Staff Picks: Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Reviewed by Alejandria G.

At six feet tall and 180 pounds, Marcus isn’t exactly the smallest 8th grader at Montgomery Middle School. But looks can be deceiving and he isn’t quite the tough bully many seem to think he is. When the real school bully calls Marcus’s younger brother a nasty word, Marcus fights back and faces suspension.

Marcus’s mom decides this suspension is the perfect time to hit the ‘reset’ button for their little family. She takes Marcus and his younger brother Charlie to the island of Puerto Rico, to reconnect as a family and meet relatives they never knew they had. But Marcus has a secret mission as they adventure across the island: to find his father, who moved back to Puerto Rico and walked out of their lives ten years ago.

Pablo Cartaya’s newest chapter book for kids is a touching look at the power of family. Fans of his book The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora will surely be pleased with this realistic fiction story.

Zines? In My Library?

Zines and flowers outside of the library. The title of the images says "zines"

This year the Library launched a circulating collection of zines, the seeds of which were donated to the Library through the generosity of Boxcar Books. This collection continues to grow through purchases and donations and is now comprised of almost 400 titles.

A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation, self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images that often give voice to small, local, underrepresented, or marginalized communities. Zines are created and reproduced on a small scale, including everything from comics and DIY self-help guides to personal stories, nonfiction, and more.

Zines house a long history, from their origins in 1930s sci-fi culture, through the punk culture of the 70s and a resurgence in the 90s under riot grrrl, to today, where there are more voices and more ideas published than ever before.

One of the types of zines you can find numerous examples of in the Library’s collection is the perzine, a zine that usually contains the author's personal reflections and opinions on anything they want to write about. Perzines take on many different forms, from writing to collage to comics and more. Here are some perzines in the Library's collection.

Tributaries. V. 4 : an intro to arthritis in youth.

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One of the most powerful things that zines can do is give an intimate perspective on aspects of  another’s life. In Tributaries v. 4 JC tells her experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a illness she has had for most or all of her life. One of the complications she had was that doctors were unable to provide her with a diagnoses for more than five years after her symptoms started. Reading about her experience and how it affected her gave an important perspective on RA and its challenges.

Thirty Days In Brooklyn

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Detailing the first thirty days of Fiona Avocado’s life at the Koz collective in NYC, this diary comic takes us along the contours of NYC life, from seeing amazing art not found anywhere else in the world, to disillusionment with spaces not being what imagined and everything being altogether too expensive, to eventually moving on when you realize it’s not the right place for you. Avocado really invites you into her head, and you feel really drawn into the comic artist’s headspace. I felt calmer after reading this.

Milkyboots v. 14

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A comic and perzine mix, this zine follows Virginia as she deals with a breakup, hangs with friends, and ultimately learns to heal. Showcasing beautiful illustrations of her friends and idols, as well as photographs and life tales, this zine is quick picker-upper for anyone feeling low.

*Fun Fact: While many zines have multiple volumes (this edition of Milkyboots is volume 14), unlike books or graphic novels, because zines are shorter and more generally personable, you can read many zines out of order and still get a full story!

Haunted Ground

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A perzine about some spooky occurrences in an apartment bathroom, as well as a ghost tale from growing up. If you are in the mood to feel creepy about living alone or living in a new place...this is definitely the zine to read!

Avocado Spaceship: Explorations of the Interior

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A zine with a non-fluid narrative (you can turn to any page at any time!) with text juxtaposed with photographs. Largely poems or comments on personal experiences, this zine is witty and thought-provoking.

Sing Along Forever: A Love Letter To The Bouncing Souls

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You know the feeling sometimes when a band really, really gets at the heart of what you’re feeling and thinking and it's like they're screaming your thoughts back to you but saying it better than you ever could? For Liz Baillie that band was the Bouncing Souls, and this is her love letter to them, chronicling her failed attempts to see the band, what they meant to her growing up, and culminating in getting to meet them at Warped Tour in 2008.


