Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s Blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



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Post by Assetou Xango


When I would play dress up as a kid, get into my mother’s closet while she was at work. Her dresses, shoes and jewelry were all fair game. This was, indeed, the basis of growth: emulating who you want to be. For me, the most imperative part of the dress up ritual, was the towel I wrapped around me head. I would pretend it was the long curl-less hair all the women in the movies. The ones, who were loved, irresistible, pursued: worthy.

As I write this, my mother is obsessing over all the material she can find about Black Panther: the largest selling box office movie with a fully black cast to date. We saw it yesterday as a family and today, she is oooohing and awwwhing and telling all the actors how good they look in their various interview outfits and magazine spreads. I am upstairs taking a bath and she is literally calling me on my cell phone to give me updates on the new things she has learned about the actors.

“You know, the bald head women with a spear; the main one?”
“Yeah, mama?”
“She’s from Uganda. And Nakia, she’s Kenyan.”
“Where is the sister from, mom?”
“I don’t know! I’ll call you when I do!”

She is a kid again. This is the same mother who rolled her eyes at my dashiki the day before (I HAD to dress up for the movie). This is the same mother who did not want me to get dreadlocks in college but she was afraid they’d look too “messy”. This is the mother who permed my hair throughout all of high school until she discovered the fatal chemicals in the product. This is the same mother, who reluctantly told me a few weeks ago, “I hate to say this, I REALLY hate to say this…but you look best with a bald head.” This is the same mother who watches young black girls explain how they style their hair on YouTube every weekend. This is the same mother who wears a wig to work everyday, covering her beautiful, thick, salt and pepper hair. When I ask her why she does it, her answer is a jumbled mess of angst and defeat. She tells me about ageism, about the rapport she has finally gained as a black woman and that she can’t let that be stripped away.

She is a proud woman who cannot show it. She was raised in the ghettos of Miami. This is the way she has learned to survive. Ways in which I will never have to be skilled because she overcame the things that might bound me. Beneath every scoff at my tribal-inspired makeup, behind every head shake, concealed in every eye roll, I can hear her begging me to be safe. “You are already black,” the voice whispers, “why do you have to make yourself more of a target?”

But something happened, as my family watched at those large as life, proud to be black, figures dance across the big screen. Something happened for my mother when Angela Bassett removed her headdress and revealed a head full of glorious, white, hair. Something happened for me seeing black men shamelessly love, seek and kneel to their black women. There is a feeling in my house right now of celebration. There is an inescapable liberatory air in these walls.

You may consider it just a movie. For us, it is a statement of purpose, a right to be do it visibly. It is the signal we have been waiting for. The one that says it’s safe to come out from underneath our various methods of survival and thrive. It did not start with this movie. We have been fighting for this moment a long time. It has been grassroots and homegrown. It has started in the kitchen, in the barbershop, at poetry venues. It started on Pinterest, on Facebook and Twitter. They say we are a people divided. That may be true, but all of our infighting and distrust is over shadowed by our ever rising call to freedom. My mother found it by hiding in plain sight (think Wakanda). This new generation is building off of that strength and making ourselves known. Making it known that our lives matter. Black Panther is more than just a film. It is less than game changer. This monumental moment is a benchmark, a checkpoint, a confirmation. We are on our path. We will not cease. We are here.

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 27, 2018 at 1:00 PM
  

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Meet your Bloggers! 

Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s Blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

 At Aurora Public Library we strive to meet the needs of the citizens of Aurora with books, information and other resources in a positive and proactive manner. Our e-content and public programming are made possible through the generosity of our Friends of the Aurora Public Library.

 A library is so much more than books. While we may still house those beloved volumes of Dostoyevsky and Orville, we also house and curate young minds via our STEAM programs, or via our weekly storytimes. We are a place to gather, to join community, to make new friends, to learn a new skill or trade, to finish high school, or learn a new language-and in this vain, our blog strives to continue this ideology. We hope that when you are in search of something new, something old or even something exciting for you or your family to enjoy, Aurora Public Library comes to mind. Our blog explores books you may want to read, authors you may want to know more about, and even fun crafts for your family to enjoy.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.

