January 2011

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Lunar New Year is Almost Here!

Lunar New Year is around the corner. Many Asian families celebrate this holiday. Do you want to take this opportunity to celebrate and explore Lunar New Year culture with us?  If yes, let me share with you some of my favorite books, which my children and I read every year.


再過幾天就是農曆新年,許多華裔家庭都會慶祝這個節日, 你想借這個機會和我們一起慶祝並探索中國文化嗎?下面列的是我的小孩和我每年都會閱讀的一些書目,提供給大家參考



Book cover of Long-Long's New YearLong-Long’s New Year

by Catherine Gower and He Zhihong


This story is about how Long-Long celebrates Chinese New Year.

這是一個關於Long-Long 如何慶祝春節的故事。




Book cover of This Next New YearThis Next New Year by Janet S. Wong


The author introduces Chinese New Year customs from a child’s viewpoint. It helps children better understand those customs.




Book cover of Runaway Rice CakeRunaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine


Rice cake is a traditional dessert for Chinese New Year, just like gingerbread for Christmas. It is interesting to describe a rice cake like The Gingerbread Man.




Book cover of Sam and the Lucky MoneySam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn


Everyone loves lucky money. What would you do with it? Sam was excited about going shopping with his lucky money, but at the end he decided to help a homeless man instead.

每個人都喜歡拿紅包,但拿了壓歲錢要做什麼呢? Sam本來拿著紅包高興地去逛街買東西,最後卻決定用這些錢去幫助別人。




Book cover of Hiss! Pop Boom!Hiss! Pop Boom!

By Tricia Morrissey


This book is unique because it introduces Chinese New Year customs and Chinese Brush painting to readers at the same time.





There are many more books, like The Chinese New Year and Exploring Chinatown, talking about Lunar New Year in San José Public Library. You are welcome to visit our libraries as often as you want. Happy Lunar New Year!


聖何西公共圖書館裏,還有許多關於中國新年的書,像是The Chinese New YearExploring Chinatown。有空的話,歡迎多蒞臨圖書館。祝大家新年快樂!

Logical Puzzles

Everyday life brings lots of puzzles to solve. It is good to start preparing to face them from an early age.

San José Public Library has several good logical puzzles books for kids and adults.

One of them is Super-colossal Book of Puzzles, Tricks and Games. It contains hundreds of activities such as optical illusions, card tricks and psychological games.


Everything Kids' Riddles & Brain Teasers Book cover


Everything Kids' Riddles and Brain Teasers Book has hours of challenging fun for kids.


The Brain Explorer book coverThe Brain Explorer: Puzzles, Riddles, and Other Mental Adventures includes a collection of puzzles and activities dealing with math, memory and visual perception.

Try them all!


Also do not forget to bring your children ages K-6 to our next Math Club that will be held on February 12 in the King Library Children's Room.

The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Hill Top Farm is the first book of the series and The Tale of Oat Cake Crag is the last one chronologically, 1905-1912. More books in the series are still being written. The series covers the time period between the death of her fiancée and publisher of her books, Norman Warne (who died a month after their engagement), and her eventual marriage to William Heelis in 1913. The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter is a magical blend of biography (of Beatrix Potter), talking village and farm animals and their lives (natural science), fairies and dragons (fantasy), all wrapped up in mysteries to solve. The animals usually know “who-did-it” before the villagers do and usually try to communicate the complete story to the villagers who only hear barks, meows, squeaks, moos or quacks. For a fun entertaining multi-faceted read, rush to the mystery fiction book shelf for The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert.

The Art of Mel Chin


Have you seen the art of “Recolecciones” at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library? The "Recoleccions" is the Spanish word for "recollections” and the artwork collection is in many areas of the library. However, have you asked yourself who is the artist behind all of this? Mel Chin is an internationally recognized conceptual artist. The artist was born 1951 in Houston Texas, and he graduated from Peabody College in Nashville Tennessee. In 2007 he received a commendation from the San José City Council for his public artwork at Downtown San José's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. He is the recipient of many multiple awards including the US National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Art Matters, Creative Capital, and Penny McCall, Pollock/Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundations and Nancy Graves Foundation Award. His artwork has been shown in venues around the world. Maryland Institute College of Art states that Mel Chin is "known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas." PBS describes Mel Chin’s art as both analytical and poetic. Which one is your favorite art work at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

book jacket of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian while on a visit to Boston and I found that I could not take a break from it!  Junior, a disabled Native American boy, finds the courage within himself to break away from tradition.  His tale is truly inspiring for teens who find themselves in a horrible situation.


Despite enduring tremendous personal tragedies, Junior never gives up on himself.  His saving grace is his art, which is on display throughout the book. 


If you like uplifting stories, make sure that you read this book!

We Are in a Book

book jacket of We Are in a Book! by Mo WillemsWhat's not to love about the series of adventures of two best friends, Piggie and Elephant by Mo Willems? In this new adventure We Are in a Book, our two heroes find out that they are actually characters in a book! What a surprise! My six-year-old son found this book to be hysterical! Especially the parts where the characters are laughing about "Banana." 


book jacket of Knuffle Bunny by Mo WillemsFans of this former Sesame Street writer include not only children, but adults as well. If you like this author, you will probably enjoy his picture books! Who can ever forget their favorite childhood toy (Knuffle Bunny series) or who can ever forget about wanting to do things that the adults said you couldn't do (Pigeon series.) book jacket of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus


My son's cautious steps into reading ended when he started reading Piggie and Elephant. Now, I can find him eagerly reading Elephant and Piggie books after school!

How to Live a Life of (Stoic) Joy

cover shot of the the book - A Guide to the Good Life by William IrvineWith the holidays just behind us and an new year just begun, I’ve been reflecting on the ways this season can be so wonderful for some and so difficult for others. At a time when many try to focus on family, love and goodwill to man – the absence of the same can be especially painful. And the very nature of “joy” which should be such a simple thing can be elusive.


In response to these thoughts I’ve been reminded of a book recommended some years ago by someone very special to me. A man with a philosopher’s mind and a special talent for experiencing happiness every day – in both good and bad times.


The book is A Guide to The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine.


And yes, as the title suggests, the book is an exploration of the teachings of the ancient stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelias and Epictetus and how the stoic lifestyle can lead to a good – perhaps even great – life. Of course today when you think of someone being stoic, you might imagine a humorless, dour person without emotion, but the real stoics of the past were far from this. In fact, what the stoics actually believed and tried to practice in their daily lives included ideas such as – there is nothing wrong with enjoying the good things in life (including luxuries) so long as we are able to give them up without regret if our circumstances should change – and how to achieve this “goal” if you will, through practical techniques such as negative visualization, which is to practice visualizing how your current life could be worse. This also helps us to learn to appreciate what we already have today. There are many other ideas and practical techniques put forth by this insightful book that could change the way you live your life or at least some of your attitudes about control, duty, social relations, grief, anger, and more.


For more about this book and to hear interviews with the author, check out the Literary Website of William B. Irvine.

If you have an iPhone there is NEVER an excuse not to have something to read!

Screenshot of iPhone Screen highlighting ebook reader appsLast week, a friend of mine posted on Facebook the following update:


Sitting alone at Starbucks with my green tea frap because Christophers train is late! The one time I don't bring something to read of course!


She posted this using her iPhone!


I responded immediately that if she's got an iPhone she should have an ereader app on there!  I have 3 on my iPhone and the next time I saw her I gave her this show and tell...


Screenshot of OverDrive Media Console App for iPhone

OverDrive Media Console- Overdrive has a collection of ebooks and audiobooks available for download using your San Jose Public Library Card. This app allows you to search and download titles in the library's collection and then read them. You must also have an Adobe account - which is free to sign up for - in order to read the ebooks. Once all those pieces are in place, take a browse through our collection of fiction and non-fiction titles. Something is bound to please!


Screenshot of Stanza for iPhone App featuring two classic book titlesStanza - this free app allows you to read books from Project Gutenberg.  If you were not aware, for over two decades, volunteers have been digitizing books that are in the public domain into text files which are then put on the web and are available for download - FOR FREE! All those classics like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Moby Dick - even the Beatrix Potter books are available on Project Gutenberg. Just browse the catalog of titles using Stanza, hit the download button and less than a minute later, you're reading!


eReader Pro - this free app from Barnes & Noble allows downloads of several different types of ebooks.; They do offer some titles for free to download, but also sell titles.


Screenshot of Kindle for iPhone AppKindle for iPhone - this app is free, but most books are not. As with Barnes & Noble, they do have some free titles for download - either limited time promotions or classics. The interface is very easy to use and you can download the first chapter of many of the books for free. A kind of try before you buy sort of thing.


So, get cracking on loading those free apps to get your reading done on your iPhone! You'll never be bored in a Starbucks waiting for your boyfriend with nothing to read again!

Outer Beauty, Inner Joy

Book Cover of Outer Beauty, Inner JoyOuter Beauty, Inner Joy: Contemplating the Soul of the Renaissance by Julianne Davidow caught my eye when I was recently browsing the new book shelves. Sumptious photographs of sculpture, painting, drawings-- are matched with quotations by contemporary scholars, illustrating the philosophy and spiritual traditions that inspired works of Renaissance art.


This is a book to ponder over, slowly a feast for the eye, a source of spiritual renewal for the mind. Listen to podcasts and read transcripts of interviews at the author's website.

Young Cam Jansen Series

Cover of the book Young Cam Jansen and the 100th Day of School Mystery David A. Adler's Young Cam Jansen series is a great one for kids who are starting to read on their own. The reading level is roughly grades K-2 and ages 5-8.


The books are short, tame, but interesting mysteries that readers can try to solve before Cam Jansen solves them. "Cam," short for Camera, is the nickname of Jennifer Jansen, an elementary school girl with a photographic memory and a wonderful attitude. There are 16 books in the series and counting, so kids will have plenty of stories in this series to satisfy them. The illustrations by the accomplished Susanna Natti are vivid and attractive. And each book includes a "Memory Game" at the end of the book. The best thing about the series, though, may be that kids that read all the books in this series can graduate to the longer, slightly more difficult  books of the Cam Jansen Adventures series.


