Bookmarks: What’s Saving Your Page?

Bookmarks are thought to have been used since at least the end of the medieval period, but one of the first references to their use involves the presentation of a silk bookmark to Queen Elizabeth I of England (circa 1584). People use all sorts of different things as bookmarks, everything from old receipts to love letters. Lauren, one of our librarians at the Columbia Public Library, said she attended a conference where four or five librarians admitted to having found bacon in a book! How do you save your place in a book? Let us know in the comments! (And please don’t put bacon in our books.)

I have been using leftover paint chips from a project as bookmarks. This color is “Radiant Orchid.” Currently reading: “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp.

1 Katie

Rob is using his car title at the moment. Currently reading: “The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.” (Editor’s note: This was a patron’s personal book. Using important documents as bookmarks in library books is not a good idea.)

Photo of a book and bookmark

This adorable handmade creature marks Angela’s page. Currently reading: “Every Day” by David Levithan.

Photo of a book and bookmark

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Classics for Everyone: Emily Dickinson

Book cover for Collected Poems of Emily DickinsonIf Emily Dickinson never came out of her room, how does everyone know about her? The answer lies in the 1,775 poems the recluse in white left behind when she died in 1886. Only a few were published during her lifetime. But thanks to the efforts of her sister, Lavinia, the world came to know Emily and her verse posthumously.

From around the age of 30 on, Dickinson limited the physical range of her world to the confines of her Amherst, Massachusetts home and a wardrobe of white dresses. But she kept a connection to society through prolific correspondence with a number of people. Many of her letters included poems; more than 100 went to the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. But editors of the day were not ready for the ways in which her poems broke with convention.

Though she lived a largely intellectual life, her poetry shows richness, depth and a grounding in concrete realities. She wrote of death heralded not with trumpets but the buzzing of a fly. She describes a snake as “the narrow fellow in the grass” and the feeling you get when you see him as “zero at the bone.” Even hope took on a physical manifestation for her: “Hope is the thing with feathers…”
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Exploring the Missouri Immigrant Experience Through Photography and Film

photo of Latino immigrants, from the Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public LibraryMissouri’s history is rich with the contributions of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and elsewhere. Today, as a destination for refugees and new groups of immigrants, Missouri has become home to people from Bosnia, Bhutan, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Mexico and other countries, contributing to and shaping Missouri’s economy, neighborhoods and families.

Explore the Missouri immigrant experience with these programs at the Columbia Public Library.

Faces and Places Photo Exhibit
April 5 – 25
Columbia Public Library

View an exhibit of photos about the Missouri immigrant experience on the first and second floor clay brick walls. The exhibit features historical images from archival collections and a selection of photos by contemporary photographers of immigrant communities in Missouri. The exhibit is sponsored by Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates with support from the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri History Museum, the Missouri Humanities Council, the Puffin Foundation, the State Historical Society, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission and Welcoming Missouri.

The exhibit features contemporary works by:
Juan Montaña
Amela Sinanagic
Oscar Pedroza
Rita Chu
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Autism Is Near You

Autism Awareness Month, graphic by Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office, via Flickr and used under a Creative Commons licenseChances are you know someone with autism.  That’s because it is very prevalent – one in 88 births in the United States with a higher rate for boys (one in 54).  Autism is a developmental disability with a neurological basis and is considered a spectrum disorder, affecting individuals to varying degrees, from mild to severe.  Autism limits a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.  Certain behaviors are characteristic of and define this disorder.

This  heart wrenching article that appeared in the New York Times gives you an inkling of the herculean efforts family members make in order to understand and support their children with autism.

April is National Autism Awareness Month! Considering the relatively great number of individuals and families impacted by this disorder and the fact that lifetime supports are needed to help them, it makes sense to educate the public about issues those with autism face and encourage fundraising to further research on this disability. Increased awareness brings acceptance, which is vital to the integration of the differently-abled into our communities.
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Wild and Woody: Two Incredible Tree Stories for Arbor Day

Book cover for The Wild Trees by Richard PrestonEven with my deep love for all things tall, green and leafy, I won’t generally pull out a book about trees to read for entertainment.  (Give me a good murder mystery for that.) So I’m pleased to report that I have just read two nonfiction books that were thoroughly entertaining, sometimes even hair-raising – and definitely about trees.

In “The Wild Trees” (Richard Preston, 2007), the author takes us deep into the lives and minds of the original redwood canopy researchers – young men (and a few women) who, starting in the early 1990s, were the first to climb into the tops of the largest trees on earth. There they discovered a fairyland of plant and animal species, many previously unknown to science, and galvanized efforts to protect our remaining redwood forests.

This all sounds like good clean science fun, but in fact it requires both Olympic-level agility and astonishing bravery. The early canopy-climbers faced a gruesome death pretty much every day, and shocking close calls abound in this book. Publication of “The Wild Trees rightfully made Steve Sillett, the graduate student (now professor) who is at the center of the story, an international folk hero in the ecological community.
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Reader Review: The Storyteller

Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2013 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share the best of these reviews throughout the year. 

Book cover for The Storyteller by Jodi PicoultI was quite simply blown away by Jodi Picoult’s newest novel, “The Storyteller.” I’ve only read two or three of her books, so I don’t know how this one compares to others, but I was absolutely entranced by this story. It wasn’t instantaneous, but once it grabbed me, I felt as if I was in the world of “The Storyteller.”

As with most Picoult books, if not all, the story is told from a variety of different perspectives. So, a variety of sources tells the main story of Sage and her new 90+ year-old friend, Josef. Sage, with Jewish ancestry, meets Josef in a grief counseling group, and they strike up a friendship. Both seem damaged with pain from their past still affecting them, so they take comfort in one another. During the course of their friendship, Josef does something quite shocking. He informs Sage of his past as a Nazi officer in Auschwitz and then asks her if she will kill him.

What follows is a heartbreaking tale of the Holocaust and its costs to the world at large. A large portion of the novel follows Sage’s grandmother, who lived in Germany and was Jewish during World War II. She tells of her time in Auschwitz and how easily good people turned bad. Sage argues with Josef, herself and her own sense of right and wrong in deciding what she should do.
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