Friday, August 29, 2008

Healthy Foods Build Healthy Bodies

First 5 of Santa Clara County has reported that nearly 22% of Santa Clara County children between the ages of 2 and 5 years are overweight, or at risk of becoming overweight. So, it's important to make sure that young children, as well as their older siblings, aren't consuming foods and drinks that are providing too much fat and sugar and too few important nutrients.

Healthy Foods Build Healthy Bodies is the theme of the September "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit in Youth Services. We have literature that will reveal some surprising facts about the sugar content in foods and drinks that are frequently served to children for breakfast and lunch. We also have colorful, current books about healthy foods that are suitable for sharing with preschoolers and older children.

Stop by and pick up a free "My Pyramid" poster, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that describes the basic food groups and presents suggestions for healthy eating and exercise for children and families. You'll find helpful tips for planning healthy meals and snacks for all the members of your family. You can learn how to build your own, personal healthy food pyramid by visiting .

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Be careful Denver. Over the past three days there have been a good 40,000 reported cases of Obamania. Symptoms include an unnecessary repetition of the phrase, "change we can believe in," wearing of funny hats, and exuberant, unrhythmic dancing to overplayed anthems from the 90s. Next week, St. Paul, Minnesota is expected to have a massive outbreak of McCainingitis.

Party conventions are always interesting as a spectacle, but a little anti-climactic when it comes to drama (well, almost). Technically, all of the delegates are suppose to vote to nominate the presidential candidate. By the time the convention happens though, we already know who the candidate is and it becomes more of a great big feel good party before the real work starts. Of course, this year's Democratic convention is a little different. When they do the roll-call voting tonight, a certain someone's name could still show up more frequently than the party might like. That could be awkwardly entertaining.

The Republican convention is bound to be pretty cut and dry. Lots of talk about values, security, and this guy. They were advised to tone down the glitz this year. But don't worry, there will be a balloon drop. Can't have a convention without one of those.

Despite the lack of surprises, the conventions give a good chance to get a feel for who a candidate is, and how others in their party perceive them. And if you are really the political type, it gives you a chance to throw a 4 day party in which you too can awkwardly dance in your apartment and chant your candidate's slogans until the neighbors pound on the ceiling. Who says politics have to be boring?
posted by -jw-

Monday, August 25, 2008

The School Year is Beginning

Some students have started a new school year and others will begin soon. Remember the Library when you need a novel for English class, to research an upcoming report, or a comfortable place to study.

If you need a tutor to help you with your classwork, try the Library's Brainfuse service. Brainfuse offers one-to-one tutoring over the Internet for students in grades three to twelve.

If you are reading a novel and need literary criticism, try Literature Resource Center. This is also a good resource for learning more about an author.

If you are preparing for the PSAT, SAT, or an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, take practice tests online via our Learning Express Library resource.

If you are a college student and need academic refereed journal articles, try our Academic OneFile database.

You can access Brainfuse, Literature Resource Center, Learning Express Library, and Academic OneFile via our Research Databases web page.

Browse the Homework Help section of our Research Databases web page for additional electronic resources.

Post by mlg

Free Library Computer Classes

Two Email classes will be offered soon (Sept. 18 and Oct. 2, Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.) in the Technology Center. Come and learn to sign up for and use free email with one on one assistance.

Local History Librarian Mary Hanel will teach two classes of interest to local history researchers and genealogists. Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9:30-11:00 learn to use the San Jose Mercury News Digital Archives. Various San Jose newspapers' total content is indexed here. Mary will show you how to find marriage and death announcements of Santa Clara County pioneers, historical landmarks, and news. Dates covered are 1886 - 1922. Saturday, Nov. 1 from 9:30 - 11:00, Heritage Quest Online will be the topic. It gives you access to U.S. Census records, the full text of more than 22,000 local history books from communities throughout the country, U.S. Congressional reports, and more. Both of these databases are available from our website 24/7. Just find RESEARCH DATABASES in the blue area on the left, select the databases and try them out. If you are accessing the website from home, type in your valid Santa Clara City library card number.

