Friday, September 30, 2011

Smiles with Snacks

The first major test of the school year is tomorrow. Pencils sharpened – check. Plenty of scratch paper – check. Your math workbook with practice problems – check. Fully-charged iPod – check. You furrow your brow and begin to focus. Suddenly… your nostrils involuntarily flare and sniff … a deep grumble escapes your belly … your eyes smile … as the aroma of chocolate and vanilla wafts through your room. With glee, you hurtle downstairs towards homemade morsels of warm, sweet, gooey goodness!

But what if you’re bored with the usual cookie treats like chocolate chip, oatmeal and snicker-doodles?

Answer: you can borrow cookbooks from the Library and help your mom and/or dad test a few spectacular, scrumptious recipes.

For example, you might try baking mini raspberry sandwich cakes from page 32 of the “Kids’ Baking: 60 Delicious Recipes for Children To Make” cookbook.

Or, if you’re in the mood for a Halloween treat, you may opt for the “Jack-o’-Lanterns” featured on page 84 of the “Cheerios Cookbook.”

If you’re really adventurous, perhaps making “marbles” (page 36), “grasshoppers”
(page 67) or “bulls-eyes” (page 86) from the “Greatest Cookies Ever” cookbook might
be your cup of tea.

So have fun and kindle your culinary imagination by “shopping” in the children’s cookbook section. Perhaps you can even brighten the holidays of your family and friends with mouth-watering creations.
~ ac

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Overdrive for Kindle

Overdrive, the digital distributor of eBooks for libraries has just added Kindle compatibility to it's downloadable formats. The process for borrowing an eBook for Kindle is similar to that of other devices. Go to the Santa Clara City Library's website and under Research and Resources, select Digital Books, and Northern California Digital Library.

You can browse or search for "Kindle Book", check out a title with a valid library card and then click "Get for Kindle". Access to the Kindle book will occur at Amazon's website after signing in and selecting delivery to the Kindle device or any of the free Kindle apps.

For a short tutorial go to:


Job Opportunity Project Coordinator at Santa Clara City Library

Santa Clara City Library is proud to announce that we have been awarded a grant for Project BEST (Basic Employment Skills Training) for 2011-2012. The Library is looking for a dynamic candidate with a marketing/business background to fill the grant-funded contract position of Project BEST Coordinator. Applications must be received by Tuesday, October 4, 5:00 p.m. For details regarding this employment opportunity and Project BEST, follow this link.

posted by mb

Monday, September 26, 2011

California: One Hundred Years of Women Voting

October 1911 was an historic election in California. In a nail biter election, California decided women could vote. The Bay Area counties and Los Angeles counties voted against it. Tavern owners and the winemaking industry were opposed since they thought women would vote for temperance. It took a few days but results eventually came in from the rural counties passing the change. California women then helped women in other states overcome resistance to woman suffrage and pass the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920.

Join us at nine events in October in Celebration of 100 years of California women voting. Read more on the Calendar on the Library's website.

Saturday, October 1st at 1:00 p.m. in the Redwood Room, Darlene Thorne will show 100-year-0ld postcards to illustrate the trials women went through to get the vote in California and the U.S.

Monday, October 3, 6:30-8 p.m. in the Redwood Room, Autumn Gem: a Documentary on China's First Feminist will be shown.

Tuesday, October 4, 7-8 p.m. in the Cedar Room author Robert Cooney will talk about his book Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement.

posted by mb

Sign up by calling (408) 615-2900 or stop in at the 2nd floor Reference Desk.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teachers: Come Party with Us!

Calling all educators: let the Santa Clara City Library show you some love! You're invited to our Teacher Open House on Saturday, October 15 from 2 to 4 pm in the Central Park Library Redwood Room. Enjoy refreshments and pick up giveaways as you learn more about Santa Clara City Library and its many resources for educators and students. A brief demonstration about library databases will be presented at 3 pm, with a door prize drawing afterwards for gift cards to stores such as Lakeshore Learning and Barnes and Noble. Teachers must be present to win.

Teachers from all grade levels, including homeschool educators, are welcome to attend. Please RSVP at 408-615-2916.

posted by SPB

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Hype Machine

It may have been '95... perhaps '97. To be honest, I can't quite remember. The exact moment a grudge is born rarely avails itself to clean forensic examination. It was during the nursery rhyme days though. That much I know. I distinctly remember hearing the words, "I'm James Patterson, and you should read my book..." It was at that moment that I decided, "No James Patterson, I don't need to read your book." And I never did. Any of them.

Here's why: James Patterson had made a television commercial for his book. I'll repeat that so you can grasp the full tragedy of such an action. He made a TV commercial. For a book. A really bad commercial at that. He rhymes the whole thing. It's just mortifying. (Sadly, I can't find it on youtube, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)

I can only blame my disproportionate revulsion (not too strong a word should you be thinking it were) of this concept on a youthful and snobbish belief that books are somehow superior to other products. Books did not need commercials in the way that dish soap or breakfast cereal did. They weren't commodities, they were "literature." They were above that sort of cheap pandering. I can think of only one other book commercial I had ever seen up to that point. Take that as you will.

Looking back on Patterson's astronomical success, it's pretty obvious that the marketing plan worked. Those commercials helped him hock millions of books over the years. At this point, he's so busy counting his money, he can't even be bothered to write a full book by himself. And while the quality of his commercials have gotten better, his delivery of cringe-worthy tag lines is as wooden as ever. It's almost charming now. Almost.

Like it or not, books are commodities just like any other product. And like other products, they need some sort of advertising in order to get them out of the warehouse and into your hands. For the most part, publishers do so with the cunning use of book reviews.

A book review doesn't trigger the brain's advertising defense the way a full page magazine ad or a movie trailer does. Instead, we see them as authoritative quality checks. Think about Consumer Reports magazine. Isn't that the best advertising for a product ever? Not only does it tell you about the item, it supplies a trustworthy voice to give it an endorsement. Book reviews serve the same purpose. Most authors would give their first child to have New York Times favorably review their book. Or, for that matter, have Oprah mention it even in passing. (Her power may be waning in that realm without the talk show these days.)

Some books have less subtle marketing tactics. Enter Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. I'd first heard about this book a few months ago. The article made a cursory mention of its plot (magical circus at the turn of the century, good and evil, rivals fall in love) and then spent the rest of the time talking about how it would be a bestseller. This was in July mind you. The book was just released last week. How would they know it would be a bestseller?

It would be a bestseller because every time someone mentioned it between then and now, they talked about how it would be a bestseller. A brute force tactic, not delicate in the least, but it's highly effective. Guess what? The Night Circus has become a bestseller. Predicated on nothing but word of mouth and hype.

The official review is 6 vague sentences followed by 23 blurbs from big name people telling you how much you'll love this book. Well, of course you're interested in reading it now. Every person under the sun has told you that you need to. That you'll love it. How could you resist? You put in an order and wait to receive it. Then you read it and...

That's the tricky part with such a super positive campaign. What people know about this book is that it will be their new favorite. That don't have much else to go on. But what if it's not? Hype is a dangerous thing. If you hype something that deserves it, you've created a juggernaut. If you hype something that doesn't live up to expectations, you've created an unmitigated disaster. A bad or even just okay book that's over hyped easily tips into becoming a hated book. And that's scary considering this is Morgenstern's first. This could lead to the sound of a long career crashing out of the gates, or the delicate crush of a broken dream.

All that is not to pass any judgement upon The Night Circus itself. I, like so many others, am excited to read it. (I'm waiting in the hold queue currently.) Being a fan of both old timey circuses and magic, it seems like it should be enjoyable. I've also heard that despite the hype, it's an extremely well written book (or is that also part of the hype... it's hard to tell). I really want to like this book. I really do.

Even if they did make a commercial for it.
posted by jw

Friday, September 16, 2011

Youth Bookmark Contest

Youth in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to enter our first annual Bookmark Contest!  Participants should create an original bookmark design about reading and/or libraries, and submit their entries to the Central Park Library Youth Services Desk or Mission Library by Friday, September 30, 2011. Winners will have their bookmarks printed in black and white for distribution at the Santa Clara City Library. They will also be honored at a reception at the Central Park Library (date/time to be announced.)

The entry form for the Bookmark Contest can be downloaded here.
Contest Rules:
  • Draw in black ink only (no colors).
  • No trademarked cartoon characters (such as Pokemon, Spiderman, etc.)
  • All artwork and designs must be the student's own creation.
  • One entry per person.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity, neatness, and message.
  • All entries become the property of the Santa Clara City Library and may be used for promotional purposes.
Two winners will be chosen from each category: Kindergarten -2nd Grade, 3rd - 5th Grade, 6th - 8th Grade, and High School. Thanks to the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends for sponsoring the contest.

posted by SPB

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Did you love the book A Child Called It?

The story of the survivor of child abuse is an inspiration for many. If you are looking for more, try these books:

Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
Claiming Georgia Tate by Gigi Amateau
Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Girlbomb: a Halfway Homeless Memoir by Janice Erlbaum
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Sister Wife by Shelley Hrditschka

Find more from a booklist from Hennepin County Library Minnesota.

posted by mb

How to Find Job Leads

"It's not what you know, it's who you know." Maybe you have heard that tip for finding a job but during yesterday's NOVA workshop, Marsha Austin, recommends adding "and it's who knows you."

Your entire job search can be conducted by contacting people you know, people you bump into waiting in line, and in a lowkey way asking for A.I.R. That is, advice, information and referrals. Have a summary statement or "elevator speech" available to quickly let people know your skills, experience and get advice on how to reach your goal of a new position. Find steps to creating a Summary Statement, also used on your resume, at

Come to next week's Ace the Interview and learn how to accomplish the next step in your job search. That is, Wednesday, September 21, from 1:00-2:30 in the Redwood Room on the 1st floor of the library. Call (408) 615-2900 so we have enough seats for everyone.

posted by mb

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teens: Get ready for the SAT and ACT exams!

Prepare for the upcoming SAT and ACT Exams by checking out our latest SAT and ACT exam resources in print and electronic formats. Here are a few recommended titles:

Peterson's SAT 2011*Peterson's Master the SAT 2011 by Phil Pine
This book provides a wealth of strategies and helps students prepare for the SAT with extensive reviews and nine full-length practice tests--including three on the provided CD--to help sharpen math, writing, and critical reading skills.

12 practice tests for the SAT12 Practice Tests for the SAT by Kaplan, Inc.
Get ready for the SAT by taking 12 practice SAT tests. This book contains over 600 math grid-ins and multiple-choice questions, over 800 sentence completion and reading comprehension questions, answer explanations, over 500 writing multiple-choice questions, 12 essay prompts, model essays, and a self-grading guide.

official study guide for all SAT subject testsThe Official Study Guide for all SAT Subject Tests by The College Board
Planning to take one of the SAT Subject Exams? Then check out this substantial study guide, which contains exam tips, strategies and practice tests for all SAT subject exams.

Cracking the ACTCracking the ACT by The Princeton Review
Cracking the ACT contains proven techniques from the test prep experts. Two full-length practice tests in the book and exclusive free access to an additional practice test online will help prepare ACT test takers.

ACT : strategies, practice, and reviewACT: Strategies, Practice, and Review by Kaplan, Inc.
This is a substantial guide for students preparing for the ACT exam. Includes exam tips and strategies, a diagnostic quiz with personalized feedback, and two practice tests.

ACT or SAT? : choosing the right exam for you
ACT or SAT?: Choosing the right exam for you. by The Princeton Review
This useful book will help you decide which college entrance exam to take - the SAT or the ACT exam. Make an informed decision by learning the differences and advantages of each exam.

Attend free PSAT Practice Test and Review sessions hosted by Kaplan on the following days and times:

Saturday, September 10

Monday, September 19
630pm - 730pm at Central Park Main Library

Spaces are limited. To register for these events, please call 408-615-2916 or visit the Youth Services Desk.

Take free online SAT or ACT practice exams by accessing LearningExpress Library or Brainfuse (library card is required for home access):

 Note: First time users will need to create an account.

 LearningExpress Library
 Note: First time users will need to create an account.

Feel free to ask a Youth Services librarian at your library if you have any questions about the SAT or ACT exam preparation resources. Good luck!
posted by pn