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Safe Place: A Resource for Teens in Need

DBRLTeen - October 23, 2015

On average, 2.8 million teens runaway from home each year. Rainbow House, a local emergency shelter for youth, receives 10-15 calls each month from teens who have either been abused or kicked out of their homes. To help combat this serious widespread problem, the Youth Community Coalition partnered with Rainbow House to launch the Safe Place Program.

How does Safe Place work?

Youth can stop by one of 20 Safe Place sites, including the Columbia Public Library. Then, they simply find the first available employee and let them know they are in need of a safe place. Young adults will be connected to emergency shelter and other supportive resources available through Rainbow House.

If you’re in trouble and can’t make it to a Safe Place site, you can call (573) 818-8288, or text “SAFE” and your current location (address/city/state) to 69866.

Where are Columbia’s Safe Place sites?

Columbia Fire Stations No. 1-9; Blind Boone Community Center; Columbia Housing Authority; Columbia Public Library; Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services; Activity & Recreation Center; Stephens Lake Activity Center; The Armory; Family Counseling Center; Rainbow House; Voluntary Action Center; Youth Empowerment Zone; and, QuikTrip Gas Station.

View Columbia Safe Place Sites in a larger map

Originally published at Safe Place: A Resource for Teens in Need.

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Let’s Travel: Oregon 101

DBRL Next - October 21, 2015

Photo of Multnomah FallsThe first thing my husband and I noticed while landing in Portland was how smoggy the city was. With the hottest summer on record and wild fires raging in Oregon, Washington and California, that was hardly surprising. Yet we had no time to dwell on it. We rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, located 30 miles away from Portland.

We humans are hardwired to be drawn to water, but waterfalls seem especially magical. Is it the sheer force of falling water? The cool glimmering beads that gently spray your face? The fresh smells and the haunting monotony of the sound? Who knows? All I know is that no picture can do justice to Multnomah Falls (at least not my picture :) ). The falls are immense – the drop from the upper falls is 542 feet and from the lower 69 feet – and they attract two million visitors every year.

We spent hours admiring the scenery, had lunch at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, and headed to our next destination – Mt. Hood. To my disappointment, the Columbia River Scenic Highway appeared hazy – the smoke of nearby fires washed out the dark greenery of Douglas firs and the rocky cliffs on the other side of the river. Even a bigger disappointment awaited us at Mt. Hood. The mountain, so photogenic on a clear day, was obscured by smoke. I gave up my idea of taking pictures, and we headed to Timberline Lodge, set at the tree line of the mountain.

Photograph of Timberline LodgeNext day, though, the wind changed, and, as if in a theater, the smoke receded, the sky turned velvety blue and the mountain appeared in all its glory. Well, in as much glory as the diminished amount of snow on its top allowed. To give you an idea, the first time we visited Mt. Hood together was April, 2010. Deep snow lay on the ground when we arrived, and when we woke up next morning, 33 inches (!) of fresh snow puffed up the already wintry scene, deep snowdrifts reached the windows of the third floor and the chairlift (we came to ski) was hardly visible in the whiteout of falling snow.

This time, we spent our days admiring distant views of Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters, hiking on Mt. Hood and walking in the deep Northern woods, where stately Douglas firs stand guard over cool mountain lakes that provide fun for kayakers, fishermen and sunbathers. Then we continued to Bagby Hot Springs, highly recommended to me by a library friend.

After an hour of driving, we stopped at a Forest Service office and asked for directions. A female staff member gave us a funny look and said, “Who told you about Bagby?”

“A colleague of mine,” I answered. “He said it’s a great place to visit.”

“If you’re into that kind of things, yes.” The woman said. “Where are you from?”

Missouri,” I said, feeling somewhat uneasy.

“Missouri?!” The woman said. Then she hollered to someone in the other side of the office,

“Look, Mary, people from Missouri are asking about Bagby!”

Another woman got up and looked us up and down.

“Nudity is limited these days,” She finally said and sat down.

“Nudity!? He didn’t say anything about nudity!” I started, but the first woman interrupted me.

“And you’ll have to bring several buckets of water from the creek to cool off the spring water.”

“We’re renting a car,” I said. “It didn’t come with a bucket!”

“Exactly,” the second woman said. “And the baths aren’t in good shape. They’re made of wood. Deteriorated.”

Hiker in the treesAt that point, I pulled my husband to the exit, and we headed to Silver Falls State Park instead. The park, a nine-mile-loop that begins with the 177-foot-high South Falls and snakes through a densely wooded landscape connecting 10 waterfalls, is an example of park-design-ingenuity. Of course, the unusually dry summer affected it, too, turning several waterfalls into trickles. Yet we enjoyed the park anyway, especially since two waterfalls allowed visitors to walk behind the cascading water and see the other side of the fluid curtain.

Next day we drove to the Oregon coast. The famous Pacific Northwest coastline was smoggy, and, once again, I put away my camera and waited for a food stop. The small town of Tillamook proved to be just that. A busy restaurant /gift shop offered local cheeses and wine/dips/spices-and-you-name-it tasting, while a next-door art gallery provided food for the visual sense.

