Category Archives: Library Services
During the month of November, we asked our patrons to share what they were thankful for. The entire month our interactive display just kept growing and growing until we had to attach the responses to the furniture beneath the display. We had responses ranging everywhere from coffee, to politics, to sobriety, but by far what our patrons are most thankful for were their family and friends. It’s a good community we’re working with here.
Here’s the unedited list of all of the responses we received. Thank you for sharing with us.
- My family and friends
- My therapist
- God and Jesus
- Friends and family
- Post-it notes
- Books and libraries
- My family
- Friends and family
- That I have a family
- Family and friends
- For God and my family
- Cute boys
- Fuzzy friends (my pets)
- The hope that is found in Christ
- Food, God, hope and the Bible
- Quadruple shot espressos
- For god, family and my community
- That I don’t personally know any Trump supporters
- That God considers me
- Food, friends and family
- Doing great in class because of my teacher
- The gift of family and a fresh new year to live to the fullest
- For God and Jesus
- This library and electronics
- Friend of the Williamson County Public Library
- My health, my family, my friends and all of God’s blessings
- A loving mother and father
- Family (and my brother)
- My family and my life
- My beautiful friends, even though we are separate
- Friends and family
- Elie, Aiden, Asa and Ethan, rain and coffee
- My family and dog
- What I have and all my friends and family
- Harambe (the gorilla)
- For God and God alone
- This library
- For my wife and kids
- Jesus, love
- Pokemon Go
- A great book
- Small acts of kindness
- Good health, family and beautiful earth
- For food on my table, a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head; also that my Momma and Daddy love each other and we’re all healthy; I’m thankful that the sun came up this morning and that we live in a country with freedom for all, and definitely the pursuit of happiness
- My family, my jog, my boyfriend and Twenty-One Pilots
- Thankful god has blessed me to live 43 years. If he does nothing else for me, he has already done enough
- The library
- The amazing school I go to
- Books and the library
- For my family and friends, for God and Mary and Jesus
- For kindness in all its forms
- For my kids, family and the path Goad has for me and my dearest friend
- For wonderful parents and late husband
- For the right to be heard
- My cat, my jobs, my friends, my boyfriend, Dr. Brunner, the refugee center, Happy Thanksgiving!
- Very thankful for my mom
- My sobriety – one day at a time
- For my best friend
- For NPR, national public radio, its great broadcasts and programs and for the kind people and wonderful atmosphere of the Franklin (WC) public libraries
- Dolores and her wonderful staff and this beautiful library
- For good health and lots of love from my family and friends
- For my son! Family!
- For my family and other stuff
- For the ocean
- Our republic and the 2nd amendment and furry cats
- My diagnosis
- My awesome husband and kids
- God and everything he’s given me and my family and friends
- For god making us!
- My mother, my cat and Trader Joe’s mac n cheese
- New friends, music, beauty
- My family, a God who loves me, a great job, my cat (most of the time) and living in a democracy
- My mother and the love she has for her kids
- New friends and family in Franklin, TN
- Thanks to God for giving such a beautiful life
- For easy ways to cheer someone on a gloomy day
- For libraries!
- The power of prayer and my new job and friends, and dressing
- My family and friends
- Thankful that Christmas is coming soon
- For my mom and grandma and dad; I have three wonderful kids and their dad is OK, and to be alive and healthy and I love the Lord
- Our President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama
- Random acts of kindness
- A good job and friends who I like to work with
- For education, parents and kids; for my life and such a loving family and friends, for everything and mom and dad; for all good things in this world and things that give hope that is light at the end of the tunnel
- My life and everything else
- For each new sunrise—each day is a new beginning
- For my friends and family, especially my son
- For my cat, Stevie, and Nintendo Funk
- For the opportunity to start over in some situations, righting your wrongs
- My friends, family and home/belongings
- My best friend, my family and boyfriend, music and marching band, my other close friends, reading and the library, God and how he saved me and how he still loves me unconditionally, even when I mess up, Camp Crestridge
- For my family and friends, for food and my safe home, for my city and each day of my life
- Being able to learn and grow. To do the best I can
- For my mother
- My family: mom, dad, brother, cousins, uncles, etc.
