List of books to tide you over till the next TV season

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:00am

We all love books at XOXO After Dark, but that doesn't mean we don't have our fair share of TV junkies on the team (as anyone who's seen our Bachelorette recaps will know!). So we were relieved when Kristin Harmel, author of The Life Intended and The Sweetness of Forgetting, sent us the perfect list of books to tide us over till the next TV season:

For many people, the end of the year is a festive time, full of holiday celebrations, family gatherings and days off from work. But for those of us with a bit of a television addiction (ahem... guilty!), the long stretch between late November and January -- when shows begin to come back from their winter hiatus -- can feel long indeed. To pass the time before the worlds of Meredith Grey, Alicia Florrick and Olivia Pope return, why not pick up a book that's on the same wavelength as your favorite show? These picks are sure to please -- and they make great holiday presents too!

Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope is a woman to be reckoned with. Her wardrobe has sparked a real-life clothing collection at The Limited; her on-screen power is the stuff of legend; and the various forces tugging at her allegiance make for one pulse-pounding episode after another. But the biggest reason many of us tune in regularly is all that sizzling romantic tension between Olivia and the president of the United States. So along those lines, why not try Mimi Alford's memoir, Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath, which shows you a side of the beloved 35th president that you've never seen before.

The Good Wife
Sure, this ABC hit is about a woman who happens to be the wife of the Illinois governor. But far more than that, it's a series about a woman who runs her own Chicago law firm, takes on cases that mean something to her, and manages to keep her personal life from imploding at the same time. If you're missing Alicia Florrick this winter, dive in to Laura Caldwell's Izzy McNeil series (starting with Red Hot Lies). Caldwell, a former trial attorney, writes about a Chicago lawyer, her questionable fiancé, and a murder that changes everything. Laura Caldwell titles

Madam Secretary
This new CBS hit, starring Téa Leoni, is about the newly-appointed Secretary of State, who struggles to walk the line between being a normal family woman and becoming one of the most powerful people in America. Each week brings a new diplomatic complication that she has to solve. If you're interested in what really goes on behind the scenes of the State Department, Condoleezza Rice's No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington is sure to please. You'll be fascinated by the true tales this real-life former Secretary of State tells.

Grey's Anatomy
The long-running ABC hit keeps drawing viewers back season after season in large part because of its fascinating medical storylines and titillating personal drama between the characters. While you're waiting for an update about what's happening at our favorite Seattle hospital, try Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, which centers around a huge medical decision and the emotional fallout experienced by the family at the heart of it.

Love. Betrayal. Family secrets. A picture-perfect coastal backdrop simmering with lies and alliances. All of that and more is what keeps "Revenge" going strong. So why not turn to the original story about secrets and deception in a privileged New York state beach community? You may have read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby when you were in school, but now's a great time to pull it out again and to dive back in to a world that will make the wait for Emily Thorne's next move easier to bear.

The Blacklist
One of this season's breakout hits, this NBC drama stars James Spader as Raymond Reddington, a high-profile criminal who agrees to cooperate with the FBI. His relationship with FBI agent Elizabeth Keen is at the heart of the show, and viewers are left to peel back the layers of their complex relationship each week. While you wait for their next adventure, check out Thomas Harris's chilling novel The Silence of the Lambs, which, like the famed movie based on it, pairs a gifted criminal with a young woman from the FBI. You'll think Reddington and his cronies are incredibly gentle and normal after checking in with Harris's Hannibal Lecter.

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting. Her new novel, The Life Intended, a P.S. I Love You-meets-Sliding Doors story of finding oneself in the face of tragedy comes out Dec. 30... and would also make for wonderful before-the-TV-season-starts reading.

article written by Kristin Harmel (Huffington Post)

Tips for Tracing Your Family Tree from Expert Genealogist, William Forsyth

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 11:41am

The rise in easily searched resources that are available online has made the emotional quest of uncovering the stories of your family history increasingly popular. ProQuest historical content and datasets help in researching your family history. But navigating through the volume of resources may be a bit daunting, especially when you are trying to figure out where to begin.

