Monday, June 30, 2008

Prom dresses, grants, shoe recycling, and the arts

The Library’s CIN database – City Information Network, available on the web site, in the blue section on the left Our Community/CIN –has recently added the following organizations and agencies to its inventory:

Grant Resource Center --part of the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Reuse-A-Shoe --run by Nike; it is a running shoe recycling program
Hellenic Heritage Institute and Museum
Princess Project –serving Bay Area high school juniors and seniors young women who may not be able to afford prom dresses
Mission City Center for Performing Arts
St. Justin Community Ministry

These are some of the 1,538 entries in the database. Search CIN when you are seeking local clubs, social service agencies or organizations, government agencies and much more.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

So What Is Bluetooth Anyway?

Bluetooth technology provides a way for different devices to communicate with each other by sending data via a secure, low-cost short-range radio frequency. Using the technology, cell phones can talk to headsets, PCs can talk to printers or keyboards, and handhelds can talk to each other without any wires. Bluetooth phones is a short-range wireless technology that allows for hands-free cell-phone operation. Most have a single earpiece, but some models have two earpieces, letting you hear stereo sound wirelessly from a cell phone that has music-playback capability.

Starting Tuesday, July 1, 2008, all California drivers 18 and older will be required to use a hands-free device to make a call.

What Exactly is the New Law?

(1) If you are 18 or older, you are prohibited from holding a phone and talking while driving.

(2) If you are 16 or 17, the only time you can use a cell phone while driving is in an emergency only.

(3) The first offense of the cell phone law will result in a $20 ticket. Subsequent citations will result in $50 tickets. However, with court costs and penalties, the true costs of these tickets will be approximately $76 and $190, respectively.

Read more about this law:

Looking for a bluetooth headphone device? Here are some websites with reviews and costs:

Also check and for prices and user reviews.


Friday, June 27, 2008

"Catch the Reading Bug" in Braille

Are you visually impaired and ready to "Catch the Reading Bug" this summer? No problem. The Youth Services Department is proud to announce that we have one of the Bay Area's largest collections of Braille books for children. We have recently moved this expanding collection to an easily-accessible location near the children's audio books. Braille labels enable our non-sighted patrons to browse for recorded books and Braille books.

Non-sighted patrons of all ages also are invited to use the Library's five internet stations that have been equipped with JAWS for Windows screen reading software. Four of the stations are located at the Central Park Library and one is at the Mission Library Family Reading Center.

Non-sighted children and teens who participate in the "Catch the Reading Bug" summer program each will receive an audio book and a certificate in Braille. The Santa Clara Valley Blind Center is preparing these special certificates. The Blind Center also has agreed to donate the time and expertise to Braille all the Library's audio book labels.

The Youth Services staff works closely with Sutter Elementary School's program for visually impaired students and their teacher, Becky Stewart. Students from the program are frequent and welcome visitors in Youth Services.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where There is Smoke

If you have been outside lately, you have probably noticed there is a distinct mesquite-y smell in the air. Due to the unexpected antics of Zeus this past weekend and other less natural causes, much of California has been blanketed in smoke for the past few days. This means taking a walk, or just breathing in general, might not be the best idea, but boy are the sunsets pretty.

There are about 800 wildfires burning in California so far and the fire season is still yawning and stretching it's limbs for the main event later in the brutal heat of July and August. So be careful if you are out in the hills, or anywhere really. A carelessly tossed cigarette, your beloved, backfire prone jalopy, or a ill conceived 4th of July fireworks display are often all it takes to start an epic blaze. And while it is their job, I'm sure the firefighters who have been run ragged these past few weeks wouldn't mind a couple days off.

Perhaps he is a bit of a relic, but Smokey the Bear's words of wisdom still ring true: Only you can prevent forest fires. Okay, so maybe that's not entirely true seeing as you haven't the power to harness or control lightning, but outside of that...
posted by jw

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kaiser Permanente Presents: Live Theater

Families are invited to attend an award-winning performance of Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theater Program on Saturday, June 28, from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. in the Redwood Room of the Central Park Library. This program will provide health information through the engaging medium of live theater. Kids will love the show!