- For everything…family friends, scouts, God
- For gymnastics and family
- That I’m getting my gender reassignment surgery and moving to Canada
- That Trump is now our president
- For crunching leaves, laughter and the anticipation that Christmas is coming, and coffee
- Family and friends, and books
By Lance Hickerson, Reference Department
A brother and sister in the county recently decided to get their first library cards at WCPL. Let’s call them Jack and Jill for short. It is not known why they waited so long to get a card, but it turns out that Jill needs a rare and costly book that the library has on the shelf. Using the library for free (that’s right, free) saves Jill from having to buy the book with the equivalent of half her weekly grocery budget.
Soon Jack comes by the library to pick up Jill’s rare book as well the five movies his sister has reserved online from home. Since this is his first time in the library, Jack takes his own tour to see what’s here. He sees a huge collection of childrens’ books, and notices the Launchpads which could occupy his niece for hours. He browses shelves and shelves of entertainment DVDs, locating several older movies that are hard to find. Nearby is the large area holding an extensive fiction collection and Large Print books.
Jack thinks to himself, “Surely, there is more to the library than this,” and he is right. He sees the stairs and heads up to the second floor. Jack uses his card to access the public computers which offer the range of Microsoft Office software as well as photo editing and more. He discovers that there are nonfiction and documentary type DVDs on the second floor and locates two which ignite his interest.
Meanwhile, Jill is thinking about their family dinner party and texts Jack requesting two cookbooks, Rachel Ray’s Look + Cook, and The Best of America’s Test Kitchen Little did Jack know, but the Library has over 50 shelves of cookbooks upstairs, including one entire 27 foot long wall . He finds both books available, with the recipes Jack and Jill both love cooking.
Before leaving, Jack sees the Reference Desk and asks them a question regarding data for his business. Jack makes guitar pedals and wants to be sure he is speaking to every music place within 50 miles. He asks if there is a database that could help him. Jack gets back on the library computer and the librarian takes him through several databases available for library users. Most helpful is Reference USA, which lets him mine and correlate the very information he is seeking.
Jill texts again to remind Jack to schedule time for the winter family trip to Switzerland. This prompts Jack to think how he needs to learn more about his digital camera, while also brushing up on his French and German. To save time, he asks the librarians at the Reference Desk for help. They show him how to take advantage of the several eBook connections through the library, especially READS and Totalboox. With his new card, Jack is able to download on his ipad, David Pogue’s Digital Photography: The Missing Manual. The librarian also shows Jack the photography E-magazines available to check out free through the READS and Zinio electronic libraries. Jack downloads immediately Digital Photography from Zinio.
Jack tells the librarian, that if he ever worried the library would go out of business, he doesn’t now. “Are you as up-to-date on language learning? I need to refresh my French and German.” The Reference Desk librarian shows him the library learning site called PowerSpeak Languages, and gets him into the German and French programs using Jack’s library card as the login.
On his way out, with books, DVDs, and electronic downloads in hand, Jack texts Jill, “There’s a lot here at the library. More than I realized. You say you like the newly designed card; I know you’ll like even more, using it. You’ve got to come check this out!”
By Stephen McClain, Reference Department
Most true Seinfeld fans will remember the episode called “the Library” way back in 1991. The first scene opens with Jerry in his apartment on the telephone.
JERRY: Let me speak with the head librarian. …Because it’s absurd. An overdue book from 1971? … This is a joke right? What are you? From a radio station?
JERRY: Ya’ got me I fell for it. Alright, OK I can be down there in like a half hour. Bye.
KRAMER: What’s the problem?
JERRY: This you’re not goin’ to believe. The New York Public Library says that I took out Tropic of Cancer in 1971 and never returned it.
KRAMER: Do you know how much that comes to? That’s a nickel a day for 20 years. It’s going to be $50,000.
JERRY: It doesn’t work like that.
KRAMER: If it’s a dime a day it could be $100,000.
Jerry knows that he returned the book. Turns out he didn’t. Without giving away the ending, he had given the book to George in the locker room during gym class. George dropped it while suffering an atomic wedgie. Just watch the show. It will change your life.