With October being Family History Month, ProQuest took the opportunity to tap our very own genealogy expert for his tips on researching your family history. William Forsyth oversees ProQuest’s expansive line of digital family history resources, and has dedicated more than 30 years of experience to building high-quality genealogy subscription products for librarians. Bill has led many initiatives to educate librarians in their service to genealogy patrons and the following are his expert tips on how to begin tracing your family tree.

1) List what you already know
When you’re getting started, one of the most important things to remember is to work backwards. Many people want to start their research with a family member who was a Civil War soldier, or something similar, but that could lead you down the wrong line of descent. It is even more critical to work backward if your family surname is common. You don’t want to spend a lot of time researching only to find that you were tracing the wrong John Smith. The best approach is to simply start with yourself and work from the present day to the past.

Ancestry® Library Edition (inside Library link) has ancestral chart forms that you can download to help you while filling in your family tree.

2) Interview relatives
This step appears to be easy, but can pose a possible setback if you have relatives who aren’t particularly chatty. Be sure to ask your family members whether anybody has already started researching the family history; this can eliminate duplicating work that may already be done.

If you should be so lucky, speak to the family member who started tracing the family history or get a copy of his or her research. This may uncover leads for you to research further. Older generations may know the occupations that family members held, where they are buried, and they may have other stories that you can search for in historical newspapers. This information can provide a place to start.

3) Get death records
This goes back to working in reverse chronological order. The most recent record of an individual will be the death record. For this reason, death records are much more common than birth records. In the U.S., death records are kept on a state-by-state basis; therefore, some are available online and others require you to mail in a request to receive a copy of the death certificate. There will likely be a fee (which varies by state and/or county), and you may have to provide proof that you are related to the person whose record you are requesting due to privacy laws.

A death record will provide many clues about the individual: the names of parents, spouse, residence and and where they were buried, their occupation, religion, and even cause of death.

4) Follow death record clues
Once you have the clues from the death record, you can narrow your research! Search birth records by date, in the county of the birth. The birth record will reveal more information to lead you down the right ancestral line.

It is important to keep in mind that while the death certificate can provide plenty of helpful hints, it is not always accurate and reliable. The person that died is not filling out the form, of course, so the information comes from the person who is providing the information on the deceased’s behalf.

5) Search census records
The purpose of using a census record is to discover and validate where the person lived and who is in the family. Many people start their research with census records. The census lists the individuals living in the household – even relatives, servants, farmhands – and provides their name, age, gender, and birthplace. It may also give their occupation, and whether the head of household rents or own the home, and the value of the property.  

Census records are the most popular documents in tracing family history, but sometimes for one reason or another, you may not find your family in census records. If that’s the case, there are other helpful records to try.

Many cities kept their own directories, backed by private enterprises that listed the residents and their addresses. There are also the state censuses, which are not conducted in the same year as the federal census.

It may also be possible that you’re looking in the wrong county. County boundaries settled around 1920, but throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s, boundaries often changed. HeritageQuest® Online (inside Library link) or (outside Library link) provides a digital version of the Map Guide to the U.S. - US Federal Census 1790-1920, allowing you to look up county boundaries by both state and year.     

6) Search local sources
Once you verify names and locations, you can start looking in the local publications for stories about your family and the area. Historical newspapers are great sources of personal stories, birth notices and obituaries.

Obituaries can offer rich details about the deceased’s life, including the names of other family members. However, not everything is available on the Internet. You may need to do some on-site research, and the local librarian can help.

Local libraries may also have “mug books”; it was very popular for communities and commercial vendors to publish books that contain photographs and information about its residents, as well as history of the community. The accuracy of the stories can be questionable, however, as the content may have been embellished. Often, contributions to these books were made by the wealthier residents, because those who contributed were expected to purchase (or, help pay to publish) the book.

7) Don’t forget
Maps can provide many helpful details while tracing your family tree. Resources like Digital Sanborn® Maps and Historic Map Works Library Edition (inside Library link) or (outside Library link) provide the size and type of the family home, business or property, and can reveal other possible ancestors who may be neighbors.

