Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anti-aging tips and stress management the natural way

Join Dr. Lena Kian as she discusses natural ways to deal with aging and stress on Tuesday, April 3rd at 6:30pm in the Cedar Room.  Sign up at the reference desk or call 408-615-2900.  Walk-ins welcome.

Posted by PK

Friday, March 30, 2012

U.S. Census 1940 Released Monday, April 2 6 a.m. Time

The 1940 U.S. Census will be available from the National Archives website on Monday, April 2 at 6:00 a.m. California time.  It will not be searchable by names, however you can search for yourself or relatives by using an Enumeration District number.  Volunteers are indexing names but that won't be available for some months, possibly twelve.  If you would like to volunteer to assist with indexing follow this link.

Find out how to find yourself or a family member who was a U.S. resident by reading Steve Morse's handouts "Getting Ready for the 1940 Census: Searching Without a Name Index" posted on the Santa Clara Historical & Genealogical Society's website.  You can also learn how to prepare on the National Archives page entitled Start Your 1940 Census Research.

Learn more about the information you will learn about 1940 U.S. residents on the Ancestry Wiki.

posted by mb

Monday, March 26, 2012

Checkout A Chromebook

Santa Clara City Library now has Chromebooks available to patrons for In Library Checkout.

Checkout a Chromebook and use Google’s Chrome OS to browse the Web. Login as Guest or use your Google account. If you use your Google account, you can personalize your profile with your favorite apps or bookmarks. Next time you log in to any Chromebook with your Google account, your settings, bookmarks and apps will be there. Go to to view all the apps available.

Chromebook Lending Guidelines are:

2 hour in-library checkout. Chromebook checkout is limited to one per person per day.
$15.00 per hour overdue fee with a $30.00 maximum overdue fee.
A fee of $500.00 will be charged for Chromebooks that are lost, stolen, or not returned within 24hrs.
Chromebooks must be returned to the Central Park Library Circulation Desk complete with bag, power supply cord, and mouse.Stop by the Technology Center for Chromebook questions and the Circulation Desk for checkout.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stress reduction class

Join instructor Leah Gronlund as she demonstrates effective ways to recognize and relieve stress on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:30pm in the Cedar Room.  The class will emphasize the connection between body, breath, and mind.  Sign up at the reference desk or by calling 408-615-2900.  Walk-ins welcome.

posted by PK

Friday, March 23, 2012

Playaways for Kids and Teens

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

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.

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.

Teen Playaways

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.

I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill you
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Cammie is a spy-in-training, attending Gallagher Academy, a top-secret boarding school training future female spies. Cammie has to keep her spy training a secret and as she does, it leads to complications in her relationship with Josh. Will Josh discover that she is actually a spy? Will their relationship last? Check out this title to find out!

For more recommendations, please see a Youth Services Librarian at your library.

posted by pn

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Growing warm season vegetables

Listen to the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners and learn how to plan your warm season vegetable garden, how to prepare the soil, how to start seeds indoors and when to plant.  Handouts on a list of Master Gardeners' warm season vegetable favorites will be available (recommended varieties that do well in our area - and that we love to eat!)  Takes place at 12:00 to 2:00pm on Saturday, March 24, 2012 in the Redwood Room.  Walk-ins welcome.

posted by PK

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Past Times of Pastimes

Everyone knows that baseball is this country's national pastime. Like hockey is to those in the frozen northern climes or soccer is to every other country in the world, baseball is an intrinsic part of American culture. But do you know how it became as such?

After the Revolution, Americans decided to "de-Englishify" themselves. Tea drinking? Too English! (Or at least too taxed.) Pass the other hot dirt water. Pronouncing the "h" in "herb?" English foppery! When a four character word begins with an "h" followed by a vowel in the form of an "e" shape followed by the letters "rb," it should be silent. Obviously. Cricket? So English that the Americans crushed even the knowledge of the sport as one would... well, as one would crush an actual cricket.

However, the need to hit small objects with sticks proved too strong to resist. By the 1800s, they found a new game in which you throw something really fast at someone and they hit it back at you as hard as possible. This wonky interpretation of cricket's more restrained nature ensured that any American unfamiliar with cricket's rules will be physically incapable of playing it since we are hard-wired to try to smash the ball out of whatever field we're in. Well played, founding fathers. Well played.

By the mid-19th century, no other sport was played besides baseball. Absolutely none. So when the 1850 census asked "which sport do you feel is the national pastime?", it came as no surprise that 100% of the citizens responded: baseball. And there you have it.

I am, of course, only joshing you. They don't ask your favorite sport on the census.

Here is what really happened. Around 1856, a group of New York journalists were completely enamored with baseball. So enamored that they began referring to it as the "national pastime." Considering the nation was soon to head into a brutal civil war and that New York City was about as different from the rest of the country as you could get (ask someone in the Nebraska Territory what the best sport was, they'd probably say killing bison), the idea of a national commonality was tenuous at best.

Oh, and did I mention New York was pretty much the only place with baseball teams at that time. So, you know, the claim may have been a bit of stretch.

Whether or not the statement was even close to true doesn't matter. It got stuck in the nation's collective consciousness and became true. Fast forward 150 years and baseball is such a fixture in our society it's pretty much untouchable. True, there are some differences. The players have lost some weight (and some vices) while gaining more muscle and money. But ultimately it's still 9 people in a field trying to catch a ball.

Our other national past time isn't as safe from structural change. What's the other national pastime? Bowling, of course. Hey, if a few journalists in New York can claim baseball's supremacy, why can't I stump for another sport?

Since the 50's, the bowling alley has been a part of the American landscape. Built in what seems like every city across the country, these cavernous places filled with the noise of crashing pins and loud voices were home to a truly democratic sport. You didn't need to own any equipment or even be particularly in shape. You show up, put on some rental shoes and throw a ball down a lane. It was suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It was a big deal for a while.

Then it wasn't. Bowling's popularity waned and the alleys, though still frequently used, began developing a threadbare quality about them. Many went under and got re-purposed. (For those of you familiar with the Safeway on Stevens Creek and Lawrence, guess what that sign use to promote.) Others, like Moonlight Lanes, kept plugging along and slowly modernizing.

A few years back though, someone got the idea to model bowling alleys after drug induced fever dreams as a way to drum up business. Black lights everywhere, big screen TVs directly above neon pin sets, loud music, and high per game prices. While walking into an older alley was like stepping back in time, the new lanes were an ultramodern horror show where everyone has ADHD and glows in the dark. Too much, too fast.

I mention this because up in San Francisco, the last real bowling alley in the area is closing next month. Two new lanes are opening shorty after. A 12 lane affair right next to AT&T Park and a six lane alley in the Mission. In other words, there still won't be any functional lanes available. Sad face. Remarkably, the South Bay still has quite a few alleys left.

I suppose, in the end, this is why baseball has held such a grasp as the dominant sport in America. It requires some talent some and basic equipment, but nature provides the space to play it. When the rains stop for the year, you go outdoors and start a game. Bowling, unfortunately, will always be subject to economic whims and trends making its place in society unstable. Oh well, there's always lawn bowling.
posted by jw

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Basic Small Business Resources

Join Joan Jackson of JMJ Information Services will present Basic Small Business Resources, a free presentation for small business owners or those considering starting a small business.  Learn about the best resources for writing business plans, finding company performance data and information about your competitors that will help you improve your business.

The workshop will be Tuesday, March 27, 2012, from 1:00 - 2:30 in the Cedar Room at Central Park Library.

This is one in the series of Project BEST Workshops supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

posted by mb

Friday, March 16, 2012

How to Find Job Leads

The more exposure you and your resume have during the job search, the more likely you are to find a job.  Come and learn how to get known by people with the power to hire you.

Join a professional career advisor from NOVA, our local job center, on Tuesday, March 20th from 1:00 - 2:30 in the Cedar Room for this valuable (but free to you) presentation.  For more information and to sign up, call (408) 615-2900 or stop by the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of Central Park Library.

This is one in the series of Project BEST Workshops supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. 
posted by mb

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Job Hunting Help - Senior Center Class

Santa Clara Senior Center
Join Library staff at the Senior Center Wednesday, March 28th from 1:00 - 2:00PM in the Computer Lab for a hands-on computer class that will help you in finding good on-the-ground job search assistance locally.  You will also learn how to find the Library's books for career assessment, interview tips, resume and cover letter writing.  Get a taste of how to use social networking to get a job.  Make your job search more effective with recommended websites. Sign up for a free Santa Clara City Library card before or after class. This class is free to Seniors ages 50+.  Register at the Senior Center front desk. #45990
posted by mb

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NASA Missions Update

NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Eric Norris will present another fascinating multi-media program on NASA missions to the solar system. Eric will provide an update on the latest findings from: the search for other habitable worlds by the Kepler spacecraft, the Curiosity rover now on its way to Mars, the Juno mission now enroute to Jupiter, the Mars rover Opportunity, Dawn’s discoveries at the asteroid Vesta, and more! Bring your questions about NASA missions to this free presentation for interested students and adults.

To reserve a space, stop by the Reference Desk or call (408) 615-2900.
Date: 3/19/2012 7:00 PM
Location: Central Park Library Redwood Room

posted by mb for jb

Silicon Valley Reads Film: Allah Made Me Funny – Live in Concert

The Silicon Valley Reads program is showing the award-winning film, Allah Made Me Funny – Live in Concert, produced by Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing understanding between people of different faiths and cultures. “This 82-minute film follows acclaimed comedians Mo Amer, Azhar Usman, and Preacher Moss on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous truth of what it’s really like to be Muslim in America.” This program is co-sponsored by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.

Date: 3/18/2012 2:00 PM

Location: Central Park Library Redwood Room

To reserve a space for this enjoyable and enlightening Silicon Valley Reads film, call Reference at (408) 615-2900.

posted by mb for jb

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Free for All

I've been a college student three times in my life. The first time around, I went to classes every day, studied in the massive brutalist structure San Jose State called a library back then, and came out at the tippy-top of my class with a degree in Political Science (or as some would refer to it, a degree in wasted time and low job expectancy). This was 1998-2002. I only touched a computer in order to type papers or check my grades on their primitive website. In fact, I think I had to register for classes through a cumbersome automated phone service.

The second time was in 2007. At that point I was studying at American River College in Sacramento to become a mortician. Saying that I was studying "in" Sacramento is a bit of a misnomer. Since ARC was the only game in town for the death set, I was living in San Jose and commuting to Sacramento while trying to find time to study somewhere in between. It's not a particularly great way to get ahead on your classes. Alas, as much as I wanted an online course for human anatomy to avoid driving 600 miles a week, it wasn't an option. Something about needing to be hands on. Anyhow, fell asleep while driving, could have wrecked my car, could have died, blah, blah, blah, dropped out.

Despite the saying, the third time wasn't much of a charm either. By applying to grad school, I'd finally have a chance to take an online course. Actually, it was the only type of course I could take seeing as the program went to being completely digital. Turns out, I hated online classes. My two semesters in the program can be summed up thusly: "If I wanted to hang out in chat rooms with jerks and blowhards, I could easily do that for free." So yes, I dropped out of that one too.

That's a cheap shot, I know. I'm sure for some the online learning environment is perfect. But to me, the educational experience offered did not match the price being extracted from my bank account. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I work for a library. I'm use to having access to the information I want, mostly free of charge. I can get the required text books through Link+. I can find the required articles on our databases. The thing that makes college worth the money is the knowledge gleaned through the lectures of professors and discussions with classmates. And in the classes I took, there weren't a whole lot of lectures and far too many off topic discussion.

