Love Your Library During a Reading Slump

If you just can’t read a book right now, don’t feel bad! You’re not a worse person because you can’t get yourself to read anything more than a cereal box or social media post. Whether you’re busy with schoolwork, family obligations, or just plain burnt out, you can still love and support your library and be part of our bookish lifestyle without picking up a single book.

Tip #1: Do something cool! Try the TechKnow library (featuring a digital camera, a mobile scanner, Snapchat spectacles, and MUCH more), our collection of board games (from Scrabble to Super Mario Checkers), or a community experience pass to a local museum like the Figge.

Tip #2: Go multimedia! Save some serious money by checking out a new movie (like Till or the new season of You), music CD (maybe Charlie Puth’s latest?), or video game (including PS5 games like Dying Light 2) so you can try before you buy.

Tip #3: Read without reading! Skim a heartwarming graphic novel like Moonstruck, or listen to a book on playaway or CD (pro tip: pick a short one like The Poet X, a 3.5 hour listen) for a quick lit fix. (Disclaimer: these are definitely real books and count as real reading, but since they may be easier than traditional print, I’m including them.)

Tip #4: Just show up! Come exist in our spaces – read magazines and enjoy the view at Eastern, warm up at Fairmount’s fireplace, or schedule a Makerspace tour at Main.

Tip #5: Be social with it! Engage on social media from home — repost our news and events, browse databases and digital resources, and check out challenges in the Beanstack website or app.

However you engage with the library, we appreciate you and we want to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to ride out a reading slump – or your favorite way to love the library?

A Love Letter to Miss Jane Marple

I’m a big Agatha Christie fan (as you may know). But while her Belgian detective gets a lot of limelight (including from award-winning director Kenneth Branagh) I’m increasingly obsessed with her unassuming village spinster Jane Marple. A woman underestimated by many, her keen wisdom about human nature inevitably uncovers the truth. I love her for many reasons, not least for the message (like Father Brown‘s) that kindness, humility, and observant social skills are just as powerful as Poirot’s ego and famed ‘little grey cells’. Miss Marple is also a fantastic role model for self-acceptance: she knows people see her as a doddering old woman, but she’s OK with that; she knows her limits and her abilities and lets them speak for themselves. If you haven’t tried a Miss Marple book before – I highly recommend it! Here are three of my favorite Marple reads to get you started:

In The Moving Finger, the narrator is Jerry, a man recovering from a plane accident. He and his sister come to stay in the town of Lymstock just as a rash of odd poison pen letters starts sweeping the community. The police start methodically searching for the sender, but not before someone dies. When another death follows, the vicar’s wife sends for an expert to help: Jane Marple. This is a fun read because Jerry, while a sympathetic and enjoyable narrator, is slightly oblivious both to the truth of the letters and his own feelings, which lets the wisdom of women shine – not only Miss Marple but also Jerry’s sister Joanna and the vicar’s wife, among others.

4.50 From Paddington is another classic story of women’s intelligence being overlooked. First, Elspeth McGillicuddy happens to see a woman being murdered on a passing train – but no one believes her. Everyone thinks she’s a vaguely hysterical old woman who’s seeing things. So she goes to her friend Jane Marple and tells her the story. Miss Marple believes her but knows no one else will, especially since they can’t find a body. So she hires Lucy Eylesbarrow, a powerhouse of domestic help, to work at a house near the scene and scout around. Sure enough, she finds it, and it’s up to Lucy and Miss Marple to help the police figure out who she is, and why she’d be murdered on a train and hidden on the grounds of the Crackenthorpe mansion.

In The Mirror Crack’d Miss Marple is called in after a reception welcoming famous actress Marina Gregg to her village. Famous for both her films and her dramatic personal life (including desperation to have a child), her move to St. Mary Mead is a source of wild excitement in town – hence the welcoming party. Suddenly disaster strikes – a local nuisance and blabbermouth collapses after drinking a poisoned cocktail. Everyone assumes the actress was the real target, but when her friend tells her the story Miss Marple isn’t so sure. As more people die and the stakes get higher it’s up to Miss Marple to dig into Marina’s past to figure out the truth.

You can also experience Miss Marple in short stories, large print versions, ebook collections, books on CD, eaudiobooks, or DVD adaptations.

