Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is finally here, with its promise of tricks, treats, giggles and shrieks. Here are some bright, appealing Halloween picture books that are sure to delight the children in your life:

We'll begin with Mouse's First Halloween, written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan. This picture book, told in catchy rhymes, follows a timid mouse who hears spooky sounds, such as flutters and skitters, which turn out to be leaves falling, animals playing, and jack-o-lanterns glimmering. Mouse decides these noises are:
"Scampering kittens, that's all. Not so scary after all."
Froggy's Halloween, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, shows Froggy's comic attempts to decide which costume to wear on Halloween. Here's everyone's favorite line from the book:
"Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. But if you don't, I don't care. I'll......."
(You'll have to get a kindergartner to finish this quote!)

And don't forget about Big Pumpkin, written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by S.D. Schindler. Find out if anyone will be able to help an old witch harvest her giant pumpkin.

The Youth Services staff wishes you laughter and happiness as you and your friends and family enjoy this special holiday.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Steve Miller Band Said It Best

Maybe you’ve noticed it. “It” being the fact that time seems to be getting shorter and shorter. Every day you start out with 24 hours worth of it and then, poof, it’s midnight and you are regretting that you wasted a half hour to eat dinner when you could have been doing something more useful… like writing a blog. Now you have a new set of 24 hours to finish 36 hours worth of work in. Fantastic.

The self help books would suggest that you, my friend, need a good dose of time management. Personally, I like the term “time management.” It’s empowering. It is as if you could boss time around: “No, no 4 O’clock. You get back behind 3 O’clock. No cutting.”

But sadly, it’s not like that at all. It’s all about schedules and efficiency. Practical matters to be sure, but not the mastery over the concept of time that so many people desire.

Yet wait! Twice a year, with the help of the federal government (and no help from Arizona), we all collectively will time to go backwards or forwards one hour by the sheer power of… our… minds. Not too shabby, no? Sure, it totally screws up your weekend when you look at a clock you forgot to change or show up early to work when you could have slept in. But it’s still pretty cool that a concept we think of as inherently natural is really just a matter of belief. I might add that it is also just a little bit creepy.
posted by jw

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ghost Stories

Listen to The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman or read short, scary tales in The Norton Book of Ghost Stories edited by Brad Leithauser. Leithauser also recommends The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Green Man by Kingsley Amis and Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend.

First chapters and summaries of these books can be read when you follow the link to the catalog record. Just click on the book image or More Information button. Take a test read.


Are You Ready for DTV?

Are you prepared for the switch to digital television (DTV)? By law, television stations nationwide must switch their broadcasting from analog to digital by February 17, 2009. Come to Central Park Library to have your questions answered by Roy Avila from KICU-TV Channel 36 on Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cedar Room.

Get information on what you need to do to upgrade to digital television; find out about the DTV converter box, purchasing a digital television set, or subscribing to a paid service such as cable. To discover your options for the switch to DTV, sign up for this free library program at Reference, or call (408) 615-2900.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Spooky Stories for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, Megumi is bringing her "Fun and Spooky Stories" back to the Central Park Library. Children, who are 4 years of age and older, and their families are invited to gather in the Redwood Room on Tuesday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. to watch Megumi's dramatizations of mysterious Japanese folk tales and legends.

Megumi, who grew up in a bilingual home, has always enjoyed listening to stories, especially those about strong girls and women. She also is very interested in true stories and experiences from World Ward II Japanese Internment camps. She believes that the heroes and heroines that we meet in folk tales can teach us to face our own fears and overcome obstacles in our own lives.

Be ready for a spooky, scary night with Megumi! Just be sure to arrive in plenty of time. We'll start stamping hands for those who wish to attend at 6:30 p.m., and no one will be admitted after the program has begun. And please remember, this program is for children who are AT LEAST 4 years of age.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

...And Boy Are My Arms Tired

A recent experience with an airline carrier (which shall remain nameless) has left me to wonder if they are truly necessary. I mean seriously, we have already had years of experience with cars, boats, and trains. Aren’t we just being greedy with the planes bit? Does one really need to hurtle through the sky at 500 mph? If you ask me: no, one does not (not for those prices at least). Air travel, if you will, is for the birds.

