Monday, December 17, 2012

Name That Asteroid!

So here's the conversation...

Me: Hello, my name is (101955) 1999 RQ36.
You: That's a terrible name!
Me: Well, it's not my fault. I'm just an asteroid, and I was given a boring science name by the geniuses at the Minor Planet Center of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. What the heck am I supposed to do?
You: Wow! That name is just as bad as yours! Well, maybe a bunch of kids could send in suggestions for new names. Then you could get a really cool name instead of that other ridiculous name that nobody can remember.
Me: Wow, what a great idea!

So, if you're under the age of 18, here's your chance to...NAME THAT ASTEROID!

You only have until December 31, 2012 to get that name sent in. So put on your thinking caps and come up with a good one. Maybe your name will get chosen and you will be the one that gets to say, "Remember that asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36? (You'll have to remember the name because it will be YOUR asteroid at this point) Well, I'm the dude/chick who gave it its cool new name (insert name here)." Then you'll put it on a t-shirt and be famous for the rest of your life, and everyone else's, because asteroids usually stay in space for like millions and billions of years.

There are some guidelines to naming the asteroid. For instance, you can't just name it whatever you want. Scientists won't be very happy if you try to name it Inky Pinky Squigglebottom, H.R. Pufnstuf, or some other silly name like Lemony Snicket. Read the guidelines, submit your suggestion, and keep your fingers crossed! If you win, we'll have a big party for you here at the library! Promise!

Click this link for all the details. Name That Asteroid!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Irish Genealogy Online Resources

New England Historic & Genealogical Society reports:

A Note from the Editor: New Irish Resources

by Lynn Betlock, Editor

Researchers tracing Irish ancestors will be pleased to note that new Irish resources have recently been made available online

National Archives of Ireland Website

In November, the National Archives of Ireland launched a new genealogy website, which offers access to Census Records for 1901 and 1911, Soldiers’ Wills from 1914 to 1917, and Tithe Applotment Books (head-of-household substitutes) from 1823 to 1837. (FamilySearch has Tithe Applotment Books from 1814 through 1855.) In years to come, the Archives plans to add the following collections: Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858–1922; nineteenth-century census survivals, 1821–51; Valuation Office House and Field Books, 1848–60; and census search forms for the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

Irish Military Records

The Military Archives is responsible for the records of Ireland’s Department of Defence, the Defence Forces, and the Army Pensions Board. The website features the Military Archives Image Identification Project and the Irish Army Census Collection, 1922 (which is in its third and final phase). (An Irish Times article provides background information on the 1922 census.) According to the website, “the Military Archives holds only the personnel records of those who served in the military of the Irish Free State from 1922, as well as material pertaining to the Irish Volunteers and the Independence movement, 1913–1921.”

British Army records, including those for Irish regiments, can be obtained at the National Archives of England. An article entitled “Information Document on the Irish Regiments of the British Army up to 31st July 1922” can be a useful guide. Other sources of military records in Ireland are “The National Library, which holds a number of lists of Irish Personnel in the British Army from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, or Dublin City Library and Archive . . . which is the point of contact for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association."   posted by mb

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Talk on Shen Yun Performing Arts

There will be a talk and presentation on Shen Yun, sponsored by the Asian Arts Foundation, on Monday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Park Library Redwood Room.  For 5,000 years Chinese culture inspired countless artists and poets. Through the presentation about Shen Yun Performing Arts, you will experience the authenticity, freshness, and joy of the true Chinese civilization as it moves towards a world of ever-increasing diversity.

Call Reference at 1-408-615-2900 to reserve a space at this free program about Shen Yun Performing Arts.

posted by JB

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday: Where Will My Gift Work Best?

     Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Now it's time to think of those less fortunate.  Giving Tuesday organizers hope that shoppers who splurged on themselves will embrace a day dedicated to giving back. The holiday season accounts for about a third of annual charitable donations.

     How do you know if the charity will use your money wisely?  Visit Charity Navigator and check them out.  The charities are given a score, a star rating and rated on finances, accountability and transparency.  Find out how much money is used for administration versus the actual program.  Tips and Resources for donors include 7 questions to ask before giving, the top ten best practices of savvy donors, tips for older donors and more.

posted by mb

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Gift Book Ideas for Adults

Last Tuesday night there was a presentation on suggested books for holiday giving or for your own reading pleasure. (I have provided a link to library books.)  Here are my recommendations for adults.  I have arranged them by type of reader.  List prices are included.

