Monday, December 19, 2011

Even though the Library is closed...

Library card holders can still access lots of information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Click on the Electronic Resources button on the lower left of the Library's homepage.  Choose from the alphabetical list or look at the subject arrangement.  Log in with your library card and you have a gift from your Library that keeps on giving!

Magazine, newspaper or journal articles:  Masterfile Premier

Electronic Books
Full text books on programming languages or other technical topics:  Safari Books Online
Full text of popular legal titles:  Legal Information Reference Center
Borrow free e-books from: Northern California Digital Library
Tip:  Begin by signing in to My Digital Account with your library card and you get access to additional electronic books exclusively for Santa Clara City Library card holders.

Especially for children
Animated, talking books: Tumblebooks and BookFlix

Jobs and Careers
Practice tests for a job or admission to schools:  Learning Express Library
Resume and Career preparation:  Career Transitions
Resume review, GED and citizenship practice tests:  Brainfuse

Check on your stocks and mutual funds:  Value Line Research Center and Morningstar Investment Research Center

Health topics:  Health Source

Full text encyclopedia:  World Book Student
Business and phone directories:  ReferenceUSA
Live tutoring assistance for children and adults:  Brainfuse

created by ba
posted by mb

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Staff Picks: Best Books of 2011 for Children and Teens

'Tis the season for end of the year "best of" book lists. The New York Times, School Library Journal,  Publishers Weekly - everyone has an opinion, including your Santa Clara City Library Youth Services team! We're an opinionated bunch, and we love to share our passion for great books with others. So we present to you our staff picks for the best of 2011 for children and teens. Did your favorites make our list?

Board Book:
Sklansky, Amy E. You Are My Little Cupcake
Sweet babies and yummy cupcakes. Could you get any cuter than this? Make this your go-to baby shower gift.

Picture Books:
Brown, Peter. You Will Be My Friend!
A determined (if not slightly overzealous) bear named Lucy wants to make a new friend, and nothing will stand in her way.

Cyrus, Kurt. The Voyage of Turtle Rex
The life cycle of a prehistoric turtle called an archelon is told through short, simple prose and sweeping double-page illustrations.

DiPucchio, Kelly. Zombie in Love
All of us need love - even the undead. This book does the impossible by making zombies irresistibly cuddly and child friendly.

Fisher, Valorie. Everything I Need to Know Before I'm Five
Preschoolers will love the bright colors and whimsical photographs in this book that introduces concepts such as colors, numbers, letters, and sizes.

Freedman, Deborah. Blue Chicken
An enterprising chicken attempts to help an artist paint the barnyard, and instead creates a big blue mess.

Parot, Annelore. Kimonos
Inspired by traditional Japanese dolls, this story introduces readers to the Kokeshis' kimonos and hair-dos as well as Japanese culture. The illustrations are off-the-charts adorable.

Ramsey, Calvin Alexander. Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend
In Gee's Bend, Alabama, Miz Pettway tells young Alex about the historic role her mule played in the struggle for civil rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ray, Mary Lyn. Stars
You can't take a star with you...or can you? Are stars only in the night sky, or can they be as close as in your pocket?

Reidy, Jean. Light Up the Night
This bedtime story told in a cumulative style reflects the different layers from outer space, right down to the little boy's bedroom.

Rodriguez, Beatrice. Rooster's Revenge
When Bear, Rabbit, and Rooster get shipwrecked on an island, Rooster spots a glowing green ball in a cave. Will following the ball lead to safety or even more trouble? The illustrations in this funny wordless book are as quirky as they are heartwarming.

Sendelbach, Brian. The Underpants Zoo
It's about animals and underpants. Really - does any more need to be said? It's a sure-fire hit.

Shea, Bob. Dinosaur vs. The Library
Dinosaur is on the loose again, and he terrorizes and defeats many on his way to the library. Can he hold his roar during storytime?

Shireen, Nadia. Good Little Wolf
This simple story with fabulous illustrations is about a good little wolf that tries to be bad, but just can't cross over to the dark side.

Srinivasan, Divya. Little Owl's Night
Little Owl loves night and twinkling stars, and loves seeing the animals in the forest. Kids and grownups will as well after reading this magical book.

Suen, Anastasia. Road Work Ahead
Young fans of construction sites, road signs, trucks, diggers, and cranes will clamor for this to be read to them over and over. Consider yourself warned.

Thompson, Lauren. Leap Back Home to Me
A little frog makes increasingly bold leaps out into the world, and then comes back to his mother after each excursion. This is a great readaloud to build confidence in children making their own first brave steps toward independence, such as starting preschool.

Vicher, Frans. Fuddles
When Fuddles the fat, spoiled cat escapes from his house and goes to explore the great outdoors, his adventure is more taxing than expected.

