Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yes, Santa Clara City Library's cards are still free!

There has been a lot of confusion lately about whether library cards are still free. The Santa Clara County Library District recently decided to begin charging non-District residents an annual fee of $80 for a library card. Residents of the Library District will receive cards at no charge. The Library District includes the cities of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Milpitas, Campbell, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, as well as unincorporated areas. The other cities in the County, including Santa Clara, operate municipal libraries. Santa Clara City Library has always been a municipally funded city library and is not, nor has it ever been, a branch of the Santa Clara County Library District. The District Library is the only library in the area that is charging for a non-resident card. All the municipal libraries in the County (Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose) continue at this time to issue a library card to non-residents for no charge.

posted by mb

Is Your Resume Effective?

Come to tomorrow's free Resume Facts workshop taught by a professional career advisor from NOVA Connect and find out.

Learn the answers to the most common questions about resumes including: what goes on the resume, do I need to customize my resume, what are the best ways to organize information and is a cover letter necessary?

Join us in the Redwood Room from 1:00 - 2:30. Sign up by calling (408) 615-2900 or just drop in.

posted by mb

Friday, August 26, 2011

National Dog Day

August 26 is National Dog Day. According to the Humane Society, there are dogs in approximately 78.2 million U.S. households, there are as many male dogs as there are female, and roughly one fifth of owned dogs were adopted from an animal shelter.

Dogs make for wonderful companionship, protection, and exercise motivation. Are your children clamoring for a dog? If you concede to their demands, what type of dog would be suitable for your family and home? A large or small one? One with high energy or low? Long haired or short? Even tempered or spirited?

For help with these types of questions, you might leverage the Library’s nonfiction collections on “dogs” (636.7 is the call number that represents the topic of dogs). For instance, you will find “Dogs: How to Choose and Care For A Dog” in the children’s nonfiction collection on the first floor and “American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training” in the adult nonfiction on the second floor. After you have selected your dog and you are a visual learner, you may appreciate the adult DVD “Your New Dog and You: A Beginner's Guide to Dog Care & Training” (located on the first floor in the adult media area).

Or, if after careful consideration, your family decided to pursue a different pet, there are materials on other animals that make for excellent pets. For example, the Library has information on cats (636.8), goldfish (639.3748), parakeets (636.6865), guinea pigs (636.93592), and turtles (597.92).

As always, should you desire assistance, please approach a staff member situated at the Youth Services Desk, Adult Services Desk, Information Desk, or Welcome Desk.

~ ac

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On*

If you watch the news, you've probably heard that the East Coast experienced an earthquake yesterday. It was their biggest in 70 years. But, since it was the East Coast, an area not known for earthquakes of any large magnitude, the "biggest in 70 years" registered at 5.8 on the Richter scale.

For what is considered (by West Coast standards) a moderate quake, New York collectively wet itself in fear. Buildings were evacuated, transportation was disrupted, and people talked about it as if it were the apocalypse. Which makes complete sense if you haven't felt an earthquake in forever. Or ever for that matter. Plus with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks close at hand, it's quite likely that the people flooding out of buildings weren't thinking they were experiencing a natural phenomenon. Even if you did realize what it was, you probably also realized that your building was not constructed to deal with such tectonic shenanigans. At that point, panic and terror seem like pretty good options.

In response to this, the compassionate and ever sympathetic people on the West Coast laughed so hard they almost choked on their mirth. Twitter and Facebook became lousy with West Coasters taunting East Coastians (I feel the East Coast deserves an "ians" ending because it sounds more Ivy League) about their inability to deal with an earthquake "only big enough to stir a drink." A good laugh was had by all (West of the 111th meridian).

Which is why it was so shameful to wake up this morning and hear someone on the news describe the 3.6 earthquake we experienced last night as "forceful." What? Are you kidding me? You just spent the better part of 12 hours ridiculing New Yorkers for being wimps only to get bothered by a three point six? The news this morning should have been "Earthquake in Bay Area, Local Response: 'Meh.'"

