NASA Maven Launch! 

Ok, let’s get one thing out of the way; I’m Lynette, and I’m a huge space nerd. There I said it – you can’t say you weren’t warned. Now that’s out in the open, I want to tell you all about my most awesome nerdy trip down to Cape Canaveral to watch the latest Mars launch; the MAVEN orbiter!


(Here you can see me in a group photo with the other librarians. Total proof I was there!)

This is the second part of NASA’s recent unmanned Mars missions. The first, you may have heard about, was the rover Curiosity; which is still up there roving around collecting samples. You can even see what @MarsCuriosity and @MAVEN2Mars are up to on Twitter. Curiosity’s Twitter feed is written from a first person – or first robot – perspective, so I find that to be a very amusing feed to check in on! Check out Spirit - my favorite cartoon done about Curiosity by XKCD. Between the cartoon and the Twitter feed, I can’t help but imagine Curiosity having a real personality not unlike the Pixar movie Wall-E.

Now that this second rocket has gone up, I meet a lot of people who are like, “Mars? What…? Didn’t we just send something up there?” Yes…we did, but it was a multi-part mission! MAVEN just doesn’t have the same level of public image that Curiosity has – but it doesn’t make it any less important. NASA has Curiosity roving down below getting pictures and taking soil samples, but MAVEN will orbit around the whole planet, give us a bird’s eye view, and let us take in information about the atmosphere. What we will learn from this mission is where did the atmosphere around the red planet go? There is strong evidence to support that Mars had an atmosphere much like Earth’s, which means there could have been running water – and maybe even microbial life!

Before I got to see the actual launch of the MAVEN rocket (which is mind blowing, and you should put a rocket launch on your bucket list), I got the pleasure of working with real NASA scientists! They schooled me (and about 40 other librarians who were training with me) all about Mars and the MAVEN launch. Let me share the more mind blowing facts:

  • Mars has no plate tectonics like Earth, its crust is solid.
  • Mars has 2% toxic water on its surface.
  • Meteorites usually explode on contact of hitting a planet – which is why you can’t find the evidence of what made the giant crater!
  • Mars has lost all, or almost all, or its magnetic field! Which without it the solar winds were able to strip away the atmosphere over time. No atmosphere, no planet protection for water or life. You can read more about Mars' atmosphere on Popular Mechanics' website.

-Lynette, Youth Services, Shawnee Branch



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Announcing Second Annual Teen Film Festival 

The Library is proud to annouce the second annual Louisville Young Filmmakers Festival slated for mid-March.

Students ages 12 to 19 are encouraged to submit their original film works to be shown at a red-carpet event at the Main Library.

Original films on any topic or genre are accepted. Films should be G- or PG- rated and suitable for a teen audience. Profanity and nudity are not allowed. Producers must be Louisville residents between the ages of 12 and 19. Films should be no longer than 15 minutes in length.


Deadline for Submissions is March 1, 2014

Submissions may be turned in, along with a completed entry form, at any Louisville Free Public Library. Submissions should be on a separate flash-drive or disc and addressed to the attention of “Michael Ward – Louisville Young Filmmakers Festival.”


Filmmaking Workshops

As part of the Festival, the Library will hold several workshops on film-making and editing. Students who attend the workshops will learn how to create, edit and manage their own digital content. All workshops will be held at the Main Library:

  • Saturday, January 11, 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 25, 10:00 am
  • Saturday, February 8, 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 22, 2:00 pm

For more information on the the fesitval, submissions guidlines, or workshops, email Michael.ward@lfpl.org.



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Dragons and Unicorns, Oh My! 

The Last Dragon

A long, long, time ago humans thought they had driven all the dragons from the Isles of May but unbeknownst to anyone a single dragon egg had survived, held safe within the root structure of an ancient tree. When the tree falls and the egg is released, a very hungry dragon hatches into the world. Soon the town healer’s life is taken by the dragon, and it is up to his daughter and an unlikely hero to save the other villagers from the dragon’s wrath. The illustrations in The Last Dragon are vibrant and gorgeous and Jane Yolen’s writing flows beautifully alongside them. Highly recommended for those who like mythical creatures and magic, which means that you might also like The Last Unicorn.

