FDL Reads: Empty Hands

Cover image for Empty Hands, a MemoirEmpty Hands: One Woman’s Journey to Save Children Orphaned by AIDS in South Africa by Sister Abegail Ntleko

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Specialist

Genre: Autobiography

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Empty Hands tells the story of Sister Abegail Ntleko, a nurse and health activist who was born into an impoverished family during the time of apartheid in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The second youngest of 13 children, Abegail’s mother died when she was about 3 ½. The remaining children were then split up, and soon, at a very young age, Abe found herself the sole caretaker of herself and her father, cooking, washing, tending to animals and crops. Abe has an intense desire to help people, and she wants to become a nurse, but her traditionally minded father does not believe in education for women. Finally entering first grade at age 14 when her father relented on Abe’s education, she went on to graduate from nursing school, adopting the first of her dozens of children while still studying nursing. Sister Abe brought together many people and resources to provide rural health care services. When the AIDS crisis hit, Sister Abe was in the thick of it, advocating for better training and education about the disease and offering care and comfort to the sick and survivors by providing or finding “psychological, medical, and legal assistance.” Sister Abegail received the Unsung Heroes of Compassion award from the Dalai Lama in 2009.

My Review: This is a powerful story, told in Sister Abe’s own matter-of-fact language. Despite innumerable obstacles, Abe worked tirelessly to help others throughout her long career, even through heartbreaking times when her own children died of AIDS. Early on in the retelling of her life story, Abegail introduces us to the concept of ubuntu, the “Zulu understanding that you are a person because of other people, and it is the reason for your helping others and others helping you. . . . a natural sense that we are all in this together, a sense of belonging to a community, that by doing for others, you help yourself.” This understanding seems to be Sister Abe’s foundation for the remarkable work that she did. What an exceptional woman!

Three Words That Describe This Book: inspiring, uplifting, humbling

Give This a Try if You Like…  real life heroes.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

#FDL Get Caught Reading in May

“Get Caught Reading” is a nationwide campaign to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read.  May is the official  “Get Caught Reading” month, though the campaign lasts all year.  Many celebrities have participated including Alicia Keys, Drew Carey, Rosie O’Donnell, and many more.

This week several members of the library staff volunteered to promote reading by agreeing to have their pictures taken with favorite books.  Contrary to what many may think, librarians or library staff do not read books all day at work.  Rather, our main focus is connecting our patrons to books they will enjoy as well as information.  We love to talk about books and give recommendations. Just ask! We would be happy to help you find your next great read.

Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist, couldn’t decide on just one book.  She recommends…

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley: “I like this book because it’s a fun supernatural thriller with the best female friendship ever – Myfanwy and Shante forever!”

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: “I like this book because McGuire looks at fantasy book heroes in a whole new way and asks what happens after they’re done saving the world.”

 

Joscelyn Lockwood, Youth Services Assistant, recommends The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.

“The Stinky Cheese Man was my first exposure to fractured fairy tales. It’s a great book that can get laughs from both children and adults alike. Even at 29, I love reading this to the kids in my family.”

 

Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant, recommends The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy and Serenity by Carol Deppe.

“Show your garden some love and peace this year. Zen veggies are happy veggies!”

 

 

Sarah Baker, Circulation Assistant, recommends Maskerde by Terry Pratchett.

“This is one of my favorite Discworld books by Sir Terry Pratchett.  A twisting plot, lots of laughs, and theatre references galore. The Witches’ stories also seem to have the best real life advice and knowledge of human nature. ”

 

 

 

 

Post by Susie Rivera

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

#FDL: 5 Questions

Welcome to #FDL’s feature column, Five Questions, where we ask library staff and other East Peoria residents roughly the same five questions. For our next Five Questions column, we’re interviewing Susie Rivera, one of FDL’s reference specialists.

1. Who are you?

I’m Susie Rivera and I’m a reference specialist here at FDL. I like reading and movies. I also enjoy gardening but not so much right now because I’m 7 months pregnant.

2. What is your favorite part of working at FDL?

I like helping people find the things they want or need.  When they’re grateful it makes me feel good.

3. What are you reading/watching/listening to right now?

I’m listening to/reading the audio book of Landline by Rainbow Rowell for the Out of the Box Book Club. I’m reading both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin – the chapters in chronological order as opposed to what order they were published. I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale and The Last Kingdom Season 2. I’m behind on watching Into The Badlands and Girls.

4. If you didn’t already have your dream job, what would you be doing?

Well, that’s a hard question because I really love my job at FDL.  But, if I could just bake pies all day and not have a café or a restaurant – just make food and give it to people- that would be fun.

5. How does your cat feel about the baby that’s on the way?

He thinks all of the baby toys are his.

Interviewed by Carey Gibbons

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

#FDL: Notable New Nonfiction

These nonfiction titles are heating up the bestseller lists  this month.  Click on each cover to view them in our catalog.   If  an item is unavailable, you can place a hold using your Fondulac District Library card number and PIN (password).  Call us at 309-699-3917 if you don’t know your PIN.