Wolfe, Myra. Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime
From the day Charlotte Jane was born on a pirate ship she has had "formidable oomph." But when she succeeds in conquering sleep by staying up all night, her oomph seems to weigh anchor.

Juvenile Nonfiction:
Cardillo, Margaret. Just Being Audrey
The illustrations in this simple biography on Audrey Hepburn are as charming and stylish as the subject herself.

McClure, Nikki. To Market, To Market
Unique illustrations introduce children to the concept of a farmer's market and how food travels from the farm to the dinner table.

Sayre, April Pulley. Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant
Let's hear it for...vegetables? Yes! Photographs and rhyming text will have kids cheering for vegetables in all their colorful and tasty variety.

Graphic Novels:
Friesen, Ray. Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken: Troublems with Frenemies
Enjoy the hilarious adventures of best friends and worst enemies Pirate Penguin and Ninja Chicken as they encounter spaceships, monsters, and evil koalas.

Young, J.E. Twisted Journeys: Horror in Space (Vol. 18)
As the hero of this graphic novel, the reader is a space colonist who must rescue a spaceship from saboteurs and aliens by making choices that determine the outcome of the story. This adventure series is a great choice for reluctant readers.

Juvenile Fiction (Chapter Books):
Angleberger, Tom. Darth Paper Strikes Back
The sequel to The Strange Case of Origami Yoda continues the winning formula of Star Wars, middle school angst, and zany antics. Fans of the Wimpy Kid books will love it.

Barnett, Mac. It Happened on a Train
Seventh-grader Steve Brixton finds himself pulled back into sleuthing when during a train trip down the California coast he uncovers a mystery involving a fleet of priceless automobiles.

McMann, Lisa. The Unwanteds
Hunger Games meets Harry Potter in this dystopian novel where strong, regimented children are prized while creative ones are executed.

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck
Twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben's story is told in words; Rose's in pictures. Selznick is an award winning author/illustrator who also wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Skye, Obert. Wonkenstein: The Creature from My Closet
Twelve year old Rob has a messy closet stuffed to the brim with books and old science experiments. When a creature emerges from the closet to wreak havoc on him and his friends, Rob is forced to do horrible things like - gasp! - visit a library to set things right.

Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs
Hazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hope of saving Jack's life. Many critics predict that this modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen will be on the short list for the Newbery Award next month.

Juvenile Audiobook:
Stephens, John. Emerald Atlas
This fast-paced fantasy has likeable characters, feisty dwarves, and time travel twists delivered with theatrical flair by the acclaimed narrator Jim Dale.

Young Adult Fiction:
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Jefferson's Sons
Imagine a founding father and a former president being both your master and your father. This impeccably researched work of historical fiction looks at the last years of Thomas Jefferson's life through the eyes of three of his slaves - two of which were his sons by his slave Sally Hemmings.

Delaney, Joseph. Rage of the Fallen
Tom Ward, now 14, tries to win his battle against the Beast in this eighth installment of the popular The Last Apprentice series.

Eulberg, Elizabeth. Prom and Prejudice
This retelling of the Jane Austen classic is completely modern and witty, while still honoring the essence of the original work.

Flanagan, John. Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories
This satisfying eleventh installment of the Ranger's Apprentice series quenches fans' thirst for answers concerning the identities of Will's parents, Halt's mentor, and Will's relationship with Alyss.

Forman, Gayle. Where She Went
Adam, now a rising rock star, and Mia, a successful cellist, reunite in New York and reconnect after the horrific events that tore them apart when Mia almost died in a car accident three years earlier. This sequel to If I Stay provides a fulfilling conclusion to Mia and Adam's story.

Northrop, Michael. Trapped
Remember the movie The Breakfast Club? Add the snowstorm of the century, and you get this incredible survival story of teens trapped in their high school. You could read this book on the hottest day of the year, and still find yourself shivering and reaching for a sweater. Truly chilling - pun intended.

Pierce, Tamora. Mastiff
Having just lost her fiance in a slaver's raid, Beka is able to distract herself by going with her team on an important hunt at the queen's request but is unaware that the throne of Tortall depends on their success. Unexpected plot twists and a stunning conclusion wrap up this trilogy in a satisfying way.

Schmidt, Gary. Okay for Now
As a 14 year old who just moved to a new town with no friends and an abusive father, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer. Together they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon's birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. Doug is a memorable character readers will rally behind. This companion book to The Wednesday Wars made the "best of" lists of three of our staff members.

posted by SPB with input from Youth Services Staff

Friday, December 2, 2011

Create Beautiful Holiday Crafts!

Have a fun and festive time by creating special holiday themed crafts and art! Great for gifts and decorations. The following titles will help you get started:


Holiday HandiworkHoliday Handiwork by Gillian Souter
This book provides instructions on how to make an assortment of holiday themed crafts, such as a Sweet Wreath, Super Santa and Kwanzaa beads.

Crafts for ChristmasCrafts for Christmas by Kathy Ross
Have a fun holiday by creating something special! This book will teach you how to make a variety of Christmas crafts, such as a Flying Angel, Ornament Necklace, Egg Carton Christmas Tree and much more!
Paper Crafts for ChristmasPaper Crafts for Christmas by Randel McGee
Get ready to make a variety of colorful, Christmas-themed paper crafts and decorations! This book contains step by step instructions and also a brief introduction of Christmas and its traditions.
Christmas Crafts From Around the WorldChristmas Crafts From Around the World
by Judy Ann Sadler
Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten! Buon Natale! Learn how other cultures celebrate Christmas by creating holiday crafts from around the world, such as the British Christmas Fairy, the Ukrainian Silver Webs, the Finnish Straw Ornament and much more!


The library will also be hosting fun holiday craft activities on the following dates:

Tuesday, December 6
Holiday Origami Craft
4pm - 5pm at Central Park Library, Redwood Room
Create fun and festive origami for the holidays (For Grades 7-12).
Sign up at the Youth Services Desk or call 408-615-2916.

Saturday, December 10
Holiday Craft Fair
10am - 4pm at Central Park Library, Redwood Room
Please call 408-615-2988 for more information.

Tuesday, December 13
Preschool Holiday Stories & Craft
1030am - 1130am at Central Park Library, Redwood Room
Join us as we tell snowy, blowy, holiday stories and construct a holiday craft for you to take home! This is a PRESCHOOL program. Ages 3-5 only please. For more information, please call 408-615-2916.

For more recommendations, please see a Youth Services Librarian at your library. Happy Holidays!
posted by pn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Help Adults Learn to Speak Better English - Coordinate an ESL Conversation Club!

There are many adult English language learners in our community who wish to learn to speak better English. Starting in January 2012, Santa Clara City Library will host a weekly ESL Conversation Club. The Library is looking for a dynamic volunteer with knowledge of English as a Second Language and the ability to recruit and motivate volunteers to lead this new program.

In consultation with library staff, the ESL Conversation Club Coordinator will:

- Recruit, orient and lead a team of Volunteer Conversation Partners
- Select curriculum materials for use by volunteers in the ESL Conversation Club
- Collect data and create reports for program evaluation

This is an exciting opportunity to organize and coordinate a program that will help many adults in our community gain the confidence they need to communicate with others in English in their everyday lives.

If you are interested, please call Charity Trajico, Volunteer Coordinator for the Library at (408) 615-2919 or send her email at

posted for sb/jh

Monday, November 28, 2011

Join author Ron Hansen, as he discusses writing and his new novel, A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. The book is a fact-based fictionalized account of the famous torrid affair that led to the 1927 murder of Albert Snyder and the subsequent scandal in New York City. Hansen, author of several popular historical novels, is the Gerald Manley Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University, where he teaches writing and literature. To reserve a space at this free book talk, made possible by the Foundation and Friends of Santa Clara City Library, please call the Reference Desk at 615-2900. Watch the library website or sign up for the City's free e-Notify service to find out about other upcoming library programs and events.

posted for jb

Friday, November 25, 2011

ServSafe Food Handler Training and Support

The staff at the Santa Clara City Library are here to help you with getting your ServSafe Food Handler Certificate. Free computers are available and friendly staff are willing to help you get started on the video training program, find your test and print out your certificate of completion. Headphones are for sale in the Friends of the Library Bookstore for $1.00 if you need a set.

Let us know how we can help and let us know when you get your Certificate!

posted by mb

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As Much As The Turkeys Would Like It To Be So, There's No Skipping Thanksgiving

"Is that a Ferris wheel?" As we were driving down the freeway one evening, a slightly slanted column of blue and red twinkling lights could be seen in the distance. This is normally a sight associated with hastily assembled carnival rides promising the sort of fun that only comes in creaking, rusted out buckets hoisted 30 feet above the ground with few (if any) safety precautions. I was excited.

"I don't think so. It doesn't look death trappy enough." My companion, who refuses to sit on bar stools due to their "unnecessarily terrifying height," was not. "I think they are..."

"NO! NO WAY! It's only the beginning of November. It can't be..."

But they were.

Christmas lights. Five strands of poorly strung lights running up and down a 30 foot tall tree. Ugg.

