Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready, Set, Play!

A sign in our Family Place early learning area. Come play with us!
Santa Clara City Library recently received a grant to implement Family Place. The Family Place network currently consists of more than 300 libraries in 22 states, and continues to grow. Family Place is an initiative to make public libraries an inviting destination and vital community resource for children under five and their families. A component of a Family Place Library is a collection of toys, kept in a specially designed area within our first floor children’s department that welcomes families with young children. The toys do not check out, but rather are available for play during all open hours at Central Park Library.

Much research has been done regarding the importance of play to a child’s early development. Children learn socialization, problem solving, and spatial relations through play. Play also develops critical fine and gross motor skills, and allows children to use their imagination and exercise their creativity. The right toy can foster the six early literacy skills much as a book can. For example, our Family Place area features an alphabet abacus that teaches letter awareness. Children build their vocabularies and narrative skills when they tell stories with our puppets or cook a meal in our play kitchen. I’ve witnessed amazingly creative play between the parents and children using Family Place. As we learned in Family Place training, simple toys do really inspire the most complex play.

Las Madres Neighborhood Playgroups donated an additional $3000 to the project to purchase a toddler play kitchen, play food, and parenting resources. Carol Jossi, a loyal volunteer in the Friends bookstore, donated funds to purchase a Lego table and building blocks.

Another component of Family Place is the addition of a designated parenting resource section, located along the back wall of the picture book area. There you will find books and DVDs on topics such as breastfeeding, baby sign language, toilet training, childhood illnesses, healthy eating, and discipline.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Opportunities in a Growth Industry

Every year during the spring I tell myself the same thing: I'm going to start a garden. I'm going to eat vegetables that I've grown. I'm going to pick fruit from vines and trees that I've planted. I'm going to create a veritable cornucopia of sustenance that will keep me in food until the next growing season. Every year this never happens.

In the past I've had good(ish) reasons. It's impossible to create a farm when all you have is a balcony. Okay, it's not impossible, but it's difficult. Okay, okay, it's not even difficult. I was just lazy that year. But now I have a (smallish) backyard. It's draped in fog, stalked by wolf spiders, and choked with weeds, but I finally have land. It's time for a cultivation invasion!

My first effort to reclaim the yard was not entirely successful. With novelty sized garden gloves (a pair of lime green and rose stripped beauties that must have been left behind by the past tenant... in 1950) and tools meant for far more benign tasks like gently massaging the earth, the day ended with my hands a mess of blisters and my dog looking at me with what could only be described as disdain. The yard, however, looked none worse for wear. Cawing in the tree tops, the crows seemed to laugh at me.

Since then, I've had my share of wins ("Look, you can see the dirt now!") and losses ("Sweetheart, this isn't a weed... it's a tree. Or at least now it is."). But finally I'm prepared to put something into the ground other than my tears. And that something is... well, I don't rightly know yet. I've never gotten this far before.

Tomatoes would be ideal. Who doesn't like a fresh tomato? But they don't grow well in my neighborhood on account of the London like micro-climate I live in. Tomatoes, unlike myself, thrive on sunshine. As do peppers and strawberries and the myriad of other plants which display their flavorfulness with all the subtlety of a peacock. This means my garden will be filled with the monochrome and cowardly. But being that I tended them to edibility, they will taste delusionally better than any other greens or roots I have ever had.

Or at least I hope they will. Otherwise all this work will be for naught.

Monday, May 23, 2011

E-books in the news

Amazon reported recently that its e-books are outselling both its hardcover and paperback book sales. It was also reported in the Wall Street Journal on May 9, 2011, that its [Amazon's] bestseller list is dominated by $2.99 self-published books.

Did you know the library has e-books? Try these sources on our Electronic Resources page:

TumbleBook Library Animated books read aloud especially for children.

Learning Express Library Improve your academic skills, learn about occupations and prepare for civil service exams

Heritage Quest Online Over 28,000 fulltext, searchable family and local history books

Safari Technical Books Nearly 4,000 fulltext, searchable computer and science books.

