February 2008 Archives

Your Weekly Reference Question

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What is a leap year?


Every four years, an extra day is added to our calendar year, making it 366 days long rather than the usual 365. This additional day comes at the end of February, therefore February 29th is often referred to as "leap day."

The origins of leap year date far back in history:

In 45 BC Julius Caesar…decided to use a purely solar calendar. This calendar, known as the Julian calendar, fixed the normal year at 365 days, and the leap year, every fourth year, at 366 days. Leap year is so named because the extra day causes any date after February in a leap year to 'leap' over one day in the week and to occur two days later in the week than it did in the previous year, rather than just one day later as in a normal year. (from MSN Encarta)

Part of the purpose of a leap year is to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's movement around the sun. For more information about this and other leap year facts, check out timeanddate.com.

Are You Ready for Digital Television?

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Congress has mandated that at midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States must stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture with more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders. As such, analog (non-digital) televisions that currently receive free over-the-air programming via rooftop or “rabbit ear” antennae will either need to be replaced with a newer digital model or fitted with a digital-to-analog converter box.

Congress has created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

TV Converter Box Coupon

The following links contain additional information from the FCC:
General Information

May no television viewer be left behind!

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess

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Kick-Off Celebration - Central Library
Saturday, March 1, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Featuring a sing-along with Ken Baron, crafts, cookie decorating, story time, face painting, jugglers, costumed characters and more!

Neighborhood Library Celebrations

Monday, March 10, 5-6 p.m.

Bay View
Monday, March 3, 6-7 p.m.

Saturday, March 8, 1-2 p.m.

Center Street
Saturday, March 8, 12-1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 4, 6-7 p.m.

Forest Home
Saturday, March 15, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Special storytime with guest Dist. 2 Police Capt. Eduardo Negron.

Martin Luther King
Tuesday, March 4, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Mill Road
Saturday, March 8, 2-3:30 p.m.

Monday, March 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m. With a special guest reader from the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Villard Avenue

Tuesday, March 4, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Washington Park
Saturday, March 15, 2-3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 12, 7-8 p.m.
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with a reading from The Lorax, Seuss’s story about the enviromental problems caused when trees are destroyed. Learn why trees are important and what can be done to protect them. Craft, treats and a sapling to take home and plant (while supplies last).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Kawanza Newson, Dani McClain, and book editor Geeta Sharma Jensen got together to discuss Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. The discussion is featured in Bookmarks, the Journal Sentinel's podcast about books.


The book was selected by the Milwaukee Public Library as the featured piece of literature for the Big Read. There are many more programs and events centering around Their Eyes Were Watching God in Milwaukee throughout February, March and April.

Is Money from the Government Coming Your Way?

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On February 13, President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which will give a total of $152 billion to millions of Americans.

Starting in May, the U.S. Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million American individuals/households. To receive the payment, a 2007 income tax return must be filed - from which payments will automatically be issued to qualifying filers. Payment amounts will be based on 2007 income tax returns or information provided by Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration and/or Railroad Retirement administrators. (from the IRS Website)

For more information about these payments, see the General Information and Frequently Asked Questions sections of the IRS Website.

Your Weekly Reference Question

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Did you know that Cream City brick is native to the Milwaukee area?

These bricks were one of the most common building materials used in Milwaukee during the mid and late 1800's, giving the city the nickname "Cream City."

According to the History of Milwaukee Wisconsin, Volume VII p. 1505, "The clay from which these bricks are made contain a large proportion of lime and some sulphur. The sulphur gives the creamy tint, which no other bricks present, and the opening of a kiln discovers the condensed flour of sulphur which adheres to the surface of the topmost bricks like a yellow frost."

Cream City bricks are well-known for their durability; many buildings constructed with them in the 1800's still stand today. One example is the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was built more than 125 years ago.
Cream City bricks are porous which tends to make structures dark-colored as time passes. Once Cream City bricks absorb pollutants, they are difficult to clean, a problem with which restoration experts in Milwaukee have been faced since the 1970s. Initially, sandblasting was attempted; however, it not only proved to be ineffective, but was damaging to the bricks. Currently, chemical washes are the most effective and accepted method of cleaning Cream City bricks.

Playaway Collection

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Thanks to our generous Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library, the neighborhood and Central libraries will each receive new digital audio book collections. The library submitted a single-grant request to the Friends for $10,000 to purchase new “Playaway” audio books. Playaways are the digital content of an entire book pre-loaded into a pocket-size player. There is no need to load CD’s or cassette tapes; you just press “play” and begin listening. Very simple to operate and light to carry, the library is excited to be able to offer this type of media to its patrons. These will hit the shelves in early 2008.


This Saturday, February 23 from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., the author of Milwaukee's Bronzeville 1900-1950 will be giving a talk at the Villard Library. Paul H. Geenen will share a slide presentation that discusses the history and stories of Bronzeville, and explores the cultural achievements of African Americans of that time.

Bronzeville was an area that centered around Walnut Street, with the heart of the area between 3rd and 12th streets. In the time period between 1900 and 1950 the area was predominantly African-American. In the 1950s, the neighborhood disappeared after a majority of the buildings were razed to make way for the I-43 north-south freeway.

This program is part of the Milwaukee Public Library's Big Read celebration which features Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

American Presidency Exhibit @ Central Library

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Central Library will host The American Presidency Traveling Exhibit from Saturday, February 16 through Monday, February 18. This museum-quality exhibit contains 80 objects from the two largest private presidential memorabilia collections in the country. Among some of the rare and unique items on display are campaign buttons, state dinner menus and seating arrangements, and an original key to the White House. MPL has supplemented this exhibit with items from its own collection, as well as donations from library patrons and friends.

