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ACT/SAT Test Prep Resources @ Your Library

DBRLTeen - August 23, 2016

Do you have questions about the ACT OR SAT exam? Well, DBRLTeen has answers.  We have compiled a list of resources to help you prepare for these college entrance exams.

  • How much does the ACT OR SAT exam cost?
  • Where are the testing centers in Boone and Callaway counties?
  • What are the deadlines to register for the ACT OR SAT exam?
  • Most importantly, how can I prepare for these tests?

Learn more by reviewing our online guide to ACT/SAT preparation. Young adults are also encouraged to borrow one of our many printed ACT or SAT test guides, or take free online practice exams through LearningExpress Library.  And, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at ACT/SAT Test Prep Resources @ Your Library.

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Staff Review: The Grownup

DBRL Next - August 22, 2016

Grownup bookc coverAs a young adult, I sometimes feel like a fraud — a kid just playing pretend at being a grownup. I think most people have feelings like this occasionally, but the unnamed narrator in Gillian Flynn’s latest is a fraud and has made a living at it her entire life. Growing up poor, she and her mother would beg on the streets, and they had an intricate system: they knew who to ask, how to ask, when to embellish and which specific embellishment to use on a particular mark.

As “The Grownup” opens, the narrator makes ends meet by a rather unsavory profession, which she simply calls working in “customer service.” When she gets the chance to work as (read: pretend to be) a psychic, she jumps on it, knowing that her ability to manipulate people would make for easy money. She takes on Susan as a client, a housewife with a rocky relationship with her seemingly evil stepson and a house that appears haunted. Is the narrator finally in over her head? One thing is certain: something malicious exists, but where it originates and what can be done to stop it will keep you guessing.

This book, clocking in at 64 pages, is an incredibly short yet satisfying read. It was originally published as part of a collection of short stories — “Rogues,” edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Flynn acknowledges Martin at the end of the book, thanking him for asking her to write him a story, but this reader would like to thank Flynn for providing us with this intriguing little tale.

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Book and Tea Pairings

DBRL Next - August 19, 2016

tea and book

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Last year I broke my foot and had to have surgery. That meant recovery time, which actually meant reading time. During the week following my surgery, between bouts of nausea and fatigue, I read the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I also exclusively drank Harney & Sons Green Tea with Coconut Blend. Now anytime I drink that coconut green tea, the scent bombards me with reminders of magic, time travel, alchemy and romance.

While my magical fantasy + coconut green tea pairing happened organically, it inspired me to think up some other tea and book pairings.

Old Man and the Sea book coverClassics like “Jane Eyre,” an enduring romance centered around a strong, non-traditional heroine, or Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” in which a fisherman battles with a marlin, need a classic tea, no? I suggest an English Breakfast tea (decaf, if you’re reading past your bedtime).

Seveneves book coverIf you’re interested in books with a more elaborate storyline, perhaps “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield is for you. A famous reclusive author commissions a biographer, and both women must confront family secrets. Or try “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson. This story follows the progeny of the few survivors from Earth who have lived in space for five thousand years, and now they must return to the drastically changed planet. Whichever book you choose, pair it with the complex and sophisticated Earl Grey to make a great duo.

Hamilton book coverMaybe you’ve managed to get your hands on a copy of “Alexander Hamilton,” the biography by Ron Chernow on which the Tony-winning musical, Hamilton, is based. Or perhaps you’re perusing “Hamilton, the Revolution,” the complete libretto itself, including photos and cast interviews. You’ll want something a little more patriotic, a little less sophisticated (like young and scrappy Hamilton himself): freshly brewed iced tea — sweetened if you’re more of a Southerner like Thomas Jefferson.

