Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shakespeare Saved My Life - Big Library Read

March 17 – 31: Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates

Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer Laura Bates thought she had seen it all. That is, until she decided to teach Shakespeare in a place the bard had never been before — supermax solitary confinement. In this unwelcoming place, surrounded by inmates known as the worst of the worst, is Larry Newton. A convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and a brilliantly agile mind on his shoulders, Larry was trying to break out of prison at the same time Laura was fighting to get her program started behind bars.
Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships, one bonded by Shakespeare and lasting years—a friendship that, in the end, would save more than one life.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hoopla Now Has a New Look. Check It Out!

Now with Hoopla you can experience, explore and enjoy free content from LVCCLD in a new way that is faster, brighter, mobile, easy-to-use and always available. See what’s new:

Take a look at the new home screen where your most recent titles appear.
Borrow, stream or download popular titles 24/7 with fewer touches
Stream or download the latest movies, from your smartphone, tablet, PC or Apple TV
Receive a more tailored experience with content recommendations based on your recent activity
Discover new content and narrow searches by genre with Browse/Search icon
Try the new resume functionality from the home screen, so continuing playback is now one click away.

Remember there are no late fees with hoopla digital. Content is returned automatically at the end of the borrowing period.

Keep these tips in mind when accessing your hoopla account:

  • Patrons you will need to log in using their password (which they may or may not remember). hoopla will be glad to help in response to patron password inquiries.
  • Patrons (iOS users only) with active downloaded content will notice that updating to LightSpeed will delete their previous download (s). These are, however, still accessible, and only need to be re-downloaded – not re-borrowed - to enjoy offline.

New to Hoopla? Get started in seconds by downloading the free hoopla digital mobile app or visiting Hot Topics – Hoopla.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Petting Zoo at the Spring Fling Book Fair Today!

Join the Virtual Library staff today from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Spring Fling Book Fair. Learn about eBooks, eAudio Books, free magazines, music, movies and more! 

Got questions about downloading library resources?  Bring your tablet or mobile device or computer and we will answer your questions.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg's Third Book Club Choice - Gang Leader for a Day

We are now in the third installment in the Mark Zuckerberg list of Zuckerbooks, and the overall theme of getting the world to read books that will open their eyes to new ideas and ways that the world works persists. The book Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh fits into this theme perfectly.

Review by Adam Sockel under Collection Development.

Venkatesh tells his own story as a brand new Sociology grad student at the University of Chicago in the mid to late 1990s. His field is one that requires in-depth studies of human existence, and he chooses to study the African American populations in the housing projects just outside the realm of the university, though they might as well be on a different planet for how similar they are to each other. He begins his study by awkwardly stumbling into the Robert Taylor Homes with an ill-conceived survey for the residents, and is held there by local Black Kings (BKs) gang members as they try to figure out which rival gang he might be from and what his motives are in visiting them (mostly because they cannot conceive that he would be so naïve as to wander into unfamiliar gang territories). It is during this time that he is introduced to JT, the leader of the local branch of the BKs, and the man who would be his guide into how not only how gang members live, but also those in the Robert Taylor Homes whose lives are intertwined with the BKs.

By getting to know the leader of a gang, Venkatesh hopes that he will be able to learn more about the economic structure which gangs use to operate, viewing them as a business model. It is this desire to know the structure and inner workings of the BKs that leads him to eventually be “gang leader” for a day (hence the title), and spend the day with JT and his associates as they go about a normal workday. It is this research that made Venkatesh stand out among his peers, and get him a featured spot in the book Freakonomics later in his career. It is a hidden side of gang life, and fans of shows like The Wire will appreciate the many different layers of the BKs that we are shown.

We are presented a world of drugs, violence, and desperation, as Venkatesh writes that all are “hustlers”, himself included. I appreciated Venkatesh’s battle with himself to remain an impartial observer of their actions. The language is rough and uncensored, and anyone who is sensitive to such things would be advised to avoid reading. Regardless, we are given a glimpse into the end of the Robert Taylor Homes and into the lives of the residents in a way that few have been before, all because Venkatesh won the trust of those around him by genuinely caring about them and being interested in their lives. This is an important, empathetic read for all.