Learn about other valuable links available on our website when you attend Exploring the Library's Website on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 9:30-10:30.

As usual Internet Basics and Internet Search Strategies will be offered each month starting Thursday, Sept. 11 from 9:30-10:30. Classes are taught in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere at a pace new students can handle. Fortunately, for our Chinese speaking patrons, Librarian Jenny Hsiao will teach these two classes in Mandarin on Thursdays, Nov. 6 and Nov. 20 from 9:30 - 10:30.

Share this information with your friends and family. Call (408) 615-2900 or stop in to register for these free classes.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is There A Bot In Your PC?

Bot software, which allows attackers to compromise and control a large number of computers, has become a major online threat and, increasingly, a favorite tool of cybercriminals. Malware includes threats such as trojans, bots, rogues, spyware, worms, rootkits, and adware. The bot is a particularly pernicious piece of malware that is on the rise. A recent surge in spam that started in August of 2006 appears to be linked to the use of bots by online fraudsters.

If you currently have an updated antivirus program, you should consider running additional anti-malware software. PC magazine has published a checklist that you can use if you suspect that your system has been infected along with a list of free anti-malware software. Read the full article:,2817,2326427,00.asp


Friday, August 22, 2008

When the LOSER becomes the WINNER.....

Smashing the stereotype: that's what the "Growing Up Asian in America" exhibit, which is on display through the end of August at the Santa Clara City Library, is all about. This year's exhibit theme, "Winning and Losing, Competition and Teamwork," was inspired by the Bejing Olympics. The Asian Pacific Fund, which sponsors the exhibit, invited Bay Area students, with Asian and Pacific ethnic backgrounds, to submit essays and artwork on the competition topic. The organization's website provides background on the conflicts being experienced by Bay Area students who entered the competition:
"It is a widely-held stereotype that Asian parents in particular expect their children to excel in school, and we wanted to know how common this expectation for excellence actually is. How does competition and teamwork fit into students' drive to succeed?. . .From the entries that emerged, it seems like Asian youth feel enormous pressure from their parents to excel, not just in school but in other areas too. Yet we also found quite a range of responses to that pressure. For example, many students felt regret about doing especially well when it meant a good friend would lose, and others unexpectedly found new friends when they cooperated with teammates and opponents. Competition in sports was often a relief from academic pressures, and many students enjoyed sports precisely because they could try their best without feeling like they always had to win. . . . The students who participated in the contest shared with us dilemmas they have faced and the difficult lessons they learned about sportsmanship, failure, humility and excellence. Regardless of the roles that competition and teamwork play in students' lives, we do know that it is very important for young people to find ways to cope with whatever pressures they feel."

You can view the winning essays and artwork in person at the Library, or online at the This Year's Winners section of the "Growing Up Asian" website.

Santa Clara City Library patron, Huda Iftekhar, who is a student at Santa Clara Unified School District's Peterson Middle School, was awarded "honorable mention" in the grades 6-8 competition. Her essay, titled "Winning and Losing," can be viewed on the competition website and is and included in the traveling exhibit. In Huda's words:
". . . sometimes, when you lose, you make another person smile and cheer. That is the best kind of winning and losing of all."
posted by jtb

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Send in the Clowns

American imperialism has brought us to this point. No, I’m not talking about global politics or anything like that. I’m talking hockey ambitions. In 1917, the Canadians started up this little organization called the NHL where six teams fought over the chance to drink LaBatt from a giant beer stein. Now, almost a century later, they are practically an afterthought in their own league due to a critical mass of American teams located in places that wouldn’t even know what ice looked like unless it came served in a glass. Retribution for our impertinence was inevitable.

The tents were raised. The training was rigorous. The time had come. We took their hockey, they would take our cirque… err, circus.

Since the early 90's (which is coincidentally the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup) resistance to their spectacular spectaculars was of no use. We were outmatched by performance artists and buskers. And they didn’t even have animals! (Actually, that was probably a really smart move on their part.)