For more information, please call 408-851-3756.

This program is made possible through the partnership of Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara and the Santa Clara City Library.
posted by kks

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not a Happy Camper

Relive your teen years as you read Mindy Schneider's tale of summer camp in Maine in 1974, Not a Happy Camper. Instead of the structured, activities-filled camp of other summers, campers here can join in activities or do what they want. This hands-off policy leaves plenty of time for the author and her bunkmates to discover boys, the outdoors and a little bit about themselves. Read an excerpt of this funny book from the catalog record on our website.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Let the Fun Begin!

The Youth Services Department will be crawling with "Catch the Reading Bug" excitement next week as Summer Reading Club activities and programs begin in the Youth Services department!

The family fun will start on Monday, June 23 when "A Bug's Life," a Disney animated film full of "antics" and comedy, will be shown on the big screen in the Redwood room at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. Please note: the Youth Services staff has planned this movie especially for children who are AT LEAST 5 YEARS OF AGE!!

More creepy, crawly fun is planned for Tuesday, June 24 at 3:00 p.m. in the Redwood Room, when Ralph Dean and his "Backyard Bugs" will lead off the "School Age Fun" series of programs, for children who will be entering grades 1 through 6.

Summer Reading Club sign-ups continue on-line and in the Youth Services department. Come in and check out a book that will keep you informed and entertained during summer vacation.
posted by jtb

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The Activities for Basic Learning and Enjoyment (ABLE) Kits have been specially created for caregivers to use with patrons with developmental disabilities. These kits come in bright blue bags and contain books and games to provide fun and stimulating activities
for developmentally disabled patrons.
The kits are available for check out at the Mission Library and are suitable for use at home or in a group setting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Book and Video Sale on June 21

$1.00 movies at your Library this Saturday?

The Foundation & Friends has received a donation of 6,000 VHS videos that they will be selling for $1.00 each THIS Saturday, June 21st, from 10:00AM - 1:30PM in the Cedar Room of the Central Park Library. This sale includes a large selection of drama, comedy, classics, etc.

Proceeds from the video sale will benefit the Library's youth and family programs.
Also on Saturday, the Friends of the Library will be having their monthly booksale at the same time in the Redwood Room, featuring books at $5.00/bag.

For more information please call 615-2987.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cheap Gas and your carbon footprint

Find information on gas consumption (MPG), greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, and safety for new and used cars and trucks at It is most frequently searched for its "side by side" or "class" comparisons of new cars. Calculate your carbon footprint by entering the car you drive, how many miles you drive and the type of driving you do.

Gasbuddy can direct you to the low price gas stations nearest to you. It covers the U.S. and Canada and is updated frequently each day. Just enter your zip code and find the cheapest gas near that location.

The library has the printed version of The Model Year 2008 Fuel Economy Guide on the Consumer Table on the second floor just behind the Information Desk. Come in and take a look.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Fathers Matter!

The Youth Services staff encourages fathers' involvement in the lives and education of their children. Our current Father's Day book display showcases many of the popular books about fathers and grandfathers that are available all year long. The "READING BUG" caught us looking at a copy of Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, one of our all-time favorite picture books about a wise and patient father rabbit and his adventurous and imaginative little son.

More than 100 fathers recently attended our second annual "Father Matter!" parenting workshop, which was hosted by the Library and taught by Mr. Chris Glover, Santa Clara Unified School District counselor. The two-session class emphasized the importance of spending time with children and learning how to use every-day activities and chores as opportunities for positive interactions.

Have you been CAUGHT BY THE READING BUG? Don't forget to click on the "feedback"button on this page and send us your comments about your favorite books for children and teens. Then watch for your book to appear in a "Feature Friday" Youth Services blog.

posted by jtb

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Escape From the Island of Pelicans!

Not many people would pass up the chance at having a rent free apartment in San Francisco with breathtaking views of both the bay and the city skyline. But Frank Morris, John Anglin, and his brother Clarence did just that 46 years ago. Though, it should be noted that they were residing on Alcatraz Island, which is notorious for its damp and drafty accommodations.