So considering my general crankiness towards the concept of online education, reading an article about MOOCs yesterday should have made me uneasy. Instead, I found the idea rather brilliant.

A MOOC is short for "massive open online course." The concept isn't entirely new (similar to an interactive version of the Great Courses series), but the philosophy is. Most education revolves around scarcity. There is one professor who holds the knowledge. There are but a few privileged students with the financial means and geographic location who have access to that knowledge. In a physical setting, this makes sense. Many online courses offered by colleges try to maintain these physical restrictions to some degree. A MOOC, on the other hand, recognizes the digital world as being fundamentally different and that online education should be conducted under a different model.

The only barrier to someone interested in taking a MOOC is the necessity of a computer and internet connection. (It's duly noted that for many people this is still a huge barrier.) Outside of that, class enrollment is unlimited (some courses have a thousand participants), the courses are entirely free, and all the materials needed are supplied by the professor in the way of online resources. To folks who feel that information should be free, this is quite exciting. Especially considering all the uproar about higher education, student debt, and increasing tuition lately.

Not all the courses are created equal of course. Some of the ones I was browsing on Udemy looked a little... homespun. But also mixed in there and on sites like Coursera are Stanford and UC Berkeley courses being conducted as MOOCs. At the price of free, that's a pretty good deal. Most of the classes offered skew towards the techie side of things, but seeing that an anatomy course is in the works, the focus might get wider in the future.

Here's the downside though, unless you are interested in education for education's sake, this isn't going to do you a lick of good on your resume. These courses aren't recognized as "real" college despite the fact that they are offering "real" education. Much like a library, they can be seen as a part of the "people's university." A place where information is for the taking in the goal of individual improvement. And I believe that's what employers refer to as being "self-motivated." So maybe it will work on a resume if you spin it right.
posted by jw

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tai chi class

Join Nick Huang from Wu Hao Tai Chi Foundation on Tuesday, March 6th at 6:30pm in the Cedar Room for an introduction to tai chi class.  Learn about the benefits of tai chi and watch a demonstration.  Participants will also get an opportunity to try tai chi.  Sign up at the reference desk or call 408-615-2900.  Walk-ins are welcome.

posted by pk

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kids: Get Ready for Spring!

Spring is soon approaching, bringing a variety of intriguing and exciting changes in nature, weather and social activities! Learn more about spring and the many ways to celebrate this season by checking out the following titles at your library:

Kitten's SpringKitten's Spring by Eugenie Fernandes
On a bright, beautiful spring day, Kitten takes a stroll around the farmyard, meeting with all sorts of animals and their young including owls, frogs, cows, ducks and much more!

Spring Surprises
Spring Surprises by Anna Jane Hays
Spring has arrived and it is time to have fun and enjoy the activities that spring offers such as flying kites, watching baby animals take their first steps, making mud pies, dancing in the rain and more!
Spring BreakTails of Spring Break by Anne Warren Smith
Katie is about to have a spring break that she won't soon forget. While all of her class peers are traveling during spring break, she decides to stay home and start a pet-sitting business. However, baby-sitting pets is more difficult than she thought when the China Cat disappears, Mrs. Anderson's dog eats an exotic plant and the tropical fish dies. Read this book to find out what happens next!
New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring EquinoxA New Beginning by Wendy Pfeffer
This multifaceted book contains interesting scientific and cultural facts about the Spring Equinox. Learn how spring is celebrated in various cultures throughout the ages and the world and participate in several fun activities contained in this book.

Are you ready for Spring?Are You Ready for Spring? by Sheila Anderson
Flowers begin to bloom. The days are sunnier and longer. The weather is warmer. What else happens in spring? Read this book to find out!


Spring by Ann Herriges
Discover how nature, animals, plants and the climate change during the spring season! This book contains interesting facts and information about these changes that occur in spring.

For more recommendations, please see a librarian at the Youth Services Desk.
posted by pn