Posted by Trixie on 05.09.13

 
Last Saturday, May the 4th (be with you), was National Star Wars Day. In celebration, the HUB had a program where we learned about basic circuitry and made jawa figurines with light-up eyes. I promised to post instructions for those that weren't able to finish during the allotted time - threading conductive thread into the eye of a needle is difficult! If you didn't attend and want to make your own jawa with light-up eyes, I modified this build to accommodate budget and length of the program. Please feel free to stop by the HUB if you have any questions or need help with your jawa!
 
  1. Using conductive thread, sew the positive wire. Make sure you are sewing the LEDs on the inside of the figurine.  In the diagram below, it's shown as "+" signs. 
  2. Once your wire is below the battery access slit, attach the battery holder by sewing through the copper positive terminal.
  3. Next, sew the short negative wire, shown as "-" signs and highlighted in the diagram. Begin at the copper negative terminal on the battery holder. The end of the wire should be on the front side of the figurine (opposite the battery holder).
  4. Now, sew one part of the metal snap using the conductive thread. This will serve as the switch for the jawa's eyes.
  5. You will now sew the other negative wire, also shown as "-" signs and highlighted. Begin by sewing the other part of the metal snap switch to the flap on the front of the figurine.
  6. Insert the battery into the holder and test the LEDs to make sure that your circuit is complete and not shorting out.
  7. If the eyes light up, sew most of the jawa body closed around the outer edges of the figurine. Leave a small opening so that you can stuff the figurine with polyfill.
  8. Stuff the jawa and sew the small opening closed.
  9. Put the robe on your jawa. Tape the black construction paper around it's body to hold the robe closed and serve as his equipment belt.
 
 
 
DIY




Posted by Trixie on 05.02.13

Every May, music enthusiasts gather in Memphis for the Beale Street Music Festival part of Memphis in May International Festival, a month-long celebration. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the festival. Residents from all 50 states and visitors from abroad travel to the storied city where rock-n-roll and blues began to celebrate music, both local and international, as well BBQed cuisine. The three day festival is held at Tom Lee Park at the end of Beale Street overlooking the Mississippi River. In addition, events are held throughout the city including the World Championship Barbecue Contest.
 
 
The book display in The Hub this month is a play on the annual celebration. Assuming you can't make it to Memphis, check out a book or DVD with a music theme. Selections include some our recommended list and more.




Posted by Trixie on 04.25.13

 
Today is Ella Fitzgerald's 96th birthday! You may have noticed the tribute on today's Google Doodle (pictured above - click on the picture for a look at how the Doodle was created). For those that don't know, Ella Fitzgerald was an American jazz vocalist. She sold over 40 million albums and won 13 Grammy awards during her lifetime (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996).  Also known as "The First Lady of Song", she's an iconic singer known for her flexible, wide-ranging voice. She sang duets with jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra to name a few. The year 1934 marked Ella's first on-stage performance at the Apollo's Amateur Night. Over 50 years later, she performed for the last time at Carnegie Hall, her 26th time performing there. If you'd like to learn more about Ella, check out her website. You can also borrow a book, CD, or DVD from our collection
 
Here's one of my favorites performed by Ella.
 
 




Posted by Trixie on 04.20.13

Design: Jessica Helfand
 
April is National Poetry Month! Since 1996, schools, libraries, booksellers, publishers, and individuals have united to bring attention to the art of poetry during this national celebration. This initiative was started and is led by by the Academy of American Poets. The main goal of National Poetry Month is to increase awareness and availability of verse in mainstream culture. Learn more at poets.org. Wondering how you can celebrate? Here's a list of resources to help you get started!
 




Posted by Trixie on 04.10.13

Permanent Record (2013) by Leslie Stella
“I get this feeling that something bad is happening, like I’m going to come home and find our building burned to the ground or white supremacists chasing my family around with baseball bats, or that this bus is going to crash into the bodega on Clark Street. My head won’t stop with this shit. I know it’s all anxiety. It pummels my brain with thoughts and images of horrible things going down. What is the matter with me? I’m sick of talking about myself. I’m sick of thinking about myself. I’m sick of myself.”
 
 
 
Leslie Stella’s Permanent Record tells the story of Badi Hessamizadeh, an Iranian-American teenager exploring his identity and trying to fit in. The story begins with Badi finding out that he will be transferring to Magnificat Academy from Leighton a Chicago public school due to some destructive behavior, a response to constant, post-9/11 bullying he experiences. To make matters worse, his father also legally changes his name to Bud, something “more American,” hoping that this will help him fit in with his new classmates. Bud struggles with being a normal teenager; he feels like an outcast and at times like he is invisible, a nobody. Unable to assimilate and overlook injustices like the archery club being disbanded to make more room for the football team, he takes a stand and openly expresses his opinion. For that, he is plagued with beatings and bullying. He also becomes the prime suspect for mysterious occurrences that begin happening at the school. It is up to him and his new outcast friends to clear his name and get to the bottom of the mystery.
 

Filled with dark and sardonic humor, Permanent Record will have you laughing out loud. Badi/Bud’s first person narration clearly depicts the depression and anxiety experienced by teens trying to find their place in the world. His keen and witty observations of other characters and situations provide a realistic backdrop for the story and mystery that unfolds. For those that loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this is a great read for you. You’ll love outcast Badi/Bud and his determination to battling injustice.