The Library’s zine collection covers a wide and diverse range of voices and topics from cooking and crafts, to psychology and politics. You can find it in The Commons on the second floor of the Main Library. Interested in having your zine added to the collection? Submit a copy for consideration at any information desk or email Annise Blanchard at ablancha [at] monroe.lib.in.us

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Updated Library Catalog

New Catalog

The Library catalog will have an updated look and new features beginning May 19. Some of the new functionality you can look forward to follows.

Responsive Design

The Library catalog will responsively adjust for desktop computer screens, tablets, and phones by resizing and reordering the display according to your screen size, enhancing the user experience. This means that you will be able to read and navigate the site with minimum resizing and scrolling. Previously, patrons were directed to either a full-site catalog or a mobile catalog depending on their device.

One-Click Hold Requests

When logged into your account, you will be able to place hold requests with one click. When available, the "One-Click Request" button will appear on the search result and full title display pages for single titles (underneath the “Place Hold” button—which will still be available should you want to select an alternate location).

Bulk Hold Requests from Title Lists

When logged in to your account, you'll be able to select multiple titles from your working or saved title lists and place hold requests on some or all the selected titles at once. Additionally, you'll be able to sort your lists by date added, author, title, or publication date.

Related Words in Search Results

"Related words" include words formed from stemming and synonyms. Stemming will include regular plurals and verb endings (i.e. dog/dogs), but not irregular forms (i.e. mouse/mice or run/ran). Synonyms will include common nicknames, proper name variations, and spelling variations. The “Related Words” link will appear only if additional records are found when the stemming and synonyms rules are applied. Clicking the link will retrieve additional records.

Similar Titles

A “Similar Titles Available Now” link will appear under titles when there are no items currently available (e.g., all items are checked out) but similar titles are found. When clicking the link, a carousel of book covers will display a maximum of 50 similar titles that are currently available.

Goodreads Ratings

Goodreads ratings will now be much more accessible, appearing under the cover image on both search the result and full display pages (as well as in their current location). 

Staff Picks: The Adventurers Guild by Zack Logan Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Reviewed by Ginny H.
 
Best friends, Brock and Zed are anxious for their Guildculling Day, the day their futures are determined by what guild chooses them to train and work for the rest of their lives. They decide they'll be happy as long as it isn't the Adventurer's Guild, the guild tasked with venturing outside of the city walls to defend against the dangerous monsters outside. When the Adventurer's Guild unexpectedly steals the two friends for their guild, everything in Brock and Zed's world changes.

I loved this book! It'd be great for fans of Harry Potter with its mix of humor, adventure, mystery and friends who fight and stand up for what's good.

Staff Picks: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Reviewed by Alejandria G.

Leo Logroña is the youngest member of her family. And as the youngest member of her family, she is used to everyone always telling her she is too young to help.

When the annual Día de los Muertos festival approaches, Leo thinks this will finally be the year she will be asked to help with festival preparations at her family’s beloved bakery. But yet again, she is disappointed when she is told she is still too young. After sneaking out of school to make sure all is really okay at the bakery, Leo accidentally discovers the shocking family secret: she belongs to family of brujas -witches- who use their magic to bake up the sweetest (and luckiest) treats in town.

Eager to tap into her own magic ability, Leo decides to take the family magic book and practice on her own...in secret. And when her closest friend finds herself in trouble, Leo determines that a spell is exactly what they need to fix the problem. Of course, it could always make the problem worse.

A Dash of Trouble is a sweet start to Love Sugar Magic series. Even as Leo keeps getting into more and more trouble (in the funniest possible ways), you’ll still keep rooting for her to succeed. There are even real recipes like "Leo’s Lucky Pig" and "Pan de Muerto Mensajero" to try and create after reading the book.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarians: April 2019

In this month's episode, we chat about food with the Education Coordinator from Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, learn about Earth Day's history and some its quirkier pop culture manifestations, discuss community outreach with the Library's Special Audiences Strategist, and discuss DIY and Upcycling Library resources.