Here's the problem. You see, there is this thing called a "calendar" which puts dates in an easy to understand chronological order. When used properly, it's very clear to see that Christmas (December 25th) is over a month and a half away. Far too early to start decking the halls. More over, there is another holiday between now and Christmas. You may have heard of it. It's called Thanksgiving. Kind of popular. It has a parade and everything.

When I was younger, it would have been absolutely sacrosanct to put up Christmas lights any earlier than the Friday following Thanksgiving. This was an unspoken neighborhood law. I remember spending many a frigid morning losing my footing on a frosty roof while trying to screw burnt out light bulbs into a frayed wire with hands so cold they had all they dexterity of wooden planks. And I lived in California. I could only imagine what it would have been like on the East Coast.

The point is, there was an order to things. After Halloween, you turned the jack-o-lanterns on the porch around, scattered some Fall colored leaves in front of it, and if you were feeling really festive, added a cornucopia to the mix. Ta-Da! Thanksgiving decorations! Appropriately timed!

I come from a family that believed if there was a holiday on the calendar, it deserved its own decorations. Sure, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day might not be "real" holidays, but the makers those horrifically bland nature landscape calendars my mother liked so much gave them their own square of importance in the grid. And we respected that decision by filling the house with gaudy knick-knacks conforming to that day's color scheme. Later in life, my brother would go on to celebrate even the Canadian holidays that were listed. But that's a different story involving Sherlockian border guards (sadly, non-Mounties) and an attempt to make peace with a land he was forbidden to visit... forgive me, I digress.

To skip over a holiday, especially one as major as Thanksgiving, was not acceptable. I should point out, we all hated Thanksgiving. The amount of cooking for a proper Thanksgiving feast is Herculean. It's five days worth of chopping, dicing, roasting, baking, and deep frying (yes, deep frying) condensed into the 8 hours before your (somewhat annoyingly prompt) relatives arrive. Then, in the course of a few hours, all your hard work vanishes, your house is wrecked, you're exhausted, and you can't get rid of that turkey smell for three weeks. So fun...

But you can't just jump over Thanksgiving to get to the consumerist freak out that is Christmas. It doesn't work that way. This isn't Doctor Who. Timelines matter. Christmas is a decidedly winter holiday. It is not winter yet, therefore we should not be decorating our houses to pretend that it is. Granted, it could be 75 degrees and sunny on Christmas morning here. I get that. Doesn't matter. The Earth hasn't tilted far enough off axis yet to even come close to justifying the use of fake snow.

Final point and then I'll let this go. If you must decorate for Christmas at the beginning of November, at least do it well. Those five strands of lights I saw were an absolute mess. Do I know how to string lights in a 30 foot tree? No. But it seemed like that person didn't either. Should they have taken more time putting them up (you know, like an extra month), I'm sure it could have been much more successful. Or to the very least, there would be other people's lights to mask their ineptitude.
posted by jw

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Place: Are You Ready to Play?

Kids hard at play during a Family Place parent/child workshop
 Are you a resident of Santa Clara and a parent of a child between the ages of 0 and 5 years? Discover the magic of Family Place! A four week series of Parent/Child Family Place workshops will begin on Friday, December 2 at Central Park Library. Workshops will be held on four consecutive Fridays from 10:30 to 11:45 am. The library's Redwood Room will be transformed into an early learning center, with several play stations focusing on art, music, dramatics, fine and gross motor skills, and more. Area resource specialists will be on hand to answer parents' questions about important child development topics such as speech and nutrition. It's a great way for your little ones to make new friends and gain critical early literacy skills through play, and for parents to network with one another.

Space in this program is extremely limited, and registration is required. Participants must reside in Santa Clara and have a child between the ages of 0 and 5. To learn more about the Family Place program, visit our children's department webpage. To register for the workshop series, call the Youth Services Department at 408-615-2916.

Modeled on a national Family Place project, California’s Family Place Program is administered by the California State Library and is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

posted by SPB

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kid's Book of the Week: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reynie Muldoon, an orphaned child with special abilities decides to respond to a newspaper advertisement addressed to "gifted children looking for special opportunities." After passing several mind-bending exams, he joins an elite team of four talented children and they become the Mysterious Benedict Society. They soon go on an adventurous journey of espionage and self-discovery to defeat a master criminal who plans to take over the world. Readers will be intrigued by interesting characters and a gripping plot.

Check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart at your library, available in the following formats:

Book - Hardcover.
Audio Book - Listen to this book using your CD player.
eAudio Book - Listen to this book on your MP3 player, smart phone or computer. Check the Overdrive MyHelp! for more information on how to download.

Readers who wish to continue reading The Mysterious Benedict Society should check out the following sequels available (in sequential order): The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Bendict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.
posted by pn.