 To find out more about our librar
y staff who contribute to the blog, read below. 

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Elizabeth B.

Elizabeth Bernhardt is a Library Assistant at the Iliff Square Branch of Aurora Public Library, conveniently located near the Friends of the Aurora Library bookstore to enable all of your reading cravings. She loves all aspects of library work, from dancing badly at Toddler Storytime to teaching computer lessons and making adorable lopsided crafts. When not at work, Elizabeth likes playing video games and board games, reading five books at once, and curling up under fuzzy blankets with giant mugs of tea. 

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Justine C.

 Justine graduated magna cum laude from Colorado College in 2015 and has been working at the Central Branch of Aurora Public Library for nearly two years. In her natural habitat she can be found reading, playing video games, writing, and binging TV shows or movies with her grandfather. She is also fond of the outdoors and possibly too fond of cats, especially her cat daughter, Sassy.

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Brittni E.

Brittni Ehrhart is the Programming and Outreach Librarian for Aurora Public Library. She enjoys cuddling with her cat Rue, going on extended roundtrips with her boyfriend Wes, hiking our beautiful state, photography, and drinking lattes.

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Brandon F. 

Brandon is a Library Assistant with the Central Branch of Aurora Public Library. You will usually find him hiking in the beautiful Rockies or enjoying one of my many nerdy hobbies. My reading interests are horror, sci-fi and fantasy.

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Chris G.

You may recognize Chris as the director of a series of 2011 YouTube videos starring his cat Clancy, as founder of the Houston-based bookmobile The Billy Pilgrim Traveling Library, or, more recently, as that guy who works at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch of Aurora Public Library. His passions are literature, music, TV, food, beer, and making lists about literature, music, TV, food, and beer. He lives in Northwest Denver with his wife Kelly, the aforementioned Clancy, and another, less picturesque cat, Nora.

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Steven K.

Steven K. is a Library Assistant II at the Central Branch of the Aurora Public Library. He has earned degrees in political science, anthropology, and English literature and has the caffeine addiction to prove it. Someday he aspires to procrastinate writing fantasy novels, but for now he’ll stick to reading them.

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Laura R.

Laura is a Youth Services Library Assistant at the Central Branch of Aurora Public Library. You can usually find her reading, writing poems, riding bikes, or eating ice cream.

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Kristin S.

Kristin has worked at Aurora Public Library since 2013 and specializes in teen programs, adult programs and computer tutoring. Her hobbies include video games, digital painting, and designing Excel spreadsheets for fun.

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Zach S.

Zach is a Programming & Outreach Library Assistant for Aurora Public Library. His passions are mountains, skiing, pretending to be crafty or handy, exploring the world with his wife, long adventures with their fluffy dog, and adding cappuccinos or wine to all of those activities. 

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Julie S.

Julie is a Library Assistant at the Tallyn's Reach Branch of Aurora Public Library who loves to spend her days dancing with toddlers and chasing teenagers with Nerf guns. She enjoys watching Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Star Trek with her family. Julie's favorite book is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

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Sara V.H.

Sara  is a Programming & Outreach Library Assistant II for Aurora Public Library. An (almost) lifelong resident of Aurora, Sara is proud to call Aurora home and serve her fellow Aurorans at the library! She loves to travel and explore new places with her husband Joe (especially if a beach is involved). She is a lover of all things Disney, football and cats – especially her Russian Blue Charlie – and usually has an Elton John or Taylor Swift song stuck in her head. Sara loves to read all kinds of books, but Young Adult is one of her favorite genres.

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Tessy W.

Tessy is a Reference Library Assistant at the Central Branch of Aurora Public Library. Focusing on computer literacy and unearthing the right book for that last minute research paper, she also presents classes at the library ranging from crafty do-it-yourself to financial literacy presentations.

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Assetou Xango
Assetou Xango

Dominique Sample goes by her artistic name Assetou Xango. She was introduced to performance poetry at age 15 by several world renowned poets who visited her school and was “instantly obsessed.” Xango memorized their poems and began writing constantly, anxiously awaiting the day she was old enough that her mother allowed her to attend the various poetry venues. 

A year later, Xango made her first competitive poetry team: a youth team called Minor Disturbance. They traveled to Los Angeles and competed internationally, achieving fourth place in the overall competition, and were featured on HBO. By the end of that season, she was 20 years old and had “aged out” of the youth program, so she joined their staff and taught poetry workshops to youth in summer camp programs to halfway houses, where she continues this work today with Minor Disturbance, Youth on Record, and Creative Strategies for Change, a local nonprofit organization that teaches a variety of art courses in K-12 schools. Here, she is its school program coordinator in charge of art classes in the Metro Area.

As a community leader, she continues her poetry work, forming and hosting three poetry venues throughout the nation, as well as community gatherings and forums. At the beginning of 2016, she was published in the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Annual "Glyph" poetry book. She was also a performer in a recent TED Mile High Women event held in the Buell Theatre for a sold-out crowd of 2,700 people.

Assetou Xango reports she is excited and eager to find a new way to spread the passion and joy of poetry, helping people realize they have 'a voice' and to find it. “I have seen poetry enhance so many lives and change so many minds. I have spent my life in Aurora and have a tremendous sense of pride. It would be a true honor to continue to serve this growing community as a Poet Laureate.”

Her tenure as Aurora’s Poet Laureate runs from February 2017 through January 2019. If interested in booking her for an Aurora event, click here to contact us. 


We hope you enjoy!

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 27, 2018 at 12:42 PM
  

Gaming Systems

Post by Brandon F. 

I am here to give you the skinny on what gaming system will best fit your wants and needs. I will be breaking down the numerous facets of each system in simple terms that will give you the information that you need. No confusing technical jargon to be found here!

The Nintendo Switch
Nintendo
Here we start with the granddaddy of all video games. If it were not for Nintendo, we would not have video games as we know it now. So what does their latest system, the Nintendo Switch, have to offer?

  • Graphics: The Switch comes in last place among the new consoles and it could best be thought of as a Playstation 3.5 as far as visual performance goes. However, Nintendo has mastered artistic design and you will be still be in awe of the majestic fields of Hyrule and any graphical worries will be left behind. You will also be getting High-Definition resolution in both docked and portable mode but don’t expect to find 4K resolution here.
  • Gimmick: Since the dawn of the Atari, gamers have wanted a console gaming experience that they can take on the go, and Nintendo has finally delivered on that dream. The Nintendo Switch sits inside a dock which is constantly connected to your TV Simply drop the Switch in for instant TV play and pick it back up and take it wherever your heart desires for a great portable experience. Be warned though that this is purely a gaming system. Streaming services such as Hulu are available for the system but do not expect any physical or Blu-ray support.
  • Cost: The Nintendo Switch has debuted at a respectable cost of $299.99. Considering that the system comes with two controllers, this a great deal. Don’t expect any price drops soon as the system has been selling incredibly well.
  • Games: The Switch has only been out for a year, but what a year it has been! Three game of the year contenders come from the Switch family and two of those are also in contention for best game ever. Both new iterations from the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises are absolute masterpieces that will provide you with an unrivaled experience in the open-world/adventure genre. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is no slouch itself with a compelling storyline and endearing characters that will give you at least 50 hours of gameplay. As time goes on, you will only have more and more to choose from when it comes to the Switch library.
  • Final Verdict: If you are a gamer first, with a love for the classics, the Nintendo Switch is for you with its killer first party games and portability.

