Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have a Spooktacularly Safe Halloween*

It's the end of October, and you already know what that means....Halloween! And you know what Halloween often means to kids across the country....Trick-or-Treating!

There are so many great and fun things about Halloween: costumes, haunted houses, all sorts of candy, parties, etc. It's also a time of year to remember that safety comes first.

Here are some tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (modified a little by me) about how to have a safe and happy Halloween:

1. Safety comes first. While your costume might be awesome without accessorizing with extra glow-in-the-dark tape or glow sticks, add some on so that people in passing cars can see you.

2. Look both ways before crossing the street. Be sure to hold hands with younger kids so that they cross the street safely, too.

3. Trick-or-Treat in groups and be sure that everyone knows where you are so that you stick together.

4. You have a cool mask, right? Be sure you can see clearly when wearing the mask. This will help prevent you from tripping!

5. Oh, and your really long superhero/witch/wizard cloak or cape? Consider getting it shortened because you don't want to trip on that either.

6. With a trusted adult, take a close look at your trick-or-treat loot before taking a bite. Be sure that none of the wrappers are open -- this way you know they're safe to eat.

7. Be sure you are supervised by an adult when carving out your Jack-o-Lantern masterpiece. And use a flashlight instead of a candle to light up your pumpkin.

8. If you expect to receive trick-or-treaters, be sure your house and all paths leading to your front door are clear and well-lit.

Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more safety tips or ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding other resources.

Posted by ws. Jack-o-Lantern [source].*I had to use "spooktacular" somehow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surviving Bipolar and Depression Made S.I.M.P.L.E.

Join Santa Clara authors David and Diane Mariant for a first-hand account of bipolar disorder. Hear one family's personal story about the challenges of living with this devastating illness. They will provide practical advice for controlling bipolar disorder and will offer strategies for helping avoid depression, mania, and mixed bipolar states.

David Mariant has been living successfully with bipolar disorder for 11 years; he and Diane also have a child with this illness. They are the authors of Surviving Bipolar's Fatal Grip available at this library.

In the Cedar Room from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sign up for this free program at the 2nd floor Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb for jb

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beep, Beep, Beep! Fire Prevention

Sparky, the kids' mascot from NFPA
This year's annual Fire Prevention Week was from October 3-9.  Each year, Fire Prevention Week is sponsored by National Fire Prevention Association, whose mission is to "reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education." Fire safety is so important that some areas of the country extend the week through the whole month of October!

This year's theme was "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With," and consumer education focused on the importance of smoke alarms.

Here's what you can do at home to help prevent fire and be safe in case there is one:

1. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms every time you change the clocks one hour forward or backward (every 6 months).

2. Check the smoke alarm once per month to make sure you can hear it beep and that the batteries are working.

3. Sit with your family and create an escape route and a safe place to meet away from your house in case the smoke alarm beeps and there's a real fire. Practice, practice, practice!

4. Avoid leaving burning candles unattended, turn off your clothes dryer before leaving the house or going to sleep, and use a flashlight instead of a candle in your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern.

5. Be careful when cooking, especially around a stove with an open flame. Be sure that fabric, utencils, and children stay at least 3 feet away from the stove.

These and other helpful tips are available on National Fire Prevention Assocation's website. Visit for more information about Fire Prevention Week.

As always, ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding books and more information about fire safety!

Posted by ws

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Join this free, 2-hour workshop where small business owners and prospective small business entrepreneurs will learn how the programs of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help them start, manage, and grow their companies. Experts from SBA and its resource partners will provide practical information on SBA's three main program areas:
  • management training and counseling

  • access to financing

  • access to federal government contracting opportunities
Program benefits, elgibility requirements, and application procedures also will be covered.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, or simply want to expand your existing business, this SBA workshop is for you!

Stop by the Reference Desk or call (408)615-2900 to reserve a place at this free workshop.

posted by mb for jb

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Liberal Interpretation of the Word "Teamwork"

On the news this morning at 5 AM, the camera turned onto a person waiting outside AT&T Park (is that what they are calling it these days?... It's so hard to keep up with the ever changing corporate sponsorships). Dressed head to toe in black and orange (fitting colors considering the season), he proceeded to scream "GIIIAAAAANNNTTTSSSS!!!!!!" into the camera while first pointing to his hat (which said "Giants"), then to his shirt (which said "Giants"), then back to his hat. And just when you think he's going to point at his shirt again, he puts on a large (some might say "giant") foam finger (which says "Giants") and points to the ballpark wall (which has a sign that says "Giants"). I'm not entirely sure, but I think he might have been excited about seeing the Phillies.

