Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking for e-books or e-audio books? Try WV-Reads

The Library Commission has joined a new consortium of libraries in West Virginia, WV-READS (Regional Electronic Audiovisual Download Service).  This group's purpose is to provide West Virginians with free and reliable access to electronic library materials. 

For more information, click one of the links:

Help for grant writers available

The Library Commission has just added the 2012 edition of Annual Register of Grant Support: a Directory of Funding Sources, a guide  to more than 3,200 grant-giving organizations offering non-repayable support, to the Reference Collection.   Organized by 11 major subject areas, this resource directs searchers to traditional corporate, private, and public funding programs and to nontraditional grant sources such as educational associations and unions. For each grant program, information on eligibility requirements and restrictions, application procedures and deadlines, grant size or range, and contact information are included. 

Downloadable audiobooks are now available!

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Audiobooks now just OneClick away!

The West Virginia Library Commission is pleased to announce that downloadable audiobooks are now available through OneClickdigital, a new product of Recorded Books.

Check out the newest downloadables or an old Recorded Books favorite.

After a quick one-time account set-up process, library users will be able to checkout and download audiobooks. Visit or contact the WVLC Reference Library for more details.wvlcref@wv.gov

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's pick is The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, And The Battle Of The Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (Author of Mayflower and In The Heart Of The Sea)

Whether it is cast as a tale of bravery in the face of impossible odds or of arrogance finally receiving its rightful comeuppance, the Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of the most potent and embattled episodes in American history. Nathaniel Philbrick now directs his immense talents to this story, bringing new evidence to bear as he moves through layers of fact and myth to find the truth about one of the iconic moments in our history: that there were two Last Stands enacted on that bloody battlefield, and it is impossible to know one without the other.

A pair of legendary figures loom over the story: George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull. Custer was a Civil War veteran with a reputation for incredible if often reckless courage. Sitting Bull, ten years Custer's senior, had also been a brave warrior but had more recently emerged as the leader of an alliance of Sioux and Cheyenne. The tribes of the northern plains were increasingly outraged at white incursions, while the officer corps of the Seventh Cavalry was beset by jealousy and backbiting. By June 1876, when the 650 soldiers of Custer's regiment approached the Little Bighorn River in central Montana, Sitting Bull's village had grown to more than 8,000. The tribes' leaders were not fixed on war, but if the government should be foolish enough to pursue them, they would stand and fight.

Other key characters include the famed Oglala Sioux warrior Crazy Horse and Wooden Leg, a young northern Cheyenne whose memoir provides a stirring account of the attack of the Seventh Cavalry. Custer's officers included Major Marcus Reno, who led the battalion that began the assault, and Captain Frederick Benteen, whose bravery under fire saved Reno. Philbrick brings to light a fascinating new source: the unpublished writings of Private Peter Thompson, begun just months after the battle. But most of all it is Philbrick's account of the final blood-soaked encounter on Last Stand Hill that brings a new dimension to this age-old story, an unforgettable portrait of bravery, cowardice, chaos, and brutality.

The fight over the meaning of the battle began immediately. The story of the Little Bighorn was instantly told and retold, cast and recast, as survivors, witnesses, and other interested parties all came forward, each with a stake in bending the telling in a different direction. For the new nation on the midst of celebrating the centennial of its birth, the timing of Custer's death on June 25, 2876, could not have been worse. But it was the Sioux and Cheyenne who came to know what it means when an entire people--as opposed to a few hundred soldiers--encounters its own Last Stand.

With an instinct for finding both the dark and the honorable threads in American history, Philbrick probes the ultimately tragic story of how two talented leaders and their followers embarked on converging voyages across the plains of North America, leading us to the disturbing realization that nothing ended at Little Bighorn.

(Publisher's synopsis)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesday (Thanksgiving Edition)

This week's recipe comes from New Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown

(Find this and other great cookbooks in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.)

