Summer Break Boredom Busters

It’s almost that time!  Summer break is right around the corner.  In fact, as any grade school student can tell you, there’s exactly six school days until the end of the year.

It’s the season of longer days, laid back bedtimes, and even with all the fun trips and summer camps, you’re still destined to hear those two little words:  “I’m boooooored!” Here at Denton Public Library, we’ve got you covered.  Of course we have our Summer Reading Club that starts June 2.  This all ages club rewards you and your children with prizes for reading over the summer.  We’ve also planned an awesome line up of fun summer activities for all ages.  Check out our programs catalog here.

In addition to all the great programs we have this summer, we also have lots of titles you can check out to get through the long days of summer at home.  Here are some of our favorites:

I'm bored!

I’m bored! by Suzy Barratt and Polly Beard is the perfect place to start to keep the kids entertained this summer.  This title has solutions for rainy days at home, car trips, and more.


Catch a fish

Catch a Fish, Throw a Ball, Fly a Kite:  21 Timeless Skills Every Child Should Know by Jeffrey Lee is a great book when you’re ready to get back to basics.  Skills include working a yo-yo, skipping stones, building a fire, and more.


siblings busy book

The Siblings’ Busy Book by Lisa Hanson & Heather Kempskie is for parents who have children of varying ages.  Activities are designed so that siblings work together and are equally stimulating for each age.


101 kids







101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller is also a great choice for children of all ages.  This book will really bring out the creative side of children and adults.

big book of things to make







The Big Book of Things to Make by James Mitchem is a great book for the young makers of your home.  Fun activities include building a sand castle, sinking a pirate ship, and more.

These titles can all be reserved online or in person at one of our reference desks.

Sarah, Teen Services Librarian – South Branch


Novels with Humor

Do you like to read humorous stories or novels?  I do.  Janet Evanovich is one of my favorite authors for humor.  Seven-Up, of the Stephanie Plum series, is still my favorite book. I still laugh hard when reading the book.  I love to see how Stephanie is going to get out of the scrapes she gets into and how her cars always seem to blow up.

Another author I read is Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I like to think of her writing as a cross between Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich.  Sexy and funny.  The girl walking down the side of the road in a beaver suit in Natural Born Charmer had me in stitches.

You cannot leave out Dave Berry for humor. All his books leave you laughing. His novel, Tricky Business should not be read in a doctor’s office.  You will get funny looks as you try your hardest not to laugh out loud.  I speak from experience.  These are a few of my favorite humor authors.  Who are your favorite humor authors?

Carmen, Denton Public Library North Branch

Janet Evanovich          Susan Elizabeth Phillips          Dave Barry

In The Weeds 5/11/16. Voertman’s Teachers College Store

Voertman’s College Store has to be one of the longest operating businesses on the same location in Denton. According to an oral history done by UNT in 1977 with Paul Voertman, they have been at the same location on West Hickory since his father Roy opened the store in 1925, 91 years. Here is an ad from the 1925 NTSTC Yucca yearbook:


Here it is in 1942, long before the renovation by Mount-Miller architects in 1968:


Picture courtesy of the UNT Photo Archive.

Who were “Mount-Miller”? We’ll do an extended blog post and exhibit at the Emily Fowler Library about them later in the year, but for now, Tom Polk Miller (1916-2000) and Mary Isabel Mount Miller (1916-2007) owned an architecture firm that designed or renovated between two and three hundred homes and commercial spaces in town. You’ve probably seen their work but didn’t realize who was responsible. Their work in many cases could fall under the Mid-Century Modern era of design. Some notable examples are: The Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church at 1111 Cordell St., the former Yarbrough’s Pharmacy (now Denton Camera Exchange) on 117 Piner St., the small shopping center at 531 North Elm that formerly held Joe Alford Florist, etc.

Here is a scan of a slide taken by Isabel Mount-Miller in 1972 given to us by their daughter Abigail:

Voertman's at North Texas 1972

Roy Voertman passed on Sept 20th, 1951 at his home while his son Paul was in the Army. Obituary from the Sept. 21, 1951 Denton Record-Chronicle:


The business was sold to the Nebraska Book Co. in 1990 and further changed hands in 2013 when it was bought by out-of-state investors, The Weitzman Group.