Oh sports fans, I adore you and your clinically insane enthusiasm. I love the fact that you have tickets for a 4:30 PM game, but show up at 5AM knowing that you'd be useless in the office since you are way too excited to do anything except proclaim your love for the team (also, the dress code doesn't allow face paint or fake beards). I love the fact that you will spend hundreds of dollars on tickets and another hundred on really ugly merchandise. And I love the fact that you have this delusion that you are on the team and speak of their accomplishments as if they were your own. This is best manifested in the way sports fans speak in a collective "we" when talking about wins ("We dug deep tonight and really played our hearts out."). Interestingly enough, the proper pronoun of "they" is used whenever the team loses ("Those bums! They played like garbage tonight!")

I know this sounds like I'm being some nebbish elitist who scorns sports. Not so. When I was a kid, I played a ton of them. Enough to know that playing sports is hard work. Really hard. Professional athletes train for years to get to the point where they can play so that it looks effortless. Do you know how far a pitcher's mound is from home plate? Or how fast 92 MPH is? Do you know how frightening it is to have a line drive flying directly at your head? These are not simple things that they do. That's why we admire them. Sure, their salaries might be on the ridiculous side (looking in your direction Yankees), but let's just ignore that.

Fact is, singing "Let's Go Giants! (clap. clap. clap clap clap)" is not the same as pulling off a double play. Waiving a towel in the air is not the same as sliding into home headfirst and angling your arm just so that you avoid the catcher's mitt but touch the base. The win doesn't belong to you. You watched it happen and you screamed your guts out, but they did the footwork.

This is not to say that the crowd is not important. It is. It forms a feedback loop which has the potential of affecting how a team performs. Happy crowds reward happy events in the hopes of leading to more happy events resulting in a deliriously happy crowd. This is done through cheering and sloppy hugs where beer is spilled on the other person's back. Unhappy audiences provide negative reinforcement hoping to break the chances of a downward spiral. This is done through unkind statements about the players' mothers and questions regarding their gender (the player's, not the mother's). And that's about as much as the audience does.

So tonight when the Giants win (yeah, that's right... when), give the athletes some credit. They won. You cheered a really good game though, and don't you forget it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Get Artsy this Month

Did you know that October is National Arts and Humanities Month? Every year, Americans for the Arts sponsors this month-long celebration to help people become more aware of "the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives."

How can you get involved? Try these tips:
  1. Attend our storytimes! You and your children will be exposed to popular children's songs and stories. You can learn the words to sing at home, too!
  2. Have a dance party in your house. Play fun kids' dance music and have a contest to see who can dance the longest and make up the most creative moves. Find music here.
  3. Download some of our booklists and work your way through them together.
  4. Pick up your local paper to see what events are happening around town. Many may even be free!
  5. Get a large piece of paper and use it as a tablecloth. Encourage your kids to draw on it before or after dinner.
  6. Does your child have a natural talent -- singing, dancing, acting, painting, writing, etc.? Encourage their talent and if possible, enroll them in classes to foster their interest and skills.
  7. Be a role model. Show your kids how creative you can be, too!
In addition, explore some of Silicon Valley's offerings this fall (with or without kids):

Fall Auction30th Annual Fall Auction Exhibition
Presented by San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Located at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
Oct. 1-Oct. 23, 2010
Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 12pm-5pm

This comprehensive exhibition features more than 150 art works by some of the finest artists in the Bay Area.

Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Free Day on the first Wednesday of each month

Visit the Exploratorium in San Francisco for a fun, hands-on science and art experience with the whole family.

Arts Action
Finding Home: A Kaleidoscope of Musical Journeys
Located at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) - Finn Center
230 San Antonio Circle
Mountain View, CA 94040
Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010

Pianist Patricia Cheng explores music of artists in search of national identity; works by Taiwanese composer Hsiao, Smetana, Chopin, Grieg, Dvorak. Part of Sunday Arts Live series. $10 suggested donation.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street (bet. Mission and Howard)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Free Family Day
Sunday, Oct. 17, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Act fast, as SFMOMA is offering one of its quarterly Free Family Days on Sunday. Visit the museum with the entire family to "Enjoy art activities, presentations, and performances for the whole family."

San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Visit the San Jose Museum of Art, tour the permanent collection, and take a look at the "Let's Look at Art: Build It" exhibit that's open until September 18, 2011.

African Film FestivalSilicon Valley 1st Annual African Film Festival
Located at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) - Finn Center
230 San Antonio Circle
Mountain View, CA 94040
Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010

Daily screenings start 11 am. Weekend showcase of 30 films/16 countries reflecting the stories, dreams, hopes of Africa! Dialogue with filmmakers, drumming, dance, more. Purchase tickets online.