Modern Lovers book coverPerhaps some fun and easygoing books are more your cup of tea (ha!). “Not Working” follows the life of Claire, who spontaneously quits her job and loses all semblance of a routine. With her new free time she is forced down a path of self discovery. Emma Straub’s newest, “Modern Lovers,” is about a close bunch of college friends who have grown up and have college-aged children of their own. When their children start having relationships with each other, the parents’ lives begin to unravel. Both of these recently published books are sure to leave you happy and content, and what could go better with a fun story than a refreshing cup of fruity tea? Wild berry would pair excellently with either literary pick.

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Stay Connected @ Your Library

DBRLTeen - August 19, 2016

With the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, I wanted to share all the ways the library helps you stay connected to the books and services you love most. All you need is an internet connection, an email address and a library card. Don’t forget to also sign up for our monthly email newsletter to get library program reminders, contest announcements, as well as book reviews and recommendations delivered directly to your inbox.

Like us on Facebook:

Overdrive offers access to thousands of downloadable eBook and audiobook titles, including many of the most popular young adult novels. Whether you enjoy reading on your iPad or Kindle, or listening on your smartphone, this service provides you with free titles to download at anytime. View a list of devices compatible with this service, or download the iOS or Android app.

Hoopla allows you to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music and audiobooks, or read eBooks and comic books with your computer or mobile device for free. Download the Hoopla app for iOSAndroid or Kindle Fire HDX to begin enjoying thousands of titles from major film studios, recording companies and publishers.

Zinio offers over 100 free digital magazines for you to read on your computer, tablet or smartphone such as Seventeen, ESPN, Girl’s Life, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Popular Science, US Weekly and many more. Get the app for your iOS, Android,  Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Nook HD or Windows 8 mobile device.

Freegal allows you to permanently download five free songs per week and listen to five hours of ad-free streaming music daily. Freegal works on most devices and the apps are free through Google Play or the App Store.

Originally published at Stay Connected @ Your Library.

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Is Summer Over Already?!

DBRL Next - August 17, 2016

Back to School WPA Poster from the Library of Congress CollectionWhen the summer began, I had all sorts of plans. One of my plans was to add variety to my reading by reading more fiction. Yes, you read that right — more fiction. This was sparked by a conversation with my husband.

Husband: Why don’t you read something for fun for a change?

Me: I am reading something fun!

Husband: But all you read is nonfiction.

Yes, that’s me. I like nonfiction. This summer was going to be different, but here it is, time for school to start up again. Those lazy days of summer have led to me reading mostly… nonfiction. In my defense, there are a lot of really good nonfiction books that have been published this year! I won’t mention all of them, but I will tell you about three that I really loved.

Book cover for Lab GirlLab Girl” by Jahren Hope
“Because I am a female scientist, nobody knows what the hell I am, and it has given me the delicious freedom to make it up as I go along.” Jahren is a botanist who is passionate about her field. She weaves the insights she discovers in the lab and in the field seamlessly with her personal day-to-day life. “Lab Girl” is one of those odd books that is part science book, part memoir, with a bit of philosophy thrown in, and it reads more like poetry at times. “Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.”

Book cover for TribeTribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” by Sebastian Junger
This is another memoir-ish book combined with journalism and science. At only 192 pages, Junger has written a very concise book about post-traumatic stress disorder in our society, including the Native American population and returning war veterans, as well as our society as a whole. “Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.”  I really connected with the longing for community that this book invokes.

 An Intimate HistoryThe Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Once again, this is a memoir mixed with science, or maybe it’s science mixed with memoir. (I think I’m sensing a pattern here.) Mukherjee traces the history of the gene from Aristotle, Mendel and Darwin, on through the German and American eugenics programs, to Watson and Crick and modern gene therapy. This is a very personal odyssey for Mukherjee because of mental illness that runs in his family. He delves into the factual science of genes and our understanding of them and examines the ethics of genetic manipulation. This is a very moving account of a very complex topic, and at times it borders on the poetic: “History repeats itself, in part because the genome repeats itself. And the genome repeats itself, in part because history does. The impulses, ambitions, fantasies, and desires that drive human history are, at least in part, encoded in the human genome. And human history has, in turn, selected genomes that carry these impulses, ambitions, fantasies, and desires. This self-fulfilling circle of logic is responsible for some of the most magnificent and evocative qualities in our species, but also some of the most reprehensible. It is far too much to ask ourselves to escape the orbit of this logic, but recognizing its inherent circularity, and being skeptical of its overreach, might protect the week from the will of the strong, and the ‘mutant’ from being annihilated by the ‘normal’.”

