Sign Up for Summer Reading Today!

Summer reading is half over – have you signed up yet? Stop by your local branch and enter to win all kinds of fantastic prizes! Summer reading is a great way to make sure your child and/or teenager stays ready for school during this long time away, and it can keep your brain sharp, too. Here are the general rules:

  • Children ages 0-11 must reach their reading goals or read five books and turn in their reading logs by August 15th. They’ll win a reading certificate, a free book, lots of other cool prizes, and enter a drawing for a $50 gift certificate!
  • Teens going into grades 6-12 must read six regular books, or 18 graphic novels, by August 15th. They’ll win a great pair of headphones, a drawstring backpack, and six Library Bucks – good for paying off fines wherever in Baton Rouge your books are overdue! Teens can turn in a completed summer reading log more than once, and every entry gets you more chances to win other cool prizes!
  • Adults (everybody else) only have to read three books – just three! – to win a summer reading prize back, and be entered into a prize drawing of their very own!

What are you waiting for? Beat the summer outdoor heat and read! (Audiobooks count!)

Intro to Arduino for Teens

Hey, teens! Do you like robots? Have you ever wanted to build your very own tiny robot? Sure you have! Learning how to build and program with Arduino gets you one step closer to the world’s first real-life Iron Man. Come to the Delmont Gardens Branch this Wednesday, June 20th, at 4 PM to learn more about Arduino, and get closer to building a biosphere on Mars! (It could happen!)

If you get really into it, or you want to brush up on your skills before you go, check out some of the library’s resources on teaching yourself programming:

Stargazing at the Library

Did you know you can check out more than books from the library? You can also check out a whole dang telescope, and gaze at the stars to your heart’s content. If that isn’t cool, well, what is?

The library’s Orion Skyquest XT6 Dobsonian telescope was kindly donated by the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society, and it can be checked out by adults for one week at a time. All you have to do is attend a brief training class – there’s one tomorrow night! – and you can be searching the skies almost before you know it.

The training class is held at the Main Library on Goodwood, beginning at 8 PM. Here are the telescope training dates for the rest of the year:

  • Thursday, June 7
  • Thursday, July 5
  • Thursday, August 2
  • Thursday, September 6
  • Thursday, October 4
  • Thursday, November 1
  • Thursday, December 6

For more information about our telescope, please call the Circulation Department at (225) 231-3740. To learn more about space, or about astronomy research done in Baton Rouge, contact the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society and the Highland Road Park Observatory.

An image from Space.com of the Milky Way’s center and bulge over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope.

Great American Read

LPB & Your EBRP Library want to see your shelfie! In preparation for The Great American Read, which will air on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) starting September 11, LPB is having a “Shelfie” contest! Between Friday, June 1, and Tuesday, July 31, go to your local Library location and take a photo of yourself with any of America’s Best Loved Books – see the list here!

Assistant library director Mary Stein poses with a few of her favorite Great American Reads!

Share your “Shelfie” on Instagram, and be sure to tag it with @lpb_org, #GreatReadPBS and #ebrpl. On Friday, August 3, LPB will draw five “Shelfies” at random and each will win an LPB mug, T-shirt and booklight. For more information, visit the Great American Read InfoGuide.

Next Week Is National Library Week

Celebrate National Library Week by visiting the library! No matter what branch you call home, there’s always something going on – check out our online events calendar for fun activities for your whole family.

Can’t make it in? The Digital Library is always open. You can find everything from academic journal articles to streaming movies, with stops for ebooks and business classes along the way.

We’re your library, and we love you! Have a great National Library Week!

One Book, One Community and LASM Discovery Dome

The Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s (LASM) Discovery Dome is coming to Libraries again for a special FREE presentation celebrating this year’s One Book, One Community selection: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Children of all ages will enjoy Magic Tree House: Space Mission when they travel with Jack and Annie, stars of the Magic Tree House® best-selling children’s book series, as they search for answers to a mysterious riddle they’ve discovered. Viewers will get a peek into the treehouse and follow Jack and Annie on an exciting adventure as they meet a helpful astronomer and an astronaut!

Adults and teens are invited to the Library to watch We Are Stars, the film that explains what we are made of, how the sun was created and how a star is made.

The full Discovery Dome schedule is below:

  • 10 a.m. Monday, March 5, River Center Branch
  • 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, Main Library at Goodwood (Adults & teens, We Are Stars)
  • 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, Eden Park Branch
  • 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, Bluebonnet Regional Branch
  • 3 p.m. Thursday, March 8, Central Branch
  • 5 p.m. Monday, March 12, Jones Creek Regional Branch
  • 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 13, Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch
  • 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, Delmont Gardens Branch
  • 3 p.m. Thursday, March 15, Scotlandville Branch
  • 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 19, Carver Branch
  • 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, Baker Branch
  • 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, Pride-Chaneyville Branch
  • 3 p.m. Thursday, March 22, Main Library at Goodwood
  • 3 p.m. Monday, March 26, Fairwood Branch
  • 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, Zachary Branch

To register, or for more information about these free Discovery Dome events, call the Children’s Room at the Library location directly. Call the Circulation Desk at the Main Library at (225) 231-3740 in reference to the presentation for adults and teens. To learn more about the Library and any of its other free programs, events and resources, visit us online!

