Great Older Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


For a very dramatic battle of wills, I recommend 1960’s Tunes of Glory, starring John Mills and Alec Guinness.  A Scottish military unit, during peacetime, has two men vying for control of the hearts and minds of the men.  One had been in charge; the other sent in as his replacement.  Conflict is inevitable and ultimately tragic.  This movie will stay with you.


Kirk Douglas turned in one of his best performances in Ace in the Hole (1951).  Written, directed and produced by the great Billy Wilder, this film is a delicious smack at the media turning minor stories into spectacles.  (Pretty timeless, don’t you think?)  A cave-in has trapped a man underground, and a manipulative journalist tries to turn the rescue effort into a national headline.  He becomes the ringmaster of this media circus, occasionally hindering the rescue efforts in his bid to keep the story alive.  Not to be missed!


What might have been a minor WWII propaganda film, This Land Is Mine (1943) rises above its simple story due to the powerful performances by leads Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara.  A cowardly school master, the butt of his student’s jokes, ultimately finds his courage and stands up to the Nazis who have taken over his town.  Laughton’s impassioned speech on liberty will leave you breathless.


Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) is an odd little low budget noir thriller, well worth watching for the wonderful performance of Peter Lorre as a quiet little man who just happens to be a serial killer.  A reporter becomes a material witness in a murder trial where, because of his (circumstantial) evidence, a man is convicted and sentenced to death.  Slowly the reporter comes to realize he might have been mistaken and tries to track down the real killer, only to be accused of the killer’s next crime.  Sentenced to death himself, his girlfriend must solve the crimes before two innocent men are executed.


Two great episodic movies, with all-star casts are:

O.Henry’s Full House (1952) features Marilyn Monroe, Charles Laughton, Jeanne Crain, Farley Granger, Richard Widmark, Anne Baxter, Fred Allen, and more.  The segments were all based on the classic short stories by O.Henry and include some greats as The Ransom of Red Chief, The Cop and the Anthem, The Gift of the Magi, and The Last Leaf.  Some stories will be make you howl with laughter; others will find your reaching for the tissues.


Tales of Manhattan (1942). The cast includes Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda, Charles Boyer, Edward G. Robinson, Ethel Waters, Paul Robeson, and many more.  The story follows the various owners of a man’s formal tailcoat, as it is sold or passed down from owner to owner.  To me, the most touching segment belongs to Edward G. Robinson, as a skid row drunkard who is invited to his college reunion.  His street friends get him the coat so he can attend and pretend he’s still the school hero he once was. Excellent all around.  BTW, some segments were cut during the initial release (one starring W.C. Fields) but have been restored on the DVD.  Enjoy!



Move to the Music! New CD’s for Kids and Families

Family Dancing2Why make music and singing a part of your day? Your child loves to hear the sound of your voice (whether you’re a talented singer or not) and making music together is a great way to be silly and playful! Singing together can be a wonderful way to communicate with your child, calm your child when she’s upset, build your child’s vocabulary, introduce new ideas and so much more.  When we sing, we naturally slow down the sounds of words and stretch them out so that kids can better hear the individual syllables, and kids learn to hear the rhythm and rhyme of language.  All of these things will benefit your child when it comes time for him to learn to read on his own!
So how can you add music to your child’s life?  Start by sharing songs and rhymes that you remember from your own childhood, especially if they are in your native language. If you’re a little fuzzy on the words or the tune, try checking out a CD from the library, searching for the song online, or even making it up as you go along.  You can also learn new songs at a library storytime, or from one of the music CD’s in our collection.
Here are some cool new CD’s from some of our favorite kids’ singers (that even adults can enjoy)!

LaurieBerknerThe Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection by: Laurie Berkner
This collection of the Laurie Berkner Band’s greatest hits also includes 3 bonus songs, perfect for families who like to move and groove!



Aqui_Alla_Cover-1024x1024Aqui, Alla by: Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
The husband-wife duo of Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis are back with a Spanish language album for families that blends Chicano rock, indie pop and Tejano sounds.  Visit the band’s website for lyrics and translations to English.