Written by Chuck Voellinger, Special Collections Librarian, Emily Fowler Library. For questions please contact


Free Comic Book Day 2016

Do you like free stuff? Do you like comics? Well, Free Comic Book Day is for you! Free Comic Book Day is happening tomorrow, May 7th, and if you’re like me, you’ve already been planning which comics you’re going to grab.

But, if you don’t know what to look out for tomorrow, I have a few recommendations. These are some of the comics that I am planning on snagging tomorrow, but there are many others available, so make sure to go check it out yourself!

BOOM! Studios 2016 Summer Blast

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Creative team: Various

Although this is more of a sampler than an issue, it does include sneak peeks of new releases of two series that I love: Lumberjanes and Adventure Time. It also includes a preview of a highly anticipated new comic being released this summer: The Cloud by Archaia. I recommend keeping your eye out for this one.

Camp Midnight #1

Publisher: Image
Creative team: Steven T. Seagle and Jason Adam Katzenstein

Image comics never fails for me. Image publishes some of my favorite comics including Saga and The Walking Dead. Camp Midnight is a fun all ages run by Image featuring a young female protagonist in a horror camp situation. If you want to add some extra ~spo0o0ok~ to your Free Comic Book Day, pick this one up.  

Civil War II #1

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Creative team: Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Cheung, Mark Waid & Alan Davis

This one serves doubly since the movie is coming out this weekend, too! This is a can’t miss. The Marvel Comics Civil War event was one of my favorites and Civil War II will not disappoint. This issue also features a sneak peak at an all-new character, All-New Wasp, in All-New, All-Different Avengers! The first volume is released in 4 days and I just put in a purchase request for the library so keep your eyes out.

Suicide Squad #1

Publisher: DC
Creative team: Adam Glass & Federico Dallocchio

This is another one to read before the movie comes out, although this is just a reprint of an earlier comic. Actually, you can just check out this full run at the library. Since you’re only allowed to grab so few comics on Free Comic Book Day, I’d suggest saving one of your selections for something a little more exclusive.

FCBD 2016 Viz Perfect Square Pokemon Pocket Comics

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Creative team: Santa Harukaze

I have no reason why you should get this one. I just love Pokemon and I’m going to get it. Pokemon is love. Pokemon is life.

DC Super Hero Girls #1

Publisher: DC
Creative team: Various

I am super excited about this one! An all-ages comic by DC (and their only good offering this year, in my opinion), this issue is a preview for the release later this summer. Since the DC Super Hero Girls are so new, we only have one offering at the library: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High. But, if you have a hankering for some other great female superheroes, check out one of my current faves, Ms. Marvel.  

Love and Rockets Sampler

Publisher: Fantagraphics
Creative team: Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez

I’ve just recently fallen in love with Los Bros Hernandez and am pretty excited to get into more of some of their stuff. Why not start here? This issue will be a reprint of some of the classic comics to prepare readers for a new reboot this July! What better time to start reading this classic? You can also check this series out from the library.

March Trilogy Sampler

Publisher: IDW – Top Shelf
Creative team: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell

If you haven’t read John Lewis’ March I highly recommend it. John Lewis, a sitting member of congress and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, chronicles his experiences during the civil rights movement in this biographical graphic novel. This issue collects excerpts from book one and book two, which have already been released, but also book three, which is coming out this summer.

Attack on Titan Anthology Preview

Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Creative team: Various

In case you haven’t noticed, Attack on Titan is kind of a big deal. In the new anthology being released October of this year, some big names will be creating original stories set in the Attack on Titan world. This preview comic will be a first look at some of these stories by authors such as Scott Snyder and Gail Simone.

These are just a few of the comics being given away at Free Comic Book Day 2016. They have comics for everyone – most of which I haven’t mentioned. Make sure to hit up all the local comic shops to get as many free comics as you can!

