Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Reading Club Online Registration

We're counting down to June 6! That's the day when our 2009 Summer Reading Club registration will be LIVE and ONLINE, through our Santa Clara City Library website. We're saying "good-bye" to the papers and pencils that have been part of the Summer Reading Club landscape in previous years. You'll be able to reigister from your computer at home, at the terminals in the Library, or at any other location where your have access to the Internet.

You'll just need to access our Santa Clara City Library website and follow the prompts on the front page. You'll be directed to registration forms for children or teens. Fill in the required information, click on the "done" button, and your child will be registered in the program and ready to begin reading. You'll be able to print your child's reading log sheet, or you may get one from the Library Youth Services desk. Teen Read participants will be picking up their packets from the Youth Services desk.

Before you begin the registration process, you'll need to be ready to provide some basic information:
  1. My child's library card number. Children will need to have a valid Santa Clara City Library card.

  2. Child's grade in SEPTEMBER. You will need to list the grade your child will be ENTERING IN SEPTEMBER, as well as the name of the school that he or she will be attending. Children who will be entering Kindergarten through 6th grade in September register in the children's program. Students who will be entering 7th through 12 grade register in the Teen Read program. Preschool children, plus those who are too young to attend school, also register in the children's program.

Mark your calendars for our Summer Reading Club Kickoff Celebration outside the Central Park Library, from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 6.

posted by jtb

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tesla in Training

A few years ago I found an antique radio on the side of the road. I took it home thinking, "I'm going to outfit this thing with a new speaker, rewire the tuner to an MP3 player/digital turntable and light it up like a gaudy jukebox. This will be awesome." Instead, I waged a war against the previously unseen spider colony that lived inside the radio and left it as a non-functional display piece. It is passively awesome.

The people going to the Maker Faire this weekend would be tut-tutting me to no end for such wastefulness. Passive is not in their vocabulary. They are about active awesomeness.

Make Magazine (the organization putting on the faire) is for the people who saw Doc Brown's Delorean and said, "I think I can hobble together a time machine in my garage with a beat up car and a food processor. Why not?" And while time travel has still alluded this group of amateur inventors, they have crafted some pretty nifty robots, art bikes, LED contraptions, and dangerous furniture.

It's not just about trying to be a Tesla. A large component of the Maker Faire deals with learning to extend the life of what we own or create a new, hopefully more interesting, life for an older item. I was trying to avoid the term, but there is indeed a "green" angle to the event.

Nonetheless, I'm hoping I'll get inspired to crack open my radio, fight the new insect inhabitants, and really, truly ruin an antique in style.
posted by jw

Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Summer Programs

We are pleased to announce that our Youth Services summer program schedule has been posted on the Calendar of Events section of our Library website. We invite you to "Be Creative @ Your Library" this summer, and join us for lots of summer reading fun and activities. We'll be offering programs for all age levels, from Baby Lapsit for children under 12 months of age, to School Age Programs, for students who will be entering 1st through 6th grade.

Our teens, who will be entering 7th through 12th grade, have their own summer Teen Read program, "Express Yourself," and their own teen summer activities schedule, which is posted on the Teennet section of the Library website. Movies and special events, such as Wii games tournaments, are planned for teens.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends, we'll be offering family multicultural programs in the Central Park Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. on the following Monday nights:
  • June 22, PAMPA (Indian Classical Dance)

  • June 29, OKASAN & ME (Japanese Music)

  • July 6, FUEGO NUEVO (Aztec/Mexican Dancing)

  • July 13, SWIFT CLOUD (Native American Dance)

  • July 20, FIREBIRD YOUTH CHINESE ORCHESTRA (Chinese Classical Music)

  • July 27, JANETTA COLEMAN (African Music/Rhythm)

The summer fun begins on Saturday, June 6 with our Summer Reading Kickoff, from 1 to 4 p.m. just outside the Library's parkside entrance. Our featured performer will be SHORT ATTENTION SPAN CIRCUS, appearing on the outdoor stage at 2:00 p.m. Join us at this event and find out how to register online for our Summer Reading Program.