More Multicultural Songs Ella JMore Multicultural Children’s Songs from Ella Jenkins by: Ella Jenkins
Ella Jenkins is a truly amazing music legend who’s been making music for children for 57 years!  This newest collection represents a variety of cultures and traditions with fun and simple songs for kids.



FredPennerWhereInTheWorldWhere in the World by: Fred Penner
Fred Penner’s back with his first new family album in nearly a decade!  These positive songs teach kids about the world around them in a fun and joyful way.



PutomayoAusPlaygroundPutumayo Kids: Australian Playground
Putomayo’s latest album for kids is a journey to the land down under!  This musical adventure is filled with fun songs about kangaroos, boomerangs, didgeridoos, and more.



RaffiLoveBugLove Bug by: Raffi
Raffi returns after twelve years for another family album full of fun, imagination and, of course, love!  “Love Bug” features a mix of classic songs and brand new tunes, all in Raffi’s signature playful style.


More Page Turners


More excerpts from October’s issue of Page Turners, edited by our staff. Stop by the library to pick up a copy!


The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
People leave their home countries and come to America for many reasons. For Alma and Arturo Rivera the reason is their daughter Maribel. She suffers a debilitating head injury at the age of fifteen and may never be the same brave, bright girl again. For her sake they leave the only life they have ever known and head north to Delaware in search of a cure. Mayor Toro is a boy from Panama who sees Maribel in a store and falls for her. The Toros and the Rivera family become friends, a relationship that is tested as Mayor and Maribel grow closer than their parents think is wise or proper. The story is told from several viewpoints and is interspersed with tales from men and woman who have made their way north from different parts of Latin America. All these individual accounts resonate with humanity and are vivid testimonials to the courage of those who seek better lives.



The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Maggie is a psychologist who has always been careful to keep a distance between herself and her clients. This professional barrier breaks down when she agrees to help a suicidal young Indian woman, Lakshmi, who is trapped in a loveless marriage and cut off from her family. Maggie sees that Lakshmi is in need of friendship and reaches out to her. As the two women begin to know more about their respective lives Maggie starts to realize that abandoning the formal therapist and patient relationship was not a wise move. When both women find out the worst about each other can they also find the wisdom to understand and to be forgiving? Maggie and Lakshmi
are very different characters and they are brought to life wonderfully by the author.



Faces From the Past


Families were bigger years ago, as anyone who is searching out their ancestors will quickly discover. I have known for years that that my Dad’s father, Peter Waddell, was one of eight children and in more recent times I found all of their names. Apart from birth dates and evidence of a few marriages and deaths I really felt little connection to any of these people, mainly because I had never seen their faces. That all changed in October of last year when I was in Scotland going through a batch of old family photographs with a cousin and we came across some pictures of three of our great uncles. It’s amazing what a difference a few shadows on an old piece of paper can make. I feel much closer to these people now, so let me introduce them to you.



This is James Waddell born in 1882 in Kinghorn, Fife, in Scotland and died in Kettlebridge, Fife in 1953. He was described as a retired farm servant on his death certificate. He seems to be in his best suit in this photograph. He never married so I wonder if he got his heart broken by a lassie at some point, or did his inclinations run in another direction? We are not likely to find out now.



Gavin Waddell was born in 1888 in Burntisland, Fife. I have yet to find out when he died but I do know that he married a lady by the splendid name of Isabella Duff Stewart. He is clearly in his working clothes and is probably on a farm called Remiltoun near the village of Oakley in Fife. He seems to be wondering why anyone would bother to take his picture.



And here is David Waddell born in 1900 in Torryburn, Fife. I know very little about him but it looks like he was something of a musician. No evidence yet of a wife or children but who knows what is sitting out there in those wonderfully thorough Scottish records waiting to be found?

The great thing about researching your ancestors is that you never know when something new will turn up. More records are being up loaded to searchable databases everyday. If you let everyone in your family know that you are keen on researching your collective past they will be more likely to pass on any old photos or documents that they come across.