Sara Davis
Emily Fowler Central Library

I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times

Beach Boys

(Full disclosure I am a giant music geek.) Sometimes when I am listening to music at home or at my desk I get the statement from friends, coworkers and library volunteers “I am surprised you are listening to that.” Most recently “that” being the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Pet Sounds changed everything I thought I knew about music as I’m sure it did for others reading this. Until I heard Pet Sounds I thought of the Beach Boys as a California surf rock band with a couple of hits. It was not until I heard the luxurious Gershwin esque soundscapes and layered instruments that Pet Sounds is comprised of did I understand the genius of Brian Wilson and the cultural significance of the Beach Boys.

Up until Pet Sounds was released the Beach Boys members played most of the instruments and sang on the recordings. Brian Wilson inspired by the Beatles album Rubber Soul enlisted a backing band consisting of session players known as the Wrecking Crew to create the instrumental ground shattering sounds highlighted in songs like “Pet Sounds” and “Let’s Go Away for a while.” Wilson also inspired by Phil Spector’s wall of sound production technique broke barriers with his own interpretation of the wall of sound. Throughout Pet Sounds, instruments like the bass harmonica and electro theremin can be heard with an abundance of others that make you listen intently and scratch your head. Vocals through the album are sung in the classic five part harmony the Beach Boys are widely known for. The lyrical content throughout is highly emotional and tackles Wilsons dealing with love, anxiety and development of self-image. When Pet Sounds was released it was met with mixed response in the US but was critically acclaimed in the UK, retrospectively it is hailed as one of the best albums of all time alongside pieces of music that it inspired like the Beatles Sgt. Peppers record. The song entitled “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” makes me wonder if Wilson knew he had tapped into something very special when creating Pet Sounds melding classical and baroque styles into pop harmony and lyricism.

I write this tribute because this year is the fiftieth anniversary of Pet Sounds and because this album has had a profound impact on my life. It is amazing that art in any aspect can evoke such emotion from the human soul.  I encourage you to explore the Beach Boys catalog at the library. (Although nothing beats vinyl and a good set of headphones.) Some of my favorites include Surfs up, Pet Sounds and Party! which are available through the e-resource Hoopla. The library also carries physical copies of the albums Smile, Today! and the recently released biopic Love and Mercy which chronicles Wilson from the sixties to the eighties. For serious audiophiles I recommend Inside the music of Brian Wilson which breaks down the music theory and lyrics throughout Wilsons career and a movie entitled The Wrecking Crew which showcases accomplishments of the session musicians who contributed to Pets Sounds.

A     B     C     l

Surfs up,
Abdon Gonzalez, Public Services – Emily Fowler Central Library


 A picture I took Sunday evening at the #petsounds50 concert.


STEAM at the Library

Libraries have long been considered store houses of knowledge and learning institutions. While this is still true, libraries are evolving into dynamic learnings centers, full of expanded services.  STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classes are one example of expanded services.  But why is this in the library?

According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) earn more than non-STEM workers. Women only hold 23% of STEM jobs, Non-Hispanic Black Americans and Hispanics hold 6% of STEM jobs. In 2011, the Microsoft STEM Survey reported that, “Only one in five college students felt that their K-12 education prepared them for their college courses in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math.”

Libraries have the resources and tools to share knowledge in these academic areas, regardless of gender, race or financial status. Libraries can introduce learners to STEM concepts, the latest technology and new career goals. Our mission at the Denton Public Library is to promote lifelong learning, and teaching STEM classes fulfills this goal. Did you know that the South Branch Library offers a STEAM Ahead program for elementary aged students?  This program features different activities, such as engineering challenges, snap circuitry, and basic computer coding.  The North Branch Library has the Forge, where one can learn how to 3-D print, produce music, or use our software for design and creative use. Emily Fowler Central Library offers science programs for homeschool groups and Lego clubs for children and teens. To support STEM learning, the South Branch is currently hosting two traveling science based exhibits.

