Phone-in Fun at the Library!

The Library is going old-school with two new phone-in programs! Add (812) 349-3208 to your contact list, then call in regularly to hear Dial-A-Book stories and Laugh Line jokes shared by Library staff. 

A throwback to pre-internet days when people would call their libraries to hear a recording of a story, Dial-A-Book is perfect for fans of audiobooks, podcasts, or anyone who loves storytelling. Call the line each week to hear a Library staff member read a chapter from a classic book or short story. New recordings will be added on Mondays! Books and stories are chosen with teen and adult listeners in mind. 

Laugh Line

What’s an astronaut’s favorite part of a computer?...The space bar.

A good joke is always appreciated, especially these days. Now you can add some laughter to your weekday routine! Call the Library’s Laugh Line and listen as a familiar voice shares a kid-friendly joke, Monday through Friday. Jokes will change around 5 PM each weekday! 

Call (812) 349-3208 then choose Dial-A-Book or Laugh Line. Listen day or night, no internet required!

 

Staff Picks: Prairie Lotus

Reviewed by Dana B., Community Engagement Librarian

Inclusiveness

Hanna has moved to the Dakota Territory from San Francisco with her father. It's 1880, and she dreams of becoming a dressmaker in her father's new fabric shop. Her mother was an expert dressmaker and taught Hanna all she knew before she died. Hanna also wants to go to school. This turns out to be problematic, as Hanna's mother was Chinese and her father is white. It's 1880 and Chinese people are viewed with suspicion by most of the white people in town. One by one the children are withdrawn from the school by their parents, and there is growing talk about the fabric shop's white father and half-Chinese daughter. Hanna is confronted with racism and stereotyping, and her future looks grim in this small town. She is a quiet and obedient daughter, but her future is important to her. She thinks it is worth fighting for.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.

Sherwood Forest Digital Zine Library

Sherwood Forset Virtual Zine Library

Looking to read more online zines? The Sherwood Forest Zine Library, based in Austin, Texas, has a truly amazing and updated collection of free digital zines. The collection ranges from topics on self care, food and music zines, to an updated collection of state policing and protesting zines. Updated frequently, polished, and easy to use, this zine archive is definitely worth checking out.

They are also adding to their zine collection actively, so if you have a pdf of a zine you’d like to submit, you can be published on their website!

Sapphics in Lockdown

Sapphics in Lockdown

The first zine from the Sapphic Writers Collective, this anthology is written by and for lesbians and bisexual womxn. A mix between poetry, prose, and photos, this beautiful compilation of “Lockdown” and “Pride” themes resonates strongly in this time of isolation.

 

Together We Can Break These Chains

Together We Can Break These Chains<br />

As stated in the zine, Welcome to ‘Together We Can Break These Chains’, a zine composed for and by trans and gender-variant people currently incarcerated in the Texas prison system. This project is a response to the anticipated second annual Trans Prisoner Day of Action, which calls for a greater effort to raise awareness around prisoner’s struggles, to connect people inside and outside of prisons, and to promote non-criminalized identities and personal expressions.”

Composed of essays, letters, poetry, and art, this anthology of prisoner writings is heartbreaking and beautiful. While this is written for other prisoners, it can give anyone some insight into daily prison life, the struggles of prisoners, and their persistent hope to live a life out of bars.

 

Stuck in Isolation With You

Stuck in Isolation With You

A short and sweet comic about being in isolation with a loved one.

 

Ken Chronicles #49

Ken Chronicles #49

This long-running zine isn’t written by what many consider to be your typical young zinester, instead, it's written by a retiree. He’s been putting a perzine out quarterly for more than a decade, filled with updates about his life, and reviews of other zines people trade him. He’s up to issue 53 at the time of this writing, and you can see more of his zines on his blog.

 

A Hastily Assembled Guide to Being Alone

A Hastily Assembled Guide to Being Alone

The latest entry in Toronto based artist Nicole Little’s ongoing minizine project this little printable zine is a good guide to a situation many people find themselves in these days: being by themselves. Beautifully illustrated, it is a great little morsel for the alone.

 

Girls + Comics

Girls + Comics

A resource for teachers, this zine explores how they integrate comics into their classrooms and lessons. It specifically focuses on how to engage girls with comics, and encourage them to make their own. but this resource can apply to anyone. There is also a great recommendation list of comics by women authors.

 

Making Zines for Tweens

Zines for Tweens

Have you ever wanted to publish your own story, comic, or other writing? If so, then you may be interested in making zines!

What Are Zines?

Zines are self-published books. If you think about a zine as being a “mini-magazine” you’ll have a clue as to what they are and a cool trick to help you remember that “zine” is pronounced the same way as the letters “zine” at the end of the word “magazine.” 

Zines come in lots of different shapes and sizes––so even though we can think about them as “mini-magazines,” they could actually be bigger than a common magazine. 

Similar to magazines, zines are meant to be shared. Magazines are printed on equipment created to mass-produce thousands of printed materials like magazines. Zines are typically reproduced on a copy machine like the ones you can find in your school’s office or at the Library.

What Are Zines About?

Well, that’s the really fun part, because they can be about anything you like! 

They can be about yourself, your hobbies, the world around you, DIY instructions, whatever you like! Here are some prompts to help you imagine the possibilities:

  • Write about your favorite books, comics, or TV show
  • Create your own story or comic
  • Write about your favorite sport, game, or toys
  • Make a How-To guide for a craft, a special LEGO build, or a science experiment
  • Write about the special things you do with your family or friends
  • Record what life has been like for you since the pandemic broke out
  • Write about the environment, politics, or other news that interests you
  • Write about what makes you unique

Zines really can be about anything!

Another really great thing about zines is that you can write them by yourself, or you can collaborate with friends or other people in your community to create one! 

Take a look at the program calendar for zine programs you can participate in!

How Do I Make Them?

The most basic supplies you need to create a zine are paper and a pencil or pen, but there are a lot of other materials you could use to make your zine just the way you like it. 

Here are some other ideas: markers or colored pencils, stamps, stickers, washi tape, cut-outs from magazines—and anything else that you like!

Zines come in lots of different sizes. Even if you only have one piece of paper you can make a multi-page zine if you fold it the right way. Here are a couple of ways to make multi-page zines from one piece of paper:

4-Page Zine: To make a small four-page zine, you will need to take a regular piece of paper and fold it hamburger style (fold the short ends together), then fold the short ends together again. You will have a small four-page zine. 

4 page zine

8-Page Mini Zine: This is a trickier fold to make and may require practice to get it exactly right. To make a mini eight-page zine, you will need to take a regular piece of paper. Fold it hot dog style (fold the long edges together). Then fold it hamburger style and open it up. Your paper should be fully opened with a horizontal and vertical crease line. Next, fold the two shorter sides into the middle to meet the crease. Unfold the entire piece of paper and fold it again hamburger style. You should see a crease marking the halfway point on your half-size paper. Starting at the fold, cut the crease only to the middle of the paper. Finally, after making your cut, unfold the paper again and fold it to form a small 8-page book. Note: you may need to refold some of your crease lines in the opposite direction to make the booklet work.

8 page mini zine

Staff Picks: Best of Enemies

Reviewed by Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

Best of Enemies is available on DVD and streamable on Hoopla and Kanopy.

Civil DiscourseOne of the Library’s core values is the promotion of civil discourse. The 2015 documentary Best of Enemies provides an interesting counterexample for this since it covers the historic debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. that aired on ABC News during its coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 1968. More than just a conflict between public intellectuals with diametrically opposed ideologies, it was a harbinger of the stark divisions we’re seeing along racial, socioeconomic, and political lines today. What’s especially bracing about it is that while Buckley and Vidal start out relatively calm and measured, they quickly deviate from the issues at hand and begin attacking each other personally, more interested in scoring points than listening to what the other has to say. This reaches its climax with the indelible moment in their penultimate debate where Vidal calls Buckley a “crypto-fascist” and Buckley responds by calling Vidal a “queer” and threatening to punch him in the face. So much for civility.

Note: Best of Enemies is age-restricted on Kanopy because it includes clips from the X-rated Myra Breckenridge and Caligula, both of which were based on works by Vidal. The film itself is rated R.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship. 

Staff Picks: Reaching for the Moon

Reviewed by Cassie R., Materials Handler

Reaching for the Moon is available to check out as a DVD and to stream on Kanopy.

Lifelong LearningReaching For the Moon is a 2013 biographical drama directed by Bruno Barreto, based on the book Flores Raras e Banalíssimas (Rare and Commonplace Flowers) by Carmem Lucia de Oliveira. The story focuses on the iconic American poet, Elizabeth Bishop, and one of her romantic affairs with Brazilian architect, Lota de Macedo Soares between 1951 and 1967. Set largely in Petrópolis, the film recounts Bishop's passion for writing, her apprehensive take on love, and her dramatic life, while in Brazil with Lota.

The story begins with Elizabeth in New York with her friend and fellow writer Robert Lowell, editing her poem “One Art.” Elizabeth is played frigidly, appearing to us as a desolate and uninspired writer in desperate need for change. This sense of monotony is what ultimately leads Elizabeth to visit her former classmate, Mary and her girlfriend at the time, Lota! Initially, Elizabeth is reserved and callous to the locals in Rio, and Lota herself. She felt out of place, judgmental, somehow fierce & fragile, all at the same time. As a longtime fan of Elizabeth, it surprised me to see someone I love depicted so cruelly, but even in the film, Elizabeth says “maybe this is why people shouldn’t meet authors.” 

As the movie continues viewers see Elizabeth soften, and begin integrating into life in Brazil, a life of partnership, and success as she wins the Pulitzer Prize. The movie flashes back to scenes of Elizabeth’s childhood, highlighting her fear of rejection and abandonment, and enlightening the audience to some of her more rigid characteristics and heavy alcoholism that plagues her and her relationship throughout the film. The film also briefly explores Lota and her work as an architect designing Flamengo Park and her struggles with mental health that eventually resulted in her suicide. The film is a cinematic memoir that beautifully combines the poetry of Bishop and her unique voice with a raw display of humanity, sexuality, and grief. 

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.

Staff Picks: 1984

Reviewed by Bill K., Materials Handler

1984 is also available on Hoopla.

Intellectual Freedom

George Orwell’s 1984 is one of those books most people read at some point and everyone knows. “Big Brother,” “War is Peace,” even the term “Orwellian” are regular phrases in our political vernacular.

It’s a shame people don’t seem as familiar with the film adaptation from the year 1984, directed by Michael Radford. Without hyperbole, it is as great a motion picture adapted from a book as The Godfather or Lord of the Rings (albeit quite different in look and tone from those pictures).

Orwell’s novel sometimes skirts the line between a work of fiction and one of political theory. Long sections of the prose are devoted to the author’s ideas on propaganda, cult of personality, language, state power, and other things (fictional only because they hadn't happened yet, perhaps). Arguably, it breaks that old rule of writing by telling instead of showing (not that it’s any worse for that).

The film incorporates some of that prose into the dialogue, but more often, it shows instead of tells. From the opening sequence—depicting the novel’s “Two Minutes Hate” in a scene both frightening and devastating—the depiction of the totalitarian state of Oceania is magnificently realized. The set design presents a decay and an all-encompassing oppressive regime that stands outside of time, still effective and scarily plausible even though we’re nearly 40 years past the year that gives the work its title. It’s so suffocating that to watch is almost to be under Big Brother’s iron fist.

Like the novel, the movie follows the lowly Ministry of Truth worker Winston Smith (John Hurt) as he pursues a forbidden love affair with fellow Party member Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) and seeks to join the rumored Brotherhood resisting Big Brother (the unseen supposed leader of The Party). In the novel, the protagonist is a principled believer, as much of an idealist as can exist in such an oppressive regime. Hurt’s Winston is melancholy, then heartbreaking. From the start, it is clear there is no hope in his story, and to see him beaten down into (practically, and eventually literally) nothing is soul-crushing tragedy.

One of MCPL’s values is intellectual freedom. Orwell’s work explores how the state can suppress intellectual freedom, by crushing dissent and through a propaganda machine so pervasive that reality itself is what he powers that be say it is. Radford’s film lets the viewer experience the Party-line reality. Surreal sequences from Winston’s viewpoint play almost like intangible dreams, as The Party and the villainous Party official O’Brien (Richard Burton, chillingly sinister in his final film role) remake his mind. Not only does the viewer see Winston utterly broken by the state, but they’re right there with him, unsure at times whether what’s onscreen is real or what The Party wants him to believe is real.

Comparing political or public figures to Big Brother is almost a cliché at this point. But in this age of conflicting or partisan media overload, biased “unbiased” search engine algorithms, fake news and propaganda, and even disagreement on basic facts, Orwell’s 1984 seems to be in no danger of becoming irrelevant. Radford’s film is a worthy companion to the book, and a heartbreaking vision of the future that never seems to become outdated.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship. 

Staff Picks: Rick

Reviewed by Ginny H., Community Engagement Librarian

Inclusiveness

Rick is nervous to start middle school with his best friend, Jeff, because there are so many unknowns! The weird scheduling of middle school, getting to know new people, the way Jeff is always talking about girls and being mean to other kids, and starting weekly bonding visits with his grandpa. While not all of it is bad, dealing with so many unknowns has Rick questioning his own identity. Rick meets some great potential friends in the LGBTQ+ alliance club and begins questioning if he's asexual, but when Jeff begins vandalizing their posters, everything begins to fall apart. 

The story of Rick tackles important themes such as bullying, relationships, kindness, and standing up for yourself, all while giving voice and representation to asexuality, a part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum which is generally still shrouded in misconceptions and bias. In addition to providing a great story, author Alex Gino provides great history on LGBTQ+ rights and opportunity for learning how language, such as pronouns, can have an important weight in identity and respect towards others. 

Fans of the author's debut book, George, will be delighted by Melissa's appearance and fall in love with all the additional characters who are brought to life on the page. This title is perfect for grades 4-6, but equally important for anyone wanting to learn more about asexuality or language as it relates to LGBTQ+ issues.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.

Staff Picks: Buddies

Buddies movie art

Reviewed by Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

Buddies is available to stream on Kanopy.

Service

The first dramatic feature to tackle the AIDS crisis – 1985’s Buddies – is also one of the most heartbreaking. Written, produced, directed, and edited by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr., a pioneer of independent gay cinema whose career was tragically cut short in 1987, Buddies charts the political awakening of a gay man in his mid-20s (and a committed relationship) who volunteers to be a “Buddy” for a hospitalized AIDS patient who has no one else in his life.

Over the three months that they get to know each other, David struggles to understand Robert, who’s only seven years his senior, but having come out at the dawn of the gay liberation movement, his experiences as a gay man are vastly different. Robert is also putting on as brave a face as possible in the face of certain death, which is why the support he receives is so crucial. By being willing to step outside his comfort zone, David grows as a person, impacting both of their lives in the process.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship. 

Staff Picks: What We Do In the Shadows

Reviewed by Cassie R., Materials Handler

What We Do In the Shadows is also available to stream on Kanopy.

Lifelong Learning

As the world is slow to open around us, or at least as I am slow to rejoin it, I have been consuming much more media at much larger quantities than I normally would–I’m assuming you all are too. That being said, I didn’t hesitate to dive head-first into Hulu’s two new seasons of What We Do In the Shadow. I finished the 20-or-so-episodes in less than a weekend and fell in love with the eccentric vampire home of Lazlo, Nadja, Nandor, his familiar Guillermo, and oddly enough even Colin Robinson. It wasn’t until I was up-to-date with the new TV-series and went into work to dish about the hilarious almost situational satire with my co-workers that they enlightened me that the tv-series was inspired by the original 2014 movie. Working from home for some weeks, and still taking in any new movie recommendations, I checked Kanopy to see if I could rent the movie for free instead of paying $3.99 on Amazon. Sure enough, it is, free to anyone with a library card!

I was nervous before watching the movie that I was going to be let down in comparison to the adaptation and the characters I had grown to love– but it was like being immersed in a parallel universe with them, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I love how directors and media in general have the capability to tell stories and characters so closely intertwined, almost calling on the other, but somehow still managing to make them so distinct and unique that they can and do stand alone. The catchy theme song transcends through both (which I appreciate). The main vampire characters in the movie go by Vladislav, Viago, Deacon, his familiar Jackie, and Petyr. The way the characters interact makes you feel like you’re watching a modernized period-piece mockery of Full House or FRIENDS. Petyr, the vampire who lives in the basement, is so shockingly funny – half the movie was spent with my jaw hung open in disbelief because of his character, and he never even speaks. Everything from the clothing, to the thick accents, to the everyday roommate arguments over chore-chart responsibilities is perfect and combines just enough reality to grasp at when slapped in the face with other absurdities.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship. 

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