Library Branch Closures

As a result of the revenue shortfall, several of our branches will be closing.  The list of anticipated closures is below.  As of today’s date (11/21/08), the Heber branch is open pending further notification sometime in January.

Seeley:  Branch will close to the public on 12/10/08.

Westmorland:  Branch will close to the public on 12/11/08.

Niland:  Branch will close to the public on 3/31/2009.

For further information or comment, call the Imperial County Free Library headquarters at 339-6460 or e-mail imperialcountylibrary@co.imperial.ca.us.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review: Burn Out

Title: Burn Out

Author: Marcia Muller

Reviewer: Connie Barrington

If you are at all into Sue Grafton or other authors with female detectives, you may have come across Marcia Muller.   Muller is often called the “mother” of the female detective story, as we now know it, because her character, Sharon McCone, was one of the earliest (1977) in the genre.   Muller herself is one of the three authors featured in the original “Women of Mystery”, a program about women in mystery novels put together by the California Center for the Book and available on a video from this library.

Burn Out is the newest McCone story.   Sharon’s traveled a distance from her early days as a private investigator (in Edwin of the Iron Shoes), but Muller keeps a great surrounding cast of ongoing characters throughout her evolution.  This book finds Sharon at a turning point, burned out, feeling like she has lost her enjoyment of her work as a result of her recent cases (The Ever-Running Man, 2007).   She has retreated to her country sanctuary, where she is wallowing in doing nothing much.

Fate does not leave her alone, however, as her friend and ranch manager asks her help and she is pulled into a case involving two states and a years’ old rape cover-up.   Without meaning to McCone is pulled into investigating and manages to unravel the case with some assistance from her Native American pipeline.   Fans of the series will want to see where Sharon is headed and folks who enjoy a mystery can just pick it up and follow along.

Check out the other titles by Marcia Muller in the catalog.  They include most of the Sharon McCone titles, another series involving art and ones with a policewoman set in northern California.

If you like female private eyes, and have not sampled Sara Paretsky, you might also enjoy her work with V.I. (Vic) Warshawski.   Together with Grafton and Muller, Paretsky is one of the “Women of Mystery” who helped reshape the mystery novel.

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dates Closed In November

All branches will be closed the following days in November:
Tuesday, November 11th – Veteran’s Day
Thursday, November 27th – Thanksgiving
Friday, November 28th – Day after Thanksgiving

Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fun with Google Maps

You can do lots of nifty things with Google.  One of those things is the ability to create your own Google Maps.  And yes, you do need to have a Google Account to do this.  Having just recently discovered this ability, I had to try it it out.  So, I present to you our new map showing all of the local libraries.  If I’m missing any, let me know so I can add them.  Besides here, you can find the link on our homepage and under local libraries in the resources section.

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Database

We now have access to Salem Health, the online database that goes with Magill’s Health Guide.  You will need your library card number to login.

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Teen Read Week Book Reviews – Books with “Bite”

Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber.  Young fans do not have to miss out on the vampire craze.  Schreiber writes a clean, junior-high acceptable, series with a Goth heroine who falls for the new guy at school, only to learn he lives a creepy mansion.

A high school boy is at the center of a demon’s attempt to take a vacation from Hell in Repossessed.  Award-winning young adult author A.M. Jenkins takes a thoughtful look at what it means to be human and shows there is hope for us all in this humorous take on the subject.

For the older high school student Vampire Diaries by L.A. Banks has become a classic.  The two-volume, four book set, deals with high school-age twins getting caught up in something they do not fully comprehend.    A.M. Jenkins provides a sensual ghost story, Beating Heart, in a format that combines narrative and poetry.  It is a truly haunting story.

Reviewed by: Connie Barrington

Published in: on October 20, 2008 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Escape Pod, Pseudopod & PodCastle

Titles: Escape Pod, Pseudopod & PodCastle

Reviewer: Sheryl Anderson

First, some general notes.  These are podcast magazines.  They are professional magazines who just happen to be online, in audio, and free.  They depend on donations to pay the authors and run the site.  In practice, for you, this means that a new story is released every week as an .mp3 file.  You can download them from the website yourself or if you have a podcatcher program, like iTunes, you can set it to download the file automatically.   The audio quality has always been good on all three magazines.  I’ve never noticed a problem with it.  The stories are often read by the editors or by other members of the podcast community.

Most of the stories tend to be around half an hour or a bit more.  They also occasionally release flash fiction, which is really short fiction, and reviews.  All of their work is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  This means you can download it for free, give it to anybody you want, burn it to CD, etc. as long as you attribute the work to the author, don’t change the file, or try make money off it.

