August 19th, 2011

Steampunk Mania

twenty thousandDear Librarian: What in the world is a Steampunk book?

Dear Reader,
Oh, I am so glad you asked that question. I love Steampunk! Excessive amounts of coffee and Steampunk books are my two favorite guilty pleasures. According to Dictionary.com, Steampunk is “a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power.” Technically, that definition is right on, but it sounds a bit too boring for me. Personally, I like this definition from Steampunk.com: “To me, Steampunk has always been first and foremost a literary genre, or at least a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century (the steam) usually with some deconstruction of, reimagining of, or rebellion against parts of it (the punk).”

Dear reader, keep in mind that there is no strict, absolute or final definition for this imaginative fiction genre, so you may find some disagreements out there. Classic Steampunk titles include Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Some current popular Steampunk titles are The Map of Time by Felix Palma, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld & Keith Thompson, Clockwork Angel (Book One of the Infernal Devices series) by Cassandra Clare and my personal favorite Soulless (Book One of the Parasol Protectorate Series) by Gail Carriger. For even more titles, try out this list of favorites from our staff, Steampunk: Gears, Goggles and Great Adventure. Cecil County Public Library carries all the titles mentioned here, plus lots more!

Steampunk has even influenced fashion, decor and movies in recent years.  To see interesting pics of Steampunk styles and read more about the trend, check out this New York Times article.

What do you think of the Steampunk movement? Are you a fan?

This article is an excerpt from a recent “People Are Asking” column, published each Tuesday in the Cecil Whig.


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April 8th, 2011

What’s Your Story?

nlwBeginning April 10th, libraries throughout the nation will celebrate National Library Week.  This year’s theme is “Create Your Own Story @ Your Library.”

Throughout the course of the week, our libraries will offer programs geared at helping you do just that.  The Rising Sun branch will host National Library Week themed children’s story programs on Tuesday, April 12th at 1:30pm, Wednesday, April 13th at 10:30am, and Thursday, April 14th at 10:30am.  They will also hold a Family Game program on Saturday, April 16th from 1-2:30pm.  Winners of the county-wide NLW children’s bookmark contest will be announced at each branch during the week.

Teens will get the chance to perform an extreme makeover on boring book covers at the Perryville Branch on Thursday, April 14th at 3pm, and those with a flair for creative writing can exercise their pens, as well as their imaginations, at the Elkton Teen Writers group on Thursday, April 14th at 3:30pm. Cecilton teens can view a classic story made modern with a screening of Ten Things I Hate About You on Saturday, April 16th at 2pm.

On Wednesday, April 14th, the Friends of the Library will sponsor  “Meet the Authors,” featuring three local authors—Ken Wiggins, Corinne Litzenberg, and Bobbie Hinman—who will share their stories and advice on becoming a writer.  You can delve more into the story of “you” at the North East Branch’s Genealogy Detectives program on Saturday, April 16th from 11am-1pm.

To finish out the week, the Elkton Central Library will host an Open House from 10am-4pm on Saturday, April 16th, featuring tours of the CCPL Bookmobile and a family concert with local songster Scott Birney (free Italian ice and pretzels for all who attend the concert!).  Visit our “tech café” to watch previews of this year’s Cecilwood Film Festival and sample playlists from our cd collection (check out a free playlist preview here).

Please check with your local branch for additional details on programs taking place during National Library Week.

Looking for a library/librarian inspired read this week?  Check out our list of favorites here.  I’m currently engrossed in Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, set in Oxford’s atmospheric Bodelian Library.

My library “story” began when I was five years old and signed up for my first library card at the Elkton library, spending much of my childhood in its stacks and kicking off a lifelong love affair with books and libraries.  I know that throughout the course of my life, both as a librarian and a patron, the library has given me access to knowledge and learning opportunities I never would’ve had without it.  That’s my story—what’s yours?


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