Kimberly C's blog

Makey Makey at Teen Tech Week!

makey makeyHey teens! Ever wonder what it would be like to play a video game using only bananas and a computer? Stop by the library during Teen Tech Week and find out! We will be using Makey Makey kits to design circuits, use silly key pads, and play computer games. 

There will be two Makey Makey sessions available during Teen Tech Week: Monday, March 6 from 1:00-2:30pm OR Wednesday, March 8 from 5:00-6:30pm. These programs are for teens and tweens, ages 10 and up. Space is limited in each session and registration is required. Register in person at the reference desk or by calling the library.

For more information or to register, call the library at 832-559-4200.

Flickr CCMakey Makey at CyborgCamp Seattle 2012 Photo by: Amber Case

2017 Oscar Nominations: Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress

Academy AwardsThe Academy Awards are less than a week away, so it is time to take a closer look at the ten women nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. (If you missed Donna’s post earlier this week about the men nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, go here!) This year, the winner for supporting actress seems to be a lock, but there could still be some room for surprise in the best actress category.

This year, this is the first Academy Award nomination for three of the women (Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Naomie Harris). Of the remaining seven, three have not previously won (Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams), three have previously won once (Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer), and one (Meryl Streep) has won three times.

Many of these films are still in theaters, so not yet available in HCPL’s catalog, but make sure to browse through previous works by the actresses. And don’t forget to tune in to the Academy Awards telecast this Sunday, February 26th on ABC!

Best Actress:

Galentine's Day

wafflesGet ready, you beautiful tropical fish, because Galentine’s Day is just around the corner. Never heard of Galentine’s Day? Don’t worry. It’s actually a fictional holiday, first introduced by Leslie Knope in a season two episode of Parks and Recreation. Held annually on the day before Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day celebrates friendships between women, generally over brunch.

But if brunch isn’t your favorite meal of the day, you can always celebrate Galentine’s Day with a movie featuring strong female friendships. Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic examples of friendships to strive for in recent movies. In fact, one of my favorite movies this awards season, Hidden Figures, celebrates smart women supporting each other in the face of seemingly overwhelming adversity.

If you’re celebrating Galentine’s Day with your bestie this year, check out one of the movies on the list below. From teen girls to mature women, sisters to BFFs, lifelong friends to newly formed friendships, there is a movie for every female friendship.  

AARP Tax Aide

taxesApril 18th will be here before you know it, so why not get a jump on your taxes? AARP is back at the library this year and ready to help individuals with simple tax returns. Assistance is on a first come first serve basis, so get here early to secure your spot. AARP Tax Aide begins Wednesday, February 1, and will be provided on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00am-2:00pm and Saturdays from 11:00am-3:00pm until April 17.

Please bring these items with you:

  • 1. Valid identification with current address for yourself & your dependents
  • 2. Social security cards for yourself and your dependents
  • 3. Your wage, salary and income statements (W2 and/or 1099)
  • 4. Last year's income tax return statement
  • 5. If you are a homeowner, the amount of property tax paid in 2016
  • 6. If you bought a new vehicle (or anything of high value, i.e., a ring, a boat, etc.) in 2016, the amount of sales tax you paid or the value of the item
  • 7. Documentation for deductible expenses (mortgage interest, real estate taxes paid, medical expenses, charitable contributions, mileage for volunteer work)
  • 8. Documentation for items that qualify for tax credit (child care, post-secondary education, home purchase contract & closing statement for homes purchased in the past year)

A Comparative Look at the 2017 Movie Awards Season

oscarEarlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards. Honoring achievements in film, the Oscars are the culmination of the film awards season, following on the heels of the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA Awards), the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the various guild awards (Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, and Directors Guild).

Below, I have compiled a list of movies, directors, actors and actresses who have been nominated for each of the awards listed above. Personally, I like breaking down the awards in this fashion because it allows me to easily see trends and make predictions for which movies might win at the Academy Awards in February. To make filling out my annual Oscar party ballot even easier, the winners for some of these awards have already been announced. In these instances, the award is noted in bold.

For a look at the entire list of nominations for each award show, visit the Academy Award website, the BAFTA Awards website, the Critics' Choice Awards website, the Golden Globe Awards website, the Producers Guild Awards website, the Directors Guild Awards website, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards website.

Best Film:

Christmas is Here Again!

santaWe are days away from Christmas! I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for the holiday. For one thing, I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies. I’ve been so busy with all of the other things associated with Christmas – decorating, baking cookies, attending get-togethers with friends and family, shopping for presents and wrapping presents – that I just haven’t had the time. Oh, I’ve watched some of my favorites (White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Miracle on 34th Street – just to name a few), but I certainly haven’t reached my quota of cheesy Christmas romances.

Fortunately, even when the library is closed (as it will be this holiday weekend), there is always Hoopla, one of HCPL’s digital catalogs that allows customers to stream movies, music and eBooks to their computer or mobile device. Hoopla has a wide selection of Christmas movies to choose from. Some, like Holiday Inn and Babes in Toyland, are Christmas classics. Others, like The Snowman and How to Catch an Elf, are geared toward children. And there are plenty of Christmas romances to choose from for those who haven’t already seen their fill this season.

All of the movies listed below are available to stream through Hoopla. Check out Hoopla, and find a good movie to watch this holiday weekend. Make sure you also browse the Christmas tag on Hoopla and our other digital catalogs to find Christmas books and music, too!

Here, There Be Dragons

dragonOpening this weekend in theaters is a movie I have been looking forward to seeing for months: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe created by J.K. Rowling. This chapter in the franchise follows Newt Scamandar and his briefcase full of magical creatures through the magic community in 1920s New York City. This film not only gives Harry Potter fans a look at the magic community in the United States, but it brings focus to the magical creatures, some of which were not even introduced in the original series.

One of my favorite magical creatures to see on film is, of course, the dragon. Although there may not be dragons in Fantastic Beasts (I’ll report back once I’ve seen the movie!), these creatures did feature in three of the original Harry Potter films: with Norbert in Sorcerer’s Stone, during the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, and at Gringott’s in Deathly Hollows: Part 2. Each of these dragons played a unique and crucial role in Harry’s journey.

Of course, dragons aren’t exclusive to Harry Potter films. In fact, dragons have featured in many films in the past 40 years. In some movies, like Reign of Fire, the dragon is decidedly the enemy of mankind, while in others dragons and humans work together. Often, the dragon is a serious or destructive force, as in The Hobbit. But, dragons also appear as humorous sidekicks or companions, as in Mulan. No matter the physical appearance or their role in the plot, dragons continue to be a popular magical creature in films.

If you’re in the mood for a movie featuring dragons this weekend, check out the list below and request a movie today! What’s your favorite dragon movie?

From Page to Screen in 2016

fantastic beastsOver the years, I have attended many Q&A’s with popular authors. No matter who the author or what type of book they write, they are nearly always asked to talk about where they find inspiration. This question can also easily be applied to screenwriters and, like authors, I am sure they find inspiration in everything around them. Whether in their own lives or in world events, complete fantasy or rooted in reality, screenwriters (and authors!) can turn even the most simple of ideas into a beautiful, complete story.

But screenwriters also find inspiration in the written word. In fact, movies based on books are so popular, that the Oscars have separated the screenplay category into two awards: original and adapted.  Each year there are more and more movies released in theaters that are based on books, and this year is no exception. 2016 has seen movies based on Young Adult novels, classic literature, literary fiction, genre fiction, and nonfiction.

Avid readers will understand why books are so often turned into movies. Some books are so stunningly descriptive that the words on the page are practically begging to be transformed into a visual format. And some books are full of so much creativity and imagination that turning them into a movie enhances the story.

The question then becomes, if a movie is made out of your favorite book, do you go see it? Personally, I have had this happen with a few books and, I admit, I haven’t had the courage to see the movie versions of all of them. On the other hand, there have been books I wasn’t particularly attached to that have become some of my favorite movies. Sometimes a difference in presentation makes all the difference.

Below, I have put together a list of some of the 2016 movie releases based on books. Click on the author to request a copy of the book and, when possible (because some of the movies aren’t yet out on DVD), click on the title to request a copy of the movie.

Fall Into TV

fall leafIt feels cliché to admit this, but fall is my favorite time of year. After a long, hot summer, I can’t wait for the slightly cooler temperatures that herald fall and all it has to offer. Wearing cardigans without roasting, grilling outside without melting, eating pumpkin spice everything, and, most important of all, prepping the DVR to record all my favorite television shows.

That’s not to say that I haven’t watched any TV at all this summer. In fact, I have spent all summer binge watching random TV shows and it has been fantastic. I’ve discovered shows I never knew existed (all crime shows, because I’m obsessed with them), fallen in love with shows I originally passed over without a second glance, and caught up on shows I’d previously abandoned. Despite that, I miss my usual shows. I miss familiar settings and plots that feel comfortable while still moving the plots forward. But most of all, I want to catch up with my favorite characters and see how they fared after last season’s cliffhangers!

If you’re looking to pick up a new TV show this season, or just want to binge watch old episodes of a favorite series, check out the list below and see what HCPL has to offer. You just might find a new favorite show!

Fall TV Picks:

I Am A Librarian!

librarianIn 1999, the action-adventure film The Mummy was released in theaters. It opened to middling critical reception, but, ultimately, was a box office success. I remember seeing it at the movie theater shortly after it was released and enjoying it immensely. Since then, it has become one of my favorite movies and is, in my opinion, a perfect genre film.

In The Mummy, Brendan Fraser plays Rick O’Connell, an erstwhile adventurer who agrees to lead Evelyn, a librarian and Egyptologist played by Rachel Weisz, and her brother to the lost city of Hamunaptra. Of course, things don’t go as planned – they never do when you accidentally raise a cursed mummy from the dead. One of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the movie occurs while Evelyn is talking to Rick:

  • Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
  • Rick: And what is that?
  • Evelyn: I... am a librarian!

As a librarian myself, I have always loved this piece of dialogue. Librarians don’t often show up in movies, and when they do, they are generally written to the old stereotype: stuffy, staid, and grouchy. Evelyn isn’t like that at all, and it makes for a refreshing change of pace. While I don’t necessarily want to go off and battle reanimated mummies, I do appreciate that someone thinks that I could with my librarian know-how.

Below, I have put together a list of movies that feature a librarian or other library staff member. Some of these movies hammer straight through the stereotypes, while others embrace them. Either way, it is fun to see what Hollywood imagines my job!

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