Following a successful pilot program in Ouachita, Jefferson Davis and West Baton Rouge parishes, the State Library, in partnership with public libraries, is implementing a statewide laptop check-out program.

The program is funded through an $8.8 million competitive grant awarded to the State Library of Louisiana in February 2010 from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program of the Department of Commerce. The State Library is supplying 640 laptop computers to public libraries throughout the state, with each parish receiving 10 laptops. The process will be carried out on a regional basis to reduce travel costs and facilitate speedy deployment. Laptops will be available in every parish for patrons to borrow by the end of the year.

“This new laptop program is designed to give more citizens access to technology that can better their future and Louisiana’s future,” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said. “Many Louisianans do not have home computers and only 43 percent of Louisianans have access to the Internet at home.”

The laptops are Internet-ready so that people can take them to any hot spot to access the Internet. The laptops also have GPS software that allows the State Library to recover them in the event of loss or theft.

The three-year grant that supports the laptop program, Louisiana Libraries: Connecting People to Their Potential, is also enabling the State Library to provide workforce development tools and training, online tutoring and health and wellness education available to residents. Programs made available through the grant include high-end electronic resources that offer skills practice and live one-on-one tutoring to students and those preparing for various entrance exams. In addition, the State Library created the Louisiana Jobs & Career Center website, http://www.lajacc.org, compiling the best job search and career tools for Louisianans.

“We have an outstanding opportunity with this grant to make a fundamental difference in the lives of our citizens,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “To date, we have used only 39 percent of the total grant and have much left to do. We will continue to partner with Louisiana’s 339 public libraries to offer more training statewide.”

More than 7,000 residents have learned computer application and business skills from attending the 1,200 free classes that the State Library has presented thus far in partnership with local public libraries.

To find out more, call (888) 487-2700 or visit http://www.lajacc.org or http://www.state.lib.la.us.

EBR Parish Library

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Madness by journalist Pete Earley is the One Book One Community summer selection for Baton Rouge.

In his non-fiction book, Earley looks at the mental health system in the United States, a mission brought on after his son is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Greater Baton Rouge area residents interested in participating in the program are encouraged to visit http://www.ReadOneBook.org. There, participants can learn more about both the book and the author, download a discussion guide, and obtain a complete schedule of upcoming events.

You can also download and print a flyer, which, when presented with your check after dining at the Millerville Chili’s restaurant on July 13, will benefit One Book One Community.

For more information, call (225) 231-3710 or (225) 231-3745.

Teens can learn about creative filmmaking, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Pride-Chaneyville branch, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Road. Participants will learn the basic steps in creating an original short film. As a group, they will create an original script, assign duties to each other, and shoot their original short film.

For more information or to register, call (225) 658-1550.

At Boom! A Science Day for Teens, participants will join in a science experiment day at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Greenwell Springs Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road.

For more information or to register, call (225) 274-4470.

Teens who want another chance to participate in a fun science day can come to the Jones Creek Regional branch, 6222 Jones Creek Road, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, and be a part of the excitement as teens again test their scientific knowledge with fun experiments.

For more information or to register, call (225) 756-1170.

Angela Davis the Yarnspinner, along with Dave Milliken, will present storytelling performances at Library branches throughout June.

The performances will include live animals and cover a variety of cultural and educational themes based on the summer reading program. Children ages 3-11 can enjoy these performances on the dates listed below.

Registration is required. For more information or to register, call the individual library branch.

- 10 a.m. Monday, June 13 - Baker branch, 3501 Groom Road

- 2:30 p.m. Monday, June 13 - Central branch, 11260 Joor Road

- 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 14 - Carver branch, 720 Terrace St.

- 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 - Bluebonnet Regional branch, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd.

- 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 15 - River Center branch, 120 St. Louis St.

Judy Whitney-Davis, a member of Crazy ?Bout History, will present the history of the Juneteenth holiday to children ages 6 and up at the Greenwell Springs Road Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 16.

For more information or to register, call (225) 274-4460.

Children ages 5 and up can view a slideshow of some of the most spectacular space images ever created, and then see a variety of physical science demonstrations in action when the Highland Road Observatory traveling show visits the Library in June.

For more information or to register, call the individual library branch:

- 10 a.m.-noon, Thursday, June 16 - Pride-Chaneyville branch, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Road

- 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18 - Eden Park branch, 5131 Greenwell Springs Road

- 2:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 - Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.

- 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 - Central branch, 11260 Joor Road

- 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, June 30 - Carver branch, 720 Terrace St.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Mounted Police will visit the Jones Creek Regional branch, 6222 Jones Creek Road, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15. Officers will tell children ages 5 and up about the work the horses do for the Police Department.

For more information or to register, call (225) 756-1160.

