Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September is National Sewing Month

Celebrate by reading more about it or trying out sewing books from the library. We have books for those just learning to sew, project ideas, and home decorating. Here are a few:

Fashion DIY: 30 Ways to Craft Your Own Style by Carrie Blaydes and Nicole Smith 646.4 B64

Find more when you come in and check out the display at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor.

posted by mb

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Loved Harry Potter. Now What?

So, you've just finished an amazing book. It had just what you like: Action! Adventure! Mystery! Strong female characters! Romance! Vampires! Geeky kids! You loved the author and have already read everything else by the same person. What other books are similar to what you just enjoyed?

Meet the library databases NoveList K-8 Plus (will be referred to as NoveList K-8 in the rest of the post) and NoveList Plus (will be referred to as NoveList in the rest of the post). Both were recently updated, so they are more user-friendly than ever.

NoveList logosBoth NoveList K-8 and NoveList are robust online databases that you may access for free at the library or at home. NoveList K-8 contains books and authors for kids and teens, while NoveList contains books and authors for kids, teens, and adults.

Here are just a few examples of either database can help you choose your next book:

1. There's this book... by this author.... There's a girl, and I think there's a talking spider and maybe a pig. What book is it?

Charlotte's WebNoveList K-8 and NoveList give you the ability to do a search for keywords about the book or plot, and it will help you figure out the book you might want. In the example above, typing "spider pig girl" and selecting "All" returns the right book at the top of the list: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. If you look at the record for Charlotte's Web in NoveList, you will also see a link at the bottom to "Check the Library Catalog." This will take you to our online catalog, and you can come to the library and check out the book or put it on hold if it is currently out.

2. I just read The Lightning Thief, and I loved it! What book can I read that's similar?

The Lightning ThiefStart a new search in NoveList K-8 or NoveList and type "Lightning Thief," select "Title," and click "Search." The results page brings you directly to the entry for "The Lightning Thief." At the bottom of the entry, you should see a tab that says "Lists & Articles." This provides a list of lists that were contributed by reputable professionals in the library or book field. At the top of the section, you should see a link that says "If You Like...Lightning Thief." Click on that link to get a list of recommended books that are similar. Click on a title if you'd like to learn more about it, and click "Check the Library Catalog" to see if it's available. One recommended book from the list is Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Don't forget to check out other lists on the "Lists & Articles" tab!

3. My favorite author is Dan Brown. I can't get enough of his crazy and suspenseful plots! I've already read all of his books, so what other authors have a similar style?

Dan BrownSince Dan Brown writes books for adults, he can be found in NoveList. Access the database, then type "Brown, Dan," select "Author," and click "Search." You'll see a list of books that he has written. To find other authors with a similar style, click on the tab called "Lists & Articles" at the bottom of the page. Find the section that says "Author Read-Alikes" and click on "Dan Brown." You'll get an entire page dedicated to describing other authors that are similar to Dan Brown.

So, that's just a little introduction to the power of using NoveList K-8 Plus and NoveList Plus to find new books to read.

There are also other websites dedicated to this purpose:
The Book Seer - Try this book predictor to see what other books it thinks you might like next. Enjoy the quirky speech bubble interface and get recommendations from Amazon and LibraryThing.

Literature Map - Great for everyone. Type the name of a book or author you enjoy, and let Literature Map recommend other books for you to try.

Teen Reads - Great for teens. Learn about the latest and coolest new books to try.
As always, please visit the Youth Services desk and ask a librarian if you want help finding some read-alike books!

Posted by ws (formerly wk)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thanks for Showing Up Summer. Maybe You Could Chill Out a Bit?

Yesterday, Summer burst through the fog and cold like a seasonal Kool-Aid Man bent on sunshine-y domination. And much like the Kool-Aid Man, some people appreciate his sort of all or nothing appearances (children, sugar magnates, contractors), and some people don't (people who own walls). I am one of the metaphoric wall owners. My "wall" is my wardrobe- an impenetrable tangle of heavy black fabrics, scarves, and knit caps. Which also happens to be what I was wearing yesterday when Summer finally decided to show up. Needless to say, I was inappropriately attired.

General etiquette states that when you are late to an appointment, you should be as unobtrusive as possible. We've all done it before. You're running behind to a meeting so you quietly sneak through the door, give the apology-face to anyone you step past, and maybe even whisper "I'm sorry" every few feet until you get to your chair. Not Summer. After showing up two months late, Summer kicks open the door, knocks both Spring and Winter out of their chairs, jumps up on the table, and yells out, "What's up, jerks? You miss me?"He then proceeds to blow hot air into people's faces for the duration of the meeting making everyone intensely uncomfortable.

