Fun at Foster's blog

Theodosia Burr Shepherd

 

Theodosia Burr Shepherd was born in Keosauqua, Iowa.  She was the daughter of Augustus Hall, a lawyer who later became Chief Justice of Nebraska.  She married W.E. Shepherd on September 9, 1866, and they moved to California for her health in 1873.  In Ventura, Theodosia developed the California flower seed industry, starting in 1874.  She began by swapping seeds through a ladies’ magazine.  After a few years, she expanded her property and began growing flowers for their seeds.   In 1881, she sent a package of seeds to Peter Henderson of New York, one of the nation’s leading nurserymen, who encouraged her to grow seeds and flowers in the Ventura climate. 

She built a business, the Theodosia B. Shepherd Company, which annually issued a retail catalogue and two wholesale lists. She received encouragement and accolades from W. Atlee Burpee, founder of the Burpee seed company, as well as other well know horticulturists.  At one point she was known throughout the United States as the “Flower Wizard of California”.  Theodosia’s hope was that her daughters, and other women, would find an alternative to the drudgery of housework by becoming involved in growing flowers and selling seeds. She wrote and lectured on plant life, her hybridization work, and her success as a pioneering woman in the seed industry.    She was a remarkable woman well ahead of her time.  She died September 6, 1906 in Ventura, California.

Remnants of her gardens can still be seen on the grounds of the E. P. Foster Library, as well as in the parking lot behind the library.  A banana plant and two strawberry trees near the first floor back entrance of the library were once part of Theodosia’s garden.   A Norfolk pine grows between the upper and lower parking lot and there are a few palm trees as well.

 


If you would like to find out more about Ventura’s unique history, Foster Library is a good place to start.

Resident Photographer - Aleta Rodriguez

Wrapping up Foster Con

After months of planning, revising, and more revising, our first ever Foster Con has come to a close. Thanks to the hard work and support of those behind the scenes and in front, our event was, I think, a success. It certainly wasn’t without some hiccups, but it turned out pretty good for a first effort. I’m already thinking of ideas for next year.

Thanks to the Directors Initiative grant, in a matter of months we were able to bring together local vendors, artists, and very special guests to present our own version of a comic con. With donations from the Friends of the Library, Diamond Comic Distributors, and IDW, we handed out over 250 goodie bags to adults and children. The candy sushi was a big hit with the kids and our airbrush tattoo artist, Miss Celeste, treated folks to tattoos resembling our own library card. The photo booth was also popular with kids and parents alike, dressing up in props to have their photos taken.

Our very special guest, Sergio Aragones gave an amazing talk about his work, answering questions, taking photos with guests, and even signing autographs. He gave so generously of his time, and fans young and old listened eagerly as he talked about his many adventures. It was so delightful to see fans meeting him for the first time, just wanting to shake his hand. He spent time with everyone, even the littlest of fans. I’m so very grateful he agreed to take part in our event. I must say, he was a big part of our event’s success.

The art contest didn’t quite go as planned, but the costume contest turned out to be a hit. Thanks to our volunteer, Sami, we got some adults in on the act. They showed up in some great costumes. I really liked Tony Stark and Doctor Who. With the help of our emcee, Amber, and judges, Robert Seaton and Linda Terry, the costume contest was well-received.

Both Ralph’s Comic Corner and Seth’s Games and Anime had vendor tables, selling comics and collectibles. Local comic artist and writer, Andres Salazar, came to promote his graphic novel Pariah, Missouri. He was kind enough to donate a copy to Foster Library, and I plan to review it as soon as it’s ready.

All in all, it was a good first effort. Sure, we may have hit a few snags, but we made it work out. In the end, the kids had a really good time, lots of graphic novels where checked out, and I got to meet a comic legend. Not bad for our first year.

Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

Books Awards from the American Library Association

Each January during their winter conference, The American Library Association (ALA) gives out many acknowledgements and awards to books and authors.  Three of those awards are:

The Caldecott Medal:
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children in the previous year.  The first award was given out in 1938 to Animals of the Bible, a Picture Book illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop; text: selected by Helen Dean Fish (Stokes).  The 2013 is This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press).

The Newbery Medal:
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The Newbery Award became the first children's book award in the world. Its terms, as well as its long history, continue to make it the best known and most discussed children's book award in this country. The first award was given out in 1922 to The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Liveright) and the 2013 is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

The Michael L. Printz Award:
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association.  The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.  The award-winning book may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology.  The first Printz award was given out in 2000 to Monster, by Walter Dean Myers (Harper-Collins). The 2013 winner is In the Darkness by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury).