On June 11, 1962, it was go time! With a little arts and crafts know-how and some flatware, the three successfully broke out of the their digs, donned their homemade rain jacket swimmies, jumped into the bay, and were never to be seen again.

Did they make it? No one can say for sure. Officials believe the prison chums became, well… chummy. Others think they made it to shore and got scarce real quick like. On the books, Alcatraz had no successful escape attempts, but this one put an asterisk by that record.

The mystery of the three escapees was never solved, even with Dirty Harry's help. But every year around this time, a triathlon marks the occasion by unloading 1,000 people into the bay to "escape from Alcatraz." It seems a bit like cheating that they get wetsuits and a chaperon though.
posted by -jw-

Monday, June 9, 2008

If You Love to Read, Look Here

Love the authors Laurie King, David McCullough, Jhumpa Lahiri or Alan Furst and want to find more good reads like theirs? Try the Library’s readers' advisory database, NoveList Plus, for author recommendations, reviews, book discussion guides, for over 200,000 fiction and non-fiction titles. Available on the Research Databases section of the Library’s web page, you can search in the Library or at home, by logging in with your library card bar code.

There are author “readalikes” – type in the name of your favorite author, for example and NoveList will give you suggestion of other authors who might fit the bill. There are recommendations for Book Group reading and lists of author pseudonyms. You are able to search for authors by gender, ethnicity, country of origin or cultural background. Childrens' and young adults' books and authors are included as well. If you have forgotten the title of a book but recall most of the plot, just type a few word in and NoveList K-8 Plus will find the book for you. When you get the result, click on the line Check Library Catalog, and you will be taken to the Santa Clara Library catalog to see if the book is in!


Acceptance and Diversity for June

In 2000, former President Bill Clinton declared June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, a month meant to recognize the impact gay, lesbian and transgender individuals have had on the world. The month was chosen to remember a riot June 28, 1969 at Stonewall Inn in New York when police raided the club. Stonewall is now recognized as the start of the gay and lesbian pride movement in the United States.

The library has many up-to-date resources on gay and lesbian issues, including college life, legal and medical rights, and parenting, as well as collections of stories and gay and lesbian recreational fiction. Here are a few:
Ask & Tell: Gay and Lesbian Veterans Speak Out by Steve Estes
Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage by David Mixner and Dennis Bailey
Come Out and Win: Organizing Yourself, Your Community, and Your World by Sue Hyde

2008 Stonewall Book Award winners are Ellis Avery, author of The Teahouse Fire and Mark Doty, author of Dog Years: A Memoir. Set against the background during the opening of Japan to the West, The Teahouse Fire draws the reader into the world of Aurelia Bernard, an American orphan who finds refuge in the household of a Japanese tea master. Avery's complex historical novel weaves the transformation of Japanese culture and tradition with Aurelia's coming of age and emerging sexuality.
Dog Years: A Memoir is, on its surface, the story of the day-to-day life of Doty, his partner and their two dogs. In spare and unsentimental prose, Doty reflects on love and loss and takes the reader through his process of grieving for his human and canine companions.

For more information, see the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Roundtable, Office of Literacy and Outreach Services, American Library Association. Other good web resources are:
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Gay Pride Events


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Catch the Reading Bug @ Mission Library!

Summer Reading Program for Adults
begins Monday, June 9

  • List the titles of the books you read in the next two months in a reading log.
  • Bring the completed reading log to Mission Library in August to receive a gift card to a Friends of the Library book sale.
  • Last date to sign up: Friday, July 18
If you have questions, please call Mission Library at (408) 615-2964, Monday & Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.


Changing the resolution of your digital JPEG images

Have you tried to send your pictures via email to friends or relatives and you get an error that the file is too big or it takes forever to upload the images? Have you tried posting articles for sale on eBay or Craigslist and you get the error that the file is too big? It is usually because the pictures were taken at the highest camera resolution (measured in megapixels). The higher the pixels (7 MP and higher), the better the picture turns out for printing. For sending images via email or posting, it is better to use smaller files with lower resolution (1 MB or less).