Veterans, football fans
Dust to Dust by Benjamin Busch  $26.99
Actor and U.S. Marine, Busch offers reflection and introspection mixed with lively stories of his childhood spent outdoors and his physical challenges on the football field and the battlefield.

Book clubs, mystery fans
and when she was good by Laura Lippman  $26.99
Ever wonder how someone becomes a prostitute or how one gets out of the business?  Read this suspenseful story for possible answers.

American History fans 
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand   $27.00
The story of an inspiring survivor who was a juvenile delinquent channeled into track who then won an Olympic medal.  In WWII, he was an Army Air Corps man, crew member on fragile early airplanes, who flew across the Pacific to fight the Japanese.

American Tapestry by Rachel Swarns   $27.99
Learn Michelle Obama's amazing family history.  It is a truly American story which shines a light on mixed race families who struggle, survive and thrive.

Graphic novel fans, teens
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
A Chinese American coming of age story, at times humorous and at times heart breaking, told in a beautifully illustrated graphic novel.

Humor, nature fans
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson  pbk  $7.99
A witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud book about hiking along the Appalachian Trial.  Bryson observes the natural history, ecology and local history, describing it well.  He and his out-of-shape companion, Katz, bicker and struggle to be up to the trip.

Excellent nonfiction fans
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick   $26.00
Recent history of North Korea that puts the reader in the shoes of people living in this closed society.  How would you survive a famine?  Six defectors tell about their former lives. These stories give an insight to immigrants from closed, police societies.

Social justice fans
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling  $35.00
A thought-provoking book about a small village where there is a war between the haves and the have nots.  Teenage characters are well-developed and their parents are realistically portrayed.  This book is the real world not a fantasy realm.

Fans of gentle reads
Blessings by Anna Quindlen  pbk  $15.00
When a teenage couple abandons their baby at the gate of the estate owned by Lydia Blessing, Skip Cuddy, the caretaker, decides to raise the child himself, a decision that has a profound effect on the lives of everyone in the community.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Susanna Moore  pbk  $15.00
A traditional Englishman develops a friendship with a female Pakistani shopkeeper in his village.  Will he be able to stand up for his feelings against the community's disapproval?

Fans of inspirational stories
Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed  $25.95
Following her mother's death and the break up of her marriage, Strayed decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Sarge: the Life and Times of Sargent Shriver by Scott Stossel  $32.50
The inspiring life story of the man who created the Peace Corps, headed the War on Poverty, served as ambassador to France, and founded such organizations as Head Start, Job Corps, and the Special Olympics.  He survived the Depression, WWII and life as a member of the Kennedy family.

posted by mb

Medicare 2013: What You Need to Know

       “Ask anyone turning 65 about Medicare and, more likely than not, they will say it is confusing and complicated. There are Parts A and B of Original Medicare, and Medigap plans to supplement them. Part D, prescription drug plans with the infamous “donut hole” has special rules. Part C, known as Medicare Advantage, typically combines Parts A, B and D into one plan. From the Initial Enrollment Period to the Annual Enrollment Period, the rules are very complex.
       The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) of the Council on Aging Silicon Valley can help current and prospective Medicare beneficiaries as well as family members or caregivers unravel the mysteries and wonders of Medicare.
       Join us for a free presentation given by HICAP Director Connie Corrales  on Nov. 27, 2:30 – 4:00 PM in the Library’s Redwood Room. If you are interested, please sign up at the Reference Desk or call 1-408-615-2900. Walk-ins are also welcome.

jh posted by mb

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apocalypse Nowish

It's been a few weeks now since we've ended daylight savings time. Which is to say, we've rolled our clocks back to the natural state of things for this time of year. The morning sun sluggishly rises over the hills around 7:00 AM, heroically tries to reach an angle higher than 35 degrees, fails, then beats a hasty retreat back to the other side of the earth 10 hours later.

For those of us working indoors, we watch this seasonal game of solar peek-a-boo through triple-paned glass while taking nutritional supplements to keep our vitamin D levels from plummeting through the floorboards. We walk down lamp-lit streets to go out to dinner at 6:30. We feel exhausted only to find out the 10 o'clock news hasn't started yet. Maybe not even the 9 o'clock news. Like birds under a blanket, it's lights out and we want to go to sleep. "Not so fast," says the clock."That's not how we do things around here."