For more information about Cam Jansen, check out the Cam Jansen Mysteries website.

Diabetes Information

San José Public Library has many sources of information about Diabetes. The Consumer Health Complete database is a useful resource. (You'll need a San José Public Library card to access this database). The Library also has cookbooks, in many different languages, for people who have diabetes. 

Custom Guide - Online Software Training

Do you want or need to learn more about computer software? Check out one of our databases. Custom Guide is an online tutorial program. You go at your own pace and the program keeps track of where you leave off. This database offers help with - Access, Computer Basics, Excel, Internet Explorer 6 & 7, Mac imovies, Mac iTunes, Mac iphoto, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac Safari, Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Quickbooks, Windows Vista & XP, and Word. All you need to get started is a San José Public Library Card!

The Gruffalo

Book cover of The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is my all time favorite picture book for 1st graders.  The story line is simply charming, and if you can do voices when you read, you will absolutely captivate your audience.  The Gruffalo is the most intimidating creature of the forest, but he has one weakness.  Read this and find out!

New Historical Fiction for Teens

Sphinx's Princess coverYou shuffle to the library's Information Desk, dragging your feet with dread or perhaps just lack of motivation. "I need to write a book report or essay on a historical fiction novel," you say with an exasperated sigh. What you're probably really asking is, "Do you have any historical fiction that's not going to bore me to tears?"


Fortunately, the answer is YES! Historical fiction does not have to be boring, and there are plenty of books coming out all the time just for teen readers. This is an exciting genre that's all about taking you back to a different place and time, yet you'll undoubtedly find many aspects of the human experience that will always ring true. Here are some new historical fiction titles for teens that you (and your teacher) will hopefully enjoy, whether it's for an assignment or just for fun.


Ancient Egypt

Sphinx’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Nefertiti's dancing abilities, remarkable beauty, and intelligence garner so much attention that her family is summoned to the Egyptian royal court, where Nefertiti becomes a pawn in the power play of her scheming aunt.


The Renaissance

Lady Macbeth’s Daughter by Lisa Klein

Ambitious Lady Macbeth tries to win the throne of Scotland for her husband while her banished daughter Albia, who was raised by three weird sisters, falls in love, learns of her parentage, and seeks to free Scotland from tyranny.


18th Century England

Sovay by Celia Rees

In 1794 England, the beautiful Sovay, disguised as a highwayman, acquires papers that could lead to her father's arrest for treason, and soon her political consciousness leads her and a compatriot to France during the Revolution.


19th Century United States

Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein

When the Civil War breaks out, two cousins, Lizzie and Rosanna, find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict until the war reunites them in the town of Gettysburg.


The Devil's Paintbox coverThe Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria McKernan

In 1865, fifteen-year-old Aidan and his thirteen-year-old sister Maddy, penniless orphans, leave drought-stricken Kansas on a wagon train hoping for a better life in Seattle, but find there are still many hardships to be faced.


The Letter Writer: A Novel by Ann Rinaldi

Harriet Whitehead, a girl who serves as letter writer for her blind stepmother, is haunted by her unwitting role in Nat Turner's Rebellion, one of the bloodiest slave uprisings in the history of America.


WWII-Era United States

A Troubled Peace by L.M. Elliott

Henry Forrester, an American pilot who crashed in France during World War II, returns to France after the war to find the boy who helped him escape and is traumatized by the war-time destruction and suffering of those who survived the war.


Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

In 1940s Chicago, fifteen-year-old Ruby hopes to escape poverty by becoming a taxi dancer in a nightclub, but the work has unforeseen dangers and hiding the truth from her family and friends becomes increasingly difficult.


Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl must pass for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots and fulfill her dream of flying, but she learns that denying her true self is a heavy burden to bear.

Brownie & Pearl See the Sights

Cover of Brownie & Pearl See the SightsCynthia Rylant’s Brownie & Pearl See the Sights is the third story about the active and adorable duo of Brownie and her cat Pearl.  They hit the town during the snowy, winter holiday season and have fun visiting various downtown shops. From the hat shop to the cupcake shop, Brownie and Pearl enjoy trying on adult-sized hats and shoes and treating themselves to cupcakes.


The story is sweet and simple and the illustrations by Brian Biggs are even sweeter. The snowy scenes turn the downtown into a fluffy wonderland in which Brownie and Pearl standout in their striped and snowflake-patterned outfits. The downtown scenes are done in muted pastels, and they are full of fun details. See how many winter holiday decorations you can find!


See Brian Biggs’ website for more information on other Brownie & Pearl stories.

Molly Allgood Is Dying

Book jacket of Ghost LightMolly Allgood is dying. Joseph O'Connor's new novel Ghost Light follows her through her almost-last day -- a bitter one in war-exhausted 1952 London -- as the aged Irish actress rises, considers how she may get enough food to get her through the day, and enough booze to make her want to -- until her role that evening in a BBC radio play taken from one of the works of her late lover the playwright J.M. Synge.


As Molly makes her way from one small victory or defeat to the next, she reminisces about Synge and his colleagues Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats, the demigods of the Abbey Theatre in Edwardian Dublin. That is all that happens.


But O'Connor is a word-weaver of a high order. This sad, simple story is told in sentences that are lush and sprightly, and his ability to give voice -- more properly, voices to Molly -- as a prim teenager, a salty-tongued ingenue, and a grande dame of the theater, is a tour de force.


Allgood was real, and she did have a relationship with Synge. Her sister Sara was a well-known Hollywood character actress. But O'Connor has not written a historical novel. In British theater, a single bare bulb is left burning onstage overnight so that the theater's ghosts may perform their own plays. O'Connor's tale is Molly's own theater of ghosts, performing with her one last time before she goes to join them.

Fancy Nancy Splendid Speller

Book cover of Fancy NancyFancy Nancy of picture book fame is here with a great selection of I Can Read! books for first graders. It is just like Fancy Nancy to love the word splendid. Splendid is a glittery fancy word and Nancy can spell it too! Nancy learns that although she is a splendid speller, she is not a perfect speller. When Nancy takes the weekly spelling test at school she is faced with a dilemma. See how she solves her spelling problem and learns a valuable lesson too. Fancy Nancy Splendid Speller by Jane O’Connor features short sentences, familiar words, and simple concepts for beginning readers. Check out all the other Fancy Nancy easy readers you can enjoy.

Pedro’s Burro

Book cover of Pedro's BurroPedro’s Burro by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, and illustrated by Pau Estrada is a gentle story about a boy and his father who visit the market in order to buy a burro that is “just right.”  Alyssa Satin Capucilli, also known for her books about the dog Biscuit, has a great website that contains a lot of information about the books she has written.  Pau Estrada, a resident of Barcelona, Spain, has illustrated many other children’s books, including Soccer Counts!

Featured Online Resource: CustomGuide

CustomGuide is pretty cool. What is it? It's free online computer training. Accessible online from home or work. You can learn software programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint 2007 and a bunch of other software programs too. Did I mention this resource is free with a San José Public Library card? This is a great resource if you need to brush up on your computer skills or perhaps you have staff that need a little bit of extra computer training.

Baby Sign Language Workshop @ King Library

Book Cover: Baby Sign Language BasicsThe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is hosting a Baby Sign Language workshop on Saturday, Janurary 29 at 3:00PM in the Exploration Room. Knowing baby sign language and teaching it to young babies gives parents the opportunity to communicate with their children "long before babies can verbalize their wants and needs." Research studies show that "signing with babies accelerates language acquisition, reduces frustration and aggressive behavior, and as children mature, results in a greater interest in reading." Our teacher, Bill White, from Touch Blue Sky will be teaching parents and caregivers over 40 basic baby signs that are based on American Sign Language (ASL). The workshop is designed for expectant parents and parents with hearing babies who range in ages from birth to 18 months old. After the workshop, or if you can't make it to the workshop, please check out the many baby sign language books the library owns. So the next time your baby cries or is irritated he might know the signs to tell you what he wants!


Remember that parking is Free on Saturdays in downtown San Jose.

Tumble Book Library: eBooks and more for Kids

TumbleBook graphic menuWith picture books being as popular as they are, it’s very likely that your local San José Public Library will not have the picture book you are looking for. And even if you some how manage to find the book, chances are that the pages are either ripped or the entire book is damaged. Your picture book problems now become a thing of the past with the TumbleBook Library. The San José Public Library now offers this great online service for toddlers and parents that lets you electronically access your favorite picture books such as Franklin, Biscuitto, Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. The Tumble Book Library includes books for children ages K-5; even more amazing is that there are over 70 playable puzzles and games, all of which are free. The TumbleBook Library is a great chance for kids and parents alike to experience the electronic resources that are available through the San Jose Public Library.

Vampires + Pirates = Vampirates

Cover Image of Vampirates

Justin Somper has created a series of books that sails by night on the high seas. Twin siblings, Grace and Connor, are each on different ships after being lost at sea. Each have their own adventures, learning the ways of piracy, and discovering secrets about their own family. Sail along with them….if you dare.


Demons of the Ocean


Tide of Terror


Blood Captain


Black Heart


Empire of Night



These are listed as juvenile but are more appropriate for 5th grade and up.

Listen to Joshua Bell

Picture of a violinAs one of today's Classical Music Superstars, violinist Joshua Bell has performed for more than two decades (since age 14) with world-renowned orchestras such as Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, and conductors Riccardo Muti, Sir Roger Norrington, Esa-Pekka Salonen, etc.


With more than 30 CDs, Bell has won a Grammy, Gramophone Award, and other prestigious awards.  Not limited to Classical Music, his repertoire extends to Jazz and Soundtracks, with music recorded for movies such as Angels & Demons and The Red Violin.  Bell's recent album, At Home With Friends, contains collaborative tracks with Jazz/Pop artists such as Chris Botti, Sting, Josh Groban and more.


* Check out Joshua Bell's CDs at your local libraries

* Read more about Joshua Bell at Joshuabell.com

Earworms...Songs You Can't Get Out of Your Head

Treble Clef by wonderlane on flickrEarworms...  According to Urban Dictionary, an earworm is a song you can't get out of your head. Usually these are the "worst" songs and having one running through your head all day can drive you crazy! Other terms for earworm are "tune wedgie", "sticky tune" and "aneurhythm".  If you look up at the top of this page and click on articles and type in earworm, the first article you will see is a scientific study of "stuck song syndrome" that was published in the British Journal of Psychology. In this study, they relate that most people play a different song to get the song out of their head, though a small minority (less than 2%) imbibe alcohol.