Chestnut, Spinach, and Mushroom Phyllo Torte, with tomato and ginger coulis

A star replacement for turkey at a vegetarian holiday dinner or special meal. The buttery phyllo is light and crisp, but use olive oil if you are cooking for vegans

Serves 6-8

4 cups spinach leaves, well washed, with tough stalks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. cooked, peeled chestnuts, chopped
2 heaped tablespoons thick-cut marmalade
5 sheets phyllo pastry, about 11x20 inches
4 tablespoons butter, melted
kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tomato and Ginger Coulis
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 lb. canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
kosher salt or sea salt and cayenne pepper

9-inch springform cake pan, brushed with melted butter

To make the coulis, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and Madeira or sherry and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. For an extra-smooth consistency, push the puree through a strainer. Set aside.

Put the trimmed spinach in a large saucepan, cover, and heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Drain and let cool. Wring out in a clean cloth, then chop.

Heat the olive oil in the pan, add the onions, mushrooms, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook until softened and the juices have evaporated. Add the garlic, saute briefly, then add the chestnuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the spinach and marmalade and heat through. Season to taste.

Working with 1 sheet of phyllo at a time (keep the rest covered with a damp cloth to stop them from drying out,) line the prepared cake pan. Press a sheet gently into the sides of the pan and let the edges overhang. Brush with melted butter and slightly overlap with another sheet. Continue to layer and butter the sheets as before, until the pan is completely covered. Spoon in the chestnut mixture and smooth flat. Fold the overhanging phyllo in towards the center and ruffle the top so the phyllo stands in peaks. Brush with butter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Unmold carefully and slide onto a baking sheet. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until golden and crisp all over. Let stand for a few minutes. Reheat the coulis. Using a serrated knife, cut the torte into wedges and serve with the coulis poured over.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Megan's Pick

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

If you're looking for a heroine that literally kicks butt, then Katsa is your gal. -Megan

In a world where people born with an extreme skill--called a Grace--are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

(Publisher's synopsis)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Funnies

A patron sent me this video a few weeks ago and I loved it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday (Thanksgiving edition)

This week's recipe comes from The Bon Appetit Cookbook edited by Barbara Fairchild

(Find this and other great cookbooks in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.)

Roast Turkey with herb rub and shiitake mushroom gravy

Brushing the turkey all over with vegetable oil not only helps the seasoning mixture adhere to the skin, but it also promotes browning--as does drizzling melted butter over the bird just before it goes into the oven. Because the turkey rests, tented with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes before carving, the bubbling juices settle back into the meat, resulting in more neatly sliced, juicier servings.

14 Servings

3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 20-to 21-pound turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
Fresh herb sprigs (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry Sherry
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
4 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

For Turkey: Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl; set herb mixture aside. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels and place on rack set in large roasting pan. If not stuffing turkey, place herb sprigs in main cavity. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs loosely together to hold shape. Brush turkey with oil. Rub herb mixture all over turkey. Place turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead if turkey is not stuffed. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.)

Position oven rack in bottom third of oven and pre-heat to 425 degrees F. Drizzle melted butter all over turkey. Pour 2 cups broth into pan. Roast turkey 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and cover breast with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Return turkey to oven; roast unstuffed turkey 1 hour or stuffed turkey 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove foil; pour remaining 2 cups broth into pan. Continue roasting turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 40 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will increase by 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve pan juices for gravy.

Meanwhile, Prepare Gravy: Mix flour and Sherry in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and rosemary; saute until mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover flour paste tightly. Let paste and mushrooms stand at room temperature.)

Discard turkey neck and giblets from pan juices in roasting pan. Transfer pan juices to 8-cup glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat and discard. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 5 cups; add to saucepan with mushrooms. Add flour paste and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Boil until thickened to light gravy, about 10 minutes. Mix in cream, thyme, and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with gravy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's Staff Pick is When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.

Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family. But after she's convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes--criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime--is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.


Check out this buzzworthy title from the West Virginia Library Commission or borrow the e-book from WV-READS.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lyrasis eGathering 2011

Lyrasis, the nation’s largest regional non-profit membership organization serving libraries, recently hosted an eGathering to further discussions of critical topics effecting the future of libraries.

One such discussion question:

What responsibilities (with respect to the resources we provide) do libraries have to their users? And, how does this vary with the type of the library (examples: academic, public, museum, archive, etc.)?

Let's continue the conversation. Leave your thoughts in the comment box.