It seems oddly appropriate that I was reading Karen Thompson Walker's Age of Miracles during this recent time change and Fall's steady creep into darkness. In her book, the world is gaining time. Initially, a few extra minutes are found hiding in the rotation of the Earth. But rather quickly those minutes add up to hours and hours add up to days. Both night and day begin to hang around longer and longer like an unwanted and ever more demanding guest. (Which, perhaps, is also rather appropriate considering the time of year.) At some point in the unknown but not so distant future, the earth will become tidally locked to the sun. Half the world will burn in a permanent day and half the world will freeze in a permanent night. But until that final denouement occurs, the known world changes, and changes, and changes.

This is the ultimate sinking ship scenario. There is a progressive catastrophe. You can try to stop it, but ultimately the inertia of the situation is stronger than the ingenuity thrown at it. Disaster is unavoidable. Death is (most likely) a given. What do you do?

For the characters in Walker's book, try to carry on as best as possible is the answer. Much like the way we adjust to the seasonal changes in light (but on a far more traumatic scale), the characters attempt to find a normality they can understand. A normality they can live with. The human body cannot exist in a constant state of panic. So while they're patiently waiting for the apocalypse, they may as well try to have a life in the meantime.

Walker illustrates this well through Julia, the 11 going on 12-year-old narrator of the story. For the first few decades of your life, you are constantly running into new experiences, new emotions, new knowledge. So seeing the coming disaster through the eyes of a preteen is a perfect filter. There is no time period more stressful and calamitous than that age. Should the Earth begin slowing down at the same time, well, it couldn't get much worse or weirder than what was already happening to your brain, body, and social life anyways. It's just one more change Julia must deal with. 

Despite the ever increasing and disastrous side-effects of "the slowing," Julia continues to grow up. There is school to go to, boys to have crushes on, best friends who become distant. The normal stuff that happens to most everyone.

Perhaps Julia's life may seem uneventful given such a dramatic backdrop, but that's the point. Our tiny lives carry on. Be it through hope, stubbornness, stupidity, or spite, humans have a way of muscling through the worst that can be thrown at us in order to live out our boring lives. Because they are the only ones we have and giving up isn't really an option.

Julia says at one point, "It requires a certain kind of bravery, I suppose, to choose the status quo. There’s a certain boldness to inaction." While inaction and status quo are rarely thought of as helpful things, in times of great change and horrible disasters, sometimes they are needed things. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

iPad Art Workshop

Join the iPad Art Workshop on Sunday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. in the Central Park Library Redwood Room, and learn how to create art on your tablet! Sumit Vishwakarma will give a one-hour workshop providing an introduction to sketching, drawing, and painting directly on your iPad using your fingers, a stylus, and art applications. You will learn how to use basic digital tools, including the pen, pencil, and brushes. The techniques demonstrated are not limited to the iPad, and may be applied to other android tablets. Sumit, an iPad artist, was featured in the Macworld 2012 Sketch Station.

Bring your iPad or other tablet is you wish—it is not required for the workshop. Children (age 8 and up with a parent/caregiver), teens and adults are welcome! To reserve a space at this fun-filled interactive event, stop by the Reference Desk or call 1-408-615-2900.

 posted by jb

Friday, November 9, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

The Library will be closed Monday, November 12, 2012, in honor of  Veteran's Day.  Stop in around the holiday and find a book about veterans from the display on the first floor.  Did you know that there are 21.5 million veterans in the U.S?    There are 1.6 million women veterans and 2.3 million black veterans.  Read more interesting statistics about Veterans here

Try these:

A Rumor of War by  Philip Caputo
written by a marine corps veteran of the Vietnam War

Goodbye, darkness: a memoir of the Pacific War by William Manchester

posted by mb

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Last Minute Voting Help!

Use nonpartisan resources to help you make an informed vote. Here are some tips:

Get your entire ballot and find your polling place on your computer or your mobile device using
Read about the ballot measures
Watch these NEW ballot measure videos from the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and the California Channel

Ready to go to the polls? Review answers to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

- Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm
- You can make a mistake on your ballot twice and ask for a fresh ballot
- You can take notes and your child into the polling place
- If your name is not on the voter rolls, ask to vote by Provisional Ballot
- You may drop off your vote by mail ballot at any polling place in your county
For problems voting, contact the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE
- You can not wear campaign gear to the polls
Please vote on November 6, 2012!
posted by mb

Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Business Administration Workshop

The Library is offering a U.S. Small Business Administration Workshop on Wednesday, November 14, 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Central Park Library Redwood Room. Small business owners and prospective small business entrepreneurs will learn how the programs of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help them start, manage, and grow their companies.  Experts from SBA and its resource partners will provide practical information on SBA’s three main program areas:
·        management training and counseling
·        access to financing
·        access to federal government contracting opportunities.

