Friday, October 21, 2016

Library Survey, Community Conversations

Burbank Public Library needs
your opinion!
Please help us plan for the future by answering a brief, three-question online survey. Go here between now and November 20th. And thank you for your input!

Also...please participate in our...

What does your Burbank look like? What is going well in our community, and where are there issues we need to solve? Join a guided conversation facilitated by Burbank Public Library staff that will help the Library and the City plan for the future. Light refreshments will be provided. Events are open to the public. 

Friday, October 28, 10 a.m.
Burbank City Federal Credit Union, City Room, 1800 W. Magnolia Blvd 

Friday, November 4, 10 a.m.
Joslyn Adult Center, Arts & Community Room, 1301 W. Olive Ave.

Monday, November 7, 10 a.m.
Buena Vista Library, (childcare provided), 300 N. Buena Vista Street

Call 818-238-5551 for more information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gay History Month Author Event: Fragmented Citizens

This is the first year that LGBT history has been included in the curriculum of California high schools. For Gay History Month, the library wanted to do something that would support the Burbank Unified School District as it implements this new standard. We are hosting a program that we hope will be useful in explaining to teachers, students, and parents in the district exactly what gay history is, a program that explores how it has affinities to other late-20th-Century civil rights movements, such as the struggle of African Americans and that of women and the disabled, and how it differs. Too often thought of only as pride parades and same-sex marriage, gay history is more complex and contiguous than that.  It has been shaped by the major changes that have occurred in American society and politics during the last half century. We wanted to find a speaker who had a broad perspective and who could put gay history in that larger context.

In the spring, a book was published that does exactly that. In Fragmented Citizens: The Changing Landscape of Gay and Lesbian Lives, author Stephen Engel takes a broad overview of the major events and turning points of gay history in America. Engel’s concern is less with presenting a record of historical events than with explaining why they happened the way they did, of illuminating the dynamic—and sometimes unexpected—forces that shaped and drove change. He is interested in explaining how gay identity was formulated earlier in the 20th Century, how gay people became criminalized by law and governing institutions, and in tracing the halting and uneven process by which those formulations and laws have begun to be disassembled in recent years. The prism through which Engel looks at gay history is that of full citizenship in a democracy; how laws and institutions define and recognize citizenship and either include or exclude people in a society from full citizenship.

Following the twists and turns of gay history illuminates in a larger sense the structure, institutions, and mechanisms of American political development in general  Engel applies principles of political science, particularly APD (American Political Development) in order to create a dynamic and animated view of gay history. He shows that the disassembly of legal prescriptions and institutional policies is, because of the way our system of government in America is structured, necessarily complicated and piecemeal. As change unfolds, local laws may be at variance with state laws, but consistent with federal laws; federal laws may conflict with state laws, and there may be various combinations of agreement and dissonance between all of these; state courts may decide similar issues based on different legal criteria and interpretations; federal courts may decide similar cases by referencing different Constitutional criteria and leave those disparities unresolved as matters of Constitutional law. Federal, state, and local agencies that administer policy may derive varying interpretations of what they should do in all of these cases. Policies may vary among agencies even within a single branch or level of government. This is what has happened. It is what gay people have experienced in their lives. All of this has resulted in what for a generation of gay people has been a feeling of uncertainty about their legal status, their identity, and their rights as citizens, both absolutely and geographically. Thus, they are a class of “fragmented citizens.” This is the context in which gay history has unfolded, the landscape in which the quest for gay civil rights has taken place, and it explains some of the feelings of confusion that exist at the moment. Engel will tell you where he thinks that history is headed.

Fragmented Citizens explores the early years of the movement for gay rights, and readers will find familiarity in the opposing ideas about how gay people should identify themselves and disagreements over strategy that persist within the gay rights movement. Engel produces fascinating portraits of the two major gay advocacy groups-- the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National LGBTQ Task Force--relating their differing strategies, issue priorities, and goals to their organizational history and the changing political landscape. Fragmented Citizens concludes with an impressive review of the legal case history that has affected gay rights and citizenship, both at the state and federal level. It is an analysis in which the reader will learn that many of the things that were assumed about that legal history are wrong, that it is more disconnected, ambiguous, and unresolved than would be supposed. But above all, this review demonstrates in the most compelling way Engel’s major argument about the uncertain and often fragmented way in which American political development proceeds. Little in American democracy seems to happen at one fell stroke, in one whole piece, whether it be the creation of wrongs or the righting of injustice. Please come and join us in this fascinating conversation.

The book will be available for purchase, and the author will autograph.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This week at the library...

Now Accepting Entries for the
Central Library
  • One entry per household
  • Work on the design as a family
  • Decorations only - NO CARVING
  • Book Themes only

Turn in your pumpkin at the Children's Room at Burbank Central Library between Monday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct 26. There will be ribbons for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention. Winners will be called on Halloween, Monday, October 31.