Don’t forget to check immigration records, as most of us have ancestors who immigrated to the United States at one point. Ancestry® Library Edition has passenger lists for all major ports and has digitized these immigration records. Also, don’t automatically assume that your family changed their surname when they immigrated. Instead, it may have been misspelled on the records.

Many of our male ancestors served in the military. Military records, like the service and pension records, are accessible in databases like Fold3, which includes fascinating stories and photos as well.

The more corroborating records you can find, the more genealogical proof you have that you’re following the right ancestral line.

Need help with the resources mentioned in this article? Visit the SWLA Genealogical and Historical Library at 411 Pujo Street in Lake Charles for assistance on these resources and other resources to help you with your research. Find more details about this unique Library location.

Economic growth and the impact to SWLA

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:01am

The Southwest Louisiana Region (SWLA) is poised to undergo a prolonged period of economic growth, with the announcement of over $65 billion in announced capital projects expected to bring over 18,000 permanent jobs to the area. This economic growth has the potential to enhance overall prosperity and quality of life throughout the region. However, unprecedented impacts to the various systems within the community can be expected. These impacts are the focus of this Regional Impact Study (RIS) which consists of three major components: baseline assessment of current systems; socioeconomic modeling analysis of changes that will happen; and assessment of impacts on each major community system along with recommendations on how best to address those impacts.

View the Southwest Louisiana Regional Impact Study.

Rick Springfield, the author?

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:38pm

Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield

Review by Christy Duhon

Library Copies

If you were down on your luck and desperate for anything, would you call a 1-800 number that was scribbled in a self-help book? 

What would you do if you found out that this said 1-800 number just so happened to be God’s personal cell phone number?

Horatio Cotton (or Bobby, for short) had just that opportunity in “Magnificent Vibration” by Rick Springfield. (Yes, THAT Rick Springfield…the musician and soap opera actor!)

Bobby has been down on his luck after finding out that his wife has been cheating on him with a rather wide variety of men.

On top of that, his job is going downhill as well.

On the verge of committing suicide, he steals a book entitled “Magnificent Vibration: Discover Your True Purpose” and notices 1-800-CALL-GOD scrawled on the inside front cover.

Desperate for anything, he gives the number a call, only to find out that it is God’s personal phone line.

Shortly after speaking with God (who prefers to be called “Omnipotent Supreme Being” or Arthur for short,) Bobby meets Alice (a nun) and Lexington, who both have copies of the book with the same phone number written inside of it.

Realizing that this book was meant to bring the three of them together, they set out on an extraordinary journey in search of the answers to life’s greatest questions.

Along the way Bobby confronts his boss, gets over his extremely unfaithful ex-wife, meets and has a conversation with the Loch Ness monster, falls in love, and decides whether or not to destroy the world as we know it.

Just a typical day following “Arthur’s” plan.

And while it all may seem strange, it all works out in the end.

A rather odd yet funny read and not for those looking for a “real” inspirational book, “Magnificent Vibration” takes it’s root from the likes of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” or “The Outsourcer’s Apprentice.” 

Readers may blush while giggling at this funny look at life and our unquenchable thirst for finding out just what we’re doing here on this third rock from the sun.

Christy Duhon is the public information officer for the Calcasieu Parish Public Library.

Explore additional book reviews by the Library staff.

On Books and family....

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:39am

grandmasbooksRecently I was helping my aunt move furniture into a new home from the one my father’s family had grown up in. While taking a break, I was given the opportunity take some of my grandmother’s possessions home with me if I wanted. My grandmother passed away when I was in college, but for the majority of my life she suffered severely from Alzheimer’s, so by the time I was old enough to interact with her, it was too late to truly get to know anything about her life. Family has always been important to me but with all of my grandparents passing away when I was very young, it’s been difficult to discover our family roots. I’ve longed to know not just who my grandparents were, but also what their interests were — what made them tick.

It’s because of this that going through my grandmother’s things was so moving. Having an affinity for reading, I wanted to take some of the books she had read when she was growing up. One thing I did know was that Grandma Lilian also loved to read. I was excited to see what dusty treasures I might find in her small collection. I’ve always loved Russian literature and so it took my breath away when I came across tattered copies of Anna Karenina, War and Peace and collections of plays by Chekov and Ibsen. Suddenly I had a connection with my grandmother I never new existed. Despite never getting to talk about literature, never getting to hear even a single book recommendation, I had come to love Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Ibsen just as she had.

