Aurora Pvblic Library?

As you walk up the steps to the Aurora Public Library, have you ever looked above the door?

Aurora Public Library 414 Second Street Aurora Indiana

Does anything seem odd about the engraving in the cement at the top of the door?

Aurora Public Library

Lets take an even closer look.

Aurora Public Library

It seems as though the engraver misspelled “Public.”  But did he?

Aurora Public Library

I have walked through those doors many times over the past 18 years that I have lived in the community.  I have never paid much attention to the lettering style or the odd misspelling.  It was only when a gentleman visiting our community from out of town pointed it out to me that I noticed it.  He asked me “Is there a reason that they used a v instead of a u in the word Public on the building?”  This was a new question for me.  I asked a colleague who also had no idea of the answer.  I searched through the history we know about the building.  The lettering was not mentioned.  So this sent me off on a google search of just why this seemed to be misspelled.

This is what I learned: 

It was very common in public buildings erected during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century to use the Latin alphabet and  lettering style.

This was especially true of buildings that had Roman features.  

The Latin alphabet only has 23 letters.  

In the Latin alphabet U and V are used interchangeably.

 

It’s great to learn something new!

Oversized Nonfiction

At the Aurora branch, there is a special section upstairs for various oversized nonfiction books that many might have overlooked. These books have to be shelved separately from books over similar topics because they don’t fit on our regular shelves, so you’ll find a wide variety of topics included in this small section that encompass the nonfiction library as a whole. These books are so large that you’ll feel like a miniature person holding a giant-sized book from some kind of fairy tale!

The catch: you won’t be able to search the oversized nonfiction shelf from the catalog but instead will have to make an old-fashioned trip to the physical shelf to peruse.

But it’s so easy to lose yourself in the stack because these books are filled with large, glossy pages of photographs and information on all topics, ranging from animals and bugs to history and biographies. Something is bound to peak your interest!

Are you interested in panoramic views and photography? What about songbooks that are big enough that you won’t have to squint while you’re playing or singing? How about books on travel with full color-spreads that let you see every detail of the places you aspire to go? Do you like history and are interested in viewing photographs events like World War II and the September 11 terrorist attacks? What about ancient history? Do you like flipping through ancient timelines and seeing photographs of ancient relics? We have books over these subjects and more in the oversized nonfiction section!

Maybe you enjoy working with your hands and crafting? You’ll find titles about jewelry-making, art, sculpture, decor, style, design, paper-making, and how to make rugs and wall hangings. What about movies and movie trivia? Or sports like baseball, curling, the Olympics, and NASCAR? There’s bound to be something for you!

The next time you visit the Aurora branch, head on upstairs and make your way to the west wing, where we keep the magazines and community center. As you turn right when you come up the stairs, you’ll find the Oversized Nonfiction section to your right, right behind the last magazine shelves. Or just stop by the desk for directions!

Happy Reading!

#OnMyShelf

#OnMyShelf is a blog series in which I’ll share some of the books that are currently housed at my house on my shelves. I’ll pick random books and tell you a bit about that specific book, the story behind the purchase, and if I’ve read it, what I thought about it.

Titanic: The Longest Night is an enlightening and tragic tale of two teenage couples on the doomed Titanic. The story is written beautifully and will make any heart beat and weep for the tragic tale of the Titanic.

This book was actually bought for me by my grandmother. Within the cover of the book is a small little note to me from her and I’ve cherished the book ever since. It took me some time to read it, but once I did, I didn’t regret it.

Though, I didn’t know there was a sequel to the series until just this moment when I was searching for a picture of the book and saw the second book. Of course, it’ll be one I read, eager to delve into more history.

We do not have any copies of the book but don’t worry. You can always request the book through our ILL (Inter-Library Loan) services! Just call or come in to request!

Vietnam War Display

The Vietnam War might have been one of the most controversial chapters in United States history. For the first time, Americans at home had a front-row seat to brutal battles from their television set, newspapers, and magazines. Images from the war were everywhere, and tensions were mounting between those opposed to America’s involvement in the war and those who supported the fighting.

The conflict began when communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam fought for control of the whole country. Active American involvement in the war began in 1954 with President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledging his support to South Vietnam. The war spanned decades, finally ending with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973, with more than 3 million people killed, including 58,200 American men and women killed or missing in action. More than half of the deaths were Vietnamese civilians. For a timeline and a more in-depth look into the history of the war, click here.