2019 Be More Award Recipients are VITAL

Be More Awards 2019

The ​​City of Bloomington Volunteer Network Be More Awards is the local community's way of honoring and applauding the outstanding, but often unrecognized efforts of its volunteers. Ten awards are presented annually during a celebration honoring nominees in which a $500 check is presented to each of the recipient's volunteer organizations in honor of their outstanding service.

Congratulations to Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners (VITAL) tutor Molly Gleeson for winning the 2019 Be More Knowledgeable (Education/Literacy) award, and to VITAL tutor David White for winning the 2019 Be More Dedicated (Lifetime of Service) award.

Molly Gleeson has been an adult literacy tutor with VITAL since August of 2012. With 1 of every 10 adults in Monroe County in need of help with literacy and language skills, her service is of great value. Molly's commitment to VITAL goes above and beyond the scope of a volunteer tutor. She freely offers her passion, intellect, time, and energy to this program and plans imaginative and inspiring real-life activities. Molly‘s generous nature and giving personality have impacted more than just those individuals who received tutoring, her diligent thoughtful efforts have also inspired fellow volunteers.

In partnership with South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP), David White currently is editor, publisher and financial supporter of the Safety-Net free community newspaper. David started Safety-Net in 2005 and continues to be the main organizer. He has called for community action on issues of the environment, civil rights, homelessness, and education. For those who lack resources, David provides what the overburdened system cannot. By his direct service, he has filled many unmet needs of social service agencies and more importantly given non-judgmental support to folks experiencing hard times. David White is a tremendous asset to people in need, to nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in Bloomington. David is also a VITAL tutor.

David and Molly are exemplary examples of the dedicated volunteers at VITAL, who by improving the lives of individuals one-by-one, improve our community at large.

Staff Picks: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

Reviewed by Cidne B.

Told in a series of letters, this is the story of twelve year old Sophie Brown’s adventures after she and her family move from L.A. to the rundown farm they inherit from her great-uncle Jim. It begins with the sighting of an unusual chicken and leads to the discovery that there was once an entire coop full of remarkably different breeds.

This wonderful novel tackles issues of family, belonging, community, and change. The difficulties of adjusting to a whole new life are made more interesting by Sophie’s efforts to learn how to take care of her remarkable flock and to solve the mystery behind where they came from and where they are hiding.

Witty, engaging, and utterly delightful, with charming illustrations by Katie Kath, this warm-hearted story would make an excellent read aloud for younger children as well as appeal to independent readers.

Staff Picks: What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton

Reviewed by Alejandria G. 

It’s impossible not to feel inspired while reading this gorgeous, well-written nonfiction picture book about the life of Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

From a young age, Barbara Jordan had a remarkable voice. Her voice demanded attention and projected confidence beyond her years. As the author ponders, “What do you do with a voice like that?”. And so began the journey of Barbara Jordan from child to college student. From lawyer to Congresswoman. Jordan spent her career speaking up for those who had less power and protected the rights of those who were discriminated against. Chris Barton’s wonderful words remind us to honor Jordan’s legacy by making our own voices heard.

Ekua Holmes honors Barbara’s life with gorgeous mixed media illustrations. Bold colors and patterns fill the pages and add dimension to the story.

Short but sweet, this nonfiction picture book is a wonderful read for those interested in the true stories of strong women or the Civil Rights Movement. And the vibrant art will please those with an aesthetic eye.

Staff Picks: The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold

Reviewed by Ginny H. 

A.F. Harrold's novel follows Rudger, an imaginary friend. Amanda, Rudger's real person friend, helps him run away from an evil man who hunts "imaginaries".

But when Amanda is injured, Rudger is left all alone, which is bad news.The longer that Rudger has no one to believe in him, the more he fades. Can Rudger evade the evil hunter and find Amanda before he fades completely?

The Imaginary is a great book for kids interested in whimsical, imaginative fantasy stories

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