But then earlier today there was a 7.0 in Peru. No casualties or damages thankfully, but that's not a number to sneeze at. And of course, the Japanese 8.9 was not too long ago. Nor was Haiti's 7.0. So perhaps instead of making light of the situation, we should be reminded of our vulnerabilities and need for preparation instead of boasting how we can handle it. Cause if memory serves me correct, we couldn't handle a 7.1 all that well.

That being said, it was nice to have one up on the East Coast after suffering through years of them telling us how we don't know what "real heat" or "real cold" is like. You're right, we don't. And that's why it's perfect out here. Earthquakes and all.
posted by jw

* That title is extremely lame. I apologize.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking for work? Try these

Today's students in the Job Hunting Skills computer class had these comments: "Presenter was really knowledgeable with respect to material and this helps motivation" "I was impressed with the up-to-date information presented and the long list of electronic resources, internet links from NOVA's website, ReferenceUSA and using O*Net for adding keywords to my resume. Very helpful Thank you!"

What a great class. Students shared their favorite job search websites and a student demonstrated using RSS feeds. We watched a video about Work2Future services, explored NOVA's website for training opportunities, learned about books in the library, visited Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, saw where to upload a resume to Brainfuse for a free review from a career professional and tried ReferenceUSA for researching a company and finding electricians in a specific geographical area.

posted by mb

Fall Storytime Schedule

These kids (and their mom) are ready for storytime to start again! Are you?
 Who's ready for some stories, songs, puppets, and fun? The Fall 2011 storytime session runs from Tuesday, September 6 through Saturday, November 19 (11 weeks in all.) Storytimes will be held on the the following days for the specified age groups:
  • Tuesdays at 10:30 am - Preschool Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds
  • Tuesdays at 7 pm - Family Storytime for all ages
  • Wednesdays at 10:30 am - Toddler Storytime for 2 to 3 year olds
  • Thursdays at 10:30 am - Baby Lapsit for 0 to 12 month olds
  • Thursdays at 10:30 am - Young Ones for 12 to 24 month olds
  • Saturdays at 10:30 am - Family Storytime for all ages
All storytimes are held in the Central Park Library Redwood Room, with the exception of Baby Lapsit which is in the Cedar Room.

Our storytimes are very popular, so please arrive early to ensure you find parking. We don't require advance registration, but we do close the program room door 15 minutes after the start of storytime or when the room is full - whichever comes first.

Please note that we will not have storytime on Saturday, October 8 when the library is closed for a budget reduction.

Have more questions about storytime? Consult our Storytime FAQ, or call Youth Services at 408-615-2916.

posted by SPB

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Bookstore is Dead, Long Live the Bookstore

When giants fall, they leave craters. Such is the case with the recent collapse of Borders Books. A couple of months back they shuttered a large number of their stores in the attempt to increase the profitability of the rest and stay fiscally afloat. It didn't work. Come September, huge empty retail spaces will be all that remains of Borders Books. That's the most obvious damage.

There is a shadow crater left behind as well. In the 80's and 90's when Borders (and their rival, Barnes and Noble) rose to prominence, they entered many communities that already had small independent bookstores. The size of the superstores' selections, their low prices, and just the sheer novelty of something new ("Coffee!? In the store!? Wow!" ... admit it, we all felt that way) signed a death warrant for most of the independents. They couldn't compete and went under. The communities were upset (despite their partial culpability), but they still had a (big) bookstore to go to. Now, however, they don't.

"That's okay, you can still buy books on the Internet." True, the Internet is a good place to buy books. But it is not a bookstore. Amazon has an amazing selection of titles. Mind boggling really ("Earth's Biggest" according to their website... which is a bit silly considering none of the other planets are competing) . But you'll never even see a fraction of a percent of that selection. You will see the book you are looking for, the books purchased by people who purchased the book you are looking for, and a list of recommendations created by a computer algorithm. It feels like you are freely browsing, but you are actually corralled.

In a digital bookstore, the range of your discovery is limited to your keyword search (to be fair, it's the same thing with library catalogs and their tricky nomenclature). You will never stumble across that amazing book of cookie recipes you didn't know existed if you search the terms "dog training" (and if you did, I'd be concerned about the cookies' ingredients). At a real bookstore, you may have to walk past the baking section to get to the dog section. While doing so, there's that cookie book staring right at you. The chocolate chip decadence on the cover is too good to resist. You must have it. As a bonus, you find a recipe for baking organic dog treats. Serendipity!

But talking about shopping behavior misses the point. How or what we buy is a legitimate, though simplistic division. The true value of a physical bookstore is not solely found in its books. Bookstores, like libraries, provide venues for communities to share ideas about what's important to them. It is one of the always air-quoted "third places" that library types go all misty-eyed about. While it's true that a bookstore is a business, a truly amazing bookstore will never feel that way. It will seem like more than a monetary transaction taking place.

I spent the weekend reading Andrew Laties' Rebel Bookseller (excellent by the way) and visiting the bookstores where I live. Each one, be it the ramshackle used place, the stylized indie, the anarchist joint (cleanest bookstore of them all... go figure), or the one I would call home if I could, each one was created to provoke thought (and hopefully make a profit so they can continue to do so). The successful ones felt as if they belonged in the community. As if removing it would do some sort of damage to the fabric of that neighborhood. That is the true distinction between the physical and the digital.

So, with luck, prospective small bookstore owners will see Borders' collapse as a call to arms to repopulate communities with new shops instead of a doom and gloom prophesy about the book's inevitable death. After all, for how many times the book has been claimed dead, it has resolutely refused to acquiesce.
posted by jw

Friday, August 5, 2011

Audio Appreciation Month

August is Audio Appreciation Month! Celebrate this event by checking out various audio book and music titles at your library! Here are a few recommendations for children and teens.

Books on CD
The library has audio book versions of many popular titles shown below in audio compact disc format:

Children Audio Books
Harry Potter*Harry Potter* by J.K. Rowling
One of the most popular fantasy series about a young wizard named Harry Potter. Harry attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and makes new friends, learns new magic spells and goes on a quest to defeat the dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

Chronicles of Narnia*
The Chronicles of Narnia* by C.S. Lewis
Another popular fantasy and adventure series about various children exploring the mysterious and mythical world of Narnia.

39 Clues
39 Clues* by Various Authors
A series of intriguing adventure stories written by today's popular authors such as Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis and more. These audio books will engage readers by combining card collecting, reading and online gaming.

Teen Audio Books
The AlchmystThe Alchemyst: The secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel* by Michael Scott
Sophie and Josh are caught up in a deadly struggle between two rival alchemists over the possession of an ancient and powerful book containing the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
A moving, paranormal romance story about Grace and a mysterious wolf that often watches her from a nearby distance. Later, Grace discovers a wounded boy near her home and makes a shocking discovery that this boy is that same wolf in human form.

Maximum Ride
Maximum Ride* by James Patterson
An exciting adventure & science fiction series about six genetically enhanced children being imprisoned in a laboratory. Eventually, a sympathetic scientist helps them escape and they use their special abilities to survive on their own.

Besides compact disc, you can also check out your child’s favorite title on a preloaded audio player called “Playaway”. Just connect your headphones and install one AAA battery to operate the player. Portable and convenient, you can transition or navigate to other chapters of the book without having to change discs. Here are a few recommended Playaway titles:

Children Playaways
* Series
Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl* by Eoin Colfer
A popular fantasy and action series about a young master criminal named Artemis Fowl. Artemis gradually develops his moral character as he works with the fairies to help defeat enemies and save the world.

Percy Jackson Olympians
Percy Jackson and the Olympians* by Rick Riordan
A young boy named Percy Jackson discovers that the legendary Greek Gods still exists and goes on an adventurous quest to prevent a devastating war between the gods.

Teen Playaways
* Series
Hunger GamesHunger Games* by Suzanne Collins
In a post-apocalyptic world, a powerful government called the Capitol selects a boy and a girl from each district to participate in an annual televised event called the "Hunger Games", where they would fight each other to death. However this time, both participants defy the rules and face dire consequences.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa, a young warrior lives in a world where some people are born with unique special skills called "Graces". Katsa however has a dreaded skill of killing and in this adventurous story, she goes on a journey of self-discovery and redemption by trying to save her land from a depraved king.

