Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Free Help with Your Job Search

Nova Connect! our local job services office is offering free career assistance at Central Park Library in October. On Tuesday, October 5 from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 23 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the Cedar Room, Marianne Adoradio will offer tips on expanding your network and conducting information interviews as well as give an overview of all the free career services available.

Sign up by calling (408)615-2900 or stopping by the 2nd floor desk when you visit the library. If you forget to sign up, just come and bring a friend.

posted by mb

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Come Say Hello at the Relocated 2nd Floor Desk

Central Park Library now has one desk in a more visible, central location on the 2nd floor for assisting you in finding the information you need.

Check out a Group Study room, find driving directions, get help in finding a book, magazine article, language CD and ask any other question you can think of at our new one-location service desk.

Most of the library's open hours, you can find older periodicals and newspapers at the Periodicals Desk and the Heritage Pavilion has staff to help you research genealogy or Santa Clara County local history.

posted by mb

Friday, September 24, 2010

Read that Banned Book!

Each year, the last week of September is Banned Books Week. It is a chance for you to celebrate your freedom to read, as well as remember the importance of our country's First Amendment, which includes the freedoms of expression and religion, among other freedoms. Another purpose of Banned Books Week is to draw attention to books that have been challenged in the past and also encourage people to read them.

The American Library Association (ALA) lists the most challenged books from the last 20 years. Here's a partial list in alphabetical order by title, as well as their location in the Santa Clara City Library:

Captain UnderpantsThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain [Adult; Juvenile Fiction]
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson [Juvenile Picture Book]
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson [Juvenile Fiction]
Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey [Juvenile Fiction]
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger [Adult; Teen Fiction]
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler [Teen Fiction]
The Giver by Lois Lowry [Juvenile Fiction]
Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine [Juvenile Fiction]
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling [Juvenile Fiction]

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak [Juvenile Picture Book]
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl [Juvenile Fiction]
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor [Juvenile Fiction]
Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz [Juvenile Nonfiction]
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee [Adult; Teen Fiction]
TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle [Teen Fiction]
Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer [Teen Fiction]
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher [Teen Fiction]
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford [Juvenile Picture Book]

According to ALA's website, "Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress."

Get help from a Youth Services Librarian if you want to find more Banned Books!

Posted by ws

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What is a stroke?

Have you or a loved one ever experienced these symptoms?

  • Sudden difficulty talking or understanding words

  • Sudden loss of feeling or strange sensations on one side

  • Sudden weakness on one side of the face, arm or leg

  • Sudden severe unexplainable headache

  • Sudden decreased or blurred vision

Stroke is a medical emergency, and the first three hours are critical. Please join us for this free and informative session with Dr. Anne Burleigh Jacobs from Peninsula Stroke Association. The program is next Wednesday, September 29 in the Redwood Room from 10:30-11:30. Sign up by calling (408) 615-2900 or sign up at the Reference Desk when you visit the library.

If you would like, read these books:

How to Prevent Your Stroke by J. David Spence, M.D.
Stroke by Louis R. Caplan, MD

jh posted by mb

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dexter in Decline or Dexter is Divine?

This afternoon I've picked up the newest volume of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series. As has been the case with the last four, I'm excited to get off work and start reading it. Which is surprising since I hated the third one and can't for the life of me remember the fourth. Come to think of it, the first two weren't all that amazing either but they hadn't gone completely off the rails yet.

So why keep reading them? For one, Lindsay has an amazingly playful use of language that makes reading the book fun despite the plot problems. Secondly, in a Bizzaroworld twist, the television show that was based on the books is excellent and I'm hoping the books will live up to it at some point. The show fixes most of the problems I had with the novels. Instead of the characters with the depth of cardboard cutouts Lindsay uses (cop sister whose dialog is 90% potty mouth, boneheaded tough guy detective whose dialog is 90% potty mouth, dependent girlfriend who never gets a chance to be seen as more than "dependent girlfriend", etc), the show sets these up as jumping off points and then further develops the characters' humanity. Lindsay still hasn't done this over the course of four books. One of the other major fixes is that the show pretty much stopped following Lindsay's plot after half of season #2. (A huge thank you for that. Demon destroyer Dexter is not really working for me.)