I will keep trying to add more fiction to my reading list, but when there is nonfiction this interesting, how can I resist?

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Wii U Family Game Time

DBRLTeen - August 16, 2016

Wii U Family Game TimeLuigi
Columbia Public Library, Studio

Compete for the gold cup in “Mario Kart 8” or chase spooks in “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion.” A variety of games will be available for group play. Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome.

Upcoming Sessions:

  • Saturday, September 3, 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 19, 6-7:30 p.m. (CPS early dismissal)
  • Friday, November 18, 4-5:30 p.m.

Registration begins two weeks prior to program. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Originally published at Wii U Family Game Time.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Noah Hawley

DBRL Next - August 15, 2016

Book cover for Before the FallNoah Hawley is a great example of a writer who does not need this gentleman’s boost. In addition to the thousands of projects he has in the works (including a television adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’sCat’s Cradle“), Hawley is the showrunner of “Fargo,” one of my favorite television shows ever. He’s also a novelist, because apparently brilliant, hard-working people get to experience all manner of professional satisfaction. (Join me, won’t you, in declaring it’s high time some of this good fortune is distributed to all the frequently recumbent and mostly slovenly gentlemen out there just trying to peaceably make their way through the world’s bakeries without having their various flasks constantly confiscated.)

Before the Fall” is Hawley’s latest novel, and anyone who has experienced the rich tapestry of detailed characterization, deft and often hilarious dialogue, and rapid-fire plotting of “Fargo” will not be surprised to learn that is a delightful piece of entertainment. It tells the tale of a plane crash and the lives it ended or, in the case of two passengers, the lives it upended. The crash and the surviving passengers’ harrowing journey to safety occur in the first several pages, then the novel gives us a mix of flashbacks (fleshing out the characters and the possible reasons for the plane crash) and post-crash scenes largely concerned with one of the surviving passengers and government efforts to determine why the plane crashed. In reading the dead’s stories, the reader will learn some theories about the how the plane crashed (with one seeming particularly likely).

Among the dead are the owner of a fictional news network, a bodyguard, a guy that makes lots of money by doing things to money (including laundering money for terrorists), some spouses, a child, two pilots and a flight attendant. This is how the rich travel. (Join me, won’t you, in declaring it’s high time some of this luxurious travel, minus the crashing part, is shared with those of us who generally get around by balancing on our only functional rolling skate and tossing a grappling hook at passing automobiles or bikes pedaled by people whose strength is readily apparent.)

One of the survivors, a 47-year-old painter who was just finally beginning to experience a taste of potential success before the crash, is judged a hero by most, but a villain by some, including a host of a right-wing “news” show. The reader may join the blowhard host in finding it curious that the painter has recently produced a series of paintings of disasters, the descriptions of which indicate that Hawley may also be a gifted painter, which would be another of his gifts that I do not envy.

Before the Fall” is a mystery, a satire and an outstanding read. It doesn’t need the sales surge that a gentleman’s recommendation inevitably causes, but it merits it. You have my blessing to continue thriving and producing things that thoroughly entertain me, Mr. Hawley.

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Final Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

DBRL Next - August 15, 2016

TrophyCongratulations to Barb, a Columbia Public Library patron, for winning our tenth and final Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble.

That is it for this year. Thanks to all of you who submitted book reviews this time around. We hope you enjoyed your summer or reading!

