Monday, August 31, 2009

Updated State Population, Employment, Income, Exports

Just out (Friday, August 28, 2009) from the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, State fact sheets which provide information on population, employment, income, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, and top commodities, exports, and counties for each state in the United States.

If you are looking for per-capita income, earnings per job, the poverty rate, education, total number of jobs, the unemployment rate, you will find it here.

Find California information here.

Why am I telling you this? Most government information including federal and state statistics are now available in electronic form and you are less likely to find a printed edition in libraries.

posted by mb

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Playaways

Looking for CD audio books and can't find any? Check the new Playaways located at SCC Central Library, 1st floor, next to the books on CD. What is a Playaway? It is like an mp3 player with an audio book already loaded. No CD's to carry, nothing to download. Just plug in your earphones, press play and listen to your favorite book. We have titles such as The Maltese Falcon, The Joy Luck Club, The Piano Teacher and a few others.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Teen Summer Volunteers

The Youth Services staff really appreciates the help that we received from our 24 teen volunteers who contributed a total of 430 hours of service to our 2009 Summer Reading Program. The teens were an integral part of the success of the program with their willingness to assist the Youth Services staff in countless tasks and projects over the course of the 6-week program.

  • Our teens sorted books, making sure they were in the correct order so that they could be returned to the shelves and checked out by our eager young readers.

  • The teen volunteers helped on Monday nights with our multicultural programs in Central Park. They carried equipment, assisted the performers, and helped make these evening performances enjoyable for our audiences.

  • Volunteers stamped our certificates, assembled our packets of coupons and helped us prepare our Summer Reading Club finishers' awards.

  • Teens processed the books that had been removed from our Library collection.

  • Teen volunteers organized the supplies for our programs for children and teens.

  • They helped our young patrons and worked with our staff during the teen and children's programs.

Thanks, volunteers! You brought smiles and enthusiasm to the Library this summer!
posted by jtb

Healthy Food for Preschoolers

What kind of foods should your preschooler be eating? How can you be sure his meals and his snacks are meeting the nutritional needs of his growing body?

Fortunately, help is just a click away. Log onto: for the latest recommendations on food plans for preschoolers. You'll find menus for children, ages 2 to 5 years, that list the amounts and types of foods that will give preschoolers plenty of fruit, vegetables, proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. The site also offers ideas for helping children learn to make healthy food choices, plus suggestions for improving the entire family's diet.

Literature and books about good nutrition for children are featured in the "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit in Youth Services during the month of September. September is National Food Safety Education Month. Our monthly health exhibits are supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

N is for Neville Who Died of Ennui

In Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, poor little Neville literally dies of boredom (admittedly, this is perhaps one of the more benign deaths in a disturbingly adorable/adorably disturbing book [which has been stolen from almost every library that has owned it. Modern day Goths have pillaged this book like old-school Goths pillaging land from the Romans.]). It is a death so many of us threatened our parents with when we were young or adolescent... maybe even mimed to be extra obnoxious. It's a death I'm currently experiencing.

Truthfully, I never experienced much boredom as a child. With my twin and I being "freaks" to the neighbor kids, everyday was an adventure. Dodging rocks, learning how to take a punch, inventing comebacks to insults, climbing the back fence so as not to go in the front yard- it was all very "exciting." My shaky nerves and quickness to snap at people who stare at me a second too long are all signs of an action packed youth. Good times.

But I can't rely upon antagonistic ruffians to keep me entertained anymore. Being an adult has proven to be bone shakingly boring. Perhaps I should take the lead of a friend of mine. Bought himself a boat ("And it floats even!" he exclaimed enthusiastically when telling me) and plans to set sail with a few friends. Seeing as none are the best navigators, I foresee cyclopes and sirens in their future.

I fear my friend may end up as W is for Will who was eaten by a whale. But I suppose that's probably more exciting than F is for Frank who sat behind a desk until frail. However, I realize that my name fits in this pattern far to well with an end rhyme of "jail", so perhaps I should keep my boredom busting adventures to the moderate side.
posted by jw

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DAR American History Essay Contest 2009

Students, time to immerse yourselves in American history and write your best essay. The DAR American History Essay Contest begins in August with essays due in November for submission nationally by December.