Today, the Ringling Bros. circus comes to town in an effort to reestablish its tagline. Taking cues from the Canadians, the circus has attempted to modernize and shake off its somewhat shabby image. Done away with are the three rings, bleacher seating, and even the “big top” itself. Unfortunately they have decided to keep the clowns.

Will this change of pace win over the hearts and minds of the American circus going public or will Barnum and Bailey look like a bunch of Jeany-Come-Latelies? Don’t know. But when you get down to it, a circus is about being under a hot tent which smells like a barn eating overpriced cotton candy next to a child who is bawling his eyes out due to being frightened by a hobo-chic clown walking in front of a depressed bear riding a unicycle. In other words, it's perfect just the way it is. Let the Canadians perform the ethereal artistry of the cirque (plus give them a chance to win the Cup a few times again, would ya?) and let the Americans supply the earthy showmanship of the circus.
posted by -jw-

Monday, August 18, 2008

DAR American History Essay Contest 2008-09

August 1 is the beginning of the DAR American History Essay Contest . The DAR essay topic this year is The Ideals of the Gettysburg Address. This year's question is: “What message did the Gettysburg Address communicate to our war-torn nation in 1863? How are the ideals articulated in the speech still relevant for our country today?” Students have from August 1-Dec. 15 to research and write their essay.
Local History Librarian Mary Hanel has compiled a list of websites and books that may be helpful to student essay writers. She recommends using these subject headings to retrieve the most relevant books using our online catalog: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865, Gettysburg Address; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865, Gettysburg Address-Juvenile Literature. Use United States-History-Sources to find books that collect and critique the great documents of United States history like the Gettysburg Address.

The Library of Congress has a webpage on the Gettysburg address and an exhibit webpage.

The International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, NCTE, have a webpage on the topic.

The Library's Research Databases webpage has useful research material on the Gettysburg Address. Try these databases: AP Images, General OneFile, Literature Resource Center, History Resource Center: US, Student Resource Center Gold and World Book Online Reference Center.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Learn More About Olympians

Have you been following the summer Olympics? Would you like to learn more about the athletes competing in Beijing? Search Biography Resource Center for biographical sketches and magazine articles about many of the Olympians. You can also find your favorite athletes by browsing the Summer--Olympians category.

Here you will find local swimmer and gold medalist Natalie Coughlin. You will learn that Natalie graduated from Carondelet High School in Concord and then attend U.C. Berkeley. You will also discover that when she is not swimming or training she enjoys surfing, cooking, and watching the Oakland Raiders.

Biography Resource Center is located on the Research Databases page of our website.

Posted by mlg

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How-To and DIY Video Websites

Ever wonder how to install and secure a wireless router? How to signup for an email account? How to remove page breaks in Microsoft Word? Fix a leak in your faucet? How to thread a serger? Well, read no more…..You can learn some of these and other DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects by watching videos on the Internet. These mini videos help compliment reading materials. Hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot have some of their most common home improvement projects. There are many other sites covering a wide range of how-to videos. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

expertvillage -
eHow -
howcast -
5min -
Microsoft -
YouTube -
WonderHowTo -

monkeysee -

Mashable ( wrote an article about their 10 Best Places to find How-To videos. Read about them here:


Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet Miss Bindergarten

Have you met Miss Bindergarten? She's the most popular teacher on the Youth Services shelves. Author Joseph Slate created the endearing Miss Bindergarten in 1996 when his niece and nephew were both "in" kindergarten. One was a student and one was a teacher!

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten introduces us to a busy kindergarten teacher as she magically turns her dusty, dreary classroom into a bright and exciting place that will welcome her new students. We also get a peek into the lives of the anxious students as they get ready for their first day of school.

Illustrator Ashley Wolff was also busy preparing her five-year-old son, Rowan, for his first day of kindergarten while she was creating the colorful characters that we meet in Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.