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Read-a-Romance Month: Romance for Newbies

DBRL Next - August 12, 2016

There once was a time that I scoffed at romance books, and I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead reading one. “They’re not literary,” I would say, high on my horse. Maybe my mind started to change when I read the genre-defying “Outlander,” or maybe I matured a little and realized I was being judgmental. I just know that at some point I found myself checking out “The Duchess War” by Courtney Milan, complete with a young woman in a poofy ball gown on the cover. And, guys? I loved it! The book was smart, well-written, had great dialogue and believable development of the romantic relationship — basically all the things I like in any book. And it’s not alone; there are a ton of great romances out there! In honor of August being Read-a-Romance Month, here’s a short list of books to help ease you into the waters of romance novels.

Knight in Shining Armor coverA Knight in Shining Armor” by Jude Deveraux

A distraught, modern woman, abandoned by her lover, suddenly meets a real knight, complete with clanking armor, in a cemetery. Also, according to the gravestone next to her, he died in 1564. This classic romance, by the legendary Jude Deveraux, includes time travel, grand adventure and, of course, excellent romance.

For My Lady's Heart coverFor My Lady’s Heart” by Laura Kinsale

A medieval romance with a complex heroine and dashing English knight (I promise not all romance novels feature knights . . .). Dialogue is written in Middle English and it has an intricate plot. “For My Lady’s Heart” has been compared, by some readers, to literary giants George R.R. Martin and Tolkien in terms of its world building.

The Grand Sophy coverThe Grand Sophy” by Georgette Heyer

Many romance readers consider this book to be one of the best Regency romances by one of the greatest Regency authors. Sophy is the independent heroine of this story, which is lighter on the romance scenes. “The Grand Sophy” is sure to appeal to fans of Jane Austen.

Iron Duke coverThe Iron Duke” by Meljean Brook

Zombies, airships, kraken, pirates — oh, and romance, too. This steampunk romance follows Rhys, who finds a dead body dumped from an airship at his front door. He and Detective Mina Wentworth uncover a conspiracy that threatens the whole of England. This adventurous, fast-paced and very steamy novel is great for those readers who want to get lost in another world.

Natrual Born Charmer coverNatural Born Charmer” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The story starts with Blue (our heroine) walking on the side of the road in a beaver costume. Hunky quarterback, Dean, spots her and pulls his car over. What comes next is a hilarious and sweet romance. This book is great for rom-com lovers.

Secret History of the Pink Carnation coverThe Secret History of the Pink Carnation” by Lauren Willig

This one has a story within a story. Eloise is working on her dissertation on English spies (the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian) and learns of the Pink Carnation: a spy who nearly single-handedly saved England from Napoleon. The story of the Pink Carnation is full of adventure and sensual romance.

If none of these titles tickle your fancy, check out the full Romance for Newbies list in our catalog.

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Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery Awards

DBRLTeen - August 12, 2016

Mock Newbery Award
The Newbery Medal is awarded each year to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” This award is to children’s literature what the Oscar is to the Academy Awards. Some popular Newbery award-winning titles include “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman.

About our Mock Newbery Program:

Throughout the fall, we are inviting youth in grades 4-8 to join us twice per month to discuss this year’s potential Newbery finalists. This is the fifth year that the library has offered this unique book club opportunity and we hope that you will consider signing up.

How to get involved:

Sessions will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library on the following Wednesdays: September 7 and 21, October 5 and 19, November 2 and 16 and December 7 and 21. Registration begins Tuesday, August 23. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

This year’s books:

Wondering what books we’ll be discussing this year? See the list below!

Originally published at Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery Awards.

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Reader Review: Cutting for Stone

DBRL Next - August 11, 2016

book cover for cutting for stoneCutting for Stone” is about doctors of mostly Indian heritage working in a mission hospital in Africa. The main characters are endearing, though sometimes we become saddened or frustrated with them. Most of the doctors are surgeons, and we are privy to the intricate details of some of the surgeries. I liked this book because I found the characters heart-warming, and I learned quite a bit of what goes on in the operating room. Interesting surgical details, without disturbing the story line.

