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Tag: Madison Public Libraries

The Wisconsin Book Festival is Here!

The time has come, folks- the Wisconsin Book Festival starts today!

It’s the 15th Anniversary for the Wisconsin Book Festival, and the schedule is set. There are a plethora of events planned for this four day celebration, centered at Madison Public Library.

Conor Moran, the Festival Director, is especially excited about the kinds of discussions that many will hold close to their heart- whether it be race, immigration, climate change, or gender equality. This fall’s lineup has something for everyone!

The Wisconsin Book Festival is a large part of the Madison community, hosting events not only in the fall, but all year long. Some of its partners include Ian’s Pizza, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, and of course Go Big Read!

Originally, the festival started as just a four-day event, but has seen a monstrous amount of growth ever since. The festival now holds events throughout the entire year. Both local authors and national writers will be in attendance. Over the next four days, approximately 70 authors will be in attendance. Amy Goldstein, the author of Janesville: An American Story is one of the most anticipated authors for many of the Wisconsin Book Festival attendees.

Come check out the Wisconsin Book Festival from 11/2-11/5. CC Image Courtesy of the Madison Public Library website.

There’s books and discussions for everyone to engage with. Genres range from poetry to STEM and provide books for all ages.

For a list of authors and the full schedule, check out their website.

It’s bound to be an exciting weekend for us bookworms!

Gillian Keebler
Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

Madison Public Library Community Book Groups Continue Into the Fall

Each year Madison Public Library’s nine locations participate in Go Big Read by hosting community book discussions. MPL’s book discussions are typically long standing groups with a core group of regular attendees who welcome newcomers ready to listen, discuss and share the floor in exploration of the book and author. The list of remaining discussions is below.

Here are some reactions from librarians that have already hosted discussions this year.
Each quote is from a different librarian and book discussion group:

We attempted to understand the birth of the Taliban after the Soviet
troop withdrawal in 1989– their rise from religious to militant– and
why they had initial world support, including that of the Reagan and
Clinton administrations. It was interesting to learn the the Clinton’s
administration’s flirtation with the Taliban did not last long, as
Madeleine Albright, incensed by the Taliban’s treatment of women, halted it when she became Secretary of State.

Many found it a difficult read with the political overtones, the
anti-Americanism, the detailed historical religious perspective, the
terminology, and the American unfamiliarity with Pakistan specifically,
and Islam in general.  Some felt that the book would have held more
credibility if it hadn’t looked like Malala’s story was being
manipulated by adults with an agenda to sell books while Malala was
still in the headlines.  One attendee suggested that, ‘although he had
great respect for Malala, the book was obvious propaganda.

We discussed the amazing phenomenon of Malala herself and her wisdom
beyond her actual years, everyday life and family dynamics in Pakistan,
all things education, including who has the say over what goes into
children’s textbooks, whether or not kids here take education for
granted, etc., religion, religious extremism, the role of the U.S. in
the Middle East, how the people always get caught between their
government and the militants and often our government as well, and how
well that works out for everybody. I think people enjoyed the book and
Malala’s voice and loved Malala.

Many in our group were pleased this was a Go Big Read pick because UW
students would read it– and look beyond their borders and/or discover a
perspective on ‘the news’ that is more personal. The group also
appreciated reading more about the Taliban- both the history, the day to
day changes in Malala’s life because of them, and her courage in
standing up to them.

Quite a bit of time was spent thinking about/discussing the issue of
the co-author– how not knowing what Lamb’s role was or who wrote what
was distracting to the reader and opened up the possibility that this
book was not Malala’s story or beliefs totally. The group was very
interested to hear of the negative reaction to the book (and not Malala)
in Pakistan.

*Discussions continue at our libraries and Book Discussion Kits are
available for private book groups (see below):

Wednesday, October 22, 6:30-8:00pm at Meadowridge Library, 5740 Raymond
Rd., Madison, WI, 53711, 288-6160

Thursday, October 23, 1:00-2:00pm at Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd.,
Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6385

Wednesday, November 5, 6:00-7:30pm at Monroe Street Library, 1705 Monroe
St., Madison, WI, 53711, 266-6390

Thursday, November 6, 6:30-7:45pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547

Thursday, November 13, 12:00-1:00pm at Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman
Ave., Madison, WI, 53704, 246-4547

Tuesday, November 25, 7:00-8:00pm at Pinney Library, 204 Cottage Grove
Rd., Madison, WI, 53716, 224-7100

