Round Rock Public Library

Tween Book Club (ages 9-12): SLACKER by Gordon Korman

The Round Rock Public Library will host a Tween Book Club meeting Thursday, March 14, 2019.  Tweens (ages 9-12) are invited to the Library to discuss the book SLACKER by Gordon Korman.  Join us in Meeting Room A at 4:30 pm. Snacks and book themed games/crafts will be provided.

For more information or to request a copy of this month’s book:

Please contact Amy German, 512.218.7034.

Please Note:

The Round Rock Public Library Tween Book Club meets the second Thursday of every month. While book club selections are chosen specifically for tweens ages 9-12, parents may still wish to review the content for appropriateness for his/her child.

Adulting 101 for Teens – Meet local entrepreneurs (teens, ages 12-18)

Welcome to Adulting 101 for Teens, a series of programs to help teens develop life skills to transition to adulthood. We will have presenters on topics in the Winter/Spring series from January-April.

In March teens will meet a panel of 4 local Entrepreneurs, hear their story of how they started, successes, rewards and challenges.  They’ll have a chance to ask questions, and we hope will be inspired and learn about owning a small business. 

Our panel will be:

  • Terry Myers – former owner of Kaleidoscope Toys, and now realtor.
  • Zelinda Yanez – Founder of The Yoga Room.
  • Mike Palmer – Chairman and Co-Founder of Pruvan, who deliver process management solutions to companies.
  • Jessica Scanlon – Hot Dog Marketing, Founder/Managing Director.

See you in meeting room A!

For more information please contact Jane Dance, 512.218.7012. 




Rockin’ Kids Club: storyteller Elizabeth Kahura (ages 5+)

Join us at Round Rock Public Library for an African Safari with storyteller Elizabeth Kaura on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 4:30 pm. Born in Kenya, Ms. Kahura shares her knowledge of Africa and its many wonders.

Monday afternoons the Library hosts a rotating set of activities. Join the fun at 4:30 pm.

Regular activities:

  • 1st Monday: LEGO® free-build
  • 2nd Monday: Art Club
  • 3rd Monday: Science Club
  • 4th Monday: Game On!


  1. Please arrive on time.
  2. Younger children may require parental assistance.
  3. You do not need to pre-register to attend these programs unless you are bringing six or more children.

For more information or to pre-register a group:

Contact the Children’s Desk at 512.218.3275

Sensory Storytime (preregistration)

The Round Rock Public Library presents Sensory Storytime on the last Sunday of each month.

Sensory Storytime will be held from 3 to 3:30 pm in Meeting Room B.  This program is ideal for children with sensory integration challenges, difficulty sitting still, difficulty in large groups, or children who have autism spectrum disorders.  Sensory Storytime is open to all children with an accompanying parent/guardian. Attendance is limited to 12 families and pre-registration is required.

For more information:

Please contact Amy German, 512.218.7034

Teen Book Club (ages 12-18): Seraphina

The Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club meets the third Tuesday of every month. Join us in The Teen Room at 6:30 PM, February 19.

2019 Teen Book Club Selections (selected by teens at the November 2018 book club)

Please Note:While book club selections are chosen specifically for teens ages 12-18, parents may still wish to review the content for appropriateness for their child/teen.

For More Information:

Contact Jane Dance at 512.218.7012

Chess Club at the Library (ages 10-18)

King, Pawn, Rook, Castling, Checkmate, Stalemate! Do you know what these words mean? Do you like to play chess?  Looking to learn how to play?  If you answered yes, then this club is for you!

Tweens and teens, join us for come-and-go playing opportunities in meeting room B:

  • Saturday January 19, 10:30 am-12:00 pm
  • Saturday February 16, 10:30 am-12:00 pm
  • Saturday March 16 10:30 am-12:00 pm
  • Saturday April 20, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

For More Information:

Contact Jane Dance at 512.218.7012

Views from above and below

CunardTwoErik Larson’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania will be out soon–March 10–but the reviews (e.g., “…history at its harrowing best”) have me wishing I could get my hands on an advance copy this weekend.  If you have one you’re willing to lend, there’s a batch of brownies in it for you…

Larson consistently proves his gift for avid historical research that lends compelling new insights into milestones like the 1900 Galveston hurricane (Isaac’s Storm).  His telling portrayals of individuals’ lives beforehand amplify our comprehension of the aftermath.

The centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania (Hampton Sides calls it “the other Titanic”) has prompted numerous new entries on the subject. Among them, maritime researcher Eric Sauder, noted for expertise regarding passenger ships of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has two new volumes forthcoming: The Unseen Lusitania: The Ship in Rare Illustrations (May 1) and RMS Lusitania: A History in Picture Postcards (July 1).

Poignant cover art fronting these books depicts Cunard’s proud liner steaming ahead to a fate we know too well.   A small, perfunctory item from the Imperial German Embassy published in newspapers days before the ship’s departure had cautioned that “travellers sailing in the war zone…do so at their own risk”.  We can’t know how many passengers were ignorant of the warning and how many read and dismissed it. I picture them as relaxed and happy, focused on novelty of the journey and proximity of the destination, caught utterly by surprise when the torpedo streaked toward them from below.

My latest WWI-era (fiction) read, on the other hand, depicts danger from above and residents, not voyagers, who do acutely sense danger.  The centerpiece of Esther Freud’s wonderful Mr. Mac and Me is an imagined friendship between famed artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and teenaged Thomas Maggs, son of a pub owner in a coastal village in Suffolk. (Macintosh actually did sojourn in a similar setting in 1914). Freud also memorably portrays civilians’ experiences in wartime—food shortages, hyper-awareness of outsiders and their motives, upended routines, strange new regulations—and zeppelins.

Both the village lad and the artist are out of their elements.  The sensitive, cultured “Mac” would much prefer to be in his beloved Glasgow, but the seaside venue is meant to improve his health and economize on living expenses. Because “Mac” is frequently seen wandering and examining his surroundings (he paints wildflowers), the villagers reckon he’s a spy.  Thomas’ own artistic bent, encouraged only by Mackintosh, is ignored by family and discouraged by his teacher.  Declaring his fervent wish to work as a sailor on a seagoing vessel, he is reminded that his lameness (no barrier to work around home and pub) would render him useless there.

Through Thomas’ eyes, readers share the terror of Zeppelin raids–or the mere sight of the dirigibles looming above.  Running homeward one night, Thomas hears “the roar of thunder through a cloud” and then, “there it is, the round belly of a Zeppelin, directly overhead.  The noise fills the whole sky.”  Another time, he is awakened by the engine roar; the airship crew ultimately decides not to save all their bombs for London and drops one just down the street.

To combat the distress of these seemingly constant visitations, Thomas imagines what he would invent if he had Count Zeppelin’s financial resources:  “A submarine….I picture it streaking to the defence of any ship that is in trouble, scooping the grateful men into its hold.”

If you join a request list for either of these marvelous reads, consider some of the library’s other recent World War I-related acquisitions while you’re waiting:

An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
Hope Rising by Stacy Henrie
The Canal Bridge: a Novel of Ireland, Love, and the First World War by Tom Phelan
After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson
Silence for the Dead by Simone S. James
The Meaning of Names: a Novel by Karen Gettert Shoemaker

A Higher Form of Killing : Six Weeks in World War I that Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare by Diana Preston
Behind the Lines : WWI’s Little-known Story of German Occupation, Belgian Resistance, and the Band of Yanks who Saved Billions from Starvation … by Jeffrey B. Miller
Ring of Steel : Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I  by Alexander Watson
The Unsubstantial Air : American Fliers in the First World War  by Samuel Hynes
World War I : The Definitive Visual Guide : from Sarajevo to Versailles / R.G. Grant, et. al.
A Mad Catastrophe : the Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire by Geoffrey Wawro

Better living through Friends

Why I’m not a morning person:  the tendency to awaken with sudden realization of yesterday’s missteps.

The first conscious thought the day after our Book Buzz event:  Robert–our Penguin Random House rep and speaker–hadn’t been supplied with a bottle of water and probably hadn’t been urged to partake of the appetizers and cheesecake we served.   This is no way to treat someone who drove miles to get here, provided book bags and galley copies for a crowd, and did a great job talking up forthcoming books.  But our unusual task completely preoccupied us.

When Robert arrived, the four of us were decanting platters of gourmet appetizers just delivered by the caterer.  Beholding the elegance of the hors d’ oeuvres, we joked about the rarity of the experience (and indeed of an occasion to say “hors d’ oeuvres”).  For us, fancy catering resides squarely in the Not Part of My Life category.  We devised serving patterns, juggled trays, and dispensed goodies while Robert shared publishing back stories and plot hooks with the mocktail-sipping audience.

