Fun at Foster's blog

Ventura County Library Week, 1952

 

Librarians Exclaim: “Something For Everyone!”

-Official Slogan of First “Library Week,” March of 1952

On February 26, 1952, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution proclaiming March 10 to 16 as “Library Week,” celebrating the contributions of libraries in Ventura County. A week later, Mayor Edwin Lee Gardner II of Ventura County released the official announcement to the right, appearing in the March 8 edition of the Ventura County Star Free Press.

Saved clippings from this paper remain in our archives, proudly displaying the accomplishments of the Ventura County Library System in 1952: unveiling new technologies, gadgets, and collections; the previous year’s statistics; highlighting various employees and little-known positions; giving special attention to the book mobile; and describing many exciting activities and events that would be happening over the week to come.

“Something For Everyone” is the declared slogan and special collection displays are prepared, the doors to back-building operations are opened and tours are organized to demonstrate every aspect of library operation, including a 7:30 evening tour on Monday to kick off the celebrations.

Holdings: 217,983
Circulation: 379,148
Miles traveled by Bookmobile: 45,000
Branches: 19

Now as we approach the end of the sixty-third anniversary of Ventura County Library Week I can reflect on how many things have changed and how many have stayed the same. Then, as now, we celebrated our Spanish language and special media collections (though now including DVDs), we continue to promote and innovate with adult and children's programming, and while the dearly-beloved bookmobile is no more, our daily deliveries of requests taken from branch to branch combined with special digital archives freely available through our eLibrary continue in spirit much of the bookmobile's purpose. 

Sixty-three years later we can still proclaim our old slogan with pride, that indeed there is “Something For Everyone,” but more, as our new services continue to grow, “Take Your Library Home With You!” seems equally apt. So grab a book, eReader, or laptop, and wherever you are celebrate with us this special occasion and remember a unique and essential part of our city: your public library.


Alan Martin, Your Friendly Reader


Minute to Win It @ Foster

On Friday, March 27, the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) at E.P. Foster Library will host a special event on the second floor of the library.

Minute to Win It will include a series of minute-long games that’s sure to include something for everyone. There will be prizes for the winners in addition to the thrill of participation!

This event begins at 5 p.m. on the second floor. Stop by for some excitement and good times!

Novelties: “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins

When it comes to memory, what is real and what is imagined can be difficult to distinguish, particularly when we find ourselves in times of great stress or emotion. Our minds take what we encounter and build narratives around the facts, narratives which make sense to us or that we find interesting or comforting. This phenomenon can be immensely useful for an author who wants to keep the reader in suspense; the use of an unreliable narrator is one of the best ways to keep an audience guessing—and turning the page. This month Novelties takes a look at three titles which carry the reader along on a bumpy ride full of mysterious disappearances and stunning revelations.

  The Girl on the Train (2015) is Paula Hawkins’ debut novel, and it has already generated enough buzz that many expect it will be adapted into a film in the near future. Her main character is Rachel, an alcoholic who is struggling to keep her life together after losing her marriage and her job. Rachel, in a desperate attempt to experience a type of vicarious bliss, constructs a vivid backstory for a couple she sees during her morning commute, imagining them as a “golden couple” reminiscent of Rachel and her husband prior to their divorce. The couple lives a few doors down from Rachel’s former home, where her husband and his new wife, Anna, are happily raising their new baby. But Rachel’s fantasy is upended when she witnesses the golden woman, Megan, kissing another man. Megan goes missing shortly thereafter, and Hawkins begins to reveal how Megan and Anna, both seemingly living ideal lives, each have their own demons to struggle with. Rachel becomes involved in the ensuing investigation into Megan’s disappearance, with her alcohol-addled narration combining with sections from Anna and Megan’s points of view to form a complex but riveting plot. A rich psychological thriller full of twists and surprises, The Girl on the Train promises to be well worth the read.
Reviews of Hawkins’ novel almost uniformly compare it to our second title, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This 2012 sensation made an incredible splash, so much so that by 2014 it had been released as a feature film starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. Gone Girl likewise deals with a failed marriage from multiple points of view: the somehow both charming and boorish husband Nick and the picture book-perfect wife Amy (who is literally the subject of a series of books, Amazing Amy, written by her parents). Amy’s disappearance shocks their community, but the sympathy directed toward Nick swiftly turns to suspicion as his lack of alibi and evasive answers to police questioning increasingly paint him as a man with something to hide. Present-day narration by Nick alternates with diary entries from Amy that detail the history of their relationship from its charmed beginning to its ugly demise, ending with Amy so scared for her life that she tries to purchase a gun for protection. Flynn reveals the truth behind the crime in a manner which may feel predictable and yet still manages to deliver some serious reveals. Although it wasn’t her first novel, this dark portrait of a twisted marriage put Flynn on the map as a master of multiple perspectives and unreliable narration.
Losing You (2005) by Nicci French (actually married writing duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) rounds out this month’s trio. In it we meet Nina Landry, a divorced mother trying to rebuild her life. She has a new boyfriend and a new home, though the speed of life in the remote Sandling Island—far from the bustle of London—gives ample motivation to escape to more exciting locales. That’s exactly what Nina and her family are planning to do when her daughter, Charlie, goes missing after a party. At first the police are slow to act, believing that Charlie’s absence is the result of normal teenage rebellion and assuring Nina that she will turn up soon. As Nina learns that her daughter had been keeping certain secrets from her, her instincts lead her to push the investigation forward, even when it means acting on her own. The case plods on until evidence surfaces suggesting that Charlie may have been the victim of foul play. French manages to artfully convey Nina’s helplessness in the face of unsympathetic authority, as well as the panic and frustration of a mother who knows in her gut that her child is in danger. The narrative is undivided by chapters, which some readers found annoying but many felt contributed to their inability to put the book down until its thrilling conclusion.

The Girl on the Train is available as part of E.P. Foster Library’s New Fiction collection. Flynn’s Gone Girl and French’s Losing You are each available as well in the Fiction section. You can also check out NoveList Plus in the Reading Suggestions section of our eLibrary for more titles like these—or for something completely different! If the title you’re after isn’t on the shelf, check our catalog for additional copies at other branches or place a hold online or by calling the library. 

 

Puzzled out by Ronald Martin.

Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields @ Foster

Coming up on Wednesday, March 18, E.P. Foster Library will host a screening of a documentary about veterans and sustainable agriculture.

Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields looks at how soldiers returning home from combat are able to find opportunities to both rebuild their lives and enrich their communities by providing access to local, organic, healthy foods.

This free film screening is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in the Topping Room. For more information, contact the library or visit us on Facebook!

Another Successful Foster Con!

Another year—and another Foster Con—has come and gone. Hopefully you were one of the more than 300 people who attended this special event on Saturday, February 28. Now, I know those numbers don’t come close to those of San Diego Comic Con, or even Central Coast Comic Con here in Ventura, but it’s pretty great for a library! So don’t worry, San Diego, we’re not stealing your thunder.

Former Foster children's librarian Star Soto stopped by to help out with this year's event.
It was great to see her again!

This year’s event saw some fun new things, as well as some returning favorites. Candy sushi was once again a big hit. “What does that have to do with comics,” you ask? Not a darn thing, but hey, who doesn’t love candy? We had a great display of comics, newly arrived and just in time for the big event. We also tried something new this year: instead of art and costume contests, we had workshops on comics and cosplay. Carlos Nieto gave a wonderful workshop on making comics, helping every child that came his way. Mac Beauvais, our cosplayer, shared her experience in the world of cosplay, with costumes and props she made herself. Both shared their unique talents, and were well-received by those who attended.

Celeste, our fabulous airbrush tattoo artist, was back for another year, as was Ralph’s Comic Corner and Seth’s Games and Anime. We had new vendors, including Helen Penpen, author of Ivan the Hamster Knight; the Mandalorian Mercs, a Star Wars cosplay fan club; and Arsenal Comics and Games. The Mandalorian Mercs were a big hit with the kids, and they stopped to take photos with everyone. They were fantastic! Also new this year was True Thomas the Storyteller. Throughout the day, he would give a long, loud call for storytelling, and kids young and old came from everywhere to hear his stories.

We had lots of great speakers and vendors show up this year; thank you to everyone who
contributed to making this year's event a great one!

Goodie bags were once again handed out to the kids. We decided to have a raffle, with a wide range of prizes. I must really thank Tim Heague, with Arsenal Comics and Games, for generously donating some very special prizes. I won’t say what they were, since all of the winners have not yet claimed their prizes and I’d like to keep it a surprise!

For those vendors who participated I’d like to give a big thank-you for making this event such a success. For those who attended, I hope you had a good time. For those who didn’t, there’s always next year!

 

Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

J.L. Hauer: Mixed-Media Art @ Foster

Join us on Wednesday, March 11, for a special presentation on mixed-media art at E.P. Foster Library!

Local artist J.L. Hauer will discuss creating art using reclaimed materials. Examples of her work are currently on display in Foster Library’s foyer and have been featured in various galleries throughout the county and beyond.

This free event begins at 6 p.m. in the Topping Room. Call or drop by the library for more information!

Art Tales Writing Contest: Enter by April 1, 2015!

Attention local writers: there's still time to enter the City of Ventura's Art Tales Writing Contest!

Up until April 1, 2015, you can submit your writing for this year's competition. E.P. Foster Library is hosting inspirational artwork that you can view on the first and second floor in order to get your creative gears turning.

Contest rules, past winners, and digital representations of this year's art can be viewed on the city's website, and library staff can direct you to the display areas at Foster. Stop by the library and see if these pieces move you!

Shooting the Unexpected

Digital photography has proven to be a very freeing form of taking pictures. Many people are able to take snapshots with their cell phones, which are almost as good as some cameras. However, there are often things hiding in the images you take with a camera that you may not be able to see in cell phone shots.

Your Resident Photographer has often been surprised and delighted by discovering hidden gems in digital photographs she has taken. Last week, for example, I took a photograph of the crescent moon aligned with Venus. I was not aware—until I started processing the image in Lightroom—that I had also captured Mars, a barely-visible reddish dot between the moon and Venus.

Other photos I’ve taken over the years have also held surprises. An image taken of a deer munching grass along the side of the road shows several killdeer in the grass surrounding the deer; I could not see them when I took the photograph. A picture of a peach shows an ant crawling up the side, looking as though he is trying to conquer the world. And there is the photograph I took of a section of barbed wire at Casitas Pass summit: while the lake is blurred in the background, a drop of water shows a fairly clear, inverted image of the lake.

Sometimes the most memorable images are the unexpected ones. With digital photography, you can experiment without worrying about the cost of film. The next time you are out with your camera, or even your smartphone, try moving beyond the selfie or the snapshot. You may be surprised at what you capture.

If you want to know more, E.P. Foster Library has books about photography in general and digital photography in particular. There are videos available through Access Video on Demand, as well as other electronic resources in our databases where you can find additional information.

 

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

CI Lecture Series @ Foster

The CI Lecture Series continues at E.P. Foster Library! Our next speaker, Dr. Phil Hampton, will be presenting on Wednesday, March 4.

Dr. Hampton will use Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass” to explore "handed molecules" and how they relate to the thalidomide tragedy of the late 50s. A hands-on activity and 3D visualization of molecules will be included in this informative talk.

It all starts at 5 p.m. in the Topping Room. We hope to see you there!

Library LAB: Makeshop @ Foster

On Tuesday, March 3, E.P. Foster Library will host another great Makeshop event, this time featuring the return of the toothbrush robots!

Participants will get to make small, vibrating robots using motors, battery clips, and other assorted materials. We made some great designs last time, and had a lot of fun doing it!

This event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the library. Call or go online for more information!

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