Having fulfilled our tourist duties, we continued to the town of Seaside. A fancier place to stay would’ve been Canon Beach, but a librarian (me) and a retired professor (my husband) cannot afford to be fancy :) . We had no regrets, though. Seaside is a cute town with a grand, 1.5 mile-long promenade, wide sandy beaches, an aquarium and the best pancake restaurant I’ve encountered – Pig ‘N Pancake. (Tip: sourdough pancakes are to die for!)

Unfortunately, the town was veiled in smoke, too, but our luck held – the wind soon changed and the Pacific Ocean appeared before our eyes, mighty and austere. We spent our time walking along the promenade, hiking in the woods and watching windsurfers at Ecola State Park (surfing there is not for the faint of heart – the peak temperature is 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Photo of Haystack RockEven if you don’t stay in Canon Beach, you owe it to yourself to see its shoreline. The 235-foot-high Haystack Rock rises from the bottom of the ocean as a reminder of prehistoric times. (At low tide, visitors can walk up to it and see starfish and other tide-pool creatures.) Several other large monoliths next to Haystack courageously defy the crashing of ocean waves. And wide beaches offer enough space for sunbathers (swimmers are rare, but they can be easily pinpointed by their loud screams when they splash in the cold water), sandcastle builders, windsurfers, tricyclists, dog walkers and kite runners. (Tip: bring some warm clothes, preferably a hoodie – the wind there is strong and cool).

Time flew, and soon we were driving back to Portland to take a plane home. The return, always anticlimactic, was also marked by low visibility, and I began to pay more attention to the scenery close to the highway: small, rundown houses and glaring spots in the forests covered the nearby rocky landscape – a result of merciless logging. On the radio, the announcers were talking about the alarming air quality in Portland.

In the airport, while waiting for our flight, I scrolled through my photos – a barely-covered-with-snow Mt. Hood, hazy landscapes along the Columbia River, diminished waterfalls, and my thoughts turned to the environment. We, the older generation, are lucky to have seen amazing landscapes and jungle-like forests, to have skied in deep snow and enjoyed clear horizons. But what about our grandchildren? Will they ski on Mt. Hood, walk in the deep woods or swim in the lakes and rivers? Will they inhale clean air and observe clear views?

It’s about time we understood that we cannot afford to be careless and oblivious to the changes that are happening in our time. Otherwise, we’ll go the way of Easter Islanders who deforested their island, ruined its ecosystem and, eventually, caused their civilization to collapse. Let’s do something to prevent this, and do it soon – despite the inertia and political squabbles that poison our souls and our environment. If not now, when?

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November 6 Deadline for December ACT Exam

DBRLTeen - October 21, 2015

Cracking the ACTBe sure to register online by Friday, November 6 if you plan to take the December 12 ACT exam. If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our  online guide to ACT/SAT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.

Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).  If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call  (800) 324-4806.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!

Originally published at November 6 Deadline for December ACT Exam.

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NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Favorite Short Novels

DBRL Next - October 19, 2015

photo of the words story boardNovember will be year 17 of National Novel Writing Month. (I promise “NaNoWriMo” has a certain ring to it after you say it enough times!) Those who finish the challenge write rough drafts of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. Whether you’re NaNoWriMo-curious or a seasoned finisher, be sure to check the calendar for events at both the Columbia and the Callaway County Public Libraries, including starter sessions later this month and write-ins in November.

The thought of writers across the nation sharpening their pencils (okay, double-clicking on the shortcut for their word-processing program of choice) makes me want to read short novels. Here are a few I have loved.

Book cover for The Great GatsbyA longstanding high school assignment, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  “The Great Gatsby,” deserves a read post-adolescence.  Forget Gatsby and Daisy — this tale of the excesses of the 1920s and the enduring truths of human nature owes its charm to the stunning narration of Midwestern outsider Nick Carraway.

Recounting the events of only a few days in the 1940s-era South, Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding” is a masterful portrait of the ignoble experiences of adolescence. At 12, Frankie’s only companions are Berenice, the maid, and John Henry, her 6-year-old cousin, but her brother’s upcoming nuptials bring a desperate agitation to an otherwise tedious summer.

Book cover for Play it as it LaysPublished in 1970, “Play It As It Lays” by Joan Didion is a quintessential Los Angeles novel. Separated from her husband and her institutionalized daughter, Maria Wyeth drives the freeways methodically and yet without hope of arriving anywhere or escaping the void that is her life. Maria’s journey is told in extremely short chapters, the white space on the page mirroring her emotional landscape.

Remember the first Mrs. Rochester in “Jane Eyre“? Jean Rhys reimagines her story in “Wide Sargasso Sea.” With language as lush as the Caribbean setting, Rhys gives a voice not only to Antoinette (Bertha’s birth name) but also to Mr. Rochester. This alternate literary history proffers the blossoming — and withering — romance that inevitably led to the tragedy at the Rochester mansion.