Central Library, 6:30 p.m.

Le Petit Cinema presents...
A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
101 minutes / rated PG13

Central Library, 12:00 noon

Bring your lunch and join the club for a lively book discussion.

Buena Vista Branch
4:00 p.m.

Family Films presents
When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to outcasts Red, Chuck and Bomb to figure out what the pigs are up to.
97 minutes / rated PG

Buena Vista Branch
7:00 p.m.

Mystery readers bring your crime-solving abilities to book club!

St. Leon's Cathedral, 6:30 p.m.
3325 N Glenoaks Blvd, 2nd floor
conducted in ARMENIAN

Help us to better understand the community and how we can get things done together.
This is a Conversation -- not a town meeting, a focus group, or a gripe session.
This is about ideas -- not a particular solution or a specific vision of Burbank's future.
Let's talk about our town.

Community Services Building (CSB), 6:00 p.m.
150 N. Third Street, Room 104

Buena Vista Branch
7:00 p.m.

The Changing Landscape of Gay and Lesbian Lives

Author Stephen Engel will present an illustrated talk on his recently released book. With impressive scope and fascinating examples, Engel traces the relationship between gay and lesbian individuals and the government from the late nineteenth century through the present.

Stephen M. Engel is Associate Professor and Chair of Politics at Bates College in Maine and an Affiliated Scholar of the American Bar Foundation. He is the author of American Politicians Confront the Courts: Opposition Politics and Changing Responses to Judicial Power, and The Unfinished Revolution: Social Movement Theory and the Gay and Lesbian Movement, as well as co-editor of The Progressives’ Century: Political Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State.

Central Library
7:00 p.m.

(Not your mother's book club!)

Central Library, 2:00 p.m.

Friday Matinee presents...
George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O'Connell) forcibly takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.
98 minutes / rated R

Buena Vista Branch, 4:00 p.m.

Kids ages 10-14 can learn easy-to-master, fun magic tricks using everyday objects found around the house (cards, coins, etc.) from magician BJ Hickman. Space is limited: Call 818-238-5610 to sign up!


A story and song program for children ages one and two, accompanied by an adult.
Tuesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Fridays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 11:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch

Stories and songs for children age three and up,
accompanied by an adult.

Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch
Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months. Fall Session runs from September 5 - November 18, 2016.
This Thursday @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch

for Preschoolers and their families
An exciting show with magician BJ Hickman, who entertains family audiences with comedy magic, dazzling deceptions, and mind reading miracles.
Wednesday @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch

Families and kids kindergarten and younger are invited! There will be a 30-minute storytime followed by a short video. No sign-ups necessary. Wear your pajamas!
Wednesday @ 6:30 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Popular adult author's new teen series

For those of you who are fans of V. E. Schwab (whose book Vicious is one of my personal favorites), you should know that she has a new book out, the beginning of a new series. It is, however, a Young Adult title, and as a teen librarian who reads in both worlds, I will confess that I have enjoyed her adult books more than her teen-focused ones. In fact, many of the more mature teens who read her adult books tend to agree!

Her adult franchise consists of the aforementioned Vicious, and a series that begins with A Darker Shade of Magic, whose second book, A Gathering of Shadows, was reviewed here in June by me. Her teen books for which she is well known are The Archived, which is both the name of the first book and the name of the series that includes The Unbound, and a potential third book yet to come. That series was well written, but it fell a little flat for me. Opinions among teens seem mixed. Prior to those books, she wrote one called The Near Witch, her debut novel (which I somehow have not yet read), and a series called Everyday Angel for middle-grade children.

The new series, Monsters of Verity, which begins with This Savage Song, is an urban fantasy, a weird dystopian future in which evil apparently manifests itself literally. When people commit violent acts, real monsters are created, who then prey on the populace by whom they were created. There is an initiation point for this disaster, but the book starts well after this cataclysm and continues as if this is something that took place in a past that is so well known to everyone (including the reader) that it doesn't have to be explained. This is my main problem with this book--that no explanation is offered for the current state of affairs in the world, that the story picks up mid-stride, and never goes back. The premise is intriguing, and the monsters themselves are explained by a child's rhyming song, and also described as to their appearance and their function:

          Monsters, monsters, big and small,
          They're gonna come and eat you all.
          Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
          Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
          Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
          Smile and bite and drink you dry.
          Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
          Sing you a song and steal your soul.
          Monsters, monsters, big and small,
          They're gonna come and eat you all!

The monsters can't feed off one another, they can only prey upon humans. They are different in their purposes, however; the first two, Corsai and Malchai, are essentially just monsters who devour people in various gruesome ways, while the Sunai, of whom there are only three known to the world, are "fed" by eliminating those people who have committed evil (which will supposedly thus limit the manifestation of the other two kinds of monsters), and the way they do it is by making music.