A friend of mine from college posted on his facebook status that the song Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey was on in the elevator and he wished he had his ipod with him. I love that song, but that's just me. And so, my friend was earwormed...by a pony she named Wildfire...busted down his stall...in a blizzard he was lost... I just downloaded it on Freegal...and so can you if you know it won't be buzzing in your head hours from now.


Three of my personal earworms are Who Let the Dogs Out by the Baha Men, Sk8ter Boi by Avril Lavigne and Barbie Girl by Aqua.


What songs have you had stuck in your head? How do you get them out?

Puppet Making for Families @ King Library

Book Cover: Simple Puppets from Everyday MaterialsChildren love puppets so why not have them make their own! As part of our Friday Fun series, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library will be hosting a “Puppet Making for Families,” program on Friday, January 28 at 4:00PM. Children ages 2-8 and their parents/caregivers will have fun at this delightful interactive program. Children can continue this puppet making fun by checking out some of the many puppet making books we have at the library. Remember that Friday Fun happens every Friday aftenoon at 4:00PM. It’s a great and fun way to start off the weekend and we have some great programs planned for February: Making Musical Instruments, Valentine Craft, Mural Making and more! Join us! 

Who Was Spalding Gray?

Book Cover of "Gray's Anatomy" by Spalding GrayMy son the actor is performing in a show called Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell presented by Custom Made Theater in San Francisco. Although Spalding Gray was a real person, I had never heard of him. Of course, I wanted to know who he was since my son is portraying him. Fortunately, San José Public Library has two online biographical resources that gave me a nice overview. You may find them handy, too, if you’re looking for biographical information on a well-known person from the past or the present. Teens will also find them very helpful for school reports.


The first one is Biography Collection Complete. Here I found that Spalding Gray was a playwright and an actor. He wrote Swimming to Cambodia; Monster in a Box; Gray's Anatomy; and Impossible Vacation, among other works. He was in the films The Killing Fields, Kate and Leopold, and Beaches. When I read the articles about him in Biography Collection Complete, I discovered a special feature of this resource--there is an option to have the information read to you. You can even choose the speed (slow, medium, fast) and the accent of the voice (American, British, Australian). You can also download to MP3. Wish they’d had this when I was a student!


The second resource I want to share is Biography Reference Center. In this database I found an article with a complete list of Spalding Gray’s publications, information about his life, and some analysis of his works. A special feature of this resource is the option of having an article translated into another language.


You will find links to both of these excellent resources on the SJPL website. You can access them for free with your San José Public Library card and PIN number. On the SJPL home page, click on the Research (homework help and articles) box on the lower left side. You will now see a box on the left side titled “Find articles online.” At the bottom of the box, click on “More Research Resources by topic.” Look for “Subject Specific Resources” and select “History and Biography.” Biography Collection Complete and Biography Reference Center are at the top of the list. Click on the one you would like to use and then enter your search terms.


You may ask why I didn’t just do a Google search on Spalding Gray. I actually did that and got 110,000 hits. I could have scanned them looking for the ones that were relevant, but it would have taken me longer and been less efficient than using one of the biography resources. So take advantage of the biography databases and our many other free online resources


Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post on how I researched hip-hop music to better understand the work of my other son, the DJ.

Private Life of a Masterpiece

Have you ever visited an art museum and felt overwhelmed and ignorant? Well, here is an opportunity to have an excellent art appreciation experience without leaving your home. Private Life of a Masterpiece is a BBC series on DVD that presents the stories behind masterpieces of art in an engaging, entertaining manner. I recently viewed Seventeenth Century Masters and was fascinated by the amount of information presented about three paintings: Rembrandt van Rijn's "The Night Watch"; Johannes Vermeer’s, "The Art of Painting"; and Diego Velazquez’s, "The Rokeby Venus." Each artist’s life along with an in depth analysis of the masterpiece is explored and then the history of what has happened to each masterpiece over time is detailed. This is definitely not a dry and dull presentation. The narration, music and visuals are captivating and thoroughly entertaining. I highly recommend the series for art lovers and anyone who has ever been intimidated by art appreciation or museums. Complement your viewing pleasure with the accompanying book by the same title: The Private Life of a Masterpiece.

The Blessings of Gaia

Book jacket of September SnowRobert Balmanno’s, September Snow, is first in a series of four books that are either published or in the process of being written.  It is a post-apocalyptic view of a dystopian society not dissimilar to George Orwell’s literary style in his acclaimed, Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Global warming and climate change have been inescapable for decades. Gaia, a new religion, over time becomes corrupted.  Action packed from the very beginning, Tom, the protagonist, is attempting to rectify some of the long-term damage the government has invoked on the planet.  Like two stars colliding, he eventually stumbles upon September, or, rather she “stumbles” upon him.  There is even a glimpse of the nascent romance about half way into the novel! 


The author asks several socio-political, environmental, and philosophical questions that leave the reader with a greater appreciation for our responsibility in respecting and caring for our planet.  On a deeper level the author raises the question many well-known philosophers over time have asked: “what is truth?”


Book jacket of Runes of Iona


The most recent book in The Blessings of Gaia series, Runes of Iona, was published and released to Gaia fans only a few months ago.  Each book in Balmanno’s quartet stands on its own and can be read in reverse order or independently of the other.

Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the ......

 Book Jacket of Give Me a BreakGive Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media by John Stossel. This book is interesting and not your run of the mill, non-fiction, the-media-sucks book. In fact, he doesn't attack the media. He brings up interesting interviews and stories. A good read for Stossel fans.

I Just Can't Stop Listening To...

…the latest music offering from The Decemberists, The King is Dead. This music bridges the gap between Indie pop and Folk. There’s the influence of Bob Dylan, Steeleye Span, coupled with the strains of modern Bluegrass. Gillian Welch and Peter Buck help out on a few tracks. This is truly a unique, more modern take on Folk music. And definitely worth a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNTiU_lbrOs&feature=related

Willow Glen Wags (Sunny)

Suuny of Furry Friends at Willow Glen Branch

Sunny, a sweetheart of a Shi Tzu, and five of her canine buddies visited the friendly neighborhood library in Willow Glen recently. They were greeted with cries of delight from children of all ages, who spent the next hour enthusiastically meeting all the dogs, settling down with their favorite books, and reading to the furry audience. An official therapy dog of the Furry Friends, Sunny enjoys travelling and meeting new people. She also likes listening to children read books, as her own reading skills are poor. On a recent Thursday afternoon, she perked up her ears and listened as her new young friends read to her, some in English and some in Spanish. Her companion human, Whit, says that Sunny is going to be five in March, and while Sunny doesn't know much Spanish yet, she would like to learn. At the end of the hour, everyone left with hugs and promises to meet again at the  next Furry Friends visit to Willow Glen Library. For more photos, visit the library on flickr.

La Biblioteca de Martin Luther King, Jr. y Lo Que Tiene Para Los Niños.

Bienvenido al Cuarto de Niños que está en el primer piso de la Biblioteca de Martin Luther King, Jr.  Hay muchas cosas aquí para niños de los más joven hasta la edad de doce años.  Tenemos una gran cantidad de libros en español, por supuesto, pero también hay DVD's de sus películas favoritas. Además hay música en discos compactos, y seguro that su niño or niña va a encontrar un artista ye le gusta.


Todos los niños están invitado a la hora del cuento, un programa bilingue, que tenemos dos veces al mes, el jueves a las cuatro del la tarde, el segundo y cuarto de cada mes. Si quiere saber algo de más programas que hay para niños, favor de llamar a este número: (408) 808-2384. Cuando ustedes, los padres, vienen con sus hijos a la biblioteca, no se olvide de visitar también el tercer piso, donde van a encontrar una colección de libros, DVD's y discos compactos para adultos.


La Biblioteca de Martin Luther King Jr. está ubicada en la calle de San Fernando, al numero 150 E. San Fernando. ¡Ven para visitarnos muy pronto!

Dutch Utopia

Book cover of Dutch Utopia, showing painting "The Sisters" by Gari MelchersDutch Utopia... no, it's not the name of a chocolate dessert concoction! In the late 1800s, right up until the outbreak of World War I, there was a social movement in various venues of American life, but especially in art circles, that to "return" to Holland was to return to our roots, to our values, to a less complicated time and place. Artist colonies sprang up all over Holland: in the cities, in the villages, on the farms, by the coast. This book is the record of a recent exhibit of the works of many of these artists. Artwork reproduced here depicts many aspects of Dutch life at the time: portraits, family life, church services, farm chores, fishing fleets. Styles range from highly realistic to impressionistic. And yours truly has a connection: the artwork of my great-great-grandfather Stephen Salisbury Tuckerman, a marine artist, is represented here in Dutch Utopia. Both San José Public and San José State libraries have a copy. Enjoy perusing, and when you're done, then check the library catalog for Dutch chocolate confections!

Attention All Bibliophiles...

We all know that libraries have books for just about any topic we can think of; but have you ever wanted to read books about ... um... books?!   Even with a growing interest in electronic books, eReaders, and just reading from a computer/phone/laptop, there is always going to be an interest in the bound paper of a printed book. 


Book cover of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much In The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett, a chronic book thief steals not for the potential money he could make from snatching rare books, but for the idea of posessing them all.  Ironically enough, this fascinating read is also available as an eBook! For those wanting to know more about book collecting, The Official Price Guide to Collecting Books, is a great place to start to get an idea of the book trade industry, how to care for rare books, and what books are worth looking for. 


And for those ready to start their personal libraries, or for current collectors, the Friends of the Edenvale Branch Library will have its quarterly book sale this Saturday, January 22nd, from 10am-6pm!  There will be many great deals and perhaps even a couple hidden treasures amongst the many used books/CDs/DVDs/etc. up for grabs!  All sales go to funding programs at the Edenvale Branch Library!