Escape Pod is the original magazine; it began in May 2005.  Originally it ran mainly science fiction, but did run some fantasy and horror.  These days, except for an occasional story, it’s all science fiction.  They feature a mix of new and established authors.  Some of those established authors include Isaac Asimov, (Nightfall, ep.100,) Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick, David Brin, and Elizabeth Bear.  They also run the Hugo nominees every year, or as many of them as they can get.  The stories are generally good. There have been a few I haven’t cared for, but it’s been because I didn’t care for the story itself, the writing and production were fine.  The stories are rated, G through X, and there is a secondary feed that only runs the G through PG13 stories.  If you like science fiction and listening to stories, I highly recommend Escape Pod.   It’s my favorite of the three.

Pseudopod was the first sister podcast.  It began in August 2006.  It’s a horror magazine.  It too has both new and established authors.  Unlike Escape Pod, which has stories suitable for children, Pseudopod doesn’t, nor would I recommend it for the easily disturbed or offended.  If you like horror though, it’s a good magazine and worth checking out.

PodCastle is the newest magazine of the three, and it’s a fantasy magazine.  It only started publishing in April of this year.  Again, it has both new and established authors.  There have been a lot of stories by Peter S. Beagle for instance.  So far, it’s publishing its regular stories, flash fiction, and they just started PodCastle giants, which will be longer stories.  They’ve only published one so far, and it was around an hour and a half long.  PodCastle also rates their stories, but I haven’t noticed a secondary feed like Escape Pod has.  It’s also worth checking out.

I must admit to not having listened to any of the recent episodes on Escape Pod and Pseudopod.  When I discovered them I started all the way back at episode 1 and I have not caught up yet.  There’s only so much listening you can do in a day.  I’m up to about episode 130 on Escape Pod and episode 60 on Pseudopod, so I’m currently about a year behind.  PodCastle only began this year, so I’m only a couple episodes behind at the moment.

To sum it all up, if you like science fiction, fantasy or horror, and you like listening to stories, you should give them a try.

And if you are new to podcasting, you might want to check out Escape Pod’s explanation of it.

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mini Reviews

The ICFL offers some pleasant listening….

Playing for Pizza is a catchy title, especially with someone like me, a pizzaholic.  I just finished listening to John Grisham’s book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  For anyone who wants a pleasant story, combined with loving descriptions of Italian food and various fabulous locales, this is it.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for my waistline) there were no pizza recipes, but check out this story of a down on his luck former NFL player and the Italian team he quarterbacks.

And some food for thought, such as John Zogby’s The Way We’ll Be. From his introduction of “the first globals” tag for our eighteen to twenty-nine year olds, Zogby is looking at nothing less than what he calls a “transformation” of the American Dream. He discusses the four “meta-movements” that he sees in his polling; from recognizing limits and being inner directed to demanding authenticity and being open to diversity, things are changing.

Reviewed by: Connie Barrington

Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Temporary Library Closure for Inventory from August 1st – 15th

The Imperial County Free Library system will be temporarily closing its branches from August 1st through August 15th.  This affects all branches: Calipatria, Heber, Holtville, Niland, Salton City, Seeley and Westmorland.  Regular hours will resume the week of August 18th.

The library staff will be conducting inventory, performing cleaning and maintenance tasks and participating in training during this time.  No fines will be levied during this period and all of the system’s book returns will be emptied periodically.

For further information, contact the Imperial County Free Library headquarters at 339-6460.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review: Artemis Fowl

Title: Artemis Fowl

Author: Eoin Colfer

Reviewed by: Sheryl Anderson

Although aimed at children, the Artemis Fowl series is entertaining for adults as well.  These are action-adventure stories with elves, dwarves, trolls, centaurs and other fairy creatures, lots of high tech gadgets, some humor and some magic.  They follow the escapades of Artemis Fowl, a young genius and criminal mastermind, his bodyguard Butler, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon and assorted other fairy characters.

In the first book, Artemis has discovered the existence of fairies and sets up a trap to catch one.  Artemis is not a very nice person in the beginning.  The fairy he manages to kidnap is Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon.  LEPrecon is short for Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance, an elite group of the LEP.  All of the fairies moved underground ages ago to escape humanity, which is where Lower Elements comes from.  We are introduced to many reoccurring characters in this book as they try to rescue Holly.  There’s Foley, a centaur and technological genus, Commander Julius Root, Holly’s boss, and Mulch Diggums, a tunnel dwarf and convict.

Book two reunites Artemis and Holly in the search and rescue attempt of Artemis’s father and the squashing of a goblin rebellion.  Book three involves stolen fairy technology and lots of high tech stuff.  In book four, Opal Koboi, the villain from book two, returns and plans to expose the fairy world.  Book five is about the lost colony of demons and the unraveling of the time spell that keeps them hidden.  There is a sixth book due to come out any day now, if it hasn’t already.

The books so far:
Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm  Comments (1)  
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