Friday, January 27, 2006


I consider myself a connoisseur of children's TV. Or maybe that's "curmudgeon" ... I get those words mixed up. ;-) A lot of children's TV doesn't have much to offer adults, and so it's hard to watch because it's boring. A few shows work on multiple levels, though, and my daughter and I recently discovered one of them: The Backyardigans.

The Backyardigans is a show (produced by Nick Jr) about the imaginary adventures of Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin, who are computer-animated animal characters. All of their adventures take place in their back yards, and they're fun and engaging stories; but throughout every episode, they sing and dance, and that's what makes the show work.

The musical sensibility that this show offers is outstanding. The animators convey a real sense of style with the dance numbers, and the songs - all with original lyrics - are done in a variety of musical styles: jazz, blues, folk, rock, traditional, even polka in the Polka Palace Party episode.

My favorite episode is "The Yeti," in which Pablo pretends to be a yeti, and Uniqua, Tasha, and Tyrone track him. Tasha insists that there's no such thing as a yeti, and Uniqua says there is - in a song that reproduces the back and forth of children arguing that is pitch perfect. Tyrone tries to mediate by getting them back on task and looking for the yeti, or whatever it is.

At one point they find an igloo and go inside to check it out. While they're inside, they hear Pablo making his yeti noise outside, and the argument breaks out again:
Uniqua: I say yetis are really real.
Tasha: And I say that's just silly!
There's no yeti, not at all!
Uniqua: They're really real, yes really!
Tasha: No way.
Uniqua: Yes way!
Tasha: No way.
Uniqua: Yes way!
Tyrone: Going back and forth all day
Is no way to decide.
We should prob'ly go outside!

ACPL owns just one of the DVDs so far: It's Great to Be a Ghost is the title of the DVD, but it has two other episodes as well. Here's hoping we'll order the other two that are currently available soon! Polka Palace Party has four episodes in all, and The Snow Fort offers another three (including "The Yeti").

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Heritage Quest Online Database

Heritage Quest Online, one of the many genealogy electronic resources available to ACPL users, recently released the latest addition to their collection of databases. Popularly known as the Freedman's Bank, the database contains information pertaining to depositors of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, a banking institution created specifically for former slaves that operated from 1865 to 1874. The bank records are extremely valuable for African American researchers because they often contain a great deal of personal and family information. The Historical Genealogy Department also has the Freedman's Bank records on microfilm, along with several other collections of documents related to the administration of the institution. In addition, researchers can explore the Freedman's Bank records at, yet another database available to users at any ACPL computer in the Main Library or at one of the thirteen branches. Give it a try!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Happenings at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective

Did you know that the Fort Wayne Dance Collective has a program for children to promote literacy? “Dancing Through the Pages” combines dance and children’s literature. The Touring Company of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective has performed this program at many public libraries and at over 50 elementary schools in Indiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

The FWDC will again present Homegrown Rhythms, a concert of original choreography accompanied by live music, on February 24th and 25th at the FWDC Studios located at 437 E. Berry Street. This promises to be a lively performance. Last year the audience was invited to join the dancers onstage at the end of the concert.

The biggest event for the FWDC this year will be the Indiana Dance Festival from March 31st – April 1st. The event is hosted by the FWDC and organized by a committee of representatives from the FWDC, the Fort Wayne Ballet, IPFW, Northeast School of Dance, and the Fort Wayne Community Schools. On Friday, March 31st the Festival will begin with an open house at the Hall Center for the Arts (437 E. Berry Street) and will include dance artwork shown by Artlink Gallery, and a showing of the dance film Ballet Russes at the Cinema Center. On Saturday, April 1st participants can choose from twelve dance workshops led by regional and national instructors in a variety of dance forms. There will a festival luncheon with keynote speaker Debra Knapp, Associate Professor of Dance at New Mexico State University. Then at 8:00 p.m. there will be a Gala concert featuring regional dance companies and college programs at the Arts United Center (formerly the Performing Arts Center). This will be an exciting weekend! For more information visit

2006 award winners!

The winners of these various American Library Association (ALA) awards were announced this morning at the Midwinter meeting in San Antonio: