Why do they have toys in the Library?

Have you wondered why you find all sorts of toys in the Children’s Area at the Denton Public Library? Because children learn by playing. Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” It is through pretend play that children develop their language and social skills. They speak in more complex ways, sometimes imitating adult language. They learn to negotiate with their peers about how to bring their vision of their imaginary world into being. They use play to develop their cognitive functions by exploring, manipulating, asking questions, and finding out how things work. Play is essential to a child’s development.

At each library location, you will find a variety of toys that facilitate language and literacy development through play. At Emily Fowler Central Library, there are puzzles, play kitchen with toy food, plates, cups and utensils, letter games, Duplo blocks, large building blocks, various manipulatives, and board books for reading.   At North Branch Library, there are letters with a magnet board, free-standing food market, play food, puppet playhouse, puzzles, puppets, building blocks, board books, and more early childhood toys. And at South Branch Library, there are puppets, puppet theater, letters with a magnet board, free-standing food market, play food, puzzles, Duplo blocks, board books, various early childhood toys, and a large interactive wall with various manipulatives mounted on it.IMG_1596

Puzzles and building blocks promote problem solving and develop fine motor movement, which is needed for writing. Letters and letter games promote letter awareness and identification, essential for reading. Dramatic Play, or acting out stories, is a way for children to show their feelings, learn vocabulary, express their ideas and creativity, learn independence, and learn new skills.  Children who engage in dramatic play show high levels of reasoning and motivational skills. “Puppets, the playhouse, play food, and the market give children a place to play together, and since children learn by playing, these toys and structures provide a solid educational opportunity for our youngest customers,” said Kerol Harrod, Public Services Librarian, North Branch Library.

The Interactive Wall at South Branch focuses on many aspects of pre-reading/early literacy.   “While reading is a very important aspect to literacy, for a young child, literacy is more than just reading…key literacy components include singing, writing, talking, and playing.  The literacy wall focuses on each of the skills.  The spinning wheel promotes writing (strengthening finger muscles), talking (spinning wheel has pictures to encourage children to tell a story), and playing.  The wall features different nursery rhymes and songs.  All of the activities featured on the wall promote literacy skills,” stated Rebecca Ivey, Public Services Librarian, South Branch Library.


Come visit any library location with your young child and engage in some creative play with them. You will help build your child’s cognitive and social skills and help lay the foundation for them to learn to read. And, hopefully, you both will have some fun.

Read More…




Stacey Irish-Keffer
Youth Services Librarian
Emily Fowler Central Library

February 3, 2016 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

David Bowie 1947 – 2016


David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

  1. Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
  2. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
  3. Room At The Top by John Braine
  4. On Having No Head by Douglass Harding
  5. Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard
  6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  7. City Of Night by John Rechy
  8. The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  9. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  10. Iliad by Homer
  11. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  12. Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo
  13. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
  14. Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell
  15. Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
  16. Halls Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall
  17. David Bomberg by Richard Cork
  18. Blast by Wyndham Lewis
  19. Passing by Nella Larson
  20. Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto
  21. The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind
    by Julian Jaynes
  22. In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner
  23. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
  24. The Divided Self by R. D. Laing
  25. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  26. Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman
  27. The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf
  28. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
  29. Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
  30. The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  31. The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  32. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  33. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  34. Puckoon by Spike Milligan
  35. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  36. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  37. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
  38. Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
  39. The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot
  40. McTeague by Frank Norris
  41. Money by Martin Amis
  42. The Outsider by Colin Wilson
  43. Strange People by Frank Edwards
  44. English Journey by J.B. Priestley
  45. A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  46. The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West
  47. 1984 by George Orwell
  48. The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White
  49. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn
  50. Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
  51. Beano (comic, ’50s)
  52. Raw (comic, ’80s)
  53. White Noise by Don DeLillo
  54. Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom
    by Peter Guralnick
  55. Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage
  56. Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley
  57. The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillete
  58. Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky
  59. The Street by Ann Petry
  60. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  61. Last Exit To Brooklyn By Hubert Selby, Jr.
  62. A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
  63. The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
  64. Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
  65. The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard
  66. The Bridge by Hart Crane
  67. All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd
  68. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  69. Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
  70. The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
  71. Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders
  72. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
  73. Nowhere To Run The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey
  74. Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich
  75. Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti To Emily Dickinson
    by Camille Paglia
  76. The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford
  77. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  78. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  79. Teenage by Jon Savage
  80. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
  81. The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
  82. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  83. Viz (comic, early ’80s)
  84. Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)
  85. Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara
  86. The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
  87. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
  88. Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
  89. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  90. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
  91. Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  92. Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi
  93. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  94. The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa
  95. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
  96. A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
  97. The Insult by Rupert Thomson
  98. In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan
  99. A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
  100. Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

If we do not have the title in the library catalog, we have linked to it’s record so that you can order it through Inter-Library Loan. This is a free service offered by the library so you can have access to books, CDs and DVDs from hundreds of libraries across the country.

Source: http://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/01/11/david-bowies-top-100-books


January 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

“Organizational health” and “page-turner” in the same sentence. Really.

FINAL2 Lencioni covers


When Patrick Lencioni was a boy, his father came home from work in the evenings and lamented all the dysfunction where he worked. Young Patrick listened. Really listened.

Interesting inspiration for Lencioni; decades later he is a best-selling author who The Wall Street Journal calls one of the most sought-after business speakers in America. He also is the founder of The Table Group, a consulting firm. And the currency behind all of his success is organizational health.

If you are not in management, you might think organizational health is as tasty as unsalted crackers. Not so, when Lencioni delivers a buffet of what he calls “leadership fables.” Lencioni creates fictional characters and tells how they prevail over organizational challenges. The most complex workplace issues inevitably are solved with a recipe of compassion, empathy and a lot of common sense.

The challenges that make up Lencioni’s settings are so common in the workplace that the stories will resonate with almost everyone. I read his Silos, Politics and Turf Wars on a flight from Dallas to Boston, cover to cover. I guess most of my fellow passengers thought I resembled a bobbing-head doll, because I was nodding in agreement in every chapter.

Management and business lessons often double as life lessons, because relationships are at the heart of every organization, including families, teams, and book discussion groups … you name it. In fact, I wrote a blog just a couple of years ago explaining how Lencioni’s Three Signs of a Miserable Job (which actually is a leadership fable about engaging employees in the organization’s mission) perfectly applied to Little League practice with a dozen 8- and 9-year-olds.

Take Lencioni for a test drive. Chances are, you will discover that the most daunting difficulties in your organization are surprisingly simple to navigate when the focus is on the outcome. The Denton Public Library includes six of Lencioni’s books in its collection. Find out how a successful, semi-retired entrepreneur found himself working in a small pizza joint among Colorado ski slopes … and turned the organization around. These are great stories, fun reads, and relevant:

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • The Five Temptations of a CEO
  • The Advantage
  • The 3 Big Questions for the Frantic Family
  • The Three Signs of a Miserable Job
Randy Simmans – North Branch Library

January 20, 2016 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Listen to One of Our Oral History Interviews: Sylvia Barlow

In the 1970s the Denton Public Library began its first oral history program. There were around 42 interviews completed within the years 1974-1976. Alec Williams worked for the library at that time and interviewed all of the participants, who were from various parts of Denton County. About half of the oral histories were transcribed until the funding ran out. The remaining reel-to-reels were uncovered in a box when the Special Collections department was opened in 2005. We have since had a few of the reels converted to digital each year, and when time presents itself, we work on the transcriptions.

One of the tapes contained the interview of Sylvia Barlow and took place on July 31, 1975 at the library (you can hear a typewriter in the background). Alec told me that he interviewed her at a time of great stress in her life, but that she was determined to do the interview. I only met Mrs. Barlow a couple of times and I would most whole-heartedly agree that she was a determined woman. She came into the Special Collections department in 2006 with some photographs of her parents restaurant, Joe’s Pit Bar-B-Q, wanting to know if we would like to scan them (we did) for historical purposes and she shared some of her family’s history. I am especially grateful to Sylvia Barlow for doing that.

Joe's pit bar-b-que 1932

Here are some things I took from the interview: Her parents, Joe and Irma Wankan, came to Denton during the Depression in 1932 (Sylvia was 14 at the time). Her father loved to cook and decided to venture into the restaurant business. Together, they opened Joe’s Pit Bar-B-Q. The oral history interview does not say the exact date or location and I cannot find them in the city directories or yellow pages because there aren’t any surviving ones for those years (at least that I can find), but I believe they must have started their first venture in their home at 510 S. Locust Street around the later half 1932. The Denton Record-Chronicle advertised the grand opening of their new location on August 24, 1933  at 514 South Street, which was across the street from the old Denton County hospital and next door to their home.

joe's home

Home of Joe and Irma Wankan at 510 S. Locust St., Denton, Texas. It is now the Dime Store, although altered. Note the Reserved Parking signs in front of the house.

Sylvia and her sister, Irma Jo, would run the stand from 2-5 and gave curb service. They were known for their sandwiches. Joe kept up with the times and and looking through the their advertisements in the 1940 Denton Record-Chronicle, the name and menu changed; Joe’s Pit Bar-B-Q had become Joe’s Pit Bar-B-Q & Steak House and then in 1942,  Joe’s Steak House. Many different slogans ran in the paper and some of my favorites were: “Good Food Is Good Health,” “Announcing Joe’s Arizona Greaseless Chili – It’s Different! No Indigestion!” and “Experience Proper Refrigeration.”

So where is the building now? Just a memory. It was torn down and there is a parking lot where it once stood: situated between Davis Purity Bakery and the Dime Store. Too bad they didn’t make a Denton reel that went with the View Master that I had as a kid. It would be fun to walk around to various addresses and look through it.

Joe's post card

Sylvia and her husband, Hood Barlow, later opened up Barlow’s cafe – and in addition to working in and running restaurants that hopefully made your mouth water – she did a lot of important things.

You can hear her interview here:

or come to the library and read her transcription.

There is more to her story.


-Leslie Couture, Special Collections department

January 13, 2016 at 2:26 am 4 comments

To-Do List: Laundry, Pay the Bills, Color … Wait, What!?


When I worked as a preschool teacher, I would sometimes find myself envying the children in my class the simple pleasure of coloring, as I sat by and worked on the following day’s lesson plan.  Now that I have kids of my own, I often find myself genuinely enjoying a good bout of coloring.

Cat in Progress

There is such freedom in coloring; you get to control the look and feel of an image by assigning color to an area where a moment ago there was none.  And you get to break the rules; leaves don’t have to be green and the sky does not have to be blue!  Also, you get to create a unique image without needing a lot of artistic talent.  It feels quite good.

Recently, coloring for adults has seen a rise in popularity.  Libraries across the US are hosting Adult Coloring Clubs and publishers have put out an impressive variety of adult coloring books with themes that range from books to movies to nature.

The act of coloring is also a wonderful way to release stress and empty the mind.  With all of the responsibilities of being an adult, finding a creative way to filter stress or anxiety can not only be relaxing, but also a lot of fun!

If you haven’t yet let loose and colored as an adult, you don’t have to wait for the excuse of having children around!  If you are visiting the Emily Fowler Library, be sure to stop by one of the back tables, where coloring pages and supplies will be set up for your enjoyment!

Coloring Table 2


January 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

A Single Man: Why it’s Worth Watching and Reading

It is rare to find a book and a movie of the same story that are both so beautifully executed that each could stand on its own merit as a separate and distinct work of art. Most typically, one or the other will stand out as the more powerful work, but in the case of A Single Man, I find it very difficult to pick a favorite.


A Single Man is a very moving story of the human condition. The story follows 24 hours with George, an Englishman and a professor living in Southern California in the 1960s. We find George in midlife, shortly after losing his partner, Jim. Raw with grief, George feels torn between life and death. His grief and loneliness pull him toward death, but life calls him to fill the routines of his day in which he stumbles upon things that give him joy and remind him what he loves about being alive.