Now on Freegal: 2023 Grammy Nominees

The Grammy nominations are here and you can experience the contenders today on Freegal with your library card! The full list of nominees was posted on grammy.com November 15, with the 65th annual Grammy Awards scheduled to air February 5. This year new categories have been added: Songwriter of the Year, Best Video Game Soundtrack, Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Americana Performance, Best Spoken Word Poetry Album, and a special merit award for Best Song for Social Change.

Here’s a peek at the playlist on our digital music streaming platform, Freegal, with some artists you’ll probably recognize:

Unfortunately not everything is included as Freegal is a limited catalog, but if you (like me) haven’t managed to hear songs from Beyonce’s Renaissance, DJ Khaled’s God Did, or songs from Camila Cabello’s Familia, the 2023 Grammy Nominees playlist is a great place to start. The list includes all musical genres and offers a great snapshot of what’s hot in music today.

Luckily for you, if you’re looking to hear songs not included on this playlist, you can find most of them in our music CD collection, including Lizzo’s Special (About Damn Time is one of the nominees for Record of the Year), ABBA’s Voyage, Mary J. Blige’s Good Morning Gorgeous, Brandi Carlile’s In These Silent Days, and more.

Was your favorite artist or song included in this year’s Grammy’s? Let us know below!

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner’s wildly popular memoir, Crying in H Mart, is everything everyone said it would be: devastating and beautifully written. Zauner is a musician who rose to fame with her band Japanese Breakfast with their breakout album Psychopomp which came out in 2016. Her memoir, though, is not about her musical fame, but about her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis and the months following her death. 

Zauner grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which is the backdrop of her contentious childhood and difficult relationship with her mother. She describes her mother as “not a mommy-mom,” compared to the mothers of her classmates. She was not as warm or affectionate as Michelle thought she ought to have been, but as she grew into adulthood the two became much closer. Her mother’s diagnosis only cemented her filial love, and they ultimately became “innately, intrinsically intertwined.” 

Food fuels the story. The title, for one, references the Asian grocery store chain H Mart, but Korean food is also woven into every aspect of the narrative: The fish covered in gochujang Zauner’s mother makes for her before she leaves for college; the “tender short rib” with “Hard-boiled soy-sauce eggs sliced in half, crunchy bean sprouts flavored with scallions and sesame oil, doenjang jjigae with extra broth, and chonggak kimchi, perfectly soured” she prepares when she comes to visit after the initial cancer diagnosis; the jatjuk (pine nut porridge) Zauner makes for her mother during her final months and continues to make for herself when she is gone; the doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean soup) she makes the day after her funeral.

Perhaps the most powerful element of Zauner’s story is how she ties the living memory of her mother to the Korean food she ate as a child and learns to cook in her mother’s absence. Each dish holds a piece of her mother. Each conversation she stumbles through in Korean grasps at her mother. She found a home in her mother’s culture, thus allowing her to embrace that culture as her own.

Zauner’s memoir is striking in many ways, but one of the most profound is how she brings a humanity to her mother that we sometimes struggle to do with a parent. After her mother’s death, she learns more about her than she ever knew while she was alive. She realized how similarly she and her mother saw the world, how their emotional turmoil was inseparable, and how the memory of her mother would continue with her. Even as just a reader and spectator at the sidelines of Zauner’s relationship with her mother, Crying in H Mart feels like a tether between the two that now lives beyond their physical bodies. It was beautiful to read about and I think Zauner did an excellent job memorializing her mother with this book.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Large Print

Libby eBook

Libby eAudiobook

Redoing Gender by Helana Darwin – Now on Overdrive

Remember my previous posts on transgender and non-binary reads (Either Both Neither and Invisible In-betweens)? Well, buckle up, because I’ve got a new read to help you build compassion for non-binary folks, by reading their experiences in their own voices. The book is Redoing Gender: How Nonbinary Gender Contributes Toward Social Change, by Helena Darwin, and it’s an ebook available through Overdrive or the Libby app. Check out this description from the e-resource:

Redoing Gender demonstrates how difficult it is to be anything other than a man or a woman in a society that selectively acknowledges those two gendersGender nonbinary people (who identify as other genders besides simply man or woman) have begun to disrupt this binary system, but the limited progress they have made has required significant everyday labor. Through interviews with 47 nonbinary people, this book offers rich description of these forms of labor, including rethinking sex and gender, resignifying genderredoing relationships, and resisting erasure. The final chapter interrogates the lasting impact of this labor through follow-up interviews with participants four years later. Although nonbinary people are finally managing to achieve some recognition, it is clear that this change has not happened without a fight that continues to this day. The diverse experiences of nonbinary people in this book will help cisgender people relate to gender minorities with more compassion, and may also appeal to those questioning their own gender

