LEGO Challenge: Natural Disasters

Ready for another LEGO® Challenge?  I asked the LEGO®Mania teens to build natural disasters. A natural disaster is any event or force of nature that has catastrophic consequences like flood, fire, earthquake, or tornado.

Here are some photos of the projects the teens made:

lego 1


lego 2


lego 3


lego 4


lego 5


lego 6


For more ideas, check out Legoquest.

Here’s the challenge:  Can you construct a scene with LEGO®s that depicts a natural disaster?

Take the challenge and share your photos with us.

~Stacey Irish-Keffer is the Youth Services Librarian at the Emily Fowler Central Library.

November 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

My Library Cards

Library Card

Library cards. I’ve had a million, or so it seems. We moved often when I was growing up, and the first thing we’d do (well, almost the first thing we’d do after unpacking our boxes) was head to the local library. Thomas Jefferson said something like this:  The academy is a just a bunch of buildings surrounding a library.  I believe this is true. Maybe civilization itself is just that: buildings surrounding a library?

Long before the internet, or Wi-Fi, or twenty-four hour news channels, there was the library. I would check out the limit on my card. Book, books, books, and records. Imagine that: records at the library. Mostly, it was books about aviation and World War Two (my grandfather was a pilot), but sometimes I’d branch out. Anything that caught my eye was fodder for my reading habit. Luckily, my mother never checked my selections; there was some awfully weird stuff in my piles of books. I suppose this has served me well over the years. Perhaps it has just made me strange. It has definitely enriched my life.

To quote the Bard, Bob Dylan; “Support your local library!”

Bill Pic


~Bill Smith is a Library Assistant II at the South Branch

November 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

New Addition to Your Family Tree

Family Tree



Adding a new baby to your family tree is truly a blessed event. The family will be gathered around taking pictures and videos. Don’t forget to document the event with first impressions of the new parents and grandparents, including family stories for the child to read or listen to as they grow. As with all beginning genealogy start with the child’s name and work backwards through the generations. Include the birth dates for the child, parents, and grandparents. The new baby will thank you later in life for taking the time to give him/her a sense of family. There are many tutorials on getting started online, as well a books that describe the basics. Here are some helpful websites:

Family Search Wiki on beginning genealogy:

National Archives, beginning genealogy research:

Genealogy Bank, general help on where and how to preserve and store your research:

You can also stop by the Special Collections department at Emily Fowler Central Library to get some one-on-one help.

Kathy Strauss is the Head of Special Collections at the Emily Fowler Central Library.

November 15, 2014 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

In The Weeds, 11.8.14: The Past Is Never Far Away

One of the great things about working in the Special Collections Department of the Denton Public Library is that we not infrequently meet descendants of early Denton County pioneers. Recently we had a request for info about an “F.H. Williams” who had apparently lived in Denton Co. in the 1850s. The patron mentioned that this third great grandfather was married to a Margaret Stewart and was originally from Virginia. This would be a chance to explore old tax and deed records that historians are fortunate to still have for Denton County since the original stone courthouse burned in 1874.

The C.A. Bridges book, “History of Denton From Its Beginning to 1960″ quotes the Dallas Herald from February 1856 stating that a Fred H. Williams was appointed interim sheriff of Denton Co. apparently to fill the remaining term of Felix McKittrick who resigned either in late 1855 or early 1856.”150 Years of Denton County Sheriffs from 1846 to 1996″ by Thurman and Lucas has substantially the same info and adds that C.A. Williams was elected on August 24th 1856. Thus, Fred H. apparently was sheriff for about six months.

Mr. Williams can be found in the Denton Co. Tax Rolls 1846-1910 as living in Pilot Point in 1855 (click on the image to see full size):



I asked Mr. Alec Williams, who a direct descendant of C.A. Williams and local historian, if he knew anything about Fred Williams and he did not but was intrigued. The only other record we have so far located is the 1860 U.S. Census where it finds he and his family living in Grayson County and his occupation is listed as “stock raiser”, which was probably also his livelihood while sheriff. Pilot Point is not far at all from Grayson so this makes sense. Here is that census:


One can see that the name on the census matches as he is married to a Margaret and was from Virginia. Thanks to a request by a patron in New Mexico we have been able to fill in a little more information about an important early Denton County pioneer!

-posted by Chuck Voellinger, Special Collections Librarian.

November 15, 2014 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Future Bestsellers! (November Releases)

Check out these hot titles coming out in November 2014.

Put them on hold today!



Blue Lab



THE ESCAPE by Baldacci, David


THE CINDERELLA MURDER by Clark, Mary Higgins

FLESH AND BLOOD by Cornwell, Patricia Daniels

THE PROMISE  by Crais, Robert

THE JOB by Evanovich, Janet

THE MISTLETOE PROMISE by Evans, Richard Paul.

THE LAWS OF MURDER by Finch, Charles (Charles B.)



SAFARI by Hall, Parnell



REVIVAL by King, Stephen

LOWBALL by Martin, George R. R.

HERITAGE OF CYADOR by Modesitt, L. E., Jr.

HOPE TO DIE by Patterson, James

PRIVATE INDIA by Patterson, James

BLUE LABYRINTH by Preston, Douglas J.

LEGION : Skin Deep by Sanderson, Brandon

BETRAYED by Scottoline, Lisa

FEAR CITY by Wilson, F. Paul (Francis Paul)


November 11, 2014 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Things Are About to Get Weird

Weird books are the best! Some of my favorite books are considered offbeat literature. Offbeat novels defy genre labels. They may contain elements of mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, adventure, horror, historical and/or general fiction. They usually feature an element of humor, often with a slightly sarcastic tone. Sometimes the main character is in on the joke, making light of the ridiculousness of what is happening around him or her. Other times, he or she is completely unaware of how absurd things are, leaving the reader to see the humor in the situation. Obscure references to pop culture, history, or literature frequently appear. Jasper Fforde’s novels are full of hilarious literary and cultural references such as characters Millon de Floss, Mycroft Next, Braxton Hicks, and Mr. Stiggins. Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy features an adult mash up of Narnia and Hogwarts. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is a tribute to a Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog about a boating trip down the Thames.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary that will keep you guessing, check out some of these titles available at the Denton Public Library:

To Say Nothing of the Dog: or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis

The Rook by David O’Malley

The Magicians Lev Grossman

Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer by Jonathan Howard

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Christopher Hadden

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple


To Say Nothing of the Dog The Rook Magicians Johannes Cabal






Good Omens Eyre Affair Dirty Job






Hitchhiker's guide Curious Incident Bernadette

November 8, 2014 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

How a blog led me to one of the funniest books I’ve ever read

I’m not one who reads blogs. In fact, when someone tells me they have a blog, I usually reply with a standard, “that’s nice” which of course means “why are you telling me this?” But, a year or so ago, my dear wife introduced me to a blog that has now become a daily stopping point. The Bloggess is written by Jenny Lawson. In each entry, she details humorous events in her life. Some of them are very adult in nature, but they are always funny, often painfully relevant, but funny. She has also written a book which I’m proud to say my library has both in Print and Audio book.


Why should you read or listen to this book? Because you’ll get to learn about bread bags for shoes, friends that will help you deal with vultures, and a metal chicken named Beyonce. Truth be told, if that last one alone doesn’t get your attention, I feel bad for you.

Jenny is at work on her second book. This one will detail her own personal struggle with mental illness. If it’s anything like her entry after Robin Williams’ passing, I know it will be well worth reading.


Jess Edward Turner

South Branch Library

November 5, 2014 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

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