When I got home, I sat down on my couch and couldn’t put down these new heirlooms. It was so moving to think that these books, simple pages of ink and words, were held by my grandmother. I got the urge to reread A Doll’s House but as my new copy was over 100 years old, I hesitated to leaf through it, fearful it would come apart in my hands. Instead, I grabbed my iPad and went to my local library’s digital collection and sure enough, there it was. With my grandmother’s copy looking down on me, safely nestled on our bookshelf, I began to read the digital copy. The same words Lilian had read so long ago. The only difference is this ink will never fade, these pages will never tear.

People love to write articles with flashy headlines about why eBooks will never beat out physical copies or how eBooks will lead to the end of the paper book. Neither of these types of articles are true. Physical and digital books coexist beautifully and this is a perfect example. The physical books I now cherish are a connection to the grandmother I barely knew. It’s something I can hold in my hand that she did as well. The eBooks of these titles hold special meaning because anywhere I go in the world now I can bring with me the stories my grandmother loved that I do too, without ruining a century’s worth of memories by ripping a page. Books have the power to move us, to connect us in ways we never thought possible. The format is inconsequential, it’s the stories that truly matter.

article written by Adam Sockel, Marketing Specialist at OverDrive 

Good Reads for 2014

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 8:43am


2014 was a great year for books and eBooks and it’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end. To commemorate some of the great reads, we polled our staff here at OverDrive and asked for everyone’s favorites.

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (comment by Melissa Higey, School Account Specialist II)
I love the twists and turns of this book, as it moves back and forth in time and between several different narrators. The life of Marie-Laure, as a blind child and teen living during WWII is fascinating and beautiful. Loved it!

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (comment by Dan Potash, Product Manager)
In 2014 Tor published Words of Radiance, the second book to his “The Stormlight Archive” series. The series itself is a great read for anyone into Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. It combines elements of a feudalistic society centered on the Hellenic ideas of honor and glory through war, with a hidden but emerging world of magic. As the protagonists become more aware of their own importance and power, they come closer to the knowledge of a world-ending event and the preparations needed to thwart such a catastrophe.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (comment by Heather Valentine-Gold, Account Specialist II) 
I borrowed the eBook from Cuyahoga County Public Library without knowing much about it, other than it came highly recommended, and I ended up loving the story and characters. While many of the sci-fi themes are familiar, they’re wide-ranging and Brown manages to weave them all together in a completely new and entertaining way.

The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell (comment by Rachel Kray, Collection Development Analyst I)
A “hipster” sells his soul to the devil in a last ditch attempt to sell his novel. And there’s also werewolves and an evil wizard trying to end the world with a very special lucky cat. Hilarious with brilliant prose, this book in unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (comment by Christina Samek, Launch Specialist I)
It’s part of a planned trilogy that I cannot wait to get my hands on! It’s a fantasy novel with suspenseful and tragic elements. It’s definitely not YA, but it’s not strictly Adult, either. I’d rate it 17+. I love the use of the quest motif present in the novel and coupling that with a female lead makes the literary trope feel brand new. It’s just great, everyone who has ever felt small or insignificant should read this. Anyone who has ever felt powerful should read this. Everyone should read this!

Redeployment by Phil Klay (comment by Jim Monastra, Account Specialist)
Redeployment is a collection of short stories about the war in Iraq, and the soldiers that are fighting. The stories are brutally honest, and at times hard to read, but difficult to put down because of the terrific writing. I’m really excited to see what Klay has in store for the future.

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (comment by Michelle Ross, Collection Development Analyst) 
Reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and Ready Player One, this was an awesome futuristic and suspenseful read.

