Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Al Sharpton Visit

You might have heard that civil rights activist Al Sharpton will be visiting Fort Wayne. He will be speaking at Come as You Are Community Church on September 21st, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. It’s no secret that Sharpton is pretty polarizing. Whatever your views of the man, if you’d like to read more about the issues he will likely address, try one of these books.



John A. Rich is a doctor who interviewed dozens of African American men affected by urban violence. In Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black MenRich laments the fact that we as a society have come to see urban black violence as “normal” – even inevitable. He reminds us that these young men – even the ones that many people think “deserve” their injuries – are scarred by the violence and trauma they see on a daily basis. Like any of us, these young men and boys feel fear, loss, abandonment, and sorrow. If we just listen, we can learn so much from their stories.

The New alexanderJim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander argues that mass incarceration in America has taken over the role of Jim Crow laws designed to control and hinder the progress of young black men. Alexander cites statistics to show that African American men living in poverty are discriminated against in all phases of the legal process – policing, prosecuting, conviction, and sentencing.


Ta-Nehisi Coates’ beautifully written Between the World and Me is a letter to his teenage son – a letter filled with rage over what it means to be a black man in America. This book is on the bestseller list, so the library’s copies are probably all checked out. While waiting for a copy, you might start with The Beautiful Struggle, a fascinating look at Coates’ youth in urban Baltimore. Flirting with street life and ignoring school work, Coates found himself moving in another, more positive direction after becoming “Conscious” by discovering his African roots.

rileyJason Riley believes that well-intentioned social welfare programs actually hold black Americans back. In Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to SucceedRiley claims that social welfare programs have destroyed the black nuclear family and discouraged blacks’ financial self-sufficiency. He argues that liberal policies have only encouraged African Americans to embrace victimhood and entitlement – and that the solution is for white liberals to step away and allow black Americans to take responsibility for their future.


In Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country, Shelby Steele makes the case that liberal politicians exaggerate claims of racial inequality in order to justify overreaching public welfare programs. Steele argues that affirmative action and other programs have fostered a sense of victimization among black Americans and that it’s only through a return to personal freedom and merit-based competition that our society will achieve equality.

shapiroBen Shapiro’s Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans criticizes Sharpton, calling him a “race bully” and blaming him for inciting hatred and riots. Shapiro accuses Sharpton and other liberals of using bullying in the form of false accusations of sexism and racism in order to demonize conservatives and claim the moral high ground.



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You lived it, you own it

I’m listening to a book that reminds me how I helped cause the financial collapse of 2007-2008. (Maybe you did, too.) I just finished a book that reminded me how I helped cause the oil crisis of the 1970s. (You’re probably too young to share that blame.) And of course just about everything I read of late reminds me how I’m helping to cause climate change. (Yes, you, too.) All the Devils

It’s one thing to read history from before you were an adult; it’s just not your fault. But once you are an adult — especially in a country as free as ours — you get a degree of responsibility for the way your culture develops and your political leaders act — even if you voted against them.

My current book is All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. Ever since I found out that the house my wife and I sold with surprising ease in 2001 went into foreclosure only a few years later, I’ve figured we were among the “winners” in the great mortgage racket of the past generation, even though we’d never heard of such a thing at the time.

As for the oil crisis, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper took me back to the days when Western economies were on the brink of collapse because we consumed so much oil and prices were rising. My wife and I had driven our new car 36,000 miles just before the first oil embargo, and we didn’t cut back all that much even when prices soared. If that big old sedan got 20 miles a gallon, I’d be surprised.

And, of course, we continue driving and driving, like other Americans. One of my sons and I even drove out to Oregon this year. We drove a hybrid, but we still burned a lot of gas. Maybe I don’t bear as much responsibility for climate change as the members of Congress who vote against higher fuel efficiency requirements, but I don’t ride a bike. One of the new books I ought to be reading is What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action by Per Espen Stoknes.

Few of us are big-time decision makers, but how each of us lives adds to the total picture our leaders use when they make decisions that will affect us and our descendants. We may be products of our culture, but we all help create it as well.