Slate and Wolff brought us eight books in the entertaining Miss Bindergarten series, which celebrates the 100th day of school, takes us on a field trip, and ends with the final book, published in 2005, which describes the last day of kindergarten.

We're sending our very best wishes for a happy, wonderful year to all of the excited boys and girls who are preparing for kindergarten and to all their teachers who will be smiling and ready to meet them on that memorable and important first day of school.

posted by jtb

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

But What About the World Champion Balloonists? Do They Not Matter?

Since last Friday, millions of people have come down with Olympic Fever. A few even contracted cases of Pageantry Plague after the opening ceremonies. They sit on their couches for great lengths of time constantly mumbling “Go U.S.A. Go U.S.A.,” in between shrieking cries of “WOOO!!!” They’ll recover in about two weeks.

So since no one is really reading this due to their incessant checking of medal counts and searches for all things Phelpsian, I thought I’d highlight a few of the less popular Olympic sports no longer in fashion. Did you know:

-In 1900, the fast-paced, full-contact sport of ballooning was demonstrated for consideration as a future event. Shockingly, all the balloonists’ invitations to the 1904 games were “lost in the mail.” Further humiliation came by later being invited back only as a means of providing aerial photography.

-1904 was the only year to have a Roque competition. Roque was a game much like croquet but without the C or the T. America soundly dominated the event by getting not only the gold, but the silver and bronze medal for the sport as well. It should be noted that they were also the only country to participate in the event.

-Glima was introduced in the 1912 games. What is Glima, you ask? It is the gentlemanly sport of Icelandic belt wrestling.

-From the years 1900 through 1920, tug of war wasn’t just played in summer camps. It was a legitimate, medal-earning event. Competitive Red Rover and Freeze Tag players were sick with envy.

-Fans of The Dude rejoiced in 1988 when their favorite sport looked like it was going to become a new Olympic event. But like getting a spare off a 7-10 split, it just didn’t work out.

Of course, there are some games currently being played that don't get mentioned too much. So when you are cheering on your country of choice, remember to remember the archer. Give some love to the badminton player. Raise your voice for the people who play field hockey. While their sports might not be slick or prime-time television worthy, they deserve some respect too.
posted by -jw-

Monday, August 11, 2008

California Native Plants are Beautiful

Alrie Middlebrook, author of Designing California Native Gardens,was here at the library in July speaking with passion about California native plants. She extolled the native plants' ability to replenish the soil, reduce and even eliminate the need to water after they are established and their astonishing beauty.

Middlebrook-Gardens has a website with photos of Calfornia native gardens and more information about how to create your own native beauty. Visit their California natives nursery at 76 Race St., San Jose on many Saturdays from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. There are a series of Eating Californian events which can be found on the calendar at, as well.

The Clarkia photo was taken by Philip Bouchard. The landscape photo was taken by sgrace. Both photos were found on Flickr and are available by the photographers' generosity through Creative Commons.

Annie's Annuals is a Northern California supplier of California natives and many other plants.

Las Pilitas is a good website for finding California native plants according to Middlebrook. This online nursery has more than 5,000 links helpful to gardners.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Are You Looking for a Funny Book?

If you like to read books that are really funny, Yosef has a recommendation for you. Here's what he wrote about The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry:

"I am reading The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry. It is a very interesting, yet confusing book. It is really funny too. I would recommend this book if you like comedy, because this family will have you rolling around in laughter. I mean it! They are really funny!"
So, if you are also a comedy fan, ask a children's librarian to put you on the waiting list for The Willoughbys. Better yet, have the librarians show you some other funny books. Has anyone read Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers, by Megan McDonald?

Kids and teens, if you've read an interesting book, please send us your comments and we'll publish them in a "Feature Friday" Youth Services blog. Just click the "Your Feedback" button at the right of this screen and type your message in the suggestion box. If you include an e-mail address, we'll let you know when your blog is published.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Get Victorian!

