Friday, July 29, 2011


Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins this year on August 1. Muslims around the world spend the month fasting from dawn to sunset, for fasting teaches self-disclipine and empathy for the less fortunate. At sunset the fast is broken with a special meal called the Iftar, often shared with extended family and friends. Ramadan is also a time of prayer, worship, charitable giving, community service, and humility.

The Youth Services Department has several books and DVDs to introduce children to Ramadan. Here's a small sampling:

Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman
Fasting and Dates: A Ramadan and Eid-Ul-Fitr Story by Jonny Zucker
A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Night of the Moon by Hena Khan
Ramadan Mubarak (part of the Adam's World DVD series)

The Muslim Community Association (3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara) will hold a community Ramadan Open House on Saturday, August 13 at 6:30 pm. Admission is free, but guests need to make a reservation by emailing For more information, call 408-986-9874.

Warm wishes to all of our library families celebrating the Ramadan season!

posted by SPB

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dollars and Sense @ Your Library


Girl with Piggy Bank
It's never too early to learn about finances and managing your own money. Financially responsible kids become financially responsible adults. That's why for the second year the Santa Clara City Public Library and KeyPoint Credit Union are co-sponsoring two "Financial Literacy for Kids" workshops. (Read about last year's workshops here.)

To reserve a space for your child, please sign up in person at the Youth Services desk or call us at (408) 615-2916. Both workshops will be held in the Central Park Library Redwood Room. Parents and caregivers are asked to attend with their children.

Kindergarten-2nd Graders
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Introduction to currency
  • Concept of wants vs. needs
  • Benefits of saving, sharing, and spending
  • The Moon jar project
  • Coloring sheets, stories, and money-related activities!
3rd-6th Graders
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • What is money?
  • Concept of wants vs. needs
  • Budgeting exercise
  • Benefits of saving, sharing and spending
  • The Moon jar project
Please visit the Youth Services desk and ask a librarian if you want help finding any resources about money!
Posted by spb

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Reading - We Want to Hear from You!

As we close the chapter on Summer Reading 2011, we want your feedback. What did you and your family enjoy about our program, and do you have any suggestions for improvement? Please take a moment to complete this short online survey. Your opinions matter!

posted by SPB

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Reading Participants!! Pick Up Your Awards NOW!

Wow, what a summer! We had a total of 4,423 sign ups (children, teens, and adults)! If you are one of those individuals that signed up for the Summer Reading Club and kept a list of the books you read, it is time to pick up your award! Award pickups run from JULY 25 THROUGH AUGUST 21.

Children and Teens may pick up their awards in the library's CEDAR ROOM during the following times:

Monday-Tuesday: 10am-12pm and 2pm-7pm
Wednesday-Friday: 10am-12pm and 2pm-5pm
Saturday: 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
Sunday: 1pm-4pm

Adults may pick up their awards at the Periodicals Desk (2nd Floor) during the following times:

Monday-Tuesday: 10am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, and 6pm-8pm
Wednesday-Saturday: 10am-12pm and 1pm-5pm
Sunday: 2pm-5pm

Mission Library Family Reading Center will hand out awards anytime during their business hours:

Monday-Tuesday: 1pm-6pm
Wednesday: 12pm-8pm
Thursday: 10am-6pm

Thanks to the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends for sponsoring the awards for the 2011 Summer Reading Club!

Looking for something to read?

Try our library staff selected favorites. Each month the entire library staff recommends books, DVDs, and audiobooks. You will find top notch adult fiction like Jennifer Egan's Visit from the Goon Squad, and outstanding nonfiction like Tina Fey's hilarious Bossypants, Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends.

posted by mb

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Don't Know What To Read

Your daughter knits her brows, crosses her arms and declares “Well -- I don’t know what to read” as you diligently “encourage” (otherwise known as “nagging” in children's circles) her to work towards the summer reading prize. You stammer as you “haven’t the foggiest” how to respond to that classic yet stout juvenile repartee.

