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The registration deadline for the March 8 SAT exam is Friday, February 7. Sign-up online.
If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to SAT/ACT 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 February 7 Deadline for March SAT Exam.
If what we read is awesome enough it will contribute to who we are. “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is exceedingly awesome and about magic and magicians and an era when gentlemen were commonplace. So it will not surprise the reader to learn of my affinity for the novel and that I was both drawn to it by what I already was and shaped by it into what I currently am: a wearer of tophats and caster of the occasional spell. One cannot spend 850 often breathtaking pages in the company of gentlemen and gentlewomen without absorbing their delightful (and, increasingly in my view, mandatory) manners. The book’s influence extended beyond making suits and kerchiefs compulsory and replacing ibuprofen with laudanum as the tonic for headaches and chills*; it also provided much of the origin for my immense fear of faeries.
“Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” is overflowing with ideas. There are footnotes throughout relaying stories other writers would have been thrilled to settle on for the course of a book but that Susanna Clarke uses as spice to deepen the flavor of a work so savory and rich that if it were food it would be impolite to serve to the book’s characters and their stiff English palates without stern warnings of its decidedly un-pudding like flavors.
Clarke created a history so persuasive that one is given to wonder if she did not simply unearth England’s true history and that the country was shaped by magic, both literally in the sense of magically altered coastlines, and figuratively in the sense of magicians aiding them in their wars and inspiring their limericks. She tells, with a voice made to illicit chuckles and wry appreciative nods, the story of the titular magicians and their plight to reassert magic to its lofty and rightful heights. At the book’s onset magic is studied by a society of gentleman but never performed as they are unable. Soon Mr Norrell emerges,** desiring to disband the “theoretical magicians” and succeeding by showing that magic can be done. His spell provides the first of hundreds of the book’s mind-searing images: he causes the statues of a great church to come alive for a short while. Magic begins its ascent in esteem. Jonathan Strange, a career-less young man, accidentally discovers his aptitude for it. The two magicians join forces. Mr Norrell brings a young woman back to life with the aid of a faerie.*** The faerie, referred to only as “the man with the thistle-down hair,” has rather disagreeable terms. In addition to taking one of Lady Pole’s fingers, he bargains for domain over half her life. Mr Norrell accepts the terms, foolishly believing the faerie will take the last half of the lady’s life. Instead the resurrected finds her nights occupied by a perpetual ball taking place in the eerie bone-strewn semi-ruins of the faerie’s castle, a place called Lost-Hope. Lady Pole and her butler, Stephen Black, to whom the faerie has taken an unfortunate liking, find when trying to speak of their predicament and thereby exercise themselves from it they can only relate arcane bits of faerie history.
The novel builds to a climax worthy of its bulk. Readers will be sad to leave it and find themselves tempted to summon a faerie that might enchant them into the book’s pages permanently. Take heed though – a reread is a better idea; unlike a faerie’s bargain it won’t leave you missing a digit and with your house, which you can never leave, made from the pages of a novel. Great novel though it may be, weather will not do it any favors.
*Also contributed to my fondness for footnotes.
**Figuratively. Norrell much prefers to remain cloistered in his library where he’s hoarded every book of magic, thereby effectively preventing anyone from practicing.
***A creature he detests but needs for such lofty magic.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. In other words, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these three sessions.
Best all, FAFSA Frenzy attendees are entered for a chance to win a scholarship to a Missouri postsecondary institution for the Fall 2014 semester! To learn more about the FAFSA and its impact on funding your college education, check out our recent blog post, “Navigating the FAFSA.”
Where is the FAFSA Frenzy being held in Boone & Callaway Counties?Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Wednesday, February 19 from 4-7:30 p.m. Hickman High School Media Center 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Update:
Tuesday, February 11 from 6-8:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 9 from 2-4 p.m.
What to bring:
- Your parents’ and your 2013 W-2 forms
- Copies of your parents’ and your 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2013 returns before you attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete your taxes.
- Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending the FAFSA Frenzy.
What do I bring if my parents and I haven’t filed our taxes yet?
- 2012 tax forms
- 2013 statements of interest earned
- Last year-end pay stub received in December 2013 by you and your parents, showing year-to-date earnings.
Originally published at Free Assistance to Help You Complete the FAFSA.
How do you discover new books to read? We have some patrons who religiously place holds on titles appearing on the New York Times Best Sellers lists. Others track like-minded readers on social reading sites like Goodreads. Did you know your library has some pretty nifty tools – both high-tech and low – for finding your next great read?
- The Books & More section of our digital branch is a portal of sorts for all kinds of book-finding tools. Browse the latest Literary Links article, a monthly piece that appears in the Columbia Daily Tribune and provides a book list on a timely topic. You’ll also find links to our latest book recommendation posts appearing on this blog, as well as those for Teens and Kids.
- Get book recommendations in your inbox! Sign up for BookNews, monthly themed newsletters that highlight new titles in our catalog. You can choose our newsletters highlighting our book club picks, new nonfiction, mysteries and more.
- Browse the staff picks book lists in our online catalog for hand-selected fiction and nonfiction titles.
- Join us for an upcoming Facebook Friday reading recommendation program. Just watch for our Facebook post asking for the last few books you enjoyed, leave a comment, and a staff member will suggest your next great read.
- Finally, just ask! Our staff members are expert recommenders, so next time you are in one of our buildings or on the bookmobile, you can let one of us know a book or author you liked, and we’ll suggest some titles for you to try.
Do you have a favorite tool for finding your next good read? Let us know in the comments.
F-A-F-S-A. Commit these five letters to memory. If you plan on attending college, they will follow you throughout the course of your entire academic career. It’s a little daunting, I know. DBRLTeen is here to help make these five letters a little friendlier.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All prospective college students looking to qualify for federal grants or loans must complete this online application. Most colleges also require this application so that they can award institutional scholarships based on financial need.
Another important note: Once you are admitted and attending college, you will have to complete this form every year until you graduate. Typically the latest version of the FAFSA form is available in early January, or shortly before.
Of all the applications you submit, your FAFSA ranks right up there with your application to the college or university you have chosen to attend. Translation: Very Important. You have through early spring to complete this online form, be sure to review the 2014 FAFSA deadlines.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) also offers a free program called FAFSA Frenzy to help students and families complete the FAFSA form. Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center are each hosting this free event. Learn more about upcoming sessions.
Last, check out this video, “Seven Steps to Applying for Financial Aid.” It is produced by MDHE and provides a six-minute overview of completing the FAFSA form. The FAFSA website also now offers a tool called the FAFSA4caster. This resource will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Very cool.
Originally published at Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA.
What happens when a 39-year-old brilliant genetics professor with Asperger’s and, therefore, few social skills sets out to find a wife? He approaches that task the way he approaches all his tasks, i.e. like a scientific project. First, Don Tillman develops a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire, whose purpose is to screen out unsuitable candidates: smokers, the mathematically illiterate, those with body mass index over 26, vegetarians, the perpetually tardy, etc. He then pursues his task with robotic precision (and, not surprisingly, very little luck) – until the most unsuitable candidate walks into his life and turns it upside down. This candidate, sent to Don as a joke, is Rosie, a volatile bartender and a graduate student of psychology. Rosie has a project of her own – she’s trying to find her biological father.
As the story unfolds, Don, a guy who cannot stand being touched, who can barely read social clues or understand people’s reactions, puts his project on the back burner and begins helping Rosie with hers. In the process, an unpredictable thing happens (kind of unpredictable, mind you, it is a romantic comedy after all ) – Don’s Asperger’s gradually gives way to affection and, ultimately, love. And these newly awakened emotions help Don learn how to sympathize with people around him and discover the things that really make him happy.
Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” a clever and laugh-out-loud celebration of our individual differences, is a great read for those who like happy endings and also for those who want to start their New Year on an optimistic note. Readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Toni Jordan’s “Addition” (as well as fans of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”) will enjoy it, too.
The post Looking for a New Project to Start 2014? Take on The Rosie Project! appeared first on DBRL Next.
The changing of the year always prompts me to note the swift passage of time. And the realization that we now have fewer than 50 years to wait until first contact with an alien species, as established in the Star Trek canon, makes me think of space. So what better book to highlight this month than Stephen Hawking’s non-fiction classic, “A Brief History of Time”?
In his acknowledgments for the book, first published in 1988, Hawking writes: “…the basic ideas about the origin and fate of the universe can be stated without mathematics in a form that people without a scientific education can understand. This is what I have attempted to do in this book.” More than almost any other modern-day scientist, Hawking helped the average person get a grasp on what physicists mean when they discuss the big bang or quantum mechanics or black holes, and why they now refer to space-time as one single term rather than two separate things. In “A Brief History of Time” he provides an historical overview of beliefs about the workings of the universe, beginning with Aristotle. Then he moves into current (at the time) knowledge and theories.
In 2005, Hawking published “A Briefer History of Time,” an updated and even more simplified version of his earlier work, for those of us whose brains move at a pace considerably slower than the speed of light. He followed this in 2010 with “The Grand Design,” co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow, which discusses further recent developments in cosmology, including something called M-theory.
Hawking’s life is as interesting as the subjects he explores, and he shares some of the details in his new autobiography, “My Brief History.” He just celebrated his 72nd birthday on January 8, over 50 years after being diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and told he didn’t have many years to live. But he spends more time discussing his research and education than his physical condition. Late bloomers take heart – he did not learn to read until he was 8 years old.
For those who can’t get enough Stephen Hawking in their lives, he maintains a website with up-to-date information about himself and his work: http://www.hawking.org.uk.
Finding Summer Jobs for Teens
Columbia Public Library
Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Starting a summer job search now can help you find work that will contribute to a fun and profitable summer vacation. We’ll look at local resources for teen job-seekers and help you identify jobs you may be interested in and employers who may be interested in you. You will leave with resources in hand, including a personalized form which will make it easier to complete applications. Snacks served. Ages 15-18. Registration begins Tuesday, January 14.
A similar program is also being offered at the Southern Boone County Public Library on Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Originally published at Program Preview: Finding Summer Jobs for Teens.
“Grace and Grit” is the story of Lilly Ledbetter, an employee of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and her fight for equal rights and fairness in the workplace. This book tells the story of a courageous woman from a poor county in Alabama who, because of her struggles throughout her life, helped give all women in our country the right to be paid the same as anyone else for doing the same job. I enjoyed this book because it is a true story about one of the heroes of our time. She fought all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States for the rights that she and all other working women in this country deserve.
Three words or phrases that describe this book: empowering, inspiring and powerful.
Who should pick up this book? Anyone who cares about equal rights for everyone would find this book to be very informative and interesting.
Fold or fold not. There is no try. Tom Angleberger’s “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” is as much about life at a typical middle school as it is about Star Wars and the wonderful art of origami. Dwight, a sixth-grader with the reputation of an oddball, usually is a little too weird for his classmates. But when he makes an origami puppet of Jedi master Yoda that predicts the future and suggests the best way to deal with tricky situations, Dwight’s classmates start lining up with questions about homework, love and everything in-between.
Sixth grader Tommy gathers students’ case files to determine whether origami Yoda actually works before he takes Dwight’s/Yoda’s advice on a crucial matter…involving a certain girl and the middle school dance. Lots of students get voices in this fun story, and there are Star Wars doodles, tips for folding your own Origami Yoda, and other fun bonus material. And the best part? Much like “Star Wars,” the story continues!
Every student introduced in the first book gets their own back story and continues into the next grade level, when Dwight is asked to leave school. What does Dwight’s nemesis, Harvey, have to do with this turn of events, and does it have anything to do with Harvey’s new puppet, Darth Paper? Read “Darth Paper Strikes Back” and “The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee” to find out what happens when Dwight and his origami Yoda puppet are missing at a crucial time for our middle school heroes and heroines.
I love how these books reflect real issues for middle schoolers and for the eudcational system in general. No topic is safe. Don’t believe me? See what an increased emphasis on standardized testing (amusingly referred to in this series as the “FunTime Menace”) does to Angleberger’s characters in the latest books, “The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet” and the upcoming “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!”
I had a blast reading these books. True, I am a huge Star Wars nerd in general, and I’m a big fan of Yoda in particular. But I’m now even more interested in what’s going to happen to these kids–will Harvey ever show a shred of decency? Does Dwight’s Yoda really work? Can the principal really be as bad as the Emperor? All these questions are waiting for you inside the “Origami Yoda” series–as well as drawings, doodles, and directions for you to create your own origami fun. Will you love this series as much as me? That’s hard to answer…”Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong.” I’d love to hear your comments about these books and see your own origami creations. Now excuse me while I try to use all of the library’s paper to create my own origami Millennium Falcon…
Originally published at Books for Dudes – “Origami Yoda” Series.
We recently added “Strongman” to the DBRL collection. The film won the grand jury prize at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2009 and currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
A modern cinema-verite classic, Strongman follows the hopes and heartbreaking humanity of professional strongman Stainless Steel, the only person in the world who can bend a penny with his fingers as he attempts to reshape his world with his mighty grasp.
Imagine being able to claim that you live a zero-waste lifestyle. What does that mean and how hard would it be? Is it really possible? In Amy Korst’s book “The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less,” she gives a blow by blow description of how to come very close to achieving this. In fact, she states, “What if I told you that you could go from an overflowing can perched on the curb each week to making less than five pounds of trash in a year? That taking the trash-free plunge would simplify your life, ease the strain on your pocketbook, and help the planet, all at the same time?”
Recently on a walk I discovered one of my neighbors picking through a huge load of trash left curbside on our street. She had unearthed a set of chef’s knives, among other things. Oh my goodness! It was hard to conceive of throwing those out; they could have been donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or given to friends or coworkers (donating items you no longer use is one way to just say no to the landfill). I’ve worked on paring down my waste stream since I’ve become more conscious of my contributions to the landfill, but I have a long way to go to get to zero. If this seems like an overwhelming idea to you, consider that the most important thing to do is start somewhere and choose something that seems manageable for you. For example, you might start buying food and cleaning products in bulk, purchasing used clothing or composting kitchen waste. Korst’s book is very inspiring with lots more suggestions to help you move in this direction. She has certainly motivated me to regroup and continue to take new measures to reduce my waste. If we all work collectively at this we can make a sizeable impact and stake our claim to living more sustainably.
In “Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place,” Sharon Astyk describes how she and her family arrived at the decision to live in a more sustainable manner: “We came to this project simply – we had little money but a strong desire for a good life for ourselves, for our children and for our extended family. We wanted to eat good food, drink clean water, breathe good air. We wanted a home and a place to call our own, a stable place where our kids could live and thrive. We wanted our children to grow up with family. We wanted elderly family to live well as long as they lived. We wanted relationships with good neighbors and reasonable comfort. We wanted to do as little harm to others as possible and have as happy a life as we could. Someone, we thought, had to model what a life with less that produced more could look like. Why not us?” This family has examined the systems in their lives that provide them with what they need (staying warm/cool, access to food and water, shelter, etc.) and figured out ways to provide for themselves using fewer resources while producing more of what they need on their own and by accessing community resources.
If you would like more inspirational models and other ideas on how to live sustainably, come by and take a look at the display on the 2nd floor of the Columbia Public Library. From January 12 to February 9 we’ll have lots of books on this and related topics including renewable energy resources, energy conservation, nature conservation and climate change.
Zero Waste Encouragement Patrol by Ajay Tallam via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.
Steung Meanchey Garbage Dump by Raphael Surber via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.
A film about power, passion and the fine wine game. The great chateaux of Bordeaux struggle to accommodate the voracious appetite for their rare, expensive wines, which have become a powerful status symbol in booming China. Narrated by Russell Crowe.
I don’t make official New Year’s resolutions, but I do enjoy the clean slate feeling that comes each January. And I can’t help but catch a bit of the self-improvement bug, spurred on by my holiday overindulgence and the fact that January is Get Organized Month. If you are also looking to be a better you in 2014, your library can help.
Aspiring to improve your eating habits? Check out this program:
Learn to Eat Smart This Year
Monday, January 20, 2014 › 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Dietitians Megan Kemp and Lauren Knaup will show you how to stick to your New Year’s resolution of eating healthier food and avoiding crash diets after the holiday binge. Sample some foods and go home with healthy recipes. Co-sponsored by the Central Missouri Dietetics Association.
Want to learn a new skill? Universal Class, available for free with your library card, offers hundreds of online, self-paced courses taught by actual instructors who communicate with you via email and evaluate your progress. These are rich continuing education courses in everything from accounting and real estate to cooking and crafting.
Ready to declutter? Here’s a whole slew of books to help you get started.
Finally, if you have made a resolution but are worried about keeping it, join us on Wednesday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library (Conference Room B) for “Don’t Give Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions,” presented by Phoenix Programs, Inc.
The post A New You in the New Year With Help From Your Library appeared first on DBRL Next.
Wii U Family Game Time
Columbia Public Library
Monday, January 20, 2-3:30 p.m. -OR- 5:30-7 p.m.
Drop in to try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” We’ll also have snacks and a selection of new books for older kids and teens. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, January 7.
Teen Game Night
Southern Boone County Public Library
Friday, January 24, 6:30 p.m.
Challenge your friends to a game on our Wii U console or to a board game tournament. We’ll have various games available as well as supplies for art projects. Refreshments provided.
Originally published at Upcoming Teen Game Nights.
We’ve had a great year of reviewing and recommending books, community events and library programs here at DBRL Next, and we thank you for your readership and contributing to our success. To ring in the New Year, here is a recap of our most popular posts from 2013. Read on for some great book recommendations from staff, patrons and around the Web.
- As part of this year’s Summer Reading program, we asked our readers to share books they had found personally groundbreaking. Read the comments at the end of this post to see the results.
- Celebrate strong women and check out these titles with not one damsel in distress.
- If you haven’t been following the recommendations of the library’s resident gentleman, you are missing out on some great books as well as some pretty hilarious writing from the gentleman himself. His profile of Lauren Beukes, thanks in part to a tweet from that author about his review, was his most-read piece this year.
- 2013 saw the launch of LibraryReads, a monthly top ten book list identifying those titles librarians nationwide identify as their favorites publishing that month. You, too, can read like a librarian!
- Read about the book one of our writers considers the most beautiful novel he has ever read.
- There are many reasons to pick up a book – to escape, to be entertained, to explore new topics, to expand our understanding of other people and places. Another popular post this year was this list of fiction for understanding mental illness.
- The crafting and upcycling craze of recent years continues, and we shared one librarian’s list of ideas for transforming your stacks of t-shirts into something new.
- It’s cold outside, but you can warm up by revisiting this list of recommended summer vacation reads.
- If your New Year’s resolutions include a radical reduction of your carbon footprint or a commitment to living with less, read this post about “living tiny.”
- Finally, at DBRL Next we enjoy digging up overlooked gems from the bottom shelves of nonfiction. Here are some bottom shelf books from the 600s that are sure to make your mouth water.
Happy New Year to all of our readers!