Word Art by Steve Garfield, Creative Commons license

Word Art by Steve Garfield, Creative Commons license

Which words entered the English language around the same time you entered the world? Use the  OED birthday word generator to find out! Click the relevant decade at the top of the box and then look to the left to click on your birth year.

Without giving away my birth year (a blogger has to have a few secrets, after all), a few of the words that were born around the same time as me include people-watch and rockumentary.

If life had gone according to my plans at age 14, I’d be the president of the United States right now. How fortunate failure can be.

Ukraine. ISIS. Israel/Palestine. Iran. Ebola. China’s challenges. Energy crises. Climate change. A nation deeply divided over social issues. On and on. Just how crazy do you have to be to really want to be president these days? Or is it a level of dedication to public service most of us can’t comprehend?

In a few months, they’ll be out there. As soon as the mid-term elections are over, they’ll be running openly just as hard as they are running coyly today. And within a year of victory, the winner will surely be wondering what she or he was ever thinking.

Still, the strong can survive. There are books about leaders who have come through situations more dire than those today. George Washington’s greatest crises confronted him before he became president, when time and again the Revolutionary War could have been lost without his courage and steady resolve.  The story is told in Bruce Chadwick’s George Washington’s War: The Forging of a Revolutionary Leader and the American Presidency.

Abraham Lincoln had no assurance of victory in the Civil War until late 1864, but his worst times must have been in 1862, when he barely kept Great Britain from allying with the Confederacy, he and his generals blew opportunities to win the war, he struggled to resolve the slavery issue and he lost a beloved son to illness. A depressed and fallible president is described in William Marvel’s Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, but so are the qualities of endurance and vision that ultimately prevailed.

And then there was FDR. ISIS shocks us today, but they’re not yet on a par with the Rape of Nanking or the death camps. And difficult as it is for President Obama to contemplate working with Syria or Iran in the current crisis, Franklin Roosevelt — perhaps somewhat gullibly — did all he could to help the Soviet Union, at its Stalinist worst, to defeat the Third Reich — at the same time destroying the fearsome Empire of Japan. Roosevelt’s ability to gradually persuade a reluctant citizenry to bring down Adolf Hitler is described in Steven Casey’s Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War against Nazi Germany.

So, terrible times can be overcome by the right leaders, but, still, if you were Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney, would you really want to be “the most powerful person in the world” in the world we have today?


Hoopla movies brand new

By Nancy

Here are new Hoopla movie titles available online through the library that also happen to be new DVD titles:

Palo Alto  (DVD ordered, but not yet arrived)
Swelter  (DVD)
Heatstroke  (DVD)
Fading Gigolo (Here (possibly best for computers) or Here (possibly best for mobile devices) (DVD)
Cinemanovels  (DVD)
Ping Pong Summer (DVD)
Rob the Mob  (DVD)

It used to be I didn’t expect to find new movie releases on Hoopla.  But I’ve noticed there are more and more new (2014) entertainment titles available.  After putting together the library’s NEW DVDs newsletter, I decided to check out what was new on Hoopla and was surprised to find four titles that were on the most recent new DVDs list were also available on Hoopla.  And even one title that has been ordered on DVD for the collection but hasn’t come in yet was on there!  So if you haven’t looked at Hoopla lately, check it out.  You might be surprised at all of the content that has been added.

The library allows resident ACPL library cardholders (card numbers beginning 21833) to borrow six Hoopla titles per month.  This includes movies and TV show episodes.  Questions?  Email us at ask@acpl.info or call us at 421-1210.


Indonesia via pixabay

The 15-Minute Pulitzers

Just as we often take the liberty of referring to all in-line skates by the specific brand name, Rollerblades, and call all brands of facial tissues, Kleenex, we sometimes refer to coffee as “java” because in the 16th century the Dutch introduced coffee growing in the Java region of Indonesia and the geographical association became the moniker of the drink.  Figuring that out was pretty easy. (Thanks, Wikipedia.  Sorry for the times I’ve been unfair to you.)  What wasn’t so easy was waiting to understand why a book set in Salem, Massachusetts is called Java Head, which is a location in Indonesia very distant from anywhere in Massachussetts.

Well, it turns out, Joseph Hergesheimer’s novel, Java Head, is about a Massachusetts family in the shipping business and the retired grandfather character has named his mansion Java Head to show his continued devotion to the life he spent traveling the seas to distant ports as a ship’s captain.  This story about the grandfather, his wildly different sons, their eccentrically named home, and the tragedies that sometimes occur when East meets West was almost awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1920.  It seems a great disservice that it wasn’t awarded the prize.  A disservice not only because I found the book to be rather masterful, but also because some of the reasoning behind its non-award status involved a spurious debate concerning the book’s “wholesomeness.”  You see, in 1911, when Joseph Pulitzer died, his will used the word “whole” in description of the type of fiction his prize should be awarded to.  By 1916-1917 liberties had been taken and the actual wording for the prize accepted by the Pulitzer Advisory Board included the word “wholesome” instead of “whole,” I quote, “the novel … which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood,” would be given the prize.  Perhaps you can imagine how that shift from Pulitzer’s original “whole atmosphere of American life” to “wholesome atmosphere” could pose a problem for many books.