At the 2015 White House Science Fair, President Barack Obama stated, “[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world…”  STEM is not just about teaching science…it is also about promoting critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. Libraries support the needs of children and adults to continuously develop this skillset, afford opportunities for our community to grow and nurture an interest in STEM related fields and to provide equal access of these learning experiences to all.


If you are interested in learning more about our STEM and non-STEM classes, go to

Rebecca Ivey

7 Reasons to Include Music in Library Storytimes

When I was young and attended the “story hour” at my public library, there was a nice older lady who sat on a chair in front of a circle of children and read books. I enjoyed the stories, and I eventually became a children’s librarian myself. While the exposure to books was great, I was honestly more interested in sneaking away to look at the Guinness Book of World Records. What young boy wouldn’t be fascinated by the world’s heaviest twins on motorcycles?

Storytime programs at the Denton Public Library include songs and rhymes for a variety of reasons, one of which is to capture the imagination of children so that they’ll return to the library again and again. I think if I’d been more excited about the programs, I would have been a more avid library user as a child. The more that children use the library, the more chances for sneaking away and exploring new books (and new world records). Here are my personal top seven reasons for including music in my preschool storytime programs.


Tools of the Trade


  1. Singing is a recognized pre-reading practice. Even if you don’t play any musical instruments, singing with children has many well documented benefits. Think of it as language at play. Rhyming is a mainstay of children’s music, and working with rhyme is one way to help children with something researchers call phonological awareness. This is the ability to understand (though not necessarily on a conscious level) that words are made up of different sound units that can be manipulated to change meaning. There really is some science behind this library science stuff.
  2. It’s fun. Think of the last meeting you had at work. How much fun did you have? Are you looking forward to the next meeting with unbridled anticipation? Probably not. Kids are the same way. I didn’t attend many of those story hours as a child because I wasn’t having fun. There’s nothing wrong with just reading stories to kids, but here’s a little secret: if the kids have fun, they’ll want to come back. Speaking as a parent, I know that I want to see my kids engaged and having fun, especially in activities that have educational value. So yeah, fun matters.
  3. I get to play lots of musical instruments. This is the selfish confession of a storytime troubadour. I play guitar, ukulele, auto harp, recorder, bells, egg shakers, and whatever else I can get away with. Not only do I get to play all these cool instruments in the library, I also take the show on the road when I visit local schools. Let’s see, if I get paid to play music so much, am I a professional musician? I’m leaning toward “yes.”
  4. I let children play the instruments I play. After my storytimes, I invite the kids up to strum on my guitar, ukulele, autoharp, or whatever musical instrument I have out that day. Lots of different ages get first-hand experience exploring music, including babies in my Mother Goose Time, toddlers in my Toddler Time, a mix of the two in my Baby and Toddler Time, and bigger kids in my Storytime. The babies are the best; their faces show unfettered awe when their little hands make a sound on something like the ukulele (which is what I routinely play for them). Fun wins again.
  5. I get to play with other musicians from time to time. Talk about fun! I invite other musicians to play in special performances that I’ve dubbed “Music Mania Storytime.” In these marvelous musical meetings, everything is a song, and we even sing the books. The best part is all the instrumentation. I’ve had folks play upright bass, viola, bongos, even the Chapman stick. It’s a guilty pleasure that I don’t feel guilty about.
  6. Music is a good gateway to the books I read in storytime. I read two or three books at every storytime, and that’s the real goal: getting children motivated to read. I think it’s amazing that part of my job is to introduce kids to Pete the Cat. Who doesn’t love Pete the Cat? Seriously.
  7. Parents and caregivers can share these books and songs at home. Home is where learning takes root. I give out song sheets with the words to the songs we sing in storytime, and I encourage participants to keep it going at home. Some of my programs repeat the same songs every week, with a “song of the week” thrown in for variety’s sake. This allows kids to learn the songs well, in the hopes that the words and tunes will stick with them. Maybe for life. Having a lifelong impact on the language development of kids is profound and humbling to me, and sharing fun and music along the way is a great side effect.

Kerol Harrod