Book cover for Ask the DustIt seems appropriate to include an autobiographical novel about a young writer. Set against 1930s Los Angeles, John Fante’s “Ask the Dust” is the story of Arturo Bandini’s struggles to write, to find love and, frankly, to be able to afford enough to eat. (Charles Bukowski considered Fante his principal literary influence; his short introduction to “Ask the Dust” is not be skipped.)

What are your favorite short novels? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share a recommendation or two!

photo credit: PICT1441.JPG via photopin (license)

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Teen Short Story Contest Begins!

DBRLTeen - October 19, 2015

Short Story Contest 2In celebration of Teen Read Week, submit an original short story around the theme “Get Away” from October 19- December 6. Write about a grand adventure, a secret hideaway, how folks escape their day-to-day routine or whatever you think fits the theme.

Winners will receive a Barnes & Nobles gift card and their stories will be published on the library’s teen blog. This contest is open to all teens in Boone and Callaway counties ages 12-18.

Contest Deadline:
Online entries will be accepted through December 6, 2015.


  • The contest is open to ages 12 to 18.
  • You must live in either Boone or Callaway County, Missouri.

Contest Rules:

  • One entry per individual.
  • Stories must be written by only one writer.
  • Entries must be 2000 words or less.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission. (In plain English: You must submit your own original story — no plagiarism.)


All entries will judged on the following criteria:

  • Theme: Does your entry reflect the theme of Teen Read Week, “Get Away?”
  • Content: Does your story have a distinct beginning, middle, and end?
  • Creativity: Does your story have an interesting main character, captivating plot and descriptive language?
  • Writing: Have you used correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation throughout your story?

Questions? You may contact a librarian for answers
at or (800) 324-4806.

Originally published at Teen Short Story Contest Begins!.

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The GMO Controversy

DBRL Next - October 16, 2015

Photo of seed corn bag, titled Better Living through Genetic ModificationAre you concerned about or interested in determining whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs, also known as GM foods) are safe for the environment and safe to eat? GMOs are very controversial; just look in the media for evidence. You can find no end of articles asserting data of their safety and benefits on one side of the debate, and just as plentiful are contradictory arguments that present otherwise. With GMOs it appears that the truth is a moving target, so it may be hard to trust that you can find an ultimate truth on which to base your decision-making. Still, making an effort to inform yourself of their pros and cons can help you determine whether to avoid them or not and whether to support any, all or none of their use should you decide to engage with your elected officials on this matter…because the GMO debate is a political one.

There has been an on-going struggle between industry agriculture and consumers about labeling foods that contain GMOs. The majority of Americans would like to know what they are ingesting and want foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such. On the flip side, food industry giants are pushing for legislation that would prohibit states from requiring food manufacturers to label products containing GMOs, claiming labeling would drive the costs of foods higher.

To help you decipher this complicated issue, the Columbia Public Library is hosting a forum on GMOs. Please join us and listen to an informed panel of speakers discuss the multiple facets of this heated topic and answer questions you may have. Afterwards, you can peruse the library’s collection of materials on this topic so you can further your information gathering at your leisure at home. Then you can make up your own mind about the risks and/or benefits of GMOs.

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Gaming Events at Your Library

DBRLTeen - October 15, 2015
Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

Columbia Public Schools will not be in session on November 2 and 3. Instead of chilling out at home, join us at the library for some fun tabletop and video games. Learn how to play “Magic: The Gathering” or challenge your friends to a dance-off with “Just Dance 2015.” Mark your calendars now for these programs!

Gamer Eve
Columbia Public Library
Monday, November 2 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Gamers unite! Drop in to play tabletop games such as “Gloom,” “Castle Panic” and “Ticket to Ride.” Bring your “Magic: The Gathering” cards if you want to challenge other players. Maybe you’ll discover your next favorite game! Ages 10 and older.

Wii U Family Game Time
Columbia Public Library
Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Snacks provided. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins two weeks before each program. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Friday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.
Registration begins
Tuesday, Oct. 13. Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.
Registration begins
Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Photo by Flickr User Rob Bertholf. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Gaming Events at Your Library.

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New DVD List: The Jinx, Alive Inside, & More

DBRL Next - October 14, 2015


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

the jinxThe Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
Playing earlier this year at the True False Film Fest, this groundbreaking new HBO series exposes long-buried information discovered during their seven-year investigation of a series of unsolved crimes, and the man suspected of being at its center — Robert Durst, scion of New York’s billionaire Durst family.

alive insideAlive Inside
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Playing earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema,  this film chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. A joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.

olive kitteridgeOlive Kitteridge
Based on the book of the same name, this four-part drama that tells the story of a seemingly placid New England town that is actually wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, all told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral center.

glen campbellGlen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Trailer / Website / Reviews
In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. They thought it would last 5 weeks instead it went for 151 spectacular sold-out shows over a triumphant year and a half across America. What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

homeland s4Homeland
Season 4
Website / Reviews
In her new role as a CIA station chief, Carrie convinces Saul and Quinn to help her hunt down one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. But when Carrie recruits a young Pakistani as an asset, the lines between right and wrong blur and the operation spins out of control.

in countryIn Country
Trailer / Website / Reviews
The idea of Civil War re-enactment is a familiar. But the men of Delta 2/5(R) recreate the battles of a far more charged conflict: The Vietnam War. For one weekend a year, the woods of Oregon transform as a mix of combat enthusiasts, Iraq veterans and even a former South Vietnamese Army officer revive, by choice, a war that a generation would much rather forget.

Other notable releases:
Misery Loves Comedy” – 
The Seven Five
 –  Website / Reviews / Trailer
Lilies – Season 1Website / Reviews
CastleSeason 7 – Website / Reviews
NightingaleWebsite / Reviews / Trailer

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The Gentleman Recommends: Jess Walter

DBRL Next - October 12, 2015

Book cover for Does this gentleman’s influence know no bounds? First there’s the Gentleman’s Quarterly periodical that I presumably inspired and thus have no need to read, then there’s the fact that one of my recommendations was so convincing that an entire city banded together to read the same book. What’s next? A discount at the local deli? A trend of tattooing my face upon one’s own? No one knows (but at minimum I will surely be spared the glares and grimaces directed my way by fellow delicatessen patrons during my sampling hour). One thing is certain: I have tremendous clout and a duty to wield it wisely. So, friendly reader, I’m going wield it with incomparable wisdom and recommend Jess Walter.

Jess Walter is a genius, in part because he can tell a variety of different types of stories. First, I’ll type about “Citizen Vince,” another novel the Coen Brothers should adapt. It concerns a former low level criminal currently in witness protection; but – oh dang – his past is coming back to hunt him. Vince is a clever guy, and it’s tremendous fun to read his witticisms and follow his twisty tale. The story begins shortly before the 1980 presidential election and ends shortly thereafter. Like most people whose felonious past has been erased, Vince is giddy to take part in the selection of the nation’s next president. He reads the beginnings of a lot of books in order to always have a new one to talk about with a young lady who frequents the donut shop where he works. You should read this particular book to the end though, because “Citizen Vince” picks up steam as it goes.

Beautiful Ruins” is not the sort of book you’d expect the Coen Brothers to adapt (though I’m sure they could handle it), but it is easily imagined as an epic film. Some brilliant movie-makers will adapt it one day, and if they do it right,  they will probably win trophies, livestock and the other assorted plaudits Hollywood loves to dispense. The novel opens in a small Italian town with the proprietor of the “Hotel Adequate View” removing rocks from the port by hand in hopes of one day turning it into a proper beach. A young and purportedly dying actress arrives. The proprietor is smitten. But, before we learn their fates, we are spirited forward fifty years to Hollywood where a disillusioned production assistant is hoping to be convinced to stick with her movie making dreams. She decides if she doesn’t get a great pitch today,  she’s going to be the reluctant director of a cult’s museum.  A writer is ready to pitch his epic film about the Donner Party. (His pitch gets its own amazing, horrifying chapter.) A 72-year-old Hollywood big shot (with the surgically modified face best described as that of  a “nine year old Filipino girl”) is looking for a way out of his contract. The alcoholic war veteran that visited the Hotel Adequate View for a week every summer to drink and pretend to work on his novel turns back up. (We read his only completed chapter, which succeeds mightily as a short story and further proves Walter’s mastery.) Eventually, everyone’s paths intersect, and spectacularly so.

The novel closes with a firecracker of a montage that ties up the various loose ends; you will alternately and simultaneously cry and chuckle. Indeed, that sad fog condensed on more than one pair of monocles, and my chuckle hankie was often used to demurely conceal the happy bounce of my mustache. I was amazed by this book. My hunch is that you will be too.

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Flash Fiction Contest Winners: After the End

One Read - October 12, 2015

As part of this year’s One Read program and taking inspiration from “Station Eleven,” we invited you to tell a story about a world’s end, and what came after.  The world could be small and personal, like one’s family or home, or more literal, like a country or planet.

We received thrilling tales about the collapse of human civilization and quiet stories of people soldiering on after the loss of a spouse or a close friend. Some characters adapted to the loss of technology, others to an empty nest – and they did so in no more than 250 words.  Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the worlds of your imagination with us.

Our two winners are Janese Silvey and Amie Burling.  Writer Ann Youmans received Honorable Mention.

We are pleased to share with you the winning stories.

After by Janese Silvey

A Boston fern in the corner of the living room was turning brown, a tawny brown not unlike the color of the piano now hidden by a layer of dust.

He knew the world would continue to deteriorate. Slow but deliberate. He could water the plant; he chose not to, sitting on the corner of the burgundy couch she’d picked out years ago. The silence wasn’t terrible; they’d always been quiet-natured. He missed the smells. The aroma of chili powder, minced garlic and diced onion, a trinity she used to cook their favorite evening meals.