The point here is that library books are often misplaced in obvious locations (such as in the car, under the couch, or next to the bed), but sometimes they are hiding in strange and unusual locales. If you received a notice and need to search for a missing book, here are some spots to explore from a list of actual places that people from all over the U.S. have found lost library books. My apologies in advance for the additional commentary.
- Between the mattress and box springs (I thought this was reserved for illicit material of the adolescent male. Come to think of it, maybe Tropic of Cancer could be found there. (Look it up.))
- Inside the box springs (After you return the book, it might be time to shop for a new box spring.)
- In the crack between the front car seat and the console (…along with old French fries, straw wrappers and hairy nickels.)
- In the dog house (“Fido; sit, roll over, READ!” Maybe we can blame this one on those dogs playing poker in that picture.)
- On your own bookshelf, or with your other books (So you have call numbers on all of your own books? That’s how it got mixed up? Weird.)
- Under the refrigerator (Yeah, be sure to clean off all of the lint and dead bugs before you return it.)
- In the piano bench (“If you practiced more often, you wouldn’t have forgotten it here. That’s it! We’re not paying for any more lessons.”)
- On the work bench (I guess it was easier to just watch a YouTube video on how to fix that toaster.)
- In your fishing gear box (Makes sense. Fishing is boring. You know, you can buy fish, right?)
- In the car’s glove compartment (Am I the only one who has never actually seen a pair of gloves in the “glove compartment?”)
- Under the seat of grandma’s car (Over the River and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go!)
- In the bathroom (Yeah. Just keep it and buy us a replacement.)
- In the deep freezer (I got nothing. Were you maybe looking for your keys when you found the book?)
- At another library (Because that NEVER happens… firmly plants tongue in cheek.)
- Under stuffed animals (Beware! The stuffed animals have gained awareness and are now stealing books to learn and plan world domination.)
- At your summer home (If this is you, why are you borrowing books from the library? Just buy it.)
- In the trash/wastebasket (Well, we understand that some people think they belong there.)
- With the holiday wrapping paper (Were you planning to give the library book as a present?)
- With the camping gear (Once again, makes sense. You need something to do while sitting in front of the campfire.)
This is just a partial list of the odd but true places that patrons have found missing library books. In all seriousness, someone may be waiting on that book that you need to return so please be sure to keep track of your borrowed library materials and returned them on time. We don’t have a library cop like Mr. Bookman from the Seinfeld episode (yes, the character’s name is actually “Bookman”) and you will not rack up a $50,000 fine for anything, but returning materials on time keeps everything running smoothly. Mr. Bookman, the library cop, gets the last word:
“Look. If you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again. This is about that kid’s right to read a book without getting his mind warped! Or maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld. Maybe that’s how y’get your kicks. You and your good-time buddies. Well I got a flash for ya, joy-boy: Party time is over. Y’got seven days, Seinfeld. That is one week!”
By Stephen McClain, Reference Department
In this modern, technologically advanced era, there are many ways to access data and entertainment away from traditional sources like the library, theatre or the home stereo. We can walk around during our daily lives with the history of recorded music accessible in our back pockets, watch videos from around the world, and more and more, books are available as well, in either eBook form or in an audio format. Most Williamson County Public Library users who enjoy digital resources like eBooks and eAudio are familiar with Overdrive and Tennessee R.E.A.D.S but there is another resource that may be of interest that is less well known. OneClickdigital is another way for library patrons to access eBooks and eAudio.
As the name implies, OneClickdigital is a simple, user friendly interface with many titles to choose from. To get started, go to the main page of the Williamson County Public Library and click on “eLibrary” in the middle of the page. From there, scroll down until you see “OneClickdigital eAudiobooks” and click on Access the OneClickdigital collection now. This link takes users to the main page of OneClickdigital. Click on “Register” in the upper right corner. Here, you will enter your library card number and fill in other personal information (email address and zip code) to create an account. It’s that simple. You now have access to OneClickdigital’s collection of eBooks and eAudio.
