Election Day is Here (finally…)

It seems like it’s been going on forever (especially if you live in Iowa and have been inundated with politics since the very beginning with the first caucus) but the Presidential election is drawing to a close today. Now, after all the talk and debate, it’s time to exercise one of the basic principles of democracy – casting your vote for the candidate of your choice. It’s a right that we’ve struggled to provide to everyone in this country (most notably women and African Americans) and it’s a right that millions of people around the world still do not have. A lot of people have fought very hard for you to be able to vote today – don’t let their hard work be forgotten.

Of course, maybe you’ve already cast your vote – record numbers of people voted early this year, including here in Scott County. If you’ve already voted – good job! If you’re voting today but aren’t sure what your precinct is or where your polling place is located, visit the Scott County Auditor’s Precinct Search, a handy dandy search engine that will give you the info you need.

Now get out there and vote!

Missing by Karin Alvtegen

This great crime novel is translated from Swedish which adds a different flavor to the story. Certain things get added during translation or become more interesting when taken from slang. Sibylla the main character in Missing comes from a privleged background yet has chosen a life of the homeless in Stockholm. Brief snippets from Sibylla’s disturbing past help explain her modern day predicament. Her everyday struggle becomes almost unbearable after she is unjustly accused of a brutal murder. The story continues to pick up speed as Sibylla struggles to stay alive and hidden all the while trying to find the real killer with the help of a high school misfit. Great writer – I was easily transported into Sibylla’s world. The murder plot is well developed and unexpected.

Karin Alvtegen has received and been nominated for several literary awards. Interestingly she is the great-grand niece of the “Pippi Longstocking” series author, Astrid Lindgren.

Energy Management — Improve Your Home

October is a great time to get your house ready for winter. You know the drill — have your furnace checked, caulk up those drafty holes, clear out those gutters. But with heating bills sure to rise, it may also be time for an energy audit. In the Quad Cities, Mid-America supplies both gas and electric energy to most homes, but they also offer this service, called EnergyAdvantage Home Check. You do need to make an appointment, but they will come to your home and offer energy-saving suggestions. At my house, the person doing the energy audit not only gave us new lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, he actually took the time to install them! I don’t know if this is standard service or not, but I was very impressed with this service.

In the meantime, if your looking for other ideas on how to save energy around your house, check out these new titles at the library:

Greening Your Home: Sustainable Options for Every System in Your House by Clayton Bennett. This slim paperback is loaded with ideas for changing your lifestyle, as well as for using new technology (such as low-flow faucets) to save time, energy and money.

50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming is another easy-read paperback with very practical tips. For example, Step #8 – Unplug your chargers. Did you know that 95% of the energy used by mobile phone chargers is wasted? I didn’t.

Energy Crossroads: a Burning Need to Change Course. This is a new DVD that, according to the cover jacket, “comprehensively covers the key aspects of the energy/environment/economy dilemma.”

2 1/2 Weeks to a New President

…but you don’t have to wait until then to get the job done.

The Fairmount Street library is a satellite voting location for the upcoming general election. This means that from today through November 1st you can walk in and cast your ballot early. You can avoid the November 4th hustle, and while you’re at it, enjoy the library for a bit. For a list of Scott county satellite voting times and locations, click here:

The Scott County Auditor’s office website has a sample ballot, a search engine to determine your polling place, and a section where they will tally the results.

You have 5 more days (Deadline Oct 25th) to register if you haven’t already.

Like shopping the day after Thanksgiving, some folks really get a kick out of being in the thick of things and pulling the curtain on the big day. And then there are some of us that would rather sleep. What do you think?

The Flexitarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner

You know you should be eating better, you’ve read the articles about eating more vegetables and maybe you need to lose a couple pounds. But making a major change in your eating habits can be difficult – and maybe you’re not quite ready to give up that Thanksgiving turkey or steaks on the grill.

The Flexitarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner will show you how to make simple changes without brow-beating or guilt. Her rules: eat more plants, and do the best that you can. That’s it! Anyone can do that. Jackson offers alternatives and simple ways to slip more healthful eating into your daily routine, but doesn’t criticize choices. Focus is on five main areas – meat alternatives (although meat is still “allowed”), fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and sugar and spice. A series of simple recipes and exercise tips round out the book.