Three words that describe this book: heartbreaking, bittersweet, medical

You might want to pick this book up if:

…you wish to spend some book time in Africa or India
…you would like to know exactly how to transplant a liver, sewing up the veins, and all
…you can take having your heart broken and put together again.


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New DVD List: Angie Tribeca, House of Cards & More

DBRL Next - August 10, 2016

angie tribeca one

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

angie tribecaAngie Tribeca
Season 1
Website / Reviews
Rashida Jones plays Angie Tribeca, a 10-year veteran of LAPD’S RHCU: Really Heinous Crimes Unit. The show is a hilarious spoof of police procedurals in the spirit of “The Naked Gun” and was created and executive produced by Steve and Nancy Carrell.

house of cards s4House of Cards
Season 4
Website / Reviews
Season four opens with Frank and Claire still at odds with each other. Claire’s determination to be a political figure puts Frank’s campaign and marriage in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Frank battles for the Democratic Party nomination and seeks a suitable running mate.

babushkas of chernobylThe Babushkas of Chernobyl
Website / Reviews / Trailer
For nearly 30 years a community of unlikely heroines has lived in Chernobyl’s post-nuclear disaster “dead zone.” Stylish and stubborn, these fascinating women have survived, and even thrived, on some of the most toxic land on Earth, refusing to leave their ancestral homes after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

rick and mortyRick and Morty
Season 1, Season 2
Website / Reviews
From comedic masterminds Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland comes Adult Swim’s newest series. It follows the adventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez, who returns after twenty years to live with his daughter, her husband, and their children Morty and Summer.

king georgesKing Georges” 
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Georges Perrier owns Le Bec-Fin, one of the finest French restaurants in the country. Over a three-year period, this film captures this mercurial, passionate, quixotic force of nature as he struggles to preserve his sumptuous Gallic dishes in an era where casual attitudes and lighter fare are taking hold.

the 100The 100
Season 3
Website / Reviews
Reunited with the survivors of the space-station Ark that fell to Earth, Clarke Griffin and her band of juvenile delinquents have faced death at every turn. The challenges continue as they not only determine what kind of lives they will build, but also what it will ultimately cost them.

Other notable releases:
Above and Beyond” –  Website / Reviews / Trailer
Colony” – Season 1  Website / Reviews
Family Matters” –  Season 1  Website / Reviews
Gilligan’s Island” –  Season 1, Season 2  Website / Reviews
The Magicians” –  Season 1  Website / Reviews
Mama’s Family” –  Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6  Website / Reviews
Scarecrow and Mrs. King” –  Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4  Website / Reviews

The post New DVD List: Angie Tribeca, House of Cards & More appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Ninth Summer Reading Gift Card Winner!

DBRL Next - August 9, 2016

TrophyCongratulations to Linda, a Callaway County Public Library patron, for winning our ninth Adult Summer Reading prize drawing of the summer. She is the recipient of a $25 gift card from Well Read Books.

There is only one drawing left to go this summer, but you can still submit book reviews to increase your chances of winning. Good luck and happy reading!

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Reader Review: Cake Pops

DBRL Next - August 9, 2016

cake pops cookbookCake Pops” by Bakerella is a wonderfully inspirational book that definitely inspired me to be more adventurous and creative in the kitchen. The author shares her baking passion with the reader in a way that is fun and easy to relate to. The book runs through different cake pop methods, tools you need, and lays out step-by-step how to create the perfect cake balls. The author then goes through a number of tutorials for different designs — pandas, froggies, pumpkins, etc. What I liked about this book is that it gave me so many new ideas and tricks. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes and practice in my own kitchen. My only dislike, the reason it was given four stars instead of five, is that I would have preferred more step-by-step photos. I learn best from reading instructions and seeing a photo of the step. If you are an individual who learns best by simply reading the instructions, then this will not be a problem for you.

Three words that describe this book: creative, inspirational, enjoyable

You might want to pick this book up if: you feel inspired to have fun making little treats that are fun, popular and customizable to any occasion. If you’re interested in cake-pop decorating, then this is a book you should read.