It’s easy to understand diversity as a concept, to imagine that there are a wealth of experiences in the world, but it’s a different thing to hear directly about some of those different experiences. This book helps to bridge that gap between intellectual understanding and real insight, combining sociological practices and academic rigor with a deep care for inclusivity and respecting LGBTQIA experiences. Moreover, it begins to fill a glaring gap in research literature, which is mostly focused on divisions between “men” and “women” without any imagination of other genders.

A good read for sociology buffs and allies alike, this book is recommended for anyone who loves an ebook and likes picking apart harmful patriarchal structures.

Freegal Music Celebrates Mother’s Day

It’s the time of year when everyone starts thinking about their parents, as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, National Parents Day (4th Sunday in July), and Non-Binary Parents Day (3rd Sunday in April) help us kick off the spring and summer seasons. This May, Freegal Music, the digital music service we subscribe to as a library, has made a special playlist to help you celebrate the mothers in your life.

A refresher on Freegal: it’s available both on our website (linked under Digital Content) and as a downloadable app for your smartphone. On its website, once you log in with your Davenport library card it’s free to stream any available songs, albums, playlists, or audiobooks, but you can also download five songs per week for offline listening.

The mother’s day 46-song playlist includes a variety of artists, genres, and styles, from pop (Meghan Trainor) and country (Carrie Underwood) to R&B (Alicia Keys) and international music (Bad Bunny). So however you and the mothers you know like to jam, there’s something here to put you in a grateful, celebratory mood.

How’s Your Money?

 

 

 

It’s Money Smart Week!  Time to think about your investments.   One tool to use is Morningstar Investment Research Center.  It is an easy to navigate database that was designed especially for libraries to help patrons reach their investment goals. It’s the one-stop tool for collecting financial information, getting reliable portfolio analysis, learning about investment options, and getting the most up-to-date financial news commentary. Morningstar Investment Research Center provides data on over 14,500 stocks, 24,800 mutual funds, 1,500 exchange-traded funds, and 700 closed end funds. Morningstar also provide analyst reports on over 3,500 securities, offering in-depth background and analyst opinions on top investments.

Want to learn more?  Morningstar provides monthly training sessions to library users.

Tue, Apr 12th at 03 PM CT
Click here to attend
Meeting Id: 996 6674 5451
Password: 803726

Thu, May 12th at 11 AM CT
Click here to attend
Meeting Id: 941 2261 7583
Password: 349602

If you are interested in learning more about Morningstar on your own, the following guides are also available.

Quick Guide:  https://ar.morningstar.com/assets/helpmodule/MIRC_QuickGuide.pdf

User’s Guide:  https://ar.morningstar.com/assets/helpmodule/MIRC_UserGuide.pdf

How to Read a Stock Analyst Report:  https://ar.morningstar.com/assets/helpmodule/MIRC_HowToReadAStockAnalystReport.pdf

How to Read a Fund Analyst Report:  https://ar.morningstar.com/assets/helpmodule/MIRC_HowToReadAFundAnalystReport.pdf

No time right now?  These resources are always available to you on the HELP tab within the product.

Your financial future:  Give it a helping hand by using Morningstar Investment Research Center.

 

On-Demand Streaming Videos

Winter is coming.

The time to bundle up, lay down on the couch, and be entertained by your television is almost upon us.  But what to watch?

Consider Kanopy.

The library recently added this on-demand streaming video service to our offerings.  You might choose a classic movie, such as the John Wayne feature “McLinktock!”  Or the 2019 Best Picture winner “Parasite.”  Whatever your cup of tea, with its over 30,000 movies, you are sure to find something to suit your tastes.

Whether using the Kanopy desktop software or the app, you can select from feature films, classic movies, foreign films, and documentaries to while away the cold winter evenings.

Davenport Library cardholders may logon using their library card number and their password/pin for their account.  After that you’ll need to Sign Up for a Kanopy account by providing a name, an email address, and then make up a password.