Along with the exhibit, Jordan M. Wright, author of Campaigning for President, will be discussing and signing his book on Sunday, February 17 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in Central Library's First Floor Meeting Room. Copies of his work will be available for purchase at the event.

**MPL is partnering with HarperCollins Publishing and FOX News to bring this exhibit to Milwaukee.**

PÄ…czki are traditional Polish doughnuts. PÄ…czki is the plural form of the word pÄ…czek in Polish, but many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural.

Enjoy a recipe for this Milwaukee Lenten favorite first published by the Milwaukee Journal on February 7th, 1963.
1 ½ C Milk
2 cakes yeast
1 tsp salt
½ C sugar
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp mace or ½ tsp nutmeg
½ C butter
4 ½ C flour

Scald milk and allow to cool to lukewarm. Break yeast into lukewarm milk. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, add eggs, salt and spices. Add flour and milk gradually, beating well. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk. (About two and one half hours) Punch down, knead and let rise again. Place dough on lightly floured board, stretch toward you and fill with thick filling (jelly is not thick enough.) Fold over and cut into desired size ball, place on lightly floured surface and let rise. Fry in deep hot fat, turning only once. Doughnuts should have a very dark color before turning that they are thoroughly baked. Drain on soft absorbent paper. Sprinkle with vanilla flavored powdered sugar or a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Note: The cookbook Treasured Polish Christmas customs and traditions, 1977 p.726 states that rose jams, apricot or peach preserves and prune butter are good fillings for paczki.

Winter Game Night

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Play X-box at your local library in Winter.

East - Feb 12th 5:30 - 7:30pm
Tippecanoe - Feb 14th 3:30 - 4:30pm
Forest Home Feb 16th 1 - 3pm
Capitol - Feb 18th 3:30 - 5:30pm
MLK - Feb 20th 5 - 7pm
Mill Road - Feb 21st 6 - 7:30pm
Zablocki - Feb 25th 6 - 8pm
Washington Park Mar 3rd 5 - 7pm

We have Rock Band! Refreshments provided!

How to locate your local polling station

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Wisconsin voters can look up their polling place and other election-related information on the Internet using a new function of the state’s voter registration system. It’s now available under “Voter Information” on the Elections Division page, the Government Accountability Board’s website.

Voter Public Access gives the public a new means of getting information about voter registration, voting history, normal polling place locations, current office holders, and sample ballots for upcoming elections.

For great links to valuable election information, make sure to check out the library's Web site.

Celebrate Black History Month @ Center Street Library

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It's Open Mic Night at Center Street Library!

Monday, February 25, 2008
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Poets, singers, dancers, visual artists, and other performers are invited to come and express themselves for our Black History Month celebration!

If you would like to be a performer for this event, please register with the librarian by Thursday, February 21. Call (414) 286-3090.

Your Weekly Reference Question

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Did you know that February is Black History Month?

An idea proposed by black historian Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month began in 1926 as Negro History Week. Dr. Woodson selected a particular week in February as a time to celebrate African American achievement because it coincided with the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded by Dr. Woodson, established Black History Month. For more information about Black History Month, go to ASALH's Website. Also, check out our events calendar for Black History Month celebrations in Milwaukee Public Libraries.

Election 2008 - Issues and Where to Vote

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Do you live in the City of Milwaukee and want to know where to vote on February 19th? Check the Election Commission Voting Location & Representatives Inquiry and type in your address to find out where to vote and who your representatives are. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Also, if you're curious about how your views align with the Presidential candidates, take the Vote by Issue quiz and see your results!

New Workshop

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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!:

Developing Narrative Skills in Children
Narrative Skills refers to a child’s ability to tell stories and describe
things. A child’s ability to use narrative skills will have a lifelong
impact in many areas–including math! During this fun-filled
hands-on session participants will learn what “narrative skills”
means and explore books that help develop these skills.
Participants will leave with simple activities and techniques
to help children build narrative skills. Earn 1.5 credit hours
by attending this training session.

Washington Park Library
Thursday, February 21, 6:30-8 p.m.


A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines is an engrossing and vividly written tale of segregation and prejudice, hope and enlightenment in the fictional town of Bayonne, Louisiana in the late 1940's. The novel explores relationships between family, community, race and differing educational and social backgrounds. Jefferson, a poor plantation worker, is convicted of a murder he did not commit, and the ripples from this conviction have a profound effect on many people throughout the entire community. This truly human story packs a powerful emotional wallop and is highly recommended.

The Central Library is hosting a book discussion about A Lesson Before Dying on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m. For a list of all book discussions offered by the Milwaukee Public Library, check out MPL's Website.

- Submitted by Dan @ MPL Central

New Database: World Book Kids

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World Book Kids is the latest addition to the database collection at MPL. It is the online version of the popular encyclopedia that is designed especially for children. World Book Kids features simple navigation, easy-to-read content, and bright colors and graphics. Divided into broad topical categories, thousands of articles are enhanced by colorful illustrations, photographs, diagrams, and interactive maps. Four categories of fun activities (Think It!, Be It!, Make It!, and Teach It!) provide great ideas for parents and teachers. You can log on to World Book Kids in any City of Milwaukee library, as well as from your home computer using your library card.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

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