Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learn More About Swine Flu

Are you worrying about Swine Flu? Do you want to learn more about this new strain of flu and how to protect yourself from getting sick?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

For more information, please visit the following web sites
For the latest local information see:
Santa Clara County Swine Flu update

The Library also has a "Stay Healthy" book display on the second floor, come take a look and stay healthy!

written by jh

posted by mb

Learning English as a Second Language

Do you know someone who wants to speak English better? Here are some resources you might like to suggest to them: the Mango Languages link on the library's home page offers 100 lessons for Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Polish speakers to learn how to converse in English. (You can also use it to learn a foreign language such as German, Japanese or Mandarin.) The bilingual Oxford Picture Dictionary is a great resource for those seeking to improve their basic English vocabulary. “I understand every word but I don’t know what they mean,” remarked an English Language Learner to me the other day. She was referring to “idioms” like “bite the bullet” and “hit the hay” that we liberally weave into our conversation and writing. 101 American English Idioms may be the answer! The Languages Pavilion at the Central Park Library and the Adult New Reader Collections at the Central Park and Mission libraries have easy-to-read books and tapes to help adults learn English. If you would like to find community resources to help an English language learner, you can search the Community Information Network (CIN) database on our library’s website using the keyword “ESL.”


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up

About a year ago, I went to the Greek Theater in Berkeley to see the Arcade Fire. Seated in the nosebleeds, I noticed that only half the audience was really watching their performance. The rest were watching the show through the tiny screens of their cell phones recording shaky videos with blown out audio to later post on YouTube. It would appear the next best thing to being at a concert is watching it as a 2"x3" video.

Not to be left out of the action, the library has created some shaky videos of its own for your enjoyment. Over the next few days, we’ll be posting recordings of the various events that went on during our anniversary celebration for those who were unable to be there.

During the course of the previous two weeks, I learned a few things about videotaping that I’d like to key you in on:

1) Tripods are excellent. If you have “dancy hands” like myself, a tripod is your best friend. Or it would be assuming the tripod was not vertically challenged (it is also bad if the tripod is an aggressive alien species, but that’s another story entirely). If that happens to be the case, you will have amazing footage of the back of someone’s head with occasional guest appearances from the featured speaker. Which leads to tip number 2…

2) Always look through the viewfinder. Even if you think the shot is perfect, looking away inevitably leads to the unfortunate framing of someone from nose down or, you guessed it, the back of someone’s head.

3) Videotaping an event involving a large group of children is like being in a low flying hot air balloon in the midst a fireworks display. The movement around you is constant, the trajectories are wild, the noise is deafening, and there is a continuous sense of possible calamity.

The list could go on. But in the end, if people will watch this with its bad audio and low lighting, then this is looking pretty good:

posted by jw

Monday, April 27, 2009

Special Election on the California Budget

Yes, you are being asked to weigh in on how to solve California's budget problems in a special election on May 19. Less revenue for the state means either finding ways to raise revenues or cutting services. There are six measures for your consideration.

Easy Voter Guides are available at both the Central Park and Mission libraries, the Community Recreation Center, the Senior Center and the City Clerk's office with easy to understand information on what your vote will mean. Come in and pick one up if printed resources work better for you. The League of Women Voters of California provides objective explanations and its recommendations on the six ballot measures.

Read what the nonpartisan California Budget Project has to say. This group works to improve public policies that affect low- and middle-income Californians through independent research, budget and policy analysis, and public education. They also have information on their Budget Bites blog.

Still need more budget information? Look at the Dept. of Finance's web site.

There is also up-to-date election information at the California Secretary of State's web site. Information about where you go to vote and how to register is available at Smart

Help California solve its financial problems, become informed and vote!

posted by mb

Friday, April 24, 2009

One More Week!

It's that time of year again. The school year is winding down, and everyone is getting ready for SUMMER! The Youth Services staff invites you to join us for one more week of storytimes, before we take a break to prepare for our 2009 Summer Reading Program, "Be Creative @ Your Library."

Here's the schedule for storytimes during the week of April 27-May 2:

  • Tuesday, April 28, 10:30 a.m., Cedar Room--Preschool Storytime (Ages 3-5 years)

  • Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 p.m., Redwood Room--Family Storytime (All ages)
  • Thursday, April 30, 10:30 a.m., Cedar Room--Baby Lapsit (Ages 0-12 months)

  • Thursday, April 30, 10:30 a.m., Redwood Room--Young Ones (Ages 12-24 months)

  • Friday, May 1, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., Redwood Room--Toddler Storytime (Ages 2-3 years)

  • Saturday, May 2, 20:30 a.m., Cedar Room--Family Storytime (All ages)

Our Summer Reading Program Kickoff celebration will be on Saturday, June 6, in Central Park, near the Parkside entrance, at 1:00 p.m. Watch for further announcements!

posted by jtb

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"You Should Be..."

“Wow, you have a deep voice. You should be in radio.”

This statement, however well intentioned, is akin to telling a tall person they should play basketball or a person with tiny hands that they should fix the small, dangerous parts of industrial machinery. Small hands don’t make for dexterity, height supplies no amount of athletic ability, and having a deep voice doesn’t mean you can string a sentence together with any sort of proficiency when speaking (just talk to me if you want proof).

Yes, I could listen to James Earl Jones or Javier Bardem recite the phone book. But that’s because they have talent (though the basso profundo voices don't hurt). They know how to speak in such a way that the voice becomes practically hypnotic. Another person's voice I find oddly mesmerizing: Ira Glass.

To be honest, it sounds like he has a massive head cold. A perpetual one. In fact, everyone featured on his radio show sounds like they are suffering from some sort of chronic congestion. Yet, said show is one of the most popular around. Popular enough that people are going to theaters this Thursday to watch him do a radio show live. (Sorry TV on the Radio… I really wanted to link you to that, but sadly that action is the exact opposite of your name. Better luck next time.)

So next time you hear a kid with a squeaky voice, tell him, “wow, you have a… umm… an interesting voice. You should be in public radio. Yeah, definitely public radio.” Who knows, you might have just stumbled on the next NPR superstar.

posted by jw

Monday, April 20, 2009

International Year of Astronomy

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. It commemorates Gallileo's first astronomical discoveries using a telescope 400 years ago. There are many events to celebrate throughout the world.

Look for library programs for the whole family at Santa Clara City Library in summer. In the meantime, visit the website for International Year of Astronomy and watch Around the world in 80 telescopes and other YouTube videos about astronomy. Did you know the Vatican has a telescope? Discover what a Gallileoscope is and how you can get one.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Remote or Laptop Printing

Is your home printer not working and you need to print your airplane tickets or your kids homework? No problem, just send your file to the Santa Clara City Library and pick it up within four hours (when the Library is open).
The Santa Clara City Library has added wireless printing capability. There are no drivers to install or software to load. Visitors can easily send print jobs from anywhere inside or outside the library and retrieve them from the Library’s Pinnacle Pay-for Print workstation in the copy rooms. Print jobs are held for four hours. It’s simple. . just follow the instructions below.

Go to the website

Select: US, CA, Santa Clara, SC City Library
Select Use this Printer for B&W or Choose Another Printer (for Color)
Under the heading Document or Web Page, you will select your document for printing in one of two ways:
1. To print a web-based document, simply copy the URL (web address) and paste it here.
2. To select a document from your laptop or PC click on Browse. To print a document you are currently working on, it will need to be saved first.

Under the heading Enter Your Network ID for Document Pickup you will enter a User ID of your choosing.

The next heading Document Options is for selecting additional options.

Select Next. Your print job will appear in the tracking center on the right . Click on Print to send the file to the Santa Clara Library Pay-for-Print Stations on any of the Copy Rooms.

To obtain printouts, enter your User ID from above at the Pay-for-Print Station in the Library.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Arbor Day/Earth Day

Santa Clara's annual Arbor Day/Earth Day Celebration on the grounds of the Triton Museum on Friday, April 24 will feature tips on ecology from City departments and other community agencies. Again this year, the Library's Youth Services staff will be offering literature and ideas about helping the many birds that live in our parks, yards and playgrounds.

We'll also be sharing information about our programs for children, with a "sneak peek" at our Summer Reading Club plans.

Stop by our booth and learn why we need to protect the birds that share our world. You can make your outdoor living space safe and welcoming for birds. Whether you have a small balcony or a large yard, bright-colored plants will attract birds. Here are a few colorful plants that grow well in containers and provide a welcoming environment for birds: cosmos, miniature sunflowers, strawberries, and blueberries.

Visit the Celebrate Urban Birds website, which is sponsored by Cornell University, to find out how to identify and appreciate the birds that are part of our everyday lives.
posted by jtb

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The People's University

In these tough times, the smartest card in your wallet is a library card. Benyam Alemayehu knows this for a fact. Benyam grew up in Ethiopia and enjoyed drawing as a child. He came to the United States from Africa in February 2005.

This 24 year old artist can often be found diligently working on his sketches at the Central Park and Mission libraries. He has never taken any classes to learn how to draw; he is self-taught! He checks out books from the library to learn more about drawing and to find good photographs to use for his sketches. It usually takes Benyam about one to two hours to complete a sketch. He draws with pencil, pen, charcoal and markers. He uses a regular ball point pen for many of his sketches. Visit the Mission Library to see some of Benyam's sketches on display!

What will the library inspire you to learn?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh, You Shouldn't Have

Silverware. For a five year anniversary, the proper gift is silverware. Personally, this is baffling. One would hope that after five years, the people celebrating their anniversary would have acquired some suitable eating utensils. Up until this point, have they been tearing food apart with their hands or the occasional plastic spork just waiting patiently for their “silverware anniversary?” And if we are following this logic, they are still 12 years away from having a couch to sit on (anniversary #17 being the much celebrated “furniture anniversary”).

Before you call me naïve, I realize the silverware to be presented should be of the collectible (read: non-usable) type. The type that you would place in a drawer to collect dust, hang on a wall next to your commemorative plates creating a surreal anti-gravitational place setting, or (and probably much more likely) pawn off as soon as your relatives leave town.

This, of course, is a modern take on the five year anniversary gift. Traditionally it was the much more practical and splintery “wood anniversary,” because nothing says congratulations like a slab of oak. The switch to silverware however had a negative impact on the wood worker economy. But sales of bears carved out of tree stumps soon recovered when the 6th anniversary was announced to be the “wood object” anniversary.

If the wood object you receive happens to be a desk, then you are all set for your 7th anniversary which is the “pen and pencil set anniversary.” This is a little redundant since you probably received a number of Cross Pen sets back when you graduated high school or college or any other occasion when a relative who did not really know who you were needed to get you a present.

If you are wondering what’s with all this anniversary talk, it is our five year anniversary this week at the library. If you are wondering what’s with all the presents talk, it’s because we really, really don’t want any more silverware or wood. Thanks and all, but we’ve got it covered. Seriously.
posted by jw

Monday, April 13, 2009

National Library Week! Come for cake

April 12-18 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the contributions of U.S. libraries and librarians. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate. The American Library Associations official National Library Week page has more information.

If you are a history buff, you can find slogans for each National Library Week campaign since 1958, read about the history of NLW or browse a history of metered postage stamps used to celebrate the theme dating back to the 1950s on this web site.

Celebrate our 5 yr. anniversary in the new Central Park Library facility with events throughout the week. To learn more just click on the cake from our homepage. Cake will be cut and served on Saturday, April 18 at 11 a.m.

posted by mb

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mortgage Foreclosure Resources

Are you or someone you know having difficulty making your mortgage payments? The United States Federal Reserve System has a list of consumer resources and agencies which may be of help to you. Click on the Resources for Consumers link below.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Posted by mlg

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tax Preparation Assistance

Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) finished their last session at Central Park Library on Saturday, April 4. The Library will be closed next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 10, 11 and 12. Friday and Sunday are holidays and Saturday the information technology staff is taking the day to make some changes in the network which require that the library be closed. Central Park Library will open again on Monday, April 13 at 9 a.m.

Volunteers from VITA are still assisting taxpayers at Milpitas Public Library, 160 N. Main St., Milpitas 95035 (408) 262-1171 on Saturday, April 11th from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. VITA volunteers are also available at Campbell Public Library, 77 Harrison Ave., Campbell 95008 (408) 866-1991 on Thursday, April 9 from 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. and on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. till 12 noon.

posted by mb

Monday, April 6, 2009

Housing Discrimination...then and now

Learn what Fair Housing means and how it impacts our community in Silicon Valley.

Ann Marquart from Project Sentinel will cover the history of fair housing discrimination in America, the laws created to end housing discrimination, and how fair housing practices are enforced and promoted locally.

Tuesday, April 7th -- Cedar Meeting Room -- 7:00 p.m.

posted by kks

Programs Celebrate Central Park Library's Fifth Anniversary

In April 2009, Central Park Library will celebrate its fifth anniversary of providing excellent customer service to Santa Clara residents and the Silicon Valley community.


Since opening its doors in April 2004, approximately 6.8 million people have visited the Library; 13 million items from the collection have been borrowed; 2,150 adult and youth programs have been presented, with 200,000 patrons in attendance! For the past five year, Santa Clara City Library has ranked nationally in Hennen's American Public Library Ratings; the Library also ranked in the recent Library Journal Index of Public Library Service for 2009. Join us the week of April 13-18 to celebrate Central Park Library's milestones by attending several specially planned anniversary programs, all held in the Redwood Room.

Francisco Jimenez Book Talk - Tuesday, April 14 7:00 p.m.

Francisco Jimenez, renowned author and educator, emigrated with his family from Mexico to California and as a child worked alongside his parents in the fields. He received his BA from Santa Clara University, and MA and PhD degrees from Columbia University. Professor Jimenez has written several autobiographical novels, including the recent Reaching Out, a sequel to Breaking Through, based on his experience as a Santa Clara University student. Currently he is the Fay Boyle Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Santa Clara University. Join Professor Jimenez as he discusses his books and writing at this return engagement to the Library.

Mission City Opera Performance - Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 p.m.

Mission City Opera was founded in 1996 and is dedicated to presenting professional performances of operatic works at affordable prices in intimate productions. Performances are held in the Mission City Center for the Performing Arts in Santa Clara; the company also presents programs at schools and other venues for the education of the public. For an exciting evening of music at the Library, come hear several members of Mission City Opera sing selections from current and past seasons’ operas. To reserve a place at this free opera event, stop by the Reference Desk, or call (408) 615-2900.

Afternoon Tea with Diane Pershing – Thursday, April 16, 4:00 p.m.

Enjoy a cup of tea and hear Diane Pershing, President of the Romance Writers of America, discuss the art of writing romance novels. Diane has written many popular romance novels. As a voiceover actress, she has performed in numerous shows, including performing the part of “Poison Ivy” in the Batman cartoon. Originally from New York, Diane attended UCLA and settled in Los Angeles, where she resides today. Join the Library’s anniversary tea party and listen to Diane Pershing’s presentation on the romance genre and writing. Reserve a place at this free author program by calling Reference at (408) 615-2900.

Written by jb
Posted by mb

Friday, April 3, 2009

Passover and Easter

Just hangin' with my peeps...

The first day of Passover is April 8, with Easter Sunday following shortly afterwards on April 12. Santa Clara City Library has many books and other resources to help your family celebrate the season.

In The Matzo Ball Boy by Lisa Shulman (a Jewish version of The Gingerbread Boy), a matzo ball runs away from an old woman as she prepares her Passover dinner.

In The Easter Bunny that Overslept by Priscilla Friedrich, the Easter Bunny unsuccessfully attempts egg deliveries on Mother's Day, July Fourth, and Halloween.

Get the kids involved in the holiday food preparation with A Passover Holiday Cookbook and An Easter Holiday Cookbook, both by Emily Raabe.

For many families, the Easter season isn't complete without watching It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.

Children's books explaining the religious significance of Passover and Easter can be found in juvenile nonfiction in the 200 call number range. Youth services staff can assist in locating titles.

Easter candy fans can visit for recipes, games and coloring sheets about those puffy, colorful blobs of sugary goodness known as Peeps.

The kosher food company Manischewitz (love those macaroons!) has tips on its website for a stress-free Passover.

Santa Clara's Recreation Department is sponsoring an Easter Egg hunt in Central Park on Saturday, April 11 at 10 am for children up to 8 years.

As a reminder, Santa Clara City Library will be closed Friday, April 10 and Sunday, April 12 in observance of Spring Holiday. The Library will be closed Saturday, April 11 for computer system upgrades. We wish all of our patrons a happy holiday weekend!

posted by spb

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Serious Discussion on the Topic of Shenanigans

I am a fan of a good prank. I’m not speaking of the old bucket of water above the door or stapler in Jell-o type of prank either. Those, besides being messy and destructive to office supplies, are mainly just rudimentary visual gags. Blunt tools on par with other low forms of humor like sarcasm and watching people run into things in public (oh, don’t try to deny the comedy in that).

Good pranks require a bit of participatory thinking on the part of the parties involved. For instance, iTunes was allowing people to download the first movement of John Cage’s 4’33” for free yesterday. It confused the people who didn’t get the joke (sample review: “I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS BUT I CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING…”) and amused those that did (sample review: “…they really should have offered the remastered version”). Plus, they did it a day ahead of when people would expect such a thing. Perhaps the funniest part is that you can buy the “whole piece” for $1.98. Which actually makes me believe it might not have been a prank at all.

And that’s actually the point. You should be confused by a prank. It needs to create an un/believable reality, otherwise it lacks impact. There is an artist named Banksy who snuck his own art into museums on numerous occasions. People admired an “authentic cave painting” of a shopping cart and a portrait of a 17th century French nobleman holding a can of spray paint for days without realizing they were fakes. For days! That’s genius… though most likely it’s also illegal.

But the day for such shenanigans is almost over and I haven’t heard of any really good ones yet. I have, however, spent the last two hours trying to clean Jell-o out of my stapler. Bump up your game folks. Bump up your game.
posted by jw