Ultimately, the food and presentation got rave reviews–and we avoided lobbing pesto-coated mozzarella skewers onto anyone’s favorite jacket or shoes.  Knowing the hazards of food service, we invited guests to pick up their own beverages.

The advantage of using reference librarians for wait staff is that, should spillage occur, we’d know where to find the best stain removal tips.  But without Friends of the Round Rock Public Library we’d have had no such worries.  We’d also have had no refreshments.

As one library patron commented, “Children’s programs are very important–I get that.  But we grownups like to have our share of the attention, too.”  With this in mind, and given attendee swag from Penguin Random House, we shared our vision of a memorable adult event with the Friends group.  They furnished the money for the rare catering treat.

In recent years, Friends of RRPL has funded summer reading program prizes (really good ones), a staff appreciation event, hired presenters for children’s programs, extra shelving, eBooks, movie licensing fees, the popular Book Page handouts, and many other enhancements that benefit youth, tweens, teens, and adults.  Thanks to FOL, these are made available to taxpayers without additional taxpayer expense.

FOL inspects, sorts, and carts thousands of donations up to the Book Nook, an enterprise furnishing new homes for books, fabulous bargains for savvy shoppers, and proceeds to improve the user experience at the library.  How they accomplish so much so quietly is beyond me.  While their profile is understated, their impact is anything but.

Actually, that’s a great premise for the next National Novel Writing Month—imagine a super-high-profile Friends organization emanating the glamour and power of a secret society (think Da Vinci Code) or covert operation.  They’d be whispered about, even feared!  Everyone would hope to infiltrate, or—better yet–join them!  I’ve read (and certainly written) worse.

In the meantime, RRPL’s nonfictional and thankfully mild-mannered Friends group is planning some very entertaining fundraisers for next month…

Strange encounter at the library


When you think horror, think Round Rock Public Library!

Wait–that didn’t come out right.  But we do want fans of terrifying tales to know that we purchase books for them; those chillers are shelved among other fiction, which explains the absence of a “Horror” sign.  Search the library catalog with the subject “horror fiction“, and you’ll see.

Or–just ask us.  The Reference Desk can supply lots of reasons for you to become totally creeped out.  (That didn’t come out right, either.)

Recent library acquisitions in the genre include The Vines by Christopher Rice; The Deep by Nick Cutter; The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith; River of Souls by Robert R. McCammon, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero, and The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.

And consider Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library, which terrifies me far more than the average reader because I’m a librarian.  This little tale (with wonderfully quirky alternating page illustrations) vividly portrays the sort of user experience that libraries strive every day not to achieve.

The first page evokes trepidation: a boy approaches the circulation desk–guiltily, because his shoes squeak.  There he encounters a surly librarian who, affronted by this distraction from her book, slams the volume down upon the counter.  (If you see one of us engrossed in pages while working a service desk, it’s because we’re reading reviews for book selection; we know that you’re more important.  But I digress.)

The not-ready-for-customer-service-award staffer proves just the leading edge of the young customer’s ordeal.  Throughout everything, the boy charmingly retains his sense of properly-brought-up reason: he questions that the vast, labyrinthine basement to which he is directed could logically exist beneath a public library, given that “public libraries like this one were always short of money”.

Perhaps we should capitalize and promote ourselves as “basement-free!”, “staffed by non-terrifying people!” and “guaranteed not to imprison our customers!”– selling points sure to resonate with readers of Murakami’s whimsically nightmarish scenario.

Frankly, we’re always on the hunt for any point to demonstrate our relevance.  We despair over folks who haven’t visited a library in many years (maybe their shoes are squeaky) and sustain the old stereotype of book warehouses that “nobody needs anymore”.  If these folks dropped by, they’d encounter computers, youth programs brimming with children and parents, volunteer tax assistance, an art gallery, helpful live assistance to find and use resources, study rooms and carrels in use—many more options beyond print.

They wouldn’t see the free Wi-Fi that so many customers depend upon.  And actually a significant portion of the service we now provide is invisible to those just surveying the premises.  Consider thousands of customers who tap into our digital resources—available 24/7 from home or wherever–and don’t forget mobile device users who download eBooks, music, articles, etc. and communicate with us online.

And we’re part of the problem, continually marketing our convenient digital resources, reminding customers that—as much as we love to see them in person—they can access our information remotely.

…Which means that you, too, could be part of the Vast Unseen Horde of Library Users. (Perhaps that will be Murakami’s next title).  Mwahahahaha!