Most times when a book gets a screen adaptation, disappointment seems inevitable. Since reading is such an intensely personal and imaginative process, it is not hard to destroy the unique world and atmosphere someone has created for a book in that squishy gray stuff between their ears. Even worse, once you've seen the movie version, it's hard (if not impossible) to unring that bell. Case in point: Everything is Illuminated. Loved the book. The movie however excised half of the book's content making the story far less emotionally effective. On top of that, they cast Elijah Wood as the main character. Frodo Baggins?! Instantly my mental vision of the Odessa setting morphs into Hobbiton. Moreover, the singer from Gogol Bordello plays Alex. He does a surprisingly good job, but I still picture him in neon clothing and a handlebar mustache sweating onto the crowd at the Fillmore.

Sometimes the planets will align and the movie is either as good as or better than the book. Trainspotting is one of the few films that surpassed its source material. The novel is a chaotic shamble written phonetically in a slang-filled Scottish dialect. By the time you get a handle on it, you've already missed a bunch of plot points. The movie gives it a coherent structure and introduces the world to Ewan McGregor (causing a collective swoon among the women of my generation) and Danny Boyle (whose adaptation of the book Q & A you may have seen).

Considering the movie O Brother Where Art Thou is based on Homer's Odyssey, it would be earth shatteringly stupid to say it's better than the book. But the writers were smart about it. They took all the elements of the Odyssey and reconceptualized it as a prison break comedy in the 30's (with an excellent soundtrack). If you know the Odyssey, it's fun to pick out the allusions. If you don't, you aren't deprived of anything.

Ultimately, I'm talking about apples and oranges here though. Books are not movies and movies are not books. Both have a story to be told and both need to go at that story in different ways in order to be successful. So, I'm going to ease up on the Dexter series. Perhaps the show's story is superior (in my opinion), but that doesn't negate the fact that I (generally) enjoy myself when I'm reading demented Dexter's D-heavy descriptive diction.
posted by jw

Friday, September 17, 2010

Drop the Remote!

Electronics collageWhat's that in your hand? It has buttons with numbers and a power button at the top. That's right! It's your TV remote. Now, push the power button so your TV turns off. Well done! Oh, and your laptop, desktop computer, video game device, iPod touch, iPad? Turn those off, too.

RemoteCongratulations, you just turned off your electronic entertainment devices to participate in Turnoff Week, which is from September 19-25th!

Turnoff Week (or Digital Detox Week) was created in 1994 by Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness and other organizations to encourage people to be selective about their media, have an active lifestyle, and participate in the community.

So, how do you sever your relationship with digital devices for a whole week? Here are some pointers:
  • Think before you push. Before turning on a device, take 60 seconds to think about your relationship with the device and why you feel the need to use it. What is the appeal? What could you do with your time instead?
  • Think of your friends. Invite them for a walk. Go window shopping. Cook and eat a meal together. Go on a hike. Go on a bike ride. Go camping. Go bowling. Make some jewelry. Be creative!
  • If TV is a high priority for you, let your DVR record the season premiere of Glee or Survivor for you to watch later. Your show will still be there next week if you decide to turn your TV on again after Turnoff Week.
  • Limit email checking to once or twice a day. If concerned, set up an auto-reply to let your friends and family know you're participating in Turnoff Week. Include a link to more information about the initiative. Maybe they'll decide to participate, too!
  • Write! Have you always wanted to write a novel? How about a travel memoir? Cookbook? Grab a notebook and pen and start writing.
Need more ideas for how to limit your digital consumption during Turnoff Week? Visit the Youth Services desk and ask a Librarian!

Posted by ws

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Blame You For This, Max Brooks

Back in 2003, Max Brooks released a book called the Zombie Survival Guide (yes, this is another zombie post... deal with it). As the title would suggest, it's basically a worst case scenario handbook for the "zombie apocalypse." This was the first time I had ever heard that term. The idea had been kicking around since at least the Romero films, but that was the point it hit a critical mass. Now, should you do a Google search on those two words, you'll find that roughly 50% of the Internet is dedicated to zombies and their eventual domination of the human race. What flying saucers were to the 50's, zombies have become to the 00's (pronounced "aughts" by some).

But I'm afraid zombies have "jumped the shark." (Actually, in the 1979 Italian film cleverly titled "Zombie," there is a scene in which a zombie fights a shark. It's... amazing. Somewhere during the struggle the zombie literally goes over the shark. So I suppose it could be said to have happened 31 years ago.) All trends have this fate. They start out as small but intelligent labors of love. Then, somehow, it pops up on the radar and becomes a mainstream hit. Subsequent attempts to repeat that success lack the spark that made the first one engaging and things begin to falter. Finally the trend goes into free fall. Shoddy product floods the market in a last gasp money grab and it all crashes down.