One of the two protagonists of this book is August Flynn, one of the three Sunai. He is a gentle soul, a violinist, conflicted by his purpose, and unsure how to live with himself or in this world. The other, Kate Harker, is the daughter of the tyrant who rules half the city by controlling the Corsai and Malchai (as much as that is possible) and making them do his bidding, and all Kate wants is for her father to be proud of her, to acknowledge her. These two become unlikely allies when August is secretly sent to keep tabs on Kate, who has just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school, and an assassination attempt causes them to flee together.

This book is a case of liking what there was, wishing there was more, and waiting to see if the sequel provides the missing links. So while I can't give it a wholehearted endorsement, I can say that if you have missed Victoria Schwab since her last appearance, you may want to check it out and, like me, invest in the future of this series. Or, if you have not yet read the Shades of Magic series, try that one first! It receives rave reviews from adult and teen alike.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Upcoming Book Clubs

On Tuesday, October 18th at 12:00 noon, the BROWN BAG BOOK CLUB will meet at the Central Library to discuss Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson.

On May 1, 1915, with World War I entering its tenth month, a richly appointed luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the fastest liners then in service, and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era.

--from publisher description

On Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m., the SCENE OF THE CRIME MYSTERY BOOK CLUB will meet at the Buena Vista Branch to discuss The Picture Kills, by Ian Bull.

Steven Quintana was once a top Army Ranger reconnaissance photographer until he made a fatal mistake on a mission. A boy was killed, and Steven’s military career was cut short—all because of a photo he took. Now he works as a paparazzo in Hollywood where his photos can’t hurt anybody, the money is easy, and he can forget the past. But when mega movie star Julia Travers is kidnapped, Steven discovers the kidnappers used photos he took to cover up the crime. Realizing that he’s still harming people with his camera, he swears to fix his mistake, Rambo-style. But—life or death situation or not—the last person Julia wants coming to her rescue is the paparazzo whose photos got her into trouble in the first place. 

--from publisher description

Both clubs are open to all--feel free to read the book(s) and join the discussion(s)!

On Thursday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m., the GENRE-X BOOK CLUB (not your mother's book club) will meet at the Central Library to discuss Patience, by Daniel Clowes, described on Goodreads as "sci fi psychedelia, in a comics crime novel setting."

Genre-X is a book club for Millennials and Gen-Xers to hang out, drink coffee, and read short, interesting books. If that description fits you, then contact Jeff or Laura at 818 238-5580!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

This week at the library...

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

OPERA TALK presents...
The new season of monthly Opera Talks begins with a multimedia presentation and discussion of the opera Macbeth. The illustrated talk is presented by members of the LA Opera's Community Engagement Program, and is geared to opera amateurs and opera buffs alike. A door prize is provided compliments of the LA Opera.

Central Library, 7:00 p.m.

The book club has read and will discuss
The Colossus Rises, by Peter Lerangis.
This book club is for teen members only.

Central Library, 5:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, Central Library, 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, Buena Vista Branch, 6:30 p.m.

See the craters on the moon! See where the Apollo missions landed! Members of Sidewalk Astronomers will set up telescopes for a close-up look at the moon and any visible planets.

Buena Vista Branch, 10:00 a.m.

Introduction to POWERPOINTLearn how to create a simple presentation. Topics include: how to create slides and add text, how to add colors, background design, graphics and animation.

Sign up for one session only:
Friday, Oct. 14, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 15, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Sign up at the Reference Desk at Buena Vista Branch Library, or call 818-238-5626.

Central Library, 10:00 a.m.

For children ages 2-14 and their families. Children under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

Buena Vista Branch, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Meet 50 local authors of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s, young adult, self-help, romance, horror, and more! Buy books, get autographs, and meet new authors. Door prizes will be provided by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library.


A story and song program for children ages one and two, accompanied by an adult.
Tuesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch
Fridays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 11:00 a.m., Buena Vista Branch

Stories and songs for children age three and up,
accompanied by an adult.

Wednesdays @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch
Thursdays @ 10:00 a.m., Central Library
Fridays @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Songs, stories, and rhymes for children under 12 months. Fall Session runs from September 5 - November 18, 2016.
This Thursday @ 10:00 a.m., Northwest Branch

for Preschoolers and their families
Join us for a fun introduction to the rhythm of music, dance and communication.
Tuesday @ 1:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch

Bring your favorite stuffed toy and enjoy stories, songs, a short movie and refreshments.
Thursday @ 6:30 p.m., Central Library

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Writing Contest for Teens!

Here at Burbank Public Library, October is Teen Writing Challenge Month!
We have conducted many teen writing contests over the years, usually picking a genre-related challenge: Write a mystery, write a horror story, write fan fiction. But this year we decided to do something different, that will challenge a teen's skills as a writer and also let them experience life from a different viewpoint.

Your teens can find out all about it HERE. Make sure they read the instructions carefully--there are some new rules! Stories are due on October 28. We look forward to reading them!

Melissa & Anarda
Teen Librarians