Jewish Film FestivalSilicon Valley Jewish Film Festival
Location varies based on film. Check schedule for details.
Saturday, Oct. 9 - Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Read about the movies, and order tickets in advance on-line (or by calling 1-800-838-3006).

As always, ask a Youth Services Librarian for help finding books and other resources about the arts and humanities!

Posted by ws

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free Value Line Research Center Computer Class

Join us Wednesday, October 20 from 10:15 - 11:15 for free hands-on instruction in using Value Line Research Center. The class is designed as an introduction to the basics of finding financial information using Value Line Research Center. Sign up in the Technology Center, at the 2nd floor Reference Desk or by calling (408) 615-2900.

The focus of the class will be on stock information for small, mid and large-cap companies. From this beginning you can apply what you have learned to its reports on stocks of emerging growth companies, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, stock and stock index options and convertible securities.

Value Line has quality, detailed information on hundreds of public companies' financials and buy/sell recommendations. Information is updated every three months.

Find Value Line Research Center by selecting Electronic Resources from our homepage and choosing Value Line Research Center from the Business Resources category or the alphabetical drop down menu. It is available in the library and remotely. Feel free to stop by and ask about Value Line or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vote for Governor!

November 2, 2010 is the date for voting for the next Governor of California and many other persons and issues. Be sure to register to vote before October 18, 2010, if you aren't already registered. Check to see if you are registered by visiting the Santa Clara County Registrar's website. It has lots of other useful information about the election.

The library has voter registration forms and plenty of free Easy Voter Guides for you to get information on the candidates and issues.
The deadline for voter registration is Monday, October 18. Voting has already begun with mail-in ballots, request one before Tuesday, October 26.
Vote now! Stop at the Registrar of Voters office and vote now Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturdays, October 23 and 31 and Sunday, October 30 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m and Election Day, Tuesday, November 1 from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m.

posted by mb

Friday, October 8, 2010

Say Cheese!

Dog smiles
This month's health display in Youth Services is about National Dental Hygiene Month, which is sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA). While the display poster describes the difference between primary teeth (the first teeth you get) and permanent teeth (the teeth that grow in place of the first teeth you get and lose), we thought we'd also share some tips about how to maintain a healthy smile:
    Kid brushing teeth
  • Brush: Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush for 2 minutes 2 times a day to clean the surfaces of your teeth. Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste in your favorite flavor. Did you know that toothpaste comes in different types of mint, vanilla, and even cinnamon? Brushing regularly can help stop the build-up of plaque on your teeth and can also reduce the likelihood that you will get a cavity or other dental disease like gingivitis. [Visit ADHA's how-to-brush cheat sheet.]
  • Floss: Flossing regularly can be a challenging routine to begin and maintain. However, flossing is important to remove food particles and plaque that can get stuck between your teeth. Floss can go where your toothbrush can't reach. [Visit ADHA's how-to-floss cheat sheet.]
  • Rinse: Don't forget to rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing and flossing. This helps get rid of any particles that may have come loose from brushing and flossing.
  • Limit sugar: You know the saying "An apple a day keeps the dentist away?" Take your cue from this saying and remember to eat your fruit and vegetables. Natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables are healthier than that found in candy, cake, and cookies. And stick to sugarfee gum if possible.
  • Visit your dentist: Dentists recommend that a child's first dental check-up should happen around age 1 or 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts. For more information, download ADHA's flyer.

Would you like more information about teeth and dental health? Ask a Youth Services Librarian!

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

Posted by ws. The dog photo is a personal photo of ws's 4-year-old rescued Silky Terrier. The child brushing his teeth was found at this site during a Google image search.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Game of Numbers

The concept behind David Owen's Green Metropolis is simple: the most environmentally sound areas are not the suburbs where people work hard to be "green," but the massive cities where there is no choice but to be. Despite seeming counter intuitive, the reasoning is persuasive. Cities force people to make do with less stuff and less space. Since parking is generally a tragic experience, many will do away with their cars and rely on public transportation, biking, or walking. Apartments are smaller, therefore requiring less energy to live in. So on and so forth.

One way he gets to this conclusion is by using all the stats that show the difference in pollution between cities and suburbs. Let's say Generic City releases X amount of pollution which is considerably higher than the Y amount of pollution that Generic Suburb releases. Normally people would look at that and say, "eww gross, Generic City is disgusting." However, Owen uses pollution per capita to make his point. So if there are a million people in Generic City and 250,000 in Generic Suburb, it turns out that the suburbanities produce more pollution per person than the urbanites. Even if Generic City is an overall toxic place to live, each person is responsible for only a tiny amount of that toxic environment which makes them "greener" than your average home owner with the compost pile and hybrid car packed with reusable grocery bags. Vindication! You hear that hazy brown air, pea soup looking water supply, and cement covered land? City folk are good for the environment. In your face sustainable landscaped homes! Eat that backyard farmers!

