David Cherry's blog

New Downloadable Audiobooks! HCPL adds thousands of eAudiobooks to its collection

Young woman in parkFor a lot of area residents, audiobooks have made their daily commutes, time on the treadmill, weekend yard work, or just lazing by the pool a lot more entertaining, and Smartphones, tablets and mp3 players have made listening to a bestseller or an old favorite unbelievably convenient. So it is no surprise that the popularity of audiobooks has soared in recent years.

Harris County Public Library has always done its best to keep ahead of demand and soon HCPL customers will have an even wider selection of downloadable audiobooks to choose from, including some of today’s hottest titles by authors like Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith and Anne Tyler.

Carlos Fuentes 1928 - 2012

Cover Art: The Buried Mirror by Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes who passed away last week at the age of 83 left behind a multifaceted legacy that most writers can only dream of. Up until the very day he died, he was an active, larger-than-life presence in the literary, political, social and intellectual life of his native México, and one imagines his influence will still be felt long after the memory of him as a flesh and blood human being is gone.

He was lionized in his own country, but his influence on the literary environment in this one should not be underestimated. It was Fuentes, along with Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortázar, who, sometime around 1975, shouldered their way up to that big table in the back of Elaine’s and demanded to be seated.

Unlock Mysteries and Fun This Summer @ HCPL: June 4 - August 11

Summer Reading Program 2012 Flyer: Get A Clue @ HCPLThere is a reason that year after year mysteries continue to be some of the most popular books, movies and television shows. It’s the same reason curious souls continue to scour the wilds in search of Bigfoot and the Chupacabra, and the same reason ordinary folks travel to far off lands. Humans are hard-wired to investigate and explore. Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but it’s done wonders for humankind. Nothing, it seems, motivates us like an unanswered question, a blank spot on a map, a mystery.

This year, Harris County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program’s theme is ‘Get a Clue @ the Library,’ and it’s designed to encourage you and the whole family to exercise—to indulge—that part of you that loves mysteries, craves answers, and seeks adventure! Summer Reading Fun 2012 is all about investigating books and libraries and the worlds they open up to you.

HCPL Invites eBook Readers to Participate in a National Survey to Help Libraries Plan for the Future

Angled photo of eReader by Andrew Mason via Flickr Creative CommonsBecause of the rise of the internet and the growing popularity of downloadable content, public libraries are evolving at a pace never before seen. Harris County Public Library has never shied away from new technologies--we see them as opportunities to enhance existing library services and to expand into new service areas. But like all organizations that want to thrive in a changing technological landscape, we must continually reassess our mission and our goals. To help us do that, and ultimately allow us to provide better service to our customers, HCPL invites those of you who check out ebooks to complete a brief survey designed by a nationally-respected research firm.

Lights Out Houston 2012

Lights Out Houston 2012 Logo: We Turned Out the Lights!This April 26 – 29, in observance of the 5th Annual Lights Out Houston initiative, Harris County Commissioners Court has authorized Facilities and Property Management to lead a countywide effort, in conjunction with the City of Houston, the Greater Houston Partnership and Central Houston Inc. to turn off all non-essential lights at the end of the day.

Turning out unnecessary lights when you leave a room is one of the easiest ways you can help the environment, conserve valuable resources and…oh yeah, save some money. Remember--unlike humans and other living things, furniture does not need light to survive. Your sofa, ottoman and coffee table, as well as your work station and file cabinets like it just fine in the dark.

Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month with HCPL

Asian Slide Strip
May is the month set aside to acknowledge the important contributions that people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have made to this country’s history and culture. This year, Harris County Public Library will once again celebrate the diversity of Asian and Pacific Island peoples with programs inspired by traditions from across that vast territory. HCPL invites you to enjoy the music and dance of India, sample the cuisines of Thailand and Japan, and explore cultures from China to Hawaii and points in between. There will be crafts, puppets shows, films, and fun for all ages.

Writers in the Schools’ Poem A Day Project Comes to HCPL’s Facebook Page

Writers in the Schools A Poem A Day BannerMaybe it’s because their sense of wonder has not been tamped down by too many peeks behind the wizard’s curtain, or maybe it’s because their language has not been clogged up with convention and cliché. Whatever it is, children and teens seem to have a felicity with poetry that adult poets can spend their careers trying to recapture.

Writers in the Schools (WITS), a local nonprofit organization, actively encourages children (K-12) in over 350 area classrooms to develop those skills. Each April, WITS celebrates National Poetry Month by sharing some of the students’ work with the community through its Poem A Day project. We at Harris County Public Library are excited to participate in this year’s event. Starting this Monday, April 2 and running through the month, fans of HCPL’s facebook page will get to read these inspiring poems.

Adrienne Rich (1929 - 2012)

Cover Art: Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne RichOnce Adrienne Rich got the pretty (though pointed) rhyming verse out of her system (and she did that early--her first book was published when she was still at Radcliffe) Adrienne Rich constructed a voice for herself that was equal parts lyric brilliance, surgically precise language, and undiluted rage. To call her a feminist poet, while probably accurate, diminishes her project. Yes, the overarching issue of her writing, perhaps its sole impetus, was the struggle to carve out a place for women in society and as such she can be seen as a political/activist poet, few if any of her poems can be read as merely political statements.

Something about Nothing: Harvey Pekar and Slice of Life

Cover Art: The Quitter by Harvey Pekar, Art by Dean HaspielGone are the days when people with both a weakness for comic books and aspirations of becoming “serious” writers had to slink across town and hope no one they knew drove past as they walked out of the shop with the latest issue of Zap! or Weirdo wrapped in plain brown paper (to give it that little extra patina of shame).

I miss those days.

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