I Drove up to San Francisco to Giants World Championship Parade and Lost My Car

I drove up to San Francisco on Wed Nov 3rd to attend the Giants World Series Championship Victory Parade. I am a huge Giants fan. I wanted to be there to celebrate the 1st World Championship for the San Francisco Giants.

I drove around for approx 1 hour trying to find a parking spot. Finally I found a spot in a small parking lot. I was running a little late. Wanted to get to the parade as soon as I could. I took my bicycle off the car and proceeded to bike to the parade route. I was busy dodging tons of people walking to the parade.

I arrived at the parade route near Market Street. A wave of panic came over me.

I had no idea where I parked my car. I needed to put the ticket in the windshield.

I enjoyed the parade for approx 1 hour.

Then I started what turned out to be a 67 day odyssey.

I bicycled for 2-3 hours and couldn't find the car. I talked to policemen, postal employees, a parking lot attendant. I felt like I covered every possible street in the area. I couldn't locate my car. I tried everything. I was stuck in S.F. I thought about getting a motel.

My wife and nephew picked me up in the evening. I went home------carless!

I hoped that the lot would tow my car so I would know where it is. No such luck!

I looked online at Google Maps with a nephew of mine looking at the street views of the possible area where my care would be. I made many more attempts to locate the car. An article was written in the S.F. Chronicle. I was on 106.5FM radio. I inspired the topic for the morning commute show-----losing your car.

I made lots of phone calls. Called the police dept daily to see if my car had been towed.

After 6 days San Jose PD came to my home and did a courtesy report. The car was listed as lost/stolen. My license plate went into the state database. I filed a claim with my insurance company.

Days and weeks went by without success. I rented 2 different cars.

I made another trip from San Jose to San Francisco. I drove around the area south of Market street early on a Sunday morning. Couldn't find my car.

The insurance company told me I needed to go to SFPD to file a stolen vehicle report. I did that.

One thing after another.

The insurance company was reaching their maximum coverage for my rent-a-car. They were waiting to get the S.F. Police Report. The average wait from S.F. is 47 days. I figured I would have to pay for a rent-a-car for a month.


World Champions



Last week I received phone calls from SFPD and the place that stores towed vehicles. My car had been found.

I called my insurance company. They didn't realize that the car was found. They were just about to write a check for me.

Last sunday I biked and took light-rail then Caltrain to S.F. to get my car.

I got the clearance from SFPD.

Then I went to Auto Return to re-unite with my vehicle. I had no idea what condition it was in. It was on the streets of San Francisco for over 2 months.

I was told I would need to wait for 2 hours.

15 minutes later I see my car being towed into the lot. The employee there yelled out "your bike rack is still on." The car looked great. I went out to inspect the car. There weren't any signs of foul play. It started up right away. Everything in the car was still there.

I put my bike on the rack and proceeded to have a wonderful drive home.

I got to enjoy the Giants victory at a much deeper level.

I have suffered alot over the years as a Giants fan.

Being separated from my car for 67 days is the price I needed to pay for being a Giants fan.

It was worth it. Especially since I got my car back.


Posted by Tom Miller on Jan 21, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Do You Love Edinburgh?

Photo of Edinburgh CastleHave you noticed how the setting of a novel can affect your enjoyment of the story?  A few weeks ago I realized that I love stories set in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Edinburgh is steeped in both the present and the past.  Princes Street literally divides the medieval Old Town from the elegant Georgian New Town, an 18th century planned development.  Scotland’s rich political, literary, and art history provide intriguing material for fascinating plot themes, especially to mystery and crime novels.


I invite you to get a feeling for Edinburgh by reading the mystery novels of Ian Rankin or the Isabel Dalhousie series of Alexander McCall-Smith.  My next Edinburgh read will be McCall-Smith's delightful 44 Scotland Series.   You'll get a feeling for Gaelic names, the pub scene, and even the heather on the moors.  If you decide you also love Edinburgh, check out the library’s travel collection and plan a wonderful vacation to Edinburgh.

Giving During Tough Times

Although the holiday season is over and times are tough for many of us, we can maintain the spirit of giving throughout the year. Following are some aids to giving time, used items, and money (even $5 can help!) to those in need.


hand giving dollars to another handGifts of Money

How do you choose among millions of charitable organizations? Several websites can help, including: Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, Great NonProfits, and Network for Good.


Gifts of Random Acts of Kindness

A random act of kindness (RAoK) is an action performed to help or cheer up a stranger “for no reason other than to make people happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, RAoKs are encouraged by various online and offline communities.” (Full definition) Find out more here: Random Acts of Kindness and Help Others.


Gifts of Time

monthly calendar page



Gifts of Used Items (Santa Clara County)



man with glasses peering into open bookFor additional information, please check out related books  available at San Jose libraries, including:


Read This Book If Typos Drive You Crazy

Book Cover of The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin HersonJeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson wrote a light book called The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time about their travels around the country finding and correcting typos. This book describes their travels and also includes some of the decisions they have to make, such as evaluating according to the AP Style Guide, the Chicago Manual of Style, or the MLA Style. Our hero, Jeff Deck, wears a typo correction kit like a bandolier. It contains many of the tools of his trade, including Elixir of Correction and permanent markers in a variety of colors. Examples of Some Typos Found on the Tour


He has to negotiate with business owners about whether or not to make the corrections for the good of society without offending them. Sometimes Deck and his companions opt for stealth corrections with a piece of chalk. Once they narrowly avoided arrest because they made a correction on tribal land. Join them on their circuit of the country to rid the world of typos that can confuse or amuse.

The King's Speech

Book cover of The King's SpeechThe recent movie starring Colin Firth is getting rave reviews and the movie lives up to them! The library has ordered copies of the book too. The book is based on diaries of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist who cured King George VI of his debilitating stammer.

Step Up 3

Step Up 3 starts with Moose (Adam G. Sevani), who is going to NYU as an engineer, but can’t help his urge to be a dancer! During orientation, he finds himself in a battle against the world's best dancers, the Samurais. Trying to escape from this battle, Moose meets up with Luke (Rick Malambri), leader of the “Pirates”, who finds people that love to dance to join his team. Unfortunately for Luke, a dance club he owns is going bankrupt. Luckily for him there is a $100,000 World Jam competition that would allow him to keep his club! But the plot doesn’t stop here. Luke ends up meeting the love of his life, Natalie (Sharni Vinson), and trying to recruit her to help win this competition. But standing in the way for Luke and the Pirates, the Samurais are also looking to win this competition so they could buy Luke’s dance club! Boy, does Luke have his hands full…


So many different problems these poor characters face:


Does Moose pursue his dream of being a dancer?
Does Luke get the love of his life?
Do the Pirates win the World Jam?

Did any of these people take acting classes?
Does Luke get to keep his dance club?
Does anybody really care?

If you are a fan of energetic music and dance moves, this movie is for you! If you enjoy a great plot and great acting, this movie might not be for you. Although this movie has amazing dance moves that resemble robots, the acting done by the characters is also robotic. I really don’t understand why the director even bothered with a plot or storyline. The audience knows where the movie is going and how it is going to end. He should have taken out the acting scenes and thrown more dance scenes in! The best parts of the movie were the dance scenes, not only because of the amazing choreography and acrobatic moves, but simply the fact that these were also the scenes where the characters didn’t talk. So if you like dancing and want to watch some amazing dance moves, then this movie is for you!

Knitting as a Lifestyle

Knitters and crocheters have their own culture and their own language. If you don't knit or crochet, you probably didn't know it, but we do. Yes, I am one of them. And now I will share our secrets with you...


When you knit or crochet something and it is coming out all wrong, you pull the yarn and "frog" your work. This means un-knitting or un-crocheting. Usually you "frog" until you get to the point where you can start over. Sometimes this means you pull the whole darn thing apart. This is a cathartic experience and if you have never "frogged," I suggest you give it a try.


But you will need to learn to knit or crochet first. The library has a plethora of books and even dvd's on the topic. So get ye to the 746's and grab one. Here are some that are good for beginners:


Cover of Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth ZimmermanKnitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman is the holy grail of knitting. This book is patient and kind and explains the whole thing in exquisite detail. The book was first published in 1971, but has been reprinted several times, which demonstrates that it has withstood the test of time and is a classic.


Kids Can Knit: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Knitter by Carolyn Clewer is a book for kids, but if you are a grown-up you cannot possibly be intimidated by the simple projects and how-to's in this book!


If you cannot figure it out from the diagrams and pictures in a book, here's a DVD to get you going:


The Art of Knitting & Crochet 2 This DVD features instructors who show you how to knit and crochet. If you don't get it the first time, just hit rewind!


Since you're online now, check out Nexstitch to watch very short, simple how-to videos to learn to crochet. This is how I learned after being frustrated by trying to learn from a book.


There are traditions and superstitions among knitters and crocheters. The most famous and devastating of which is The Sweater Curse! Supposedly, if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, he will break up with you. My husband has told me not to knit him a sweater but he is interested in me knitting one for myself in a masculine style that he could borrow! Why does knitting your boyfriend a sweater make him break up? It could be that he hated the sweater, but since you spent so much time making it, he feels awkward around you and then breaks up with you. It could be that because you spent so much time on a present, the sweater represents to him your commitment to the relationship which far outclasses his own and so he breaks up with you. Whatever it is, the Sweater Curse, according to some, is very real. On the blog Anti-Craft, there is a great sweater pattern called Curse Your Boyfriend and on the online web magazine Knitty, there's an article on the topic that is a great read! Knitty also features knitting patterns and is published quarterly, so for free online patterns, check it out!


Cover of The Knitting Sutra There is something calming about holding yarn in your hands and turning it into a functional object. It can be done while riding the bus, while watching tv, while conversing with friends. The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice by Susan Gordon Lydon explores that topic and others.


So keep warm, learn to knit or crochet and keep your hands busy this winter. Don't knit your boyfriend a sweater but that doesn't mean you can't knit him a scarf!

Bink & Gollie

Book cover of Bink and Gollie Readers who are not quite ready for a full chapter book but like appealing adventures may want to try this unusual hybrid of picture book, graphic novel, and early reader. Bink and Gollie introduces readers to a new pair of adventure-seeking, odd-couple companions.  Bink-- short, blond, sprout-haired, lives in a rustic cottage -- and the tall, tidy Gollie lives in a sleek, chic tree house --are complete opposites, but they’re also devoted pals who visit each other every day.