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Fall Program Preview: It’s All About STEAM

DBRLTeen - August 9, 2016

STEAM Header

This fall we are expanding our programming to focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math. Explore robotics, experiment with blacklights, learn about  digital special effects or build your own customized remote control vehicle. We will also continue to offer our regular video gaming and tabletop gaming events. Registration is required for most programs and begins two weeks prior to the event. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Wii U Family Game Time
Columbia Public Library, Studio
Saturday, September 3, 3-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 19, 6-7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 18, 4-5:30 p.m.
Compete for the gold cup in “Mario Kart 8” or chase spooks in “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion.” A variety of games will be available for group play. Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins two weeks prior to program. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Wii Just Dance, Dance Off
Columbia Public Library, Studio
Tuesday, September 27, 5:30-7 p.m.
So you think you can dance? Put those happy feet into your dancing shoes, and get ready to cut a rug as we dance our way through the original “Just Dance” game all the way to “Just Dance 2016!” Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, August 30. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Put Your Stamp on History. Be Part of National History Day.
Columbia Public Library, Children’s Program Room
Thursday, September 15, 6:30-8 p.m.
Join us for an evening of films, exhibits, and stories. Learn how you can uncover history and produce a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website to enter in the National History Day competition. Your project may even take you to the University of Missouri or to Washington D.C.! Facilitated by Shelly Croteau and Maggie Mayhan (NHDMO coordinators). Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Circuit Science: Teen
Columbia Public Library, Studio
Monday, September 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
“Snap Circuits” is a colorful building set that lets youth safely and easily learn about electricity. From building simple machines to more complex projects like a remote controlled Snap Rover, Circuit Science strengthens your understanding of physics while providing an hour of fun! Ages 12-18. Registration begins Tuesday, September 6. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Project Teen: Creepy Photos
Columbia Public Library, Studio
Monday, September 26, 1-2:30 p.m.
Use costumes, make-up and digital tricks to create creepy photos inspired by “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” Ages 12-18. Registration begins Tuesday, September 13. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Project Teen: Duct Tape Creations
Monday, October 10, Noon-1:30 p.m.
Callaway County Public Library
No school. Nothing to do? Join us as we use incredible, versatile duct tape to create pouches or bags of various sizes to carry your pencils, make-up or other essentials. We’ll even feed you pizza. Ages 12 and older.

Columbia Public Library, Children’s Program Room
Wednesday, September 28, 5:30-7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8, 2-3:30 p.m.
Meet Sphero, a robotic ball that easily and playfully introduces the basic concepts of computer programming. Young engineers will learn how to use long exposure photography that captures an image over time. Then we’ll use Sphero to draw with light. Ages 10-14. Registration begins Tuesday, September 13. To sign up, please call (573)443-3161.

Bookface Teen Photo Contest
Begins Sunday, October 9
Celebrate Teen Read Week by “bookfacing” your favorite book. Replace your face with the book’s cover, creating the illusion that you and the jacket art are one. Snap a photo and then submit it at Pick a book among a selection of titles available at the children’s desk at your library or use one of your own choosing. Winners will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card. Entries are due December 2. Ages 12-18.

Gamer Eve
Columbia Public Library, Children’s Program Room
Monday, October 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Bring your table top games and your Magic: The Gathering cards for an evening of gaming! Play Gloom, Pandemic, Small World or something new. Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older.

Blacklight Art
Columbia Public Library, Children’s Program Room
Monday, November 7, 5:30-7 p.m.
Learn about the science of light while creating glowing works of art with special fluorescent paint. Ages 10 and older. Registration begins Tuesday, October 18. To sign up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Fall Program Preview: It’s All About STEAM.

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Classics for Everyone: To Canterbury and Beyond

DBRL Next - August 8, 2016

book cover for Canterbury TalesIf you’re reading this in English, thank Geoffrey Chaucer. His “Canterbury Tales”, published in 1400, was the first book of poetry written in English, rather than Latin or Italian. By using the common language, he made literature accessible to the common person. Having opened the way for everyone from William Shakespeare to Janet Evanovich, Chaucer can rightly be called the father of English literature.