But splutter no more as here are two convenient, online Readers Advisory resources available to you and your family:

Novelist K-8 Plus: offers reading suggestions by genre, awards, series, author, age groups, and keyword-searches (Central Park library card required)

Recommendations by the Youth Services staff (by age/grade, genre, award winners and popular topics)

Your child may also be interested in these very popular, children's chapter book series:

Children of the Lamp

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Geronimo Stilton


How to Train Your Dragon

Judy Moody

Magic Tree House

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Rainbow Magic

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Secrets of Droon

39 Clues

~ posted by ac

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lament for a Bicycle

A few months back, I spent the afternoon with some friends at a bar on the busy intersection of Duboce and Valencia in San Francisco. Perhaps it was a bit early for drinking, but I had the day off, it was 80 degrees outside, and Zeitgeist has a back patio where you can sit in the sun. In other words, it was the type of day in the City that practically requires you to do so. People have called out sick from work to take advantage of such a day only to run into their bosses who are doing the same. Seriously.

Anyhow, degeneracy is not the point of this story. As I was leaving the bar, I went to the rack where I had locked my bike to find that it was no longer there. In broad daylight on a busy street my lock was cut and my bike was gone. The thieves did leave my helmet though, so that was nice of them. It was then that I realized something: I loved, truly loved, that bicycle. It was a rusty busted up scrap heap of a thing, but I adored it.

Had my car been stolen, I would have been furious due to the monetary loss and commute nightmare that would cause. But I would not have been emotionally crushed. It is, after all, just a machine. But standing there on that gloriously beautiful day with my helmet in one hand and severed bike lock in the other, I was what could only be described as heartbroken. Over a machine. A different type of machine, but still "just a machine." Which left me wondering, why do people who ride bikes seem to care about bikes and bike riding so intensely?

The most obvious example of this is found in the "cyclist." These are the folks who have no shame in wearing full spandex outfits (in public no less!) while riding astronomically expensive bikes as if they were competing in the Tour de France. The components that make up their bikes were probably first tested by NASA. They ride for distances the average person would vomit just thinking about. For them, bicycling is about performance, endurance, and speed. In a perfect symbiosis, their bodies are machines as impressive as the bikes they ride. They are the Olympians (both in terms of athleticism and deity like status) of the bicyclists. And because of that, most other bike riders dislike them and find them intimidating.

On the other side of the spectrum are the "revolutionaries." (Get it? Because bike tires revolve? Oh, nevermind.) This is the populist enclave of riders who teach people how to repair bikes at "bike kitchens" and screw up automobile traffic in Critical Mass rides. Chances are they've lived in Portland at some point and have a tattoo of a penny farthing on their forearm or a piston on their calf. To them, the bicycle is the last knowable machine of the modern age. When everything else we own needs a technician to fix or a dumpster to be tossed into when it breaks, the bicycle's simplicity practically screams out to be worked on by its rider. They are D.I.Y. zealots and believe riding a bike is both a political statement and a way to change the world. And because of that, most other bike riders dislike them and find them intimidating.

The other 99% of people who ride fall somewhere in between. There are the commuters, the fitness folks, the pleasure riders, the "brakes are for the weak" crowd, the Subaru sportsmen, the purists, the circus performers, etc, etc, etc. It's a big tent and everyone's allowed assuming you come in rolling. The common denominator here is that most of those people have some sort of deep connection with whatever it is they are riding.

Here's why (or at least why I think it's the case). If you were taught how to ride a bike when you were younger, that very well may have been the first taste of freedom you had. Once you got past the wobblies (as in the physical sensation, not the Industrial Workers of the World) and the training wheels came off, you were on your own to explore. No parents, no supervision. Just you, a bike, and possibly a gang of other Dickensian-like feral youth moving quickly through the streets. The bike was a tool for adventure and a means towards joy. Even as an adult, the echo of that feeling grabs me every time I lift the kickstand and go. I always experience a sensation of childlike glee when riding around the city. It's the best feeling in the world.

Long story short- stealing a bike is like kicking a person's inner child in the stomach.
posted by jw
photo from PUBLIC Bikes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are Herbal Supplements Safe?

Are you looking for up-to-date medical information? Do you want to dispel medical myths? Find out which herbal supplements are safe and which are not. Can an alcoholic ever return to moderate drinking? Can cinnamon lower your blood pressure? Are full body airport scanners safe? Does smoked fish contain Omega-3 fats? Do you need more Vitamin B12? Answers to these questions and many more can be found in health newsletters provided by a generous grant from Kaiser Permanente.

