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Posts Tagged ‘Books’

6 Outstanding Libraries in U.S. Prisons

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2014, there were more than 1,500,000 adult prisoners in state and federal correctional facilities in the United States. America has had libraries for prisoners since 1790 when the Philadelphia Prison Society began furnishing books to the inmates in the Walnut Street Jail. The first state prison library was established in 1802 at the Kentucky State Reformatory. It contained primarily religious books and was supervised by the prison chaplain. Prison libraries offer inmates a place to improve reading skills, write a letter home, watch an instructional video or just escape for a while by reading for pleasure. The American Library Association also works to provide library services to prisoners and their families. While many correctional institutions have book lending services or small libraries, some of the best facilities and programs in U.S. prisons are featured below:

Folsom State Prison in California (Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress) [public domain]

Folsom State Prison in California
(Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress) [public domain]

1. Angola State Prison, Louisiana. The nation’s largest maximum security prison’s Main Library was dedicated in 1968, but there are actually four other branches that serve Angola inmates as well, called Outcamp libraries. The prison is part of the Inter-Library Loan Program with the State Library of Louisiana.

2. Bucks County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania. Prisoners here work with the local Lions Club to produce reading material for the blind. The program was the first in the country of its type and uses county inmates to transcribe textbooks, worksheets, and tests into Braille for blind students.

3. Folsom State Prison, California. A March 2003 profile of the library noted that its collection included 16,522 fiction and 4,176 non-fiction books, as well as 1,449 law texts. The law library is the most popular and offers a Paralegal Studies Program to train inmates in research skills to help them find forms and legal resources. The library also offers educational programs, as well as a vocational-intern program to prepare certain inmates for the working world outside of jail.

4. Illinois State Prisons. The Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project accepts request letters from Illinois inmates, finds books that meet their needs and provides them at no cost to the inmates. The community and individual libraries provide donated books, and volunteers staff lending libraries in local jails, interacting directly with the inmates. At last count, they have provided over 120,000 books to more than 18,000 prisoners. They also publish prisoners’ writings and artworks.

5. Norfolk Prison Library, Massachusetts. When a young Malcolm X was incarcerated here in 1948, he taught himself to read and write by copying an entire dictionary page-by-page. He later took advantage of the large library, reading every book available in philosophy, history, literature, and science. Today the library still provides education programs to inmates in the culinary arts, computer technology, HVAC, college transition, ESL, reading enrichment, and getting a GED.

6. Racine Correctional Institution, Wisconsin. In 2006, the Racine Correctional Institution Library hosted a poetry slam and competition. Another program is the Shakespeare Prison Project, a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Fifteen to twenty inmates study and rehearse Shakespeare plays for nine months, working with theater artists and preparing to perform for the other prisoners and for the community.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to…Celebrate the Movie

J.K. Rowling Research Topic in ProQuest eLibrary

J.K. Rowling wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2001 while simultaneously writing the main Harry Potter series of novels. Devoted Potter fans will note that “Fantastic Beasts” actually makes an appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as the name of one of Harry’s required textbooks. Following the success of the Harry Potter movie franchise, Rowling makes her screenwriting debut in the prequel by the same name.

Eddie Redmayne

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Set in the 1920s, this adventure follows wizard Newt Scamander as he arrives in New York for a brief stay and No-Maj (American Muggle) Jacob Kowalski who accidentally lets some of Newt’s beasts escape from a briefcase. The ensuing endangerment takes place decades before Harry Potter steps foot into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Go experience your favorite characters come to life on the big screen starting Friday (November 18), or stop by your library or bookstore and pick up a copy of the book.

Newt Scamander

Photo credit: natalie419 via Foter.com / CC BY

We have compiled five ways that Muggles, Witches and Wizards alike can prepare for viewing what is bound to be pure magic!