But then again, who am I to badmouth one of human kind’s greatest goals and achievements? In fact, if you really want to get old-school with it, the Tech Museum in San Jose is featuring an exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, one of which is a big, bulky, but ultimately plausible, flying machine.

Now, I know my myths, so I’d probably pass on the whole wearing wings and trying to fly thing. But with airfare the way it is, it’s getting more attractive.

posted by jw

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2008 National Book Award Finalists Announced

The 2008 National Book Award Finalists were announced October 17. Sponsored by The National Book Foundation, the National Book Awards celebrate the best of American literature. Follow the links to the books from here to find a good read. Some are still being released from publishers.



Young People's Literature

Vote for U.S. President now!

The November 4, 2008, General Election is just two weeks away. Santa Clara residents are voting early, either with mail in ballots, or since October 6, at the Voter Registrar's Office. The San Jose Mercury News reports about 72,000 have voted as of Monday afternoon. Voting is available 7 days a week at the Voter Registrar's Office at 1555 Berger Dr. in San Jose.

There was a steady stream of library visitors yesterday stopping in to get voter registration forms, in anticipation of last night's deadline. Great news! County election officials are predicting 800,000 or nearly 80 percent of those eligible to vote will vote this year.

Election information is available in audio format for one-day check out at the library. Call (408) 615-2900 for more information.

For multilingual telephone hotlines, visit the Secretary of State's website.

Looking for information on local races or the location of your polling place? Stop in and see the Free2Vote displays. Lots of Easy Voter Guides are still available for free. Can't make it to the library? Check out the nonpartisan SmartVoter website and enter your address for more information.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Laugh in the Face of ...

When You are Engulfed in Flames David Sedaris's new book keeps readers laughing as he takes them through his childhood babysitter nightmares, to young adult drug culture, to France and finally his tale of smoking from his youth until he recently moved to Japan temporarily to kick the habit. He tells how smoking changed his persona from a cowering young man to confidence with tough looking strangers. Here is a selection.

"It was odd. I'd always heard how clean Canada was, how peaceful, but perhaps people had been talking about a different part, the middle maybe, or those rocky islands off the eastern coast. Here it was just one creepy drunk after another. The ones who were passed out I didn't mind so much, but those on their way to passing out--those who would still totter and flail their arms--made me afraid for my life. Take this guy who approached me after I left the store, this guy with a long black braid. It wasn't the gentle, ropy kind you'd have if you played the flute, but something more akin to a bullwhip: a prison braid, I told myself. A month earlier I might have simply cowered, but now I put a cigarette in my mouth, the way one might if he were about to be executed. This man was going to rob me, then lash me with his braid and set me on fire--but no. 'Give me one of those,' he said, and pointed to the pack I was holding. I handed him a Viceroy, and when he thanked me, I smiled and thanked him back."

Sedaris keeps the laughs going throughout the book. His prose is never boring, stale, or stereotypical. Read it and surprise yourself by laughing out loud.


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Trouble With Prosperity

The trouble with prosperity : the loss of fear, the rise of speculation, and the risk to American savings by James Grant is just one of several books that can be found in the library to illuminate the current U.S. economy. Grant says that booms are always followed by busts, and the louder the boom, the more devasting the bust. Fortunately, he also predicts that bigger busts produce bigger booms. "The extra dollar of consumer expenditure," he wrote more than a dozen years ago, "is requiring a larger and larger unit of consumer borrowing."
anias, Panics and Crashes by Charles P. Kindleberger is the definitive overview of financial emergencies. "Given a seizure of credit in the system," he writes, "more is safer than less. The excess can be mopped up later. As for timing, it is an art. That says nothing--and everything."

The above is from the Wall Street Journal's Five Best books column on financial meltdowns which also recommends these books found at the library.
Beyond Greed by Stephen Fay and When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein which can be found i
n English and Chinese in the library.

Bookstores are rushing to satisfy the public's need for financial advice. No need to spend at the bookstore when your library has copies free for borrowing. Here are some more:

The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles Morris, The World is Curved by David Snick, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros (also available electronically including an excerpt),

Bad Money by Kevin Phillips (go to Mission Library and get this without a wait), and Crash Proof by Peter Schiff. -mb

Friday, October 10, 2008

Watch Out for CAVITIES!!!!!

The month of October always brings Halloween treats and plenty of CANDY! But....that candy can play nasty tricks on your teeth. Fortunatley, October is also National Dental Hygiene Month, with reminders about the importance of taking good care of our teeth. How much do you know about tooth decay and cavities that can ruin your bright smile?

QUESTION: How long does it take for bacteria to start reacting to the food residue that is left on your teeth after you eat?

ANSWER: The California Dental Association informs us that is only takes 5 minutes for bacteria to begin digesting that food residue, breaking it down and forming acid that will begin to destroy the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Once the acid breaks through the enamel, the minerals inside your teeth will be dissolved and cavities will form.
QUESTION: Can you stop a cavity that has already begun destroying one of your teeth?

ANSWER: No!!! The cavity will continue to grow bigger and deeper, unless it is repaired by a dentist. According to the California Dental Association:

"Tooth decay is an infection that will not heal without treatment. Children with cavities eat poorly, stop smiling and don't learn properly."
For more information about healthy teeth, visit the October "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit in Youth Services, supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Library Foundation and Friends.
posted by jtb

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Voting Events in Santa Clara

Be informed! Join us at the library for two free, public voter forums in October. Read Santa Clara is sponsoring a League of Women Voters nonpartisan explanation of California propositions on Wednesday, October 15 in the Cedar Room from 6:00 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. Come and hear about the propositions and get your questions answered.

On Sunday, October 19 from 1:30 p.m. till 4:30 p.m. in the Redwood Room, Silicon Valley Votes! will host a panel discussing California education funding issues and League of Women Voters representatives explaining the propositions on the ballot. Call (408) 615-2900 if you have questions about these programs.

Candidates for Chief of Police, City Clerk and City Council Seats No. 3, 4, 6, and 7 will appear at a candidates forum Thursday, October 9 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at 1500 Warburton Ave. Parking is free. Can't make it? The forum will be televised and broadcast live in Santa Clara on Municipal Cable Channel 15 and online. Questions about this presentation call (408) 244-8244 at the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bring Out Your Undead

Last night there was another presidential debate. The world’s economic woes are growing (did you hear Iceland might go bankrupt?… Iceland… an entire country). Three scientists just won the Nobel Prize for, umm, something scientific. These are all very important things worthy of discussing in this blog. But also important?: Zombies.

No, I’m not getting over eager about Halloween. You see, tomorrow evening, zombies will be walking the streets of downtown San Jose (and no, I’m not referring to the normal late night crowd stumbling around there). Perhaps it might be more apt to say they will be shuffling. Whatever the case, between the Sharks fans yelling “wooo!” and the zombies yelling “brrrraaaains!,” eloquent discourse in San Jose will be at an all time low.

So as not to be left unprepared, you may want to study up on your zombie history and protective techniques. It’s also a good idea to learn what people before you have done when coming across a hungry swarm of the undead. Though I would not suggest locking yourself in a bar seeing as these zombies will have a taste for beer as well as brains.
posted by jw

Monday, October 6, 2008

Election 2008

County Voters who have registered absentee can begin returning ballots today for the Nov. 4 election. Today is also the last day to register to vote in order to receive a sample ballot in the mail. The county registrar's office is extending its Monday hours to get more registrations processed by 9 p.m. To register to vote by today's deadline, visit the county registrar's office at 1555 Berger Drive in San Jose between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Voter registration cards and instructions for returning them can also be picked up at the library. Get an online copy of the registration form from the California Secretary of State's website.

Come in to the library and see the Free2Vote display in the first floor boulevard. You can't miss the red, white and blue bunting and flag display panels. Another outstanding display by a talented, artisitic staff member. Registration cards can be found there and on the 2nd floor as well as Easy Voter Guides and other useful voter information. Remember, as always, you are free to ask if you have voting questions or any other kind of questions. (408) 615-2900 or Ask a Librarian via email.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Pura Belpre Awards

The Pura Belpre Award, which is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA) honors Latina/Latino writers and illustrators who celebrate Latino cultural experiences with outstanding works of literature for children and youth.The 2008 narrative winner is Margarita Engle for her book, The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano . The book is illustrated by Sean Qualls. Manzano was born in Cuba in 1797. As the property of a wealthy slave owner, he was denied an education. Inspite of his humble beginnings, he had a remarkable talent for poetry. Manzano's verses portray the hope, despair and pain that he suffered as a slave surrounded by the natural beauty of his island home.
Los Gatos Black on Halloween, written by Marissa Montes and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, is the 2008 winner for outstanding illustrations. Children will enjoy this book, which combines Halloween pictures with a spooky story introduces several Spanish words.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) by borrowing a book that earned the Pura Belpre Award. The Youth Services staff can help you find books and music that highlight our Latino heritage. Ask us about our books in Spanish for children!
posted by jtb

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WaMu, Wachovia, Wall Street... It's a bad time for Ws

Seeing as my bank failed last week (Woo... Who?), I had to find a new one. There have been some old-timers who’ve suggested the recession-proof Bank of the Drawer or Coffee Can Mutual, but they don’t offer debit cards and setting up direct deposit requires a shovel. So I'm still looking.

Then on Monday, during my search, I watched the stock market's spectacular high dive. I believe it garnered an 8.6 (points off for the hard landing). I'll admit, it made me a little nervous. But when I turned to CNN and noticed that Suze Orman had stopped smiling, I dug up my recipe for shoelace soup.

Honestly, I'm not even going to pretend that I understand how the stock market works. It seems very mystical. As I see it, someone rings a bell and people in a hole wearing power suits start waving wildly. Maybe they throw some paper on the ground for good measure. If they wave just the right way- happiness! If they are off game and waving in a sub par manner, they can lose 1.2 trillion dollars in a day... like it was a set of (very expensive) keys.

Okay, that's not exactly true. The wavers can't do it by themselves. They need a hand. Bad loans and greed, like a Michael Douglas/Charlie Sheen combo, stepped up to fill that role. But tonight congress is going to step in and try to pass a bailout measure to fix this mess. Of course, last time they tried to fix this mess, Monday happened. Cross your fingers.
posted by jw

On this day in 1967

On October 1, 1967, the Friends of the Library participated in the 22nd Annual Santa Clara YMI (Young Men's Institute) Parade of Champions. Pictured at left is their entry in the parade which was used to advertise upcoming author talks at the Santa Clara Public Library. Driving the car is Mrs. Ted Millikin of the Friends of the Library. To her right in the passenger seat is City Librarian Miss Frances M. Klune. Waving to the crowd are local authors, Mrs. Airi Kulpa, social column writer for the Santa Clara American newspaper and author of "Adult funnies: a harvest of hilarity" and Rev. Arthur D. Spearman, S.J., University Archivist for Santa Clara University and author of "John Joseph Montgomery 1858-1911: father of basic flying". The other author mentioned on the sign is San Jose news columnist Dick Barrett whose 1966 local history columns were compiled into the book "Dick Barrett '66".

Join the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library today and learn how they "champion" the library in 2008.