Oneclickdigital may be more appealing to users who find the OverDrive application confusing or intimidating. There is a simple menu at the top left of the main that allows users to browse through selections in eAudio and eBooks. There is also an Advanced Search option where users can search for authors, titles, format, and many other search criteria. The home page regularly displays Featured eAudio and eBooks if you need some suggestions as to what to read next. There are also a number of links at the bottom of the page to help users learn more and navigate the site. Here you will find links for free Kindle Fire, Android and iPhone apps. If you need more information or would like to learn more about OneClickdigital, there is also a link here for a free webinar.
OneClickdigital is supported by Recorded Books who is a major supplier of digital content to libraries and schools and is the largest independent publisher of audiobooks. The company distributes eBooks and eAudio titles from major publishing houses, along with eAudio titles recorded exclusively for Recorded Books and narrated by professional, award-winning voice actors. Based in Prince Frederick, MD, Recorded Books was founded in 1979. Visit www.recoredbooks.com for more info.
Check out OneClickdigital for both classics like jack London’s White Fang or new, best-selling releases like Star Wars/The Force Awakens. Whether you are reading an eBook on your iPad or listening to an eAudio title, OneClickdigital offers a simple, user-friendly way to access digital content. And be sure to visit OneClickdigital on Facebook for more information, post a comment and connect with other users.
By Jessica Dunkel, Reference Department
It’s tax season already. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of tax resources below, including FREE tax assistance from VITA for those who qualify. Also, keep reading to find out which tax forms will be available at Williamson County Public Library this year.
Free Tax Assistance
If your annual household income is less than $62,000, you qualify for free tax assistance through VITA. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) are IRS-certified volunteers who provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing. VITA will be at the Williamson County Public Library on the dates listed below. Make sure to call VITA for an appointment at 615-830-7940, unless you are using their self-help Kiosk which is available on Monday’s at the main branch.
VITA @ Williamson County Public Library
VITA will be at the Main Branch of the Williamson County Library from January 30 – April 15, 2016.
- Saturday mornings, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm (Call for an appointment)
- Wednesday evenings, 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm (Call for an appointment)
- Self-help Kiosk and Walk-Ins on Monday mornings, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
You must call VITA at 615-830-7940 to make an appointment for Saturdays and Wednesdays at the Main Library.
EXCEPTIONS: VITA will NOT be at the Main Library on the following days:
- Monday, February 15 – Library closed: Presidents Day
- Saturday, February 20 – Library event
- Wednesday, March 2 – Book Sale set up
- Saturday, March 5 – Book Sale
- Monday, March 7 – Book Sale
- Saturday, March 19 – Library event
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Photo ID for both spouses (if filing jointly)
- Original copies of Social Security cards of ITINs (for everyone going on the return. VITA sites require this every year; no photocopies!)
- Proof of income (a W2 for each employer during the tax year, 1099s, Social Security Income, Unemployment, Interest, etc.)
- Healthcare Form 1095
- Proof of expenses if claiming any (childcare expenses, education expenses, medical expenses, property tax, itemized deductions, etc.)
- Proof of mileage if claiming any (must be a written record. Please total any business expenses before arriving.)
- Both spouses must be present if filing a joint return
- Last year’s tax return (helpful in explaining difference in refund amounts, consistent filing, etc.)
- Direct Deposit information (proof of account needed such as a checkbook. Most banks do not give account numbers out over the phone!)
Other VITA locations in Williamson County
VITA will be at other locations throughout Williamson County. All locations have their own specific dates and times. Visit the Library’s tax assistance page and click on “Williamson County Assistance Sites” for additional locations, dates, and times. (Or, click here).
Additional Low Income Tax Prep/VITA Information
Click here for more information on low income tax assistance as well as additional VITA locations throughout the US.
Other Tax Resources
If you have other tax questions or are looking for additional forms, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.
You can also e-File your Federal Tax Return on the IRS website through software called Free File. Click here for more information.
Another resource for help with income, property, and other taxes can be found here on needhelppayingbills.com.
