December 2009 Archives

Happy Hogmanay!

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Hogmanay.jpg If someone wishes you a Happy Hogmanay, do not be alarmed. It is merely the Scottish way of saying Happy New Year!

One of Scotland's traditions that has spread around the world is the midnight singing of Robert Burns' poem Auld Lang Syne, set to a traditional Scottish folk melody. To learn more about Robert Burns or to read some of his poetry, take a look at the library catalog!

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Mango Languages Database Debuts

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Would you like to learn Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, or English as a second language for Spanish speakers? Thanks to your local public library, now you can. Mango Languages database will debut in all Milwaukee County Federated libraries (including all city of Milwaukee public libraries) on January 1, 2010.
Mango Languages offers online language instruction with a conversational focus on several languages and English-language learning in native languages. Users can save their progress and return later by submitting an email address and password. You'll be able to access the database remotely.

On January 1, 2010, click on the MPL website's Recommended Links to access Mango Languages.

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Remembrance of Things Past

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On this day in 1912, the Parisian literary review, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, rejected an excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. This semi-autobiographical novel is now considered one of the masterpieces of Western Literature.

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Holiday Hours at your library

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All Milwaukee Public Libraries will be closed for the holidays.

The schedule is as follows:
December 24th and 25th - closed
December 26th - open
December 27th - closed
December 28th-30th - open
December 31st & January 1st - closed
As a reminder, MPL's new hours go into effect on December 27th.

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OverDrive News

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The OverDrive collection will include a new format: the OverDrive eBook collection.

OverDrive eBooks can be downloaded and viewed on mobile devices such as the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble 'nook' and the iPhone/iPod Touch. The initial collection of OverDrive eBooks contains over 200 titles.


To get started you will need a valid library card, access to the Internet, and free software for the computer and/or device on which you wish to use the material. For more information and to download the free software, go to the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium's OverDrive Digital Download Center.


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Looking for ideas for homemade gifts this holiday season? Try this recipe for fudge from the December 11, 1975 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel.


Chocolate Fudge Velvet

3 squares unsweetened chocolate, cut in pieces
1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Combine chocolate and milk in heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until milk is scalded and chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. If sugar crystals form on sides of pan, wipe them off.

Cook without stirring until mixture reaches soft ball stage or 236 to 238 degrees on candy thermometer. Remove from heat; add butter without stirring. Let stand without disturbing until mixture cools to about 110 degrees or lukewarm.

Add vanilla. Beat until candy loses its gloss and starts to thicken. Stir in nuts and pour quickly into lightly buttered 8 inch square pan. Mark in 36 pieces while still warm and when cold and firm, cut. Makes about one and one-half pounds.

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Saturdays at Central Holiday Concert

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Come join us this Saturday, December 19, at the Central Library's Betty Brinn Children's Room for family friendly holiday fun! Featuring Ken Baron, this holiday concert includes interactive singing and dancing. The concert begins at 10:30 a.m. Come join us for lively holiday entertainment!

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Happy Birthday, Jane Austen

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On this day in history, in 1775, English novelist Jane Austen was born. She lived a quiet life, externally, but internally, she was an acute observer of human behavior. Her novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, have not only withstood the test of time, but have inspired such diverse works as Bride and Prejudice, Clueless, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

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Wisconsin Historical Society image collections

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Photo from WHS image collections of the Schlitz BreweryThe Milwaukee Public Library has been working on its own digital collections over the past few years. If you haven't checked those collections out, make sure that you do. They are full of great historical photos of Milwaukee.

Other collections of great historic photos exist at other institutions. The Wisconsin Historical Society, in particular, has great digital photo collections relating to Wisconsin History.

With over 35,000 images from all over the state, this is a wonderful collection.

Search their collection to see what other historic photos you can find.

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The Bells of Christmas

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Once upon a time, before cheese logs and 3G networks, can you remember eagerly anticipating the holidays? In the book The Bells of Christmas, award-winning author Virginia Hamilton tells the story of twelve-year-old Jason Bell as he waits impatiently for his visiting relatives to arrive in 1890 near the historic National Road in Ohio. Jason's Christmas Eve sky is Smurf-blue with no hint of snow--- and fair weather is the worst when your favorite cousin is hoping for a sleigh ride...But the holidays often bring wonderful surprises for everyone.