 




Posted by Trixie on 04.04.13

Today, at the age of 70, Roger Ebert passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ebert reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years. Not only revered and respected in his hometown of Chicago, he was the first critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He even received a special achievement "Person of the Year" Webby Award in 2010 . Many know him from his and Gene Siskel's show At the Movies. Ebert wrote 17 books in total - not just collections of reviews, but also, a novel and a cookbook! He even wrote a few screenplays.
 
His keen eye, knowledge and wit will certainly be missed by moviegoers. Honor this Illinois native, influential film critic by checking out one of the books he wrote.
 
 
 
Ebert reflects on his life and career in this memoir.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A collection of Ebert's reviews originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times for the past 30 months.
 
 
 
 
 
 
A chronicle of Scorsese's feature films, this book collects eleven interviews of an acclaimed director by a prominent film critic.
 
 
 
 
For more information about Roger Ebert, check out his website.
 




Posted by Trixie on 03.28.13

 
If you're anything like me, you can't get enough of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. Instead of dyeing hard boiled eggs for Easter, try making this easy recipe (via chicagoist) for yummy, homemade peanut butter eggs. Everyone will love a delectable, handmade treat in their Easter basket!
 
Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbs 2% milk
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
 
Directions:
First, combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter using an electric mixer. Next, slowly add the milk until it becomes a formable dough. Now, you're ready to form the eggs (or any shape - consider using cookie cutters if you want different shapes).
 
Place the formed dough on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer to harden for about a half hour.
 
Once you are ready to dip your dough in chocolate, melt the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave, warming and stirring in 30 second increments. 
 
Next, coat each egg with chocolate and place back on the wax lined-baking sheet. Let the eggs set in the freezer or fridge and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.
 
Finally, enjoy the fruits of your labor! 
 
DIY




Posted by Trixie on 03.21.13

In the late 70s, NASA launched two Voyager probes to explore the outer planets in our solar system.  The spacecraft have been traveling on different paths and at different speeds for over 35 years. The Voyagers have explored the outer giant planets in our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They have also examined 49 moons, and the systems of rings and magnetic fields the aforementioned planets possess. Both spacecraft continue to send information relating to their surroundings through NASA's Deep Space Network. They both also contain recorded messages on a gold phonographic record that contain images and sounds of Earth - complete with a diagram to show aliens how to play the record. Nearly 11 billion miles away from the sun, Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made thing from Earth. Scientists are speculating that Voyager 1 left our solar system yesterday. The probes will continue exploring interstellar space carrying our message to any extraterrestrials that might cross their paths!
 
Here's a NASA infographic that provides a timeline and describes how the Voyagers work. Want to learn more about the Voyager probes? Check out the NASA website or this article.
 




Posted by Trixie on 03.15.13

In 1987, the month of March was officially designated Women's History Month by Congress. This provides a nation-wide opportunity for us to reflect and celebrate women's contributions. Not that we shouldn't reflect and celebrate the important women in our lives outside of the month of March! Here are a few resources that highlight contributions to society made by women.
 
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favorite authors. She is known mostly for her novels, but she has also made contributions as a poet, literary critic, essayist, environmental activist, and feminist. I'm a big fan of most of her novels, but The Year of the Flood is one of my favorites.
 
 
 
As a teen, I remember reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I loved her use of flashbacks in the narrative and related to Esther's struggles. This book led me to Plath's poetry and other work. This biography in verse tells the story of poet Sylvia Plath from the perspective of others.
 
 
This film tells the story of Temple Grandin, an amazing woman that has made an impact in the areas of animal welfare and autism advocacy. She overcame autism to become a bestselling author and scholar.
 
 
 
 
Karen O is the frontwoman for the New York rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I love her vocal stylings as well as her interesting fashion choices. I can't get enough of this soundtrack! Karen O composed nearly all of the songs.
 
Want to learn more about Women's History Month? The Library of Congress in collaboration with National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has created a great website that includes images of relevant exhibits and collections as well as audio and video clips.




Posted by Trixie on 03.07.13

I love a great story. I'm usually drawn to fiction titles - for me, the more fantastical, the better. I rarely read nonfiction other than when I'm trying to learn how to do something: knit, sew, solder, develop and design webpages. That's not to say there aren't great stories in nonfiction books. There's something special about someone telling their own story. The impact of a personal experience can be more convincing than a list of facts; the trials and tribulations of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself portray the evils of slavery more effectively than an encyclopedia article. In fact, if you haven't read this memoir, I strongly suggest you check it out. Here are a handful of other great nonfiction reads that I recommend.
 
 
 
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
This book tells the story of an aspiring author confronting the struggles of growing up. The narrative follows Gantos through his final year of high school, his creative plan to get money for college, and the adventures that followed.
 
 
 
 
 
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer tells the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, a 22-year-old adventure seeker looking to change his life. McCandless' decomposed body was found in the Alaskan wilderness by a moose hunter.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
In black & white illustration, Satrapi recounts her experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The memoir juxtaposes Satrapi's unique home life with the trials of public life during a time of war.
 
 
 
 
 
Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
A coming-of-age story, Small tells his story of a fourteen-year-old boy that wakes from a supposedly minor surgery to find himself a virtual mute. Small graphically depicts the struggles of himself and his parents as well as his ability to overcome.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Singer-songwriter Smith shares the adventures experienced in New York city during the late sixties and seventies. It follows her and Robert Mapplethorpe's journey to fame as artists.