sometimes, one can choose a new family.


6.  Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
Fifth Grade, Chapter Book

Because of Winn-Dixie, despite persistent misconceptions,  is not essentially not about a dog. Instead, the book, at its essential core, tackles loneliness and a pressing need for companionship. Taking place in a small town, each individual within the work aches for connection, but is unaware of how to establish it. The characters of this work are cleverly written, laugh-out-loud witty, mellow, and unforgettable.

7. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Sixth Grade, Chapter Book

When lone student Jess meets Leslie Burke, the two become inseparable. Together, they create an imaginary world called Terabithia, in which they spend most of their time, allowing the rest of the world to fade away. This story is masterfully written, and will serve as a reminder to both adults and children of the unspoken, transformative power of having a friend.


8. Holes, by Louis Sachar
Seventh Grade, Chapter Books

After being accused of theft, Stanley Yelnats is sent to serve a sentence at a service camp, to avoid time at juvenile prison. To "build character" Camp Green Lake  the young boys at the camp dig holes, out in an open desert. And of course, as the boys soon discover, there is more than hold digging going on in the camp. There is a whole history of past entanglements, and a reason all of the boys are present at the camp.


9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, By Arthur Conan Doyle

Where does one begin describing Sherlock Holmes? Well, if we were Watson, he would describe Holmes as quite handsome, dark featured, and keen...but we are not Watson. In fact, there is nearly no set way to describe the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, John Watson. However, these tales are a must read. They are genius, and still resonate in their acute insight to the human condition, and curiosity; many, many years after being written.

Hope you enjoyed the list,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teen Tech Week 2014!

It's officially Teen Tech Week 2014 (March 9-15) at the Oak Brook Public Library!

Come check out a "techy" book from our Teen Tech Week display about computers, video games, blogging, social networking, and more!

Stay connected & DIY @ your library!

-Miss Julia

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Oak Brook Library Youth Service Programs: March-May 2014

Whether you're looking for something to do, or you're bored of the winter blues, these's are some very spiffy programs coming up here at the Oak Brook Library!

Click on the images below to enlarge them, or visit a PDF of our program brochure HERE.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Librarian's Manifesto

Libraries used to be a magical place for me. And I mean this in quite a literal way.

As a child pragmatist, I used to reason that when I walked through the doors of a library, books would come flying off the shelves. And--after expelling greater glitter, gold light, and swooshing noises than was absolutely necessary-- these books would come, and to fall perfectly into my hands. After all, that was the magical library I saw portrayed in kid's movies, picture books, and cartoons I used to watch. So why not in real life? But after a few weeks of learning this wasn't how libraries worked, and being grateful books didn't really didn't fly off the shelves (guess who has motor-coordination issues?), I was left with a place I could be quiet in, disappear into, and explore. Even as a child.

Very early on I was curious about those "people behind the desks." Those keepers of the books, the peculiar, intelligent, be-spectacled men and women. As a child, I used to pretend to be Sherlock Holmes, with a skimpy black notepad, and stolen pencil in hand, and I would write down what I thought were very inquisitive questions about these people I watched, such as: Why is the lady behind the desk so quiet? Secrets?!?! Or: If the man behind this desk is so quiet...does that mean he has a black cat at home? And, in my hight of inquisition powers as a seven year-old, the ultimate: Why did 122% of them, (approximately), have glasses? These are questions I still wonder about my coworkers today, word for word. But now, being one of those "people behind the desks," or a librarian, a lot has changed about my perception about libraries, and librarians. Or, at least, when I began to write this, I thought they had.

You see, recently, in conversation, I had a man with a greasy ham sandwich offer his input on my job, my work.

"Libraries?" He said, mayo dripping down his pants. "Oh man, you're a librarian, right?"

And was he apt to tell me how libraries were, in his words,"dying out."

"Have you been to a library, recently?" I asked.

Last time I checked, "The Library" was an prime example of a functional, and highly-utilized, public facility in the United States. (One of the few, my children.) But then again, it is always interesting to be lectured by individuals with mayonnaise on their pants.

I tried to bail on that conversation as soon as a could.

Because if you have been to a library recently, you would know this: Libraries are changing. And they are changing at a rate none of us could have imagined ten, let alone five years ago.

Since I was a child who grew up in the 90's, I've seen firsthand how technology has been the biggest change for libraries. And how we interact with technology, how we embrace technology as patrons and librarians, that will be the defining element in the future of libraries.

If you can, do something for me next time you go to a library: observe, like you once did as as a child. What do you see? People utilize libraries, more than ever before, as a meeting place, an area to learn how to use technology, to see or participate in events, or to discover how to use ebooks, or find credible online materials. And librarians are the guides through this confusion, this changing world.

A library is now a place where stories, information, and humanity intersects. And what can be more important to the modern world?

The ebook did not kill the book, it was the escalator to the stair. As a result, many libraries have justly embraced ebooks and many libraries are trying to afford more for their collection. We are not, despite what some may say, becoming increasingly isolated with technology. We are connecting human need for solace to tiny, glowing screens. And libraries, they are helping us, young and old, to become more comfortable in engaging with this technology, but in more meaningful ways, together. Whether this be showing a patron who has never used a computer before how to send an email to a friend, or a fifth grader how to find reliable voices on the internet, libraries and librarians share this role in helping the individual meet technology and information, effectively. After all, this time in history is the intersection of so many cultures, and pieces of information--all through technology. And yes, we do need a break from that technology, sometimes. Libraries do this for us as well.

I do hope, no matter what lies ahead, for this: that libraries, they will transform, last, and prosper (and all other Star Trekisms, etc.) And I believe they will. And for those of you who haven't been to one in quite some time, I hope this is a call back. The "people behind the desk" are quite more charming and complex in person, as I must begrudgingly admit most humans tend to be. And those books, those books of the library that you once believed could fly, can perhaps, in this changing world, they can do so much more.

The magic of libraries is not in the aesthetic, or in the imagery of the institution, or even in the books and information, themselves. It is a person sitting down, with you, helping you navigate this New Age of Information. The magic of the library is that it transforms with technology. And thanks to the internet, librarians are helping us interact more stories, information, and voices than were ever available before.

The magic of a library is intangible. And therefore, quite hard to explain to others who wonder why we do need libraries. But I can tell you these moments, these small pieces of quiet time. The magic of the library is the half hour of quiet for the doctor at the end of a grueling day. It is a mother of two reading a great ebook, shoes off, on a sofa. It is watching a beautifully mellow musician, all the way from China, in a small meeting room. It is the child finding a historical figure in a book, who is a lot like them, who did great things. It is the middle-aged man, bowing his head, gracefully, into that book that he just had just been meaning to read for far too long. The magic is a teen who found a voice who understands. And maybe, finally, it is a librarian, who even after a great disbelief of many things, still believes in one thing: we can transform, too.

Support your local library. They are here to do the same for you.

Your Librarian, MD

Block Kids!

We had a blast this past Saturday (March 1, 2014) during our Block Kids Lego program! The Chicago-Metro Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction sponsored a building competition at the Oak Brook Public Library, and there were some very inventive creations!

Check out some pictures of the fun below!

 The judges deliberating on the winners:

 Our Block Kids Lego winners!:

OBPL Youth Book Reviews, Part 3.

Our winter reading program may be over, but we still have one more youth book review for you!

Our final book review comes from Dalya:
Review #4:
Book: Close to Famous
Author: Joan Bauer
Call Number: YA BAUER (CAUDILL 2014)
I give this book: 5 stars
  • What was this book about?
    • This book was about a girl and her mother escaping from her mother's ex-boyfriend.
  • My favorite character in the book was Frost because she has a big talent of cooking and being in the food network channel.
  • I didn't like this book because the mother's ex-boyfriend knows where they escaped to.
  • You should read this book because it tells you not be afraid to do something new.
Thank you Dalya!

Thanks so much to all who participated in our Winter Reading Program! Be on the look out in the next few months for information on our Summer Reading Program for Summer 2014!

-OBPL Youth Services Staff

Thursday, February 20, 2014

OPBL Youth Book Reviews, Part 2.

March 1st is just around the corner -- but there is still time to sign up for our Winter Reading Program!

Our next book review comes from Siddarth:
Review #3:
Book: The Rise of Scourge
Author: Erin Hunter
Call Number: J 741.5 HUN (GRAPHIC BK.)
I give this book: 4.5 stars
  • What was this book about?
    • A cat who was born in a house, but grew up in the wild.
  • My favorite character in the book was Scourge because he was very exciting.
  • I liked this book because it was full of action.
  • You should read this book because it has a very fun journey in it.


Thanks Siddarth!

Don't forget, you too could have your book review posted on our library blog!

-OBPL Youth Services Staff