If you haven’t started looking into your family history yet now is a great time to begin. This October is Family History Month and we will be marking it here at the library with a series of programs designed to help you improve and widen your research as well as preserving what you find for future generations. Check out our website or newsletter for details or give us a call at the adult services advisory desk.


Page Turners


Come check out some book suggestions from our Page Turners newsletter, edited by our staff.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie is a busy TV writer with a great husband. He is a wonderful father who cooks and does the laundry. There is certainly nothing wrong with Neal or Georgie but both of them know that their marriage is on shaky ground. Two days before Christmas Georgie has to back out of a family trip to Neal’s parents in Omaha because her show is about to get picked up by a major network. At home in Los Angeles by herself Georgie stumbles across a link with the past. She is able to talk to Neal as he was in the time before they were married. Can she use this amazing opportunity to mend their marriage before it even begins or should she make sure that it never happens?



The American Mission by Matthew Palmer
Alex Baines used to be on the fast track for promotion at the State Department but things went very wrong for him in Darfur. He lost his security clearance and if he stays with the department he will spend his days stamping visas. Just as he is about to cut his ties with the Department and look for a job in the private sector he gets a call from a former mentor, the US Ambassador to the Congo. He offers Alex a mission that, if successful, will restore his reputation and his career path. As violence in the Congo increases Alex must try to balance the interests of the US government with those of the Congolese people. He must also thwart the machinations of an unduly influential US mining company that has its own sinister agenda.



Diablo 3


Diablo 3 is the third official game in the acclaimed series created by Blizzard Entertainment, now part of Activision, Inc. If you have played computer games you have heard of this storied company as they are the makers of the Warcraft series (including the massive hit World of Warcraft), the Starcraft series, and of course the Diablo series. Blizzard had pretty much focused on making games for the PC only, slowly adding Mac and Linux versions for their popular games. They rarely made console games but we are in luck because Blizzard also created versions of Diablo 3 for PS3 and Xbox 360. True, console versions of Diablo 1 and 2 were available, but they were made by other companies which licensed the property from Blizzard. In my opinion these console versions were far inferior to their PC counterpart. Diablo 3 is the first game that they made themselves for consoles. So how does it stack up?

There are dozens of reviews online for the game even for each version, including the two console versions we also have at our library. The results are in and the reviews are mostly quite positive. My personal review? I think the game is excellent, and have been playing on my Playstation 3. I can also confirm that one of my coworkers who played it on the Xbox 360 agrees that it was a fun and addictive game that he spent many hours playing.


We recently ordered new versions of the game that includes the Reaper of Souls expansion pack. It includes an entire new Act V and a new character class, the Crusader. This new version also has some tweaks that make the game less confusing such as straight difficulty levels (getting rid of the multiple difficulty levels for various different difficulty modes). I have been playing it and agree that with the tweaks the game is even more fun than before.

You can add your name to the list here.



Charles, the Congenial Genealogist


99920036Upon entering the world of genealogy and observing the devotion of those searching out their family roots, I have assumed that whenever I come upon someone poring over census records, they are looking for their own ancestors.  Not always!

When frequenting my local library to do genealogy, I usually run into someone I know.  Recently I saw Mari studying a computer screen and asked her what she was doing.  She replied, “I’m looking for information for my neighbor.”  It seems that when a non-genealogist talks to one of us genealogists about a long-lost family member, we cannot resist jumping into the challenge for them. This type of helpfulness is prevalent at the Genealogy Interest Group meetings at Indian Trails Library;  if you mutter your frustration out loud about your Uncle Al missing from the 1920 census, one or more of the group is likely to dive into the records to assist you.  One of those helpful members was Charles.

Charles was one of the first to attend the group meetings that began in Fall 2012 and he was already well into his research. Nonetheless, he is an intensely curious person and cannot resist a stumper. He is also an eternal optimist who believes the answer is out there.  To my disappointment, Charles moved out of state but he has kept me informed of his projects, one of which is gifting people he doesn’t even know with family photos.

