Betsy A.'s blog

Sylvan Beach is a Beach Again!

Picture of Newly Renovated Sylvan BeachLast week, I took my first walk at the newly renovated Sylvan Beach. The beach is wonderful! There are two small sandy areas at each end, a broad sidewalk leading to each beach, marble benches, small jetties jutting out to the bay, and gorgeous antique lamps lining the sidewalk. The citizens of La Porte and the surrounding area have a big reason to celebrate: there is a beach nearby to enjoy the water!

History of Harris County Public Library, 1921-1939

Photographs from Harris County Archives Exhibit on Library History

If you stroll through the library this month, you will see old photographs and newspaper clippings related to the La Porte Branch Library and other Harris County libraries. The materials are provided by the Harris County Public Library Records, Harris County Archives. We are delighted to display this special collection of our history!

Where's Mr. Mark?

Display Case at La Porte Community Library with History of the Library MaterialsThis month our display case features articles and paraphernalia about the history of La Porte Community Library. Look closely and you will be able to find a picture of the former children’s librarian, Mr. Mark. This display about the history of La Porte library is in conjunction with another special display that my co-blogger will describe to you next week.

The Commons and the Public Library

This morning I turned on the radio and ‘Engines of Our Ingenuity’ was on National Public Radio (KUHF in Houston). In an episode entitled ‘The Commons Revisited’, the topic was about resources held in common and the very concept of “commons”. The first topic discussed was land held in common, but I listened carefully to hear if public libraries would be discussed. Of course they were…public libraries are built around the idea of sharing resources…of holding things in common.  

Together at Harris County Public Library we share books, movies, music, Internet accessibility, story times, and even places to hold meetings. By holding things “in common” we can do more.

Get Ready for the Grammys

Picture of Mary J. Blige from GRAMMY Awards websiteThe 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be Sunday, January 31, at 7 p.m. on CBS. This year’s telecast will feature tributes to Michael Jackson and Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell. In addition, there will be a special segment, A Bridge For Haiti, devoted to Haiti earthquake relief. Nine-time GRAMMY award winner Mary J. Blige and renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will perform a duet of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. The audio and video recordings of the performance will be available for download after the broadcast to aid the earthquake relief efforts.  The choice of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is particularly significant, because this year marks the 40th anniversary that it received GRAMMY awards for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.

The library system has CDs with past GRAMMY award winners and nominees: Grammy nominees 2009, Grammy nominees 2008, Grammy nominees 2007, Grammy nominees 2006, etc.

Do You Like True Crime?

Cover of But I Trusted You by Ann RuleTrue Crime books (also called Fact Crime) are popular at the La Porte branch. Most of these books are located under the call number 364.1. One way to find the best of true crime books is to look at the winners and nominees for the Edgar® Awards. Some of the recent Edgar® Awards for Fact Crime books have gone to:

To find other Edgar® Awards winners and nominees in the Fact Crime category, go to the Search the Edgars Database webpage and limit the search to Best Fact Crime.

Brrrrrrr! Expect More of the Cold

An article entitled Winter Blues: Get Used to Cold from the Texas A&M News & Information-Division of Marketing and Communications explains why we have had such cold weather lately and why we can expect more of the same. 

Anyone who enjoys reading about the weather would be interested in perusing the Old Farmer’s Almanac 2010, available at the library. This time-honored publication has weather predictions, the cycles of the moon for the year, articles about planting crops and living close to the land, and lots of entertaining, oddball facts. They also have a website now:  www.almanac.com.

Welcome, Liam!

Book Cover for 25,001 Best Baby NamesMy great nephew was born Christmas Eve night, and he is the best gift to all our family. His name is Liam Robert. In 25,000+ Baby Names the name Liam is described as an Irish form of the German name William, which means determined guardian.  Robert is of English origin and means famous brilliance.

The library system has numerous books with baby names and their meaning. These books are popular and we get new titles often so that the books reflect the current trends in baby names. 
 
Liam, we are so glad you are finally here! Thank you for making this an unforgettable Christmas!

Finding Quiet in the Holiday Season

Cover of Into Great SilenceIn the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, finding silence isn’t always easy. The library has a movie that has silence as its setting: Into Great Silence. This documentary was done by German filmmaker Philip Gröning. It shows the life of Carthusian monks at the French Grande Chartreuse monastery as they go about their daily lives of prayer and work. There is no narration, no background music, and no artificial lighting. The result is an unusual film experience. At first, watching a film without narration and background music feels odd, but after awhile the film gives an experience of stillness and quiet. It also contains some gorgeous images of nature in the surrounding French Alps. 

Open House at Bay Area Heritage Society

Depot Museum MapThere will be a Christmas Open House at the Depot Museum of the La Porte Bay Area Heritage Society, this Sunday, December 13 from 2 pm – 4 pm. Come by to have refreshments and tour the museum.  The Depot Museum is located at 100 Park Avenue in La Porte. (Note: The Sylvan Depot Museum is #13 on the map on the linked picture at left.)

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