Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Final Budget Hearing

From Margaret Roach, Volunteer Services Manager:

While the Library System has maintained hours and staff, the book budget has been severely decreased—by over 46% in the last two years. As the Library Bond Program brings new libraries on board, it is critical that the operating budget not fall behind. Your advocacy for continued support of the Library System is essential. In tough economic times, citizens need libraries more than ever!

The final public hearing is coming up!
2011 Fulton County Budget-Public Hearing
Wed. Jan. 5
10 a.m.
Fulton County Government Center
Assembly Hall
141 Pryor Street SW Atlanta.

If you would like a list of talking points, directions to the Govt. Center, or the procedure for speaking at a public hearing, email us at, and I'll shoot you a reply!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reading on the go

From the New York Times:
Little glimpses into readers' worlds, while riding the subway.
Click here to see the whole image, and check out what everyone was reading.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Library in Stockholm, Sweden

Remember this for the next time you're in Stockholm (as you know, you sometimes are!). Ok, well, no, perhaps not, but you can armchair travel a bit sometimes, can't you? Plus (spoiler alert) if you read far enough into this post, you can discover what Ocee has in common with this library!

The City Library, which opened in 1928 and was the first in Sweden to allow patrons to choose their own books off the shelves (rather than ask a librarian for them) - an idea they borrowed from America!

 Inside the rotunda. Books circle the room on three different levels.

I want to be sitting right there!

Something about seeing that many books lined up on shelves, waiting to be checked out, makes my little book-loving heart beat faster (even if I probably couldn't understand a single word in any of them!).

I went to their home page, not expecting to be able to understand a thing, but it turns out they have an "Welcome to the Public Library" page in 14 (14!) different languages*. Anyway, the library assures:
"if you cannot find something you are looking for, e.g. books in your own language, ask the staff. In many cases the library will be able to obtain what you are looking for either by buying the book [emphasis mine] or by borrowing it from another library".
My kind of library! And now (drumroll please) here's what Ocee and the Stockholm library have in common:  if you ask at our reference desk, they can also sometimes either buy the book (using money from the Friends!) or get it for you through interlibrary loan. No promises, but definitely give it a try when you're looking for something the system doesn't own!

    * My fav way to say "Welcome to the Public Library"? Ku soo-dhowaada rugta buugagga! That's Somalian and I like how the last two words make you think of rutabagas :)

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Who knew??

    Apparently, the Fulton libraries are full of passionate least according to the Craigslist Missed Connections section (click on the pics to see full-size).

    Nobody seems to be looking for anyone from the Ocee Library - should we be insulted or relieved *grin*?

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    We appreciate our staff!

     We can't say enough good things about the people who work at the Ocee Library, and today Lori (officially our Treasurer, but unofficially our "Provider of all things yummy") put on her annual staff appreciation luncheon.
    Lori and her fantastic spread
    Her homemade dessert goodies
    Not only does she make great food, she makes the table beautiful as well!
     A huge thank you to Lori for all her hard work - the Friends of Ocee wouldn't be the same without her!

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Google Doodles

    Google "doodles" its logo every so often to reflect important dates in history, holidays, commemorate birthdays, etc. I was looking at the collection and noticed some book-related doodles:

    HG Wells (War of the Worlds)

    Hans Christen Andersen (fairy tales)

     Agatha Christie (murder mysteries)

    JM Barrie (Peter Pan)

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery (The Little Prince)

    Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)

     RL Stevenson (Treasure Island)

    Go here for a look at the whole collection, and to read more about the doodles.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    A new way to take off the pounds...

    Actually it's an art project from David Garcia Studios designed to play
    with the idea of a nomadic library that travels with you.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Best Books of 2010...

    ... in the New York Times opinion anyway :). You can read the NYT post here.
    (Individual book links above take you to the books' listings on, whose Omnivoracious blog also did a story on the NYT list.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Most Beautiful Public Libraries

    Flavorwire ranked the 10 ten exteriors of public libraries, and believe it or not, the Central Library of the Atlanta- Fulton system is #2:

    From an architectural standpoint, it's distinctive, I suppose, but it sure doesn't say "come inside and curl up with a good book" (or for that matter, even hint that books are inside it). This might have made an interesting office building, but for a library, it's a bit depressing. *

    The Boston Public Library is my favorite classic exterior from this list (ranked #6 by Flavorwire):
    A 1940s era postcard showing the library - very much unchanged to this day!

    And for a modern twist, nothing can beat the Salt Lake City Public Library (#9):

    Of course, the true test of a library is what's inside, and as someone who's been in all 3 of these, the Atlanta library isn't even on the charts. The Salt Lake City is actually my all-time favorite library (I'll even give it a post of its own - someday!), and very worth a visit if you're in the area.

    See the whole Flavorwire post here to see what other libraries made the cut.

    *One commenter to the original post says "the Atlanta-Fulton is a dehumanizing brick" and another refers to "a couple ugly block concrete places!" Poor Atlanta!

    Saturday, November 20, 2010


    The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass
     "Some books grab you from the first page. Julia Glass's novel, The Widower's Tale, lightly touches you on the shoulder and requests your kind attention to an enchanting story of familial bonds and late-life romance. Expect to be infatuated with Glass's protagonist, 70-year-old Percy Darling, he of the generous soul, dry wit, and courtly manners. Living alone in a rural enclave near Boston, he clings to the emotional reticence he cultivated after losing his wife—until he falls for the much younger Sarah.  ... Meanwhile, a rich mix of other characters play out their own dramas in a leisurely fashion. But who cares how long the journey takes when you're in such good company?from review

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Reading should never be painful!

     From Fay Weldon's latest, Chalcot Crescent:

    I must admit I once felt I had to finish every book I started. But I have since adopted this eminently sensible suggestion: read the first 50 pages of a book to give it a fair chance, and if you're not enjoying it by then, give it up. There are too many wonderful books in this world to get stuck with one that doesn't satisfy. If you've been trying to get the same book read for months now, that's probably a good sign it's time to move on. Give yourself permission to read only what you love - reading is such a joy when you find the right book!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Donor Recognition Wall

    We are contemplating adding a donor recognition wall at Ocee Library, with initial funding to come from the generous donations made in memory of William H. Hamlin, Jr..

    The Giving Tree wall at the Northeast/Spruill Oaks library was the genus of our donor wall idea: Mr. Hamlin's daughter, Patricia, noted that it "“planted the seed” for me to talk with my father about including the library in his obituary. Perhaps it will have a similar impact and encourage others to give to Ocee".
    Spruill Oak's Giving Tree
    We want to incorporate this idea, while giving it our own twist.  Here are some design ideas to get us thinking - these are merely meant to be inspirations, not exact depictions of what ours would look like.  Our wall would also be relatively small compared to most of these, so imagine scaled down versions. It would most likely be located against the right-hand brick wall in the outermost vestibule, if you wanted to picture it in situ. We'd love to hear any suggestions, especially if you can think of a way to work some local Ocee connection into the design.

    These first few ideas are 'bookish':
    Leather faux book spines with imprinted donor names
    Wood shelves with brass books engraved with donor names (no mime on ours though!)
    Faux books flanking engraved plaques
    This is a piece of art with donor names painted on book spines

    Another painted bookshelf idea
    Books stacked horizontally

    Some other, more general, ideas:
    Backlit glass
    Spotlit crystal
    Names flanking book-related art

    Again, view these pictures as jumping-off points, and let us know of any ideas you might have!

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    A beloved children's book comes to life

    Ramona Quimby is coming to the Georgia Ensemble Theatre for one public performance only: November 13th at 11:30 AM at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center! Bring your kids and their friends to see the fun adventures of this delightful little girl.
    After the show, join us in the lobby to build your own Ice Cream Sundae with the Cast!

    Ramona Quimby 2Call 770-641-1260 to order your tickets today!

    Tickets: $6 for kids
    $8 for adults

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    New Home for Books on Tape

    Lori at a book sale

    One of our devoted board members, Lori (along with her husband Jim) went the extra mile after our last book sale to find a good home for the leftover books on tape (the library weeded this collection, as books on CD seem to be the preferred media these days).

    In her own words:
     Jim and I finally delivered the boxes of books on tape (cassettes) to the Center for Visually Impaired on W Peachtree and 4th Ave downtown.  We had six book size boxes, two Staples tote boxes and three large plastic tubs which caused us to use the truck.  [They were]  so thrilled to receive them.  She showed us the long table where they had books on tape for clients to take at will and there was a scarce 12-15 books spread on a big table.  She said the clients will be so excited to have new material to listen to--she wishes she would have a room to have a little library.  She would welcome any we had to give in the future.  I would guess any music CDs leftover after a sale would be welcome too.  Jim and I will be happy to deliver them--it was so good to know they were going to a good cause and would be appreciated.  

    And today we received the following thank-you note from the Center for the Visually Impaired:
    Thank you for bringing a donation of 431 audiobooks and 8 large print books from the Ocee Library to the Center for the Visually Impaired. These items, although used, are in good working condition. We appreciate this thoughtful gift, and our visually impaired clients, staff and friends will be delighted at having such a plethora of books from which to choose!
    Your contribution enables the Center to provide the best possible rehabilitative services to blind and visually impaired persons of all ages.
    Thank you for your support.

    The Friends of the Ocee Library is so lucky to have volunteers like Lori and Jim - thanks guys!

    If you are aware of a charity that could benefit from the leftovers from our book sales, email us and let us know. We can't promise anything, but we do love it when we can help others!

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Congratulations to our Nook winner!

    We drew a name from over a hundred entries in our Digital Bookmobile Nook giveway, and our lucky winner was Rhonda. She had come to vote and wandered over to check out the bookmobile, and was extra excited because it was her first time winning something! Have fun with your new "toy", Rhonda!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Win a Nook at the Digital Bookmobile!

    On Tuesday October 26 the Digital Bookmobile will be at Ocee from Noon - 6 PM. Stop in to find out about checking out downloaded electronic and audio books on your Atlanta-Fulton Public Library card. You can also get more information about the program here.

    Also, get a chance to win a Nook digital book reader (courtesy of the Friends of Ocee Library!) just for touring the bookmobile.  Tickets will be given away to all bookmobile visitors (one per person), and one ticket will be drawn at 6PM (winner need not be present).

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    A clever use of an old phone booth

    From's weekly picture round-up:
    "Duncan Berry holds the door open as his children Jemima, right, and Hugo choose books from the village phone box in Marton cum Grafton, England, Saturday. The classic red phone booth in the center of the village was bought by residents for 1 pound and turned into a book exchange as part of British Telecom's Adopt a Kiosk campaign, which has seen more than 350 red phone boxes adopted by small communities across Britain, according to local media."

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Are children's books becoming a thing of the past?

    After this article about the poor state of children's picture books (due in part to parents pushing children to read by themselves at ever younger ages, in order to "get ahead" in school), Lane Smith's  "It's a Book" seems a particularly welcome title these days!

     From Adam Gopnik's review in The New York Times Book Review:
    Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves — who find the notion that pixels, however ordered, could be any kind of substitute for the experience of reading in a chair with the strange thing spread open on our lap — will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith’s book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    National Friends of the Library Week

     Below is a letter we received from the director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library:

    Dear Friends,
        We are very pleased to celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week, October 17-23, 2010 and to express heartfelt appreciation to our Friends. While we try to say thank you throughout the year, this is an excellent opportunity to formally thank you and your Friends group for your excellent support.
    The money that you raise enables the library to go beyond the limits of our budget—providing the resources for additional programming, much needed equipment and material, support for children’s summer reading and special events throughout the year.
        Your advocacy makes a big difference in assuring that the library has adequate resources. The fact that we are moving ahead on Phase I of the Library Bond Program is due in large part to the Friends support for the bond referendum. As you know, this measure will have a great impact on the future of the library system. The Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ continuing support for the library system is very much influenced by your work and advocacy for the Library.
        Furthermore, the Friends’ gift of time and commitment to the library is an example of how volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of our community. The work of the Friends highlights the fact that our library is the cornerstone of the community, providing opportunities for all to engage in the joy of life-long learning. We are very proud of our Friends and thankful for all that you do for the library. Please convey my sincere appreciation to all the members of your Friends organization. We value and appreciate your outstanding and important work.
            John F. Szabo

    Friends are the best kind of people, aren't they? If you're already one of us, give yourself a pat on the back, and if you're not a Friend yet, come join us!

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Book Awards

    The 2010 National Book Award Finalists were announced this morning (from Flannery O'Connor's home in Savannah - yay Georgia!) - see the list here.

    The Man Booker Prize 2010 winner (the United Kingdom's big book award) was announced yesterday. The winner may be found here (the shortlist is here).

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    What to do with all the books

    you can buy at our booksales:

    Read here about how one university found a 'novel' use for its discarded books.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    A Bookish Thought

    "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge 
    from almost all the miseries of life."

    W. Somerset Maugham

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Ocee Library Statistics

    Here are some recent statistics for Ocee Library*:
    • Ocee checks out more children's items than any other Atlanta-Fulton Public Library branch
    • Ocee has 143,213 items on its shelves ( the second largest collection in the system)
    • Ocee's young adult collection is the largest in the system, our children's collection is the 2nd largest, and our adult collection is the 4th largest.
    • More than 40,000 items were checked out at Ocee in the month of September alone, and more than a fourth of those were checked out on our self-checkout machines
              (*these statistics exclude the Central Library and the Auburn Avenue Research Library)

    A huge YAY!!! to our very excellent staff, and to all the volunteers who help put all those checked-out books back on the shelf.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    24 Hour Read-a-thon

    If you're in the mood for some non-stop reading Sunday October 9th, check out the online Dewey's Read-a-thon. Sounds like it could get intense: "The most hardcore among us will stay up the entire 24 hours and do nothing but read and update, even going so far as to skip showering and eat meals while reading." 

    I do loves me some books, but I think I might love sleep and food just as much, so I'm not sure I'm such a good candidate for this one *grin*!

    Though to be fair, rule #8 is: "In general, don’t be a masochist. This is supposed to be fun! And if anything about the challenge makes you start picturing us with little devil horns and wanting to strangle us, please stop and change it so that it works for you. Or, you know, go ahead and scream TO HELL WITH THIS CHALLENGE and go to sleep. We don’t want sleep deprivation making you hate your friendly read-a-thon organizers."

    Anyway, very cute idea (at least with some eating and sleeping breaks somewhere in there) - they even get people to sign up to be 'cheerleaders' for the readers!