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If you could see all of the activity around me today, you would know that the answer to that question is “yes.”  Of course I would say that as a librarian, but the last few days have brought home to me how much our services are needed.

There is so much information available on the internet that people need someone to sort through information for them.  Librarians find creditable sources and libraries pay to use online databases that the general public cannot afford as individual  subscriptions.  Yesterday I showed a mother the Tumblebooks link on our kids page.  With a computer, children can see the pages of picture books on which the words are highlighted while the computer reads the text aloud.  I also explained the Maker Lab to a very excited patron.These are two of the many resources you can access with your library card.  We offer e-books and audiobooks that can be downloaded to your mp3 player through Overdrive, streaming movies from Hoopla, magazines through Flipster, music downloads through Freegal and a language learning program called Mango.  All of these services can be accessed from home through whatever internet device you own.

We currently have two terrific apps for your mobile device: the ACPL mobile app lets you browse the catalog, check the events calendar, store your library card info and renew books with a touch of your screen; the family app has games, information and much more to offer to parents of young children.  You currently need to have an Apple device to access the family app, but I’m told it will be available for android in the future.

Libraries are gathering points for the community.  Parents attend the same story times each week with their children and make friends with other parents.  Groups use our meeting rooms for quilting, dance, yoga, scrap-booking and, of course, meetings.  ACPL has its own theater and art gallery. There are also live music concerts throughout the year.  This summer ACPL again offers Rock the Plaza concerts outdoors on Saturday evenings.  Oh, by the way, we also have books.

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Unpopular opinions can be on any topic, and we all have them, but maybe pop culture is the most enjoyable place to compare them. We here at Allen County Public Library have a few of our own and are happy to share them with you. Please understand we are all human and can be wrong, but in these cases, we’re not! — Evan

Megan:

Big Bang TheoryI seriously cannot stand The Big Bang Theory. While every one else is all like, “Penny, Penny, Penny,” I’m like “enough already.” Sheldon drives me crazy and I find nothing humorous about him. I know some folks will want to throw things at me for feeling this way, but I cannot help it. I have tried on numerous occasions to sit down and watch this show that has won awards, and inspired Wil Wheaton (childhood crush) and Mayim Bialik (loved Blossom) to return to television but I cannot get through one episode. I end up with a blank stare on my face wondering why I thought I needed to put myself through this. I guess I keep thinking I am missing something and if I try again a light bulb will come on and it’ll all make sense. Sooooo not the case. I have come to the conclusion this show and I will never, ever be friends and that is OK. I am done trying.

You may ready your tomatoes now, but wait to throw them. I have one more opinion to share.

If I am airing my dirty laundry, I might as well be completely honest. I do not understand America’s fascination with the songstress Taylor Swift. I do not enjoy her music, I do not enjoy watching her perform onstage whilst whipping her hair around like a maniac, nor do I care for her saccharine sweet personality that seems a bit overdone and not entirely genuine. I just want the girl to eat a cheeseburger and drink a beer, the burger for the calories, and the beer for a little bit of honesty. Perhaps then I would see what the rest of the free world sees and sing her praises from the mountaintops, but for now I will simply accept I am part of the minority and keep jamming to my girls Lady Gaga and Pink.

Throw away.

Carol:

I have a couple of gripes with recent Disney movies.  Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty was my all time favorite “bad wicked.”  First of all, her name is a blend of malevolent and magnificent.  Does it get much better than that?  Her fight with Prince Charming is perfect.  Now we have a movie telling the story from her point of view.  It was fun, but she isn’t Maleficent at the end of the movie.  I mourned for her beautifully wicked nature.  I did, however, like the fact that Maleficent showed that Cinderella living apart from her parents for her first 16 years was a very bad idea.

Frozen DVDFrozen was about the same:  Elsa was supposed to be the wicked Ice Queen when the movie was envisioned.  Then they listened to “Let it Go,” and decided it was too good for an evil character.  They completely re-wrote the script so that Elsa was Anna’s sister.  It’s a cute show, but lacks the usual Villain-Who-Must-Be-Overcome.  It might as well be one of the straight to DVD sequels to movies like Aladdin or CinderellaBrave was my favorite of the recent princesses who don’t need to be rescued by a man.  The reason Disney cartoons are so popular is the fact that the villains create real tension by being truly bad.  Don’t give me wishy-washy bad guys.