This year's topic, open to students in grades 5-8, is the first transcontinental railroad. Students are asked to write "thoughtful letters reflecting their participation in building the railroad and their unique feelings as the golden spikes were driven."

Students in grades, 9-12 can enter by writing about Christopher Columbus' early influences and experiences. For more information, contact the Los Gatos DAR Chapter.

Try these books and remember if they are checked out, click on the Link+ button and see if a copy can be sent from another library, at no cost to you. As always, if you need help, ask our friendly library staff.

Nothing like it in the world: the men who built the transcontinental railroad, 1863-1869 by Stephen E. Ambrose
Empire Express: building the first transcontinental railroad by David Haward Bain

For younger students, check the Youth Services section on the 1st floor, library staff have set aside some great books for your research.

Mary Hanel, our local history librarian recommends finding books with these subjects:

The golden spike in this image is from the California State Railroad Museum. It is a replica of the "lost golden spike" and can be viewed at the museum in Sacramento where it is permanently on display. Locally, visit the South Bay Railroad Museum.

posted by mb

Sunday, August 23, 2009

City Librarian Karen Saunders Retires After 34 Years of Service

City Librarian Karen Saunders retired this week after 34 years of dedicated service to the Santa Clara City Library. Her leadership and vision will be greatly missed. She was honored by library staff, city officials, and community members at a reception on August 19. At the reception Karen (center) received a proclamation from Mayor Patricia Mahan (left) and City Manager Jennifer Sparacino (right.) The below video clip shows scenes from the City Manager's presentation to Karen.

posted by spb

Friday, August 21, 2009

Last Week for Summer Reading Club Awards!

The clock is ticking, but there's still plenty of time to claim your Summer Reading Club awards. Don't wait too long! The final day to receive your free book (if you're a child) or your $10.00 Borders gift card (if you're a teen) is Monday, August 31. So, if you are registered in the 2009 Summer Reading Club, and you've been busy filling up your reading log, hurry in to the Cedar Room and see what's there for you.

At last check, there were so many special, brand new books in the Cedar Room, just waiting to be claimed and taken home by Summer Reading Club participants. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was ready to go home with an excited reader. Other favorite characters, such as Froggy and Curious George, were also there, hoping to be chosen by children who love books.

Gift books and certificates, for those who have earned them, will be available for pickup in the Cedar Room at the following times:

Friday, August, 21: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 22: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 23: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Monday, August 24: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 25: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 26: 2:00-8:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 27: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Friday, August 28: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 29: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 30: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Monday, August 31: 9:00 a.m.-noon and 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The books and gift cards have been purchased especially for you with Summer Reading Club grant funds from the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends and the Mission City Community Fund. Many other community sponsors have been involved in this program that encourages young people to keep reading all summer.

We'll be waiting for you in the Cedar Room!
posted by jtb

p.s. Do you like frozen yogurt, tacos and pizza? You'll also be receiving coupons from Yogurt Works, Chipotle, and Round Table Pizza as supplies last. Thanks to these establishments for supporting our program!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Problem of Precocious Children and Talking Dogs

A couple of weeks ago I met my cousin for the first time. The kid is 11 years old and smart. Scary smart. Like talking about building robots while absent mindedly solving a rubik's cube with one hand smart. At some point while speaking with him, I felt a bit uneasy. I don't know if it was because I realized that someone quite my junior was schooling me in every subject we spoke about, or if it was the high possibility that he was imagining, with great accuracy, how my brain works as we were chatting (he muttered something about "obvious synaptic sluggishness" which sounded a bit pejorative).

But here's the thing about precocious children: despite their ruse of being tiny adults, they are still kids. One minute you are speaking to them about, oh I don't know... quantum mechanics let's say. So there you are chopping it up about whether or not the cat in the box is alive and the possibility of other dimensions and what have you. And then the kid has ice cream all over his face because even if he's brilliant, he still hasn't mastered the art of eating an ice cream cone without making a mess. That sort of thing only comes with age.