 This 2010 book was written by two well-known children’s book authors, Kate DiCamillo (Mercy Watson, the loveable pig series and also the winner of the 2001 Newbery Honor award for Because of Winn Dixie) and Alison McGhee (Countdown to Kindergarten, Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth) and the award-winning illustrator, Tony Fucile.  In just 81 pages this trio was able to create three humorous interconnected stories about these two zany but lovable friends. The three episodes explore common friendship dilemmas: having different taste, learning to compromise, and experiencing jealousy.  And. through the repetition of phrases and appealingly oddball elements (roller skates, pancakes, and rainbow socks) the team create a sense of cohesion without becoming annoying.


Elementary listeners and readers will have no trouble relating to the two friends’ antics and the bond they share. Despite their differences and idiosyncratic quirks know the importance of true friendship.  Don’t you wish everyone could learn this?

Can You Guess What Was The New Year's Resolution For Many People?

Book cover of The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great If you answered Dieting and Exercising you got it right.  If you don't believe me, just come to the Pearl Avenue branch and you will see as soon as you pass the gate detection a display of books and dvd's on the topic of losing weight.  It seems that the items go flying out the door with a blink of an eye.

Find the perfect recipe in our catalog to help you keep that resolution.

Houndsley and Catina : Plink and Plunk

book cover of Houndsley and Catina Pink and PlunkFriends can be similar  or good friends can be as different as night and day.  Houndsley likes canoeing and his friend Catina likes bicycling, but each has to help the other learn to enjoy these activities in order to do them together.  Houndsley and Catina Plink and Plunk, like the  other four in the series, focuses on Houndsley's compassionate ability to look beyond their differences and gracefully accept his friend for who she is. 


James Howe is the acclaimed author of more than seventy books for young readers including the beloved Bunnicula series. Marie-Louise Gay is the author and illustrator of many award-winning books, including the Stella and Sam series. She says of this book, "When I first read HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA, I was captivated by the evocative and emotional quality of their friendship. It was a joy to create these two wonderful characters and the world they live in."

Find Out Why San José is the Best City for Business

Choose San José banner image

San José is the best city to do business in, may seem like a lofty statement, but it's true!  The City has actually put together an informative website explaining all the reasons why.  Choose San José has great resources on business incentives, city stats, success stories, and basically all the information needed to convince you that San José is where you should start or move your business.  And, ahem, San José also has a world class public library system that offers business resources and business research assistance.

TumbleBooks – Audio Books and Games for Kids

TumbleBooks logoTumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books that teach kids how reading can be fun and engaging. TumbleBooks take existing picture books and add animation, sound, music, and narration that can be read to you, or you can read along. There’s also a collection of memory games, spelling games, puzzles, and more.

If you are looking for titles for younger children, the category “Story Books” are geared towards children in kindergarten through second grade. The category “EBooks & Audio Books” includes a number of classics, such as “Wind In The Willows”, and you can read them online or download these to your computer, Android phone, and/or tablet.

You do need Flash 6 or higher to enjoy all the features of TumbleBooks. A great resource to let kids have fun at the computer while reading and learning!

Long Live the Picture Book!

A recent New York Times article cites a decline in picture book sales, in part due to the economy but also because of parents who have begun pressing their early elementary age children to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books.


While picture books continue to circulate heavily at the library, I do occasionally encounter a parent who feels picture books are “beneath” their school-age child.  I find this sad, because chapter books and picture books are not mutually exclusive, and both have a place in developing children’s literacy skills and fostering a love of reading. In fact, many picture books contain surprisingly sophisticated vocabulary, nuanced humor,  and themes that are much more suited to “older” readers than to preschoolers.


When read together with a parent, a picture book provides a great opportunity for adult-child interaction. And whether read with a grownup or independently, picture books offer the satisfaction of completing a book in one sitting.


According to an article from the children’s literacy organization Reading is Fundamental, “Picture books help older kids with comprehension and prompt them to read critically. They can use the pictures to predict what's going to happen next. The images can teach children to watch, look, and listen for clues, warning signs, and exciting things they might otherwise miss.”


Book cover of Mind Your Manners, B.B. WolfMind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra is a good example of a book that will appeal to school-age children. Both the story and illustrations contain sly humor and references to storybook characters that would be lost on younger children who may not be as familiar with the fairy tales.


In the book, B.B. Wolf (and you know what B.B. stands for) is living at the Villain Villa senior center when he invited to the annual Storybook Tea at the local library. With advice from his crocodile friend and a library etiquette book, B.B. Wolf is determined to behave properly.  Despite a slip-up, he manages to impress the librarian and fellow party guests, among them Little Bo Peep, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, and The Little Engine That Could. Children will enjoy finding other favorite characters tucked among the illustrations by J. Otto Seibold. Look for this book in the Picture Book section of your library!

2011 Caldecott and Newbery Award Winners Announced

The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2011 Caldecott and Newbery Awards. Both are awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, the Caldecott going to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children and the Newbery to the most distinguished contribution to America Literature for children.


2011 John Newbery Medal winner:

Moon Over Manifest book cover



Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, in her debut novel, takes us to Manifest, Kansas during the Depression and this is where Abilene Tucker seeks adventure and answers to her father's childhood.












2011 Randolph Caldecott Medal winner:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee book cover



A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead.

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.

1943 Ban on Sliced Bread

sliced breadSliced bread was first available for sale in Chillicothe, Missouri in 1928 and by the 1930s Wonder Bread was selling it nationwide. While it was initially viewed as suspect, customers soon realized many conveniences of pre-sliced bread. Mothers across the U.S. could prepare sandwiches and toast each morning for their children and husbands without having to laboriously slice up each loaf of bread.


However, much to the dismay of harried housewives, on January 18 1943, the U.S. Food Administrator, Claude R. Wickard, imposed a ban on sliced bread. At a time of other wartime rationing, the rising cost of bread and sufficient wax paper supplies were cited as reasons to halt the sale of pre-sliced bread. 


This was more than just a mere inconvenience as one mother is quoted as saying in the January 26, 1943 issue of the New York Times: 


I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that's ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!


Due to the large public outcry and ample supplies of wax paper, the ban was short lived and sliced bread was again available for sale on March 8, 1943.


Whether you like your bread sliced or not, the San Jose Public Library has a wonderful selection of bread cookbooks.

Math Contests Explained!

 different items for measurement, rulers, protractors and other itemsHave you ever thought about competing in Math Competitions or the Math Olympiad? If yes, come and listen to a one hour presentation by Vish Rajiv from Lynbrook High, who will walk you through the exciting world of math contests. Is it hard? Is it fun? Are math contests expensive? Where can you find help? This presentation is for students in grades 3-6 and their parents and will be held in the Evergreen Library Community Room during Family Activity Time on Saturday, January 22 at 3:00 p.m.

Posted by Vidya Kilambi on Jan 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

January Dreamin’

Cover photo of Butan HandbookIn the middle of winter it’s fun to dream about travel destinations for a spring or summer vacation. Bhutan, Shanghai, Prague, Madrid—SJPL has just received new travel guides for these places and many others. If you scroll through the list of new non-fiction books on our web site, you’ll come across them. You can also locate travel guides in our catalog by doing a keyword search using the name of your destination followed by the word “guidebooks.”


Although dreaming is fun, I won’t be traveling to any far away locations this year. “Staycations” and California travel are better suited to my budget. Some new books that I’ll be looking at include:


Cover photo of Walking San FranciscoWalking San Francisco: 33 Savvy Tours Exploring Steep Streets, Grand Hotels, Dive Bars, and Waterfront Parks by Tom Downs.


Stairway Walks in San Francisco by Adah Bakalinsky with Marian Gregoire


Napa and Sonoma (Fodor's)


Fodor's 2011 Northern California edited by Carolyn Roth, et al.


Some of my favorite California travel destinations are the Gold Country, Cambria, and Point Reyes. What are yours?

Punk Rock Poetess Receives Prestigious Award

Patti Smith recently received the 2010 National Book Award for her nonfiction memoir Just Kids. This memoir features her youth spent in New York City, living with the artist/photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989, was known for his controversial photos, which sparked much debate regarding art and censorship in the late 1980s. Patti Smith was his closest friend throughout the 1970s and 80s. She is known for her incomparable poetry and performance art, as well as being considered a pioneer of the NYC punk rock movement. We have quite a bit of her work available in the San José Public Library catalog.


Just Kids - a memoir of life in New York City, with Robert Mapplethorpe. Includes her thoughts on being one of the first performers at the CBGB club.


Horses [sound recording] - powerful and poetic songs


Gung Ho [sound recording] -a more recent offering


Keep in mind that this recommendation is for adults, as her memoir and her lyrics deal with issues of a mature nature.

MLK Birthday Party

The King Library hosted a !BIRTHDAY PARTY! for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King would have been 82 years old. The Mercury News had a feature story on the event:



Dietary Supplements: Your Money and Your Health, Part 2

woman supplement shopping

Dietary supplements are products that people add to their diets. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “they include vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. They can be pills, liquids, or powders. By law, companies that make these products cannot claim they prevent, treat, or cure disease. For example, a product cannot claim that it can 'cure cancer' or 'help you lose weight.'" We are also warned in ways like “Don't take supplements instead of eating healthy foods or prescription drugs… If you are having surgery, taking other supplements or medicines, or have health problems dietary supplements may be harmful.”


So, there are questions we need to ask before taking any supplements. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements has these advices:

  • Check with your health care provider if you are scheduled to have any type of surgical procedure.
  • What are the potential health benefits of this dietary supplement product?
  • What are its potential benefits for me?
  • Does this product have any safety risks?
  • When, how and for how long you should take it?

NIH ODS also points out that "The term 'natural' doesn't always mean safe. A supplement's safety depends on many things, such as its chemical makeup, how it works in the body, how it is prepared, and the dose used. Certain herbs (for example, comfrey and kava) can harm the liver. 