The poems in his book relate the stories shared by travelers in a group heading from London to Canterbury. The members of the group come from disparate backgrounds, and their tales run the gamut from bawdy comedy to sober religious parables. Pieced together, they provide a picture of life in Medieval England. The larger story, about the trip itself, serves as a frame for this picture.

Though this story-within-a-story framing wasn’t new with Chaucer, his use of it influenced later writers. “Canterbury Tales” is well worth reading, but the Middle English requires some effort. If you want a Chaucer-like read without as many trips to the footnotes, I can recommend a few titles with layered narratives.

  • The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood is about two sisters, one of whom is an author and has died a mysterious death. Her novella, which might provide clues to her demise, is contained within the pages of the larger story. Within the inner novel, readers will find another complete short story – “The Blind Assassin.”
  • Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell, contains six stories set in different time periods, past and future. The first half of the book provides the beginning of each story, while the second half gives their conclusions, in reverse order. So the sixth story is sandwiched between the pages of the fifth, which is nested within the fourth, etc. All of the narratives connect – the diary of one character falls into the hands of a character in a different story, who writes about it in letters to a friend who ends up with his own tale.
  • A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd merits its own category as a novel started by one author (Dowd) and, after her death, completed by another (Ness.) 13-year-old Connor lives with his mother, who has cancer. He has been abandoned by his father and is a target of bullies. A monster appears in his dreams and tells him three fables in return for hearing Connor’s own story.

Chaucer understood that each language is worthy of a cultural heritage, even though it takes all languages to make up the world of human communication. All of these authors help us remember that each individual’s story is complete and worthy to be told on its own but is also only one part of the larger picture of humanity.

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Road Trip! Apps for Your Summer Travel

DBRL Next - August 5, 2016

My original idea for this article was to list some of the best travel apps available. However, as I got into researching apps, I quickly realized how ludicrous that idea was. There are a ton of travel apps to choose from, and most specialize in just a specific part of traveling. So, instead of telling you which travel apps are the best, let me introduce you to a variety of apps that may help you with different aspects of your summer travels.


Cover artWaze
Waze touts itself as a “community-based” traffic and navigation app. One of its most popular features shows road construction and how long it is taking other Waze users to get through it. You can report hazards in the road, cars on the shoulder or accidents so others can be aware of their locations and avoid them. The app can also display gas prices for finding the cheapest price, and users can submit updates if that price has changed.

Cover artRoadTrippers
This app lets you put in start and finish points, then shows you points of interest or businesses along the way. You can filter what you are looking for, like restaurants or historical sites, based on different categories. This app also shows places to visit a little out of your way and helps you navigate to them.


Cover artTripsee
TripSee is an app to set up your trip itinerary. Put in a destination, and it provides suggestions. You can then organize each day with points of interests, lodging, restaurants and anything else you’d like to see on your trip.

Cover artTripAdvisor
You can sort through reviews, photos, opinions and videos to plan and book your travel. Hotels, airfare and restaurants are featured. Many praise the app for having honest opinions by actual travelers.

Cover artDogFriendly
Is your four-legged buddy coming on vacation too? DogFriendly lets you find pet-friendly lodging, restaurants, attractions and more.


Cover artKayak
Kayak is an app to research and book flights, hotels and rental cars. It also has real-time flight status updates and has won multiple awards for best travel apps.

Cover’s app lets you research and book from over 800,000 properties. They offer paperless booking and reservations. Changes to your trip can also be made through the app.


Cover artYelp
Yelp is a great way to research and read reviews on restaurants and other local services in cities you’re traveling through or visiting. You can filter offerings by ratings, price or how close it it to you. You can make reservations, view photos, and leave your own comments as well.

Cover artZomato
This app lets you find restaurants near you and also access some menus. Reviews, ratings and photos are also available.