When I was younger, I had an old pocket watch. Nothing fancy, just a perfectly serviceable timepiece. Well, it was perfectly serviceable until I took the back off to see how it worked. After tinkering with the gears, it became a literal version of an old cliché rather than a thing of any accuracy. Despite its sudden uselessness, it began a fascination with all things old and ornate.

Imagine my delight when I saw this wondrous creation. Umm, yeah... that would be a fully functional PC made to look like it belongs in Captain Nemo's submarine. There is really only one word to describe it and that word is "awesome." (For you Mac folks, they have one of those too.)

Welcome to the world of "steampunk." Originally it was a weird literary genre popularized in the 80's by authors like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. Their books transposed sci-fi and fantasy themes upon an alternate version of the Victorian era. It was a fictional world of crazy steam-powered inventions, dirigibles, and massive amounts of over-dressing.

But now some creative types have moved it out into the real world. Having possibly read H.G. Wells and Jules Verne a little too heavily when they were younger, they dress like they are extras from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But outside of their questionable fashion, the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into their creations is amazing. Blending both the modern and the archaic, the result is bizarrely futuristic. This Fall, many of these modern antiques will be for sale at the first annual steampunk convention which will be inexplicably held in Sunnyvale.
Another Victorian-esque event coming up will be the Victorian Days Walking Tour in Colma this weekend (a city that has received a certain amount of newfound interest as of late). This event is more about architecture than atmosphere though, so leave the waist coat and aviator glasses at home.

Monday, August 4, 2008

August Classes in the Technology Center

Come join us for computer classes in the Technology Center in August.

Google Search taught by Google Research Scientist, Daniel Russell, on Friday, August 8 from 9:30-11:30. Tips and tricks using the Google search engine will be revealed. This class is already full and has a waiting list.

Health Resources on the Internet taught by Kaiser Medical Librarian Doris Hayashikawa on Thursday, August 14 from 9:30-11:00. She will show students how to find medical information using the Health & Wellness Resource Center and Health Reference Center Academic found on the library's website.

If you want to sell something, buy something, find or fill a job, or find friends, you might want to join us for the Learn to Use craigslist class on Thursday, August 21 from 9:30-10:30.

Every month you can join us for Internet Catalog/Basics. This month it will be held Thursday, August 7 from 9:30-10:30. For more information and to sign up, please call (408) 615-2900 or stop in the library.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Olympic Photographs from AP Images

Are you following the upcoming Beijing Olympics? Would you like to see more news photographs of your favorite Olympic sport or athlete?

Try the Library's AP Images photo archive. It is accessible via our Research Databases page from home or within the Library. Click on the Beijing 2008 folder tab on the AP Images home page to view Associated Press photographs.

Posted by mlg

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Laptops with Nvidia Graphics Card Defect

Do you have a laptop that is experiencing video problems? It might be one of the laptops affected by a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of versions of Nvidia graphics silicon used in laptops. The die refers to the chip itself and the packaging is what encases the chip. Check your laptops, or you too may be treated to "multiple images, random characters on the screen, lines on the screen, no video" or even a "notebook [that] does not start."

Both Dell and HP finally came out with a list of laptops that included the defective cards.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer Reading Club Awards

"Catch the Reading Bug" participants who have completed their reading logs are invited to pick up their award books and certificates in the CEDAR ROOM at the following times:

* * * * Monday, August 4 through Saturday, August 30 * * * *

Mondays and Tuesdays
9 a.m. to Noon
2 to 8 p.m.
2 to 8 p.m.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
9:00 a.m. to Noon
2 to 5 p.m.

The 2008 "Catch the Reading Bug" program has been made possible through the financial support of these sponsors:

Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library
Applied Materials Foundation
Mission City Community Fund
India Cash and Carry

Individuals and corporations who are interested in offering support for the 2009 Summer Reading Club are invited to call Maria Daane, Santa Clara City Library Foundation Director, at 408-615-2987. Visit the Library Foundation and Friends website at for further information.
posted by jtb