In preparation for the upcoming premiere of the ten-part, eighteen-hour documentary series on PBS, you can view a Vietnam War display on the upper level at the Aurora Public Library and check out books related to that era. The documentary premieres on Sunday, September 17 at 8 p.m. on PBS. To learn more, visit these websites:

Library of Congress

National Archives

Happy Learning!

HarperCollins Publishing Celebrates 200 Years

HarperCollins is the second largest publishing company in the world. They’ve published in over 18 countries. With two hundred years of history, HarperCollins publishes about 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. With dozens of different genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and more.

With Mark Twain, the Bronte sisters, Dickens, Martin Luther King Jr., Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown having been published by HarperCollins, reinforces their long and rich history that reaches back to the early nineteenth century.

Just to think, it all began with a modest print shop created by James and John Harper in 1817. They were first known as J. and J. Harper and then later Harper & Brothers. In 1987, as Harper and Rowe the small company was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following the News Corporation’s 1990 acquisiton of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. William & Sons was founded in 1819, and published a large variety of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics that expanded over years to include legendary authors such as H.G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J.R.R. Tolkien, and even C.S. Lewis.

In today’s world, the legendary authors published by HarperCollins are Alec Baldwin, Meg Cabot, Joseph Campbell, Cynthia Eden, Dan Edwards, Neil Gaiman, George Irving, Robert Irvine, Joyce Carol Oates, Mathew Quick, Julia Quinn, Bob Saget, John Updike, J.D. Vance, just to name a few.

For a company to be around for 200 years a unique feat within itself. For a publishing company, to have such a large list of authors, is just that bigger of a feat.

Congratulations to HarperCollins for making it to 200!

Source: HarperCollins

Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction is a narrative set in the past and that includes fictional characters as well as historical figures. Historical Fiction writers typically try to be as accurate as possible with extensive research, which is usually included in a bibliography at the end of the novel. Historical Fiction has always been popular, and the Aurora Public Library District and the Indiana Digital Download Center have numerous titles available. If you like history, then Historical Fiction is a genre for you.

Some authors will write a novel or two based in the past, but other authors specifically write Historical Fiction. Here are a few Historical Fiction titles we have on our shelves at the Aurora Public Library District:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah,  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Lorna Doone: A Romance of Examoor by R.D. Blackmore,  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (just to name a few!).

other-boleyn-girl

Philippa Gregory is one of the most well-known current historical fiction writers. She is known for taking minor historical figures and making them the center of her tale. Her writing is extensively researched and she tries to be as accurate as possible. Start with The Other Boleyn Girl.

girl-with-the-pearl-earring

Tracy Chevalier is known for describing the artistic process behind a famous work of art. Her newest novel, At the Edge of the Orchard, was released this past year and follows a pioneer family for three generations from Ohio to California. Start with Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks draws from momentous historical events and turns them into personal experiences, which shows her roots as a journalist. Start with March, which is based on the life of the father from Little Women during the Civil War.

a-bell-for-adano

John Hersey writes war stories based on actual events with multiple characters and storylines throughout. He is one of the many Historical Fiction writer who also writes Nonfiction. Start with A Bell for Adano.

second-objective

Mark Frost writes action-packed war stories as well as Historical Fiction Mysteries. He researches each subject thoroughly to give as accurate of an account as possible. Start with The Second Objective.

follow-the-river

James Alexander Thom sets many of his novels in early America. The main conflicts typically involve clashes with Native Americans. His characters are extremely well-rounded and believable. His novels can also crossover into the Western genre. Start with Follow the River.

family-sagas

One element of Historical Fiction that is almost unique to the genre is the Family Saga, which tells the story of one particular family over the course of years or generations. Some popular Historical Fiction authors who write Family Sagas are Barbara Taylor Bradford, Janette Oke, and Colleen McCullough.

other

Other notable Historical Fiction writers are Jennifer Donnelly, Philippa Carr, Ralph Peters, Madeleine Brent, Isabel Allende, Anya Seton, and Diana Gabaldon. Be sure to ask the staff who their favorite Historical Fiction writers are, or check out the Indiana Digital Download Center for more titles.

Happy Reading!

 

The Bill of Rights and You Display

bill-of-rights-1

The Aurora Public Library District would like to invite you to view a new pop-up display from the National Archives and Records Administration commemorating the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the first tend amendments to the United States Constitution, The Bill of Rights. The display, entitled The Bill of Rights and You, allows modern Americans to connect with the people, places, and events surrounding one of the most cataclysmic events in American history. The exhibition features the history of the first ten amendments, shows how each amendment protects citizens of the United States, and demonstrates how we, as Americans, exercise the rights outlined in the amendments.

bill-of-rights-2

“The Bill of Rights represents the Founder’s vision that it would be the people, through votes, that could change the Constitution with enough consensus. And when the people desired a Bill of Rights, our first ten amendments were added to our governing charter.” — Jennifer Johnson, The Bill of Rights and You co-curator.