Program benefits, eligibility requirements, and application procedures also will be covered.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, or simply want to expand your existing business, the two-hour SBA Workshop is for you! To reserve a space at this free program, stop by the Reference Desk or call 1-408-615-2900.

posted by jb

Monday, October 29, 2012

California Propositions - League of Women Voters Nonpartisan Review

If you haven't already done your research and voted on the eleven California Propositions on this fall's ballot, visit YouTube to see League of Women Voters Susan Hough's informative, accurate presentation explaining the proposals, how they came about and what would change if they pass.  Information on who is backing a measure is included and the amount of money spent.

posted by mb

FTC Videos Remind Consumers to Check

"As consumers turn back their clocks, it’s a good time to check their free annual credit report.

Consumers shopping for a car, looking for a job or just getting their financial house in order should check their free annual credit reports. The FTC is offering new videos, in English and Spanish, explaining why, and advising them what to do if a report contains inaccurate information.

During the fall, when people turn back their clocks at the end of daylight savings time, it’s a good time to order a free credit report from one of the three national consumer reporting companies at or 1-877-322-8228..."

If you need help using the computer to get your free credit report, ask for help at the 2nd floor Reference desk or come to one of the Library's Drop In Help Labs offered twice monthly.  The next one is Thursday, November 8, 2012, from 10:15-11:15 in the Technology Center.

posted by mb

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe

Students and adults are welcome to come see Broadway and film veteran Duffy Hudson, who brings his talent and fascination for Edgar Allan Poe to life in this unique one-man play on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Park Library Redwood Room. Using a combination of biographical information and the dramatic interpretation of Poe’s literature, Annabel Lee, The Raven and The Tell Tale Heart, Hudson provides a unique, in-depth theatrical experience of the life and works of one of America’s best-known and enigmatic personalities. Poe is famous for his tales of mystery and the macabre.

Get into the Halloween spirit by joining us for this free Edgar Allan Poe presentation! To reserve a space, stop by the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by jb

Monday, October 15, 2012

Estate Planning and Advance Health Care Directive

Join us on Monday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Central Park Library Cedar Room to hear local estate planning attorney Eric B. Norris update us on the current status of the estate tax exemption (due to expire at the end of this year). He will tell us why every Californian needs an Advance Health Care Directive, and explain how you can get your Advance Health Care Directive done without an attorney. Eric will answer questions about estate planning—who needs it, and why.

Sign up for this free estate planning seminar at the Reference Desk, or call (408) 615-2900.

posted by jb

Friday, October 12, 2012

Celebrate Teen Read Week at the Santa Clara City Library 

The Santa Clara City Library has PROGRAMS and a WRITING CONTEST to encourage teens to read for the fun of it.

Monday, October 15 at 3:00 p.m.
Hunger Games Book
Trivia Contest:
Test your knowledge of the book and win prizes!

Monday, October 15 at 4;00 p.m.
The Hunger Games Movie and Pizza:
Come watch the movie with friends and enjoy free pizza!

Saturday, October 20 at 2:00 p.m.
Teen Fiction Authors Program:
Meet Tamar Hela, author of Feast Island, and Ingrid Paulson, author of Valkyrie Rising. They will talk about and read from their books. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Teen Read Week Writing Contest: The Library Dares You...To Write For the Fun of It

Deadline: October 20, 2012

Write about a postive experience you had because you did something on a dare, just for the fun of it, or challenged yourself to do something you were afraid to do. Explain what happened and how it turned out.

Amazon Kindle Fire Grand Prize!
Cash Prizes Awarded in Middle and High School Categorie
1st place - $75.00
2nd place - $50.00
3rd place - $25.00

Deadline: All entries must be received by the Central Park Youth Services desk on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

Winners will be notified by email or phone and then recognized at a special reception, open to the public, on Monday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Redwood Room. R.S.V.P.s requested.

All programs made possible with support from the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library.

Posted by nc

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Questions about Propositions on November's Ballot?

       Go to and get the scoop.  MapLight Voter's Edge is the quick and easy way to decide how to vote on California ballot measures. It brings together all the information you need to be an informed voter. MapLight Voter's Edge is neutral and nonpartisan. Read more about Maplight Voter's Edge here.