*Click here to borrow Book Discussion Kits from MPL

Madison Public Library has bought over 100 copies of I am Malala to lend
to private book groups. Kits are lent on a first come, first served
basis– no holds or reserves allowed. While all kit copies are out as of
this blog post, experience shows we’ll have many copies to lend again in
the late fall- typically mid-November. To borrow a kit you’ll need a
valid library card from one of the libraries in the South Central
Library System (which includes Madison Public Library.) Call 266-6300
for more information. You may borrow as many copies as your group needs
and choose your due date (within reason!) The discussion guide included
with the kit contains reviews, additional background information on
Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai and discussion questions.

Written by: Liz Amundson, Madison Public Library Reference Librarian

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney at Central Library, 11/12

Kamikaze Diaries by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney

If you attended Ruth Ozeki’s talk on October 28, you may have heard her mention Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney.  Ohnuki-Tierney wrote Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers and Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, which Ozeki used for her research for A Tale for the Time Being.  In her interview with NPR, Ozeki says in reference to Cherry Blossoms:

It was a collection, a study of the diaries of the kamikaze pilots who had been conscripted from Japan’s top universities. So these were the young, bright minds of Japan, and these men, these young men, were beautiful writers. And they wrote these just heartbreaking letters and diaries….Many of them did not want to participate in this at all but, you know, the situation was hopeless — there was no option for conscientious  objection, for example — so they were forced into this, accompanied by an enormous amount of angst. And so I think the idea for those three characters came from this reading and studying that I was doing.

If you are interested in learning more about the experiences of the Japanese soldiers, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney will be at the Central Library, 201 Mifflin St. on Tuesday, November 12 at 7:00 pm. Ohnuki-Tierney is the William F. Vilas Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Lisa, Librarian at Madison Public Library – Central Library

Learning Lab: Lens on the Collection, featuring A Tale for the Time Being

Lens on the Collection: Click to expand
Tucked in and sometimes overlooked among its vast print holdings,
the UW-Madison library system also offers students a dizzying array of movies. Some
are popcorn classics, box-office hits widely known and loved worldwide.  Yet library patrons are likewise able to
access thousands of film titles that didn’t set any box-office records but are
perhaps more thought-provoking than their more famous compatriots.  Certainly, movies should entertain, however the
best entertainment expands your outlook, and gives insight to the perspectives
of people from different cultures and mindsets. With such a wide selection of
films at our disposal, how does one sort through the vast, sometimes dispersed
holdings to select the right film for the right situation?
The LSS Learning Lab Library, located on the second floor of Van
Hise Hall, is here to help.  Each
semester, the Learning lab selects a new theme for its Lens on the Collection series, highlighting several related films
from its extensive foreign film collection to provide patrons with a focused
guide to the Learning Lab’s film holdings. 
This Fall, Lens on the Collection
focuses its attention on twelve feature films meant to complement Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, this year’s Go Big Read selection. Ozeki’s novel delves deep into the troubles
confronting contemporary Japanese culture, teenage angst, and the difficulty of
forging meaningful relationships in the fast-paced modern world. As fans of foreign cinema are no
doubt aware, many of these themes have already been explored by talented filmmakers
from around the globe:  think of the work
of Leos Carax, Michel Gondry, and Bong Joon-ho in Tokyo; Sofia Coppola in Lost
in Translation
; Eric Khoo in Tatsumi,
to name just a few examples.   
While A Tale for the Time Being and each of our films remain
thought-provoking works of art in their own right, our hope is that by pairing
and partnering these works, book and film, we can help provide the broader
campus audience a fuller appreciation of the themes these works raise. By
combining these different forms of media, we believe that readers and viewers will
be better able to consider the troubles of modernity, the challenges facing
contemporary Japan, and the problems we all wrestle with as individual human
So as you finish this
year’s Go Big Read, and head into the
weekend wondering what to do for a bit of entertainment, don’t settle for the
umpteenth re-watching of Twilight or Harry Potter. Dig deeper for something
you haven’t seen before, something more thought provoking, something out of
your comfort zone. You just might uncover a new favorite and challenge your
perspective in the process.
~Lane Sunwall~
The Learning Lab in 259 Van Hise Hall provides drop-in study
space, audio and video playback equipment, computers, and an extensive media
collection of thousands of DVD/video materials from over one hundred different
foreign languages.  Past and current Lens on the
posters and selections can be found online or on the poster board in front of the Learning Lab in Van
Hise Hall.  To check out movies from the Lens on the Collection, visit our
friendly staff at the LSS Learning Lab, or order them online at