A Walking Tour: Mardi Gras in the Archives

A special guest post by Emily Ward, archivist

Did you know that the Special Collections Department collects and displays a vast array of Mardi Gras costumes, ephemera, and other festive regalia from the Baton Rouge area? Our seasonal displays include photographs from some of the first parades to roll down Baton Rouge streets, throws spanning decades, and ball costumes so elaborate you’ll be in awe. All of these materials shed light on the city’s unique celebration of the Mardi Gras season. Come check out the display on the second floor of the Main Library in the Special Collections Department!

Just outside our doors, you will be greeted by our lady mannequin sporting a maid’s costume worn by Ms. Jane (Francis) Ward in 1959. Ms. Ward served as one of the Queen’s maids for the Krewe of Romany— the oldest women’s Mardi Gras Krewe in Baton Rouge, created to present the debutant daughters of Krewe members. The theme for the ball in 1959 was the “Golden West.” Ms. Ward, along with many of the women involved in Krewe of Romany, remained an active member for many years. The Special Collections Department keeps images ready for anyone interested in viewing some of the other costumes worn by Ms. Ward, as well as those of other revelers. Ask an archivist to view them while you are visiting.

Krewe of Romany “Golden West” theme, 1959

Further into the department you will come to a case containing images from the “Fairy Tales” parade in 1951, organized and hosted by the Young Men’s Business Club (YMBC). Each float was sponsored and designed by local civic organizations that chose a specific fairy tale to represent. This was Baton Rouge’s second annual Mardi Gras parade to be followed by an awards ceremony for best float and a bal masque, both held by YMBC at the Community Club at Victory Park. These images come to us from the Baton Rouge Fire Department Collection. You can find more images on the Baton Rouge Digital Archive.

You might also come across an image of a parade you have never heard of. The Poor Man’s Mardi Gras Parade was created by Piggly Wiggly Supermarket owner, Larry Henderson, in honor of his late friend, Joseph Jay LaPlace, who was murdered in 1990. The purpose of the parade was to provide a means of celebrating for those who didn’t have the large budgets that other krewes had. According to an article in The Advocate from February 7, 1992:

There is no registration fee, and anything will do for an entry. Many entrants decorate pickup trucks. Some people pull little red wagons. A few ride bicycles. Others just walk. One man once rode his bicycle behind other floats, picking up stray beads and throwing them to bystanders. Two revelers dressed as clowns dispensed paper IOU’s for beads, tossing them like confetti.

Nearly 10,000 people lined the route to watch as the parade rolled from the parking lot of the Burbank Drive Piggly Wiggly Supermarket, down GSRI Road to the Drillers Diamond. The parade had an all-star royalty lineup; Smiley Anders served as the parade captain, Price LeBlanc served as king, and Cynthia Nickerson of WBRZ-TV served as queen. Sadly, this parade only rolled for one year.

Poor Man’s Mardi Gras Parade, 1992

Have you seen enough Mardi Gras memories? We didn’t think so. You can always check out the Baton Rouge Digital Archive for more images of the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras celebration. This year, we’ve begun crawling websites related to the celebration of Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge to make sure their history is archived, too. You will find websites created by krewes, social media pages such as Facebook event pages and Krewe profiles, news and commentary, and video posted to YouTube by parade attendees in the collection we’ve started here. So far, we’ve collected material from the Krewe of Orion, the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana, the Mystic Krewe of Apollo, and more! We add new content every day and would love your help in shaping what is preserved.  To learn more about the East Baton Rouge Web Archives and to submit a URL to be added to the web archive, visit the Baton Rouge Room InfoGuide.

Data USA

Like statistics? If you’ve gotten used to the resources available on the library’s digital statistics resource, Statista, it might be time to check out DataUSA!

DataUSA (not a library resource, just awesome) uses data collected from all kinds of federal agencies to tell stories about, well, all kinds of things – for example, you can learn about the degrees with best immediate payoff in the job market; then the best places to go to school for different degrees; move on to where the best job prospects for engineering grads can be found; and finish off with a study of happiest places to retire.

Included in this post are screen-grabbed examples of the categories you will find and some of the stories in each category, and you can also watch the following short video for more information:

Happy analyzing, Baton Rouge!

Movies in the Plaza

Every Friday in June (starting with this very night!) the Main Library will show a free family movie in the Plaza at 7 PM! Check out the schedule:

  • June 2nd (tonight)! – Zootopia
  • June 9th – Tangled
  • June 16th – Field of Dreams
  • June 23rd – Back to the Future
  • June 30th – The LEGO Batman Movie

In case of weather, movies will be shown in the Large Meeting Room.