For information about the State of Tennessee individual tax form (Hall Income Tax), visit http://www.tennessee.gov/revenue/topic/hall-income-tax
Tax Forms @ the Library
According to the IRS, 95 percent of taxpayers filed their tax returns electronically last tax season. As a result, the agency is significantly decreasing the variety of paper forms it offers to agencies like the Library. This year, we’ll receive a limited number of the following federal tax forms from the IRS:
- Form 1040 and Instructions
- Form 1040 A and Instructions
- Form 1040 EZ and Instructions
Once the forms arrive, they will be kept at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor and will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Schedules and forms that will not be available in paper form at the Library can be downloaded and printed from the IRS website (www.irs.gov). Reference staff can help you download and print forms at the Library for 10 cents a page.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give the Main Library’s Reference Desk a call at 615-595-1243.
P.S. — We were recently sent this lovely email from US Citizenship and Immigration Services, just some really good info…
We want you to be aware of tax scams! Today’s lesson: phone scams.
Do not fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten you with police arrest or deportation if you don’t pay them.
Even if you do owe taxes…
- The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
- The IRS will NEVER try to threaten or intimidate you, demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone.
- The IRS will NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.
If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visiting www.tigta.gov. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
The Learning Express Library is a database dedicated to providing learning tools for people of all ages (ranging from kids in school to adults looking to start a new career, to those looking to become U.S. Citizens) and starts off in a great way. There is a 16 minute video providing an overview of all the tools Learning Express offers. It is also broken down into smaller units for those that only need a quick review on specific sections. The smaller units include: library homepage, registering as a new user, logging in, the about centers,
Each center has a number of different topics to choose from and those topics are further broken down into sub-sections for a quicker find to the areas needed. There are a few important notes to remember: your login will be your library account number, and the Computer Skills Center is ONLY available to those with an account and are signed in. The guidance section for each center is a wonderful starting point to learn about the section.
The Adult Learning Center has four topics to choose from. These topics are building math skills, learning skills to become a better reader, becoming a better writer, speaking while also improving grammar, and a topic for helping to prepare to become an U.S. Citizen. Each topic in this center (except preparing for the U.S. Citizenship test) provides practice sections and eBooks for use, and some topics also provide quizzes and test preparation sections. What is great in the U.S. Citizenship topic is that there are sections for preparing for the exam, how to get a Green Card, and a section that provides the two previously mentioned sections in Spanish. There is also a Spanish Center that has five topics. These five topics are writing, literature/reading, math, GED prep, and a Citizenship Preparation area.
The Career Center has a total of six topics. The topics are learning more about different careers (such as green careers, homeland security, fire fighters, nurse, teacher and more), preparing for the Allied Health programs entrance exams, preparation for 16 different occupation exams, information to join the military or become an Officer, improving job search and skills to use in the workplace, and preparation for “WorkKeys Assessments and TOEIC.” The tools used for this center are eBooks and practice exams.
The High School Equivalency Center also has six topics. This center is set up wonderfully. The first two topic areas are a great place to start if you need to figure out where your basic skills (math, language, reading and spelling) stand along with tutorials, practice areas and eBooks to help you improve your skills as needed. There are two sections dedicated to the GED (English and Spanish sections). The last two topics focus on preparing for the HiSET test and the TASC Test Assessing Secondary completion. These two topics have practice tests and a tutorial each.
The College Prep Center has six topics. Three of the topics focus on the ACT, THEA, and SAT. In these three topic areas you will find tutorials, practice exercises, and practice tests. PSAT/NMSQT is another topic that has practice tests and eBooks available for use. There is also a topic called “College Admissions Essay Writing” that provides two eBooks: one on editing skills and the other on how to write a great application. The final topic in this center is AP Exams, with practice exams for the most common AP courses.
College Center has seven topics. Topics cover math, reading, grammar and writing, and a science review topic that uses tutorials, eBooks, and practice sets. The math topic covers eight of the most common math courses offered in college. The science topic only offers chemistry and biology review sections. This center also includes preparing for college placement exams (four prep areas) as well as the CLEP exam. Also to be found are practice tests and eBooks for graduate entrance exams. These exams include the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MAT, MCAT and PCAT.
