April 17, 2014
by Julie

Wild for Washi Tape

washi birdhouseWashi tape is the latest, and very popular, craft supply for artsy folk. A quick search on Pinterest reveals many uses for this special tape, which originates from Japan. The best way to describe it is like a masking tape, made from natural fibers, but with really cute patterns and designs like polka dots, stripes, and chevrons. It stays put, but can also be peeled off and even washed. You can do all kinds of things with it like decorate notebooks, vases, votives, clothespins, matchboxes, picture frames and so much more. It’s also great for scrapbookers and fans of organizational tools.

Want to try it out? There’s a program for that! Our first Pinterest Craft Club is Saturday, May 10 at 11:00a.m. Just in time for Mother’s Day we will be making miniature bird houses and decorating them with wash tape.  You can register for the class by calling our helpful folks at the Reference desk (574-282-4630). The craft club is geared for adults but kids 12+ may attend with an adult. Supplies are provided but if you’re already a fan of washi tape and want to bring your own, please feel free.

April 1, 2014
by SJCPL Techs

Tech Tip # 14 – Free Online Fax Website?

If you would like to ask a question, submit a tip or suggestion please follow this link by clicking the Suggestion Box and provide a name and email address.


Free Online Fax Website

Here at Lakeville we constantly have patrons come in and want to know if we have a fax machine. We, unfortunately, have to tell them we do not. We have however, found a website, http://faxzero.com/, that will allow patrons to send a fax with up 3 pages, plus a cover page for free. This website allows a patron to send up to 5 faxes for free per day.

Required Items:

Internet Access
Email Address
Name and Fax Number of person/place where fax is being sent
Document you want to fax
Scanner (if you don’t already have a copy of the file on the computer)

How to Send the Fax:

1. Enter your name and email address in the Sender’s Information section.
2. Enter name, company (if applicable), and fax number of the person you are sending the fax to in the Receiver’s Information section.q

3. Find the document you want to send, if it is already on the computer, by clicking on Browse. Once you find the file you want to attach select it and click Open. Your document will now show up in the box next to Browse.Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.32.20 AM

4. If you do not already have your document saved to the computer or some other storage device, scan the document and save it to the computer/storage device. Once you have scanned and saved the document, follow the directions in step 3.

5. If you plan to add a cover page, fill in the box below the files with the appropriate information.Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.33.26 AM

6. Copy the Confirmation Code into the box.
7. Click Send Free Fax Now. You will then be directed to check your email to complete the process.Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.35.25 AM

8. Check your email, click on the link to send the fax.

 Suggested by: Alicia Avara, the Library Technician for Lakeville Branch

Liabilities and Disclaimer
The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog are those of their respective contributors only. The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent the views of SJCPL, its management, or employees. SJCPL and the writers of this blog are not responsible for, and disclaim any and all liability for the content of comments written by contributors to the blog.

March 29, 2014
by Julie

Fernwood Museum Passes available April 1st

aconites_low_viewJust in time for spring the library is adding two passes to Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve located in Niles, Michigan. Not familiar with our museum pass program? Each one-day courtesy pass allows free admission to the holder and five others (six total). The passes are available at the Ask Here desk which is located just inside the entrance at the Main Library.

Fernwood is celebrating 50 years and offers many gardens, native wildlife, and trails. A cafe, museum shop and art gallery offer much to delight visitors. April hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m.

Other museum passes the library offers includes Healthworks! Kids Museum, Northern Indiana Center for History and the Studebaker National Museum.  For more information please call (574) 282-4630.

March 27, 2014
by hank
1 Comment

Hank Howls For Frankenstein

hankshowlsfinalWhen you hear the word Frankenstein, you probably think of movies in which a monster is brought to life by a lightning bolt.  Then the vision comes to  your mind of a monster shuffling slowly along in blocky shoes, pausing  now and then to kill someone.  Attempts at conversation with the big guy result in sounds that barely qualify as grunts.

Well, are you in for a surprise!  In the novel, Frankenstein’s monster (he doesn’t have a name) is very intelligent and carries on a good conversation.  He is hideously ugly, eight feet tall and the killer of several innocent people.  But he is different than the typical monster in that he is a sympathetic character.  He even cries.

Did Edward of Elm Street or Harry Halloween cry?  I’m pretty sure neither Chuckie the Puppet nor the Blob cried.  Frankenstein’s monster is not just a killing machine.  He is  an intelligent sophisticated being with feelings.  That is what makes Mary Shelly’s novel different from all the other monster stories.

Here are some details from the novel that you may not know:

- The book starts and ends in the Arctic.

- There was a bride of Frankenstein, almost.

- Victor Frankenstein was Swiss.

- Part of the novel takes place in Scotland.

- It is never really explained how the monster came to life.

- Victor Frankenstein gets married, though it doesn’t last long.

- Victor and the monster engage in a dog sled race.

- This classic novel was written by a teenager.

Frankenstein is this year’s One Book, One Michiana selection. From March 28 – May 3  more than  30 different Frankenstein activities will be held in South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, New Carlisle and at Notre Dame and IUSB.

Activities include: book discussions, movies, cooking, photo ops, robots, gaming, a tea, a DNA lecture, drawing, a cemetery tour, a medical ethics discussion, and more. (No, we don’t have a Frankenstein look-alike contest). You can pick up a booklet that gives specific information on all these activities at your local library.  You can come to the activities even if you haven’t read the novel, although unless you do, you will never know who won the dog sled race.

Grab a copy of Frankenstein.  Check out the activities.  Have a monster of a good time!