In the face of aggressive marketing and the unfound claims touted by the supplement manufacturers, it takes effort to be an informed consumer. For example, agave nectar is often promoted as a healthier option than sugar and most effective for weight loss. However, Mayo Clinic’s article on “Artificial Sweeteners” finds that “these so-called natural sweetners often undergo processing and refining, including agave nectar," and "products sweetened with natural sweeteners may not help since they add the same amount of calories to your diet as table sugar."


Well, how are supplements regulated? In its website, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA's satisfaction before they are marketed;” and “For most claims made in the labeling of dietary supplements, the law does not require the manufacturer or seller to prove to FDA's satisfaction that the claim is accurate or truthful before it appears on the product.” It also suggests that you consult with a health care professional before using any dietary supplement, as well as shows you how to be a safe and informed consumer.


For making decisions, we may return to  NIH ODS for “reliable information about the use, effectiveness, safety, and quality of diatary supplements." It includes fact sheets answers to common questions, and tips to help you choose dietary supplements. In addition, it shows you the steps in order to evaluate information on the Internet.


Last, but not least, Medlineplus features two excellent sections for us: one on Dietary Supplements with overview, news, specific conditions and more; and the other on Herbs and Supplements. Beyond all this, Medlineplus has a video: Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial which is well done and quite enjoyable. Have fun watch the video!


Image  Courtesy: NIH Office of Dietary Supplement.

Join the Knit and Crochet Club!


Do you want to learn to knit or crochet, to teach others or already working on a project? Then the Pearl Avenue Knit and Crochet Club is just for you. The group meets every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in the Pearl Avenue Library near the fireplace. Join this group for fun conversation and to learn new tips and tricks!  Some yarn and supplies will be provided by the Friends of the Pearl Avenue Library.  Come join the fun! All ages are welcome.


The Library also has a large selection of knitting and crocheting books available for check out.

Can You Catch A Plane To Hawaii?

Book cover of Frommer's Hawaii 2010If you can't catch that flight to Hawaii this month take a virtual trip from the comfort of your own favorite reading chair and download this great travel guide: Frommer's Hawaii 2010. Of course Cost Free! Will work 24/7 at no additional change in pay for services rendered.  :o)  This guide will help you explore the Hawaiian Islands history, flowers, beaches, famous falls like Akaka Falls on the big island and so much more.  Did you ever want to know what the Hula movements meant?  This will give you a brief description and have you doing the hula at home!  You can download so much more than books. Try video and music as well and enjoy. Aloha

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

Book cover of Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund MorrisEdmund Morris grew up in Kenya and first became interested in Theodore Roosevelt when, as a child, he saw a picture of him on a visit to Kenya. In Colonel Roosevelt the detail he provides of scenes from TR's life is impressive. Morris said he spent two years on research for the book. He enjoyed the project because TR is "so eccentric, funny, and abundantly interesting." "TR like Reagan appreciated the theater of power." For Morris this third book in his trilogy on TR was particularly appealing because he was active on the world stage. TR was the most well traveled of all our presidents. Because of that exposure and his many contacts, Morris feels that if TR had been president in 1914, he might have been able to mediate an end to WWI. If he had lived long enough he would have been elected president again in 1920 instead of Harding. He was a person of intense energy, who left a lasting impression on people. Morris said he read a book a day and wrote 40.

by Marilyn Stoddard, Pool Librarian

Golden Gate by Kevin Starr

Book cover of  Golden Gate by Kevin StarrKevin Starr is particularly well suited to write Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge, having written 8 books on California History; he also grew up in San Francisco. Starr describes his approach to the subject as poetic, saying he wanted it to be evocative. He succeeded in that.  He conveys a great deal of information about the lead up and the construction of the bridge, as well as portraying the key figures involved, but beyond that, he becomes lyrical describing the impressive achievement and the beauty of the bridge. The bridge seems so inevitable to us that it is surprising to read of the amount of opposition the project was up against. The existing ferry service carried 50,00 passengers a day. The Navy worried about a collapsed bridge blocking the channel. The Air Force wanted it painted with stripes! However, the need was there. On some Sunday afternoons in the summer, the wait to get a ferry ride across the Bay from Marin back to San Francisco was 3 hours. We are reminded that the bridge's construction took place during the Depression, when Starr states that 100-150 men hung out at the work site on the chance that there would be an opening due to illness or injury. He describes many factors including mathematics, design, and art coming together to produce an effective even triumphant result.

by Marilyn Stoddard, Pool Librarian

Keep Focusing on the Cheese and....You Will Never Have to Ask....

Book cover of Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese?

by: Spencer Johnson, M.D.



After repeatedly being encouraged by customers to read the book, I finally surrendered myself to it. From the title of the book, I thought I was reading about the different type of cheeses. As I was reading it, I was mildly surprise that it was about something else completely. The message of the book resounded with me and I could not put it down. It was my companion for the next 48 hours. It went with me during my break, lunch, and dinner. After reading it, I came to a better understanding about myself and my work environment. Even though the book was not about the cheese, I “smell the cheese” everyday!


More cheese about this author

People who like cheese, also like these

Kids, your cheese is here

Teens find your cheese right here

New Languages Added to Mango

mango languages logoMango Languages, SJPL’s online language learning database, now includes the following new languages: Cantonese Chinese, Croatian, Danish, ESL for Mandarin Chinese speakers, Finnish, Haitian Creole, Irish, Levantine Arabic, Norwegian, and Urdu.

Mango uses repetition and step-by-step lesson plans that work through common conversational elements, so you can quickly pick up basic conversation skills for travel or business.

Lunar New Year Celebration

 Bringing in The New Year book cover

Did you know that 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit for the Chinese and the Year of the Cat for the Vietnamese? In the Chinese zodiac calendar, the cat is not among the 12 zodiac animals. Have I tickled your curious bone? Want to find out more?  Come and join us on Saturday, February 5 from 1-3 PM for a fun-filled celebration of Lunar New Year at Tully Library! We will have puppet show, featuring the Story of the Chinese Zodiac = Mười hai con giáp, crafts, games, Open Mic for the children, Vietnamese calligraphy word art giveaway, light refreshments and lion dance.


This program is sponsored by Friends of the Tully Library, teensReach, Cung Tam Thu Phap & the Vietnamese American Woman Volunteer Association of Northern California.


Cung Chúc Tân Xuân! 

Để các em biết thêm về phong tục Tết, xin mời quý phụ huynh và  các em đến tham dự đông đủ Thứ Bảy, Ngày 5 Tháng 2 vào lúc 1:00 đến 3:00 giờ trưa.  Chúng ta sẽ có múa rối, làm thủ công, trò chơi Tết, ca hát cho nhau nghe, thưởng thức bánh mứt và đặc biệt năm nay, chúng ta sẽ có Ông Đồ của Cung Tâm Thư Pháp vẽ chữ mừng xuân, chúc phúc cho mọi nhà.  Phần múa lân sẽ do Hội Phụ Nữ Thiện Nguyện Bắc Cali phụ trách.

Mad Science: Fire and Ice

Cover of Mad Science: What a BlastThere will be some Mad Science happening at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Saturday, January 15 at 3:00PM. Children will explore "magical" chemical potions, the wonders of dry ice and the dynamics of air pressure. There will be a gassy taste test and a super spectacular bubbling potion.  So if you want to spark your child's imagination and curiosity and have them learn some science in a fun and entertaining way then this program is just right for you. After the program& check out some fun science experiments books for that budding scientist to look at.


Remember that parking in downtown San Jose on Saturday is FREE!

Friday Fun: The Art of Japanese Calligraphy

Book Cover: The Simple Art of Japanese CalligraphyThe word calligraphy means "beautiful writing." As part of our Friday Fun series the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is offering a monthly calligraphy program for children ages 5 and up. Our first program is on Friday, January 21 at 4:00PM. Hikaru, a volunteer who is a master in Japanese Calligraphy, will be here to teach us the fundamentals. Come join us and create some "beautiful writing." All supplies will be provided. The library has many books on Japanese Calligraphy and calligraphy in general for you to check out.

Great New Volunteer Programs at Edenvale!

computerThe start of 2011 has brought much good luck to Edenvale in the form of awesome volunteers!  On Tuesday, January 18th, we will be starting Tutor Time, a place where students from K-12 can come for help on a variety of subjects -- math, science, reading, English, etc.  It will run from 3:30-5:30pm in the Community Room EVERY Tuesday!


Need help with your email?  Job searching?  Creating a document?  We will be starting our One-on-one Computer Help on Thursday, January 20th from 3-4pm.  This program will be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in our Internet Cafe.  For more information, please go to our events page.

Very Funny, Bradley!

book cover with boy at chalkboardHow to Drive Your Sister Crazy by Diane Z. Shore, features Bradley Harris Pinkerton and his big sister.  Need a chapter book for an early reader?  Here’s one you can suggest for any boy who has a big sister.  With chapters called Hide & Ssseek (about a snake of course), Out of Order (which gives hints for rearranging certain things in a big sister’s room), and Phone Fun (we all know how much girls love talking on the phone), the tricks and tips are sure to cause lots of laughs.  As the author and Bradley suggest though, we may not want to show this book to any big sisters. 

Friends Forever?

Princess holding tiger cubA Pet for a Princess by Melissa Lagonegro, a Disney Princess Easy Reader, tells the story of Jasmine and her pet, Rajah. Jasmine is lonely and sad. Her father wants her to be happy so he gives her a gift. It is a tiger cub, which Jasmine names Rajah. Jasmine & Rajah become great friends, they play all day and the cub sleeps next to Jasmine’s bed. But as time passes Rajah grows, and grows and grows! Can they continue to be friends?

A Henry & Mudge Adventure

Cover of Henry and Mudge and the Wild Goose Chase showing a dog, boy and wild goose runningHenry and Mudge and the Wild Goose Chase by Cynthia Rylant, is the twenty-third book of Henry and Mudge adventures. In this book, Henry, Mudge and Henry’s parents go on a trip to the country to find lots of “farm-fresh” foods. Henry and Mudge take a walk all around the farm where they meet kittens, sheep and a goose.  The goose does not like Mudge. What follows is a funny “wild goose chase.” Find out who wins when you read this book!

David Aguilar

David Aguilar standing with sunglasses around his neck next to the ocean

Meet astronomer-author David Aguilar as he talks about outer space on Thursday, January 13, at 7:00-8:30 PM in the Community Room of Almaden Library and Community Center!


As part of the Doris Dillon Author Series, Almaden Library hosts this visit with the author of 11 Planets; Planets, Stars, and Galaxies; and other space-themed books for elementary school students.


Special arrangements have been made to have this visit after the library's closing hours. Staff from Hicklebee's Bookstore will be on site to sell David's books, which he will sign at the event.


For more information about David Aguilar, check out his work website.

Notary Services at the Evergreen Library

notary services for seniors logoNathan Notary provides free notary public services to all seniors (age 50+) at the Evergreen Library. Nathan is at the library every Saturday from 1:00-2:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. All signers must be present and provide photo identification (Driver’s License or Passport). Documents must be signed in the presence of the Notary. No loan documents will be notarized.


He is also available to notarize documents every Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Santa Clara County Senior Center. Please call the Senior Center at (408) 615-3170 to set up an appointment. Appointments are made in 15 minute increments.


Check out this interview with Nathan to learn all about notary services.


I Spy Fly Guy!

Book cover of I Spy Fly Guy!Buzz is a boy with a pet named Fly Guy. Why is his name Fly Guy? Well, because he is a real fly… the kind that buzzes around garbage pails, gets swatted and shooed. One day Buzz and Fly Guy play a game of hide-and –seek and Fly Guy hides in his favorite place – the garbage can. When Buzz finishes counting and starts looking for his pet in the garbage can, he discovers that the garbage truck is carting the garbage and Fly Guy off to the dump.  How will poor Buzz ever find his Fly Guy among the zillions of flies at the dump?


I Spy Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold is great fun for beginning readers. Be sure to read the first book in the Fly Guy series: Hi! Fly Guy. Both books were named Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books.

Winter Stories + Friendships = A Warm Heart

What a better way to spend these cold and rainy days, but indoors with a good book about friendship and the winter season.


Waiting for Winter book coverWaiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser follows Squirrel, Hedgehog and Bear as they wait for the first snow of winter. Laughter and fun begins when these animals, who are usually sleeping during the winter, try to find ways to stay awake.  Then encounter what each thinks is snow based on what they have heard from their friend Deer. The story along with the simple pencil illustrations in this book will be enjoyed all season long.






Bear Snores On book coverBear Snores On by Karma Wilson, the first in her Bear series, introduces us to Bear and his friends (mouse, mole, hare, wren, badger and gopher) on a cold winter’s night. The animals seek shelter in Bear’s cave and end up having quite a party until Bear wakes up. The rhyming text along with the bright illustrations will have you wanting to read the other books in this series.




A Little Bit of Winter book coverIn A Little Bit of Winter, by Paul Stewart , Hedgehog, who hibernates through the winter, wants to know what winter feels like, so he asks his friend Rabbit to save him a little bit of winter to share in the spring. The result is not only funny and silly but very heartwarming.






So gather your friends and family together to enjoy these heartwarming stories during this chilly winter season.

Reading Readiness 學前閱讀準備 at Berryessa Library

This workshop will teach parents about the skills their children need before they learn to read. Parents (caregivers) and children under 5 years are invited to attend.



New Resource!

Plunkett Research Online offers industry statistics, trends, and in-depth company profiles. This resource is great for job seekers researching potential employers and biz folks. This resource also has a Build-a-Report feature which allows you to create a customized PDF report. Plunkett Research Online is easy to use and truly chock full of useful information. Take a look, all you need to access this resource online for free is your valid SJPL library card number and PIN.

Willow Glen Wags (Skye & Abby)

Abby and SkyMeet Library visitors Sky and Abby of the Kirkpatrick family. Both are longtime Willow Glen residents and enjoy walking in the downtown Willow Glen area. The athletic Sky runs about forty miles a week with his human. He and Abby both enjoy River Glen Park, and their favorite restaurant is Bill's. Both dogs are Australian shepherds; the larger Sky is a blue merle, and the petite Abby is a red merle. Despite the name, the Australian shepherd is an American breed. If you are interested in this intelligent and very active dog, you can request books about the breed from the San Jose Public Library.


We welcome our youngest readers to our upcoming Reading to Furry Friends event, where children learning to read will have the opportunity to read to dogs, an easy and non-critical audience. 

Join Us for "I Have a Dream" Craft Program

Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 13 from 2-3 pm at Berryessa with a beautiful silhouette craft. We will talk about Dr. King’s legacy, his dreams, and your children’s dreams. This silhouette is a great home decoration for the month of January.

Inclusive Storytimes

Speaking in picturesSan José Public Library has been fortunate enough to have staff trained by the Inclusion Collaborative. The Inclusion Collaborative is all about access. Children with special needs should have equal access to storytimes, like children who are typically developing.


Staff has been trained in how to provide visual schedules and cues, how to create a welcoming environment (cooling rooms, defined sitting spaces, fidget toys) and ways to encourage parent communication.


Children who are exposed to a variety of experiences grow up to be more well-rounded adults. Parents will see that their child is safe and welcomed and will hopefully feel less isolated.  Inclusive Storytimes start again in January. Check our events calendar to find Inclusive Storytimes.

Mad, Bad, and Blond Librarian

Cover of "Mad, Bad and Blond" by Cathie LinzI was recently browsing the list of new fiction on the San José Public Library web site, and a book caught my eye. It was Mad, Bad and Blonde by Cathie Linz. Here’s a brief description of the plot: “After being jilted at the altar, librarian Faith West goes on her Italian honeymoon solo, but doesn't stay that way too long. And though her sexy rebound man has ulterior motives, feelings surface that neither of them are prepared for.”


As I stared at the picture of the book cover and read the plot summary, I thought about how far the portrayal of female librarians has come since I started my career more than 30 years ago. How refreshing that the librarian depicted does not have the stereotypical  bun, glasses, and sensible shoes. Mad, Bad and Blonde is currently in processing and will soon make its way to the branches. There are already some holds on it. I’m pleased to know that people do want to read about librarians.


Cover of "Lord of the Libraries" by Mel OdomI searched our catalog under “Librarians--Fiction” to see if there are other books about modern librarians, and I came up with 63 items. I'd expect lots of books about doctors, lawyers, and business tycoons, but who would have thought there’d be so many books about librarians? Some of the titles I found were The Camel Bookmobile, Here Lies the Librarian, Good Girls Do, and Lord of the Libraries.


You never know what you’ll find when scanning the list of new books at the San José Public Library. Something is sure to catch your eye.


By the way, who’s your favorite librarian character in a book?

Obituaries Research

How to search or locate obituaries using library resources?

If you are researching obituaries in Bay Area or Silicon Valley, you have a variety of selected resources at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and in the Web. Here are some useful resources from the library and Internet resources:


- San Jose Mercury News Website


- San Jose Mercury News Microfilm


- San Francisco Chronicle Website


- San Francisco Chronicle Microfilm


- Santa Clara County, California Obituaries


- Santa Clara Country Library


- SVLS System Reference Center

Dietary Supplements: Your Money and Your Health

medlineplus image of drug and supplementsMany of us receive advertisements for dietary supplements regularly. I saw recently, in a lifestyle magazine from a big-box retailer, an article on superfood touting acai berry as “one of the most nutritionally dense berries on the planet.” It so piqued my curiosity that I looked up Acai on medlineplus. One of the results titled “Acai” provided me with the essential information about this superfruit. Copied below are two critical paragraphs for you to see before I go on with my story:


What is it?

Acai, pronounced AH-sigh-EE, is a palm tree that is widely distributed in the northern area of South America. Its berries are used to make medicine.
People use acai for osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction (ED), weight loss and obesity, “detoxification,” and for improving general health. Acai gained popularity in North America after being promoted by Dr. Nicholas Perricone as a "Superfood for Age-Defying Beauty" on the Oprah Winfrey show.
As a food, the acai berry is eaten raw and as a juice. The juice is also used commercially as a beverage and in ice cream, jelly, and liqueurs.
In manufacturing, acai berry is used as a natural purple food colorant.


How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for ACAI are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

 - Arthritis.

 - High cholesterol.

 - Improving general health.

 - Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acai.


I was fine until I ran across an online store’s website with a page posted with the identical contents from the first paragraph above, but followed by contents that have been altered from the above paragraph of “How effective is it?” Copied below are the altered:


What is Acai Berry Possibly Effective for?

 - Arthritis.

 - High cholesterol.

 - Improving general health.


Do you see the difference? Do you see the ambiguity in terms of the effectiveness of acai being represented here? There are no supporting data, references or sources cited for this page either. It bothered me. I felt compelled to look for 3rd opinions. From a few trusted sources, like WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and Consumer Health Complete Database (a SJPL subscription,) I obtained more relevant data. Here is a brief list representative of the various assessments of “Acai” from the the above sources:


  WebMD Healthy Eating and Diet --

“Some studies show that acai fruit pulp has a very high antioxidant capacity with even more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Studies are ongoing, though, and the jury is still out…People eat acai berries to address various health conditions. But so far, acai berries have no known health benefit that’s any different than that of other similar fruits.”


  Mayo Clinic Health Information --

“Acai berries may be a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. But research on acai berries is limited, and claims about the health benefits of acai haven't been proved. Many fruits besides acai berries provide antioxidants and other nutrients that are important to your health. But if you'd like to try acai, check your local health food or gourmet stores — it can be consumed raw, in tablet form, in beverages such as juice, smoothies or energy drinks, or in other food products such as jelly or ice cream. “


  Consumer Health Complete - an article titled “Acai” --

“Although several in vitro and animal studies have been conducted, few human clinical trials have been performed to support the antioxidant and other claimed properties of the açaí berry.”


With these findings that are in agreement overall with Medlineplus's rating of acai, I feel informed and fine once more. What is the lesson then? The lesson, I think, is to compare - compare the sources of information, compare the quality of information. Find out who and how - who gives the information and how the information is prepared. I would talk about how to evaluate health information on dietary supplements again next time.


Image  Courtesy: NIH National Library of Medicine.


Who Doesn't Love A Great Doc...?

