Monday, December 29, 2008

An Author for Mothers

Being a mother in 2008 seems to be more challenging than ever. Expectations of parents seem to have grown immensely. There is the familiar guilty tug women have between being with their children and working as a support to the family or for their professional satisfaction. At the same time expectations of parental involvement in children's academic and social lives has grown. Parents have nagging food and safety issues to consider, too.

Ayelet Waldman, a Harvard-trained lawyer and mother of four, sees the traps and pitfalls with a clear eye. She challenges the politically correct, perfectionist model of parenting. Children in her novels eat junk food, watch videos, sometimes skip the booster seat in taxis before 6 years of age, and don't get into the best schools. The mothers are grumpy, overweight and make mistakes but still love their children and find a way to happiness in family life.

Read her Mommy-track Mysteries for quick, funny, clever stories, featuring a stay-at-home mom turned part-time investigator in Southern California. Start with Nursery Crimes.
Her novel, Daughter's Keeper tells the tale of a young Northern California woman caught as an accessory to a drug deal set up by an informer. Readers learn about mothers of young children with peripheral roles in crimes being locked up for years because of Federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. The daughter and her mother struggle to understand each other and keep their relationship going.
In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, a grieving mother struggles with her own infant's death, her marriage and her new role as stepmother to a five year old. Waldman's website says that Natalie Portman will be starring in the movie based on the book which began filming in November. Read the Variety article about it.

posted by mb

Friday, December 26, 2008

YES! We Have Book Lists

Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl, is one of the books on the reading list that our children's librarians have compiled just for second graders. You can access this list and others for elementary school students by clicking on the "Kidspage" section of this website. Then click on "Children's Books and Reading" . You'll be able to find lists of historical fiction, fantasy, sports and other genres, plus books that are recommended for grades two through six. Our children's librarians have selected the listed books just for you. Browse the book lists online, or stop by the children's desk and you'll be sure to find something interesting to read.

You'll also be able to find lists of Newberry and Caldecott award-winning books on our "Children's Books and Reading" link, along with recommended books from other libraries and websites.
posted by jtb

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking for tools to make print larger?

Sounds louder? Things easier to grab and hold? Houses more accessible? Computers read out loud?
ATNetwork Assistive Technology ...Tools for Living may be able to help. ATNetwork can help you find funding sources, service providers, community resources, vendors and manufacturers. Call toll free 1-800-390-2699 or 1-800-900-0706 (TTY) Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Interpreters are available in over 100 languages. Visit the web site. E-mail your questions to

Santa Clara City Library has a machine for enlarging text on the second floor between the Quiet Study Pavilion and the Languages Pavilion. At the Mission Library on Lexington St., the Reading Edge will read out any text that is placed on it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Morningstar Now Covers International Stocks

Morningstar Investment Research Center has added coverage of international stocks. You can now view analyst reports for over 400 international stocks. Nestle and Honda Motor Corporation are a couple of the well-known companies you can research.

Ibbotson's Stocks, Bonds, Bills and Inflation Classic Yearbook has also been added to Morningstar Investment Research Center. The Yearbook compares the returns of stocks, bonds, treasury bills, and inflation from 1997 through 2007. Ibbotson's is located in the Industries section of the Morningstar Investment Research Center website. You can also read the print version of the Yearbook within the library. It is available in our business reference collection.

You can access Morningstar Investment Research Center from home or within the library via our Research Databases page.

Partial funding for Morningstar Investment Research Center has been provided by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Posted by mlg

Tips for Deleting Your Cell Phone Data

If you just bought a new cell phone and are planning to sell or give away your old one, make sure you delete the data in the old phone. You can go to your carrier's store and they can transfer your contacts from your old phone to the new one. They might charge you extra for this or you may be able to do it yourself. Read more about how to "clean" your phone before you sell it or give it away:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Most of us are familiar with A Visit from Saint Nicholas, the famous poem that was written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore. Moore's poem, which also is known as The Night Before Christmas, made Santa Claus and his reindeer famous throughout the world. Moore was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature, Divinity and Biblical Learning at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopol Church in Manhattan. It is reported that he was embarrassed that his scholarly publications were overshadowed by his acclaimed poem about St. Nicholas.

Countless artists have illustrated the classic poem, including Tomie De Paola, children's artist and author, who modeled his folksy illustrations after New England quilt patterns and his impressions of a no-nonsense New Hamshire family.

Jan Brett's version depicts a lavish Victorian home. Santa's elaborate sleigh is pulled by playful reindeer, while a pair of stowaway elves are busy creating mischief.

The Cajun Night Before Christmas, by Trosclair, is set in a Louisiana bayou, and the poem is re-told in a Cajun dialect.

There's even a Librarian's Night Before Christmas, by David R. Davis, that shows Santa arriving in a flying bookmobile!

And don't forget the closing lines of the poem:

Happy Christmas to all. And to all a good night.

posted by jtb

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Year-End Giving

The Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends would like to remind you that the holiday season is a great time to make a financial gift to your favorite library. The Foundation and Friends uses donations to help the library enhance the collection and the programs offered to the community. You can make your donation on our website at: or drop off a check at our bookstore.

THANK YOU for your support throughout the year!

Maria Daane
Executive Director
Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In My Humbl(y Awesom)e Opinion

Everyone in the world is creating some sort of “best of the year” list right now. Since I’ve run out of real things to write about (if I ever was in the first place), I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon. So here is the Pretty Good Things of 2008 List (according to me):

Listening to A.J. Jacob’s Year of Living Biblically
I found this book to be inspirational. But inspiration took the form of a rather unfortunate looking beard.

Seeing Tom Waits perform in Phoenix
Oddly enough, seeing Tom Waits perform in Phoenix was also one of the worst things this year. Have you ever wanted to vacation inside a blast furnace? If so, Phoenix is your place.

Reading The Anatomist: The True Story of Gray’s Anatomy by Bill Hayes
After giving up on my med-school aspirations and finding out that you can’t get into a gross anatomy course because you are “just interested,” I’ve had to resort to reading about people going to med-school and taking gross anatomy courses. Turns out, this method is much easier.

Mirroring the movie they starred in, the two main folks who make up this band (Glen Hansard and his ego) really are in love with each other. Marketa Irglova makes occasional guest appearances in their relationship and sings back up.

Seeing a Charlie Chaplin film in an old-timey theater accompanied by someone playing an old-timey piano
I later realized that “old-timey theaters” contain “old-timey seat cushions” (i.e. somewhat rough and splintered wood planks). Perhaps the whole experience was a bit too old-timey.

Going to a Porchlight Series event hosted by Beth Lisick
An excellent show of unmemorized and unrehearsed storytelling. All of the evening's stories revolved around the 7 deadly sins. Take that A.J. Jacobs!

Watching Beirut play at the Herbst Theater
In a weird coincidence, John Hodgman was playing a ukulele (one of Beirut’s main instruments) when I saw him speak at the Herbst a few months later. It should be noted that he is not a musician, and that is why this is odd.
posted by jw

Monday, December 15, 2008

Books Make Great Gifts!

And they’re easy to wrap! At the Books Are Great Gifts website, you can watch your favorite authors speak about giving books as gifts and find reviews and recommendations from top review sources like the New York Times Book Review and National Public Radio. There are also many holiday book suggestions to help you match the perfect book to everyone on your gift list, whether they enjoy politics, adventure, romance, mystery, cooking, or travel–the possibilities are endless.

Find great deals on books at the library 7 days a week at the Friends of the Library bookstore. You can also come in for a monthly book sale or shop 24/7 at the Foundation and Friends Amazon page.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flash Drive Data Recovery

Have you accidentally deleted photos from your digital camera flash drive? A few days ago one of my co-workers came to ask us if there was a way to recover all the pictures that were accidentally deleted from his digital camera. After searching the internet for free software and trying out some, we discover one that did the job - PC Inspector Smart Recovery.

To read more about this software and tips go to:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Puppet Show

"The Elves and the Shoemaker," a special family program, will be presented by P & T Puppets on Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Redwood Room. This program is for children who are AT LEAST 4 years of age.

The Youth Services Department is sponsoring this program as our holiday gift to you. Puppeteer Peter Brizzi has been performing for Bay Area audiences since 1979. His hand-made puppets and special effects are sure to be a highlight of your family's holiday season.

Here's what Peter has to say about puppetry and children:
"It is a great privilege for me to be able to acquaint young people with the classics and the arts through the medium of puppetry. Puppetry is a great way to introduce children to the arts, as it encompasses them all: music, sculpture, painting, dance, theater, poetry, and literature. For many children a live puppet show is their first introduction to theater. I want to inspire children to read and to discover the wealth of literature that has stood the test of time. I also hope to promote values that build character, to provide entertainment that has depth and meaning, that plants seeds of thought for the child's future development. I hope to instill an appreciation of beauty through my performances."
posted by jtb

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Catholic H.S. Exam Test Prep Resources

Is your child taking a Catholic high school entrance examination in January? The library offers resources for studying for the Catholic high school entrance examinations.

Your child can take practice exams via the web with our LearningExpress Library electronic resource. Your son or daughter can use LearningExpress Library from your home computer or from a computer within the library with a valid current Santa Clara City Library card.

To take practice exams click on the Research Databases link on our home page. Then click on the LearningExpress Library link. After you login you will find the Catholic high school entrance practice tests under the Middle School Skills Improvement section.

In addition to practice tests the LearningExpress Library website also offers test preparation books in electronic format. You can view the Catholic High Entrance Exam: COOP/HSPT test preparation book from the E-books section of their website. It is in PDF format.

If you would prefer a printed test preparation book, call a reference librarian to have one held. To view a list of our Catholic high school entrance examination test preparation books click here. If no copies are available, we can place a hold or try to borrow a copy from another library via Link+. Reference staff can be reached at 408-615-2900.

Posted by mlg

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That movie was awful, it's going to be a classic!

For many people, if you were to say the name Ed Wood, they would say, “who?” Or perhaps, “Didn’t he live down the block from us back in ‘73?” (No he didn’t, that was David Woods... I wonder whatever happened to him?)

To other people, people of less (or arguably more) refined taste, they will instantly think about terrible movies with even worse special effects, and a smile will creep across their face. You see, Ed Wood made movies that fit perfectly into the category of “so bad they’re good.” A couple years after he died (which was 30 years ago today actually), he was voted to be the worst director of all times. Which when you think about it, is really quite a feat.

Oddly enough, a movie about Ed Wood making movies got quite some popularity a number of years ago. Marin Landau even got an Oscar for his role as Bela Lugosi in it.

Wood may not have been very popular during his lifetime, but isn’t that usually the case? He did however leave some sage advice for those looking for ways to get popular in Hollywood: stay home, it’s not going to happen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sleep thieves

Our days are dark, longer and it is cold, at least cold for us Californians, so we should all be sleeping deeper, longer, semi-hibernating, right? Not you? Do visions of holiday obligations, bills, lack of a job keep you from the peace of a good night sleep? If it's the employment that is a problem, come to the library and ask for assistance with the job hunt. We have a Job Resources guide and a computer class coming January 22 which could help. Always feel free to ask and we may be able to assist you with your particular job hunt question. If other things get in the way of your good night sleep, you might find help in these books or listen to the music CD.

The Insomnia Solution: The natural, drug-free way to a good night's sleep by Michael Krugman

Good Nights: how to stop sleep deprivation, overcome insomnia, and get the sleep you need by Gary Zammit with Jane A. Zanca

Insomnia: 50 Essential Things to Do by Theresa Foy DeGeronimo, with Frank DiMaria
Counting Sheep: the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams by Paul Martin, or try listening to a New Age music CD, Delta Sleep System by Jeffrey Thompson.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Art Rodriguez, San Jose Author

Art Rodriguez, acclaimed San Jose author whose books have chronicled the joys and sorrows of his youth in East San Jose, will speak in the Redwood Room at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 13. Teens, age 12 and older, and adults are invited to hear Mr. Rodriguez share his experiences about his difficult teenage years that were marked by street fights, struggles in school and incarceration in California Youth Authority institutions. You'll learn how he overcame his early obstacles to become a successful businessman and author.

East Side Dreams, by Art Rodriguez, was named one of the "200 Best Teenage Books in the United States" by the New York Public Library System. This book describes the happy times he spent as a child in East San Jose, as well as his later life in street gangs and prison. His dreams of a better life gave him comfort during the nights he spent locked in a dormitory with other young inmates:

"Some nights were crazy. When the lights went off and everything was quiet, some guys fixed up their beds as if they were sleeping in them. They would get on the floor and crawl all the way to the back corner. Once there, they would play cards or just whisper. When the guard made his rounds every hour or two, the inmates hid under the beds until the guard passed. They were never caught, but they had some close calls. I never played this game. I always thought there was enough time during the day to play cards and talk. Nights were for sleeping. I would close my eyes and dream, drifting to summers back home."

Come and listen to Art Jimenez. He'll discuss his eventful life with honesty and candor. Reservations are recommended. Please call 615-2916 or visit the Youth Services Desk.

posted by jtb

Monday, December 1, 2008

Relax and watch a video

Library staff have generously come up with a list of their favorite videos for helping you to relax during this busy season. The dark evenings are perfect for curling up with a great visual story. Here are five of the favorites but many more can be found when you search STAFF FAVORITES from our website. When you SEARCH OUR CATALOG, choose Featured Lists. There are even a few favorite books.

Persepolis, Lost Horizon,
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,
Once Upon a Time in Mexico,
Love Actually

More films from 2nd floor collections will be available soon in a display found at the top of the stairs. Come up and find a video to watch on volcanoes, music performances, travel destinations, or other documentaries.