Being a child of the '80s, I have watched the film based on the book by Peter S. Beagle many, many times. I was excited to find that the library carries the graphic novel adaptation of the book. The text is whimsical and poetic and well suited for the stunning artwork by Renae De Liz. An excerpt from the beginning:

“The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone. She was very old though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night.”

The unicorn embarks on a quest to find others of her kind, and along the way she encounters other magical creatures and befriends a young magician who will help lead her to the castle of an evil king who keeps a terrible secret. The Last Unicorn is a great story for any age, if you’ve read the book or the graphic novel or seen the movie feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  Look for it and The Last Dragon at your local library branch.

-Claire, Youth Services, Jeffersontown Branch



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Fall for New Spins on Classic Fairytales  


Enchanted by Alethea Kontis is a wonderful mash-up of every fairy tale you’ve probably ever heard. Sunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh son, and magic seems to follow her around wherever she goes in the land of Arilland. One day she meets an enchanted frog named Grumble who is fascinated by Sunday’s stories of her family. Their friendship blossoms into a love complicated by the rivalry between their families. Two meddling fairy godmothers further thwart the lives of the young couple as they strive to figure out who they are and how they can be together. Kontis weaves together classic fairy tales such as The Frog Prince, Cinderella, and Jack and the Bean Stalk to create a world rich with magic and adventure. This delightfully spun modern fairy tale will keep you turning pages until the end. To find out if Sunday and her frog live happily ever after, you’ll have to check out Enchanted.

The Louisville Free Public Library has many other modern teen fairy tales to “enchant” you. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross will take you into the world of Grimm’s fairy tales as sixteen year old Mira tries to uncover her fate. Ash by Malinda Lo is a retelling of Cinderella where fairies are real and often dangerous. In Mette Harrison’s The Princess and the Bear, a hound who was once a princess and a bear who was once a king must travel through time to regain their human selves. Curl up with one of these great reads to discover a whole new world of fairy tale adventures.

-Lynn Johnson, Childrens and Youth Services, Westport Branch



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Stunning Manga: Saturn Apartments 

I was drawn to this slice-of-life science fiction manga as soon as I saw the beautiful cover art by author/illustrator Hisae Iwaoka. The series is a glimpse into the daily life of Mitsu and the other inhabitants of the Ring System, a man made structure that floats above the long abandoned Earth. The ring itself is divided into three levels, which indicate social status. Mitsu resides in the overcrowded lower level, inhabited mainly by laborers. At the beginning of the series, Mitsu has finished his schooling and begins work as a window washer donning a space suit to clean the outside of the Ring. It is a dangerous job and claimed the life of Mitsu’s well-loved father, Aki, five years prior (though Iwaoka drops clues that lead readers to question the details surrounding Aki’s death).

The first few chapters in the series introduce us to the people Mitsu encounters in his work. Window washing is expensive so Mitsu often finds himself working in the upper levels, interacting with the quirky inhabitants. Most in the ring don’t get to wander beyond their own level, so Mitsu has a unique look at life throughout the ring. Often his viewpoint is from outside the ring as he cleans windows, looking into apartments as if they’re dioramas.

Most science fiction series lean toward action, so I enjoy that Iwaoka allows us to explore the Saturn Apartments and meet its characters, without a sense of impending doom. I adore Iwaoka’s exterior landscapes outside the ring as well as the wide views of the interior levels. The contrast between the crowded lower level and the sparseness of the exterior ring make me feel both claustrophobic and weightless; a sensation I imagine one would encounter living in space. As the series progresses, Iwaoka hints at some exciting narrative possibilities and questions about what is left of planet Earth. Perhaps we’ll soon get to visit our old home world and see what the future holds for humanity. In the meantime, I have enjoyed learning about day to day life in the Ring.

This series is not just for hardcore manga fans. If anything, it may be more appealing to those who enjoy indie comics and offers an easy introduction into reading Japanese style comics.

To find a copy near you: Click here

-Ruth Houston, Teen Services, Teen Underground, Main Library



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