March 19, 2014
1 Comment

Carol’s Comments

By Carol Rusinek

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another issue of Carol’s Comments. I am a volunteer at the River Park Branch. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved classic horror movies, especially those from the 1930’s and 1940’s. During my childhood, I couldn’t wait to watch Creature Feature on WSJV with my mother (who also adored spooky movies) every Saturday night. Being a very impressionable and sensitive child, I still insisted that I wouldn’t have nightmares, but Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein and The Mummy still always haunted my dreams.

Frankenstein CoverSo when I learned that the St. Joseph County Public Library had chosen Frankenstein by Mary Shelley for this year’s One Book, One Michiana campaign scheduled from March 28 through May 3, I realized I had never read the original story and was determined to tackle it.

Written by the urging of Lord Byron on a stormy Swiss night in 1816 and later published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein became the forerunner for Gothic horror fiction.

Set primarily in late 18th century Switzerland, and told mostly in flashback, Dr. Victor Frankenstein serves as the novel’s principal narrator. He recounts in agonizing detail how his obsessive fascination  with using chemistry, electricity and other scientific methods to re-animate  dead tissue compelled him to create a hideous monster of gigantic size and superhuman strength. Surprisingly, the author doesn’t provide any graphic description about how Frankenstein makes his gruesome creation. Those details are left to the reader’s imagination.

After adjusting to the verbose and rather melodramatic early 19th century writing style, I found the novel’s plot quite exhilarating. My favorite parts of the book were the chapters focusing on the Monster’s own perspective about his creation and extremely tormented existence.

In the original story, the Creature is very articulate, learns many languages and loves reading classics like Milton’s Paradise Lost. At first, he is very virtuous and longs for acceptance and interaction with humans. Unfortunately, after experiencing repeated rejection, abuse and repulsion mainly due to his grotesque appearance, he transforms into a vicious killer consumed by rage, hatred and revenge especially toward his creator. After Dr. Frankenstein adamantly refuses to create a female companion for him, the Monster vows to destroy him and everyone he loves.

At times, the reader feels sympathy for both the Monster and Frankenstein because they are both misunderstood and tragic figures. Madness and revenge eventually destroy them both.  After nearly 200 years, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein still remains the definitive horror story.

For anyone interested in reading more about Mary Shelley’s remarkable life, I recommend Mary Shelley the insightful 1987 biography written by Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

After finishing the book, I couldn’t wait to re-watch all of my Frankenstein film favorites. I first started with the 1931 classic Frankenstein and its splendid 1935 sequel The Bride of Frankenstein both starring Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein and the incomparable Boris Karloff as the Monster. Both expertly directed by James Whale, these movies are loosely based on Mary Shelley’s original story.

Unlike the book, the first film vividly and dramatically shows how Dr. Frankenstein (with help from his hunchback assistant Fritz) creates his monster by using stolen dead body parts and unknowingly revitalizing a criminal brain instead of a normal one. This pivotal mistake leads to horrific consequences.

Undoubtedly, the film’s stunning and surreal visual effects especially in the laboratory scenes brilliantly capture Frankenstein’s relentless obsession with creating man-made life.

In Whale’s Frankenstein films, the Monster can’t speak at first. He can only communicate through animal-like grunts and groans. He finally learns a few basic words like friend, food, good and bad while staying with the compassionate blind hermit in The Bride of Frankenstein. This very poignant scene is the only one that actually appears in the original novel.

Unlike most sequels, The Bride of Frankenstein greatly surpasses the original film mainly due to a more superior, fanciful and witty plot. After recapping the story with highlights from the 1931 film, the sequel features a follow-up segment where Mary Shelley (played by Elsa Lanchester ) continues her tale after the Monster supposedly perishes.

Soon after Dr. Frankenstein recovers from this terrifying ordeal, the even more fanatical mad scientist Dr. Pretorius (exquisitely portrayed by Ernest  Thesiger) finally persuades him to continue his ghastly experiments and create a female companion (also played by Elsa Lanchester ) for the Monster with disastrous results. I thought the Monster’s interaction with his Bride during their “first date” scene was absolutely priceless! Both films as well as Clive’s and Karloff’s outstanding performances are simply unforgettable.

After viewing all these creepy movies, I quickly switched to the more lighthearted Young Frankenstein. Directed by Mel Brooks, this hilarious 1974 parody stars Gene Wilder (who co-wrote the zany screenplay with Brooks) as Frederick Frankenstein, the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s grandson. When he inherits the family castle, at first, he vehemently refuses to acknowledge his heritage or continue his grandfather’s gruesome experiments. However, when he accidently discovers his grandfather’s detailed lab notes entitled How I Did It, he decides to create his own monster played by the horribly adorable Peter Boyle.

Filmed in black and white, Brooks even uses the original laboratory equipment designed by Ken Strickfaden for James Whale’s 1931 film to evoke an authentically scary atmosphere.

Filled with loads of bawdy humor and memorable double entendres, Young Frankenstein is a wonderful comic tribute to this beloved horror film classic. It’s so funny, I never stopped laughing!

For more information about programs and activities sponsored by the library and other local community organization during this annual event, visit the SJCPL’s web site at www.libraryforlife.org/onebook .

One last note to all of my loyal readers:  This is the last blog posting of Carol’s Comments that will appear on the SJCPL website.  Thanks for reading and supporting my blog posting for the past 3 years.  In the 16 Blog postings I have written, I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts about my most favorite things – books and movies – with all of you. Thanks for reading! See you all next time!