E.P. Foster Library will be taking votes from patrons for the 2014 winners.  What books do you feel are worthy to win these awards?  Cast your votes!  Boxes will be available in November and December on the Children’s floor to cast your ballots for these prestigious awards.

Seabirds

As a coastal community, Ventura has an abundance of seabirds.  The most common birds are California Brown Pelicans, ducks, various breeds of seagulls, grebes, and cormorants.  If you spend any time at the beach, though, you may also notice some smaller birds near the shore. 

Sanderlings tend to be the smallest shore bird, are usually found in groups, and generally run back and forth on the beach as the tide ebbs and flows looking for small prey.  You might be entertained by their antics and the “peeps” they make as they skitter back and forth across the sand.  Black Bellied Plovers are a bit larger, a little darker in color, and have a slightly shorter, thicker bill.  In breeding season they have a striking black belly.  The Marbled Godwit is larger still and has a very long bill, suitable for finding food in the wet sand near the waterline.  If you are fascinated by the abundance of waterfowl on our coast, Foster Library can help you identify the different species with a number of books about birds

-Resident Photographer Aleta Rodriguez

Ukulele Weekend at Foster Library

 

Ukulele weekend at Foster Library!


11/9 1-2 p.m. Bring your ukulele to a free class. Learn the basics of the ukulele and stick around to strum with friends. Free and open to the public!

 

11/10 2-4 p.m. Ron Hargrave visits our Sounds of Second Sunday series. Ron is a local ukulele legend. Please bring your ukulele and play along as we celebrate this unique instrument.

 

Call 648-2716 for more information.

Computer classes at Foster Library


Computer classes take place every Monday from 11-11:45. We work in the computer lab upstairs and have room for 8 people. No reservation is required, just show up and we will direct you!
Call Foster at 648-2716 for more information.

Classes in November:

11/4 Basic Training - Doug's five step method for navigating the internet: In this class you will learn how to log onto the internet as well as the five necessary functions for completing a successful internet search.

11/11 Flickr Follow Up - Learn how to post your photographs online to share with family and friends. Yahoo account required. Bring in a flash drive with pictures for hands on experience.

11/18 Zinio - Use this library database to download FREE magazines.

11/25 Q&A - A drop in session where you can ask for help with your technology questions.

The Mermaid of Soter Point

 
In Marina Park, there is a 20 foot statue of a mermaid playing a flute, situated on a patch of land known
as Soter Point.  While the origins of the statue itself are shrouded in mystery, how she came to Marina
Park is a different story.  Andy Soter, who lost his daughter, Andrea, to ovarian cancer, wanted to do
something for the community in memory of his daughter.  Samuel Povar, as part of his mission to
enhance Ventura with private-public art projects, had already sponsored a memorial near the Ventura
Pier in honor of his late wife, Orianna.   Alec Benke, a Russian immigrant, was the man with the
mermaid.  Together, they brought the statue to Soter Point, where it can be seen as the centerpiece of
the renovation at Marina Park.  If you would like to find more information about how this all came
together, you can read the full story by visiting this database.  Just one of many databases available to you, with your library card, through www.vencolibrary.org.
 
Resident Photographer - Aleta Rodriguez
 

Halloween Safety Tips

Join The E.P. Foster staff along with First 5 of Ventura at the Pacific View Mall on Halloween between 4 and 7 for a special and safe Halloween.

Happy Halloween from the staff at E.P. Foster Library.

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

ALL DRESSED UP:

•Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
•Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
•Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
•When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
•Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
•Some costumes may be scary to a young child, before the big day, show little ones rubber masks in daylight and let them touch and see that it is only a mask.
•Remind children that if a costume is scary, it is really just like theirs, a costume. Have children check for regular shoes on the feet of what may be a scary costume walking down the street.
•Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
•Host or attend a Halloween Party.    
•A parent or responsible adult should accompany children on their Trick-or-Treat route.    
•Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
•Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters.
•Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
•If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
•Never cut across yards or use alleys.
•Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks. Never cross between parked cars or out  driveways.
•Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
•If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
•Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
•Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
•Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
 
HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:
•A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
•Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
•Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
•Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

New Books: Graphic Novels

If you’ve ever perused the New Book section of the library, you may have noticed an increasing number of graphic novels. In fact, there are currently over thirty of them.  Even if you may not be an avid comic book reader, it’s a worthwhile part of the collection that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Among the titles on the shelf, you’ll find graphic novels with Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman. There are also some based on television shows, such as Castle, Once Upon a Time, and True Blood. I happened to like True Blood: Where Were You?, which recalls a time before the series when vampires first went public with their identities, telling the story from each characters point of view. Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen looks at the complex relationship between the Queen and the Huntsman.
 
Other graphic novel titles are adaptations of well-known books. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is given its own series. James Patterson’s Zoo, a tale of the animal kingdom fighting back against man, has also been adapted. Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was particularly well-adapted, but it‘s definitely not for kids.
 
Still others are for those looking for something beyond the traditional superhero titles. Saga, a graphic novel about two warring alien factions, is particularly good. Jerusalem: A Family Portrait tells the story of three generations of one family living in the midst of Israel’s struggles with Palestine. Husbands tells of two gay men who wake up one morning to find themselves married after a crazy Vegas weekend.

There are many titles worth looking into, with new ones coming monthly. There’s a little something for everyone, and you’ll find them in our New Book section.
 
Heather, the graphic novel goddess

OZ-sified


The last few months have seen several high profile adaptations of American author, L. Frank Baum's major work, THE WIZARD OF OZ. Indeed, due to WICKED, the book and Broadway musical, Baum's story has seldom been out of the mass popular culture consciousness for the past few years.

The summer brought OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, a prequel which imagines how the wizard got to Oz in the first place. Of course that would also involve the back stories of, in this case, three witches, and how they got that way.

This wizard being a bit of a bounder, the story is also spiced up with a bit of romantic intrigue (of which there is none in the Baum original). But ultimately this version comes off as an epic fantasia on the original book, and features some truly spectacular 3-D effects. (This cyclone and the droll credit sequence with its jaunty Danny Elfman score are both knockouts).

GREAT AND POWERFUL was released by Disney Productions which at one time had planned an OZ musical, THE RAINBOW ROAD TO OZ. Originally planned for the Mouseketeers, who actually did a promo for the film on one of Disney's 1950s TV shows, it was never made. Disney finally did do "Return to Oz", loosely based on the second Oz book, in 1985.

Coincidentally (or maybe not) the original MGM 1939 version was released in a 3-D transformation in September. Personally, I've always thought OZ was a 3-D film just waiting to happen, and the detailed set design and camera setups adapt themselves perfectly to the dimensional process. The first circular truck around Munchkinland after Dorothy steps out of black-and-white into dazzling 3-D Technicolor is breathtaking, as is the incredibly choreographed Munchkin mini-opera which follows.

Even the BxW prologue, which looks like something out of John Ford's GRAPES OF WRATH, is enhanced by 3-D, particularly the shots of the barren road leading away from Dorothy's farm which now actually recedes into the far gray distance.

An odd postscript to this year's OZ-mania in a new stage musical which played the Pantages in LA in September. This version uses the MGM score but includes several new songs by, of all people, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (of EVITA/CATS fame). None of the new tunes were especially memorable - sample title: Red Shoe Blues, a song for the Wicked Witch! - and the overall production, co-produced by Sir Andrew himself, and, aside from a dynamic video cyclone, looked surprisingly tacky.

It's now almost difficult to recall that the source material for all this was a charmingly artless story that has been sited as the first (1900) genuinely American fairy tale. Though not without its naive charm, today the book itself seems like a first draft for the MGM film. Several writers labored for months on the beautifully cohesive screenplay, and many of the film's lines pervasively entered the language years ago.The literary Kansas opening takes up only a few pages and, there are no ruby slippers (they're silver) and no suggestion that Dorothy's journey was a dream. MGM did loosely pick up on the original W. W. Denslow illustrations, however, particularly in regard to Dorothy's hairstyle and the basic look of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.

Foster's collection of various editions includes "Journeys Through OZ," with both "Wizard" with Denslow's illustrations, and Baum's second book, "The Marvelous Land of Oz," with John R. Neill's more sophisticated images (and a protagonist - spoiler alert - who turns out to be transexual).

Fans of the book might also search out the comprehensive "Annotated Wizard of Oz," C. N. Potter, NY, 1971. And any film buff would find "The Making of The Wizard of Oz," Knopf, 1977, by film historian Aljean Harmetz, fascinating.

So.... To Oz? To Oz!

The opinions of, and critique by, Ross Care
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