LibraryPoint Blog

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Virginia Tax Holiday Helps Back-to-School Shopping

During the first weekend in August each year, back-to-school shoppers in Virginia get a break from paying sales tax on qualifying school supplies, clothing, and footwear. This year the tax holiday is Friday, August 5 - Sunday, August 7th. According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, "during this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax." The list of school supplies can be found here

Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper

Emily and Navin have just moved into their grandfather's abandoned house with their mother. Their grandfather has been missing for decades, so Emily doesn't think twice about picking up the necklace she finds in his library. What she has awakened though, is a gateway to a bizarre and magical world. Suddenly her mother is swallowed whole by a hideous tentacled creature and it's up to Emily and Navin to get her back. So begins the first book in the Amulet series, The Stonekeeper.

It turns out that the necklace is a powerful amulet that can control and protect any surrounding life force. Emily's grandfather's last wish was for her to take up the stone and help save this strange world, known as Alledia, from an evil elf king. Emily also receives several robots that her grandfather single-handedly constructed to help her with this mission. The first robot we meet is the pink rabbit, Miskit, who wields a stun gun while piloting a giant mechanical exoskeleton.

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

The Invention of Everything Else

Nikola Tesla was a complicated, enigmatic man who continues to pique our collective curiosity. Although he transformed the modern world with contributions like alternating current and wireless energy transfer, he died destitute and unappreciated. In The Invention of Everything Else, Samantha Hunt seems to fully recognize Tesla’s value, making him the novel’s star and honored guest. Most biographical accounts indicate that Tesla was on the anti-social side, but Hunt successfully transforms his aloof character into a structural adhesive, situating him as the force that keeps the novel’s disparate elements from spiraling into separate and distinct orbits.

 The Invention of Everything Else opens in 1943, the year of Tesla’s death.  He lives as a forgotten recluse in room 3327 in The Hotel New Yorker and spends his time tending to his beloved pigeons and contemplating the past. Hunt channels Tesla’s profound alienation in one of the novel’s strongest passages: “I’ve been forgotten here, left all alone talking to lightning storms, studying the mysterious patterns the dust of dead people makes as it floats through the last light of day.”

BYOL: Bring Your Own Laptop

Image of laptop computer

Did you just get a laptop and are not sure on how to use it? Then this is the class for you. We will go over laptop basics, how to connect to Public Wi-fi, conduct simple Google searches and create an e-mail account. Limited to 15 participants. Please call Reference Desk at 540-372-1144 ext 232 to reserve a spot.

Location: Headquarters Library, Rm 2

When: Thursday, August 11, 2011 -  2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War by Thomas B. Allen

Tories

Multiple-choice standards of learning tests are not concerned with the details that fill out American history. Who wants to know that those who disagreed with the Revolutionary patriots risked their lives and fortunes in a time of mob rule? What state examiner wants to hear tales of men of honor who refused to break their oaths of loyalty to the king and were whipped, tarred and feathered, or "smoked out" of their homes, as happened to 65-year-old Israel Williams, a respected Loyalist legislator, whose signature in support of the rebel cause was only gained after a night of gasping for air inside his smoky home? In Thomas B. Allen's Tories, many of these stories from across the colonies are well-preserved and well-told so that they might be well-remembered.

Featured Database: Testing & Education Reference Center

Testing & Education Reference Center

I don't want to brag, but our library has some fantastic databases that you need to examine if you haven't already at librarypoint.org/articles_databases.  One of the most useful of these databases is the Testing and Education Reference Center, the ultimate resource for standardized test preparation and career advancement.  Whether you're a high school student going to college, a college student advancing to graduate school, or preparing for a professional exam in careers such as firefighting, nursing, or law enforcement, chances are you'll find what you need at the Testing and Education Reference Center

The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine

The Absolute Value of Mike

The main character of the book The Absolute Value of Mike, by Kathryn Erskine, is the son of a brilliant but absent-minded mathematician.  Mike takes care of everything around the house.  He pays the bills and handles all the day-to-day activities of the household.   Although Mike's father is a mathematician, Mike suffers from a condition called dyscalculia, meaning that he has an inablity to process math problems.  Mike's father wants him to become an engineer, a career which requires a lot of math.  Mike does not want to disappoint his father, but he struggles with math because of his dyscalculia.  He doesn't know how to tell his father that he does not want to be an engineer.

Mike learns that his father is going to Romania for work, and that he will not be going with him.  The plan is to send Mike to live with his Great Aunt Moo and Great Uncle Poppy in Pennsylvania.  Mike has never met them, and he is not happy about this arrangement.  Upon his arrival  Mike soon realizes that Poppy and Moo need his help more than he needs theirs.  Poppy and Moo are living from Social Security check to Social Security check.  Their home is in disrepair, and they are terrible at managing their finances. 

Music on the Steps: the August Lineup

Music on the Steps is heating up for August!  Check out the acts that will be playing next month and read more in this Free Lance-Star article

It all happens Monday evenings at 7pm at Headquarters.

Your Music in the Cloud

Music in the Cloud

The safety of my collection has been one of my largest concerns as music has made the digital transition.  With CDs and vinyl, you may damage or lose one or more albums and unless your entire collection is stolen, it's unlikely that you'll lose access to all of it at once.  Digital music is a different matter, however.  Unless you've backed up all of your songs to a secondary storage device, one bad electrical storm could separate you from your tunes forever (and remember, backing up means having two copies of each file, not just storing your music on a single portable hard drive by itself).  With the push toward cloud (or distributed) computing and storage, new services are cropping up to help us not only back up our music offsite, but which allow us to take our music with us wherever we go.  

One service that I've been using for years is mp3tunes.com, to which I pay a monthly subscription fee and in turn receive space online to backup all my music to and the ability to stream it to any computer.  New contenders include Google Music (currently in beta testing), iCloud from Apple (coming this fall with their iOS 5 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), and Amazon Cloud Drive, which is available now.

If you like Minion by L.A. Banks

Minion by L.A. Banks

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend by L.A. Banks: "Damali Richards has taken on vampires before, but whatever is behind the brutal murders that have captured the attention of police is beyond anything she has encountered before." (Book description)

If you like Minion by L.A. Banks, you may enjoy these titles. Some are by African American authors, some have African American characters, and all feature some type of paranormal angle.

Blood Colony by Tananarive Due
There's a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, its main ingredient is blood--the blood of immortals. A small but powerful underground railroad of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic. But the Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican.
And the only immortal born with the Living Blood is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.-catalog summary
 

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
The rich and the privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways -- farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets.
With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.-catalog summary