As I was putting on my shirt, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, coat, two pairs of socks, gloves and hat last week, I thought I'd missed an important news story. One which explained that somewhere in June, the world went topsy-turvy landing us in the southern hemisphere where summer is winter and drain water circles clockwise. To my mind, it was obvious that we had gone antipodal. And then the sun came out and I almost died of dehydration. So it would appear that I was wrong about that theory.

So as much as I don't mind not wearing 18 layers of clothes to leave the house, maybe next time Summer could come in a little less like a lion and more like a lamb, huh? Or at least a really big house cat?
posted by jw

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Computer Classes News

Thursday's More Internet Search Skills students came with lots of questions. Some of the topics we covered:
  • Finding grocery store phone numbers and locations in pursuit of a job (just type: grocery stores santa clara ca, for example, in a search engine)

  • Finding rentals by location housingmaps then add your location

  • Finding where to get a free (I mean REALLY free.) credit report Annual Credit Report

  • Learning what http cookies are and whether or not you want them (from the Annual Credit Report link above, open Frequently Asked Questions and find What is a cookie? etc.)
Call (408)615-2900 to sign up, or sign up when you are in the library for these upcoming classes:

Learning Express Library (practice tests for school and jobs, resume help, etc.) Thursday, August 26, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
Homework Help (for students 3rd grade through 12th grade and parents) Tuesday, August 31, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Job Hunting Help Wednesday, September 15, 10:15-11:45
Email Basics, Thursday, September 16, 10:15-11:45
More Internet Search Skills in Chinese, Thursday, September 30, 10:15-11:15
posted by mb

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reminder: Don't Forget Your Summer Reading Award!

Last day to pick up your award is Aug. 28, 2010.Saturday, August 28, is the last day to pick up your summer reading prize.

Children and Teens who are registered in the 2010 Summer Reading Program and who have earned their award may pick up their gift books and/or Borders gift certificates in the Cedar Room through Saturday, August 28.

Bring your completed reading logs to the Cedar room at the following times:

Today (Friday, August 20), 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tomorrow (Saturday, August 21), 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 22,
1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Monday, August 23,
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 24,
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 25,
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 26, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, August 27, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 28, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. AND 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Brand new books for those who completed the program were purchased with funds donated by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends and the Mission City Community Fund. Each eligible child will be able to choose a gift book to keep and enjoy. Eligible teens will be receiving gift cards, also through the generosity of the Foundation and Friends.

Thanks for attending our summer activities and events! Watch for our fall program schedule beginning September 14.

posted by ws (formerly wk)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New E-Book Collection: Safari Books Online

The library now has a new e-book collection which you can use. It is Safari Books Online. The digital collection contains computer, technology, and business e-books. Safari Books Online includes over 3,700 titles from publishers such as O'Reilly Media, Peachpit Press, Que, Sams, and Addison-Wesley.

The e-books are in Adobe PDF format and you view them via the library's website. To begin browsing the Safari Books Online e-books collection, click on the Electronic Resources link on the library home page. Then from the Electronic Resources web page, click on the Safari Books Online link.

Posted by MLG

Friday, August 13, 2010

On Notebooks, Backpacks, and an Apple for the Teacher

School collage: chairs, books, apple, school bus, spider-man and Dora backpacks, school lunchIs this year the very first time your child is going to school? Or maybe your child is now entering middle school or high school? Don't fret. We've got you covered with some recommendations of back-to-school or entering school stories. We also have some advice books for parents in helping your child at different stages of his or her education.

For Kids (or Parents to Read with Kids)
I Don't Want to Go to School!Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish

Clifford's First School Day by Norman Bridwell

Dinosaur Starts School by Pamela Duncan Edwards

I Don't Want to Go to School! by Stephanie Blake

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick

The Kissing HandKindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins

Margret & H.A. Rey's Curious George's First Day of School by H.A. Rey

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for KindergartenMiss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

Miss Mango and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper

My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards

Off to Kindergarten by Tony Johnston
For Parents
Practical Wisdom for Parents : Demystifying the Preschool YearsHow to Help Your Child Achieve Academic Success in School: Educating Your Child During the Elementary, Middle, and High School Years by Christopher Harrison

The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life by Laura Scribner Kastner

Middle School and the Age of Adjustment: A Guide for Parents by Eileen Bernstein

Overcoming School Anxiety: How to Help Your Child Deal with Separation, Tests, Homework, Bullies, Math Phobia, and Other Worries by Diane Peters Mayer

A Parents' Guide to the Middle School Years by Joe Bruzzese

Practical Wisdom for Parents : Demystifying the Preschool Years by Nancy Schulman
As always, please visit the Youth Services desk and ask a librarian if you want help finding books or resources about going to school!

Posted by ws (formerly wk)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Science Resource - AccessScience

If you would like to learn more about an area of science, try our new science resource, AccessScience. You can search AccessScience via the library website.

It includes all the articles from the 10th edition of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. It contains biographies of more than 2,000 well-known scientists such as Rachel Carson and Jacques Cousteau. It also includes definitions of science words from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms.

To view McGraw-Hill's video demonstration of AccessScience click here.

To explore the AccessScience database go to the library's home page and click on the Electronic Resources button. Then click on the AccessScience link on the Electronic Resources page.

AccessScience is available within the library and from home with your library card number.

Posted by MLG

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm Booooored! Almost Dog Days

So, it's August. Kids and Teens: hopefully you've enjoyed the beginning of summer, and now the school year is quickly approaching. Are you bored yet? Here are 10 ideas to keep you going until school starts. Some of the ideas require help from your parents, so be sure to ask!

Kids (through 6th grade and parents)

1. Bake something with your parents. Try sugar cookies that you can cut or mold into different shapes. For an easy sugar cookie recipe, try this one from Allrecipes.com. Try sprinkling on different toppings to make your own design. Use your imagination!

2. Ask your parents for some magazines that they're planning to recycle. Find a bunch of words and pictures that describe you and your interests. Cut them out, arrange them into a collage, and glue them to a piece of paper. Decorate as you wish.

Crayon Resist
3. Make a Crayon Resist drawing. What's that? A Crayon Resist drawing. Get a blank piece of paper and some crayons. Draw a design on the paper with the crayons. You should press down with the crayons while coloring so that lots of wax goes onto the paper. Then, get some black or other color tempura paint (watered down) and gently paint on top of the whole piece of paper. The paint won't show up on top of the colored parts of the paper!

Milk jug ball catcher
4. Make a ball catcher with an empty plastic milk or juice container. With your parents, rinse out the container(s). With sharp scissors -- again, with your parents -- cut off the bottom, then cut out a U-shape on the side with the handle. Decorate with stickers or tape. If you make two, grab a friend and play catch with a tennis or other ball! You can find the project on this crafting website.

5. Grab some friends and make up a game. Create an obstacle course and make up your own rules. Run! Tag! You're it!

6. Build a time capsule with friends. Find a waterproof container, and collect whatever you'd like to put in. Maybe a sticker from your favorite band, a napkin from your favorite ice cream place, a hat, a copy of your report card, a birthday card, a mix CD. Whatever you'd like. With permission, bury it in the backyard or put it somewhere in the house where you don't normally access. Decide on a date in the future to open it. At that time, laugh at what's in there!

7. READ. Ask a Youth Services Librarian for book recommendations. You like fantasy? We have it! You like mysteries? We have them! Tell us what you enjoy reading, and we'll suggest some books.

Lemonade Stand
8. Sell something. Make lemonade. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. Make a great sign. Tape it to a table in front of your house. Practice your best sales pitch, money math skills, and make a couple bucks.

9. Make your own Playdough. Dig up some ingredients you may already have around the house and make one of these Playdough recipes. Then play for hours!

10. Dig out your inner "Wimpy Kid" and write a journal like Greg Heffley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books. Tell what you did over the beginning of the summer and draw pictures to go with your story.

Teens (7th-12th grades)

Flickr logo
1. Start a month-long photo project. Get yourself a Flickr or other free image sharing site. Use a digital camera or phone to take at least one picture per day for 30 days. Post daily to the image sharing site. Get friends to do the same, and become friends on the image sharing site. Share your photos!

2. READ! Like the younger kids, you can also enjoy your August by reading even more than you already have this summer. Ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding your next book. Maybe you'll discover something new?

Clothing Swap3. Have a clothing swap. Do you and your friends wear a similar size? Are you sick of your clothes? Hold a clothing swap. Gather at someone's house with some snacks and bring the clothing items that you don't want to wear anymore. Have fun shopping in your friends' closets and go home with a new wardrobe. New to you, anyway.

4. Start a blog using a free blogging software such as Wordpress or Blogger. Be careful about posting personal information since it's viewable to everyone, but tell stories, share jokes, share videos, practice your creative writing. You may discover your inner writer.

5. Make jewelry out of everyday things. Grab a book, such as Junk Jewelry: 25 Extraordinary Designs to Create from Ordinary Objects by Jane Eldershaw and try something out.

6. Learn some basic cooking techniques and cook a dinner or two for your parents. Try one of our cookbooks.

iPod Speakers7. Borrow an iPod dock or speakers, grab some snacks, and invite your friends and their iPods over to listen to music. Maybe they love a group you've never heard before? Maybe you've found a singer they don't know? Share your favorite music.

8. Go old school. Go roller skating or bowling! You may need to ask for some cash for either of these activities, but both involve good old fashioned fun.

9. Start an ultimate frisbee game at a local park. It's free! It's fun!

Kitties in sleeping bags10. Ask your parents their permission for a guys' or girls' sleepover. Try some activities like having a movie marathon, play with makeup, paint your nails, play video games, eat pizza and snacks, share stories, break out a Ouija board. Have fun!

And if you need more ideas to beat the Dog Day boredom, ask a Youth Services Librarian for suggestions.

Posted by ws (formerly wk)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Fine Art of Talking About Someone Else's Fine Art

I rarely speak in an overt manner about books in this blog. I'll obliquely allude to them here or there to give my writing some minor justification of being "informed" or lend it an air of legitimacy. But overall, I shy from directly talking about or critiquing books because who am I to say whether or not a book is good? Also, I'm not very adept at reviewing books.

To prove both of these points, I'll share with you a review I was going to write for the book "Eeeee Eee Eeee" by Tao Lin: Garbage.

Yes, that was the review in its entirety. As you can tell, it was a little short for a full blog post and not all that contextual. Plus, to be fair, I haven't finished the book yet so I'll retract that "garbage" and replace it with a "garbage?" The characters and writing style have angered me enough that I want to write the book off. But it has also angered me to a point that I feel I must keep reading to see if this resolves itself and becomes something more than yet another novel of young, depressed, alienated, navel-gazing, self-obsessed, practically incoherent, emotionally shut off losers speaking and thinking only in broken sentences often lacking pronouns (if I wanted Wes Anderson in book form, I'd read Miranda July). And I need to know why there are talking animals. And why the title is written in Dolphin.

A true book review should be an engaging work in and of itself. It's not the book report you gave in front of your 4th grade class. The one in which you practiced in front of a mirror for three days and then totally choked when presenting because you got all tangled up in your half-memorized memorization of said report. The one that sucked. The one that got you a "F". The one you cried about. No, it is definitely not that. That, as your teacher chided you, was a synopsis, not a review. It was also plagiarism seeing as it was the synopsis on the back cover.

Book reviews should impart information not only about a book's plot, but about the author's use of language, character and setting , how the book fits in relation to their other work, what it says about the culture it exists in... You know, high minded, hoity-toity stuff like that. It should not just be an angry complaint or cheerleading.

Luckily, I'm not bound by those rules. I'm going with my gut on this one.

posted by jw

Monday, August 2, 2010

Prizes for Adult Summer Reading Finishers

Present your completed reading log at the 2nd floor Periodicals Desk to claim your prize from now through August 28. All of you who finished reading five books and turning in your reading log will receive a prize and you will be entered in the drawing for gift cards from Barnes & Noble, Borders and Orchard Supply Hardware.

Prize pick up hours are: Monday and Tuesday 1-5, 6-8; Wednesday through Saturday 1-5 and Sunday 2-5. Extra weekday hours for award pickup ONLY August 2-6 & August 9-13 10 to 12 noon.

Thank you for participating in Water Your Mind Read, Summer 2010 Adult Summer Reading Program.
posted by mb

Save Money and Reduce Greenhouse Gas

You can control over half the energy in your home simply by reducing consumption and unplugging appliances when not in use. Find out how much energy your television, computer, clothes washer, refrigerator and other appliances use. Silicon Valley Power has given the library free Kill A Watt meters for borrowing. Just come in, either Central Park Library or Mission Library, and check out the meter and instruction card. You can keep it for three weeks and renew it three times.

Connect your appliances to the Kill A Watt and assess their efficiency. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour just like utility companies. Save money and the planet by using less and unplugging appliances when not in use. For heating and cooling energy saving tips visit: www.energysavers.gov/seasonal

If PG&E is your utility company, read this page and open the link to the PDF "So Now What" with information on energy use and the cost per appliance.

You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, even an entire year. Monitor the quality of your power by displaying Volts, amps, Watts , Watthours, VA , Line Frequency, and Power Factor.

posted by mb