On paper this is fine. In reality there is an obvious problem. Small amounts of pollution multiplied by a million people on a small footprint (not the carbon type) often creates an extremely polluted environment. In the end it doesn't matter how little each person contributes to a cesspool... it's still a cesspool.

This is all, of course, a simplification. His argument is far more detailed than what I've written above. But instead of being persuaded, I realized instead the beautifully tricky nature of proving anything with statistics. Statistics are the used car salesmen of science. They might be telling the truth, but the truth they tell is a selective and sidestepping sort of truth. The type of truth that tells you "this thing runs like a beauty" when the tires are flat. I'm not saying that city living isn't greener, his points make sense on that. I'm just saying it's a little hard to get too smug about it when I have to purify my tap water and step over trash on every street.
posted by jw

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PSAT Practice Tests

Are you taking the PSAT or Preliminary SAT at your high school next week? Would you like to take some PSAT practice tests to prepare?

You can take PSAT critical reading, math, and writing practice tests via the library's website. The practice tests are available within our Learning Express Library electronic resource. From our home page, click on the Electronic Resources link and then the Learning Express Library link.

The first time you use Learning Express Library, you will create a username and password. If you will use Learning Express Library from home, use your Santa Clara City Library card number as your username.

If you need further help, please - call Reference Desk staff at (408) 615-2900.

Posted by MLG

Monday, October 4, 2010

Family History Month

October is Family History Month. What better place than Santa Clara City Library to research your family history?

No, you don't have to pay for Ancestry, Heritage Quest Online, or New England Ancestors. Your library card gives you free access to all of these electronic resources. Sign in to Heritage Quest Online from the Library's website and you can begin searching. To search Ancestry Library edition or New England Ancestors you need to be in the library but it is still free!

Come in to the library and get information about searching these resources and other valuable free web sites that can help you discover more about your family. We also have books and can tell you how to find those vital records that will answer the next question in your research. Look at the Family History display at the top of the stairs on the second floor where books and videos are displayed this month.

Join Local History Librarian Mary Hanel for a tour of the Genealogy and Local History web pages on Thursday, October 21 from 10:15-11:15 in the Technology Center. Sign up by calling (408) 615-2900.

Come to the free two-part Beginner's Seminars taught by the Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society on Saturdays, November 6 and 13 in the Redwood Room on the first floor of the library. Register for these FREE classes by sending an email to, leaving a message at (408)615-2986 or signing up on a sheet found in the Heritage Pavilion on the second floor of the library.

posted by mb

Friday, October 1, 2010

OOOoooooh, Spooky!

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines the word supernatural as follows:
adjective. of or relating to existence outside the natural world. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
You will notice in the Juvenile Fiction section there is a new label for books about "the supernatural." Books about ghosts, spirits, werewolves, vampires, and the like, will now be marked with this label:

Supernatural label
So, if you're a fan of stories about the strange and unexplainable, you're in luck! They will be much easier to find now.

The CrossroadsSpeaking of the supernatural, I just read the book The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein. What a creepy book! Eleven-year old Zack Jennings moves to Connecticut with his father and new stepmother. Strange things start happening almost immediately after they arrive. On their property (located at the crossroads of two highways) is an old oak tree with a white, wooden cross and flowers, signifying that someone has died there. He comes to find out that there are many ghosts from a horrible accident left behind at the crossroads, and he will be required to work with some of them to stop the one evil ghost who is trying to kill him.

I can't wait to read the sequel, The Hanging Hill. Raising the dead? Human sacrifices? Sounds creeeeeeeepy…and fantastic!

In addition to the two books mentioned above, older readers of supernatural fiction might enjoy:
The BoggartThe Boggart by Susan Cooper
The Egyptian Box by Jane Curry
The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson
Orwell’s Luck by Richard Jennings
Clockwork, or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman
The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw
Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
Younger fans of the supernatural might enjoy these lighthearted supernatural stories:
Ghost DetectorsClass Pets: The Ghost of P.S. 42 by Frank Asch
The Battlefield Ghost by Margery Cuyler
Weird Wolf by Margery Cuyler
Ghost Detectors (series) by Dotti Enderle
Bernie and the Besseldorf Ghost by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Werewolf Club (series) by Daniel Pinkwater
The Imp That Ate My Homework by Laurence Yep

If you need help finding a supernatural book, visit us and ask a Youth Services Librarian!

Posted by eu