Book clubs

- Bluebonnet Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at the Bluebonnet Regional branch, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd. Members will discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

- Delmont Book Club will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at Delmont Gardens branch, 3351 Lorraine St. Members will discuss Push by Sapphire.

- Kitchen Corner Book Club will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 16, at Greenwell Springs Road Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road.

- Mystery Lovers Book Club will meet at noon Tuesday, June 14, at the Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Members will discuss books by Bill Pronzini.

Lafayette Public Library

Peter Villegas, Native American-style flutist, will appear at the Jefferson Street branch, 538 Jefferson St. in Lafayette, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Monday, June 13. Villegas will combine the music of the flute with Native American legends that will mesmerize young audiences. The program is recommended for ages 3-12.

Zoo-Zoom’s Little Traveling Zoo On Wheels will appear at North Regional Library, 5101 N. University Ave. in Carencro, 2-4 p.m. Monday, June 13. This traveling zoo is not just a petting zoo. Animal activists Brett and Lori Matte bring their collection of both exotic and native animals to educate children and adults about how to interact with these animals with both respect and kindness.

SciFi/Fantasy Book Club will meet 6:15-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, the conference room at South Regional Library, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette. Members will discuss Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis.

Adults interested in travel photography are invited to hear Richard Wallis, photography instructor for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Continuing Education Potpourri Division, as he discusses tips for taking better photographs on your next trip. The event is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at South Regional Library Auditorium, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette.

Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand will appear in two shows, 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. Friday, June 17, at South Regional Library, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette.

Kahurangi means “cloak from heaven” and their dance company presents a collection of vibrant music and dance styles dating to 900 A.D., when their people first migrated from Hawaiki to New Zealand. Kahurangi is a New Zealand treasure displaying extraordinary vitality, passion, strength, and athleticism. They have thrilled young audiences with their unique blend of Maori song, dance, and heritage. The work of Kahurangi is distinctive, carrying the listener on a journey of discovery and celebration, with each performance drawing its strength from full voice harmonies, dynamic choreography, and passionate dance interpretation.

Recommended for audiences ages 5 and up.

Livingston Parish Library

Rob Mulhearn and Shelby Rushing sing, play the guitar and other instruments, act out songs, and lead kids in musical games in their presentation, Rock with Rob and Shelby. For all ages.

For more information, call the branch hosting your preferred event:

- 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 14 -Main branch, 13986 Florida Blvd. in Livingston

- 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 -Albany-Springfield Branch, 26941 La 43, Hammond.

- 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 15 - Denham Springs-Walker branch, 8101 U.S. 190 in Denham Springs

- 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 15 -Watson Branch, 36581 Outback Road in Denham Springs.

- 10 a.m. Thursday, June 16 - South branch, 23477 La. 444 in Livingston.

Edward Livingston Historical Association will meet 6-8 pm. Thursday, June 16, at the Main branch, 13986 Florida Blvd. in Livingston.

Sunny Side Up Book Club will 10-11 a.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road in Denham Springs.

Downing to perform

Johnette Downing, singer and author of Amazon Alphabet, will perform in concert at noon Sunday, June 12, at the Creole Tomato Festival, French Market Dutch Alley Stage, New Orleans, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the Insectarium, 423 Canal Place in New Orleans.

Downing will be at the Ascension Parish Library Donaldsonville branch, 500 Mississippi St. in Donaldsonville, at 10 a.m. Monday, June 13, and at the Dutchtown branch, 13278 La. 73 in Geismar, at 2 p.m. Monday, June 13.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 15, Downing will perform at the Plaquemine branch of the Iberville Parish Library, 24605 J. Gerald Berret Blvd. in Plaquemine, and at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at the Grosse Tete branch, 18135 Willow Road in Grosse Tete. She will perform at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 16, at the White Castle branch, 32835 Bowie Street in White Castle, and at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the East Iberville branch, 5715 Monticello St. in St. Gabriel. At 10 a.m. Friday, June 17, Downing will appear at the Bayou Sorrell branch, 33415 La. 75 in Bayou Sorrell.

Signings

Jack Saux, author of Clueless in New Orleans, will sign copies of his book 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

John Epstein, author of K&B Drug Stores, will sign copies of his book at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Maple Street Book Shop, 7523 Maple St. in New Orleans.

Dave Lartigue, author of Write More Good, will sign copies of his book at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St.

Ace Atkins, author of The Ranger, will sign copies of his book 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Dr. Lake Douglas, author of Public Spaces, Private Gardens: A History of Designed Landscapes in New Orleans, will sign copies of his book 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Maple Street Book Shop, 7523 Maple St. in New Orleans.

Richard D. White, author of Will Rogers: A Political Life, will sign copies of his book at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Perkins Rowe Barnes and Noble, 7707 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Items for Book Events were provided by the State Library of Louisiana, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Lafayette Public Library, Livingston Parish Library and Johnette Downing.