This display is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration, and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES). The exhibit will be on display at the Aurora Public Library on the upper level until the end of January. If you would like more information about the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution, check out our catalog or stop by the library today.

This is Halloween History Part 2

Check out Shelby’s post from earlier this week for Part 1. 

Halloween didn’t become popular again until the middle of the nineteenth century when Irish and Scottish immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine began to settle in America. With them came the legend of ‘Stingy Jack’ and the creation of the Jack-O-Lanterns. According to the story,

Stingy Jack invited the Devil to share a drink with him. As his name suggested,  Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for their drinks, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could pay for their drinks. The Devil agreed and once he did so, Jack decided to keep the money and placed it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing to his original form.

He eventually freed the Devil, under two conditions: one that he would not bother Jack for one year, and two that should Jack die, the Devil would not claim his soul. The next year Jack tricked the Devil into climbing up into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until Jack forced him to promise not to bother him for ten more years. Quickly after, Jack died and as the legend goes, God wouldn’t allow such a figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him, kept his word and didn’t claim Jack’s soul and didn’t allow Jack into hell either. Instead, he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way.

Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. In Ireland and Scotland, everyone had their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits roaming the earth. In England, large beets were used in place of turnips and potatoes. Quickly after, they soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, made perfect jack-o-lanterns.

The Scottish and Irish also came with their own tradition of wearing costumes and going house to house asking for food or money, the practice that led to what we now call trick-or-treat. Some young women even believed that they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

By the late 1800’s, the move in America was to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. At the turn of the century,  Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate. These parties focused on festive games and costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything frightening out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious association by the beginning of the twentieth century.

In the ‘20s and ‘30s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centered holiday with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. After trouble with vandalism in the ‘20s and the ‘30s, Halloween quickly evolved into a holiday directed mainly for the young.

Now, Halloween is the second grossing commercial holiday in America, as Americans spend about $6 billion annually on Halloween candy. Adults and children alike dress up and attend parties, community trick-or-treating events, and much more.

 

This is Halloween History Part 1

spooky-moon

The tradition of Halloween began roughly 2000 years ago in the regions of what is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Northern France by a group of people called the Celts. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1, but on October 31, they celebrated the festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that the night before the New Year, the lines of the physical world and the spiritual world were blurred which made it easier for the dead to come back to earth as spirits. During Samhain, the Celts would dress up in animal heads, skins, masks, and other costumes to confuse and make themselves unrecognizable to the spirits returning to the earth.

Fast forward to 43 A.D., when the Romans were in control of the civilized world. The Roman festival of Feralia, which was celebrated in late October to honor the passing of their dead, and the festival honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, were combined with Samhain. It is believed that the tradition of bobbing for apples was created around this time, as Pomona’s sacred symbol was the apple.

On May 13, 609 A.D. Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to honor Christian martyrs, which established the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day. This holiday was later moved back to November 1 and went on to include all of the saints, changing the name to All Saints Day. On this day, the poor would go house to house, begging for food and money. People would give out Soul Cakes to the poor in return for a prayer for dead loved ones. This practice was eventually taken up by children, who started to dress up and play pranks on people who would not give them food or money, which is how trick-or-treating got its start.

dwight

In 1000 A.D., the Catholic church made November 2 All Souls Day to honor all of the dead. Since All Souls Day was often called All-Hallows, the night before was deemed All-Hallows Eve, which eventually morphed into Halloween. Some practices from Samhain still lingered, such as costumes, parades, and bonfires, but since the holiday was now church-sanctioned, pagan practices were often overlooked in celebration.

Centuries later in colonial America, Halloween was typically celebrated by the southern colonies by those mostly of Western European descent. Customs of different European ethnic groups intermingled with those of the Native Americans. The first few Halloweens celebrated on American soil were typically public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share creative and imaginative tales of the dead and tell fortunes.

By the middle of the nineteenth-century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet widely celebrated. Irish and Scottish immigrants fleeing the potato famine settled in America and brought their deeply rooted traditions of Halloween with them…

For the rest of the history of Halloween, be sure to check out Ashton’s blog post, “This is Halloween History Part 2!” It will post later this week.

To learn more about Halloween, make sure you check out our Online Resources. Happy Halloween!