Changing the resolution of your digital pictures to send via email or to post items for sale on eBay or Craigslist is easy. If you have just a few, you can use any draw or paint program that can import JPEG images. Just open the image and save it again (use Save As) in JPEG format. This will reduce the size of the image. However, if you have a lot of images, you can easily do that with Irfanview, free software you can download and install in your computer (

You can also crop, enhance, sharpen, rotate, resize and apply effects to your images.
The FAQ section of their Home Page and the Help menu both have instructions on all the image editing features.

Download and enjoy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Caught by the READING BUG!

Watch out! It's easy to get ZAPPED by the READING BUG!

The READING BUG caught Allen, our children's librarian! Here's what he has to say about Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers:

"Who dares to oppose an evil, secret society’s scheme to wreck havoc upon the early 20th century British Empire using magical ancient Egyptian artifacts? An eleven-year-old girl? But Theodosia Throckmorton is no ordinary preteen. Her sharp wit, ingenuity, doggedness and dripping sarcasm fuel a spirited,suspenseful and humorous adventure." --AC

Hey, kids and teens! Has the READING BUG caught you reading a good book? Send us your comments, and you might see them published on one of our "Feature Friday" Youth Services blogs!

It's easy. Just read the book. Click onto the Blog section of the Library web page. Then click on the "Your Feedback" section at the right of the page. Type your comments about the book in the suggestions box. Then fill in your name. (Please note, we will publish only your FIRST name.) Give us your e-mail address and your library barcode number if you want to, but it's not required. Then watch for your comments to posted in a "Feature Friday" blog! If you provide an e-mail address, we'll notify you when the article is published.

Remember, you're "free2bezapped" by the READING BUG this summer!

posted by jtb

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

01 Take 2

Thomas Pynchon novels are difficult to understand. Turn one into a four symbol semaphore translated by computer code atop the Adobe building in San Jose, and it becomes downright incomprehensible. And why would someone do this? Well, if we start asking that question, then we have to ask why someone would create destructive robots to stage a rendition of Dante’s Inferno behind the Convention Center? Or why an ice cream truck would function as a mobile karaoke booth while being driven through downtown by a squirrel (seriously, I am not making this up)? The easy answer: these were exhibits at the 2006 ZeroOne Festival, a multi-day technology/art/digital media take over of San Jose.

Tonight, if you head out towards City Hall’s rotunda on Santa Clara Street, you may notice that it’s become psychedelic again. Don’t panic, the 60’s aren’t coming back to haunt you. It is just the opening salvo of 2008’s 01SJ Festival (yes, the name has changed to become more binary-like, but not actually binary seeing as “01” means absolutely nothing in code). From tonight until Sunday, San Jose will become the crossroads between artists and nerds, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Walking around downtown will allow you to find a tent sized dress that doubles as a polar weather station or a “glacier” forming in Cesar Chavez Plaza. The IMAX theater will host DJ Spooky’s musical composition created from the sound of melting and shifting Antarctic ice. And if you head over to Discovery Meadow, you’ll find a really large zoetrope featuring a monkey, a snake, and an apple. The San Jose Museum of Art has a ton of digital art being shown as well and a whole exhibit of robots (though not the destructive one's previously mentioned).

If you get the chance, you should head on over and look for the hard answer of "why would someone do this?" And for at least the next 5 days, walking around downtown San Jose, especially at night, is maybe not such a bad idea.
posted by -jw-

Monday, June 2, 2008

SAT Test Preparation

Are you a high school junior or senior and need help preparing for the upcoming SAT college entrance examination? Try the Learning Express Library resource on the library's Research Databases page. You can access it from within the library or from home with a valid current Santa Clara City Library card. It contains practice tests you can take on the critical reading, math, and writing sections of the SAT. It also contains SAT preparation courses for learning more about the test.

The library also has SAT and SAT Subject Test books which you can borrow. You will find these under the call number 378.1662 on the second floor of the library. You can also view electronic SAT test books online via Learning Express Library.

If you want to prepare more, take the official SAT practice test on the College Board's website. The College Board is the organization which gives and scores the SAT. On the College Board website you can learn more about the test, find out upcoming test dates, and register for upcoming examinations.

If you need further assistance, please - call a reference librarian at
(408) 615-2900.

posted by mlg