Even Monsters Deserve a Nice Name

Frankenstein was the name of the doctor not the poor nameless creature. I'm gonna call him Creature.

It's Halloween, let's talk monsters!

For Book Club this month, we read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Before I get into my book rant, I'll fill you in on a few details of the author's life. Her biography is arguably more scandalous than the book's plot.

Mary Wollstencraft Shelley was the daughter of a famous feminist and a well known author who were too hip to get married. Her mom died shortly after her birth, so Mary grew up with her dad, her mean stepmom, her mom's daughter from a previous relationship (an affair with a soldier), her stepmother's kids from her

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My Desk for Day of the Dead

I keep thinking that I will be able to clean my desk but I just don't think it will ever happen.

 At the Library we offer more than just books and reference material. During the week, OPL children's librarians offer numerous storytimes, bring performers in, support community events or present crafts. Part of my job is to help bring these programs to the library. Which brings me to my desk.

                          

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House Concerts: A New Twist on a Centuries-Old Tradition

House concerts are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists are looking to find creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences, and ways to make a living doing what they love.

Throughout history, from the early consorts of the European Renaissance (fourteenth through seventeenth centuries) to the rent parties of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s and 1930s), having “house concerts” has been a way to introduce an audience to new chamber music compositions and play for an appreciative audience in an intimate space. The rent parties that flourished in New York, Chicago, and Detroit (among other places) in the early to mid-twentieth century were just that: a way to help pay the rent! And let’s not forget the tradition of folk music house performances and sing-alongs that are also part of the house concert’s long and varied history.

Today house concerts—albeit in a more refined form than the rent parties—are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists in the current generation are looking to find not only creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences but also ways to make a living doing what they love.

The Oakland Public Library is delighted to present a program—“

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Literary Hauntings

Have you read a good ghost story lately? Check out these haunted tales just in time for Halloween.

As children my friends and I liked to tell scary stories with the goal of eliciting shrieks from one another. I also have fond memories of reading Great Tales of Horror by Edgar Allan Poe before bed. Perhaps this isn't the best reading for a sound sleep, but I loved the suspense as I eagerly anticipated the end of the story and the scare it would bring.    

Have you read a good ghost story lately?  Here are some haunted tales for adults, just in time for Halloween.

 Ghosts of Old Edo    

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November Is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

 

Maybe you've seen it: NaNoWriMo?  Maybe you've thought to yourself: What does NaNoWriMo mean?  Why do I keep reading about it all over Facebook and the internet?  What does NaNoWriMo have to do with ME?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month!  It is an international event that happens each November. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought seriously, or even fleetingly, about writing a novel. NaNoWriMo works to encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world.  While you create your novel you earn badges at the website!  Last year 310,095 participants started the month of November as pastry chefs,

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Throwback Thursday: An Old Fashioned Hallowe'en Party Circa 1905

A 1905 issue of the San Francisco Call offers some tips for a "Old Fashioned Hallowe'en Party"

Thinking of having an old fashioned Halloween Party, but find you "must sigh vainly for farmstead kitchen and big new barn"?  Marion Harland published a few suggestions on how to "retain the spirit of the time-honored festival" in the San Francisco Call in 1905. When planning your costume remember that "a fine chance is offered here for the display of jaunty aprons and short-sleeved blouses." And for diversions, you can simply bob for apples or have your fortune told through a cabbage stalk, a goblet of vinegar, or a flaming raisin!

Read all of her suggestions in the newspaper images below.

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Book Characters Make Great Halloween Costumes

Dress up as your favorite book characters for Halloween. Here are some ideas.

Halloween is fast approaching.  Still need a costume for your child and/or for yourself?  What about a favorite children’s book character?  Last year, Children's Room Librarian Laura Gravander and I dressed up as Elephant and Piggie of Mo Willems fame. See the resemblance?

   

Uncanny, isn't it?

One Halloween, all of the Children's Room staff dressed as different Rainbow Fairies.

Rainbow Fairies

And, of course there was the infamous training where six Children's Librarians dressed up as Captain Underpants (Tra-la-la-la!!!)

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Books We Love: The Known World

A book to check out: The Known World, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novel about slavery by Edward P. Jones.

Book coverThe 2003 novel The Known World by Edward P. Jones tells a haunting, heartbreaking and complex story of slavery in America. An enslaved African American man saves the money he makes as a carpenter to purchase and free himself, his wife, and later, their son. To the amazed disappointment of his parents, the son maintains a connection with his former master, and then becomes a slave owner himself. And a white sheriff, despite his anti-slavery views, has a job that requires him to apprehend runaway slaves. The sheriff reluctantly accepts a slave girl as a wedding gift, but prefers to treat her as a daughter. These are just two strands of the interwoven stories that make up this

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Screen Time and Story Time

E-reading vs.reading with young children is a hot topic; your library is developing its services around this content, and how we deliver it to you.

Did you catch the article in the October 11th New York Times: Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?  There were several responses in today's Letters to the Editor section, but we are curious about your thoughts. 

This is something librarians have been talking about for quite a while*. The Amercian Academy of Pediatrics "strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children," according to the Times article.   But we know that apps and ebooks can play an important role, along with picture books, in the development of your

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Quake!

It's been 25 years since the last "big one."

Where were you 25 years ago at 5:04? At work? At school? Candlestick Park?

Today, October 17, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. 

Loma Prieta wasn't the first big earthquake to rock the East Bay and it won't be the last. Whether you want to prepare yourself for earthquakes to come or to learn more about Loma Prieta, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or the October, 1868 earthquake -- the last "big one" on the Hayward Fault, the Main Library can answer your questions. 

With the media reminding us that we're overdue for another big earthquake, what can you learn at the library to help you prepare yourself, your family, and your home? We have lots to read on the science of earthquakes if you're looking for general information. Want to know how to retrofit your house? We've got that, too. Don't want a book? There are DVDs in our collection on earthquakes and on emergency

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