        Susan Hough from the Cupertino League of Women's Voters Education section was here Tuesday night to give information on the 11 propositions on the November 6, 2012, ballot.  She told us who is for and against each measure, how much money is being spent and what they are saying.  She also recommended  Votersedge.orgIf you want to hear a similar League presentation, read this Calendar and go to one of these locations in the weeks before the election.

       Register by October 22, 2012 to vote November 6th.  Find your ballot at
Don't forget to VOTE!

posted by mb

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The call number listed above is one of my favorite sections in this library right now. For those not initiated in the mystical art of Dewey book location, 741.5 refers to all things comic and graphic novel related. We've always had a decent selection of graphic novels, but over the past year or so it's really taken off. And the quality of the books is astounding.

Earlier today while scrolling through Susie Cagle's twitter posts (she's a graphic journalist out of Oakland), I saw a quote she posted by Josh Neufeld (who illustrated the wonderful Influencing Machine by Barbara Gladstone) stating "I think people are finally realizing that comics is a medium, not a genre." That's something that often gets lost in the inevitable justifications that usually follow the discussion of comic books with an audience that might not value comic books as a legitimate book due to its graphic nature. The term is no more descriptive of subject matter than "fiction" is. It gives you only a concept of how the story is to be told. In the case of comics, with words and pictures. Everything else is variable and wildly divergent in quality and content. Like any other book.

However, for those who want the "inevitable justifications" about the legitimacy of comics, may I refer you to Dylan Meconis' How Not to Write Comics Criticism. Not only does it help you avoid the pitfalls of being mealy mouthed when speaking about comics, it also makes you realize there is no point in being so. I wish I would have read this before I wrote about graphic novels a couple years ago. I think I even used the CAFKA cliche. How embarrassing.

So with not having to go over all that (again), I'd rather tell you about a few of the titles I've stumbled across lately. The first of which is Unterzakhn by Leela Corman. Beautifully illustrated in bold black and white drawings somewhat similar to Marjane Satrapi's art in Persepolis, Unterzakhn is the story of twin sisters Esther and Fanya Feinberg. Growing up in Lower East Side New York at the beginning of the 20th Century, the girls have few choices for the future other than marriage and children. Through chance encounters with other independent (and ethically flawed) women, both will circumvent that path.

Fanya finds eduction by an apprenticeship with the neighborhood "lady doctor." While this includes traditional book learning (something Fanya desires but her mother dismisses as needless), it also sends Fanya down the road of fighting for women's reproductive rights. At that point in time, it was not a highly regarded or even legal profession depending on how those rights manifested themselves.

Esther, on the other hand, is put to work assisting a local burlesque owner. At first this is just a matter of helping with costumes and the like, but later stems a career as a dancer and actress. Over time she becomes famous, yet the glamor she achieves does not come cheap.

The tale of the Feinbergs is not a heart warming coming of age. It's tragic and at times brutal. It's also an amazingly well crafted story showing the alienation women experienced (and experience) when they chose to step outside of roles expected of them.

Moving on to lighter fare, remember when the world financially tanked in 2008 and it seemed like everything was coming to an end? For a large portion of the population, that event pulled back the veil on something rarely considered by most of us: how the economy actually works. Often times the economy can feel like a force of nature, something that just exists which we can only weather through rather than control. Sometimes it's sunny and sometimes it's stormy. What can you do? But in truth it's a malleable and fallible construction crafted by human hands.  

Michael Goodwin's Economix (see what he did there?) is a good primer on how we got to this point. Starting from around the Enlightenment all the way up to present day, Goodwin describes the philosophical and practical concepts related to our modern capitalist economy. For better or worse.

Philosophy sounds like it would make a boring comic, right? Not so! The graphic format is the perfect way to parse down complex concepts (read Logicomix or Action Philosophers for great examples of this). Goodwin does an excellent job in keeping the text simple and conversational no matter how twisty the subject matter is. But it's Dan Burr's illustrations that make this comic so effective. The playful graphic vocabulary he creates is possibly the best distillation of economic concepts I've come across. I got a D in high school economics though, so take that with a grain of salt. 

Warning: if the name Milton Friedman brings warm fuzzies to your heart, this may not be your jam. If the name Milton Friedman makes you see red, you'll probably enjoy the Keynesian angle the author pursues. If none of the above makes a lick of sense to you, then this book was written for folks just like yourself. While Goodman does take a political stance at the end, he very clearly points out that is what he's doing so that you can make your own decision as to it's validity.