The Playstation 4 Pro

Playstation 4

  • Graphics: The PS4 comes in at a very strong second behind the Xbox One and way ahead of the Nintendo Switch. With the PS4 Pro you are going to get games that have great graphic fidelity and can handle numerous on screen interactions at once. Thousands of characters can be on screen at once with little to no slowdown! When fighting a giant robotic dinosaur in Horizon Zero Dawn, you will see each individual cog and gear moving. That is how much detail can be presented with the power of the PS4 Pro.
  • Gimmick: The PS4 is the only home console to feature a high-end Virtual Reality Headset. The Playstation VR truly puts you into the game with a complete 360 degree field of vision and full depth perception. Have you ever dreamed of flying an X-Wing from Star Wars? With the Playstation VR, that dream becomes reality. You will also find the ability to watch all of your Blu-ray movies and DVDS on the PS4 Pro and as well 4K streaming through services such as Netflix and Hulu. I must emphasize that 4K can only be utilized through streaming as there is no 4K disc support on the PS4 Pro.
  • Cost: The Playstation 4 Pro currently sits at $399.99 for the standard 1 Terabyte model which comes with one controller. You can get the standard non-pro model of the PS4 for $299.99 but you will be missing out on 4K support and improved performance when it comes to gaming.
  • Games: The PS4 currently has the largest number of system exclusive games when compared to the other two console competitors. Seven of these exclusives also currently hold a Metacritic score of 90 or higher, which reflects the top notch quality you can expect from the PS4 library. You can expect Hollywood quality storytelling and voice acting that will truly immerse you into the experience. Lose yourself into the Sengoku Period of Japan while battling your way through Nioh. Roam a future version of Colorado where robotic creatures rule the land in Horizon Zero Dawn. Hunt for ancient treasure in the deepest depths of the jungles of Madagascar in Uncharted 4. The days of being impressed by the beeps and boops of Pong are long gone. You are in the game now.
  • ‚óŹFinal Verdict: If you want the largest variety of great exclusive games then the PS4 Pro is for you. You can also look forward to a full entertainment system that will cover your movie and TV playing needs along with the capability to experience Virtual Reality!

Xbox One X
xbox one

  • Graphics: Here is the king of visual presentation. Not only does the Xbox One X have the strongest processor under the hood, it also features full 4K support, includeing 4K discs. Video game developers who create a game for both the Xbox and PS4 might not take advantage of the former’s full capability, but exclusive games such as Forza and Halo will bring a visual splendor unlike anything you have seen before.
  • Gimmick: Power, power and more power. The Xbox One X is the most beastly of the consoles when it comes to what is running under the hood. Combining its processor with the ability to play 4K discs makes it leagues above the other systems. I must say though that you won’t see much visual difference for games that come out for both the Xbox and the Playstation. Game developers have to create a game that can run smoothly for both systems and they tend to adapt to the system with lesser graphical capability. Your system exclusives sure will look great though, as well your 4K movies.
  • Cost: Here is the part that hurts. The Xbox One X currently sits at $499.99. It has the most advanced tech out of all of the home consoles and you are most certainly paying for it. The much more affordable Xbox One Slim can be found for $199.99 but you will be missing out on the increased graphic fidelity and the bells and whistles that the X model features.
  • Games: The Xbox One X unfortunately does not have the quantity of quality exclusives the PS4 has, nor does it have the best game ever contenders like the Switch; however, this does not mean that the Xbox is without some fantastic games. Cuphead was a fantastic title that came out this year, which was made completely by hand drawn animation reminiscent of the old Walt Disney Cartoons. The visuals then get cranked up to 11 with Forza Horizon 3. This racing game will take you on an adrenaline fueled journey through the beautiful vistas of Australia. True 4K resolution was added on January 15th 2018, so you can truly feel the speed as you are racing at over 170 miles per hour. To wrap it up, you have Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Simply think of the Hunger Games in video game form, and you will have the right idea. Will you be the last one standing?
  • Final Verdict: If you are the tech junkie who loves having the newest and shiniest toys, the Xbox One X is for you. You will have the most powerful console on the market and a true treasure to show off to friends and family. However, I would only recommend the X model of the system if you have a 4K TV that can take advantage of the system’s true potential. Otherwise, I must recommend you go for the far cheaper Slim model.

  Let us know in the comments which gaming system is your favorite! 

Sources

MetaCritic PS4 overview

MetaCritic PS4 overview

MetaCritic PS4 overview

Posted by behrhart@auroragov.org  On Feb 22, 2018 at 12:54 PM 2 Comments
  

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Picture Books to Celebrate Black History Month Title Photo
Post by Laura R.

Parents, librarians, and educators know it’s important for kids to see themselves and their lives reflected in the stories they read. In honor of Black History Month this February, I’ve gathered a list of eight of my favorite picture books featuring African-American protagonists.

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"Leo Loves Baby Time" by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Ruth Hearson

This story is one of several excellent picture books by author-illustrator duo Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson, all featuring African-American main characters. Also check out Leo Can Swim and Lola Loves Stories. In Leo Loves Baby Time, Leo and his mom head to baby storytime at their local library where they sing songs, play with scarves, and have playtime. A great book for your baby or toddler, it has just the right amount of text and bright illustrations of babies for little ones to marvel at. I especially love this book because I lead Baby Storytime every week at my branch—it tells the story of storytime!

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"Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship" by Irene Latham & Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

I adore this brand new picture book, a series of conversational poems told from the alternating voices of two children, one black, one white. Charles and Irene are paired together for a poetry project in their fifth grade class, and neither are thrilled by the match. As the poems progress, the two write about going to church and having dinner with family, but they also deal with racial differences and the difficulties of talking about them. Eventually, their experiences start to bring them together. Reading this deeply heartwarming book with your child is great way to spark important conversations about race.

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"Chocolate Me!" by Taye Digg, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Chocolate Me! is a celebration of blackness and a story of self-affirmation for young readers. This easy-to-follow picture book has repeating text and big, bright illustrations. We follow a little boy as he wishes he could be more like his white neighborhood friends, with different hair and a narrower nose. But after a sweet pep talk from his loving mother, all of that changes.

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"Alfie" by Thyra Heder

In this adorable picture book about the relationship between a girl and her pet, we first hear the story from the perspective of seven-year-old Nia, then from the perspective of her turtle, Alfie. After Nia receives Alfie as a birthday gift, she introduces him to all her stuffed animals and decorates his terrarium. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to notice. Then one day, Alfie disappears. Will the pair be reunited? Read the story to find out; you’ll be sure to fall in love with both narrators!

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"28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World" by Charles R. Smith, Jr., illustrated by Shane W. Evans

A new and different take on black history, this non-fiction picture book dedicates a page each to twenty-eight important moments in African American culture. Many of the dates feature well-known figures, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., as well ones not so well-known, like Matthew Henson, arctic explorer. Descriptions of the events are written in verse and include a short paragraph of factual information for curious readers.

Book image cover

"My Good Morning" by Kim Crockett Corson & Jelena Brezovec

I enjoy My Good Morning because, like so many children who read picture books, our main character is mixed race. But that’s not the focus of the story. We follow a little girl as she gets ready for a day at kindergarten, brushing her teeth, getting dressed, and having breakfast—with a few mistakes along the way. Finally, it’s time to say goodbye to Dad, but she won’t cry! With fun rhyming text and expressive illustrations, parents and kids alike will relate to this character’s daily routine.

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"Princess Truly in My Magical Sparkling Curls" by Kelly Greenawalt, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

Just like Chocolate Me!, this story is one of self-affirmation, but with a female protagonist. The second and newest of the Princess Truly series, the story focuses on Truly’s beautiful “fluffy, puffy” hair. Simple rhyming text details Truly’s confidence in herself as she explores outer space and the deep sea. My Magical Sparkling Curls is a great read to show girls it’s okay to believe in themselves and to see themselves as beautiful.

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"Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street received the Newbery Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Award Honor in 2016, and in my book, it totally deserves all of them. The pictures are perfect: vibrant and simple in Christian Robinson’s signature fashion. The story follows CJ as he makes his way from church to a mystery location with his nana. CJ grumbles about making the trek across town, but Nana has some wisdom to share about the beauty of their neighborhood. When the pair finally get where they’re going (I won’t say where) CJ’s glad they came, and you will be too!

These are only a few of the great picture books available today. Stop in to your Aurora Public Library for many more recommendations and happenings!

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 15, 2018 at 2:52 PM 3 Comments
  

Take the book love quiz
Post by Elizabeth B. 

Valentine's day is either a day you love or one you dread, but no matter your feelings, we always have our books. Whether you need a conversation starter for a first date or simply need to know which book is your true love, we have the quiz for you. Click on the link below to take the quiz and share your results in the comments! 

Click here to take our quiz and find your book love!

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 10, 2018 at 8:02 AM
  
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