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When you can see new Oscar winners on library DVDs

The librarians who purchase movies for the library try to stay tuned in to the latest and greatest in pop culture.  I began buying movies at the Georgetown branch when I moved to my new position this summer.  As such, I now consider it part of my job to watch awards shows. 🙂  This year’s Oscar ceremony was so fun to watch.  Stars abounded (of course!), the musical acts were great (Lady Gaga killed it!, “Glory” from Selma brought several to tears), and the speeches were also inspiring (Patricia Arquette and Graham Moore were my favorites).

Below is a list of this year’s Academy Award winners, with links to the library catalog.  Most of these movies, since they are considered entertainment, check out for three days.  Unfortunately, they may not be placed on hold to send to another branch to pickup, though you may return them to any ACPL location.  The good news is that lack of holds makes the turnaround time on 3-day movies much quicker.  Our 3-day movies can be renewed (in person, over the phone, or online) one time for an additional three days.

Some of these titles have not yet been released on DVD/Blu-Ray. We do have them on order, and they will appear in the library’s catalog listed as On Order or Available Soon closer to their release date.  The shorts and documentary winners are not yet available for us to purchase. If you want to see those, you’ll have to pay to stream them online through Amazon.

2015 Oscar Winners

birdmangrand budapest hotelboyhoodida
crisis hotline veterans press 1

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discoverysettlem00fils_0010Book Review:  The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke by John Filson.

~Contributed by Jeff, Internet Archive

Written in 1784, this book’s an oldie but a goodie!  While not part of ACPL’s print collection, we digitized it, and it can be read online by clicking the title or the cover image.

The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke  came to us from the University of Pittsburgh’s Darlington Collection.  One of the many fascinating things about this book is that a previously unknown letter written by Daniel Boone was discovered inside this volume when we digitized it!

This book is a fascinating account of Daniel Boone’s adventures, his dealings with the Indians including his capture and his escape, and his impressions of their lifestyle and culture.  Click here to skip ahead to a brief mention of the “Mawmee” Indians.

If you like regional history, this book’s definitely worth a read!  And if you’re interested in an overview of the Internet Archive itself, click here.

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No news will be bad news

Will the Last ReporterIt’s old news by now that the news industry itself is struggling to make money, which is to say struggling to stay alive. Lots of news is freely available on the Internet, even though a lot of those websites are mostly just using news reported by someone else. But consider this list of huge news stories from 2014, one bumping the other off the front page seemingly every day, and you have to appreciate the skill — and often the courage — of journalists who are paid by a real news organization to go out and report complex and dramatic stories that shape our understanding of the world.

— The airliner that disappeared and has never been found.

— Russia’s takeover of Crimea and the airliner shot down near there.

— Court actions legalizing gay marriage in many states, including Indiana.

— The abduction of the Nigerian school girls.

— The eruption of ISIS.

— Professional football players beating up women.

— The terror of Ebola.

— Race relations in the wake of deaths in Missouri and New York.

— President Obama taking controversial executive actions on immigration.

— Threats by possibly foreign hackers causing the cancellation of a Hollywood movie.

— The collapse of oil prices.

— Obama surprisingly restarting diplomatic relations with Cuba.

People can feel overwhelmed when there are so many important and/or interesting stories happening at the same time, but a key job for editors is deciding what stories have the most timely combination of importance and interest for their audience. Just as it takes money to hire and support reporters in the field, it takes money to edit the stories and present them in ways that the public can best use them.

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights by Robert W. McChesney and Victor Pickard is one of many efforts in recent years to deal with the collapse of the old journalism business models in the Internet age. Something new has to emerge, or we’ll be down to rumors. Sure, journalism is imperfect, but so is every other occupation. Getting it done right requires subscriptions, donations, investments — some kind of financial support. If we want reporting we can trust, we need to help pay for it.


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Diabetes and DADs

The Allen County Public Library has many books about health and disease on its shelves. Since November is National Diabetes Month, I am going to focus on diabetes. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 79 million have prediabetes and are at risk of developing the disease.  There are many other diseases and diagnoses that people come to the library to research.  Diabetes is just the example. If you have questions about researching any health topics, please contact Ask a Librarian.

lifesaving labradorsThis is the fourth and final entry in a series about diabetes, and it is the one I am most excited about because I am planning to add a DAD (Diabetes Alert Dog) to my life in the near future.

Service dogs have been in use for many years as guide dogs to the blind and as military and police animals to sniff-out drugs and explosives, but formal training for guide dogs did not begin until 1975. Other types of service animal training for individuals has developed since that time.  In 2011 the ADA (Americans with  Disabilities Act) defined it as:  “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. … The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.”Hero Dogs

Service dogs are used to alert someone with diabetes when they are having changes in blood glucose (bg) — usually before even a continuous glucose monitor picks up the changes.  We’re pretty sure they can smell changes in blood glucose, but scientists have not been able to prove that. They are trained to scent both low and high bg using dental cotton that the person with diabetes has filled with saliva during episodes of low and high bg. DADs wear a harness when they are working, like many other service dogs.  They will use whatever signal they are taught to use to alert their person (a paw on the knee or a nose in the hand) and not stop alerting until they see that the person is responding.  If their persons do not respond, the dogs tend to look for someone else (usually a family member) to notify.  They will go so far as to roll a person out of bed if he or she is not responding.  DADs save lives.  I won’t be getting a dog until next December, but I am getting very excited about the idea.  This will give me some freedom from worry.  My family will be relieved, too.  I have had several incidences at night where my insulin pump failed, usually because of problems with the tubing.  A dog would have alerted me much sooner that I had a problem and I would not have had blood glucose readings higher than my meter could read.  foundThat’s a pretty scary experience.

Going too low can be just as scary and dangerous.  Children in particular have blood glucose readings that swing dramatically from one extreme to another.  People who have had diabetes for a long time also have problems with control and complications. A DAD will alert any time you are going low or high, and if both the individual with diabetes and the dog are properly trained, it can help prevent accidents such as those due to driving with high or low blood glucose.

DADs are companions as well as lifesavers.  They make it more possible for people with diabetes to live alone and for students to go to college without their parents constantly worrying about their well being.  Parents are still going to worry, but a DAD will take some of the edge off the worry.

I hope these four posts have taught you a little about diabetes.  They should also have shown you some of the many ways you can find information at the library.  We have books, journal articles, government websites, videos, computers, and more.  If you are having trouble finding what you need, a reference librarian will be happy to help you get reliable information.  Please remember that researchers for any disease need funds, so if you have a cause that you feel strongly about, please consider donating to the cause of your choice.

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Starting today, you will see big changes in the way you search for books and other items on our website. When you go to our catalog, there will be a new interface called Enterprise, and it has a lot of helpful new features. (To take a quick look, click here http://alpl.ent.sirsi.net/client/default .)

Right on the first page, there’s a drop-down box that gives you a bunch of lists of the most popular titles around the country — even manga!

Not only can you make your own lists of titles that interest you, but you can text them or email them to yourself or your friends. Or you can text a link to the detailed catalog page about a particular item.

One of my favorites — as an impatient person — is that you can limit your search to only items that are available right now and skip all the stuff that’s already checked out or we haven’t even received yet. If you do have a little bit of patience, you can see how many holds the title already has and compare that to the number of copies we own so you can decide whether you want to make that title one of your five precious holds.

Even better, you can limit your search to items available right now at your branch.

If you don’t like to type, you may appreciate that the new system will respond to the first letters you type with suggestions of what you are seeking.

Let’s say you have a book that is due and you forgot where you put it or even what it looks like. As of today, the list of books in your account shows the covers.

Maybe you want a book on a certain subject, but you want it only in non-fiction, or perhaps in fiction. Either way, now you can specify that. Equally helpful,  you can can specify that you want material for children, young adults or adults?


At ACPL? Surely not!

Well, OK, so far you can’t use the system to ask us to purchase a book, but we are working on it and hope the final process will be much like the old one. In the meantime, of course, you can ask a librarian to submit a request for you.

Some of the publication dates on the lists of items are wrong. Click into the actual item record for better information for now, but we’re working on that one, too.

And you’ll probably have to practice a bit to get used to the Include / Exclude  options along the left side of the page when you are searching. When you change the search terms, it wipes out the options you chose and you’ll need to repeat or adjust them.

For several days, if you have a problem with the new system or want to make a copy of your My Discoveries lists, you’ll still be able to use the old system by going to http://smartcat.acpl.lib.in.us .

Mainly, though, as with any new complex software, there are bound to be glitches and hassles. We hope you’ll be patient in the days and weeks ahead and let librarians know of any problems our staff may need to address. Once we all get accustomed to the changes, Enterprise will let you boldly search in ways you have not searched before.ENTERPRISE_NEW



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