School Center has three topic areas. The first topic area focuses on Elementary school with math and language arts improvement sections that is geared towards 4th and 5th graders. The second topic focuses on Middle School curriculum in math (6th-8th grade) and English Language Arts (6th-8th grade), eBooks, and other review techniques are available. The topic of social studies is also covered with a section on American History (the U.S. Constitution) and geography through the use of eBooks. The final section is a preparation area for the High School Entrance Exams. The third topic focuses on High School with a total of five sections. These sections contain a further breakdown of each section along with tutorial and eBook sections for use.
The Computer Skills center has five topics to choose from and starts with the most basic computer skills then moves to learning how to use the internet and all it has to offer. The next topic is learning about and how to successfully use the Microsoft Office products, such as MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. There is also a topic that covers graphic design by using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The final topic is about understanding how your operating system works. You can choose from Windows (several versions are available) and the MAC operating system.
There you have it, a look into the Learning Express Library and the contents it has to offer for patrons of nearly all ages. Best of luck!
- Guiley, Rosemary. The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2005. (133.423 GUI)
- Davison, Carol Margaret, ed. Bram Stocker’s Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997. Toronto: Dundurn, 1997 (823.8 BRA)
- Stott, Andrew McConnell. The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters. New York: Pegasus , LLC, 2014. (820.9145 STO)
- Pollard, Tom. Loving Vampires: Our Undead Obsession. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. 2016 (398.21 POL)
VAMPIRE FILMS AND TV
- Dracula: The Legacy Collection (DVD DRACULA)
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (DVD DRACULA)
- Dracula 2000 (DVD DRACULA)
- Dracula Untold (DVD DRACULA)
- Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (DVD ABRAHAM)
- Vampire Secrets (DVD 398.21 VAM)
- Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Seasons 1–7 (DVD BUFFY)
- True Blood, Seasons 1–7 (DVD TRUE)
- Van Helsing (DVD Van)
- Fonseca, Anthony J., and June Michele Pulliam. Encyclopedia of the Zombie: The Walking Dead in Popular Culture and Myth. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2014. (398.21 ENC)
- Holder, Geoff. Zombies From History. Stroud: History, 2013. (398.45 HOL)
- Swain, Frank. How to Make a Zombie: The Real Life (and Death) Science of Reanimation and Mind Control. London: Oneworld Publications, 2013. (398.45 SWA)
ZOMBIE FILMS AND TV
- Maggie (DVD MAGGIE)
- Night of the Living Dead (DVD NIGHT (at Leiper’s Fork branch))
- Shaun of the Dead (DVD SHAUN)
- 20-Horror Movies: Tales of Terror (includes White Zombie) (DVD TWENTY)
- The Walking Dead, Seasons 1–6 (DVD Walking)
- World War Z (DVD WORLD)
- Brier, Bob. Egyptian Mummies: Unraveling the Secrets of an Ancient Art. New York: Quill, 1994. (393.3 BRI)
- David, A. Rosalie, and Rick Archbold. Conversations with Mummies: New Light on the Lives of Ancient Egyptians. New York: Morrow, 2000. (932 DAV)
- Janot, Francis. The Royal Mummies: Immortality in Ancient Egypt. Vercelli: White Star, 2008. (932 JAN)
- Mertz, Barbara. Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978. (932 MER)
MUMMY FILMS AND TV
- Egypt Eternal: The Quest for Lost Tombs (DVD 932 EGY)
- The Mummy (Legacy Collection including 1932 film starring Boris Karloff) (DVD MUMMY)
- The Mummy (1999) (DVD MUMMY)
- The Mummy Returns (DVD MUMMY)
- The Pyramid (DVD PYRAMID)
By Katy Searcy, Children’s Department
Comics and graphic novels. When I say those magic words, there are typically some pretty strong feelings evoked: I either receive rants and raves or wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m here for those of you who may fall into the latter category. Maybe you hate them because you feel they aren’t “real” literature, because there’s absolutely no way cartoons can contain value. Maybe you hate them because your kid won’t read anything else. Or maybe you just hate them because you don’t know anything about them. So I’m here to provide you with a crash course in comics and graphic novels with the hope that hating them will no longer be your first reaction.
Comics vs. Graphic Novels: What’s the Difference?
Comic books are periodicals that contain a single story or a collection of stories, often featuring a continuing set of characters. Comic books are a form of sequential art, following a left-to-right, panel-to-panel reading convention and containing textual devices such as speech bubbles, captions, and onomatopoeia to convey dialogue, narration, and sound. Many American comic books involve adventure stories that incorporate elements of fantasy and science fiction. Superhero characters in comic books are especially popular. Some comic series have been merged into giant collections, like The Walking Dead, so they read more like a graphic novel.
A graphic novel is a book-length story that combines pictures and text. Graphic novels do resemble comic books, but they’re typically much longer than comic books with more serious subject matter. Many graphic novels do explore adult themes, but there are just as many graphic novels created specifically for children and young adults. Graphic novels are not necessarily novels—the format includes fictional stories, informational text, essays, reports, memoirs, biographies, and even poetry told using a combination of text and images following the panel-to-panel conventions of comics.
Where Does Manga Fit?
Manga are Japanese comics. The panels and text are read from right to left, and the reader turns the page in a right-to-left fashion as well. This can catch many readers off guard, but trust me, once you start, it’s easy to catch on. The art style of manga, however, differs drastically from its American counterpart. Manga characters are hyper-stylized, typically drawn with large eyes, small mouths, and giant heads of brightly colored hair. Emotions are exaggerated and can take over a character’s entire body.
Why Should We Read Them?
- The first reason is obvious: Comics and graphic novels are fun! Why should reading be boring and miserable? It shouldn’t. Letting kids read something fun of their choosing gives them a sense of initiative and responsibility towards their own reading, and they’re less likely to view reading as a chore.
- We live in a hyper-visual culture, and the visual sequences in comics and graphic novels just make sense to kids.
- Kids use complex reading strategies when comic books and graphic novels. Readers must rely on dialogue and visual cues to infer what is not explicitly stated by a narrator, and they develop multiple literacies through the combination of pictures and text.
- Comics and graphic novels are GREAT for reluctant readers. For kids who are intimidated by large amounts of text, the combination of text and images makes the book seem more accessible.
- Personally, I read them when I want a more immersive, inclusive reading experience. I’ve found that some stories are just told better through a visual medium.
Which Ones Should I Read?
I’m glad you asked. If you’d like to know more about comics as a genre, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (call number YA 741.5 MACC) is a wonderful resource. Often used as a textbook in literature classes (I needed it a total of three times during my undergrad and graduate work. Three!), McCloud delves into nearly every historical and perceptual aspect of comics. As far as good comics and graphic novels to read, here is a basic list of some of my personal favorites for each age group that we have available here at WCPL.
Babymouse: Queen of the World! (J 741.5 HOL)
Squish: Super Amoeba (J 741.5 HOL)
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute (J 741.5 KRO)
Chi’s Sweet Home (J 741.5952 KON)
Zebrafish (J 741.5 EME)
Roller Girl (J 741.5973 JAM)
Amulet: The Stonekeeper (J 741.5973 KIB)
Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity (J 741.5973 ROM)
Brain Camp (J 741.5 KIM, 7th and 8th shelf)
Chiggers (YA F LAR)
Battling Boy (J 741.5 POP, 7th and 8th shelf)
Drama (YA F TEL)
In Real Life (YA F DOC)
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (YA F OMA)
This One Summer (YA F TAM)
Runaways (YA F VAU)
The Shadow Hero (YA F YAN)
Fun Home: An American Tragicomic (741.5973 PEC)
Over Easy (741.5973 PON)
Saga (741.5973 VAU)
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (92 CHA)
Blankets (F THO)
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
By Stephen McClain, Reference Department
Whether you are a student of any grade level, preparing for the ACT, SAT, GRE or GED, an undergraduate or graduate scholar, looking for a new career or are interested in researching your heritage, the Tennessee Electronic Library has something for you.
The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) is an online library that provides everyone in the state with access to a vast selection of resources. These resources are available free of charge at any time, all you need is Internet access. Whether you are at home, in a computer lab or on your smart phone, a wealth of information is available to help with any of your research and data needs.
TEL shortcuts will take you directly to resources for Homework, Research, Test Prep, Career Tools and Genealogy.
If you have a school paper or project due, the Student Resources in Context will help provide primary source materials for many subjects. Within this area, there is a brand new “Research in Context” button that is designed specifically for middle school students. This link is an invaluable, easy to navigate tool for many projects with topics ranging from Cultures, Government, Science and History.
There is an extensive alphabetical database with information on most any topic. Including…
Biography — Learn about the lives of Bill Gates, Duke Ellington, Edgar Allan Poe, LeBron James and Walt Whitman, just to name a few.
Business and Economics — Here you will find a broad scope of information on everything from advertising and fashion to what made Facebook a global phenomenon.
Geography — We live in an age of globalization where it is increasingly important that we know what is going on in the world. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, learn about current events and issues that are facing each country and how it can affect you. There are many links to NPR podcasts, videos and academic journals. Each link also provides maps and statistical data for each country, which includes individual states of the U.S.
Social Issues — This section provides links to diverse and important topics and current world events. There are many articles, audio recordings and interactive maps relating to an extensive list of social issues.
Research and Test Prep
The Tennessee Electronic Library also provides users with access to popular magazines, videos, ebooks, scholarly articles, newspapers, podcasts and much more through their Gale Power Search.
TEL can also help with test preparation, starting at Grade 4 through college. Resources include information on ACT, SAT and Graduate School Entrance exams. Clicking on “ACT, SAT” will take you to the College Preparation Center where you will find practice tests, tutorials and other resources for college admissions. The “Graduate School Entrance Exams” link takes you to the College Center, where you can prepare for graduate school admission exams by reviewing math, reading, writing and science skills. There are also video tutorials on how to download and use an ebook, how to take a test, as well as resources in Spanish.
Make the most of your experience and knowledge when looking for a new career by clicking on the Career Tools tab. Here, you will find powerful tools to organize job searches and match your expertise with new career opportunities. You will also find help to build your resume and write a cover letter.
Find information on your heritage and family history through digitized census records starting in 1790. There is also a special link to Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is partnered with Ancestry.com. Here you will find free historic Tennessee information on births, deaths and tax records.
These are just a few of the ways that the Tennessee Electronic Library can help you with many of your research and data needs. Visit TEL and explore!
Welcome to September, also known as National Library Card Sign-up Month. And yes, I know that it feels like no matter where you go, everyone’s always trying to sell you something. But don’t worry, I’m not going to try and sell anything, because library cards are FREE! Bonus: we’ll also SAVE you money! Typically, all you have to do to get a library card is live in the area. And while there are thousands of books you can borrow, there’s also free computer use with access to software such as Microsoft Office and Abbey Finereader, amazing programs, use of highly useful databases, ebooks and audiobooks, and so much more. Patrons of the library tell us they get much more from their cards than the privilege of checking out books.
Here are 12 comments we hear from time to time:
- I didn’t know my card could give me free online magazines from Zinio. That saves me going to the newsstand.
- You mean my card gives me free access to the Reference USA research database. That saves me money on my business prospecting plans.
- I like being able to get an older DVD free that I can’t even find in Redbox.
- Rosetta Stone was too expensive for me at the time, but your free online language program, Powerspeak Languages, helped me get ready to visit Spain.
- You mean I don’t have to pay $2.00 an hour to be on the computer? That’s neat you have free access.
- I like being able to use the library computer software. I don’t have a photo editing program so I used the basic Irfanview and worked my way into the more advanced Gimp photo editor, both on the library computer. I also used the library Powerpoint program to set up my presentation.
- We needed to scan our personal documents; the library made it easy, and it was free.
- I thought you only had a few electronic books to download on my ipad. I had been paying for ebooks the last two years. I will now be saving by using READS.
- We were going on a trip and wanted to listen to an audiobook. Most of the time we check out the library’s books on CD. But we just learned there are free electronic audio books too. We downloaded three and enjoyed them as we traveled across the country.
- I come to the library, check out the new books, and like the access to your HP printers. They are better than mine at home.
- I have a limit on my data downloads, so I use the free library Wifi to update my tablet.
- We recently got to visit the Dyer Observatory on the special night for library card holders. A great program.