Title: The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior

Author: Robert O’Neill

In his memoir, Robert O’Neill chronicles his life growing up in Butte, Montana and his growing desire to become a part of the military’s most elite special forces team.  O’Neill became a SEAL and was involved in many operations, including the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. This operation was later dramatized in the film, Captain Phillips. After many deployments in the Middle East, O’Neill’s career peaked when he fired the deadly shots that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Author: David Grann 

By the 1920s, many members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma had become rich after oil had been discovered in their sacred lands.  Then, several Osage began to die suddenly and of questionable circumstances. After more than twenty deaths, the newly formed FBI took notice and began to investigate the murders.  What was eventually uncovered led to the discovery of one of the most shocking and grisly conspiracies in our history.

Title: The Black Hand

Author: Stephan Talty

Talty’s new book recounts the beginning of the mafia in the U.S.  1903 brings us to a time in New York City’s history when crime peaked.  Important political figures were threatened, bombs were set off, and innocents were murdered.  Joseph Petrosino, a brilliant detective, was assigned to find the perpetrators who left the symbol of a black hand at each scene.  A movie adaptation of this book is currently in pre-production with Leonardo DiCaprio as Patrosino.

Title: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Most notable for being the host of Nova ScienceNow,  Neil deGrasse Tyson brings us a book that tackles big topics in a way that anyone could understand.  He touches on our place in the universe, the nature of space and time, as well as the search for life beyond Earth.   A Kirkus review praised the book stating that it is “masterly….A sublime introduction to some of the most exciting ideas in astrophysics that will leave readers wanting more.”

Post by Susie Rivera, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

#FDL: 5 Fictional Weird Libraries

5 Fictional Weird Libraries

Libraries are great. I love them. But some libraries are bizarre and operate a little differently than your friendly neighborhood public library. In this installment of #FDL, I’m going to take a look at some of the fictional, weird, and maybe creepy libraries I’ve come across in reading, listening, and viewing (in no particular order).

  1. The Night Vale Public LibraryThe NVPL is a terrifying place full of malevolent, hooded, eyeless librarians who might eat you, but will definitely cut off your hands for not returning books on time. But you really shouldn’t let this discourage you from visiting the library. They have a great biography section comprising 33 copies of Helen Hunt’s biography. They also run an amazing educational program for illiterate spiders. And their summer reading program for teens and tweens is the most competitive in the area, boasting its first survivor – intrepid teen, Tamika Flynn. She managed to complete her sticker chart *and* kill one of the librarians.
  2. Dunsmouth High School Library. Harrison Harrison travels with his mother to Dunsmouth so she can do some marine biology science. But he still has to go to school and Dunsmouth High School is weird. The library within the high school is also weird. No one ever goes in there and none of the students are really even sure where it is. But Harrison finds it and the librarian inside. Prof. Freitag is constantly looking for something in the library but doesn’t know what or where that thing is. He also doesn’t ever touch anything… weird.
  3. The Library at Mount Char. Well, this library isn’t really open to the public. It serves as the home and school of 13 child apprentices, each tasked with learning a certain aspect of the world, including all of its secrets. Father runs the library and raises and teaches the children. But one day, Father disappears, and it’s up to the now grown children to figure out who will take his place.
  4. The Palace. The Palace of the High Ones has a kind of library, unlike anything on the World of Two Moons. The Palace is home to the Scroll of Colors, a visual account of all that has been, all that is, and all that will be. It forever changes, based on the actions of elves, humans, and well – anything. While it is impossible to know the entirety of the Scroll due to its vastness and ever changing information, it’s been a useful tool for the elves in understanding themselves and their purpose in the universe.
  5. RuPaul’s Drag Race. This library isn’t fictional, but it can be weird. In the grand tradition of Paris is Burning, the library is open! This is a library where you go to read, and get read. To filth. Reading at this library takes a wicked wit and a thick skin. Reading is what? Fundamental!

Post by Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

FDL’s Newspaper Subscriptions

Due to low patron usage of the Bloomington Pantagraph newspaper, Fondulac District Library has discontinued its subscription. The library seeks to make efficient use of its funds and has chosen to expand national news coverage by adding the Wall Street Journal to its newspaper collection. Patrons are invited to enjoy this and other newspapers that the library has to offer. A full list is available here.

Fine Arts at Fondulac District Library

Fine Arts at FDL expands the library’s mission by stimulating imagination and fostering lifelong learning, and gives local artists the opportunity to present new work in a public setting.

  • The library has display areas for both hanging and three-dimensional pieces of art.
  • All display areas are within the library and are publicly viewable during regular library hours.
  • The library encourages all artists in East Peoria and surrounding communities to submit an application for consideration.
  • Applications are welcome anytime and are reviewed on a rolling basis. To be considered, please review the information and policy and complete the online application available here.