Read health newsletters found on the 2nd floor of the Library in the Health and Wellness Collection area. Harvard Heart Letter explains which herbal supplements interfere with heart medications. Harvard Mental Health Letter answers the question about alcoholics and moderate drinking. Focus on Healthy Aging answers the cinnamon question. Harvard Health Letter explains airport full body scanners. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter answer the Omega-3 question and many more nutrition questions.

Other health newsletters found in the Health and Wellness Collection: Harvard Men's Health Watch, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Health News: Straight Talk on Medical Headlines, Hearing Loss, Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, and University of California - Berkeley Wellness Letter.

posted by jh/mb

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Avoid the Summer Slide

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks!"

Remember this rhyme from your youth? Admit it - everyone looks forward to summer vacation and a well deserved break from homework, tests, and reports. It's only natural. But educators are expressing growing concern about a phenomenon known as "Summer Slide" or "Brain Drain." Time Magazine published an article last year titled The Case Against Summer Vacation. Students are at risk of losing reading and math skills during their extended school break, and teachers spend valuable classroom time bringing everyone up to speed again when school returns in the fall.

We're not advocating that you spend your summer drilling multiplication tables with your kids every free moment - that's no fun for either them or you. But if you'd like to do some fun, educational activities with your children to keep their skills sharp, we have many resources to help you.
  • First and foremost, if you haven't already - enroll your children in the summer reading club. (You can sign up, too - we have an adult program as well.) Registration ends July 16. Numerous studies show that children who participate in summer reading return to school in the fall with larger vocabularies and increased reading comprehension skills. Parents can make suggestions regarding their kids' book selections, but remember that the first rule of summer reading is to make it fun! Your children will have years of "required reading" in school. In the summer, let them (with your supervision) pick the books they find appealing. Don't get too hung up on reading level - just give them the time and quiet space to read, plus access to books they enjoy. All of the educational benefits of reading will follow naturally. (We promise!) Jen Robinson, a well-known children's book blogger and member of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends, has some great tips on encouraging summer reading.
  • Did your child's teacher suggest that he or she get extra practice over the summer on a particular subject? Online resources like Brainfuse and Learning Express have tests representing a variety of grade levels and subjects. For example, Learning Express features an online test covering California fourth grade math standards. These tools can be accessed free with your SCCL library card from any computer with an internet connection.
  • Incorporate math, writing, and reading in everyday household tasks. Make cookies with your kids, and have them read the recipe and measure the ingredients. Let your kids read the weekly supermarket ad, write a grocery list, and calculate prices. Have an overflowing change jar at home? Have the kids count it for you. The website Mixing in Math has many suggestions to make math accessible and fun for your family.
  • was recently named a "Great Site for Kids" by the American Library Association, and has many free printable worksheets for youth in preschool through high school.
  • The library just received books titled The Original Summer Bridge Activities that contain reproducible activity sheets. You can check the books out, but please photocopy the pages you wish to use. Writing in the books ruins them for other library patrons.
Want more ideas? Staff at the youth services desk are happy to show you even more resources to make your child's transition back to school as seamless as possible. Just ask!

posted by SPB

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Learn More Computer Skills

Need help in improving your Search? Want to learn what Twitter is or improve on your use of Twitter? Need help with the job hunt in Mandarin Chinese? Come to free Thursday morning classes in the Technology Center starting at 10:15.

All computer questions are given special attention in the Drop In Help Lab on Wednesday, July 27 at 10:15 a.m. Sign up for classes by calling (408) 615-2900 or stopping at the Technology Center or 2nd floor Reference desk.

We begin with More Internet Search Skills on July 7th. Bring your search questions and get tips and techniques for improving your search. Guest teacher Stuart Grooby, the City's Web Master, teaches both sessions of Twitter. Learn how to sign up for Twitter in the first class on July 21. If you have a Twitter account and are comfortable using Twitter but want to learn more, come to the Getting More Out of Twitter on July 28.

Job Hunting Help in Chinese is meeting July 14th. Any questions, call (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb