Monday, November 28, 2011

Join author Ron Hansen, as he discusses writing and his new novel, A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. The book is a fact-based fictionalized account of the famous torrid affair that led to the 1927 murder of Albert Snyder and the subsequent scandal in New York City. Hansen, author of several popular historical novels, is the Gerald Manley Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University, where he teaches writing and literature. To reserve a space at this free book talk, made possible by the Foundation and Friends of Santa Clara City Library, please call the Reference Desk at 615-2900. Watch the library website or sign up for the City's free e-Notify service to find out about other upcoming library programs and events.

posted for jb

Friday, November 25, 2011

ServSafe Food Handler Training and Support

The staff at the Santa Clara City Library are here to help you with getting your ServSafe Food Handler Certificate. Free computers are available and friendly staff are willing to help you get started on the video training program, find your test and print out your certificate of completion. Headphones are for sale in the Friends of the Library Bookstore for $1.00 if you need a set.

Let us know how we can help and let us know when you get your Certificate!

posted by mb

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As Much As The Turkeys Would Like It To Be So, There's No Skipping Thanksgiving

"Is that a Ferris wheel?" As we were driving down the freeway one evening, a slightly slanted column of blue and red twinkling lights could be seen in the distance. This is normally a sight associated with hastily assembled carnival rides promising the sort of fun that only comes in creaking, rusted out buckets hoisted 30 feet above the ground with few (if any) safety precautions. I was excited.

"I don't think so. It doesn't look death trappy enough." My companion, who refuses to sit on bar stools due to their "unnecessarily terrifying height," was not. "I think they are..."

"NO! NO WAY! It's only the beginning of November. It can't be..."

But they were.

Christmas lights. Five strands of poorly strung lights running up and down a 30 foot tall tree. Ugg.

Here's the problem. You see, there is this thing called a "calendar" which puts dates in an easy to understand chronological order. When used properly, it's very clear to see that Christmas (December 25th) is over a month and a half away. Far too early to start decking the halls. More over, there is another holiday between now and Christmas. You may have heard of it. It's called Thanksgiving. Kind of popular. It has a parade and everything.

When I was younger, it would have been absolutely sacrosanct to put up Christmas lights any earlier than the Friday following Thanksgiving. This was an unspoken neighborhood law. I remember spending many a frigid morning losing my footing on a frosty roof while trying to screw burnt out light bulbs into a frayed wire with hands so cold they had all they dexterity of wooden planks. And I lived in California. I could only imagine what it would have been like on the East Coast.

The point is, there was an order to things. After Halloween, you turned the jack-o-lanterns on the porch around, scattered some Fall colored leaves in front of it, and if you were feeling really festive, added a cornucopia to the mix. Ta-Da! Thanksgiving decorations! Appropriately timed!

I come from a family that believed if there was a holiday on the calendar, it deserved its own decorations. Sure, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day might not be "real" holidays, but the makers those horrifically bland nature landscape calendars my mother liked so much gave them their own square of importance in the grid. And we respected that decision by filling the house with gaudy knick-knacks conforming to that day's color scheme. Later in life, my brother would go on to celebrate even the Canadian holidays that were listed. But that's a different story involving Sherlockian border guards (sadly, non-Mounties) and an attempt to make peace with a land he was forbidden to visit... forgive me, I digress.

To skip over a holiday, especially one as major as Thanksgiving, was not acceptable. I should point out, we all hated Thanksgiving. The amount of cooking for a proper Thanksgiving feast is Herculean. It's five days worth of chopping, dicing, roasting, baking, and deep frying (yes, deep frying) condensed into the 8 hours before your (somewhat annoyingly prompt) relatives arrive. Then, in the course of a few hours, all your hard work vanishes, your house is wrecked, you're exhausted, and you can't get rid of that turkey smell for three weeks. So fun...

But you can't just jump over Thanksgiving to get to the consumerist freak out that is Christmas. It doesn't work that way. This isn't Doctor Who. Timelines matter. Christmas is a decidedly winter holiday. It is not winter yet, therefore we should not be decorating our houses to pretend that it is. Granted, it could be 75 degrees and sunny on Christmas morning here. I get that. Doesn't matter. The Earth hasn't tilted far enough off axis yet to even come close to justifying the use of fake snow.

Final point and then I'll let this go. If you must decorate for Christmas at the beginning of November, at least do it well. Those five strands of lights I saw were an absolute mess. Do I know how to string lights in a 30 foot tree? No. But it seemed like that person didn't either. Should they have taken more time putting them up (you know, like an extra month), I'm sure it could have been much more successful. Or to the very least, there would be other people's lights to mask their ineptitude.
posted by jw

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Place: Are You Ready to Play?

Kids hard at play during a Family Place parent/child workshop
 Are you a resident of Santa Clara and a parent of a child between the ages of 0 and 5 years? Discover the magic of Family Place! A four week series of Parent/Child Family Place workshops will begin on Friday, December 2 at Central Park Library. Workshops will be held on four consecutive Fridays from 10:30 to 11:45 am. The library's Redwood Room will be transformed into an early learning center, with several play stations focusing on art, music, dramatics, fine and gross motor skills, and more. Area resource specialists will be on hand to answer parents' questions about important child development topics such as speech and nutrition. It's a great way for your little ones to make new friends and gain critical early literacy skills through play, and for parents to network with one another.

Space in this program is extremely limited, and registration is required. Participants must reside in Santa Clara and have a child between the ages of 0 and 5. To learn more about the Family Place program, visit our children's department webpage. To register for the workshop series, call the Youth Services Department at 408-615-2916.

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

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kid's Book of the Week: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reynie Muldoon, an orphaned child with special abilities decides to respond to a newspaper advertisement addressed to "gifted children looking for special opportunities." After passing several mind-bending exams, he joins an elite team of four talented children and they become the Mysterious Benedict Society. They soon go on an adventurous journey of espionage and self-discovery to defeat a master criminal who plans to take over the world. Readers will be intrigued by interesting characters and a gripping plot.

Check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart at your library, available in the following formats:

Book - Hardcover.
Audio Book - Listen to this book using your CD player.
eAudio Book - Listen to this book on your MP3 player, smart phone or computer. Check the Overdrive MyHelp! for more information on how to download.

Readers who wish to continue reading The Mysterious Benedict Society should check out the following sequels available (in sequential order): The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Bendict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.
posted by pn.