1. Attend a Library Event

Check your local library or bookstore’s website and see if they are hosting any Potter-themed events. Here are some events we found:

Kent District Library

Lawrence Public Library

East Lansing Public Library


2. Create Your Own Butterbeer Recipe

After experimenting with a few different ingredients, this is the recipe we came up with:

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 bottle cream soda (chilled)

Allow ice cream to soften. Blend softened butter, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add to ice cream and freeze. Fill each glass with a scoop of ice cream mixture and pour cream soda over it. Enjoy!

ingredients

Butterbeer Ingredients – Minus the softened butter, which we had already melted in bowl behind the cream soda [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

butterbeer

Chilled Butterbeer [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

editors

Editors Kimberly and Juliana [Photo courtesy of Kimberly Carpenter]

 


3. Create Wizard Crafts

Create your very own magic with these crafts:

DIY Harry Potter Wands

DIY Wizard Suitcase

DIY Mirror of Erised


4. Design Your Own Fantastic Beast

Design your own Fantastic Beast by using SIRS Discoverer Animal Facts to research fascinating animals. Combine the physical description, behavior, and habitat of different animals to create your own creature. Create a drawing of your Fantastic Beast.


5. Museum Discoveries

Explore interactive events, programs, or see the movie in IMAX:

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian

 

We’ll see you at the movie!

World’s Oldest Library Restored

After four years of renovations (totaling $30 million US dollars), the al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco has reopened. For the first time in its history, however, it is now open to the general public.

The library is part of the al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859 and is the world’s oldest continually operating university. In the 9th century, a wealthy Muslim woman from Tunisia named Fatima al-Fihriya provided funding for the construction of a mosque, which later expanded into a university. Her diploma, a wooden board, can still be seen today.

Aziza Chaouni, a Canadian-Moroccan architect, oversaw the site’s renovation, which boasts restored fountains, colorful mosaics, and refurbished texts. The library restoration included a new gutter system, solar panels and digital locks to protect the rare books room. Air conditioning was also installed to control the humidity.

 

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

For 1,157 years, the library could only be accessed by theologians and academics. Today, visitors from around the globe can flock to see the oldest library in all its glory.

5 Poems for Library Lovers and Bibliophiles

 

What are your favorite library- and book-themed poems?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.

Looking for a full-text, standards-aligned, and lexiled Arts & Humanities database?

Check out SIRS Renaissance for more information.

Little Free Libraries

Libraries are popping up all over the country. Not the traditional libraries with thousands of books, a reference desk, computers, and more. Instead, these are Little Free Libraries. These small, bird-house like structures are filled with dozens of books, free to anyone who wants a good read.

First Little Free Library

First Little Free Library
By Lisa Colon DeLay [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Little Free Library program started in 2009 when Todd Boi of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse and filled it with books. He placed it in his front yard labeled with a sign, “Free Books.” The idea was so popular with his neighbors and friends that it spurred him to build several more and place them in various locations. The Little Free Library movement was poised to take off.

By 2011, the project had garnered national media attention and more than 400 Little Free Libraries were spread across the United States. Since then, that number has continued to grow, and today there are an estimated 36,000 libraries worldwide.

The idea is simple. Anyone is encouraged to build a library, place it in a public place and register their library on the program’s website. The Little Free Library motto of “take a book, leave a book” keeps the libraries stocked. The libraries are credited with spreading literacy and fostering a sense of community in neighborhoods, especially in areas without easy access to a public library.

For more information on the Little Free Library program, check out http://littlefreelibrary.org/

Is there a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Celebrate Buzz Aldrin’s Birthday

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. Flag on the Moon via Flickr [Public Domain]

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is well-known for being one of the first people to step foot on the moon. He was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. Although he is now a retired astronaut, he is still active in the space community. He recently wrote a book called “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” where he explains his ideas for space travel and a future Mars mission.

Buzz Aldrin was born on Jan. 20, 1930 and he celebrates his 86th birthday today. Here are some facts about this famous astronaut:

His nickname “Buzz” was given to him by his sister.

Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.

The name for Disney’s Toy Story character “Buzz Lightyear” was inspired by Buzz Aldrin’s name.

Astronaut_Edwin_E._Buzz_Aldrin_Jr

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, visit ProQuest SIRS Discoverer for student resources on Buzz Aldrin and space exploration. Here are some examples of searches to get you started:

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin

Outer space, Exploration

Space flight to the moon, Apollo Project

Celebrate National Book Blitz Month

When you were growing up, did you love to read? I did. Reading is a passion of mine that began at an early age. Many of my all-time favorite books are the ones that I was assigned to read in school. Books such as The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Outsiders, and Wuthering Heights enhanced my love for reading. January is National Book Blitz Month. It is a great time for librarians, media specialists, and teachers to promote reading and introduce students to new authors. In honor of National Book Blitz Month, here are 10 web sites from ProQuest SIRS WebSelect and Research Topics from ProQuest eLibrary about notable authors suitable for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Child Reading at Brookline Booksmith

Child Reading at Brookline Booksmith
By Tim Pierce (originally posted to Flickr as lost) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Emily Bronte was an English author and poet. She is best known for writing Wuthering Heights, her only novel. The enduring tragic love story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is regarded as a classic of English literature. Her sisters, Charlotte and Anne Bronte were also famous writers. (Emily Bronte Research Topic)

2. Beverly Cleary is an American author, whose contributions to children’s literature have made a lasting impact. She has written over 30 books for children and young adults since 1950. Her beloved characters, including Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse have delighted readers for generations. (Beverly Cleary Research Topic)

3. Charles Dickens was a well-loved 19th century English author whose works were widely read during his lifetime. The famous Victorian novelist created unforgettable characters, including David Copperfield, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Oliver Twist. His classic novels–A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities remain popular to this day. (Charles Dickens Research Topic)

4. Anne Frank was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. Anne and her family went into hiding for two years during World War II to escape Nazi persecution. While in hiding, the teenage girl kept a diary in which she chronicled her experiences. Sadly, Anne never saw her dream of becoming a famous writer realized as she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. Her wartime memoir Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published posthumously and has been read by millions. (Anne Frank Research Topic)

5. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss was a beloved American author and illustrator of children’s books. The best-selling author combined fantastic creatures with wild rhymes to create stories that both educate and entertain children. Some of his most popular books include The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Lorax. (Theodor Seuss Geisel Research Topic)

6. Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, literary critic, and editor. He is best known for penning mystery and macabre tales. He is remembered for his popular poems and short stories, including “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” and is regarded as the inventor of the modern detective story. (Edgar Allan Poe Research Topic)

7. J.K. Rowling is a British author whose best-selling series of fantasy novels about Harry Potter, a young wizard in training, captivated children and adults around the world. Her seven books chronicling Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry achieved critical acclaim and unprecedented commercial success. (J.K. Rowling Research Topic)

8. William Shakespeare is regarded as the world’s greatest dramatist. He was an English playwright, poet, and actor. His plays, written in the late 16th and early 17th centuries can be divided into three genres: comedies, histories, and tragedies. Some of his most recognizable plays include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet. (William Shakespeare Research Topic)

9. Shel Silverstein was an American poet, musician, illustrator, and author of children’s books. He wrote several successful children’s books, including The Giving Tree, The Missing Piece, and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. His masterful poetry collections, including Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic still resonate with children today. (Shel Silverstein Research Topic)

10. John Steinbeck was an American author, best remembered for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece, the iconic novel portrayed the struggles of migrant laborers during the Great Depression. His other major works include Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, and Cannery Row. (John Steinbeck Research Topic)

5 Notable Library Philanthropists

"Library" via Pixabay [Public Domain]

“Library” via Pixabay [Public Domain]

The holidays are about giving back. Libraries are in the business of giving back year-round through resources, books, information and much more. While we appreciate our libraries and librarians for all their hard work, sometimes we want to do more. Not all of us may be able to donate large amounts of money to benefit libraries, but I wanted to highlight some philanthropists who did. Giving back to libraries goes beyond financial donations, and this could mean donating books or items, your time or resources or even ideas for the community. Let’s take a look at 5 philanthropists who made a difference for our libraries.

How do you give back to your local libraries? Tweet us at #ProQuest or leave a comment below!

 

Book-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Halloween goes hand in hand with creativity. What better complement to creativity than making a Halloween costume inspired by your favorite books? In honor of all the wonderful works that have displayed in e-readers, sat atop nightstands and rested on bookshelves, I’m inviting you to get creative with a book-inspired Halloween costume this year.

So many of our favorite stories became our favorites because of memorable characters like the Mad Hatter in “Alice and Wonderland” or Mr. “Cat in the Hat” himself. Even comic book superheroes have become popular choices, keeping up with the classic nostalgia. Novels also pose great options, allowing you to think boldly and unconventionally. I know from watching my mom create handmade Halloween costumes for herself and my sister and I growing up that it doesn’t take much to make something that stands out. I’ve seen her transform into Pinocchio, the Mad Hatter, the Bride of Frankenstein, Thing 1 and countless others. All you need is an idea and an eye for replicating from your very own closet. If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of low-cost character costumes at your local shop waiting to be worn too. Dressing up in a Halloween costume isn’t just for kids and teens. It’s the perfect opportunity to express enthusiasm for beloved book villains and heroes. Here are a few book-inspired costume ideas that can be made easily and quickly. Happy Halloween!

Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as the Mad Hatter. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

While you may think this costume is difficult and time-consuming to make, I can tell you this is not so. Last Halloween (2014), I helped my mom create this costume using only pieces from her closet. We used layering techniques in her clothing to get her the Mad Hatter look. She wore a bright blue pair of tube socks, a black top hat from a previous Halloween costume. And I did her makeup complete with orange eyebrows. How did I give her orange eyebrows, you ask? Eyelash glue, cotton balls, and temporary orange hair spray. I pulled apart cotton balls to create an eyebrow shape, sprayed them in the hair spray and after drying, glued them to her own eyebrows with the eyelash glue. The final result? A Mad Hatter costume that was both cheap and simple to make.

Cat Woman (Based off of the comic book)

Photo Credit: "Cat Woman 4" by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Photo Credit: “Cat Woman 4” by Joe Colburn. nodomain1 / Foter / CC BY

Cat-inspired costumes are great because they don’t take much to make. Whether it’s Cat Woman or Cat in the Hat, all you need is some makeup, black clothing and possibly a few accessories. For this costume, a pair of black leggings, a black shirt and black heels or boots can give the look of this superhero. To make cat ears, an old wire hanger bent into the correct shape and a way to attach them could be a clever option. Even a headband with cardboard cat ear cut-outs attached could work. As for the black mask, you can find one at the local craft store or paint one directly on your face with makeup.

Pinocchio

Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

Photo of my mom as Pinocchio. (Credit: Jaclyn Rosansky)

The main character of this childhood story was a puppet with a knack for lying. This is another costume my mom made one year, and I was impressed with how well she captured Pinocchio’s essence without spending much or devoting a ton of effort. Once again, my mom raided her closet and found red shorts, an appropriate shirt, and she made her own suspenders. Buttons and felt cut to size gave the right look. A piece of scrap fabric was used for her collar and eyeliner was used to draw on her puppet lines. For her nose? She attached two rubber finger protectors together and wore them on her nose. It still surprises me how well it stayed on!

What book-inspired Halloween costume will you make or wear this year? Share in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Book Float Projects

As an editor for SIRS Discoverer who has children in elementary school, I like to pay attention to my children’s assignments at school to inform my editorial selections. I believe this adds a layer of personal relevancy to my work. Many projects in elementary school have a research component and that’s where SIRS Discoverer is very valuable as an age-appropriate resource.

My daughter’s 4th grade class was assigned a “Book Float” project this year. I had never heard of these projects before, but after a little research, I found that they are a common 4th grade project.

The idea is to make a shoebox into a miniature parade float based on the theme of a recently read book. The students have to make a 3-D scene from the book, write a summary, rate the book, and present it to the class.

My daughter chose the book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. She really enjoyed reading the book and the book float was really fun to make. Here are some photos of the finished product. The printed pictures are some scenes from the book, the hearts represent Matilda’s kindness, and the miniature books represent Matilda’s love for reading.

book float 1

Image by Jennifer Oms

book float 2

Image by Jennifer Oms

Teachers, a great place to learn about children’s books is in SIRS Discoverer! Here are some subject searches in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer to get you started:

Children’s books

Books and reading

Books