Download Audio Books and Music
You can download various audio books and music to your computer, portable music player or smartphone from the Northern California Digital Library. Check this page for more information on how to download.

In addition to audio books, the library also has a substantial collection of music CDs for all ages! Please see a library staff at your library for more details.
posted by pn

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Don't Remember Neurotoxins Being Part of this Ebay Auction

"Who sent you that package? A Bond villain?"

This was said by me to my girlfriend on Sunday. It's possible that I may have said it in a more colorful way. It's also possible that I shrieked it out like a little girl. To my defense, sometimes voice control is hard when their is an open box on your coffee table that contains a black widow spider. A very angry, very active black widow spider.

Just a head's up to all you E-Bay sellers out there- unless someone orders a poisonous spider, there should never, ever be one in a package you send to the auction winner. It's considered bad form. Particularly when the contents of the box requires one to plunge their hands into it. If you can't guarantee a spider-free package, to the very least shipping should be free.

Leaving that aside, I learned a few things about black widows this weekend:

1) They move extremely fast. As someone who finds even a still picture of a daddy long legs terrifying, the speed with which a black widow can eat up the distance between you and it came as a nightmarish revelation. Being frozen in fear didn't help matters much.

2) It is the female black widow who is poisonous. The male is not lethal. How you can spot the difference is by size (hard to tell unless you have both in front of you) and by markings. The female has the iconic red hourglass on her abdomen. The male either has no markings or a pale white/yellow hourglass. This is only helpful assuming the spider is lying in a tiny reclining chair allowing their markings to be in full view. In the case of it being belly down on a table, your mind kind of forgets that there is any distinction whatsoever.

3) In terms of design, the black widow is quite beautiful. Gross, but beautiful. They are all defined angles, sharp points, and round orbs. They are the sleek ninjas of the spider world. Sorry tarantulas. That makes you the ogres.

4) I don't think they like being called "Scary McFangface."

In the end, we were able to remove Mr. McFangface (yup, turned out to be male) from the premises. I suggested pressing charges and putting him in spider prison for breaking and entering. This was deemed "a patently ridiculous idea" (to which I posit that it is merely for the lack of a visionary lawyer that we do not have an inter-species penal code), so we relocated him to the back yard. I spent the rest of the afternoon staring out there to make sure he walked off into the sunset like Bruce Banner at the end of the Incredible Hulk TV series. But I fear he's plotting to return in full Lou Ferrigno rage.

Coincidentally, earlier that afternoon I was at the Conservatory of Flowers to see the Wicked Plants exhibit. It's based on a book by Amy Stewart about all the various flora that will kill you. A few months back she also released a book called Wicked Bugs. As you probably gathered, it's about all the creepy crawlies that will kill you. Guess who has it's own chapter in there?

While I fear that by reading the book I will become even more concerned about what lurks out there in my garden, I'm also trying to look on the bright side. If I find enough of the dangerous invertebrates, I can charge people admission to view them. Then I can move away. Far, far away.
posted by jw

Monday, August 1, 2011

20th Anniversary Celebration of Harris-Lass House

Come and enjoy the Free Family Fun Day and Open House from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 6, 2011. Children can make post card art, corn husk dolls, lavendar dolls and ice cream treats. The Harris-Lass House Museum was opened to the public in 1991.

Special exhibits about the house and the families that lived there and early Santa Clara history will be open. There will also be vintage automobiles and gasoline motors on display. The Tank House Gift Shop will be open and food and cold drinks will be on sale.

Read more about the Harris-Lass House:
The People who lived in the Big House on Market Street edited by Marjorie Myers

Watch a DVD to learn more about the Harris-Lass House:
A Few Moments with Betty Stevens DVD 979.473 F46 Heritage Pavilion
An oral history interview and walk through the house with the great granddaughter of Captain Christian Lass.

The Final Harvest DVD 979.473 F49
A documentary on the Harris-Lass House including Santa Clara agricultural history, family history, and current activities for the public at this museum.

posted by mb