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Check the availability of The Bells of Christmas at your neighborhood library. See the wooden sculpture that was fashioned after the book cover at King Library. Read this story to your children and feel the warm lantern light of home.
Happy Holidays.

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Library Hours for 2010

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Milwaukee Public Library hours will be changing for 2010. Be sure to check out the MPL Web site to see the new hours for your favorite branch! You will also find information on library holiday closings and furlough days. Remember that the new hours take effect on December 27, 2009!

Teen Gift Wrapping Extravaganza at Center Street

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holiday wrapping.jpgCalling all teens! Visit Center Street Library next Tuesday night and wrap holiday presents. You can wrap your own or help others wrap theirs. All the festive wrapping materials will be provided and refreshments will be served. So come on down to the Center Street Library at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 15th. Wrapping presents has never been so much fun!

Starting a Small Business

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business.png Learn how to find the right information to help you start your own business. Central Library Business staff will offer a free short program on some of the most useful print and electronic resources for small business planning.

When: Monday, December 14th, 1:30 - 2:30

Where: Central Library, Second Floor Computer Lab

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Some of the earliest German newspapers that are part of the Milwaukee's German Newspapers; an index of death notices and related items at MPL are available online through MPL / Badgerlink subscription to NewspaperArchive.

The local German papers that are listed there include: Atlas (weekly edition), Atlas Tagliche Ausgabe (daily edition), Das Tagliche Banner (Daily Banner), Taglicher Volksfreund, (Daily People's Friend), Wisconsin Banner, Wisconsin-Banner und Volksfreund. The years covered range from 1844 through about 1860 with some gaps.

If there is an indexed entry found in Milwaukee's German newspapers : an index of death notices and related items for these years and these papers, it was likely found by reading through this entire online collection.

These papers offer the rarest research information for researchers since these editions were published well before vital records were routinely maintained. While there are few death notices or obituaries found in these early papers, there are other items that can be just as helpful for research purposes: probate notices (in English), "Wo ist..." (where is ...) notices for family members (usually listing German origins), marriage announcements - sometimes posted with a poem, and other brief news articles that indicate some biographical information.

Submitted by Gary Rebholz, author of Milwaukee's German newspapers : an index of death notices and related items.

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Gingerbread House 12 2009 008.jpgGingerbread House 12 2009 010.jpg

King Library's "Build Your Own Gingerbread House" program on Wednesday, December 2 was a great success: 56 kids and 10 adults attended. Some made gingerbread houses, and some ate them (pre-construction) instead.

More terrific Milwaukee Public Library programs can be found by clicking on the Library Events category on the MPL website.

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Best Books of 2009

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The end of the year is right around the corner, and the lists of year's best books are being published.
2009 2 .jpg National Public Radio's best books of 2009 lists include selections from indie booksellers, including Daniel Goldin from Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee!

The New York Times has published its ten best books of 2009 from a list of 100 notable books of the year.

Publishers Weekly and Library Journal have also released their selections for the top fiction, non-fiction, children's books, and genre titles of the year.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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Holiday Hotlines for Cooking and Baking

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holiday table.jpgDo you need to talk turkey with the experts? Are you feeling unsure about your spritz cookie recipe? There may be a hotline ready to take your question! Holiday entertaining often generates questions about food safety and preparation and several large companies provide telephone assistance. Further information about hours and dates are listed on the Holiday Helpline link below:

Holiday Helplines

Bess and Harry's Excellent Adventure

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In the summer of 1953, Harry and Bess Truman took a road trip, just the two of them, from Missouri to the East Coast and back again. Enjoy a slice of life with the ex-president as he and his wife hit the road to enjoy America.

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What: Discussion of the book Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip

When: Tuesday, December 8, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Where: Central

Location: Krug Rare Books Room

Come join us for a lively book discussions in the comfortable surroundings of the Central Library Richard E. & Lucile Krug Rare Books Room. The book will be a starting point for exchanging ideas on themes, events and characters; reading the book in advance is NOT required.

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New cafe at the Central Library

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MCafeAs of Tuesday, December 1st the M Café has opened for business in the Bookseller used book store in Central Library.

Stop by for a hot or cold drink and a meal or snack. To see what all is available, check out the menu. The Central Library is the second location for the M Café - for a sneak peek at its location on Cathedral Square, go to

M Café hours are:
Mondays - Fridays
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2009 is the previous archive.

January 2010 is the next archive.

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