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Have you ever wanted to explore your rich family history? If so, be sure to check out HeritageQuest, which is the Missoula Public Library's recommended online resource of the month for December.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, HeritageQuest is a genealogy database that helps people research their family history through census records, Freedman’s Bank, Revolutionary War records, as well as books, articles and other resources including the PERSI Archive, an online archive in which you can find information on people and places through an index of more than 2.3 million genealogy and local history articles spanning from 1800 to 2009.

To access this free service, visit http://tinyurl.com/mpldatabases and scroll down to the link that says “HeritageQuest.”

Still time to vote for 'Mock Newbery'

The library's Youth Services Department is continuing to hold a “Mock Newbery” contest to find out which book published for children in 2014 is Missoula’s favorite.

The contest is based on the Newbery Medal, awarded yearly to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The first round ended Dec. 19; the second round just started and offers patrons a chance to vote on the 10 favorites. The winner will be announced Jan. 30, just before the real Newbery winner is announced Feb. 2.

Ballots are available at the Children’s and Young Adult desks, and participants can also vote at http://tinyurl.com/mocknewbery.

For more information, call the Children’s or Young Adult desks at 721-2665 and ask for Lyndy or Linette.

We Have It: Staff Reviews

“I am Number Four” by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins, 2010). Call number Y LORE.

This book hits the ground running, literally, and never stops.

John and his protector Henri have escaped from the planet Lorien, which was being attacked and destroyed by the rapacious Mogadarians. Nine youths from Lorien were rocketed away during the attack to the nearest hospitable planet, Earth, to hide out while waiting for their “Legacies” to develop. If nurtured properly, these superpowers might just enable the Loriens to stop the Mogardarians from taking over Earth, and allow the Loriens to reclaim their own planet.

The plot sounds a like a B-grade sci-fi movie, but the author handles it competently, weaving together the galactic backstory with the emotional details of high school romance and conflict in a small town. The pacing is nicely done. The characterizations are solid and believable, but also charged with some surprises. And the story contains plenty of juicy details about alien powers and creatures that sci-fi fans love.

If you like this genre, you have to read this book. If you’re curious about sci-fi, this would be a worthwhile experiment.

Reviewed by Dana McMurray

Hot Happenings

Here’s a sampling of some of the great free programs coming up at Missoula Public Library. Check the full events calendar at missoulapubliclibrary.org.

Scrabble at the Library: Please join us for some wordy fun as the library presents the return of Open Scrabble Sessions, which take place every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the boardroom. Game boards are available, but you can also bring your own. For more information, call Mary Drew at 258-3848.

Storytimes this week:

• Tiny Tales and Preschool Storytime: Friday, 10:30 a.m., Large Meeting Room.

• Family Storytime: Saturday, 11 a.m., Children’s Department.

MakerSpace events: 

• Raspberry Pi Projects, Monday, 3-6 p.m.: This class offers time to come in and learn what the Raspberry Pi microcontroller/electronics platform is all about.

Computer classes:

• Internet Searching, Monday, 6-7 p.m.: This class offers an introduction to the Internet, including getting connected, using a web browser and navigating websites. Learn how to find information online using search engines and subject directories. Learn basic Internet safety. Attendees should have a general knowledge of using a keyboard and a mouse.

Registration is required for computer classes. Call 721-2665 to sign up.

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The Missoula Public Library will be closing at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The library will also be closed Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas holiday. It will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday.

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