He wouldn’t die from the loneliness, although he considered it. Mostly, he was angry. Angry at the doctors who couldn’t save her. Angry that he didn’t take her dancing the last time she’d wanted to go. Angry at the houseplant for changing colors. This was a “new normal,” they said, going about their business as though his world hadn’t shattered into 10,000 pieces.

She would be forgotten; he knew this. There would be no one after him, save, perhaps, a few friends and relatives. (They hadn’t considered the practicality of having children of their own.)

There was a stone marker, of course, at the gravesite he’d visit until he joined her. An obituary in a paper no one would read twice. Josephine (Wilson) Albert, 82, had lived and died, becoming his universe along the way.

The old man lit a cigarette and went to the garage to find the watering can.

Apocalypse Hounds by Amie Burling

An animal shelter is an ironic place to spend the end of the world. With no exaggeration, that could describe even a good day around here. Chaos, emotion, the stark realities of mortality—those are old news to those of us in the trenches. I definitely know I’ve been working at this place a decade too long when the first thought through my head at news of the impending doom is, “People are going to leave their pets behind so fast they might bury us before the actual event.” Hah. That’s what compassion fatigue will do to you. I look at Mabel, our longest stay dog, and she warns against fatalism. Hope springs eternal in the canine heart.

Well, there are a lot of drop-offs. We’re working so hard we can’t even think. One hundred fifty dogs don’t know the end is nigh. They just know they’re hungry, and they need a walk, and it’s time for a peanut-butter-filled-kong. Pretty soon, it’s just me and Kal left for humans. In a moment of desperation and heroic insanity, Kal loads up dogs and drives around town, knocking on doors, asking people if they want “Apocalypse Hounds.” A friend for the end. And they do! I can’t believe it. Then it’s just me and Kal and Mabel. And I think, what better way to find your companions for the next chapter than the last three souls left in an animal shelter at the end of the world as we know it?

Redecorating the Nest by Ann Youmans (Honorable Mention)

In the end, he decided to send the sweaters back with her. He’d get them at Thanksgiving break, which at least meant he’d be coming home for Thanksgiving. She suspected that the climate had factored into his college choice.

She’d have to look into a snow removal service.

The drive back in the not-quite-empty car—the rejected sweaters, orientation pamphlets, pizza and bookstore receipts—she turned the radio up and made lists. Snow removal and a lawn care service. They’d cleaned the gutters before summer welcome, the garage after, after the first round of packing. She put shelves where the bikes used to be and organized a closet.

The bedroom, now devoid of soccer posters and stereo equipment, would be a guest room. The spare winter clothes in two of the drawers, a throw blanket with the college logo draped over a new armchair. She wrestled the chair into the house by herself, tilting it through the door one leg at a time and then dragging it to his—the guest—bedroom on a piece of old carpet.

The mornings were quiet. Without school bus bustle, she had an extra twenty minutes to sit with her coffee and watch the rest of the street get ready. She could put in a bay window. She subscribed to the paper. They were putting a walking trail in at the end of the street; it would get her almost all the way to her office.

Seventy-six days until Thanksgiving.

The post Flash Fiction Contest Winners: After the End appeared first on One READ.

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Staff Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

DBRLTeen - October 9, 2015

An Ember in the AshesWhy I Checked It Out: An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir showed up as a highly suggested upcoming YA fantasy release on a variety of different blogs I visit. A lot of authors I respect also tweeted about it, and that was enough for me. If an author I loved said it was good, I had to have it. I put a copy on reserve before it even came out.

What It’s About:  “An Ember in the Ashes” is told in alternating points of view between Laia, a Scholar, and Elias, a Mask. They live a city that once belonged to the Scholars, but was taken over by the Empire–a force that respects loyalty and brutality above all else. Laia wants to avenge her family and free her brother from the Empire. Elias wants to escape the horrors of being a Mask, an assassin-like fighter that is created to follow the Empire’s orders. As the two attempt to solve their problems, their worlds start to intertwine.

What I Liked About It:  For starters, it is beautifully written. The world Tahir builds is rich and comes to life before your eyes. Laia was a weak character at the beginning of the novel, but as the story progresses, she grows a backbone and became a character to love. That is my one complaint. That’s it!

Elias was an awesome character right from the start. I hated the struggles he was forced to endure, and it drove me insane sometimes that more good things didn’t happen to him, but still, the story was well plotted. The way Tahir interweaves the two characters’ storylines, bringing them slowly together until their stories connect, is also creative and different.

This is going to be a fantasy series to follow, already shelved among my favorites. I look forward to the second book, and the third!

Similar Titles:  “The Assassin’s Curse” by Cassandra Rose Clarke has a similar desert setting, along with troubled characters dealing with their desires versus their destinies. “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas is another book (and series!) I would highly recommend. It is also high fantasy with amazing world building and characters you won’t forget.

Originally published at Staff Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

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Staff Review: The Night Sister

DBRL Next - October 9, 2015

Book cover for The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahonYou know those writers whose work is so captivating that you’d read their grocery lists? Jennifer McMahon is definitely one of those writers for me. As one half of a pair of sisters, I’m also sucker for a book where sisters play a prominent role, so it’s likely “The Night Sister” would’ve ended up on my bedside table one way or another. If you enjoy mysteries that feature multiple timelines, numerous points of view and the setting of a deliciously creepy house (or in this case, hotel-as-castle), then this book might be for you as well.

“The Night Sister” begins in the present with sisters Piper and Margot receiving the shocking news that childhood friend Amy has brutally slain almost her entire family and herself, with only her daughter escaping. Then the novel turns back half a century to the childhood of Amy’s mother and aunt. Rose and Sylvie live in the Tower Motel, built like a castle complete with tower. Sylvie dreams of escaping to Hollywood and becoming an actress, while Rose is caught up in the stories their grandmother told them of mares, shape-shifting monsters hidden inside regular-seeming people.

The bridge between these two story lines is the summer of 1989, where Piper and Amy test their fledgling adolescence against the backdrop of the disused Tower Motel. Despite little-sister Margot tagging along behind Piper and future-police-officer Jason keeping watch over his crush Amy, the two enjoy sufficient freedom to learn enough about themselves — and the mysteries of the Tower Hotel — to change their friendship forever. But can Piper’s knowledge of the past help her piece together what really happened in the recent tragedy?

The Night Sister” has the fast pace and plot twists I expect in psychological thrillers, as well as clean, vivid writing. Though there are more than a couple of characters, the straightforward delineation of dates and points of view make it easy to keep track of who’s who.

And luckily for me, there are still a couple Jennifer McMahon novels I haven’t read yet, so she won’t be hearing from me asking for her grocery list just yet.

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Latino Americans: 500 Years of History

DBRL Next - October 7, 2015

Flora Sanchez 1Beginning later this month, the Daniel Boone Regional Library will honor the contributions of Latino Americans through story, song, dance and film. As a Mexican-American, I look forward to inviting our community to join in this region-wide celebration.

The roots of my family were planted in this country nearly a century ago and have been cultivated with much love, or as my Grandma Flora would say, “con mucho cariño.” In 1917, my grandmother immigrated to the United States as a toddler with her parents and older sister, Ruth. The Mexican Revolution had swept through their birthplace of Zacatecas and my great grandparents were seeking safety and security for their young family.

My great grandfather, Jose Moreno, and his brother Ezequiel eventually brought their families to East Los Angeles where they set up a Mexican bakery called “La Esperanza.” By 1926, they had 25 employees and a fleet of delivery trucks to distribute their pan dulce (sweet bread) and tortillas all over the city.

Bakery Trucks with Caption 1

Over the last 98 years, our family has done more than bear witness to great events in U.S. history; they have been participants in the story that binds us all together as Americans. My great grandparents realized the American Dream and laid a foundation that would give each successive generation the opportunity for success.

The library’s special program series, “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History,” will share how the rich and varied experiences of Latinos have contributed to American culture. In addition to the programs listed below, we will also have special displays throughout the Columbia Public Library showcasing Latino authors, artists and filmmakers.

Documentary: “Empire of Dreams”
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 • 6:30-8:15 p.m.

Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery Special Session
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 • 4:30-5:30 p.m.
For children in grades 4-8. To register, please call (573) 443-3161.

Singing and Dancing Through Stories With Olga Loya
Sunday, November 8, 2015 • 2-3 p.m.
For all ages.

Mexican Folklore With La Morena
Thursday, November 12, 2015 • 7-8 p.m.
For all ages.

Film: “Cesar Chavez”
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 • 6:30-8:15 p.m.

Spanish Story Time / Hora de cuentos en familia
Thursday, November 19, 2015 • 5:30-6 p.m. , 6:30-7 p.m.
Session 1 for children ages 1-5. Session 2 for children ages 6-12.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” has been made possible through a partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. The cornerstone of this series is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. Visit to see a statewide calendar of documentary screenings and other programs.

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Race in America

DBRL Next - October 5, 2015

Book cover for Just Mercy by Bryan StevensonThe library recently added a copy of “The Ferguson Report” to the collection, and it is very much worth reading. The report covers an in-depth investigation into both the police department and the judicial system in Ferguson, Missouri where black teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer. The report shows a systemic and “implicit bias” in these institutions. For those who have had to live as the targets of this system, this is not news and not isolated to this one municipality. The report is very critical, but it also offers specific recommendations, such as a publicly accessible database to track use of force.

For a broader understanding of race in America, pick up one of these excellent, recently published books.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

This book was recently the winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Of all the books on our justice system that I have read lately, this is one of the very best. It definitely puts a human face on it, case after heartbreaking case.

Book cover for Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.”

“Between the World and Me” is such a beautifully written and lyrical book. Just read it. And then read it again; it’s not that long. And when you think you understand Coates’ perspective, read it again. We have a lot to learn.

Book cover for Citizen by Claudia RankineCitizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine

“Yes, and the body has a memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness—all the intimidated, unblinking, and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through, even as we are eternally stupid or everlastingly optimistic, so ready to be inside, among, a part of the games.”

