Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring is here!

It's that time of year, again. Welcome spring by ridding the house, office, or your desk of its winter dust and clutter. Real Simple has a web page that will guide you through the spring cleaning process, whether you have 15 minutes or a weekend to spend.

Have some bulky wastes and discards that aren't usually picked up with your weekly trash? Visit the City of Santa Clara to learn more about the annual Clean-Up Campaign which begins today and goes through April 25.

While you are thinking about spring cleaning, how about going green? The library has lots of books that can help you clean green. Some titles that might interest you:

Clean Naturally: Recipes for Body, Home, and Spirit by Sandy Maine.

Green Housekeeping in Which the Nontoxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family While You Save Time, Money, and Perhaps, Your Sanity written and illustrated by Ellen Sandbeck.

Natural Cleaning for Your Home: 95 Pure and Simple Recipes by Casey Kellar

posted by mb

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thirteen Go-Anywhere Mini Applications for the Mac

Tiny, free applications you can keep for stashing on a USB thumb drive, for the Mac. These are quick-in, quick-out programs that you can keep with you on a keychain.

iStumbler is a very easy-to-use application for finding AirPort, Bluetooth, Bonjour and other wireless signals and services. It’s had a recent overhaul that gives you lots of extra information about the networks available to you.
Bean is a free rich text editor that you can pop up in a snap. It is compatible with MS Word, however, it uses Apple’s file conversion service to read Word files, so if you have a lot of citations and tables in a Word document it may not behave perfectly
If you read a lot of text on the web all day, try Tofu. It arranges text on a page in columns, with columns sized properly for the window you have open. You can often see information you’re looking for quickly, without scrolling around.
Adium is a free, simple multi-protocol instant messaging application. With it you can chat with people on AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo and more.
ViewIt is a very quick-to-open image viewer and it supports nearly all common image formats. Also try ImageWell–a nice application for editing images that has a very small footprint.
Inquisitor is a free application that lets you find information on the web in the same way you find things with Spotlight. Just begin typing and it will start to return sites based on your criteria.
For a very simple, small application that can help you automate backups (including automating daily backups right to your USB thumb drive) try iBackup. You can also use it to backup your settings for the Dock, your firewall, and much more.
Paintbrush is a Cocoa-based image editor for Mac OS X. It’s very easy to get in and out of, for those times when loading Photoshop is overkill.
Maintenance is a solid, free system maintenance and repair utility, with a version specifically for Leopard. You can use it to repair permissions, delete applications, check hard drive status, and more.
DoBeDo is a useful widget for use with Mac OS X that lets you integrate to-do list items with iCal and your e-mail. To add a new task, you just click on a plus icon, type in the task name and accept your entry.
Paparazzi is an excellent image capture utility for webpages. Cyberduck is a great FTP software.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Let's "Shelebrate!"

The Youth Services Department will be hosting a "Shelebration" this April, which is National Poetry Month. Books from our Poetry Corner will be on display throughout the month, and our staff will be ready to share their favorite poems with you. Find out how to "Shelebrate" with poems by Shel Silverstein at There are entertaining and educational activities for kids, plus lots of creative ideas for parents and teachers. Let us help you "Shelebrate" poetry with the children in your life.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All Play and No Work

Unemployment, cancer, workplace violence, endless monotony and graphic designers. None of these topics seem the least bit funny, and in real life they are obviously not. But in Joshua Ferris’ novel, Then We Came to the End, gallows humor rules the day.

For those who have worked an office job, chances are you have cheated the clock on occasion. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone. You also know that what is said around the water cooler is almost more important than the official memos you get from your boss. Add this fantastic work ethic to the almost daily firing (err… laying off) of your co-workers, and an absurd sort of panic begins to set it.

You might begin to do odd things like challenging yourself to spend the entire day speaking only in quotes from The Godfather to see if anyone will notice. Or you might sneak back into your cubicle to work on projects even after you’ve been terminated hoping no one will notice (like your boss). Maybe you’ll compose extremely long e-mails (some would say manifestos) that are influenced partially by Thoreau and partially by boredom induced madness. Maybe you’ll send that e-mail to everyone in the company, from the mail-room to the CEO. This is the office Ferris immerses us in.