No more excuses – start getting healthier the fun and painless way!

Columbus Day

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Happy Columbus Day, where we celebrate the discovery of the North America by Christopher Columbus. Of course, there are many theories about other people that may have gotten here first, and there are several Native American groups that would have an argument about how great this was, but tradition (and the lure of a three-day weekend) keeps us setting aside the second Monday of October in observance of the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Many government offices, banks and schools are closed today, but your Davenport Public Library is still open! We’ll be open our regular Monday hours – 9:30am to 5:30pm at Fairmount, and 12 noon to 8pm at Main for all your information and reading needs, Christopher Columbus-related or not.

Banned Books Week – September 27th-October 4th

written by Tana

Be sure to stop by the library and see our display of Banned Books. You just might be surprised at some of the titles! Many are popular classics which you may have read in high school or college. If not, you may want to read them just to see what all the fuss was about! Here are a few of the titles:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Interestingly enough, the number one “most challenged book of 2007” was a children’s book, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It is based on a true story of two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo that adopt an abandoned penguin egg and care for it together until it hatches.

For more information about Banned Books Week, related events and a complete list of frequently banned books be sure to check out the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week information center.

As American as Apple Pie

Happy 234th Birthday to Johnny Appleseed! Of course, Johnny’s no longer around to celebrate with us, but his legacy of introducing apples to America, especially in the Ohio Valley region, continues.

Born in Massachusetts, Johnny Chapman spent his adult life wandering what was then just-settled frontier. The popular view of Johnny Appleseed is that he scattered apple seeds randomly wherever he walked when in fact he was an astute businessman. He established apple tree nurseries, hired local caretakers, then returned every year or two to check on them and collect his fees. Although he was known and loved for his kindness and caring (he would accept food or used clothing instead of cash, and gave away most of his belongings to people in need), his estate was worth millions when he died.

September is a great time to be thinking about apples – locally grown apples are now available at the Farmer’s Markets (Washington is the leading producer of apples in America but Iowa is no slouch when it comes to apples – the Red Delicious apple was discovered in Peru, Iowa in 1880; originally named “Hawkeye”, breeding for color and appearance has altered the original sweet flavor) There are also local orchards that offer retail and pick-your-own sales.

Put those apples to good use in applesauce, tarts and – of course – apple pie. Apple Pie Perfect by Ken Haedrich will provide you with an almost endless supply of apple dessert recipes and gives you excellent tips on creating the perfect crust. The massive Pie, also by Ken Haedrich, provides 300 recipes for all kinds of pies – fruit, berry, nut, ice cream. (And wouldn’t you love to be invited over to Ken’s house for supper?!)

Remember – “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No one said it couldn’t be part of an apple pie!

General Election 2008

In just under two months it will be over. You can a) duck and cover until the smoke clears, or b) eagerly watch how these races are unfolding.

But, you don’t need a network talking head to monitor the gallons of ink and glowing pixels expended on the elections until November 5th…you can check on them yourself in mere seconds.

Zogby and Pollster are impartial data-gatherers with simple and interactive maps refreshed every time new numbers come in.

When the fated day comes, the library receives many calls about where to go to cast a ballot. The answer is found by typing in your address on the Scott County Auditor’s site.

Here are the local contacts for the McCain and Obama Campaigns:

McCain Eastern Iowa Victory Office
1880 E. 54th Street
Davenport, IA 52807
Contact: Amanda Sebastian
asebastian@iowagop.org

Scott County Obama HQ
901 E. Kimberly St
Davenport, IA 52807
563-386-1721

We Remember….9/11/2001

written by Tana

It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years. Still, we remember. We remember those horrifying images: the second plane flying into the World Trade Center, it’s Twin Towers later falling into a roaring cloud of dust, the attack on the Pentagon, and the remains of United Flight 93 littered across a field in Pennsylvania. We especially remember those who lost their lives.

These titles can help.

Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 by the photographers of the New York City Police Department. This volume has haunting aerial photographs with very limited text, proving that a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba. This collection features many first-person accounts of survivors but also includes reflections about others who were not so fortunate.

Heroes: 50 Stories of the American Spirit by Lenore Skomal. These are short, easy reads presented in a respectful manner, making it a worthy tribute.