Home is where the heart is

WebsterDo you like dogs? Don’t miss Webster the Tale of an Outlaw by Ellen Emerson White.  After two mean abusing families and three cold shelters, the dog has given up on people.  He doesn’t need friends and he is not going to get too comfortable in this new shelter. Sure the food is good, the bed is soft and warm, and he isn’t chained up.  They even gave him a name, Webster, but he prefers Bad Hat.  Because he is big, bad and doesn’t need anyone.  Jack the terrier and Florence the bossy cat are nice, but Bad Hat still makes his escape.  But it doesn’t go the way he planned.  The other animals from the shelter keep showing up and they end up helping folks (and kittens, Ack) This is ruining Bad Hat’s cool, tough, bad image.  I recommend this delightful humorous and heartfelt book to readers in grades three to six and to dog lovers of all ages.

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Live Language Help

pronunciator-120x90Pronunciator, our language-learning program, has started a new service where you can sign up for live, interactive conversation classes. When you log into the program and choose your language, one option is for Live Conversation. Sessions are first-come, first-served and limited to 5 people at a time. Follow the instructions to log in five minutes before the class starts. Since the calendar only includes the current week, be sure to check early in the week to see what is coming up. You will need a microphone and speakers or headphones to participate. Click on the X in the upper right corner to back out of the calendar. You can find more details on their website.

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Overdrive Updates

OverDriveLogoNewIf you frequently use our downloadable ebook service, Overdrive, you probably have noticed some website changes in the past few days. So what’s been updated? You can now sign in with an Overdrive account or your Facebook account in addition to your library card number. The site’s design has been simplified, and it is much easier to tell if a book is available or if you need add yourself to the wait list. You can click on the word eBooks in the upper left to browse categories of fiction and nonfiction; once you pick a topic, you can easily sort by availability or format. Once you have checked out a book, you can go to My Account and then Checkouts to download it to your device or computer. You can even change your settings so that holds are automatically checked out to your account whenever they become available by going to My Account, Settings.

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Time for a Treasure Hunt

if you find thisFor a rip rollicking winter read, try If You Find This by Matthew Baker. Nicholas is a math and music genius. In fact, he has skipped grades and is an eleven-year-old seventh grader. That means, of course, that he has no friends and has to eat his lunch in the bathroom at school.  His father has lost his job and is away trying to get work.  Their house is for sale and Nicolas is desperate not to leave his brother the tree (No, I am not going to explain – read the book) Then Nicolas finds out that his grandfather is not dead but has just been released from prison.  Grandfather Rose is losing his memory and needs Nicolas to help him find the hidden family heirlooms.  Thus begins a tale of three not-friend classmates, bullies, a nursing home breakout, a haunted house, smugglers and buried treasure.  I recommend this offbeat but charming story for readers in grades five on up.

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When? Never Always Sometimes

Never always sometimesI really enjoyed Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, though it did not turn out the way I wanted it to.  Dave and Julia have been best friends since freshman year.  They don’t want to be high school clichés and even wrote a list of things never to do.  Dave has already broken #8 “Never pine silently for a classmate”.  He has loved Julia all along. Now seniors, Julia insists that they do all the items on the never do  list.  Then Dave meets Gretchen and things really get complicated.  Have Dave and Julia really been missing out? I recommend this charming, thoughtful, very funny book to both girls and guys in grades ten on up.  Guys, if you need some hints about how to ask a girl to the prom – this is the book for you!

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Online Testing Help

PrintTaking a vocational test soon? How about a college entrance exam? LearningExpress Library offers a wealth of ebooks, tutorials, practice tests, and videos on a wide variety of subjects for students at many levels. Different “centers” focus on elementary and middle school tutorials, high school equivalency tests, college prep tests, college student tutorials and grad school tests, adult learning, and career and vocational tests. For example, if you are studying to become a nurse, you can review the material on the professional exam and then take three practice tests where you get detailed answers and instant scores that show your strengths and weaknesses. Even adults who are not in school can improve their language and math skills through tutorials that include before and after tests.

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New Year, New Beginnings, New Books

The New Year is a great time for fresh starts. For some of us it’s a new exercise plan, diet or life motto. For the main character in Jess Walter’s 2005 Edgar-award-winning novel, Citizen Vince, new beginnings are definitely a central theme. The character, Vince Camden, has a new city, new social security number and a chance to vote in the presidential election for the first time in his life. Despite his new surroundings Vince is up to some of his old tricks and that is how the story takes some interesting turns. Whether you’re a Spokane native or a transplant like Vince you’ll enjoy the Spokane scenery in this book and the fast paced story definitely is a win.

citizen_vinceCitizen Vince is also the beginning of this year’s Lunchtime Book Group reads. The group meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month except for July, August and December and a new book is discussed each month. Join us on Wednesday, January 13 at noon in Room 1B at the Downtown Library for a discussion of Citizen Vince. Feel free to bring a lunch if this is your lunch break.

If you want to read ahead we’ll be discussing Some Luck by Jane Smiley in February.

lynda.com Online Training

lynda_logo2r-d_144xIs one of your New Year’s resolutions to upgrade your technical or business skills? Do this the easy way by signing up for a lynda.com class through Spokane Public Library. Topics range from game design to leadership, photography to web design. Videos range from less than an hour to several hours in length and include exercises and professional presentations. Our website will be updated with the login information soon, but in the meantime you can click on lynda.com to get started.

Season’s Greetings

Cards003-smCome in and see the exhibit of greeting cards in the Northwest Room cases at the Downtown Library. The display of cards from our collection includes Season’s Greetings, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentines and will be up through February. Greeting cards have been around since the early 1400s in Europe but changes in printing and the low cost of postage caused the mailing of greeting cards to become much more widespread around 1850. In the United States, the first printer of greeting cards was Louis Prang, who started printing near Boston in 1856. The custom of sending Christmas cards began in the 1870s. The the early 1890s, cards reached the peak of their popularity for birthday and holiday greetings.

Please check the schedule before visiting the Northwest Room since its hours differ from those of the library.

Grant Seeking

fdo_logoMany people give to charities during the holidays, but what if you ARE a charity or nonprofit organization? The Library’s fundraising resources from the Foundation Center are efficient ways to find grantmakers and other nonprofit funding sources. You can search for keywords that match the program you want to fund in order to discover who awarded grants for similar projects. The Foundation Grants to Individuals directory also provides grant ideas for artists, students, or researchers. These online databases are only available at the Downtown Library, but you can set up an appointment with one of our librarians if you want an overview.

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Welcome to Misty Inn

Misty InnI just finished the first book in the Misty Inn series, Welcome Home by Kristin Earhart. Willa Dunlap and her younger brother, Ben, have moved with their Mom and Dad to Chincoteague Island to fix up an old house to run as a bed and breakfast.  Willa is unhappy to move and leave her friends.  Grandma and Grandpa Miller live on the island and run an animal sanctuary.  A new pony, Starbuck, arrives at the sanctuary and Willa and Ben get to help take care of her.  I really liked the characters in this book and want to know what happens next to Willa, Ben and Starbuck.  I recommend to readers in grades one to three.  Older readers will want to read Willa’s favorite book (and one of mine) Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague. Preschoolers and beginning readers will enjoy My Chincoteague Pony by Susan Jeffers.My Chincoteague Pony

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Downloads for the Holidays

Digital_downloadsTraveling for the holidays? Power still out? Just looking for some entertainment that’s free and easy to access? Spokane Public Library offers a variety of streaming and downloadable media choices that you can get to on your smart phone or other device with just your library card number. Overdrive offers a variety of fiction and nonfiction ebooks. OneClick Digital offers both ebooks and audiobooks. Zinio lets you download the full text and images from the latest magazines. Get five free song downloads per week (yours to keep permanently) by using our Freegal service. Stream (or download with the app) movies, TV shows, audiobooks, music albums, graphic novels, and ebooks with hoopla (limited to 10 a month). All of these services have convenient apps that make using them a breeze. If you have questions or need help setting up any of these services, just contact any library and we can help you get started.

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