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Today in Westside Library history: Teen Makeover, 1996

JC Penny and the Westside library sponsored a workshop for teen girls at the library, advertised on this day in 1996. The girls, starting at age 13, would get free skin and hair care tips.

Read more here: El Paso Times 18 July 1996
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Today in Westside Library History: Memorial books, 1979

Five books were donated to the Westside Library in July of 1979 in order to honor the memories of the Cole family, who died in a fire in April. Barbara Cole, who died in the fire, had been part of the board of directors of the Friends of the West Side Branch Library.

Read more here: El Paso Times 11 June 1979

Branch Manager Reviews: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet by A.C. Gughen

March is Women's History Month and while the retelling of the Robin Hood legend in the story Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen isn't strictly history, it's loosely based on history.
One of the major reasons I chose to write about this story is that the main character in this Robin Hood legend is a strong woman who makes her own choices in life--not letting anyone, including Robin Hood, tell her what to do.
In this retelling of the legend, Will Scarlet, Robin Hood's friend, isn't a boy, but instead is a woman known to most around Sherwood as Scar or Will. Everyone  believes she is a male thief and that's what Scarlet wants them to believe. Only a few folks know most of the truth, including Robin, Little John, Much and Friar Tuck.
Scarlet is a strong, moody character. She has plenty of secrets and a dark past. She's also torn about her disguise as a man: for example, the religious Scarlet won't go to church dressed as a man because she wants …

Today in Westside Library History: Jazz at the library, 1994

Billy Townes played jazz piano during a Black History Month celebration on this date in 1994.

See more here: El Paso Times 23 February 1994

Branch Manager Reviews: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

We're nearing the end of the February Black History month celebration, so I'd like to highlight one of my favorite books that features an incredible glimpse into life for African Americans during the great depression. The story is by Christopher Pual Curtis: Bud, Not Buddy.

This story is written for a younger audience, but is a great read for just about anyone. It's a two-time award winner, receiving the 2000 Newbery Medal and the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award. Ten year old Bud is the main character in the story. The most important person in his life, his mother has died, and he has been living in the Home (an orphanage) since he was 6 years old. After some bad experiences in the orphanage and in his last foster home, Bud decides he'll strike out on his own to find his father.

Bud believes he knows who and where his father is and tries to find him in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but his only clues to finding his dad are memories fr…

President's Day: Not What You Expected

President's Day is a holiday that is celebrated in many different ways... just not the ways that you may expect. It's not that everyone has a cool different craft or neat idea for advertising used cars, instead, it's that the holiday isn't what we think it is. In fact, it's not even really called "President's Day." It's still "Washington's Birthday."

Originally, President's Day was celebrated as a federal holiday to remember and honor our first president, George Washington, on his birthday. However, after Abraham Lincoln's presidency, many northern states started to celebrate the newer president's birthday at around the same time. When the official celebration of Washington's birthday was changed to the 3rd Monday in February, it started to confuse people: who's birthday was being celebrated?

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Nixon proclaimed the 3rd Monday in 1971 to be President's Day to honor all pa…

Branch Manager Reviews: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Valentine's Day is coming up and while we most often associate the holiday with Romantic love, we know that there are actually many other kinds of love. In How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu explores the love in families, especially love between a father and son. Charles (of Mirror Universe 31), has been barely living since his father time-traveled out of his life. Charles feels that he has disappointed his father, and while they had always had trouble communicating, Charles badly wants to reconnect.

The problem is that Charles isn't going anywhere. He's a time-machine technician and he's given up on his own life. He has no motivation. It isn't until Charles' future self appears and a panicked present-Charles shoots himself in the stomach that his life finally starts to move forward--even if it's into a time loop. The journey Charles takes pulls him backwards in ti…