FDL Reads: Universal Harvester

Cover image for Universal harvesterUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Weird Fiction, Horror

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: It’s the late 90s and Jeremy is working at a small video renal store in a small town in rural Iowa. Day to day life isn’t all that exciting until people start complaining that there’s something wrong with the video tapes they’re checking out. Jeremy decides to see for himself and finds parts of other videos spliced into the movies on the tapes. Weird videos. Creepy videos. His boss, Sarah Jane, gets involved. She starts coming to work less and less and doesn’t want to talk about the weird tapes. Jeremy doesn’t really want to either, but when one of the regular customers insists that someone nearby might be getting hurt, he takes reluctant action. And then things start to get weird.

My Review: I had to sit with this book for a while and think about it before writing a review. I had read it back in February. I originally thought of this book as horror. The first half of it literally made my skin prickle because it was so creepy. The book as a whole is creepy for sure, but without giving anything away, the story changes partway through into something that isn’t quite horror but also isn’t conducive to the warm fuzzies either. This book has elements of horror but it’s not a gore fest or supernatural in any way. It’s more of a meditation on loss and how loss shapes our lives. It’s about how some people go about their day to day lives dealing with loss and how others… don’t.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Creepy, isolating, sad

Give This a Try if You Like…  The Ring (movie), cults, music by The Mountain Goats

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

#FDL DIY Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is sneaking up around the corner and many are scrambling to find perfect gifts.  Why not do a DIY Mother’s Day? There are many creative crafts that you can make in no time for a special mother who will appreciate the personal touch.

Fondulac District Library has quite an extensive craft book collection that would inspire even those who are apprehensive when they hear the word “craft.”  We not only have craft books for kids down in our Youth Services Department, we also have them in our nonfiction section upstairs.  You will find most of the craft books in the 745.5-746.7 section.  Topics such as budget crafting, nature crafts, paper crafts, and many others are included in this collection.  Don’t hesitate to ask a staff member to point you in the right direction or locate a particular book. We would be happy to assist.

The internet also has a treasure trove of craft ideas you can use.  Pinterest is a favorite of mine when it comes to finding inspiring projects.  Many crafts or DIY projects on Pinterest link to personal blogs that have been created by regular folks who just want to share their ideas with others.  Stop by the library to use one of our computers.  We have them available to children as well as adults. You don’t even need a library card to use one.  Just type in your initials, agree to our internet policy, and you’re good to go.

If you are interested in learning how to craft in the future, the library does offer programs to the public such as cross stitch, knitting, mixed media, and seasonal crafts.  Check our online calendar here for upcoming programs and wish a special mother in your life a happy Mother’s Day.

Post by Susie Rivera, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

#FDL: It’s Finals Time!

Final exams are not funny, Jordan.

It’s finals time! Yay!

For a lot of folks, mid-May means the end of another school year or semester. Some people are flustered and nervous – taking exams and writing papers is stressful and final projects can make or break a grade. Other people are feeling relieved and carefree – they’re done! No more school! Either way, FDL can help you out. Here are five ways the library has your back during this potentially high pressure time.

  1. Study rooms. Is your house or apartment too noisy? Is Netflix calling to you? FDL has two study rooms for patron use that fit 4-6 people comfortably. You can use them on your own or in a small group. The rooms aren’t soundproof, but they do provide a quiet space for studying that is relatively distraction free. Just give the library a call to see if one is available. Folks can use them for two hour time blocks and request a third hour if no one else is waiting for the room.
  2. Study Night for teens. Twice a year, FDL hosts a lock-in program for students in 9th through 12th grade where students can use the entire library for a few hours to study for midterms or final exams. The library buys a bunch of snacks and staff are on hand for assistance (as well as we can give it) over the course of the evening. Students are welcome to study alone or in groups and the evening is generally productive and even fun.
  3. Online and paper reference materials. FDL is full of books and also has access to a ton of online reference and research material. If you’re working on a term paper and are stuck for information, not only does the library have that missing information but we have knowledgeable librarians who can help you look for it. Not only is our Google-fu strong, but we have access to different search services that you might not be aware of.
  4. Coffee. Okay, we don’t claim to be Starbucks or anything, but when 8pm rolls around and you have one more page left on this paper that has taken forever to write, and you just don’t feel like you have it in you to finish – we can help. Head on down to the circulation desk and buy a Keurig coffee cup for $1. We’ll even give you a Styrofoam cup with a lid. Drink that coffee down and get to work! You can do this!
  5. Entertainment. If you’re one of those people who has turned everything in early and with confidence, we have you covered too. We have paper books, audio books, e-books, DVDs (movies and television shows), and CDs. We have board games, puzzles, and video games. We have a ton of awesome programming lined up this summer and library staff to help you access all of it. Some of us might also be finished with school for the summer and need things to do – come talk to us!

Post by Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

imagine, inform, inspire