Legal Information Reference Center Fulltext searchable legal books including popular Nolo Press books including free legal forms.

Small Business Reference Center Fulltext searchable books and articles for business owners.

posted by mb

Friday, May 13, 2011

May: National Bike Month

The soothing, warm breeze on my face. The rhythmic flutter of my shirt sleeves. The hypnotic crash of Pacific waves and the bite of ocean tang. Gliding like an albatross amidst fragrances of Eucalyptus and Pine. Grins of joy playing “follow the leader” with friends. These are my fond recollections of childhood bike rides through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach.

So consider creating lasting bicycling memories with family and friends as May is National Bike Month. Or help reduce our carbon footprint by biking to work since May 16-20 is this year’s Bike-to-Work Week and May 20 is Bike-to-Work Day. Visit for information on how to teach your child to learn to ride a bicycle, local biking events, and bicycle maintenance and repairs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers invaluable information on bicycling safety.

The Library’s factual materials on Cycling (the formal subject heading for bicycling) are located in the adult "796.6" non-fiction section (2nd floor) and the children's "Juv 796.6" non-fiction section (1st floor). The Adult and Youth Services Desks can assist you in locating factual and fictional materials on Cycling.

According to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" children's health initiative, almost one third of America’s youth is overweight or obese. In thirty-eight states, the adult obesity rate exceeds 25%. Bicycling can be one of many fun ways to bolster physical activity and health for children and adults alike.

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, FUN exercise need not be considered sweaty exertion but rather glistening exultation.

posted by ac

Monday, May 9, 2011

Maintain Your Brain

If you are a Mandarin Chinese speaker, please come join us for this Brain Health program presented by Peining Chang, Chinese Outreach Specialist from the Alzheimer's Association on Monday, May 23rd from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the Library's Redwood Room.

This research-based workshop offered by the Alzheimer's Association encourages people to maintain their brain by staying physically and mentally active, eating a brain-healthy diet and remaining socially involved. These are all key aspects of the Maintain Your BrainTM campaign. Both informative and fun, this workshop will feature nutritional and lifestyle advice, and strategies to keep your memory sharp.

For more information in Chinese, click here to see the Calendar and flyer or please call Jenny at (408) 615-2906.

posted by mb for jh

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kids: Celebrate Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 8th! The library has a great collection of books and resources for your child to make Mother’s Day special and memorable! Here are a few recommended titles:


Mother's Day
Mother's Day by Anne Rockwell
The students in Mrs. Madoff's class share how they will celebrate Mother's Day with their families.

Happy Mother's Day, Mami!
Happy Mother's Day, Mami! by Leslie Valdes
It's Mother's Day! Dora has decided to make a special cake for her mami, but first she must gather all the ingredients.

Freaky Friday
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
A thirteen-year-old girl gains a much more sympathetic understanding of her relationship with her mother when she has to spend a day in her mother's body.


Freaky Friday
Mother's Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach
Presents easy craft projects to make for Mother's Day. Learn how to make the following: cupcake magnets, flower photo card, jewel case photo frame and more!

Things to Make for Mother's Day
Things to Make for Mother's Day by Rebecca Gilpin
This book is packed full of ideas for simple gifts and activities to celebrate Mother's Day. Simple instructions are provided for cooking mom’s favorite food and creating crafts.

My Very Own Mother's Day: A Book of Cooking and Crafts
My Very Own Mother's Day: A Book of Cooking and Crafts by Robin West
Provides suggestions for celebrating Mother's Day through recipes and instructions for various crafts that mothers would enjoy!

Here are other ways to celebrate Mother’s Day:
  • Create a personalized Mother’s Day greeting card.
  • Work on a Mother’s Day craft project.
  • Write a thoughtful poem for mom.
  • Play mom’s favorite board games with her such as chess, cards, etc.
For more recommendations, please visit the Youth Services desk at your library.
Posted by pn.