Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Day Celebrating Labor

I’ve not traditionally given Labor Day much thought.  When I was younger, it signaled the beginning of school, about which I usually had mixed feelings (loved the new school supplies, dreaded science class).  Now it means a day off work, some shopping, and of course, grilling.

However, when I contemplated what to write about today, I considered how I really don’t know much about this federal holiday.  When did it start?  What is its purpose?  How was it traditionally celebrated?

Well, of course I’m not going to leave you hanging.  I consulted the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to answer all those burning questions.  Here’s what I found out:

There is still some disagreement over who first proposed a national labor day – some credit it to Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, while others say it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who deserves the credit.  Scholars seem now to lean toward Maguire, who was serving as secretary for the Central Labor Union (CLU) in New York City at the time.  The CLU was the first organization to implement a labor day celebration in 1882.  The CLU encouraged other cities to adopt the idea, and just a few years later, city centers across the nation were hosting their own festivities.  On June 28, 1894, Congress enacted legislation that made the first Monday in September a day to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers.  Cities were encouraged to start the day off with a parade, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of laborers and their families.

I don’t know that many cities still have parades and big festivals for Labor Day, but I do like the sentiment of honoring all of us who work hard to make this country run.  Let’s give ourselves a big pat on the back!  After all, “it is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.” (U.S. DOL website)

And because I can’t resist drawing this directly back to the library, we just ordered a fascinating book on this very subject entitled Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work.  It should be at the library soon, so be sure to check it out!

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Return of Storytime

We know you’ve been missing it, but have no fear, the Azle Memorial Library’s storytime will soon be returning!  Ms. Nancy has taken a well deserved break in August, but storytime will resume September 5th.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Toddler Tales (for ages 18-36 months) will take place from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. in the Library Community Room.  Preschool Storytime (for ages 3-6 years) will follow shortly thereafter from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.  Ms. Nancy will have fun stories, finger plays, rhymes, songs, crafts, and more.  So be sure to join us next week so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


Is It Fall Yet?

As soon as the temperature dips below 100 in Texas, I start to think Fall.  It’s my favorite time of year – I love the colors, the excuse to wear scarves and boots, the chance to buy Honeycrisp apples again, and most of all, the much anticipated Fall book releases.  And this season is not going to disappoint.  We have a lot to look forward to – J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults; John Grisham’s newest, Racketeer; the 9th story in Alexander McCall Smith’s charming Isabel Dalhousie series; and finally another new book from Barbara Kingsolver.  As for nonfiction, I can’t wait to check out a certain cookbook by my absolute favorite food blogger, Smitten Kitchen, and Happier at Home by the expert on happiness, Gretchen Rubin. 

Now I know I’ve missed some big ones – Vince Flynn, Lee Child, James Patterson, and Janet Evanovich all have new releases coming out, just in time for some early Christmas shopping.  There are just too many good books coming out to mention them all in one post!  So what new book are you looking forward to most?

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


150 Years Later

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 150 years since the beginning of the Civil War.  Which means this year marks the sesquicentennial.  In honor of that anniversary, the Main Street Book Club has chosen to read The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.  This Pulitzer Prize winning novel chronicles Gettysburg, the three-day battle that was one of the most important of the Civil War.  Shaara managed to infuse myriad characters with life and personality, making them seem very real to the reader.  Also, he did not get bogged down in the details of the battle.  He gave just enough information to make readers feel as if they are there, but not too much so that it became too technical or boring.  Here is just one of his many lush descriptions:  “All that month there is heat and wild rain.  Cherries are ripening over all Pennsylvania, and the men gorge as they march.  The civilians have fled and houses are dark.  The armies move north through the heat and the dust.”  With just a few sentences, Shaara was able to so clearly paint a picture for his reader.

We hope you’ll join the Main Street Book Club at our new start time, 6:00 p.m., on Tuesday, August 21 in the Library Community Room!

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


Get Your Passports Out!

It may be 100 degrees outside, but this morning feels like Fall.  That’s because I mixed up some dough with raisins and orange zest and and threw in some cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Those smells invariably remind me of holiday baking.  And while summer may not be the time to start baking pumpkin bread and gingerbread men, summer is the season to travel!  And What’s Cookin’ this month will be doing just that.  We’re offering you a chance to travel the world without leaving your kitchen.  We’ll be sampling dishes from England, Iran, Germany, and China.  Join us for an afternoon of culture and good food on Monday, August 13th at 4:30 p.m. in the Library Community Room.

And in case you were wondering, that dough is going to turn into some lovely hot cross buns, a culinary gift to us from England.  We’ll be trying lots of other dishes, so please come for recipes, a quick lesson on international cuisine, and of course you’ll get to try all the food at the end!

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


Every Four Years

I will admit I’ve been neglecting my reading of late.  I currently have a stack of books on my bedside table that haven’t been opened in the past week.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’ve been watching the Olympics…a lot.  You might say I’m a bit of a fan.  I’ve missed plans with friends, skipped the gym, and hurried home from work, all so I could watch the U.S. women’s gymnastics team win gold and see Michael Phelps win his 19th medal.  The other night I stayed up until 1 a.m. to watch weightlifting.  I’m happy watching almost any Olympic sport – even water polo, about which I know nothing. 

I’m not quite sure why I love the Olympics so much.  A lot of my friends just don’t understand it.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I love to see people at the top of their game, competing against the world’s best.  Plus, it also brings out my unabashedly patriotic side – I love to see Americans win those medals.  And I enjoy seeing the parents of these athletes as they watch their children compete – so anxious and so proud.  I also can’t resist any touching story of an athlete beating ridiculous odds to make it to the Olympics.  This kind of competition often brings out the best in people – they are often more gracious, more humble, and more grateful.    

We’re showing the Olympics at the library, back in the Teen Room.  Here is the schedule.  If you want to beat the heat and relax in a nice air-conditioned room, we hope you’ll join us.  If you want to get into the spirit of the Games, check out our new display of sports books and movies by the Information Desk!

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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


Review of “Overseas” by Beatriz Williams

I don’t usually read romance novels.  I don’t have anything against them – I just prefer to read from other genres.  So I’m not quite sure what prompted me to pick up Overseas by Beatriz Williams, but I’m sure glad I did.  It was absolutely addicting, with plenty of mind-bending twists.  It is a true romance that transcends both time and space (I mean this literally – time travel is involved).  Kate Wilson is a financial analyst who has sworn off any kind of a relationship with a man so she can focus on her career.  Julian Laurence is a spectacularly successful hedge fund owner and British billionaire who, upon meeting Kate, turns his attention on her like a laser beam.  She melts under his attention, and they quickly fall in love.  However, Julian has an extraordinary secret that he can no longer keep from Kate.  Will she be able to bear the truth when she finds out?  And to what lengths will both of them go to protect their love?

I suppose I enjoyed this so much because I ended up caring about both of the main characters.  The book reminded me a little of all of the vampire romances being written – very nice girl meets very hot vampire, who is perfect and also very, very protective.  There are no vampires in this, though, and Kate is actually not annoying but rather likable.  Their romance is a sweet one, and I found myself rooting for it to work up to the very last page.

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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

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