Thursday, October 1, 2015

Walk on Earth a Stranger Book Review

The year is 1849. 

The United States government has just announced that for anyone daring enough to make the journey to California there are endless opportunities, prosperity, and gold waiting for them. 

Leah ‘Lee’ Westfall is more than daring: she’s desperate.  Her best friend ran off to California—leaving her completely alone after a devastating tragedy.  To make matters worse, her uncle Hiram comes to take care of her, but he isn’t motivated solely by family obligation—he knows her secret.  The one people have died to protect. 

Lee isn’t just lucky when she stumbles upon gold while hunting or taking care of the farm.  She can feel it in the ground, waiting to be discovered.  She can sense veins of it running through the mountains.  She can taste it if it’s nearby. 

Hiram is ambitious enough to use any resources to pursue his fortune out west—even his niece.  Lee must now flee from her uncle and brave the dangerous, unknown wilderness.  She must head west to California.

Walk on Earth a Stranger is a part fantasy, part historical fiction story cleverly written by Rae Carson.  It is book one of what will be a trilogy.   

Don’t know who Rae Carson is?  Check out her trilogy The Girl of Fire and Thorns.         

Monday, September 28, 2015

From Logo to Keychain

With the 3D printer up and running here at the library we've seen some interesting models created and printed for necklaces and keychains among other things. Which got us to thinking...could we make a customized keychain with the logo for our makerspace on it? It turns out that it's not that difficult.

Spark Labs logo
Spark Labs is the name of our makerspace, and the logo looks like this with the little gear. In order to turn the logo into something 3D with CAD (computer-aided design) modeling software we first had to convert the 2D image into a vector file.

You see, the original image is made up of lots of little dots which makes the edges of the image kind of bumpy, even if you can't see this with the naked eye. You would have to zoom in really close to notice. A vector file has smooth edges and helps to make a nice 3D image.

The file conversion can be done with a software on a computer, but we opted to upload this .jpg image to a free online converter which gave us a .svg vector file. The next step was to use a 3D CAD modeling software to create a 3D model.

We first used Tinkercad online (free) and then later 123D Design (free to download) to make a base and then imported the logo .svg file on top of the base. After that we played around with variations of the model to see what we liked, tested how the models would print on a 3D printer, and then tweaked our design based on the results.

The red keychain below is the latest iteration of our keychain prototpye. This process is very similar to what companies do when they are trying to develop a product.

First models from Tinkercad
Second models in 123D Design
Model with letters raised higher and different print settings

If you are interested in 3D modeling, stop by the library in La Porte for our 3D Scan and Print Open House on October 10 between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. We'll be demonstrating the 3D CAD modeling software and the 3D scanning process, as well as printing models on the 3D printer.

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House, a novel about slave times in the United States by Kathleen Grissom will be discussed from 12:00-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13 in the main library's Large Meeting Room. Check out the book ahead of time and find out what happens to Lavinia from girlhood through marriage as she moves from her slave family into the big house. We'll discuss the meaning of family and happiness as well as the plight of slaves. Refreshments mentioned in the book funded by the Friends of the Library will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Review: Fat Girl Walking

The title is what caught my eye. How could it not? Since I, too, am a “fat girl walking”. For those living under a rock (technologically speaking) like me—Brittany is known for her humor blog The book is a memoir of her journey learning to be comfortable in her own skin and how she became a body image advocate along the way. Her humor is earthy. She likes to cuss. Her upbringing was unconventional. I appreciated the last part of the book better than the first because my growing up was so completely different, except for the fat teasing. I found it hard to relate to some of her choices and experiences. I really liked her honesty about the lifelong struggle to be okay with herself, how it affected her marriage, and her path to body advocacy. I teared up a couple of times because of her crusade and straightforward talk about the issues attached to being a curvy girl.  Brittany Gibbons' writing reminds me a little of Jen Lancaster.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Free Community Book Club Luncheon

The library's second free luncheon for community book club members and people who would like to join a book club will be held at noon on Thursday, October 8 at the La Porte Salvation Army, 3240 Monroe Street. Even though October is traditionally a month for scary events, this one will show you how non-scary a book club is! After a delicious lunch made by Ivy Tech culinary arts students and funded by Friends of the Library, we will be treated to a talk by author Gail Lukasik who made an amazing family discovery and appeared on Genealogy Roadshow. Copies of her book will be available for purchase. You will also meet other book club members and get ideas for titles to discuss. Registration, which is required, may be done online under the Events tab at or by calling the library at 219-362-6156.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What My Grandparent Means to Me

Brentwood at La Porte and the library sponsored an essay contest for 8-12-year-olds on What My Grandparent Means to Me. There were 135 entries. The winner and 50 second place winners received gift cards. The top six got to record their essays for WIMS 1420AM Radio. Here is the winning essay: My Grandma is a significant person in my life. She is my role model. She has many good qualities that I wish I had. They are: kindness, generosity, compassion, loyalty, humor and unpredictability. In this essay I will tell you about what my Grandma means to me. Firstly, my Grandma is kind and generous. She is always gracious toward her family. Giving her time as a gift to her family is a priority to her. When I spend the night with her, she makes sure that we do fun activities like: going to the beach, the park, or visiting the county fair. She is compassionate and loyal. She cares about her family. She has four children and seven grand-children. When there are family emergencies or when one of her family members need her help, she is always there. We can count on her. Humor and unpredictability is what makes my Grandma by Grandma. My Grandma makes everyone laugh. Her sense of humor is unpredictable. You never know what she is going to say or do next. She tells funny stories and jokes. I especially like her “blonde” jokes! In conclusion, my Grandma is a blessing to her family. She is irreplaceable. Her good qualities are some I wish to have. Gabrielle Johnson Want to know what the other 5 essays are? Tune in to WIMS, 1420 AM radio, on Friday, morning, September 25 beginning at a time between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. or on Sunday, September 27 at 1:06 p.m. to hear all of the 6 winning essays.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grease Sing Along!

There’s just something about dressing in costume and singing along to your favorite musical. If your favorite musical happens to be Grease, the 1978 classic starring John Travolta, then mark your calendar for Friday September 25th at 7 p.m.! The Large Meeting Room will be full of Pink Ladies and T-Birds singing along with Sandy and Danny. In addition to singing, you are invited to bring props to the show to be used throughout the film. This event is for adults and only those who are 16 and older will be allowed to attend. 

Did you know?
Olivia Newton-John was literally sewn into the black pants she wears in the final scene.

Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz, was offered the role of Danny Zuko, but he passed because he didn’t want to be typecast.

Sandy in the Broadway version is an American. The movie changed this plot point to accommodate Olivia Newton-John’s Australian accent.

Rydell High gets its name from 1960s teen idol Bobby Rydell.

Bring the following props to enhance your viewing experience:
-Blonde Wig
-Pom Poms
-Plastic Frog