But what about the story is not “wholesome,” you may ask and why would this be such a preoccupation for the Advisory Board?  To the first, there is an opium addiction, an illegitimate child, and regular ridicule of restrictive moral regulation.  To the second, I only have my imagination.  Why does anyone censor another?

But enough about my imagination.  Read this book.  That’s this juror’s verdict.  The continuous narrative seen from a diorama of different characters’ viewpoints is fascinating, and much of the imagery is captivating.  Besides, who couldn’t use to know a little  more about the history and vocabulary of shipping in the United States and the experiences from it that shaped our cultural heritage.  I mean, like coffee and rhetoric, knowledge is power.

Sunday Smiles: Mad Libs


Who says Mad Libs are just for kids?  Not me — I love them!  If it’s been forever since you’ve done one, here’s your chance.  Fill in the blanks and click this link to see how it plays out.

  • Synonym for new:
  • Sciencey verb:
  • Noun few people have heard of:
  • Something you didn’t invent:
  • Property (as in Characteristic):
  • Number:
  • Number:
  • Units:
  • Name:
  • Buzzword:
  • Supreme Sociological Concern:
  • Buzzword:
  • Buzzword:
  • Buzzword:

Fun, right?  Right?  We have several books in our collection — check them out today!


As a little girl, going to the library was always one of the highlights of my week. We lived just a block or so away from the Georgetown Branch, so my sister and I often walked to the library with my dad. We worked our way through the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books and the Serendipity series and my dad would read to us each night before bed. As I began to read on my own, I got all of the Beverly Cleary titles. My best friend and I visited the library throughout our grade school years and recommended books to each other. Young adolescence brought me Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High novels.

    My sister and I in the Georgetown Library's storytime room, c.1982

My sister and I in the Georgetown Library’s storytime room, c.1982

The library was always a refuge to me. It was a place I could go to read about whatever topic I wanted. It was a place where the librarians knew my name, because they had watched me grow up. I was always a voracious reader, and the library evoked such fond emotion for me; I knew that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. When I realized the true scope of a librarian’s job (not sitting checking books out all day), I was undeterred. I was also interested in all of the other aspects of the job — organization, education, and technology!

I worked part-time at the downtown library through college. I met so many people and loved the hustle and bustle of working downtown (especially with free parking!). Once I received my degree and became a Librarian with a capital L, I worked in the IT department, assisting with technical projects and digitizing historic photographs. When the new downtown library opened after renovation, I worked for five years in the main hall, helping people find what they needed in that giant building. What neat experiences. I was so lucky to enjoy my jobs so much.

But three years ago, I was given the opportunity to return to the Georgetown Branch. Though the space was not the same as when I was a child, it was like returning home. This is still my familiar old haunt, though there is much more light in this beautiful new building. Many of my former neighbors and classmates are patrons who visit, often bringing their own children — the next generation of Georgetown library patrons (and, who knows, maybe the next generation of Georgetown librarians!). I hope to welcome and inspire them and instill the love of reading and knowledge that was planted in me here.

Sara at the Georgetown Library, July 2014

Sara at the Georgetown Library, July 2014

I am SO excited to be here this winter when we be celebrating 10 years since the branch’s renovation.  We will have a big party with music, refreshments, and demonstrations the evening of December 29.  We will also be soliciting photos of the Georgetown area to digitize, preserving our history and sharing the photos with the public.  Please stop by the Georgetown library any time, but especially for our anniversary party.  I look forward to seeing you!

They’re here … well, almost

For your perusal.  Here are a few books that will be coming to a library or store near you.  The release dates for these books are September 15 to October 14, 2014.  And, as before, that date does not reflect the date they will be cataloged at any library.

Historical Romances take place before 1945. A heavy emphasis is placed on the development of a romantic relationship. Subgenres include medievals, American West and regencies.


Jennifer Ashley

Rules for a Proper Governess

Highland Pleasures series
October 7


Grace Burrowes

What a Lady Needs for Christmas

The MacGregors series
October 7


Suzanne Enoch

Alexandra Hawkins

Elizabeth Essex

Valerie Bowman

Christmas Brides

September 30


Karen Hawkins

The Prince Who Loved Me

The Oxenburg Princes series
September 23


Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast

Maiden Lane series
October 14


Sharon Page

An American Duchess

September 30


Maya Rodale

What a Wallflower Wants

Bad Boys and Wallflowers
September 30


Amanda Scott

Moonlight Raider

Border Nights series
September 30


Anne Stuart

Never Marry a Viscount

Scandal at the House of Russell series
September 23

Continue Reading »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 516 other followers

%d bloggers like this: