Feasts From Your Farmers’ Market

Book cover for Cooking from the Farmers' MarketI am not an impulse shopper when it comes to clothes or everyday groceries. I’m a disciplined gal, sticking to my list. However, when it comes to farmers’ markets, I cannot resist the jewel-toned eggplants, the deep green and curling kale leaves, the delicate mushrooms. Many times a summer I find myself with a counter full of fruits and vegetables without a clue as to how to integrate them into my week’s meal planning.

We are lucky to have a number of farmers’ markets in Boone and Callaway Counties (see our local produce subject guide for details). If you, like me, want to make sure your locally sourced veggies don’t wind up rotting in your crisper drawer, check out some of these cookbooks for delicious inspiration.

Williams-Sonoma’s “Cooking From the Farmers’ Market” includes not only recipes but also helpful tips for picking the freshest produce and best ways to prepare various fruits and vegetables. The pictures are gorgeous, and there are three recipes provided for each ingredient highlighted. Many of the recipes are simple with minimal ingredient lists — when the produce is fresh, you can let that sun-ripened flavor be the star of the show. I can’t wait to try baked eggs with spinach and cream or sugar snap pea risotto!
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Big Data and “Choose Privacy Week”

Choose Privacy Week logoImagine this:  you are a citizen of a Democracy where individual rights and privacy are supposedly its most sacred principle, and yet 24/7 you may be tracked by the government, corporations and even the city in which you live. You constantly wear or use devices that send out signals and information transmitted to millions of different data-gathering entities. A future such as this, predicted by the likes of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, may have seemed very frightening little more than 20 years ago. Such a future, however, is in the here and now.

Libraries are one of the bulwarks of democracy, and they remain one of the few places in the modern world where your privacy is strictly maintained. Choose Privacy Week is a culmination of all that we do as librarians — providing an incredibly wide variety of information and computing resources while at the same time protecting your utmost privacy. In its eighth year and hosted by the American Library Association, Choose Privacy Week is cosponsored by the ACLU, the Society of American Archivists, the Freedom to Read Foundation and many other nonprofit agencies. 

Book cover for Dragnet NationAfter the Snowden affair in 2013, a veritable explosion of books about the topic of privacy hit the shelves, and we have many here at the library. Julia Angwin, in “Dragnet Nation,” abandoned many of the social media outlets that we trust and love, such as Facebook, all for the sake of privacy. However, cleansing her name from online information brokers was far more difficult: “Removing my information from commercial data brokers was a different kind of trust exercise: the kind of trust you place in a mob enforcer.” Angwin goes further than most, installing encryption programs on her phones and other devices. In conclusion she argues that “We didn’t shut down the industrial economy to stop pollution. We simply asked polluters to be more accountable to their actions. We just need to make the data handlers let us see what they have about us and be accountable for any hardships caused by their use of our data.”
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Summer Program Preview: Walking Book Club

Book cover for Grandma Gatewood's WalkRead. Walk. Talk! This year’s Summer Reading theme — for adults as well as kids and teens — is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” We’re organizing programs about fitness and wellness, as well as meeting challenges of all kinds, mental and physical.

As part of Summer Reading, we’ll be hosting a walking book club at the Columbia Public Library on the second Wednesday of the month throughout the summer. This club combines three necessities for a healthy brain: mental, physical and social activity. Participants will take a 30-minute walk, leaving from the library, followed by a book discussion. Here are the book selections and meeting times.  All sessions will start in the Friends Room. Mark your calendars now!

Wednesday, June 8 › 6:30-8 p.m.
June’s selection is “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail” by Ben Montgomery. Not only did this mother of 11 and grandmother of 23 hike the Appalachian Trail solo once (the first woman to ever do so), she did it three times. Conducting interviews with those who knew Gatewood and drawing on her diaries and correspondence, journalist Ben Montgomery shines a welcome light on the amazing Emma Gatewood’s life in this delightful book, exploring why she did what she did and looking at her efforts to bring public attention to the poorly maintained 2,050 mile trail. At this kick-off meeting, Annette Triplett of PedNet will give a brief talk about that organization’s programs and the benefits of walking. 
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Wildflower Enchantment

Spicebush Swallowtail and Aphrodite Fritillary, photo by Sasha Vasko via FlickrA Charm for Spring Flowers

Who sees the first marsh marigold
Shall count more wealth than hands can hold.
Who bends a knee where violets grow
A hundred secret things shall know.
Who finds hepatica’s dim blue
Shall have his dearest wish come true.
Who spies on lady-slippers fair
Shall keep a heart as light as air.
But whosoever toucheth not
One petal, sets no root in pot,
He shall be blessed of earth and sky,
Till under them he, too, shall lie.

~Rachel Field

Columbine, open and closedOh, the magical charm of wildflowers, especially the earliest ones, which rise up through the woodland leaf litter to sing, when winter is gone. If you’ve spent any time in the woods hunting down or chancing upon these fleeting beauties (in our local area, bloodroot, wake robin, Dutchman’s breeches, etc.), you know how bewitching they can be. I was 15 years old when I found and identified wild columbine flowers. We were on a spring road trip, my mother and I, headed to Georgia via Skyline Drive to visit my grandmother, when we stopped for a break. I wandered off for a short walk and found columbine growing on a sunny hillside. The blossoms, with their complex structure formed in bright red and yellow, were stunningly beautiful and unlike any flower I had ever seen before. They most certainly cast a spell on me, propelling me on a lifelong quest to find and identify more wildflowers. It is a sweet and happy hobby.

The first week of May is National Wildflower Week, and what a worthy group to showcase and celebrate.
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Celebrating – and Mourning – Prince

Album cover for Prince: The B SidesI have vivid memories of sitting by my boom box listening to American Top 40 on the radio, my finger poised over the record button, so I could capture Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” on cassette tape. This legendary’s musician’s work was the soundtrack of my adolescence, and I was among the many shocked and saddened by his sudden death on April 21.

If you feel moved to revisit Prince’s music, the library has not only physical CDs for checkout, but also more than 15 albums you can stream or download from Hoopla. If you are new to this service, visit the library’s website for more information. You can be singing along to “Purple Rain” in no time if you have a library card.

Book cover for Prince: Inside the Music and the MasksIf you want to read more about the complicated person Prince was and his enormous impact on music and popular culture, check out “Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks” by Ronin Ro. This is an authoritative portrait that documents his rise from an unknown musician to a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, offering insight into his role in confronting labels and fostering other young talents.
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The Last of Us: Docs Featuring Endangered Species

the chances of the world changing

Bringing endangered species back from the brink has long been a concern of scientists and conservationists. Check out these documentaries that not only explore several endangered species, but also explore some of the people interested in preserving them.

the chances of the world changing

The Chances of the World Changing” (2006)

An artist abandons his life’s work to build an ark filled with hundreds of endangered animals. But his growing “ark” and preservation efforts are threatening to exhaust him, both mentally and financially. A story about time, death, art, love and turtles.

ghost birdGhost Bird” (2009)

Set in a murky swamp full of birders, scientists and reporters, this thrilling eco-noir investigates the strange but true story of a small town in Arkansas overrun by a nation of birders all in search of the Holy Grail with wings, the ivory-billed woodpecker.
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