Kanopy operates on Play Credits.  Each time you begin to watch a movie, a Play Credit is deducted from your account.  You may use up to four (4) Play Credits a month.  Play Credits reset at the beginning of each calendar month.

Once you Watch a video, you will have access to it for 48 or 72 hours, depending upon movie.  During that period, you may watch it as many times as you like without using another Play Credit.

There is a section of Kanopy that is designed especially for children, Kanopy Kids.  It offers educational and entertainment content for children ages two to eight.  There are parental controls that can be set up, so that you can allow your kids to browse the site.

The Great Courses are also available. Once you begin a Great Course you have 30 days to complete it.

Films can be streamed from any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku.

Grab a cup of cocoa, put on your pajamas, and stream the night way.

Get HelpNow

Do you fondly remember a time when you could call a tutor up on the telephone to gain assistance with your homework?  Well, those good times are back, only better, via your computer!

We are please to announce that the State Library of Iowa has funded Brainfuse’s HelpNow service so that it is available to Iowa libraries.

HelpNow is intended for students, kindergarten through college-aged.  It provides access to live tutors from 2:00-11:00 p.m., seven days a week. (Excepting some holidays.)  Elementary-aged student have access to math and reading assistance.  High School-aged students have access to math, language arts, science, social studies, and history.  For example, if you’re having difficulties with an algebra problem, you can connect with a live tutor who will walk you through the calculations.

In addition to English, tutoring sessions are available in Spanish, French, and Canadian English.  Just select your preferred language from the top, right corner.

But there is more than just live tutoring.  HelpNow’s SkillSurfer section offers a host of study topics.  Ranging from Lower Elementary School up through Adult Learner Resources, SkillSurfer is available to you 24/7.  Under the Computers and Technology heading you will find info on using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.  The College Entrance Test Prep section includes PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP, TOEFL, TEAS (nursing) and more!  ASVAB has its own section.  CollegeNOW even walks a candidate through the college application process.

Have a paper to turn in?  There’s a Writing Lab where you can submit your paper for review before turning it in to your teacher.  The turnaround time for feedback is 12-24 hours.

To use HelpNow, you’ll need to create a user profile when you first enter into the site.  After that, you can login with those credentials.   Explore the site to discover full-length GED subject practice tests or  schedule a BrainFuse meeting to collaborate with friends.

It is so easy to use.  Give Brainfuse a try.

Hidden Database Gems: MasterFILE Premier

Our available library databases have recently changed! Unfortunately, this means we no longer have Credo Reference, Chilton’s, or some Gale databases. However, we have gained a great new resource! With your library card, you now have access to MasterFILE Premier, a database of full-text articles, primary source documents, and more! Including publications like Consumer Reports, Kiplinger’s, and Newsweek, it’s perfect for research, and the interface will be familiar to anyone who’s used an EBSCOhost database before. If you haven’t, here’s how it works:

If you click on MasterFILE Premier on our list of Online Resources, you may be asked to sign in with your library card number, and then you’ll be taken to the basic search page.

To get the most and broadest results, put a general search term in here and hit search.

If the results aren’t what you’re looking for, try a similar search term or related words in the search box on the top of the results page.

If you’re looking to narrow your results down to what’s most relevant, you’ll want to click on Advanced Search underneath the search box. Here, you can search only in one particular publication, you can choose what kind of resources you want to find, you can limit to full-text results, you can specify a range of publication dates, and more! This is also where you can use Boolean searching, where you search multiple terms at once connected by words like AND, OR, and NOT – these limit, broaden, or define your search, respectively. The strategies and tools on this page will give you the most relevant items and cut down on the time you’ll spend sifting through the results.

When you have a list of results, you can narrow down your results list using filters along the left side of the page. Here, you can pick what kinds of publications to draw from, pick specific publications, narrow it down by language, publication date, category, and more.

Once you find something interesting, you have a few options: You can click on the title or on the Full Text version from the result list, as shown.

Clicking on the title will give you a detailed record of what the resource is, as well as some tools to save or access it AND the option to find similar results.

Choosing the full-text version, meanwhile, lets you read the resource directly, access more from the publication, and access the same tools to save or share it.

And as always, if you need any help using this or our other resources, don’t hesitate to contact us for some assistance! Our Book-A-Librarian service is available again, allowing you to reserve a dedicated session for help with any number of topics, including databases and digital resources.