There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to travel apps, but I’m hopeful this list gets you pointed in the right direction. Just remember that most of these apps will be using your location and data plans, so plan accordingly. Happy road-tripping!

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Reader Review: A Box of Matches

DBRL Next - August 4, 2016

box of matchesFor the most part, the chapters in “A Box of Matches” are glorious little nuggets of observation. Even if I can’t specifically relate to every idea that is brought up (for example, the notion of needing to think suicidal thoughts in order to fall asleep), the process by which these thoughts arise feels universal. AND so many of these ponderings are exactly in line with things I’ve considered — such as deciding to sit down to pee in the middle of the night or the excruciating loveliness of watching your own children grow up.

I do feel like the book loses a little of its momentum by the end. Plus, the simple nature of this style of writing (without a real plot) makes it so that some of the passages will resonate more than others. But on the whole, Baker has crafted another (“The Mezzanine” and “Room Temperature“) fantastic little book of pensiveness.

Three words that describe this book: thoughtful, insightful, quick

You might want to pick this book up if: you appreciate rather stream-of-consciousness writing that touches on those small moments in life we all share but don’t usually take the time to contemplate.


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Summer Reading Ends August 13

DBRLTeen - August 4, 2016

TSRP 2016 300 pxAugust 13 is the final day for participants of all ages to claim rewards and enter into the final drawings for Summer Reading incentives. Those who have completed the Teen Summer Reading Challenge can claim their free book at any of our three libraries or bookmobile stops. Finishers’ names will also be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Fire and other surprises!

If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment, email us at or call (573) 443-3161. It has been a pleasure for our staff to work with the over 300 teens who participated in this year’s program!

Originally published at Summer Reading Ends August 13.

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A Reading Slump: Pick My Next Read

DBRL Next - August 3, 2016

Have you ever been in a reading slump? Your to-be-read pile can be bursting with books you’ve been meaning to read, but nothing sounds good, or, once you start to read one, it just doesn’t stick. A slump happens to me occasionally, and I’m in one now. I’ve tried reading books from various genres, I’ve tried new authors, and I’ve even tried revisiting old favorites, but to no avail! So now I turn to you, fellow readers. I’ve gathered a few books that look promising and want your feedback so I can decide what to try next.

Man Called Ove book coverA Man Called Ove” has been receiving praise as a New York Times bestseller. It’s quite popular here at DBRL, with a long holds list and more copies on order. This debut novel by Swedish author Fredrik Backman tells the story of a cranky old man whose wife has recently died. His depression leads him to consider ending his own life, but when a young family moves in next door and runs over his mailbox, a comical string of interactions begins. This book is promised to be witty and heartwarming.

Small Blessings book coverMartha Woodroof’s first novel, “Small Blessings,” is touted as a book for bookish people. Sign me up! The story follows Tom Putnam, an English professor with a wife who, because of an affair between Tom and a poetess a decade earlier, is a complete shut-in. When the two take part in a social engagement for the first time in a long while, Tom hopes that things are changing. However, when they return home, he finds a letter from the poetess telling him that he fathered a son, and the 10-year-old is on a train heading his way. The vibrant, quirky cast of characters carries this sweet tale of life and the unexpected. 

Marriage of Opposites book coverOne of my favorite authors is Alice Hoffman, so it’s surprising that I haven’t read this one yet: “The Marriage of Opposites” is an historical fiction novel about the mother of Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. Hoffman provides the readers with a slightly dysfunctional family saga taking place on the tropical island of St. Thomas. The main character, Rachel, is forced to marry an older man to save her father’s business. When she becomes a widow, she starts a scandalous, passionate affair with her late husband’s nephew. Their relationship affects her entire family, including her son, who would become known as the father of Impressionism.

Have you read any of these titles? Maybe you’ve been wanting to read one of the books I’m considering, but want another opinion on it before you take the plunge. I’ll write a review of whichever book you folks pick for me. Leave a comment so I can decide which book to read next!

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