For those that are interested, Joshua Ferris will be reading from Then We Came to the End tomorrow night (Mar. 27) at Books Inc. in Palo Alto. And since I have probably done a miserable job enticing you to read this book, here is a commercial that has been made to do the same thing (yes, a commercial for a book... weird) :

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why Did My Ancestors Move Here?

Harvard University Library's Open Collections Project Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 may be able to help you answer that question. It is available at your fingertips by selecting the above link. This online exhibit has resources for many aspects of the immigrant experience. Especially helpful for genealogist's is the site's timeline of key dates and events that affected immigration throughout America's history. It might just provide clues to the reasons for your ancestors relocation to the United States.

Immigration today, from other shores and much more are available in the library. Come in and ask, or try these:

Crossings : The Great Transatlantic Migrations, 1870-1914 by Walter Nugent

Destination America : the people and cultures that created a nation DVD


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Years

Today marks a solemn milestone. Five years ago the war in Iraq (then referred to as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”) began. Since then, much has been written about every facet of the American presence in Iraq, from scathing critiques to more conciliatory tomes. Some books are very detailed and researched, but the out and out diatribe gets a fair share of shelf space as well. The writers vary from being soldiers, grieving parents, activists, pundits, historians, and policy wonks.

While radically different view points are the common theme of what is listed above, please look through the wealth of information we have available from all perspectives to understand more about this important time in our history.

posted by JW

Monday, March 17, 2008

Magic Realism - Learn More!

A woman asked me an interesting question recently. She wanted to know if there was an ethnic group called the Buendias. As I asked her further questions, she explained that she was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book One Hundred Years of Solitude or Cien Anos De Soledad, in the original Spanish Language. No surprise she was confused about what was real and what wasn't in that book.

Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, Garcia Marquez's writing is called magic realism, a blend of realism and fantasy, a term originally applied to painting but now Latin American writers, most notably, Isabel Allende, now living in California, Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges, Jacques Stephen Alexis, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a prime example.

To learn more try these books, all found on the 2nd floor of Central Park Library: Gabriel Garcia Marquez by George R. McMurray, Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Raymond L. Williams, Living to Tell the Tale by Garcia Marquez and The Modern Latin-American Novel by Raymond Leslie Williams

She was thrilled to learn that Novelist, one of our online book resources, has book discussion questions for her book group or for her own mental stimulation. Learn more about the books you are reading and stimulate thought and discussion when you talk with others about books by visiting NoveList. It is available in the library or from our web site by choosing RESEARCH DATABASES then NoveList.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

PC Magazine List of 157 Free Software

PC Magazine has come up with a list of the Best Free Software (2/8/08). 157 software tools; no fees; no expiration dates; and sometimes no downloads. The article divides the list into categories such as Hall of Fame, Antivirus, Firewall, Security, Finance, Office, Utilities and others.

As with all free software, make sure you read User reviews and Ratings and have a recent backup of your system before you install any software.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dan Chan the Magic Man

Dan Chan the Magic Man and Kat the Acrobat will present a free family program in the Redwood Room at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18. THIS PROGRAM IS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE 4 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER. YOUNGER CHILDREN AND LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED. Please arrive early to find parking.

Learn about this special performer at:

Need more information? Call 615-2916,or stop by the Youth Services Desk.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Et Tu, Brute?"

“…Then fall, Caesar.”

Quite a mouthful for a man that had just received the business end of some 20 knife blows. Well, whether or not he actually said these poetic final words, March 15 marks the anniversary of Julius Caesar’s assassination.

Though perhaps currently better known for his tacky desert palace, the name was once synonymous with Rome. His assassination was in response to the turning of the Roman Republic (a rather old boys club if there ever was one) into something more like a dictator… err… emperorship. Whether his rule would have been to help or hinder Rome is questionable. But one could assume he would have probably been better for Rome than the arsonist and horse whisperer that followed him.

And if we are to believe Shakespeare, all of this could have been avoided if he would have just listened to his wife when she was talking about her bad dreams.
posted by jw

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Got an Opinion?

The California State Library wants to hear from you! Beginning March 10th, library users will have an opportunity to participate in a survey to collect data about how Californians find and use information. The results of this survey will assist the State Library in making decisions regarding statewide library services. The survey will conclude in approximately two weeks.