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear / Read by Nicola Barber (comment by Deb Halinski, Manager of Knowledge Services – Learning Systems) 
I love audiobooks because I do so much driving. This year I happened upon an extraordinary reader, Nicola Barber. Her voice is expressive and versatile (male, female, child, elder, British/American/Scottish/Irish and more) — so much so I can forget I’m listening to a single reader. Even more remarkable, she has the ability to spin individual words to portray complex emotions. I’m immediately pulled into the story, and I am sad every time I reach the end of one of her narrations!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (comment by Melissa Marin, Marketing Specialist II
This book really stayed with me after I read it. The writing style is unusual and while it kept me at arm’s length at first, I realized that it was for a reason. As the story unfolded, I found the writing more engaging. The more you learn about the mystery and the lies that are the core of the book, the more the book opens up, secrets become exposed and things become clearer. Very interesting.

The Jim Henson Biography by Brian Jay Jones (comment by Adam Sockel, Marketing Specialist I) 
It’s a must-read for anyone who grew up with the Muppets or Sesame Street. Reading about how his vision became a reality was fascinating. I highly recommend it.

article written by Rachel Kray is a Collection Development Analyst at OverDrive

Atul Gawande's 'Being Mortal' sparks continued conversations

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 9:44am

Whether you call it “assisted suicide” or “death with dignity,” stories about people choosing to die on their own terms have been making the news.

Take Brittany Maynard for example, the 29-year-old who moved to Oregon -- one of the few states where legal, physician-assisted suicide is available to the terminally ill -- where she ended her battle with brain cancer this weekend. Or take Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, a man in his fifties in reasonably good health who nonetheless says he hopes to to die by 75.

Emmanuel insists he isn’t “talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide,” both of which he more or less opposes; he’s hoping to die by that age to avoid years of discomfort, when he imagines he will no longer feel his life to be worth living.

Right now, there is no prominent mind suggesting that adults should have the right to choose whether or not to be alive. (The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to suicide, in 1997.) If you are looking for a powerful voice to take up Maynard's mantle and argue for legal assisted suicide, Dr. Atul Gawande's Being Mortal may not be the book for you.

It's not that Gawande lands on the other side of the debate, with the stalwarts who believe human beings shouldn't tamper with their fate, even in the case of extreme pain. Rather, the surgeon and frequent contributor to The New Yorker falls somewhere in the middle, with a sort of non-stance on the issues that have surfaced once again in the conversation about end-of-life care.

Instead, Gawande presents a detailed, but highly readable history of how the meaning of death has changed over the past fifty or sixty years. He presents this history in the careful voice of a medical professional, but textured with the stories of older people he's met through his family and his practice.

His grandfather, who aged and died in India, plays a prominent role, as does his wife's grandmother, Alice, and a handful of his patients. All of them confront the same issues -- descent into fragility, a first fall, new dependence on family, choosing a nursing home -- and through them, what could be a sociology text becomes a sympathetic story about a time many of us will reach someday that seems frightening, but also holds the potential for feeling fulfilled.

These stories within the story help Gawande drive home the crucial point at the center of his book: that throughout the developed world, our approach to death has completely changed in just a few generations. And with that change come a host of new questions.

Gawande’s grandfather, a farmer in a village 300 miles outside Mumbai, India, had what the surgeon calls an “idyllic,” “premodern” experience of aging. Even when he became frail to the point where nowadays, Americans would put him in a nursing home, his relatives didn’t prevent him from going out by himself or doing anything that he wanted to do. When (and if) he returned home, they’d dutifully tend to him. Family was simply expected to care for an elder.

Importantly, this grandfather also had “three wives, all of whom he outlived,” and 13 children. Without them, his high-quality old age would not have been possible.

Several centuries ago, the elderly in Europe enjoyed similar treatment. “Children typically left home as soon as they were old enough to start families of their own,” Gawande writes. “But one child usually remained, often the youngest daughter.”

Providing in-home care to parents and grandparents usually wasn’t –- and isn’t, where it persists –- a responsibility spread evenly across the family. Young women are often charged with the old and the sick, even if these duties prevent them from having families or choosing occupations of their own. The “idyllic” situation isn’t really so idyllic for everyone, probably even in the case of the grandfather.

Gawande acknowledges that moving the elderly out of the multi-generational household is a victory –- not only for the nuclear family, which lacks the time, the money, and the desire to keep aging relatives at home, but also for older folks. As it turns out, financially secure seniors prefer not to live with their children.

But it’s also no accident that the move to the nursing home coincided with the 50- or 60-year period of women’s liberation. Being Mortal touches on this co-occurrence only briefly. To be rid of the elderly was a needed precondition for work outside the home: a huge triumph for women.

The rise of the nursing home ushered in a brave new world for older people and their families. In order to be attractive to elders, the facilities designed for them had to be positive places with minimal death-talk. Instead, facilities and hospitals began treating dying like an illness that could be cured. Gawande writes that in today’s climate, patients and doctors insist on optimism to a degree where they would rather risk dangerous surgery than buckle down for a tough conversation.

“Old age is not a diagnosis," he argues. We've reached a "new normal" where people are so afraid to talk about death that they agree to interventions that shorten or ruin a patient's remaining time.

They also incur high costs to the public health system. Currently, nearly thirty percent of Medicare dollars are spent on patients in their last six months of life, so that 5 percent of Americans account for half of public health expenditure. Gawande observes that if the elderly had to pay these costs out of pocket, that would change the cost-benefit equation for families and probably reduce the number of adults choosing to undergo major surgeries in their last year.

Rather than tell patients when they should stop trying to be cured or weigh in on "death with dignity," Gawande focuses on the question of how to make older people's remaining time feel meaningful.

People make different choices depending on how much time they think they have left, he writes. Planning ahead for a long future, younger people often seek out new relationships and ideas. But what makes life worth living for older people, especially once they can’t take care of themselves?

In Being Mortal, Gawande is surprised when one of his patients, a professor considered to be a serious intellectual, tells the surgeon he wants to live as long as he can watch football and eat chocolate ice cream. For some, small pleasures are enough of a raison d'être. For others, the answer isn't so simple. Gawande doesn't even address the contingent of people who would rather not experience the decline and loss of independence that come with aging.

Gawande makes several recommendations about how to make the last years meaningful for the people who are approaching death. Choice and responsibility, he argues, underlie how people find meaning in their last years. He traces the history of assisted living, and the first assisted-living facility where inmates could choose to smoke or eat candy. Something like that could work, within reason, he writes. Homes where inmates are given charge of a pet bird or a plant -- also good.

However, Gawande never seems to question his assumption that meaning is something to be given and taken away, something that can be tinkered into existence through small interventions and changes in policy. Certainly this is true to a point; in studies he cites in his book, nursing-home inmates report being happier when they have an animal to feed or a plant to water. But he doesn't consider that for some sick people, once strength and independence go, no trick could make them feel fulfilled.

Gawande's "ideal" is for patients to live lives that are long and comfortable, until they end, painlessly. He believes that this scenario is achievable through the use of medicine we have already, without legalizing physician-assisted suicide -- a term buried 250 pages into the book.

“What I think [of her decision to have assisted suicide] is that our health system has failed Brittany Maynard,” Gawande said in a HuffPost Live interview earlier this month. "She can't count on the idea that, as her symptoms progress, that she would be prevented from having suffering … that her priorities will be met."

Why should she have to count on medicine, if she preferred to count on herself? That is the question Being Mortal won't answer.

article written by Amanda Gutterman for the Huffington Post


8 Things Learned From Jennifer Lopez's Book 'True Love'

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 9:38am

Okay, so we know she's real, we know she's still Jenny from the block and we know her love don't cost a thing. But we can still learn a thing (or eight) about Jennifer Lopez from new book, "True Love," which was officially released on Tuesday. Check out a copy from your Library.

Here are 8 surprising facts about J.Lo, as revealed in her memoir:


1. Lopez writes that the first thing Marc Anthony ever said to her was, "One day you're going to be my wife." That was back in 1998, backstage when he was performing on Broadway in "The Capeman." Anthony's vision came true six years later, when the two tied the knot in 2004 before splitting in 2011.

2. Speaking of predicting the future, she visited a psychic in Toronto while filming "Angel Eyes" and he cried during his reading with her.

'I'm telling you,' he said. 'Going on tour will change your life. It will change everything about you.' I looked at him and was shocked to see that he had tears in his eyes. It was so intense, so unexpected, so weird.

