David Cherry's blog

HCPL and Houston Center for Literacy

ESL Class at Maud Marks Branch LibraryHow many words have you read today? Just think of them all: the emails, street signs, restaurant menus, websites, product labels, grocery lists, text messages, billboards, fortune cookies, instruction manuals, advertising circulars, and bills, to say nothing of the chapter of the latest Stephen King or the handful of Shakespeare’s sonnets you will read before turning out the light tonight. Chances are, if you thought about it, you would consider each and every one of those words vital to the way you want to live your life. Your ability to read not only allows you to move safely and efficiently through the world, it also enriches your inner life immeasurably.

Nothing’s Certain, but…April 17 is Coming: AARP Tax Aide @ HCPL

Photo Credit: TAX DAY by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr Creative CommonsWhen it comes to doing our taxes, most of us manage to put up a brave front, but the fact is that when we find ourselves staring at a blank tax form and a fast-approaching deadline is staring back at us, even the most unflappable among us tends to get...well... flapped.

Harris County Public Library and AARP can’t do anything about your tendency to procrastinate, but we can help.

eBook Education Week at HCPL: March 4 - 10

Photo Credit: Reading My Kindle in the Hammock by The Creative PennHere at Harris County Public Library, we love books whether they come bound between covers, recorded on CDs or downloaded onto Kindles or iPods, and we believe that this is a great time to be a reader. There are not only more books to choose from than ever before, but thanks to new technology, there are more ways to get one’s hands on them as well.

We know that many people have already embraced eBooks. HCPL has seen circulation of eBooks nearly triple over the last two years. We also know that a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, are less eager to try them out. We understand their reluctance. The sheer variety of devices and formats on the market can be daunting even for the tech-savvy reader. HCPL can help.

A Library Without Walls: HCPL's eBranch Brings the Library to You

Teenager on Laptop by Ingo Barnhardt Spree2010 via Flickr Creative CommonsA lot of people when they think of libraries think of ivy-covered buildings and grandmotherly staff wearing their reading glasses like necklaces. Fewer people perhaps think of fiber optic cables and cyber-librarians. Harris County Public Library combines both ideas in its eBranch. Customers get the personalized service of the traditional library model with online convenience.

As the name suggests eBranch can be thought of as a typical branch library, but one that can’t be found on any map. Instead it is as close as the nearest laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Wislawa Szymborska (1923 – 2012)

Cover Art: View with a Grain of Sand by Wislawa SzymborskaIt’s like this: for a very long time, we are not here; then we are here but not for very long; then we are not here for the longest time. Some people know the general whereabouts of “not here.” Myself…I haven’t the foggiest.

What I do know is that the poet, Wislawa Szymborska, is not here anymore.

People who really knew her—the people who liked or didn’t like her cooking, who worried that she smoked too much, who had to sit and listen to her talk through the years of not writing after she won the Nobel Prize—will be allowed to cry and howl and shuffle around their flats in bedraggled flannel robes as long they need to. That is their right because they knew and loved her.

2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards Nominations

National Book Critics Circle Logo fromThe flood of awards--literary and cinematic--that come churning out of your preferred news delivery device this time of year is almost as overwhelming and/or annoying as all those "Best of" lists that precede it. Because there are just so many awards with maddeningly similar names--Quick! what's the difference between an Obie and a Tony?--it’s hard to choose which (if any) to pay attention to. Facing another round of glitzy award spectacles, many of us ask ourselves a very good question: “Why should I care what these people say I should read or watch or listen to?”

Celebrate Black History Month with HCPL

Black History Month Logo - Photos courtesy Library of Congress via Flickr CommonsThis February, Harris County Public Library will celebrate Black History Month with a slate of programs and events that is as dynamic and diverse as Texas’ African American communities themselves. Programs range from live music, spoken word and film to special storytimes for the kids and crafts inspired by African and African American traditions for all ages.

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary: 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America Logo-copyrighted materialAnnually, on the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth, the Mystery Writers of America announce the nominations for the aptly named Edgar Awards honoring "excellence in mystery." Prize categories include Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author and Best Fact Crime, as well as Best Juvenile and Young Adult Mysteries.

The list of past winners is chock full of above-the-title names such as James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard and S. J. Rozan. So just because you haven't heard of some of this year's nominees, doesn't mean you won't be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

Americans in Paris (Before Hemingway, Stein and the Fitzgeralds)

Cover Art: The Greater Journey by David McCulloughIt is all too easy for successful writers to slide into a comfort zone and never want to leave it. Writing is such an iffy proposition, working from a formula isn’t just easier and safer for the psyche, it’s often the smartest business decision one can make--if it worked once, chances are pretty good it will work again.

The historian, author, PBS mainstay and owner of the most avuncular voice this side of Bob Ross, David McCullough has found his formula and shows no inclination to tinker with it. He's not out to stretch our minds or question the foundations of American Civilization. He's at heart a weaver of tales and he's exceedingly good at it.

Go Viral: Enter Story Tubes 2012

Official Story Tubes 2012 Logo - Copyrighted MaterialWhen you read a really good book, you just naturally want to tell people about it. So you do—on the bus, at lunch, maybe even on Facebook. But, in the end, how many people have you reached? 100? 500? What if you could double or triple that number? What if you could go viral and win a prize too? Harris County Public Library can’t guarantee you’ll be the next Keyboard Cat or Annoying Orange, but you never know…

Syndicate content