You can participate in this important survey by clicking on the link below, or by using the link on the Library's web page:

posted by kks

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tax Season Is Here Again!

Tax forms are not available at Santa Clara City Library, but some tax resources and information about where to get tax forms and booklets are available. There is a handy Tax Forms/Help button on the Library's website which includes:
  • where tax forms may be printed/downloaded from the Web

  • where forms may be picked up in person

  • how to order forms by telephone

  • how to request forms for delivery by mail

  • where to find tax assistance (by phone, on the Web, and in person)

  • filing and refund information

  • other Internet resources
Pick up the 2007 Tax Information handout at a public service desk, and be sure to ask at the Central Park Library 2nd floor Reference Desk if you need help finding tax resources or if you need guidance printing your own forms for 14 cents per page. Books are also available in the library collection to assist you with tax questions. Free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is offered to members of the community on Saturdays: March 22, 29, and April 5 & 12 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Central Park Library Cedar Room. For more information about this service, call 1 (800) 829-1040 or Library Administration at (408) 615-2930.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Protect Your Eyes

Stop by the "On the Path to Good Health" display in the Youth Services Department and find out how you can protect your family from eye damage. Children's young eyes are VERY SUSCEPTIBLE to the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun, which can lead to the development of macular degeneration and cataracts in later life. Intense, short-term exposure to bright sunlight, such as snow skiing or spending several hours at the beach, can cause corneal sunburn and temporary loss of vision in children and adults.

Make sure that everyone in the family wears broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses when they are outside in bright sunlight. Wearing a hat can cut the amount of UV rays that reach the eyes in half. Learn more about UV rays and blindness prevention at

The "On the Path to Good Health" exhibits are supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.
posted by jtb

First Annual Chocolate Party

Here's a great opportunity to love your library...and enjoy lots of chocolate!

The Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends invites you to its first annual Chocolate Party and Community Grant Event on Wednesday, March 12, 2008. The chocolate reception will begin at 6:00 PM. At 6:30, the library staff will present a list of projects that they would like the Foundation and Friends to fund during 2008. At 7:00 PM, we'll vote on which of those projects should be funded.

After funding several grants during 2007, over $10,000 raised during recent used book sales is now available to help the library. This event is open to all donors, members, and volunteers of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends. Not a member yet? You can purchase your membership for $15 at the door.

Please RSVP by March 10th, 2008 to: or 408-615-2987.

Maria Daane, Executive Director

Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sew What's the Big Deal?

From the purposely disheveled hipsters with the complicated hairdos to those with a more naturally disheveled sweat-pant panache, a lot of people seem to be watching the Bravo Channel’s fashion oriented Project Runway. Maybe you are too. If so, undoubtedly you’re aware that tonight is the finale. With luck, it should be fierce.

Anyone who has watched the show has probably thought to themselves, “It doesn’t look that hard. I could do that.” Well, maybe so, but let’s face it, probably not. As we have seen, we can’t all be the next big thing.

Whether or not you are able to pull your fashion aspirations together and make it work for season five, tonight we’ll get to see which remaining designer will be in, and which two are out.

posted by jw

Monday, March 3, 2008

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, a time for reexamining and celebrating the wide range of women's contributions and achievements that are too often overlooked in the telling of U.S. history.

Why women's history you ask?

Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history,
she learns she is worth less.
-Myra Pollack Sadker

Women's Art Women's Vision, the theme for 2008. Read more.

For a free printable brochure open this link. Other information can be found at the National Women's History Project web site. When you are in the library, help yourself to books on display at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor.


March free computer classes

Learn something new take a class! Thursdays, March 6, 13 and 27 starting at 9:30 in the Technology Center, you can learn Internet Basics, Email Basics, and Internet Search Strategies.

Early April classes you may want to attend are: Learn to be a Great Internet Searcher! taught by Daniel M. Russell, a Google research scientist, on Thursday, April 3rd from 12 noon till 2 p.m. and Ancestry Library edition taught by Mary Hanel, our Local History Librarian, on Saturday, April 5th from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

To sign up for these free classes and get more information follow this link, call (408) 615-2900, or ask when you are in the library.