This end stage of the zombie phenomenon can be seen best in the glut of writing that I'm calling "Zom-Coms." Zom-Coms throw years of zombie lore to the wayside in order to create a cutesy premise that (presumably) features zombies for the sheer fact that they sell well at the moment. Examples? Zombies as ad agents. The Beatles as zombies. Football playing zombies. Trekkie zombies. Zombie songs for holidays. Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon... with zombies. Teenage goth/zombie high school relationship dramas. Please. Stop. Making. These.

A related complaint: just because a book features a zombie, it does not also need to include a vampire, a werewolf, the creature from the black lagoon and an alien who is also a demon hunting telepath. Charlaine Harris might have made a fortune off of such an implausible jambalaya of bogeymen in the same story, but it should really end there. Each of those characters have wildly different rules and backstories. It's like Alien vs. Predator, certain combinations should never happen (see also: Freddy vs. Jason).

I know I've made this promise before, but this will be the last time I write about zombies. This current gimmick laden version of them has turned me off completely. I'm sorry zombies, but you are dead to me.
posted by jw

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Teens Win E-Readers!

Did you or do you know someone who waited hours in line for their iPad? Well, one lucky teen patron didn't have to wait in any line or pay anything for his iPad! Robert C. was the grand prize winner of the 2010 TeenRead summer program drawing. He won an iPad and a $25.00 iTunes gift card. Robert celebrated a birthday just two days before he received the news that he won. What a nice birthday present!

Robert, who is not one to read much for fun, was motivated to particpate in the TeenRead program so he could enter a drawing for one of three e-reader prizes. Two other teens, Jacob S. and Rainbow H., each won an iPod Touch and a $25.00 iTunes gift card. They had a choice of an iPod Touch or Amazon Kindle.

Over 850 teens signed up for TeenRead, a program that provided incentives for teens to read during the summer. Over 530 of them finished and earned a $10.00 Borders gift card. The gift cards were generously funded by the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library.

The e-readers were paid for by a grant from the Michael J. Kirsch Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to encourage reading among teens using e-readers. It certainly motivated teens to read this summer. Collectively, they read over 6500 books!

Two other iPod Touches were awarded earlier this year from the e-reader grant to the winners of the "Read This Book" commercial contest during Teen Tech Week in March. The
winning commercial was of the book, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.

All of our winning teens, as well as other patrons with e-readers, can borrow
e-books from the library or from home. Check out (no pun intended!) our Overdrive Download Station where patrons can download audio and electronic books directly onto their devices at the Library.

Thank you to the Michael J. Kirsch Foundation and the Foundation and Friends of the Library for their generous support of the library and its teen patrons!

Posted by nc

Friday, September 10, 2010

Library Cards! Get Your Library Cards!

Library Card images
Do you have a Santa Clara City Library card? No? Join lots of other kids, teens, and adults across the country during September's Library Card Sign-up Month and sign up for your own free library card today!

Having a library card gives you access to LOTS of free information and resources here at the Santa Clara City Library. Here are just some examples:
And this is just the beginning. So, get your free library card today!

Posted by ws

Friday, September 3, 2010

Think Before You Eat!

Fight Bac! and National Food Safety Education Month Logos
September is National Food Safety Education Month. Follow these tips to be sure your food doesn't make you sick:
  • Wash Your Hands!Before eating, be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Not sure how long that is? Pretend it’s your birthday, and sing “Happy Birthday” once while washing your hands.
  • Follow these steps to stop the spread of bacteria:
    • CLEAN (wash your hands and all counters and utensils)
    • SEPARATE (don’t mix raw meat with vegetables)
    • COOK (to the correct temperature)
    • CHILL (refrigerate promptly)
  • Don’t eat foods that have been sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes when the food is at room temperature! Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot!
  • To be safe when cooking, use a food thermometer to cook food to the right temperature. Use this temperature chart to stay safe.
  • Egg YolkBe “egg”-stra careful when handling eggs, as they can contain the bacteria Salmonella, which could make you sick. Cook eggs all the way, and as tempting as it might be, don’t lick the raw cookie dough off the spoon.
  • Use food promptly. Fresh raw chicken should only stay in the fridge for 1-2 days before cooking. If you can’t cook it 1-2 days after buying, put it in the freezer where it will last up to 9 months if cut into pieces or 1 year if whole. Leftover cooked chicken can stay refrigerated for 3-5 days or frozen for 2-6 months.
Questions about food safety? Try these resources for more information:
Visit our library display in the Youth Services section and ask a Youth Services Librarian for more help finding resources about being safe with your food!

“On the Path to Good Health” is supported by Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Posted by ws