This powerful and visually striking book of poems, essays and images won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the NAACP Image Award, PEN Open Book Award and the LA Times Book Prize.

For more on Race in America, see the wonderful books in this catalog book list.

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Win a Copy of Jo Ann Trogdon’s Book About William Clark

DBRL Next - October 2, 2015

Book cover for The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William ClarkThis September, more than 50 history buffs came to the Columbia Public Library to hear attorney and writer Jo Ann Trogdon talk about her recently published book, “The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark,” in which Trogdon reveals Clark’s highly questionable activities during the years before his famous journey west of the Mississippi. Using Clark’s diary and ledger entries, she investigates evidence linking Clark to a series of plots in which corrupt officials sought to line their pockets with Spanish money and to separate Kentucky from the United States.

Win a copy of this imaginative, surprising and vividly written book from your library! One lucky winner will be notified after October 19. (Contest limited to residents of Boone and Callaway Counties. One entry per person, please.)

Enter now!

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Winner Announced in Teen Photo Contest

DBRLTeen - October 1, 2015
Grace Hurt

Photo by Grace Hurt

Today we recognize the winner in our “Every Hero Has a Story” Teen Photography Contest. This summer, teens were asked to honor a hero in their lives by submitting a portrait and a short description of his or her inspiring deeds. The library received eight entries.

Contestants were judged on the following criteria:

  • Composition, the overall arrangement of elements within the photo.
  • The use of color, light and shadow to capture the image.
  • The creative interpretation of the “hero”  theme .

We are pleased to announce the winner is Grace Hurt. She is also the recipient of the People’s Choice Award as determined by the library’s Facebook followers. When asked about her photo, she said, “The hero featured in my picture this year is my sister, and best friend, Amanda. She’s not only my hero, but also the hero of the little girl in the picture. Amanda and her husband have recently become foster parents and the little girl in the picture is their first foster child. Amanda has been my hero since I can remember, and with her becoming a foster parent, I admire her even more. I’m so glad this little girl has someone to look up to, even if it is for just the short time she’s there. I know how much Amanda has impacted my life and I hope she gets the chance to be a hero to many more, even if only for a week. Grace will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award.

At the conclusion of our photo contest, we prepare for the launch of our next competition which will be a writing contest. In celebration of Teen Read Week, young adults can submit an original short story around the theme “Get Away” between October 19- December 6 for a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card. Write about a grand adventure, a secret hideaway, how folks escape their day-to-day routine or whatever you think fits the theme.

Winning stories will be published on the library’s teen blog. This contest is open to all teens in Boone and Callaway counties, ages 12-18. Find contest rules and submission guidelines at or at your library after October 18.

Gallery of Photo Contest Submissions

[See image gallery at]
© All rights to the photographs contained herein reserved by their respective photographers.

Originally published at Winner Announced in Teen Photo Contest.

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Thank You for Being a Part of One Read 2015

One Read - October 1, 2015

Station Eleven for webA big thank you to all of you who read or listened to “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events. Over the past month we have explored the importance of art and community to survival. We have rediscovered Shakespeare. We have contemplated the end of the world and what comes after. As a community we have investigated the themes and topics in this book through discussions, lectures, films and art. We appreciate the hundreds of you who attended events and promoted this book to your book clubs, your coworkers and your families.

Our sincere thanks to you for being a part of this year’s One Read!

Have an idea for what one book our community should read next? Visit this site or any library branch in November to suggest a book for next year.

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2015 One READ Winner: About “Station Eleven” and Emily St. John Mandel

One Read - October 1, 2015
About the Book

Station Eleven for web

Station Eleven” is a literary, post-apocalyptic page-turner.

Twenty years after a deadly flu outbreak kills most of the world’s population, what survives? What matters? This haunting novel begins with the on-stage death of famous actor Arthur Leander during his performance of King Lear, which coincides with the beginning of the pandemic. The narrative moves back and forth between Leander’s younger life and 20 years after his death, weaving the stories of a handful of people connected to him – some closely, like his ex-wife, and some by the smallest thread, like the EMT who attempted to save his life or the child actress with whom Leander briefly shared a stage. A lyrically written examination of the importance of art and what it means to be human.

The book’s UK publisher describes “Station Eleven” as “thrilling, unique and deeply moving … a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything — even the end of the world.”

About the Author

 Dese'Rae L. StageEmily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

She is the author of four novels, including “Last Night in Montreal,” “The Singer’s Gun” and “The Lola Quartet.” “Station Eleven” is her most recent novel and was a finalist for a National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. She is a staff writer for online magazine The Millions and lives in New York City with her husband.

Biographical info from and the Books & Authors Database.