Watch our "Feature Friday" Youth Services blogs. We'll keep you up-to-date with all of our summer events. Wherever you are, we're only a click away

.posted by jtb

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There is always hope

Representatives from the local NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, gave an interesting talk for library staff recently. They told us that 25% of all adults in any year suffer from a mental illness, approximately 78 million Americans. In terms of disease burden, only heart disease is more prevalent. These are "no fault" illnesses that are treated with hospitalization, medicine, therapy and support networks. 70-90 percent can be treated successfully. Treatment is better than 25 years ago but will be even better in another 25 years. Eventually authorities predict that there will be targeting drug therapy, in which patients will find out which medications are indicated through blood tests. More research is discovering more about the brain and how it works and how it heals.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez is an account of his friendship with a gifted violinist, Nathaniel Ayers who has schizophrenia. It was recently made into a movie. Visit this NAMI web site to view a clip from the film and see a film explaining schizophrenia.

Learn more about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses by reading these NAMI recommended books.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey
Surviving Bipolar by E. Fuller Torrey
The Center Cannot Hold by Ellen Saxe "a good story" also available as a CD
The Bipolar Advantage by Tom Wooten available through Link+
I am not sick, I don't need help: how to help someone with mental illness to accept treatment by Xavier Amador

May 30 San Francisco Bay Area Walk for NAMI will take place. Patty Duke, academy award winning actress and best selling author is the Grand Marshall. Check out her books, videos or DVDs at the library.

posted by mb

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Allergy Season is EVERY Season!

Are you one of the 26.1 million people who suffer from seasonal allergies? Do you start sneezing, itching and sniffling when plants bloom and release pollens into the air? Maybe your "allergy season" is in early spring, while your neighbor doesn't start sneezing until September.

Confused? no wonder. Allergy season can be ANY season. Some people are sensitive to the pollens that are released in early spring when buds begin sprouting on many trees. Others aren't bothered until early autumn when weeds are flourishing. "Hay fever," "pollinosis," and "seasonal allergic rhinitis" are a few of the names for allergies that are caused by pollens.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and the Youth Services "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit features books about the respiratory system and some ideas that will help allergy victims avoid exposure to pollens. "On the Path to Good Health" is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

I was broke and in Portland at the end of a disastrous tour when I fell in love. Considering that prolonged exposure to the people I was traveling with would be bad, I needed a place to hide out for about 15 hours. And then I met Powell's Books. Oh. My. It would appear that the love of my life was a city block sized bookstore. Not only did I spend most of my day there, I went back every day I was in town. When we left, my band mates complained of Portland being cold and gloomy, but to my mind the weather was always 72 degrees and florescent. To me, Portland was Powell's.

I thought about this as I was watching a documentary the other night. What if that Powell's was a Borders? Would I have felt that same sort of excitement? Probably not. A good independent bookstore has a sense of place and uniqueness. You know that you won't find another place like it in the next town over. It feels like you've walked into somewhere special. That's why people are so partial to their community bookstores.

But bookstores are businesses first and foremost, which means they are subject to the same axim all businesses are: thrive or die. Unlike the big bookstores though, when an independent like Cody's dies, it makes news.

The only reason I mention all this is because Willow Glen Books is on its way to being in the past tense as well. And while I don't have a love affair with that bookstore because it's a little far from me (I learned my lesson about long distance relationships when Powell's and I broke up at the Oregon/California border... something was said about it seeming like there were "miles between us"), someone over in Willow Glen probably does. And their heart is going to get broken.
posted by jw

Monday, May 11, 2009

Job Hunting Help

Join us Thursday, May 14, 9:30 to 11:300 in the Technology Center for Job Hunting Help, a hands on computer class. Bring your resumes and your questions. The class covers local resources for job hunting, books and internet resources for resume writing, interviewing, and finding new careers.

Many of you have asked for assistance with converting electronic resumes to meet the requirements of particular job web sites. We will provide written help and hands-on assistance for converting resumes.

Today's Wall Street Journal recommended for both job seekers and small companies looking for the best way to find job candidates. There is no charge for employers or job seekers to post. Recruiters are only charged when they find a candidate. Job seekers build profiles and choose job titles and relevant skills from a list created by RealMatch. The system then looks for matches with job listings. Take a look.
posted by mb

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rock 'n Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Last summer I waited in a long line at a convention to meet Slash, the famed guitarist from Guns –n- Roses (and the celebrity mentor on this week's episode of American Idol.) As the minutes of the wait stretched into hours, I scoped out the fellow fans. I was shocked at the number of teenagers in line. These kids were born almost ten years after Appetite for Destruction blew up. What was their connection to the music, and to Slash? A little eavesdropping, and I had my answer – Guitar Hero.

Growing up in the rural Midwest in the 70s and 80s, I was embarrassed by the music my parents loved. Now, my iPod is full of Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Johnny, and George. I listened to these classic country artists for countless hours in the car, on my parents' turntable, and on the jukebox in backroad taverns. I didn't appreciate it as a kid, but as an adult this music provides a connection to a past that in many ways I have left far behind. My parents and their music preferences have been vindicated.

I feel a little vindicated myself when today's kids rock out to the songs that meant so much to me when I was their age. Older generations seem smugly satisfied when the music of their youth is embraced by a new generation. It's like their tastes are finally validated, and their favorites finally withstand the test of time. I experienced this recently at a Wii Rock Band program at the library for teens. Kids more than 20 years my junior were jamming to Bon Jovi, KISS, and Judas Priest. I felt strangely proud, as if this music was something deeply personal I was sharing with the kids. Even better - they liked it! They seemed to enjoy the rock classics more than contemporary selections by bands such as Fall Out Boy. (I knew Santa Clarans had good taste!)

I love how gaming technology allows these songs to be experienced by new generations in a completely different, participatory way. I'm awed that music that defined my blue collar, rural Midwestern youth is still appreciated decades later by high tech, Silicon Valley kids whose parents immigrated here from across the globe. The music transcends our differences in age, culture, and experience.

Gaming in the library isn’t without controversy. Some lament that teens have to be lured to the library with video games, and since when are books not enough? In my experience, teens attending gaming programs are already library users. If they weren’t, maybe somewhere in between the Wii and the snacks the librarian can turn them on to the perfect book. And if the worst thing that happens is that teens discover the library offers cool activities and employs librarians who care about them and their interests? I'm okay with that, too.

I totally crashed the teen Wii event, and the participants were kind enough to indulge me. I couldn't resist grabbing the microphone to belt out a few blasts from my past. I'm sure the teens thought "would the old lady stop hogging the mic already?" but they were polite enough to not say it to my face. I had a ball, and didn't hesitate in making my song choices known.

“Let’s do Enter Sandman, guys!” This was met with a chorus of approval, and I was beaming. Santa Clara library teens are the most awesome teens ever – they dig Metallica! Then one boy burst my bubble, and told me we had to successfully complete several levels in the game to earn the privilege of getting our rock god on.

Being a responsible adult who models appropriate behavior to youth, I proposed a solution.

“Can’t you kids go online to find one of those cheat codes that I hear you talk about?”

A few minutes later, our band played on. It was a total rock and roll moment.

PS: Calling Miley Cyrus a Guitar Hero may be sacrilegious to some, but you can't deny her impact on today's music scene. There's still time to sign up the kiddos for the Hannah Montana karaoke party on Monday, May 11 at 4 pm in the Central Library's Redwood Room. Call 408-615-2961 to reserve a spot.
posted by spb

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Change to the Library Catalog URL

The Library catalog link will be changing to:

on Thursday 5/7/09 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

During this time, catalog and access to your account will be unavailable.

If you have made shortcuts to the Library catalog on your computer, please delete them and recreate them using the above url address.

Well, Daaaaaallllllii!

Many people are going to be standing in line at the theaters this Friday dressed up as their favorite Sci-Fi characters, speaking Klingon, and having light saber duels. Oh relax, I’m just kidding Star Trek devotees! I know that last one belongs to your fandom arch-nemeses. Anyhow, I too will be there. But I’ll be standing in line for a different movie dressed up as my third favorite artist. Hey, why is that any more bizarre than crinkly forehead guy or the dude with the elf, um I’m sorry… Vulcan, ears?

Leaving the costumes aside, I will admit I am a bit hesitant about this film. Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali? That would not have been my first choice. He may have been dreamy in Twilight as Edward Cullen, but that was a sullen teenage vampire, not an iconic artist. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do “crazy eyes” the whole time. Then again, I shouldn’t rush to judgment. Salma Hayek didn’t scream Frida Kahlo either, but that movie turned out to be excellent (and that scene animated by the Brothers Quay… wow). For Ed Harris though, there was no question. He looks so much like Jackson Pollock it seemed he was born to play the self-destructive, alcoholic paint splasher.

I haven’t any qualms about the other actors because I haven’t the foggiest who they are. But character-wise they are portraying the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the director Luis Bunuel. Yes, a film about an artist, a poet, and a director. I realize how nerdy this is.

Which actually brings up an age old question no one has bothered to ask before: if Star Trek nerds and art nerds got in a fight (say… at a theater), who would win? For my money, I’d take the art nerds. They can shoot beams of condescension from their eyes that are far more real and crippling than any toy phaser set to stun.
posted by jw

Monday, May 4, 2009

NASA Mission Update & Adult Summer Reading Coming!

NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Eric Norris will present another multi-media show about NASA missions to the solar system Wednesday, June 3 in the Redwood Room at 7:00 p.m. Eric will update us on the Kepler Mission search for habitable planets, the recent Hubble Servicing Mission, the Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit & Opportunity, and other space missions. To reserve a space for this free NASA program, stop by the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900. 5th graders and up are welcome.

Master the Art of Reading, the 2009 Adult Summer Reading Program will launch with sign-ups from June 6 through July 13; a current, valid library card is required. Have fun reading several books and pick up your prize between August 3-31 for completing the program. More information is coming soon.

Internet/Catalog Basics, Job Hunting Help, and Internet Search Strategies are being held in May in the Technology Center. Classes are on consecutive Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:30. Sign up when you are in the library or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb

Friday, May 1, 2009

El Día De Los Niños

Santa Clara City Library celebrated El Día De Los Niños on April 30 with a special story/craft program featuring guest reader Councilman Joe Kornder. El Día De Los Niños is a celebration of children, families, and reading held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

The Día festivities continue on Wednesday, May 6 at 7 pm with a performance at Mission Library Family Reading Center by musical duo Colibrí. Colibrí members Lichi Fuentes and Alisa Peres create a bridge with their music that links English and Spanish-speaking cultures. This performance is funded by a grant through the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System. All children in attendance will receive a free multicultural book while supplies last. No registration is required, and children of all ages and their families are invited.

posted by spb

We Appreciate Our Volunteers!

When you think of all the services the Santa Clara City Library provides to the community -- who makes this all happen? A dedicated staff, supportive patrons, and a small army of great volunteers.

In 2008, over 300 teen and adult volunteers contributed more than 18,000 hours of service to our library and community. This is equivalent to 8 full time positions.

Our library volunteers have made a difference in so many ways – by organizing and shelving materials, delivering library materials to our homebound patrons, maintaining and repairing our genealogy collection, sorting and staffing the Foundation’s monthly book sales, tutoring adults to improve their literacy skills, and by teens helping at the Summer Reading programs.

In conjunction with National Volunteer Week, and to thank our wonderful volunteers, the Santa Clara City Library will host a Volunteer appreciation event this Saturday, May 2. This year's theme is "TV Game Show", where some fabulous prizes will be awarded to lucky contestants!

This event is made possible by the contributions of the Foundation and Friends, and donations from the following sponsors: Armadillo Willy’s, California Great America, The Counter - San Jose, Edible Arrangements, Hobee’s California Restaurants, Nothing Bundt Cakes - Los Gatos, Safeway - Santa Clara, Sky High Sports: The Trampoline Place - Santa Clara, Sports Basement - Sunnyvale, Starbucks, Stuft Pizza - Santa Clara, Sumiya Yakitori Restaurant, Tomatina Restaurant - Santa Clara, Trader Joe’s – Cupertino.

Special thanks to Katie Carter for making the beautiful handmade postcards for our volunteers.

posted by jtb (for cat)