David:

When you ask somebody what type of music they like, or look on a social media profile to find out what someone rocks out to, too often you see a phrase like, “Anything except rap and country” or “I like anything unless there’s screaming.”  Really?  I think it’s OK to not be that into music.  It’s OK to simply say, “I’ll listen to whatever is on the pop station.”  What gets to me is the “I’ll listen to anything” response tries to make people look progressive and open-minded, but without showing any passion or knowledge of the subject.  That’s not open-minded, that’s just boring.  Also, if there’s an extra qualifier, that person is probably just not very creative with describing their taste.  “I’ll listen to anything but…”  I’m guessing there are many types of music out there that you would just hate, you just don’t know it yet.  Oh, so Gregorian chants are OK?  How about some hurdy-gurdy music?  Heck, give Merzbow a try.  It’s far from rap or country, I promise.  I’ll stress again, whatever musical taste you have is perfectly fine, but when you give a milquetoast answer like “anything but rap and country,” you needn’t have bothered.  Just give one concrete example.  Just say Katy Perry and own it rather than an open-ended nothing of an answer.

Evan:

The dirty little no-secret-at-all about the upcoming Game of Thrones TV season is that it will deviate more from the books than previous seasons have because books four and five just weren’t as good as the first three. I’m talking about the first five novels in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, of which A Game of Thrones was the first. Two more books are planned.

Feast for CrowsAgreed, the fourth and fifth books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, are not as much fun to read as the others. The plotting is not as tight and compelling, and there are cases of overwritten scene-setting and repetitive dialog. Plus, the twain are reportedly the result of Martin’s decision to turn what was intended to be a single, gigantic fourth book into two books that are merely enormous. The concept didn’t quite work.

All of that said, if you are into the series, read the books. Crows is almost an anti-war novel, with its many lurid, disturbing images of what war does to people. In Dragons, the popular characters Daenerys and Jon demonstrate painfully how leaders can act with the best of intentions and still create chaos. Both books use a fantasy version of medieval Eurasia to richly portray what life was like in the real thing. Both also work into the psyches of complex, conflicted people making momentous decisions. And, some day, all those additional cities and people in Crows and Dragons will be justified by the grand scope of the concluding novels. I hope.

Craig:

I don’t like tacos.  Sigh.  They don’t hold together, the crispy shell stabs the roof of my mouth, and the pico de gallo never, never stays where I want it to.  That said, I love most other incarnations of Mexican food (I once ate a burrito a day for two years) and I’m totally OK with taco salad.  It’s fork-friendly.  What more can I say?

Cheryl:

I don’t get Bob Dylan. I have never seen the appeal and barely understand his mumbled lyrics. Some fans worship him as a once-in-a-lifetime troubadour/poet/prophet, but I don’t get it. I give Dylan credit for the folk classic, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” written in 1962, the the funky, “Things Have Changed,” from the movie, Wonder Boys in 2000. That song won and deserved the “Best Original Song” Academy Award and I actually understood the lyrics! His compositions and recordings between those two songs are lost on me.
And I couldn’t get into the Harry Potter books. I gave the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a 50-page try. I feel that any book deserves a 50-page try and if it hasn’t captured my interest enough to make me want to keep reading, it’s gone. Sorry, Harry, you had plenty of fans without me.
Sara:
I can’t get into Elijah Wood. Ever since I saw him as the freaky Kevin in Sin City, that villain with the freaky eyes is all I conjure when I see him. Someone just recommended I watch Everything Is Illuminated, but I am reluctant since he stars in it, and the image of him on the cover has the similar freaky-eye thing going on.everything is illuminated
Robin Williams is another actor who is not my favorite. It seems wrong to say that after he is gone, but it’s true. Though my friend Kristin did talk me into watching The Birdcage recently. Honestly, it was great. But Robin was actually subdued for once, and not as out there as Nathan Lane, who was fabulous.

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