Charles scours the resale shops and estate sales in his area and buys old photographs of people, but only if they are labeled with names. He then scans and uploads them to a website,  This site was created to link descendants with family photos that have wandered away from their original homes, scrapbooks or albums. You can search for your surname and you might be surprised at the results. Charles goes beyond just tagging the photos with names.  If a place name is evident, he will search to see if there is someone with the last name still living in the town.  He only makes contact by mail.  Recently, he successfully returned many pictures that included 3 generations to an Indiana family. What a wonderful treasure to receive!

So if you get bored with your own quest to fill in your family tree, there are opportunities to help people connect with their ancestors.


Back to School, Homework Help Rules!


HomeworkWhether you’re writing a report, looking for homework help, or need to find a good book to read for school, the library has a lot of awesome ways to help! offers live homework help for a bunch of different subjects.  Log in using your Indian Trails library card, type in your question, and then work one-on-one with a certified tutor to find the answer for your question.  There are tutors available between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. each day, and help is available in both English and Spanish.

Check out Primary Search for sources for your next report.  You can search through over 80 magazines for articles, photos and maps on a wide variety of topics.  Primary Search includes favorites like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Time for Kids, National Geographic Kids and Ranger Rick!  Just make sure you have your Indian Trails library card on hand if you want to search from home.

Searching for a great choice for your next book report?  Visit the Downloadables page for ebooks that you can read on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet!  Overdrive has a special section with ebooks and eaudiobooks just for kids and teens.  Once you download the Overdrive app, you can check out ebooks and eaudiobooks using your Indian Trails library card.  The 3m Cloud Library also has ebooks for kids.  Click on the Categories tab, and then look for “Juvenile Fiction” and “Juvenile Nonfiction” to see what’s currently available for checkout with your Indian Trails library card.

Visit the Kids’ Learning Center for more online homework help, or stop by the KidZone Desk to ask us a question in person or to participate in our Peer Tutoring program.  We’ll match you up with a high school volunteer for one-on-one help with your homework.


Aye or Nae?


Should Scotland be an independent country?

Flag of Scotland

The Flag of Scotland (Bratach na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic, Banner o Scotland in Scots)

You may have missed it—it’s only recently begun showing up in our major news outlets—but on Thursday, June 18 (yes, this week!), Scotland is holding a national referendum on independence.

In our house, we have followed the question longer and with more interest than most Americans. We’re part Scottish on my side of the family, for one thing; and our middle daughter spent a semester at the University of Aberdeen (where we had the pleasure of visiting her) and visited the country again this summer. She’s pro-independence and brought me home a mug like this one

Yes Scotland mug

… which says “Scotland’s Future in Scotland’s Hands” on the other side.

If Scots vote “Yes”—the “no,” or union, side was slightly ahead for months, but now The Telegraph reports that polls are too close to call—a union that has lasted for over 300 years will be dissolved.  At least the decision this time will be made at the ballot box and not on a battlefield.


“The Battle of Culloden,” by Mark Churms

If you’d like to get some background on all of this, you can read about Scottish history –understanding that that history is about to change– or just watch some of our many films set or produced in Scotland.  Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit!  I highly recommend it!  Check out our travel DVDs or guidebooks (I like the Lonely Planet series myself, but you may find Fodor, Frommer, or Michelin more to your taste).  Whether you end up visiting an independent country or a semi-autonomous part of the United Kingdom, I think you will find Scotland friendly and hospitable and will enjoy your stay in one of the most interesting and beautiful (in my opinion) places in the world.

Highland coos

Highland coos (cows)


Life Abroad



The memoir Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults explores the post-graduate lives of best friends and twenty-somethings Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale. Every week, they write detailed, brutally honest emails to each other as they experience life abroad. From Beijing and Australia to France and England, these young women share their ups and downs and derive comfort and wisdom from one another. As a recent globetrotter myself, I identified with many of the coauthors’ stories and recommend it to anyone interested in living and working internationally.

If my description intrigues you and you want to learn more before picking up the book, take a look at the coauthors’ website. Here you’ll find a plethora of additional information, such as blog posts from the two ladies detailing where their lives are now, advice on traveling and living abroad, and a neat promotional video trailer for the book.

Go to Top