Monday, September 30, 2013


Whether you pick flowers in your garden or you create flowers because you enjoy crafting, autumn is a great time to select, arrange and display wonderful fall floral designs. The Monrovia Library has many books to get you started.

A terrific new book by Judith Blacklock called Flower Arranging: The Complete Guide for Beginners offers step-by-step instructions and color how-to photos on how to select and arrange flowers. Even those who pick their flowers at farmers markets will learn how to choose flowers that look lavish and last in vases. Novices and those with experience will be inspired by Blacklock’s suggestions. 

If your floral cup of tea leans to simple designs or you grow more leaves than flowers, try Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) Simplified by Olive Scofield Bowes. Learn how to make formal and informal arrangements using the principles of Japanese design. 

And, what is more traditional for fall foliage than a wreath? Wreaths: Techniques and Materials, Step-By-Step Projects, Creative Ideas for the Year Round by Richard Kollath shows how to make a round backing and how to decorate it with dried flowers, ribbons and other craft items. Whether you like simple or opulent wreaths, this book will get you started. 

For crafters who love flowers there are two fabulous newer books to help you realize your dreams of picture perfect floral arrangements. Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations is an absolute winner of a craft book. Arranged by holiday, including the autumn ones we love, there are simple and more complicated ideas that come with step-by-step written and photo instructions. 

Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell reimagines making paper flowers by offering original ideas, instructions and templates. Whether you want to make a centerpiece, a bouquet for your desk or a flower to wear on a favorite dress, this wonderful book will get you started. And, these two beautiful craft books are worthy of just browsing if you are a couch crafter who enjoys just looking.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Learn4Life: free online courses through the Library

If you're a Monrovia Library cardholder, you can now take free instructor-led online courses, offered 24 hours a day, from your home in your pajamas, in your office (in suitable work attire), or via the computers in the library.

Learn4Life is the library version of Ed2Go, which offers an easy way to take courses to enhance your personal or career goals. Courses are divided into the following categories:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • College Readiness
  • Computer Applications
  • Design and Composition
  • Health Care and Medical
  • Language and Arts
  • Law and Legal
  • Personal Development
  • Teaching and Education
  • Technology
  • Writing and Publishing

To get started, browse the course catalog. When you find a course that interests you, enter your email address and your Monrovia Library card number to request a registration passcode (at the bottom of the page), and then follow instructions to register for the course. Click here to go directly to Learn4Life

Friday, September 27, 2013

Join Fellow Book Lovers in the Novel T’s Book Club

The Novel T’s Book Club meets at the Monrovia Public Library every 4th Tuesday at 6:45 to discuss literary works selected by the members, with a representation of both fiction and non-fiction.

Little Big Man by Thomas Berger was our featured book in September. The narrator, Jack Crabb tells an unsentimental story of his life as a white man, living in the world of the white man and the Cheyenne Indian over the course of his 111 years. This book is peppered with humor, and told without bias or judgment. For those who enjoyed the book, Return of Little Big Man has been recently released.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver is our October 22 selection. Set in rural Appalachia, this is the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a young woman who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen. After more than a decade of tending to small children on a failing farm, oppressed by poverty, isolation and her husband's antagonistic family, she has mitigated her boredom by surrendering to an obsessive flirtation with a handsome younger man. Dellarobia is headed for a secluded mountain cabin to meet this man and initiate what she expects will be a self-destructive affair. But the tryst never happens. Instead, she walks into something on the mountainside she cannot explain or understand: a forested valley filled with a lake of silent red fire that appears to her a miracle. In reality, the forest is ablaze with millions of butterflies. Their usual migratory route has been disrupted, and what looks to be a stunningly beautiful view is really an ominous sign, for the Appalachian winter could prove to be the demise of the species. Her discovery of this phenomenon ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever. After years lived entirely in the confines of one small house, Dellarobia finds her path suddenly opening out into blunt and confrontational engagement with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large. Named one of the best books of 2012, Flight Behavior touches upon many issues that are relevant to us in the present day. 

For selections for upcoming months, please visit the Adult Reference desk. All are welcome to join the Novel T’s in the Library Community Room. The book talk begins at 6:45, with light refreshments served, based on the theme of book we are discussing.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Teen Book Named Time Magazine’s Best Fiction Book

Teen author John Green seems to be everywhere.  When not picking up writing awards or being listed on bestseller lists, he's a vlogger (a video blogger) and educator on You Tube. His books, beloved by teens who read them over and over, have become crossover books, ones that hold appeal for both young people and adults.
Perhaps it is his interesting background that makes his writing so compelling and so genuine.  After graduating from college, he served as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital and planned to become a minister. He also reviewed books for the New York Times and wrote for National Public Radio.

Green’s first novel is Looking for Alaska, which may have been inspired by the time he spent in boarding school. It is the story of a group of friends at a school in Alabama. The author’s talent for storytelling and for writing dialogue and narration in such a natural way, make this teen novel of love and loss a real winner. 

Published last year, The Fault in Our Stars captures the way teens act and talk and tells a melancholy story that is gently sweet and humorous. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters are not your typical teens. These eccentrics meet in a cancer support group and bond over their own sad stories and life’s treats—books, conversation and romance. Although we know that happy endings do not always come to those with serious illnesses, this is not a sad book.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Highlights from Use Your Computer to Make Money Workshop

Attendees at our recent Use Your Computer to Make Money workshop were introduced to resources which assist in making basic business decisions when starting and operating a home-based business online. Nancy Miller of Rounds Miller and Associates started the session by determining if the business produced a product or performed a service.

If someone wants to enter the online business arena, what types of resources are best when looking for ideas? According to Nancy, perusing the current selection of magazines in your local library helps spot upcoming business and cultural trends. 

Public libraries also offer books and online research tools. Learn4Life is a new resource available to Monrovia Public Library cardholders. It features six week instructor-guided online courses on many topics, including starting and operating a home-based business online. Check it out through our website: here

Monday, September 23, 2013


Every September Banned Book Week is celebrated to create awareness about books that are challenged, censored and banned from the shelves of libraries, schools and book stores.  Focusing on the First Amendment and the right to intellectual freedom, Banned Book Week promotes the freedom to read.
Founded in 1982 by librarian Judith Krug, and endorsed by the Library of Congress, the campaign is sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Association of American Publishers.

This year there will be a Virtual Read-Out, where individuals or groups are invited to submit videos of themselves reading banned books and discussing the significance of those books.  Go to:

Below is a list of the most challenged books of 2012.  Celebrate reading because every one of those books is owned by the Monrovia Public Library.
1.     Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
2.      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
3.     Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
4.     Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
5.     And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
6.      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
7.      Looking for Alaska, by John Green
8.     Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
9.     The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
10.   Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Saturday, September 21, 2013


There are certain historical figures that always seem to fascinate. Books continue to be written about them and movies of their lives always find a big audience.  Abraham Lincoln immediately comes to mind as one of those fascinating people.

Another is T.E. Lawrence, the mysterious British army officer who went to the Arabian Peninsula during World War I and helped fight the occupying forces of the Ottoman Empire.  He became known as the legendary Lawrence of Arabia. 

Monrovia Library owns the DVD of the Academy Award winning 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia.  Starring Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif and a cast of famous English actors, this British epic won 7 Oscars and is just as exciting to watch as it was 50 years ago. 

 On the library shelves are 9 books about T.E. Lawrence. One of the most interesting is With Lawrence in Arabia written by the reporter Lowell Thomas and published in 1924.  It was Thomas who really brought the enigmatic Lawrence to the attention of the world, not just by writing the book, but also through filmed interviews which were shown in movie theaters of the day. The newest book is Lawrence in Arabia:  War Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.  Written by Scott Anderson and just published in August 2013, the book is an impeccably researched history of Lawrence and is just as epic as the movie.