T.S. Spivet, narrator of the aptly named Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, is just such a precocious child. In truth, I'm surprised I liked this story. After Jonathan Safran Foer's overly cloying, "I'm such a clever kid" book, I've been consciously avoiding young protagonists, or more to the point, the parlor trick of having one. The precocious kid is often used like a talking dog (fans of the Family Guy, think Brian). It's a cheap way of making something seem more humorous, shocking, or poignant since it comes from an unexpected source (from the mouths of babes if you will). It's hard to use well, but easy to abuse. This book somehow pulls it off.

So good on you Reif Larsen! Your map-making, train-hopping, 4' 2" scientist felt like a real kid instead of an empty literary convention. Kind of like my cousin even. Too bad the rest of your characters were like T.S.'s drawings: 2 dimensional. Sorry, it had to be said.
posted by jw

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

I was on vacation in Wisconsin earlier this month and was inspired to read a novel set there, A reliable wife by Robert Goolrick. The story reminded me of Whistling Season by Ivan Doig which also featured a mail order wife arriving on a train in the 19th century. The Whistling Season was told from the point of view of the son of the man who needed housekeeping assistance. It was a sunny book that made you want to have the kind of one room schoolhouse education the narrator had. Yes, the woman had a big secret and guess who discovers it. It is well worth the read.

The sun doesn't make an appearance in A reliable wife. The story opens with a humiliating wait by the man at the train station followed by a violent, nearly fatal accident in the ice and snow on the way home. Winter darkness just doesn't leave in this book. Her secret is a dark tale of violence and a love that makes her do bad things. He also has secrets in spite of his blunt honesty with her in the beginning. Goolrick was inspired by a cult classic, Wisconsin Death Trip which makes you happy that you didn't live out in the unsettled west in the 19th century.

posted by mb

Friday, August 14, 2009

Maybe the Interlocking Cs Should Stand for Conspicuous Consumption?

This is an open love letter. My object of desire? A Chanel handbag, a Grand Shopping Tote in black caviar leather to be exact. No, a fake would never, ever do. This purse costs more than an average Bay Area monthly rent. And in these hard times where frugality is the new black, I realize it seems insensitive - even vulgar - to crave such a luxury. I can’t rationalize it, and I certainly don’t deserve it. I hear some women talk about Chanel bags as investment pieces. Nice try, but I have yet to see a designer handbag deliver the same rate of return as, say, a bond fund.

I have a reoccurring fantasy about how I would acquire this Holy Grail of bags, and like many fantasies it happens in Vegas. I’m playing roulette at the Wynn, and I bet it all on 16 straight up. It hits, and my (non Chanel) wallet becomes much fatter. I walk – make that gleefully run – over to the Chanel boutique, conveniently and thoughtfully located just a few feet from the casino floor. The sales clerk lovingly swaddles my new bag with logo tissue paper and ribbon. I grip the package with my life, and take it back to my hotel where I open it like a little girl on Christmas morning. To me, from me. And if you think I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming up this scenario – you have no idea how much.

While I’ve never attained this beloved bag, I do indulge in smaller, more affordable luxuries emblazoned with those coveted interlocking Cs. The sunglasses are the best, and like one of my style idols says “big sunglasses hide a multitude of sins.” I’m convinced that wearing Chanel sunglasses makes me look thinner, richer, more mysterious, and altogether fiercer. Let me enjoy my delusion, please.

The woman behind the brand, Coco Chanel, overcame a difficult childhood to attain fashion greatness. She was poor. She was unfashionably skinny. She resided in an orphanage. Born in the Auvergne region of France in 1883, she opened her first dress shop at the age of 30. By 1931, Samuel Goldwyn was paying her one million dollars to dress his leading Hollywood ladies like Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor.

The adorably French actress Audrey Tautou stars as Coco in a new biopic hitting American theaters next month. If you have any little aspiring fashionistas in your life, introduce them to this iconic woman with the picture book biography Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews. It's never too early to impart upon them an important lesson taught by Ms. Chanel herself - "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." Carrying a nice purse never hurt, either.

posted by spb

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Snakes on a Brain

While walking through the American Museum of Natural History in New York last week I learned two things:

1) The docents and security guards will make references to the movie Night at the Museum until you wish you could go back in time and destroy not only the script, but Ben Stiller's career and the special effect know-how which made the movie possible in the first place.

