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Our Pick the Winners Oscar Contest starts today (Feb. 1)!  Vote in eight of the major Oscar categories for your chance to win “A Night Out in Niles” with gift cards to Portillos and to the theaters in Golf Mill Shopping Center.

Pick up a ballot at the Second Floor desk or fill one out here.

All of this Oscar mania leads up to our 10th Anniversary Oscar Night Extravaganza on Sun., Mar. 2 at 6:30pm. Registration for that begins today for Niles cardholders and on Mon., Feb. 10 for all. Register now!

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BEFORE-MIDNIGHT-stills

The third and last (?) in the Richard Linklater directed and Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke starring series, Before Midnight again features more dialogue and banter between characters than plot. But, after three movies, we are used to that and we know these characters so well, we pretty much know what they are going to say and do. Not that this is a good or bad thing…but it’s comfortable. Like an old pair of slippers, these films have charmed us, endeared us, and romanced us. A little refresher on the series: Before Sunrise (1995) is set in Vienna and has Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) meeting on a train and taking a risk by spending the whole day with each other. They talked and walked and laughed and talked and walked and laughed some more. As they fell in love, so did we with them.

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Are you constantly picking up after your kids? Do you trip over toys when you walk down the hall? Do your kids’ bedrooms often look like the Tazmanian Devil just snuck in the door and out the window? Do they whine or freak out when you ask them to clean their rooms? If so, you are not alone. Learning to keep a place neat and tidy is a lifelong struggle for many families. That’s why it is important to get kids accustomed to participating in the day-to-day tasks that keep your household running smoothly.

More importantly, chores teach children the importance of community and responsibility. Kids who have a “job to do” feel a sense of purpose and competency. When kids do their “jobs” they are, in a very real sense, becoming productive members of the family. This sense of self-worth bleeds into other aspects of their lives.

That said, kids will be kids. And getting kids to do their chores without protest is all but impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you win the chore war:

1) Choose age-appropriate chores. Here is a Montessori chart of “Age Appropriate Chores for Children” that offers a few ideas of what kids can handle at various developmental stages:

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captain-phillips

I have issue with movies based on real stories where I know the ending…mostly because it kills the suspense. Titanic: No matter how much Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet love each other, the boat will still sink. Marie Antoinette: She tells the French people to eat cake and then she loses her head. Joan of Arc: She inspires France and gets burnt at the sake for her troubles. Now, I know Hollywood takes a lot of liberties with endings (adaptations rarely end exactly as they do in the book or on the stage, etc.) But, even the fickle movie industry would never be so brazen enough to change the ending of a real life tale, right? Titanic 2: It’s Didn’t Sink will never be produced, right? (Well, hopefully!)

So, in Hollywood’s latest string of based-on-real-life movies (Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave), one stands out for me, EVEN THOUGH I was pretty sure I knew how the movie was going to end. Captain Phillips is based on a book by, that’s right, Captain Richard Phillips. Chances are (and I’m just GUESSING here) if he was able to write about his death-defying experience, he most likely survived. Again, I’m JUST guessing. So, what does this tell us…that we know the ending. Darn, another Titanic. But, wait. Not this movie. Captain Phillips is a wild ride, a fast-paced, highly enjoyable thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Midwinterblood-cover

This morning the American Library Association announced the top 2013 books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults.

Teen librarians focus on the Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. After the awards are announced each year there are standard responses of joy, surprise, member committee cheerleading and puzzlement both on the listservs and Twitter by teen librarians. Most sounds of joy in the social media today tend to center on the Printz Honor winner Rowell. I along with a mass of teen librarians and teens loved Eleanor & Park.

The 2014 Printz winner is Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, a British writer who spent sixteen years in the publishing field is a well established Young Adult Writer. He also won a Printz Honor award in 2011 for Revolver. Positively reviewed in library journals and many teen librarian blogs, Midwinterblood is structured as seven short stories that form a puzzle of part love story, mystery and horror. The Printz committee favors good writing, multi-layered structure, and complexity. Midwinterblood demands reading with effort.

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BlueJasmine

I have made no secret that one of a handful of my favorite movies of the 21st Century is Woody Allen’s Match Point. I liked Midnight in Paris (2011) a lot. I enjoyed Cassandra’s Dream (2007), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and To Rome with Love (2012). But, for me, 2005’s Match Point is Allen’s 21st century masterpiece.  Why?  Well, it’s not Allen’s usual depressed, anxious and, at times, tedious schtick.  That worked fine in his early films, ala Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979) but over time, it just got overdone and overused.  Also, Match Point is far from Allen’s usual comfort zone…it’s NOT set in New York and it’s not a comedy —in any way.  Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) also can be seen as an Allen drama, as could Interiors (1978) and September (1987), but those still have some of Allen’s trademark nervousness (Crimes and Misdemeanors even features Allen in a role where he acts in his usual Allenesque way).  Match Point does not feature any characters with serious neuroses. Yes, they are troubled but they are troubled in a calm, passionate way…not in a psychological, overly-emotional manner.

So, what do we have in Blue Jasmine, Allen’s latest film?

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Kids-Best-Books

2013 was a year of brilliant books for kids.

From picture books to novels, KidSpace librarians read all year long.

Along the way, we noted our favorites in five categories: Picture Books and Readers; Chapter Books for 3rd and 4th Graders, Chapter Books for 5th Grade and Up; Illustrated Fiction (picture books for older kids), Graphic Novels, Poetry and Folklore; and Non-Fiction. To create a list of 100 or so books, we combined our favorites with the top picks of the children’s literature journals we follow.

Below are links to the Niles Public Library KidSpace Best of 2013 choices.

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Instagram-Banner

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Instagram is a free and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures and 15 second video clips. Snap a photo or record a video with your mobile device, then choose filters to transform them into a memory to keep around forever.

I’m a huge fan of Instagram because you can turn any ordinary photo or short video clip into an extraordinary one.

Here are 5 reasons to follow @nileslibrary on Instagram:

5) We’ll Make You LOL

Instagram5

A good laugh can cure anything, right?

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The cover image for this 2009 boo was shot by Jaems Karales during the 1963 march from Selma to Montgomery.

During the past few years we’ve seen a boom in books on the Civil Rights Movement.

Here are just a few of our recent favorites (plus one DVD). Click on the link to place a hold on the title.

Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales (2013)
by James Karales

Photojournalist James Karales (1930–2002) documented the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965. This beautiful new book presents many of his images from the era, including some published for the first time ever.

Controversy and Hope can be found with our New Nonfiction Materials in the Commons area on the Main Floor of the Library.

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