3. Lopez got booed while performing at Boston's TD Garden Arena on her Dance Again tour. The reason? One of her many costume changes included a sparkly New York Yankees hat -- "Die-hard Red Sox fans," she wrote. "What are you gonna do?"

4. Turns out, Steven Spielberg is a huge "American Idol" fan. Lopez writes that, during her first season as judge on the singing competition, the famed director approached her at an Oscars party to tell her how much he and his family love the show.

5. According to her calculations, she has more than 60 songs about love or with the word "love" in the title. As Lopez noted:

"If You Had My Love," "Could This Be Love," "No Me Ames" "Love Don't Cost A Thing" "I Need Love" "I, Love' "Baby I Love U!," "Loving You," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

6. Her mom once shot the paparazzi with a watergun. During some downtime before a performance in Paris, Lopez, her mom, and her two children were enjoying a day at a park when Lopez felt the photographers were getting too close. After grabbing one of the children's toy waterguns, Lopez's mother proceeded to spray the paparrazi with water, effectively chasing them away.

7. Lopez writes that she watched "Something's Gotta Give" 10 times to help her get through her divorce with Marc Anthony. "Thank God for Nancy Meyers [the film's writer and director], because that vision helped me get through some really tough nights."

8. Lopez completed a triathlon on a whim in 2008. "Now, understand, I had never done a triathlon before," she wrote. "I had run a 10k when I was 12, but never anything close to a triathlon. On the morning of the race, as I was standing there surrounded by a thousand paparazzi, about to jump into the ocean, I realized that this probably wasn't the best idea I ever had."

(Don't worry, guys: she ended up finishing the half-mile swim, 18-mile bike ride and 4-mile run in an impressive time of 2 hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds.)

article written by Lauren Zupkus for the Huffington Post


The Results of the Impact Survey are in

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:21pm

Remember back in September when your Library asked you to take a survey to help us understand your needs and how you use the Library resources and services? The survey asked you about how you use library technology services like public computers, wireless networks, online resources, digital literacy training, as well as outcome oriented use in the following areas:domains

Thank you for taking the survey.

Interested in the results? Here's a summary of the results and the comprehensive report.

Big Library Read: Chat with Andrea Portes

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:57am

new-circle-Andrea-PortesOn Monday, I had the opportunity to speak with our Big Library Read author, Andrea Portes. We chatted about Anatomy of a Misfit, where her motivation comes from, her writing habits and much more. She also shared her favorite memories about her libraries growing up and offered advice to aspiring writers.

We started with a question that readers around the world (and around our office!) kept asking: Is Anatomy of a Misfit autobiographical? Andrea wanted everyone to know that yes, this is the story of her high school experience. I won’t give away any spoilers, in case you haven’t made it to the end just yet, but she informed me that the ending that moved us all did actually happen. Her community, however, acted like nothing ever happened and so writing this book was her way of fulfilling a promise to make sure the world knew the story.

When asked about whether or not she let her family know about this book ahead of time, she jokingly told me that she made sure her siblings were aware of it and that she just tells her dad not to read anything she writes so that they never have an awkward interaction about it. She told me that some of her favorite memories form her childhood were going to her small Nebraska library and that her favorite place in the whole world was her father’s library growing up. She also provided some great advice: never throw away old books! You’ll never know when you’ll look back and wish you had those old copies.

When I asked Andrea about her writing process, she says that it varies from day to day. She said that while she tries to make sure she has some structured writing sessions, you can’t help when inspiration hits you and so many of her notes end up being on napkins and old receipts. She also mentioned that she typically will write her endings at least three times before being happy with where it’s at. When asked what she would tell aspiring writers, the biggest piece of advice was to be patient and flexible. Writing something large in scope is difficult; you don’t need to do the entire story in one sitting, and often times ideas will come to you halfway through that will change the course of what you’re writing. It’s best to allow these changes to happen.

Anatomy of a Misfit is available to users of libraries that signed up for Big Library Read without any wait lists or holds through October 28. To learn more about Andrea Portes or the Big Library Read program, check out

written by Adam Sockel, Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive. Andrea Portes has just been added to his celebrity crush list.

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