Documentary Film Screening of ‘Bully’ at Madison Public Library- Central Library- Wednesday 10/23 at 6:30

I just watched Bully tonight. It is a most powerful movie.  It puts on
screen what Nao, in A Tale for the Time Being, experienced in her
school.  The film follows a few children as they endure abuse by their
classmates on the bus, in the halls and on the playgrounds of their
schools.  It portrays the pain and shame, and the hopelessness they feel
as their teachers, school leaders and even parents fail to protect
them. It shows the pain of the parents who try to help their children
and fight to get stubborn administrations to move towards protecting
them.  And it shows the torment of parents of children who despaired and
took their lives.  
While the film did not touch on the cyber-bullying Nao was subjected to,
it was able to portray the pain these children feel and make clear how
suicide feels like the only option.  

film fortunately ends on a positive note. In honor of one of the
children who committed suicide, one father teaches himself about the
internet, gets on Facebook and joins a movement to stop bullying. 
Called Stand For The Silent, the group encourages children to befriend a
bullied child, and offers education and tools to children and schools
to help the bullied.

If you are interested in seeing Bully and hearing the reactions of others, come to the Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St. on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:30 pm. 
After we view the film, a supportive, thoughtful discussion will be
moderated by Susan Simon of WISC-TV3 News Team (WISC-TV3 has been
sponsoring a Time for Kids Buddy project to encourage kids to be a
buddy, not a bully). Amy Bellmore, PhD, UW Associate Professor of
Educational Psychology and Dr. Joanna Bisgrove, Family Medicine Physician from DeanCare will join us for the discussion. 
 If you can’t make it Wednesday, there will be a final screening of the film will be on Saturday, November 2 at 1 pm at the Meadowridge Library, 5740 Raymond Rd.

Blog post written by:
Lisa M., Librarian atMadison Public Library- Central

*Poster for Bully.

“Bully” Screenings at Madison Public Library

Poster for Bully.

Much of A Tale for the Time Being is concerned with the cruel treatment of Nao at the hands of her classmates. While these scenes are uncomfortable and frequently disturbing to read, the reality is that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year. The documentary Bully (formerly The Bully Project) takes a hard look at bullies and their victims.

Join Madison Public Library for free screenings of Bully, followed by facilitated discussions about bullying. Screenings are being held at several branches throughout October and November, and do not require pre-registration. For dates and locations, check out the MPL event page or our own Go Big Read event calendar.
Bully is rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language, all involving kids.

A Tale for the Time Being is now available as an eBook!

Are you a Kindle person, a Nook person, or an iPad person? Penguin Books, publisher of A Tale for the Time Being, announced on September 25th that their eBook catalog is now available via OverDrive for free download to portable e-readers including Nooks, Kindles and iPads. The Wisconsin Public Library Consortium, which includes Madison Public Library and all South Central Library System public libraries, has added 25 copies of this year’s Go Big Read book to the WPLC digital library.

This eBook is available to read with the OverDrive Read browser reader, as well as most devices and Kindle. (Of note to Kindle users:  Penguin ebook titles are available for Kindle users via the USB sideloading only.)  Public library users may already be familiar with this process. If not, this OverDrive Help article covers it, or users can call their local library for help.

If you are not familiar with Overdrive, start here!

Go Big Read book discussions

Have you already finished A Tale for the Time Being? Are you disappointed that there’s more than a month to go until our author event on October 28? Have no fear!

Madison Public Library is partnering with Go Big Read to host book discussions throughout the community. All discussions are free and open to the public, with no pre-registration required; all you have to do is show up (and probably read the book first)! No matter where you live in Madison, odds are a library near you has a discussion coming up sometime soon.

This month alone, you could head south along Park Street to check out the discussion at Goodman Branch this Saturday. Or take the opportunity to hang out in the gorgeous new Central Library (side note, who’s going to Stacked! tonight?) on September 25 by participating in their evening discussion. And Meadowridge Branch is holding a discussion next Saturday.

October and November are chock full of MPL/GBR book discussions, too, as well as other events (Kanji-writing workshop, anyone?). If you want to check out your library’s discussion group or find one that fits in your schedule, visit our Events page.