2) If put into nature (or even a museum diorama of nature), I would inevitably die of a snake bite or fatal reptilian "hug."

At every display in the mammal hall I would coo to my friend, "Oh, would you just look at that bear." And she would weakly mutter the word, "Snake." To which I would respond, "Where?" Substitute the name of various mammals but keep the legless vertebrate in place, and this exchange happened at least ten times. Big or small, I never spotted a single one. My friend however, is petrified of snakes. To her, all the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) disappeared. It was just a great big hall of serpents.

Truthfully, I don't understand people who fear snakes. First off, the average person in the average city sees very few snakes, let alone poisonous ones. Secondly, they have no ears, no legs, their eyes are bad, and they smell with their tongue. In terms of design, they got a pretty weak deal. (I have a theory that snakes are descendants of dragons which devolved when nature could not properly handle their awesomeness... this is entirely scientific theory, I assure you). Those are some big odds to overcome and still be an effective predator. Give 'em some credit for that at least.

Sure, snakes don't seem very cuddly, so I'd probably not choose one as a pet. Nor would I get too friendly with an asp (please turn your history books to August 12, 30 BCE to find someone who did not get to join this club). But in terms of scary animals, I would rate them pretty low (more than hamsters, less than angler fish). Of course, this is all said from the safety of my office where I can be pretty well assured there is not a rattlesnake hiding behind my trashcan or an anaconda wrapped around the ceiling beam. But then again, considering my keen observation skills demonstrated in paragraph #4, you never know.
posted by jw

Friday, August 7, 2009

We Are Not Alone (in the library)

Iconic (in my mind) director John Hughes passed away on August 6. For many of us of a certain age, his films defined our generation. In his memory, here's a scene from what in my opinion is the best movie ever to be set in a library. But fair warning - please don't try to reenact this at our library. People are trying to study and such.

We Are Not Alone

posted by spb

Thanks, Foundation and Friends!

Thanks to the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends for sponsoring a fun-filled summer for Santa Clara families and teens. Because of the hard work and generosity of this dedicated organization of community volunteers and supporters, the Youth Services Department was able to bring you FREE entertainment for 6 weeks in June and July. Additional financial support for summer reading was also provided by Applied Materials Foundation, Fairfield Residential LLC, and Mission City Community Fund.

Our summer began on June 6, with a celebration in Central Park that featured Short Attention Span Circus and a chance for families to try our new, online program registration process. We returned to Central Park for a series of multicultural family programs.

Our boys and girls in elementary school met on Tuesdays for six weeks. They enjoyed performing their own High School Musical numbers and were amazed by the Astrowizard and the Bubble Lady.

Our teens, in grades 7 through 12, were treated to pizza and movies. They competed in Jeopardy and Endurance challenges, attended a dinner murder mystery party and made bleach pen T-shirts.

Six weeks of storytimes kept younger children and infants entertained with storytime programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families.

We hope you enjoyed your summer at the Santa Clara City Library.
posted by jtb

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Health Information for you at the library

Do you want to learn more about the medication you are taking? Or do you need to write a research paper on a medical condition? You can simply go to Santa Clara City Library's Homepage, click on RESEARCH DATABASES, then look for Health and Medicine. Currently, we have several new databases from EBSCO.

Alt Health Watch
This database focuses on the many perspectives of complementary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.

Consumer Health Complete
Here is a good place to begin your search for general health information. It combines information from specific health databases into one search for your convenience.
Also available in Spanish: Salud en Espanol (Consumer Health Complete Spanish version)

Health Source-Consumer Edition
Information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, sports medicine and general health are found here.

Health Source-Nursing/Academic Edition
Find nearly 550 scholarly full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines.

Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection
This is a comprehensive database covering information concerning topics in emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry & psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational & experimental methods.

written by jh posted by mb