Friday, November 27, 2009

Low-tech Toys: Powered by Imagination

Can kids have fun with toys and games that don't require batteries, electricity, keyboards, speakers, and display screens? Visit the Youth Services "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit during the month of December for tips on ever-popular gifts that are "powered by imagination" and sure to please the boys and girls on your holiday gift list.

A teddy bear or a cuddly stuffed animal might find a permanent place in the heart of a young child. Steiff, one of the companies that manufactured teddy bears in the early 1900s, is still in business today. If money is no object, you can order beautiful, imaginative stuffed animals directly from (If the white, limited-edition 2009 Christmas bear is out of your price range, look for more suitable stuffed animals at other locations.)

Be sure to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website to be certain that any toy you choose is safe and developmentally-appropriate for the child on your list.

The entire family can enjoy hours of fun with dominoes, card games and board games. Watch the children develop patience, sportsmanship and strategy as they learn to play some of the classic games that have been popular for generations. Have you forgotten the rules to your favorite game? No problem. Find the rules for hundreds of card games on You'll find old favorites like Rummy and Canasta, as well as newly-created games and Solitaire. Many websites have rules for domino games, such as the Domino Chickenfoot Game, and other vintage games, including Chess and Backgammon.

Check out for challenging 3-D puzzles of the U.S. Capitol Building and the Eiffel Tower. They'll keep youngsters and adults happy and busy for days. Another source for innovative puzzles is

Thanks to the Kaiser Permanente and the Library Foundation and Friends for support of the "On the Path to Good Health" exhibits.
posted by jtb

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Library Resources Available from Home

The library will be closed for the next few days. Our doors will be shut however you can still use our digital resources. To see what is available start at our home page. Click on the Research/Resources link and then select Electronic Resources.

Below are some of the things you can use or explore from our website.

Try downloading an audiobook to your iPod or MP3 player. You can download audiobooks from our Califa Digital Books collection.

May be you would rather enjoy a story book with your child. Watch and listen to children’s books on your computer using TumbleBooks.

Have you always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language? Try Mango Languages. Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese are some of the languages you can learn.

Does your son or daughter have homework to complete over the vacation. Try Student Resource Center, World Book Online, or Literary Reference Center from our Electronic Resources page.

If you want to be ready with a list of good books to read when we open on Monday, try NoveList Plus. Browse the Recommended Reads or What We’re Reading sections of NoveList Plus for recommended books.

Posted by mlg

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free Library Computer Classes

On Thursday, December 3, from 9:30-10:30 we will teach our regular monthly Internet/Catalog basics class. Come with your questions about the new Encore catalog interface for finding library materials. You can also learn the basics of using a web browser and finding things on the internet.

Come join us for Email Basics on Thursday, December 10 from 9:30-11:00. We will help students sign up for email and learn to us email. Bring your questions.

Any questions, just ask when you are in the library or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb

Friday, November 20, 2009

Season's Readings

Will you be buying books as gifts for the young readers in your life? Susan Baier, our Youth and Extension Services Manager, has just compiled a holiday gift guide with books that are sure to please the children and young adults on your shopping list.

She suggests that you consider The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney’s 2009 wordless book that tells the familiar Aesop’s fable with detailed watercolor paintings that will appeal to children in preschool through 2nd grade.

If your preschool child loves trucks and dinosaurs, then Dinotrux by Chris Gail is bound to be a sure-fire hit.

Sloppy Joe, by David Keane, is the clever story of a young boy who is always disheveled and messy. Children ages 4 through 7 will laugh at Joe’s antics as he slurps, spills and gets gum stuck in his hair.

Popular series of books for older children are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and Alex Rider Adventure.

Don’t forget about recently-published nonfiction books, such as the Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion, by Teen Vogue, and Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca.

Susan presented her “Season’s Readings” booklist at the Santa Clara DAR Chapter meeting at Mariani’s Restaurant. Stop by the Youth Services desk for a copy of her list and for other book recommendations for young readers.
Posted by jtb

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking for Historic Photos of Old Santa Clara Valley?

Try some of these websites compiled by Mary Hanel our Local History Librarian.

Calisphere California Digital Library, University of California, search by place (Santa Clara or San Jose, for example; or topic: Santa Clara County Orchard or Mission Santa Clara)

Silicon Valley History Online Historical images contributed from these institutions: California History Center at DeAnza College, History San Jose, Intel Corporation Museum, San Jose Public Library California Room, San Jose State University Special Collections, Santa Clara City Library Heritage Pavilion, and Santa Clara University Archives. Browse by broad topic category or use search box for a specific place or topic.

ClaraVision Images from the archives of the University of Santa Clara. To browse, click on "View the Collection" or to search by topic, click on "Search the Collection" and enter keywords.

Hooked on Los Gatos Images from the photograph collections at Los Gatos Public Library, search strategy is the same as Silicon Valley History online--i.e., browse by broad topic category or use search box for a specific topic.

Mountain View Public Library Photographs from the Library and Historical Association are integrated into the library's main catalog--you may search by subject or family name. However, to browse the library's photos that have been digitized, use a call number search starting with the characters: PHL or use PHA to find the Historical Association's digitized photos.

Palo Alto Historical Association Photograph Collection Images from the photo collections of the Palo Alto are located in Palo Alto Public's Main Library. Use the search terms or the browse function.

Sunnyvale Public Library Digital Archives A small collection of images that can be browsed by broad category, including Canned Fruit Industry and Moffett Field are found here.

History San Jose Online Exhibits Click on the Exhibits and Collections tab on History San Jose's homepage. Visit these exhibits: Lou's Village, Cannery Life, Neighborhoods, Label Legacy and Dairy Hill.

posted by mb

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Encore! Encore!

Encore is the new search interface for the Santa Clara City Library catalog. Encore acts like a Web search featuring new ways to quickly narrow, or refine, your results.

Encore searches terms as a keyword search (i.e. John Smith gets searched as "John" AND "Smith"). If you do not see what you are looking for in the search results use the “Refine by” options to narrow the results of your search. You can also narrow your results by selecting a tag under the “Refine by Tag” section. Search results can be sorted by relevance, title, or date.

When you enter a search term into Encore, not only can you search the catalog for relevant items, you can easily extend your search to selected databases. On the lower right side of the result screen is an area called "Articles and More." By clicking on the right yellow arrow in that section, Encore will search five databases. The five databases searched are Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, MasterFILE Premier, NoveList Plus, and World Book Student.

As you browse the catalog, you can create a temporary list of items by clicking “Add to Cart” for each item selected. Once the list is created, select “My Cart” at the top right of the page to e-mail the list to capture your selections. Make sure to e-mail your list before exiting Encore; once you exit, the Cart is emptied and the list is deleted.

Please visit our tutorials page for an audio visual tour of the new catalog.
The previous catalog is still available and may be accessed by clicking on the "Classic Catalog" link.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photos of Santa Clara's Historic Houses and Landmarks Presentation

Correction: Mary Hanel will be the speaker for the Tuesday night, Nov. 17th, Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society meeting. She will speak about photographs of Santa Clara's historic houses and landmarks.

Where: Santa Clara Central Park Library, Cedar Room, 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara

When: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Speaker: Mary Hanel, Local History Librarian

Topic: Photos of Santa Clara's Historic Houses and Landmarks

Mary Hanel, Local History Librarian, will present a PowerPoint slide show developed by Gabriel Ibarra, "Photographer of Light" showcasing lovely historic homes in Santa Clara that he has researched and photographed. Samples of historic photos of old Santa Clara from the Library's Heritage Pavilion photo collections will be on display. Mary Hanel will also review which archives and libraries have extensive Santa Clara County historical photo collections and provide web addresses for those that have scanned and put some of their collections online.

Our meetings are free and open to all who are interested in family history or just history. Come and join us for coffee, tea and cookies.

For more information on future meetings please visit our website,

Ted Wilson Home on Winchester Rd., Santa Clara, circa 1910

posted by mlg

Friday, November 13, 2009

National American Indian Heritage Month

Authentic Native American Indian arts and crafts, representing several regions of the country, are currently exhibited in the display cabinet at the Youth Services information desk. There are examples of hand-woven blankets, bead work, sculptures and musical instruments. The exhibit honors National American Indian Heritage Month which occurs annually during the month of November.

The theme of this year's heritage month is: "Pride in Our Heritage. Honor to Our Ancestors."

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior,
"What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose. . . . In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994."
Our Youth Services display offers descriptions about each of the exhibit items. Our librarians can find you books and information about Native American cultures, civilizations, arts and crafts.
posted by jtb

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Help for the Under and Uninsured in California

Californians for Patient Care believe that healthcare is a human right. Visit its CalPatientCare website or MyHealthResource and find a variety of local, statewide and federal service and resources for the uninsured and underinsured including:
  • Free or low cost healthcare services and programs
  • Community clinics (not-for-profit)
  • Senior and Veterans programs
  • Free cancer screening programs
  • Maternal/Child health services
  • Prescription assistance
  • Homeless resources
posted by mb from jh

Monday, November 9, 2009

Honor Veterans at Central Park in Santa Clara

Both Central Park Library and Mission Family Reading Center Library will be closed Wednesday, November 11 for Veterans Day. Computer systems will be upgraded so no library services will be available. Wednesday, November 12, there will be limited computer services. Read more on our website.

Join Assemblymember Paul Fong and keynote speaker, Staff Sergeant Denny Weisgerber USMC Retired Navy Cross & Purple Heart recipient, Korea at 3:30 p.m. at the Santa Clara Veterans Memorial in Central Park at 909 Kiely Blvd. Handicap parking and wheelchair assistance are available in the employee parking lot at the Community Recreation Center. For more information about the ceremony or how to have a brick installed at this memorial to honor a veteran contact James Lee at (408) 296-2512.

posted by mb

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wash Your Hands!

Now, in the midst of the H1N1 flu pandemic, it's essential that we take measures to protect ourselves and our families from infection and illness.

Here's a statement from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Hand washing is the single most important prevention step for reducing disease transmission.”

Everything you touch has GERMS that were left there by other people. When you touch an object, you pick up GERMS. (Yuck!) Just think about this: Who else touched the doorknob, the toilet, the water faucet, the telephone, the book, the pencil, the mouse or the keyboard?

Cleaning your hands, with sanitizer or soap and water, is the ONLY way to stop those GERMS.

The November "On the Path to Good Health" exhibit in Youth Services features literature that explains the importance of hand washing. November is "National Healthy Skin Month." The exhibit is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.
posted by jtb

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Finding Magazine Articles

Are you looking for magazine articles for a report or an article you read but no longer have?

A good place to begin your search is MasterFILE Premier. It contains the full-text of articles from nearly 1,700 general interest magazines. You will find magazines such as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, and Consumer Reports. You can access the MasterFILE Premier database from home or within the library. You will find it on the Research Databases page of the library's website.

May be what you are really looking for is an academic journal article or a peer reviewed article for your college class, then try the Academic Search Complete database. You will also find it on the library's Research Databases page.

posted by mlg

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prepare for Your Graduate School Exam

Are you planning to go graduate school? Are you preparing to take a graduate school entrance exam?

If you will be taking the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT, take practice tests using Learning Express Library. Learning Express Library offers practice exams for each of these tests via the Library’s website.

To begin using Learning Express go to our home page and click on the Research Databases link. On the Research Databases page click on Learning Express. Your first time at the site create a username and password. Use your library card bar code number as your username. This will allow you to access Learning Express from home or other locations away from the library.

We also have test preparation books which you can borrow. To see books available in our catalog click on one of the following links.

posted by mlg