Not into economics or sad tales of poverty and despair (though I can't imagine why you wouldn't be)? Well, there are plenty of other options out there as well. If you haven't seen it yet, there's a large display of all our graphic novels up on the second floor. Feel free to browse through it and find something that suits your fancy... if that suits your fancy.
posted by jw

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

National Register to Vote Day - September 25, 2012

Today is National Register to Vote Day.  Be sure to register before October 22, 2012, so you can vote in the November 6th Presidential Election. In 2008, 6 million Americans did not vote because they did not know how to register or they missed their state's voter registration deadline, according to the US Census. In 2012, we want to make sure no American is left out. 

Many important Propositions will be decided on at this election too.  Hear nonpartisan information showing both sides arguments at a presentation next Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in the Cedar Room at Central Park Library.  Call (408) 615-2900 to sign up or if you have questions.

You can register online and check to see if you are registered here.

posted by mb

Otter 501 Documentary Film Screening

Join us on Sunday, September 30 at 2:00 p.m. in the Central Park Library Redwood Room to view the Otter 501 documentary film! Reserve a space for this free program at the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900. School-age children and adults are welcome. A description of the film follows.

A young woman finds a stranded baby sea otter on a windswept beach after a storm. Peering down at the damp, shivering fur ball, she grabs her cell phone and makes a call, setting in motion a story about the otter’s struggle for survival and humans’ efforts to protect an iconic species.

Combining documentary and dramatic narrative techniques, OTTER 501 chronicles the remarkable true story of an orphaned baby otter who was washed ashore on the Northern California coast when she was less than a week old. Rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program, “501,” as she was called, became part of a groundbreaking surrogate program where she was introduced to an adoptive sea otter mother who reared her for months so she could develop the necessary skills to survive in the wild. Parallel to this remarkable tale of how 501 got a second chance at life is the story of young Katie, an aspiring marine biologist who discovers the orphaned otter and and becomes a volunteer at the Aquarium. Blending original footage and the tools of social media, OTTER 501 is a unique hybrid of fact and fiction that takes the traditional wildlife documentary into a new style of storytelling.

See the film’s press page to find out what folks are saying about OTTER 501!

posted by mb for jb

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Voting Information

Election Day 2012 is November 6th but many of you will be voting early (starting October 8), either at the Registrar of Voters in San Jose on Berger Drive or with a mail in ballot.  Yes, we are choosing a president for the next four years and many other elective offices.  Learn more about early voting information and locations at a Registrar of Voters Meet and Greet.

California Propositions
     There are eleven propositions for Californians to decide this time including budgeting and tax measures, ending the death penalty, and making changes to the 3 Strikes Law.  Learn more about them when you come to the free nonpartisan League of Women Voters presentation Tuesday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cedar Room at Central Park Library.   Learn who is behind the measures, who opposes them and what each side is saying.  Can't make it on October 2nd but still want to hear the presentation?  See the League calendar.
     You can also read about the propositions on the Easy Voter Guide available here in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean or get printed copies at the library in early October. 

Be Sure to Vote
Register to Vote by Monday, October 22, 2012.  Find out your voting location here.  Mail in your ballot so it arrives before 8 p.m. November 6 or drop it off at these locations:  all election sites and more drop off locations

posted by mb

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy 225th Birthday Constitution!

The U.S. Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in eleven states.  It went into effect on March 4, 1789.  Read the Constitution here.

Come in the library and see the 2nd floor book display celebrating Constitution Week, September 17-24.   Constitution Week was initiated by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1955.  The Daughters of the American Revolution is a patriotic organization that encourages education and historic preservation in communities across America.  The Santa Clara Chapter of DAR participated in preparing this book display.

Read A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution here.  Read Questions & Answers Pertaining to the U.S. Constitution here.

Try these books:

Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart 342.02 S84
The successful creation of the Constitution is a suspense story. The Summer of 1787 takes us into the sweltering room in which delegates struggled for four months to produce the flawed but enduring document that would define the nation -- then and now.

Plain, Honest Men by Richard Beeman 342.029 B41
From distinguished historian Richard Beeman comes a dramatic and engrossing account of the men who met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 to design a radically new form of government. Beeman takes readers behind the scenes and beyond the debate to show how the world's most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and, eventually, fragile consensus during a time when many Americans feared that a combination of financial distress and civil unrest would doom the young nation's experiment in liberty

America's Constitution a biography by Akhil Reed Amar 342.029 A48
In America's Constitution, one of this era's most accomplished constitutional-law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives a panoramic account of one of the world's great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this "biography" of America's framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it.

posted by mb

Friday, September 14, 2012

Note for children's programs from September 17-21

The Central Park Library will be replacing an industrial air conditioning unit during the week of September 17 – 21, 2012.

Please note:

• The preschool story-time program scheduled for 10:30AM on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 has been cancelled for public safety considerations

• From 10:00 – 11:00AM on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, there will be no public access to the children’s area, the teen area, and the entire west-side of the 2nd floor

• The parking lot on the east side of the Library will be closed to the public from September 17 – 21; it will be used as a staging area for equipment, tools, and vendors

• The street will be open to through traffic

The Library apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

~ ac

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Hollow Man for the King

In a recent review of Jonathan Tropper's book "One Last Thing Before I Go", Ron Charles proclaims it to belong to the "Whiny Man" category of literature.What is Whiny Man literature? It's a schlubby little corner of the publishing market in which sad-sack George Constanza types endlessly bemoan their past failures while setting themselves up for new ones. Again. And again. And again. And... again.

They fail at their jobs. They fail at their marriages. They've failed their children. Their bodies are failing them. The only thing they haven't failed at is failure, but were they to really make a conscious go at it, they might succeed (thereby failing).

But that's okay because, as the adage states, failure builds character, right? Not exactly. The authors indeed use failure to build their characters. But it's a monolithic architecture of ineptitude they construct to place upon these weak, fleshy foundations. The failure doesn't make them stronger or more resilient. It just further defeats and deflates them. When the end of the book arrives, it's a relief. Like getting off a plane when you've spent the last five hours seated next to a depressive bore.

As you might guess, I'm not a fan.

So I was supremely bummed out to find that Dave Eggers' new book, A Hologram for the King, is a Whiny Man book. Well, that's not exactly fair. It's a political allegory dressed as a Whiny Man book. Or perhaps it's a Whiny Man book masquerading as a political allegory. Depends at which way you want to squint at it. Regardless, I was hoping for much more from Eggers.

The premise is that an American consultant goes to Saudi Arabia in order to try to get a contract for an IT company to wire a yet to be constructed city. The consultant, Alan Clay, has spent most of his life working in the bicycle industry (as an executive of Schwinn specifically) making things cheaper and more efficient by moving production overseas. He did so until the American bicycle industry pretty much collapsed and he found himself out of work. Oops. If he can land this deal, it would be his redemption and hopefully get him out of the crushing debt he's accumulated by other ill-fated ventures.

But there's a hitch. King Abdulla is a busy man and cannot guarantee his presence at any given time. They must wait until he arrives. It could be days, weeks, or months. So Alan and his three barely fleshed out young IT staffers (who spend 90% of their cameo time asleep or with heads buried in their laptops) show up to a tent in the desert every morning in the hopes that the King will arrive. When he does, they will give him a whiz bang presentation of American ingenuity in the form of a live holographic meeting with a London based representative of their company. The King will be impressed with their inventiveness and give them the contract. And all Alan's problems will be solved. Or they would could they get a good wi-fi signal out in the tent.

Instead of having a forward moving plot, we get a bunch of navel gazing from Alan while he waits. Guilt ridden reminiscences of being complicit in the weakening of American industry. Anxiety about telling his daughter he won't be able to finish paying for he education since he's broke. Not so fond memories of his crazy, free spirit of an ex-wife. And to cap it all, a worrisome lump on his neck he is sure is cancer.

Occasionally we get some respite from this pity fest in the form of Yousef, Alan's wise cracking cab driver. In comparison to Yousef, the other characters surrounding Alan to prop up this story seem drab and dim. When the two of them are in the car talking back and forth, it feels like the narrative builds momentum. It also feels like Eggers is having fun. Finally.

I'd like to point out that this is not a bad book. In fact, the style of Eggers' writing carries you along no matter how deary the subject. The problem with the book stems largely from matters of expectation. I expect Eggers, on account of his past work, to give the characters heart. Humanity. Oddly, it seems to lack in this book. Alan felt as if he were a cross stitch of "important issues". Not a real person. He was a necessary, but sloppy tool to address the larger topics.

The main focus seems to be documenting a moment of a collapsing middle class. Alan is a wreck because the world he knew, the world that once valued his contribution, is unraveling. The economic sweet spot that the middle class once represented (careers instead of patchworks of jobs, home ownership, marriage, college bound kids, a financial margin of error) has been whittled away. Manufacturing jobs and other such industries have dried up in the wake of globalization (among other things) leading to unemployment or underemployment. The housing market went absolutely haywire in 2008 stripping people of homes or at least the stability of what owning a home represented. Divorce is about as common as marriage. College prices have skyrocketed, but job prospects after college have flatlined. Most people are in a terminal state of debt. Even America's powerhouse status has shifted. All of this troubles Alan as he sits waiting for the King. It's a lot to be insecure about. It's a lot to whine about. And so he does.

But he doesn't do much else. Except wait, worry and hope for things to get better. And perhaps that's the message. Or perhaps that's the provocation. Is it a resilient stoicism we are suppose to find in Alan or a pathetic resignation? Is this befuddled middle age man suppose to represent us as a culture or serve as a warning of what we could be? Had I cared more about Alan, had he felt more real, I would probably find that question more troubling.
posted by jw

Saturday, September 1, 2012

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 2013*Peterson's Master the SAT 2013 by Peterson's
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 SATSAT 2013: Strategies, Practice, and Review by Kaplan, Inc.
Get ready for the SAT by taking 9 practice SAT tests covering math, writing, and critical reading skills. This book contains detailed answer explanations for each exam question, a parent's guide to college admission testing and useful chapter summaries to help guide the student through the book.

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 Geof Martz
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 8

Monday, September 17
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

Be an Informed Voter! Impartial Proposition Information

Join us for an impartial analysis of 11 propositions on the ballot for the November 6, 2012, election.  Representatives from Cupertino's League of Women Voters will present on the following issues:
  • Two competing state tax plans
  • Changing the state to a two-year budget
  • Closing a business tax loophole
  • Several law enforcement propositions
  • Ban on political contributions by payroll deduction
  • Automobile insurance rate proposition
  • Labeling genetically engineered food
  • State Senate redistricting proposition.
League members will tell the effect the proposition will have if enacted and who supporters and opponents of the measures are and what they have to say.  Questions will be answered to the best of their abilities.

Cedar Room, Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA 95051
Call (408) 615-2900 to sign up.

posted by mb

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Read Foreign Affairs From Home 24/7 Thanks to Your Library

 A man, tutoring his daughter at the library yesterday, asked me where the magazine Foreign Affairs was located.  I directed him to the Periodicals Pavilion and told him that he would find it there displayed in alphabetical order.  He could also lift up the metal display tray and find copies that can be checked out.  I also explained that he could read it from home from our website 24/7.  He was astonished.

Yes, we have full text magazines available from our website 24/7 with your library card.  Just select Electronic Resources then Academic One File, for academic titles, or General One File, for popular titles, and choose Advanced Search.  Enter the journal's name in the Publication Title field and press Search.  The latest edition of the publication is shown.  You can download copies, email copies or just read it at your leisure.

posted by mb

Friday, August 17, 2012

Audio Appreciation Month: Recommendations for Teens

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 teens.

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

Teen Audio Books
The AlchmystMatched* by Ally Condie
Cassia has always followed the autocratic Society without question. One day, the Society matched her with Xander, who is to be her "perfect" mate. However, she prefers to be with Ky instead and decides to rebel against the Society's choice by choosing him. Will their relationship last? Listen to this audiobook to find out more!


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.

SilverFin* by Charlie Higson
From a humble beginning to becoming a world class spy, get to know one of the most popular spy characters during his teenage years! The adventure begins when a local boy named Alfie is missing. James team up with Alfie's cousin, Red, to investigate and help find Alfie. Will they succeed? Listen to this audiobook to find out! 

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:

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.

GracelingCrossed* by Ally Condie
In this sequel to Matched, Cassia sacrifices everything and heads to the Outer Provinces in search for Ky. However, she is soon confronted with shocking revelations about the Society and the promise of an upcoming rebellion.

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

Friday, August 3, 2012

Audio Appreciation Month: Recommendations for Children

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.

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.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Mysterious Benedict Society* by Trenton Lee Stewart
Reynie Muldoon, an orphaned child with special abilities joins an elite team of four talented children and they become the Mysterious Benedict Society. They soon go on an adventurous journey of espionage to defeat a villain who plans to take over the world.

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.

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.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
Nicholas Benedict, an orphan afflicted with physical ailments and narcolepsy, is sent to a new orphanage where he encounters vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances, and a mystery that could change his life forever.

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