Friday, April 29, 2011

Attention! Graduates of the Easy Reader Collection, you get a GOLD STAR!

Parents often ask, “After my child is done with the Easy Readers, what books should he/she read next?” As a librarian, it is very unsatisfying to tell people to look through the entire Juvenile Fiction area and look for “the thinner books.” So, we’ve done the work for you! We’ve pulled the easier chapter books out and put them in a collection of their own.

This new collection, “Easy Chapters,” is shelved on the opposite side of the Easy Reader Collection, at the end of Juvenile Fiction. Each book has a gold star at the top of the spine. These books have been designated as Easy Chapters using a system called the Lexile Framework for Reading (see Each book in this collection is typically 100 pages or less, and has a Lexile number of up to about 700 (approximate 3rd grade reading level).

If you look inside the front cover of each book, there will be a Lexile number. Based on the chart below, you can determine which range of numbers may best suit your child, and which ones may be too difficult.

Grade 1 up to L300
Grade 2 L140 to 500L
Grade 3 L 330 to L700

As you know, each child’s reading level is different. The numbers are just a guideline, so do not use the numbers as a basis for what your child should be reading. The Lexile numbers reflect the text difficulty only, not the content of the book. So, for example, you may not want your 1st grader to be reading a book with a Lexile of 700 because he/she will not be able to understand the content even though they can read the words. Always take into consideration the age and interests of the child. Lexile numbers are a good starting point for figuring out which books to read next, but always consider your child’s actual reading skills and go from there.

Some of your favorites are here: Flat Stanley & Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures (Brown, Greenhut, Pennypacker), My Weird School (Gutman), Magic Tree House (Osborne), Junie B. Jones (Park), Jake Maddox Sports (Maddox), and Rotten School (Stine).

Librarians are always here to help you select appropriate books for your child. Please ask us if you have any questions.

Posted by emu

Monday, April 25, 2011

Library News

Welcome back! We are open again with our regular hours and have new self check machines for you to try. Listen to the gentle chime when your DVD, magazine, book or CD checks out.

Tonight join us for a free presentation, "The Death Panel Myth" from 6:00 -7:30 in the Cedar Room. Learn about estate planning and advance health care directives from Attorney Eric B. Norris.

Our new Family Place play area is open for children in the Preschool Pavilion in Youth Services. Pictured here.

Tuesday, April 26

Join us for a discussion of Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry in the Cedar Room at 10:30 a.m.

Too young for Sin Killer? There is a Preschool Storytime at 10:30 a.m. and a Family Storytime at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 27 at 10:15 Drop In Help in the Technology Center and Thursday, craigslist Search Skills 10:15 - 11:15. Too young for computer classes? There is Baby Lapsit and Young Ones at 10:30 on Wednesday and Toddler Storytime on Friday at 10:30. Enter through Youth Services.

Saturday, April 30, is the deadline for the Teen Text Poetry Contest. Family Storytime meets at 10:30.

posted by mb

Monday, April 18, 2011

Advance Health Care Directive and Estate Tax Seminar

Estate Planning Attorney Eric B. Norris will present a seminar to discuss "the Death Panel Myth" and to explain why all Californians need an Advance Health Care Directive now, how you can make sure it will be available to all health care providers, what goes into an Advance Health Care Directive and what doesn't, and how to prepare one. Eric also will provide an update on the recent changes in the Estate Tax and how these will affect you.

This free seminar will be held in the Central Park Library Cedar Room, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, on Monday, April 25, 6:00-7:30 p.m. To reserve a space for this program, stop by the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.

Read more about advance healthcare directives at the consumer website of the California State government.

posted by mb for jb

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Career in Librarianship

What do you think about when you hear "Librarian"? Do you think of a rigid lady behind a desk that is constantly shushing everyone? With thick glasses and pencil skirts? Well, I sure don't dress like that and I don't know many librarians that do. Librarians are awesome; did you know that we work in places like Pixar and Twentieth Century Fox? There are so many options for those that study Library Sciences. Currently, I am working towards my Master's Degree in Library Sciences at San Jose State University. I think a lot of you will be happy to know that it usually isn't necessary to have to take the GRE to get into a Library Sciences program which was a great relief for me. With so many career paths in libraries, the education, experience and skills requirements will vary from job to job. 

I got my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona in Business, Sociology and Chinese. That might not seem like it’s applicable to Library Sciences, but the program welcomes people of all different backgrounds, in fact it is encouraged!  A lot of my classmates have BA’s in computer science, humanities, math and it’s all beneficial in working for a specialized library or a public library. I would like to work in a public library because I love to help people and libraries are great place to do that. During my internship, I got to host story time for toddlers, baby lap sit program, book discussion for the youth, answered patrons’ questions at the reference desk and help with computer lab for adults! All of them were so much fun and really opened up my eyes to how much the libraries provides for the community. Being in the Library and Information Science program is definitely not a cake walk. I have a hard drive stuffed with papers, group projects and study notes! Despite all the work, I love what I am learning. In my Materials for Children Ages 0-4, I had to read 75 children books and write a review about each of them for my final paper. Also, for one of my group projects our group had to run a mock library which entailed figuring out how to attract more patrons and how to better serve them. One of the most difficult classes I’ve taken but important is cataloging. I had the opportunity to practice cataloging: assigned Library of Congress subject headings to records including constructing and evaluating subject headings and learn the general skills in subject analysis that can be applied to any field or type of material.

Librarians can work in various setting such as public, academic, special, school, digital libraries. Public and technical services are two areas of traditional positions. If you like to interact with all types of personalities, then you may want to consider these types of positions: reference, circulation, document delivery and inter-library loan, education and outreach, children/young adult services and teacher librarian. However, if you like to work with computers and technical things that keep the library running then you may want to consider technical services positions. They work “behind the scenes” to make sure that the library and the services are not only working effectively but also properly. Cataloging and acquisitions, collection development and management, journals/special collections, information technology and systems are some of the positions for technical services positions. If you are those who are cut out to be leaders, then administrative positions are for you. They oversee the management and planning of libraries. Some of the duties include supervising library employees, negotiate contract for equipments, materials and services, preparing budget to make sure that everything function properly. After I finish my program, I aim to work in a public library because I am a people person, able to interact with all types of personalities, and can adapt in unpredictable situations.

What does it take to become a librarian? Well, a B.A., B.S. or associate’s degree in any field and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from one of the 56 schools accredited by the American Librarian Association. At San Jose State University, it is a total of 43 units and most classes are 3 units each to complete the program. I hope you are excited about this field and surprised at the different possibilities that librarianship offers because I was when I first started this program. It does not matter what your background is or what skills you have or what your interests are, because anyone can find a place in the field of librarianship. 

Posted by JC
Spring 2011 Intern for the Youth and Extension Services Department

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No, Thank You!

As you may have noticed from the enormous sign behind our circulation desk, this week is National Library Week. From April 10 to the 16, librarians will be cheer leading about libraries to let non-librarians know how vital librarians and libraries are to their lib... uh, lives. In simplified terms: "WOO-HOO! WE ARE AWESOME! YOU SHOULD LOVE US!"

And that's entirely true. Libraries are awesome. And many of you already love us (you must to be reading a library oriented blog... or you are a librarian yourself) and for that we are extremely grateful. But the flip side of National Library Week is a large number of articles which say something to the effect of "Libraries: Remember them?" or "They aren't just for books anymore!" Inevitably these articles will talk of 3 things:

1) Childhood memories of dusty books and matronly ladies with cat glasses. Continuously using these outdated reference points to speak of libraries is like opening every conversation about a Prius with a description of a Model T. They aren't relevant anymore. The card catalog became a source of scratch paper well over a decade ago. If you consider the speed of change in modern society, that might as well be a century. Contrary to popular belief, libraries aren't decrepit relics reaching their ghastly hands out to catch the tail end of the future. We exist firmly in the present (or perhaps a year or two behind it). Which leads to point #2.

2) They have computers! Ugh. It's 2011. Of course we have computers. In related news, we have indoor plumbing and electricity as well. Again this "shock" comes from an old notion that libraries are for books. Books are old fashioned, therefore computers are anathema to libraries, right? Wrong. This is a problematic assumption. Libraries are not "for books". We are "for information." And more to the point, we are for "community access to information."

Books are excellent things. I love them to pieces. But in the world of information, books are only one continent. And even then, a single library could only be a tiny country of that continent (to extend the metaphor too far). If our mission is to provide access to information, we'd be rather myopic to limit it just to books. So yes, we have computers to help you get to all those other lands of data and entertainment. And we've had them since the days of Netscape Navigator and Yahoo as the #1 search engine. You know... like a decade/century ago.

[Before we move on, the other variation of "They have computers!" is "They have DVDs!" This too should not be shocking since we've had movies and music for most every format that's come out. Except for laser discs because those were just silly.]

And finally the trifecta occurs when the author brings up-

3) Are libraries relevant in a digital world? After all, isn't a reference librarian just like a google search? And can't people download our collection to their Kindles and Nooks and iPhones, etc? To answer that respectively, sort of if that librarian cared little of quality and accuracy, and yes if you can afford such nifty devices and the content to put on them.

And this is the heart of National Library Week and the well intentioned (though somewhat stereotypical) articles that come out during it. Libraries don't exist in order to hoard books. We don't open our doors to allow you to use computers. We don't live or die by format choices. Those things are part of our services, but not our purpose. Our purpose is to serve our communities in the best way possible.

Libraries are nothing without the people who use them. And not just because you pay to keep us open with your tax dollars (though it is a bit cliche to remind us of that if engaged in a dispute). If our community values us, we thrive and do great things together. If they don't, we wither. National Library Week should be less about us telling you what we can do for you or how high our circ rates are and more of a dialog about what you want from us. Because that's who we're here for. You.

So let me conclude by saying "WOO-HOO. YOU ARE AWESOME. WE LOVE YOU."

posted by jw

Monday, April 11, 2011

The U.S. Civil War Begins: 150 Year Anniversary

150 years ago on April 12, the U.S. Civil War began when Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, was fired on and captured by the Confederacy. Read more in this Wall Street Journal article.

    Read these books about the Civil War that the library staff recommended on the April Staff Favorites list. (Staff Favorites are one of the Featured Lists found on the online catalog search page or by selecting the tab Research/Resources Readers' Links.)

    Books for Children: Iron Thunder the Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimac : a civil war novel by Avi Juvenile Fiction Avi Tom's job as an assistant for Captain John Ericsson, inventor of the Merrimac, makes him a target of Confederate spies. For readers 8-12 years old. Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco Juvenile Fiction Polacco Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a Black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story by the author's great great grandfather. Grade 4 and up. posted by mb

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Kids: Celebrate National Poetry Month

    April is National Poetry Month! Help your child discover poetry by checking out the library’s children poetry collection. Here are some recommended books to get your child excited about poetry:

    Poetry Books

    The New Kid on the Block
    The New Kid on the Block: Poems, by Jack Prelutsky

    A collection of funny poems about strange creatures and people such as Baloney Belly Billy and the Gloopy Gloopers.

    The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
    The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, by Various Authors

    A varied and complete collection of more than 550 poems by various poets, including Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Frost.

    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein

    This is a masterful collection of humorous poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein that will engage children.

    Learn to Write Poems

    Haiku Activities : Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids
    Haiku Activities : Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids, by Patricia Donegan

    Introduces the form of Japanese poetry known as haiku, explores the seven keys to writing haiku, and provides instructions for five haiku projects.

    Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem
    Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem, by Jack Prelutsky

    This is a humorous guide, filled with poetry exercises, ideas, projects, and pointers that teaches readers how to write poetry.

    Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry
    Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry, by Myra Cohn Livingston

    Introduces the different kinds of poetry and the mechanics of writing poetry.

    More Ways to Celebrate

    Besides reading and writing poems, here are other ways that you and your child can celebrate National Poetry Month, according to Lily Jones and Skila Brown from
    • Memorize a poem together.
    • Write poems about various things and occurrences at home.
    • Read a short poem before a family meal, such as breakfast or dinner.
    • Take a notebook and go on a walk. Be ready to write a poem or phrases about various things that you or your child would observe.
    • Have a poetry slam by inviting other kids or adults over to read poems aloud.
    And as always, you can ask a Youth Services Librarian to help you find more poetry resources at your local library branch.
    Posted by pn.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Free Class: Value Line Research Center

    Interested in learning how to make smarter investment decisions?

    Value Line Research Center, available at the library and at home with your library card, will give you the leg up that professional investors use to conduct basic research, formulate sound strategies and find timely opportunities in stocks and mutual funds.

    Join us for this free hands on computer class in the Technology Center. Call (408) 615-2900, if you have questions.

    posted by mb

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    April is National Poetry Month

    Teen Text Poetry Contest

    Who said that texting is not an art? The Santa Clara City Library is offering a $25.00 gift card for the best text poem that is 160 characters or less by a teen. The deadline is April 30, 2011. Complete rules listed below. Winners will be notified by email or phone.

    • Must be in grades 7-12
    • One entry per person
    • Entries accepted from April 1-30
    • 160 character limit
    • Include first and last name, phone number or email, and grade
    • Inappropriate poems will be disqualified
    Text or email your entry to
    Entries may also be submitted in person to the Central Park Youth Services Desk.

    This contest is made possible by support from the Michael J. Kirsch Foundation.
    Submitted by nc