Though A Single Man was controversial when it was originally published in 1964 for its topic of homosexuality, A Single Man is not exclusively a story about what it’s like to be gay, it is more a story about what it’s like to be human, to experience loss and grief, but to still have appreciation and sentiment for the beauty of the world. As a result of George’s sexual orientation, he expresses feelings of isolation and feels that he is an outsider in a society not accepting of people who are gay, though you get the sense that he is even more of an outsider for his classical values in a world ramping up to mass production and consumerism than for any other reason; George is bewildered by his neighbor’s children chanting TV jingles and smashing things with hammers, while he drives to class to talk about literature to a group of largely apathetic college students.

The MovieA_Single_Man_DVD

A Single Man was made into a visually stunning movie in 2009, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. The movie stays very close to the book both in content and dialogue, but highlights the story differently by stressing the time period and the shift from classical principles to consumerism. The 1960s hair, makeup, outfits, cars, and architecture featured in the film, particularly the Lautner House George calls home, bring a sense of class to equal George’s professional reserve and dignity, portrayed superbly by Colin Firth (it is very difficult to imagine another actor playing this role so well). The soundtrack for the movie is beautiful and far from simply providing background noise, brings depth and atmosphere to a story with mostly soft-spoken (though easily audible) dialogue.



The Book

Reading the book may be a much more emotional experience than watching the movie, as Isherwood’s writing evokes
laughter, breaks your heart, and makes you glad to be alive all in about 186 pages. The charming quirks of George’s character shine through the pages and the sense of his love for life in spite of his grief is a little more distinct in the book. George’s book character in particular has much more depth, which makes him more relatable for the reader, especially since the reasons for his feelings of isolation are explained more thoroughly through his thoughts. The book has a more timeless feel to it without the constant visual reminder of the 1960s, though admittedly that is part of the movie’s charm, its absence keeps the book feeling fresh decades after it was written.

“If it’s going to be a world with no time for sentiment, it’s not a world
that I want to live in.” 
– George, A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood


– Sarah Fullwood, Library Marketing

Denton Public Library has copies of the DVD available for checkout, the audiobook may be downloaded through Overdrive, and the book may be checked out using the InterLibrary Loan system (borrowed and sent to your library from another library at no cost to you).

Listen to the Audiobook

Use the InterLibrary Loan system to borrow the Book

Borrow the DVD

Listen to the Soundtrack on hoopla

December 30, 2015 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Before they were stars in a galaxy far, far away

As you might have heard, a new movie in a popular film series recently came out.  I’m not here to talk about that film. I’ve seen it and it’s entertaining. Rather, I’d like to point out some of the actors in that film and the incredible work they did long before they entered a galaxy far, far away. All the works mentioned below are available through the library’s collection.

John Boyega is a veteran of fighting off space threats as he demonstrated in “Attack the Block.”


In this film, Boyega plays Moses, the leader of a gang of, well let’s just call them young miscreants.  The gang’s neighborhood comes under attack one evening from alien invaders falling from space.  In true defend your home against any threat fashion, the group decides to fight off the aliens on their own using a variety of homemade weapons.


The film is quickly becoming a cult classic as it’s a wonderful mix of horror, science fiction, action, and comedy.  Boyega is memorable as Moses, showing a range of emotions silently on his face that most actors need pages and pages of dialogue to convey.


For the past several years, Gwendoline Christie has played the towering Brienne of Tarth on the HBO series,  Game of Thrones.

BrienneoftarthThe first four seasons are available for check out and the fifth season will be coming in March. I’ve had people that don’t like fantasy or medieval settings remark how much they love this show.  Season 3 stands out as Christie and co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau show great acting  in scenes together that should have garnered each award attention.


Finally, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac were previously in a film together.  The two starred in “Ex Machina” a science fiction thriller.  Gleeson plays a programmer for a search engine company who ends up being chosen to give the Turing Test to an artificial intelligence humanoid robot.  Isaac plays the inventor of the machine named Ava.  Both actors are great but the real standout is the actress playing Ava. Alicia Vikander is her name and her acting in this film has already garnered her a Golden Globe nomination.

Ex-Machina-Cast-WallpapersFor those who love science fiction films that make you think, this is the movie for you.  It takes a look at where technology may soon take humanity and the questions that might come with such advancements.  And isn’t that what the best science fiction should do?

Jess Edward Turner

South Branch Library

December 23, 2015 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

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