More information:

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New Magazines at DBRL

DBRL Next - September 30, 2015

Bee Culture Magazine coverpoets and writers coverThe world of print is rapidly changing.  Many of the large metro daily newspapers are folding – think of the sad case of the Rocky Mountain News, once the beacon of newspaper publishing in the West, which died a slow death in the 1990s and 2000s and finally stopped printing in 2009. To survive, magazines and newspapers are either switching their format to a much reduced publishing schedule or even changing their look and format entirely. A good example of how the newspaper and magazine publishing industry is having to adapt is the example of the Christian Science Monitor. Once a daily newspaper, it is now published in a slick magazine format, just once a week.

The magazine world, however, is still hanging in there and indeed thriving in some respects. Lots of great new titles are now coming out, targeting a “boutique” independent magazine audience or changing their look with shorter articles and smaller format. The Daniel Boone Regional Library currently holds a wide and varied collection of magazines on our shelves at our Columbia, Fulton and Ashland branches.  Some of these magazines are brand new over the last couple of years, and some are actually old titles, published for many years, that we just recently acquired. Many of the magazines featured here were purchased due to patron requests. It must also be noted that several of the titles can be found through our digital magazine service, Zinio.  Let’s take a look at some of the newest and freshest titles that we are now carrying.

Bee Culture

One of the great things about the collection here at the Daniel Boone Regional Library is that we are constantly adapting and listening to patron needs and requests.  A perfect example of this is the magazine Bee Culture, which was requested to be included in our collection this past year.  The September 2015 issue of this magazine includes news items like the Regional Honey Price Report, in addition to articles about bee repellent and New Jersey bee laws. The September issue also includes an in-depth article about beekeeping at a state prison, and how the process of raising these bees helped maintain stability and focus for the inmates.


Commonweal is another patron request.  Historically a Catholic magazine that has concentrated on issues of social justice, the magazine also carries many articles about current politics.  See the September issue for a fascinating retrospective article about Thomas Merton and his theological writings and political philosophy.


One of several architectural titles that we carry here, Dwell has a focus mainly centered on urban and modern architecture. See the October 2015 issue for an in-depth look at concrete houses in the Australian bush, which are able to withstand the terrible brush fires that rage through the area on occasion.


Monocle is a product of famous restaurateur and jet-setter Tyler Brûlé and is certainly global in its outlook. With articles that range from features about tiny fantastic restaurants in the nooks and crannies of Beijing, to political features and commentaries on international sporting events, architecture and film, this magazine has a little bit of something for everyone. Monocle is one of the many “boutique” titles out there printed by independent publishers that has the appearance of a digital offering (short articles and a layout that has the look and feel similar to that of a webpage).  From the July/August 2015 issue – a story about wooden high rises in Stockholm, the Utrecht Cycling Club in the Netherlands and planned cities such as Tapiola Finland.

Poets and Writers

Poets and Writers is a key offering in a selection of titles for the literary folks among our patrons (other titles in the genre include Writer’s Digest and the Missouri Review). With author interviews, information about literary retreats and book reviews for new and upcoming titles, the magazine is heavily used by the author community in Columbia. Poets and Writers also includes information about where to apply for grants and fellowships related to the craft.

A final word – although current issues cannot be checked out, the last two years of back issues are available for checkout by patrons, limited to five per patron. Enjoy!

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The October 2015 List

DBRL Next - September 28, 2015

Halloween is around the corner, but the list of books publishing in October that librarians across the country love isn’t scary. Well, unless you fear your to-read pile growing too tall. This month’s LibraryReads list includes novels from big names in literary fiction, like Geraldine Brooks (“March,” “Caleb’s Crossing“), David Mitchell (“Cloud Atlas,” “Bone Clocks“) and Margaret Atwood (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” MaddAddam Trilogy) – perfect for longer nights and cooler days. Enjoy!

Book cover for City of FireCity on Fire” by Garth Risk Hallberg
“WOW! An excellently executed work with intricate plot lines and fascinating characters. It’s a story of how the stories of many different people of New York City in the late seventies crash into each other like waves on rocks. This work may encapsulate the whole of New York City, as it has wealth, love, filth, passion, aimless angst and a myriad of other aspects of humanity swirling in that amazing city.” – Racine Zackula, Wichita Public Library, Wichita, KS

Book cover for After You by Jojo MoyesAfter You” by Jojo Moyes
“I loved ‘Me Before You‘ and thought it ended in the perfect place, but any doubts I had about continuing the story were quickly erased when I started this sequel. Jojo Moyes is a master at tugging on your heartstrings. I laughed, I cried and I nearly threw my Kindle against the wall at one point. Give this to anyone in your life who has experienced a tragic loss. With a box of tissues.” – Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH

Book cover for A Banquet of ConsequencesA Banquet of Consequences” by Elizabeth George
“Still reeling from a previous fall from grace, police detective Barbara Havers has a chance to redeem her standing–if she can unravel the very twisted threads that led to the murder of a prominent English feminist. Meanwhile, her superior officer Thomas Lynley pursues a love interest even as he keeps a sharp lookout for any slip-ups by Havers. This is the strongest addition to the series in years.” – Starr Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, Falls Church, VA

Here are the remaining October titles for your holds-placing pleasure!

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