'Tis the Season

Find Holiday Inspiration at the MPL

We've got ideas for holiday crafts, decorations, recipes and music in our non-fiction collection. Take a break and watch a Christmas movie from our DVD and VHS collection. Below are a few of the newest titles from our non-fiction books. Click here to find Christmas video titles and more book ideas.

Gooseberry Patch Christmas
Simply Sparkling Christmas Beading
Quick & Clever Christmas Cards
Holiday Quilts
A Cross-Stitch Christmas
Ultimate Christmas Book
Mary Engelbreit's 'tis the Season Holiday Cookbook
Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2007
The Ultimate Christmas Guitar Songbook
The Christian Christmas Songbook

Dates in Fiction

Dates in fiction, or a collection of events that didn’t really happen…

October 29—Rosemary finds out that she is pregnant in Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

October 31—Jean Louise Finch (Scout) meets Mr. Arthur (Boo) Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

November 4—Alice goes through the looking glass in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

November 10—Dorian Gray’s birthday in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

December 3—The Soviet submarine Red October begins its voyage in The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

December 20—The ice skating race occurs in Hans Brinker by Mary Dodge

December 25—The Pequod sails from Nantucket in Moby Dick by Herman Melville

December 26—Sam McGee dies in The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

Join the Madison Public Library's Reading and Discussion Group

Good books bring people together. Consider all the people who have come together to read and discuss the books promoted by Oprah's Book Club, or all the people here in Madison who read Fahrenheit 451 for the Big Read in April.

October is National Reading Group Month. Its expressed goals are to celebrate the joys of shared reading, strengthen the community of the book, and promote a more literate, engaged community.

Naturally, the Madison Public Library shares those goals. So, there could be no better time to invite all interested readers to participate in a reading and discussion group at the Public Library. If this invitation appeals to you, let me know. I'm in the process of collecting titles for discussion and arranging a schedule. All suggestions, comments, and ideas are welcome. You can sign up at the Library, or reply to this blog. Please include your name, address, and a telephone number.

I think it would be great to have such an overwhelming response that we had to have two or three groups to accommodate everyone who is interested.

Banned Books

September 29 through October 6 was Banned Books Week. This annual event reminds us Americans not to take the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion for granted.

I’ve read banned books, and I bet you have, too. The list of banned books includes classics like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. Like me, you probably had no idea that there were any ideas so objectionable in those books that we needed to be protected from them. Obviously, someone saw something that I did not, and that difference of opinion is the very basis of the intellectual freedom we Americans enjoy.

We each have the right to hold any opinion on any subject, and we can communicate those opinions through a variety of means. Providing access to ideas and information of all kinds is the Public Library’s mission. Librarians everywhere adhere to the opinion of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas that “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

So the Madison Public Library has materials that frequently make the banned books lists, and the library will continue to make books like the Harry Potter series and others available to anyone who wants to read them. Frankly, if there isn’t something on the Public Library’s shelves that you disagree with, we’re not doing our job.

I find the exchange of ideas and discussion of differing viewpoints stimulating. It pushes me to consider the facts, weigh the information, and possibly draw some new conclusions. Take advantage of the Public Library’s open invitation to enjoy that kind of stimulation through books, magazines, newspapers, video, the Internet, and discussion.

Our Favorite Reads

Did you follow the Democratic and Republican conventions? I wasn’t exactly glued to the coverage of the nominations, but I did find them interesting.

Being a book person, the focus on politics has made me think about some books that deal with politics. The first one that came to mind was Primary Colors which was published anonymously in the 1990’s. The novel follows the presidential primary campaign of a southern governor who is smart, inspirational, and surrounded by personal scandal. Sound familiar? Primary Colors is a smart, funny story with characters and events that you will probably recognize.

First published in 1946, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren is possibly the best American political novel, and the one that I intend to read again this year. Loosely based on the life of Louisiana governor Huey Long, this Pulitzer Prize winning book centers on man’s continual search for knowledge with the end goal being self-knowledge. This complex novel raises a variety of issues from politics to religion.

Advice and Consent by Allen Drury and Washington, D.C. by Gore Vidal are a couple of other political novels of interest. Advice and Consent is a classic novel that deals with the nomination of a highly controversial person for the position of Secretary of State. The novel portrays Washington, D.C. in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a jungle of intrigue where anything goes in the struggle for power and position, but also as a city where idealism and principles have a place.

Washington, D.C. is set in the period from the New Deal to the McCarthy years. The primary characters, a powerful conservative Senator and his young assistant, both have presidential ambitions, and they are a study in contrasts—for the Senator to be dishonest is literally demoralizing; for his assistant nothing matters except winning. The importance of image and money in politics is part of the message of this novel.

I’m always looking for suggestions for good reading and would appreciate hearing about books that you enjoy. Please share you favorite reading with us.

Staff Picks--Click here to read more about our favorites

Pat: I, Witness: The Shocking Insider's Story of Jehovah's Witness by Daniel Clark
Dana: Grape Thief by Kristine Franklin
Bruce:The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Melanie: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
Shawn: Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Meet the Artist . . . Jackson Richards

If you've been in the library in recent weeks you will have noticed the very colorful origami art in the display cases. This work was done by our very own patron, Jackson Richards.



The public is invited to attend a
Meet the Artist reception for Jackson on Thursday, August 28, from 7-8 pm.



Jackson was kind enough to answer a few interview questions:

Tell us a little about yourself:
I am 12 years old. I live just outside of the city limits in a big 1918 house. I have three dogs, six cats, and a horse. Me and my brother, Gabe, just recently bought ourselves a Wii game system. I love to play the piano and sing and play violin. I love animals, gardening, and flowers.
When did you get interested in origami and how long have you been doing this? When I was in the third grade my brother Gabe checked out a book about origami and did it for almost six months. In fifth grade I looked for the book but could not find it. I checked out another not-so-good book and lost interest. Just this spring, I checked out a great book, and have been doing it ever since. I have just recently gotten rather good at it.
What is you favorite source for origami patterns? Books. Particularly "Origami: The Complete Guide to the Art of Paperfolding".
Where do you get your materials? Usually at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.
What other interests do you have? All things. Music, tennis, papercraft, writing, reading, making graphs, playing frisbee, swimming, watching the Olympics, and skating.
Thank you. You're welcome.

From Nancy . . .

Many thanks to everyone who has read and responded to our newsletter and blog. Your ideas and suggestions are great, and we intend to use them. However, the first order of business for the Public Library is a change in the software that runs the circulation, catalog and interlibrary loan.

Beginning August 11, the upgrade process necessary to install the new software will begin. The process should be complete by the end of the week, and we ask for your patience in the meantime.

We will be able to check material out during the upgrade, however we will not have access to patron records. We will not be able to look up your name and find your barcode or let you know how many books you have out, or when the DVDs you checked out are due. We also will be unable to find your card in the system. If you plan to come to the library to check out material, be sure you have your library card with you. You won't be able to check anything out unless you have your library card with you.

The online catalog will also be unavailable during this process. As always the library staff will be happy to help you find the information or items you want, but it may take a little longer than usual as we will have to consult our own memories for the answers rather than the computer memory.

At the end of the upgrade, our new software will help us do our jobs better, faster, and more accurately than before. I tend to be a little skeptical about this, but we'll see . . .

Keep in touch.

MPL Hosts Book Signing for Donald Parker

The public is invited to attend a book signing by former Madison resident, Donald Parker. The book signing reception will be held on Wednesday, August 20, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.

Mr. Parker was born and raised in Madison and several of his books have references to this community.
More about Mr. Parker's books can be found on his website at www.donaldjamesparker.com/

Welcome Madison Public Library Patrons!

I've been thinking that we should have a trumpet fanfare when this site is opened at least for this first issue of the Madison Public Library's online newsletter and blog. There probably is a way to do that, but it's beyond me. I'm a novice blogger. Anyway, welcome to our newsletter and blog.

I hope that this will become an important communications link--that you will add this to your list of favorite sites and visit it often. The newsletter will contain up-to-date information about events taking place at the library, lists of the newest additions to the collection, and other features. In addition, I'm counting on you to respond with suggestions, comments, ideas, reviews, and opinions. I look forward to reading what you have to say.

There may be a few glitches along the way, but I expect this venture into cyberspace will be interesting and fun. Keep in touch.

Nancy Sabbe

Nancy wants to know: What features would you like to see in our upcoming newsletters? Post your comments on the "comments" link below.

Summer Reading Program Wrap-Up

The Summer Reading Program has been in full swing and the end is getting near! But don't worry; it's never too late to join! We still have many prizes to give away and there's much fun to be had.

The program will officially end on July 19th. Those who have completed their reading logs for all 8 weeks of the program will then be eligible to choose a book from the library's book fair anytime between July 21st and August 2nd. We're very excited about our selection of books this year!

Friday, July 11th we will be showing Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Friday, July 18th James and the Giant Peach will be on the big screen. These will be the last Friday Films for the summer and both will begin at 2:00 on those dates.

The Summer Storytime Session will continue through the week of July 14th for those who are 3, 4, & 5 years old. See the website or contact a staff member for more detailed information.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to get hold of a staff member.

Dana Neu

Featured Reader

Our Featured Reader is a familiar face to many area readers as both an avid reader and a librarian. Maxine Swanson has always been a reader and most recently was the librarian for the Madison Area School District.

The Public Library in her hometown of Cresbard, South Dakota, was in the basement of the Masonic Temple. Maxine remembers it as a cozy place where Mrs. Way, the librarian, helped her find books about the Bobbsey Twins, the Happy Hollisters, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Maxine says that Anne of Green Gables by L. L. Montgomery is still her favorite book. She rereads the books by L. L. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables in the summer, but in the winter prefers the familiar tales by Louisa May Alcott. She lists Janet Evanovich's books featuring Stephanie Plum as some of her more recent favorites.

If you are out early in the morning, you might catch a glimpse of Maxine running past. Running is another of her passions, and with audiobooks, she can run and "read" at the same time. On summer evenings you can find her relaxing with a book on her deck. At any one time, Maxine is reading three different books--a traditional book, a book on cassette tape, and a book on CD.

Maxine encourages readers to check out the LibraryThing website at www.librarything.com. The site offers many options for bibliographies, and now that she is a retired person, Maxine intends to take advantage of them more often herself.

Maxine is always happy to talk about books--in person or online. Blog her on the comments link below.