DVD cover of God Grew Tired of UsI'm talking about documentaries of course! During the semester break I always make great use of the library's DVD collection and IMHO there is nothing better than a great true story summed and decorated up for the silver screen. I call it the enjoyable, yet lazy woman's way to study history and culture! All of the below recommendations are award winners and most are also available in print, just click on the link to check location and availability of all formats.  Here are a few must see docs that I've watched recently:


God Grew Tired of Us - Chronicles the unyielding spirit of three "Lost Boys" forced to leave their Sudanese homeland because of civil war. It is endearing and humorous to watch as they adapt to life in the United States, but never forget about the family and friends that were left behind.


Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Examines the 2001 collapse of the Enron Corporation and the demise of the company's top executives. An inside look into one of the biggest business scandals in history, this one keeps you on your toes!  Based on the book,  The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. 


Crazy Love - A true love story about two crazy kids who engage in a roller coaster relationship and end up in headlines across the nation. This one starts off a little slow, but the hanger is definitely worth the wait, believe me!


Next one on my list to see is Food Inc.  The print copy written by Karl Weber can be found under the longer title of Food, Inc.: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-- and What You Can Do About ItNo doubt it will have an effect on my eating behaviors, so I'm busy chowing down on cheeseburgers before I watch this one!  If you need one more reason why Docs Rock, consider the ability to REQUEST them :)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Exhibit and Display

The King Collection (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Exhibit and Display) was established in January 1990 when the Main Branch of San Jose Public Library was rededicated as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The Collection is located on the 3rd floor of the Library.  In addition to materials on Dr. King - books, CDs and DVDs - the Collection also includes materials on the Civil Rights Movement itself:


Eyes on the Prize [videorecording]


as well as on many other civil rights leaders:


The Autobiography of Malcolm X.


The display also includes photographs, newspaper articles, and speeches:


I Have A Dream: Writings And Speeches That Changed The World

A Belated Birthday to Hayao Miyazaki

Cover of My Neighbor Totoro DVDIt may be a little late to wish him a "Happy Birthday" but it's never too late to enjoy the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki. Here at San José Public Library, we have quite a selection of his work available to be watched and enjoyed by kids of all ages!


1. My Neighbor Totoro This was one of the first Miyazaki films I ever saw and it always brings back such nostalgic memories. You'll find yourself singing the theme song long after watching the film.


2. Spirited Away A film with a mythic quality to it. There are some scenes that might be too frightening for the very young viewers. This is a story of a girl who learns a valuable lesson about life in a world full of spirits.


3. Kiki's Delivery Service Definitely my favorite Miyazaki film.


4. Ponyo Miyazaki's recent offering, which is often compared to the story of the Little Mermaid.


We also have a book available, detailing the life and work of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli: Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation: Films, Themes, Artistry.


Watch these films and allow yourself to be "spirited away" to a different world.

Parenting Your Baby: The First Year

Book cover of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products

Regardless of whether you are a parent-to-be or an experienced parent, choosing the right baby product for your child can be extremely challenging. Specifically, good baby products might be cheaper than you expect or they might be unneeded for a baby. Consumer Reports Best Baby Products will give you a list of brands which will be essential for your baby. They will also list what safety issues need to be addressed and the correct price for a good baby product. Not only do they list brands, but this is a how-to-book which emphasizes the pros and cons of general products. Can’t find this book? There are similar books, such as Baby Bargains by Denise & Alan Fields, which provide similar information.




Book cover of The No-cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

After buying everything essential for your baby, you wonder what’s next. Questions such as when is the correct age to potty train your baby, how do you get your baby to sleep, and most importantly, how to get through your first year of parenting? Books, such as, Johnsons’ Your Baby’s First Year, Pantley’s The No-cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers, Christine Gross-Loh’s The Diaper Free Baby, Fisher-Price’s My Very Own Potty!, and MacGregor’s The Everything Get Your Baby to Sleep Book can be extremely helpful for both new and old parents. These books will guide you throughout your first year of parenting and help you tackle the next years.



These books are available at the San José Public Library and can be requested.

Santa Teresa Book Club Hosts Local Authors

Book cover of The Obituary showing picture of a newspaper page Book cover of 1939...Into the Dark showing man and woman cheek to cheek dressed 1939 style Book cover of The Year of Fog

Santa Teresa's Book Club, "Our Book Club," is planning a busy winter season reading works of local authors and hosting the authors at their monthly meetings. Their January selection is The Obituary by Mario Martinez. A real obituary of just one word, "housewife," inspired Mr. Martinez to create a fictional character whose life was also summed up by a single word obituary. His goal was to show a woman and a life that was so much more than a single word could convey. His character is Mary Farley who grew up in an orphanage, eventually became a nurse and served with the Red Cross during World War II, and went on, through good times and bad to live an extraordinary life that touched many.


Although this book is not available in the library's collection, the author has graciously offered to loan copies to anyone who is interested.  If you would like to obtain a copy, please contact Santa Teresa Library at 808-3068 and ask for Carole or Lucia. If you do not have a chance to read or finish the book but would like to meet the author, please join us Tuesday, January 25, at 7:00 pm in Study Room A.



For their February meeting the Book Club will be reading the work of another local author, Paula Phelan. Ms Phelan will be attending their February meeting which has been scheduled to coincide with Santa Teresa Library's first birthday party on February 5. Ms Phelan's book, 1939--Into the Dark, blends fictional characters with famous personalities of the time. The main characters inhabit the New York artistic scene and struggle with the growing realization that even at a distance they cannot escape the effects of the beginnings of World War II in Europe. Again, the library does not own copies of this book but the author is loaning them to interested readers. If you would like to read the book, please call the library, 808-3068, and ask for Lucia or Carole. And whether you read it or not, please stop by to meet the author and hear her discuss her work, 2:00 pm Saturday, February 5.


Finally, the Book Club is very excited to announce that in March they will be hosting the author of The Year of Fog, this year's Silicon Valley Reads title. Michelle Richmond, also a local author from Northern California, will be here on March 30, at 6:30, to talk about her book.


Our Book Club's meets monthly on the last Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. Due to special author visits they won't be following their regular schedule in February and March, but will resume it in April.

Amanda Pig, First Grader

Book cover of Amanda Pig First GraderAmanda Pig, First Grader written by Jean Van Leeuwen and illustrated by Ann Schweninger is a delightful story with colorful illustrations. Amanda Pig likes her teacher and her first grade classmates, including her best friend, Lollipop. The first graders learn many things in first grade, including bravery and reading skills. This easy reader is divided into four short stories. Visit our catalog for other books about Amanda Pig and her older brother, Oliver Pig. Most of these books, including Tales of Amanda Pig  and More Tales of Amanda Pig, are illustrated by Ann SchweningerArnold Lobel, of Frog and Toad fame, illustrated two books about Oliver: Tales of Oliver Pig and More Tales of Oliver Pig.


Visit Jan Van Leeuwen’s website for more information about the author, including Pig Tales, how the author was inspired to write books about Oliver Pig and Amanda Pig.

Travel Books for Planet Earth

After the last few weeks of alternating rain and cold, who wouldn't like to get away to a warm, sunny place.  King Library has a large selection of travel books (located on the Third floor) to help you plan your next getaway. Let's say that you'd like to visit Hawaii, but you don't know which island to choose.  Everyone's heard of Waikiki, but what if your idea of "fun in the sun" also includes SCUBA diving or snorkeling? Kona, on the Big Island, is a great place for renting SCUBA gear and spending time underwater. One of our travel books will help you find the right place to stay, and offer suggestions on the best locations for diving.  If a ski vacation is more your thing, you can read about the ski resorts in Colorado or the Canadian Rockies, and you'll be better prepared BEFORE you hit the slopes.  If you've got Europe in mind as a travel destination for the spring or summer, be sure to stop by the library before you head off to Tuscany, Florence, Versailles, or Venice, and you'll find that we have travel books written just for those destinations. From Australia to the South Pacific, from the islands of the Caribbean to Iceland, it's a beautiful planet; we encourage you to save money by checking out library books, and we wish you a "Bon Voyage!"

Posted by Diane White on Jan 7, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Zora Neale Hurston

Cover  of A Biography of the Spirit Zora Neale HurstonHappy Birthday, Zora Neale Hurston!


January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, although, she often declared her birthplace to be Eatonville, Florida, where her family eventually moved when she was three years old.


Throughout her life and career Hurston referred back to her life spent growing up in Eatonville, one of the first all-black towns incorporated into the United States and where her father served as mayor.


Hurston was a folklorist and anthropologist who was associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She traveled in the Caribbean and southern United States as part of her work and interest in preserving the rich culture she grew up in. Her work is often written in a distinct African American dialect that was both praised and criticized. 


Although Hurston died relatively poor in 1960 and her work later fell into obscurity, Alice Walker helped bring about a resurgence of interest in Hurston's work. In 1975 Walker published an article on  Hurston in Ms. Magazine, which is available in Walker's book, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose


The San José Public Library has a wide variety of materials written by and about Zora Neale Hurston.

Winter's Bone Movie Review

Winter's Bone shows us a glimpse of a side of America that most of us will never see. It's difficult to realize that people in a western, developed country actually live like this: well below the poverty line, freezing in their homes, in sheer survival mode, hunting squirrels just to eat, reliant on neighborly charity, facing the prospect of eviction with no apparent welfare system to support them.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, a 17 year old girl from the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri who is forced to care for her two younger siblings as well as her mentally ill mother. Her absent father went to jail for cooking meth. The sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) shows up at her home one day and tells her that her father's bond has been posted, and that he put his house up to cover that bond. Ree doesn't know where he is, and, if he misses his court date, she and her family are homeless. She decides to go looking for him among the meth heads around town, most of who are related to her in some way.

This is one of the few films that I've seen recently that I haven't been able to get out of my head, very dark and disturbing but well worth watching.

Posted by Susan Haddox on Jan 7, 2011 | Comments: 1 |

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies

book cover of Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa : Srping BabiesSpring brings new additions to the ranch where Cowgirl Kate and her loquacious horse, Cocoa, live. First they find a new calf, then Kate's given a frisky new puppy, and finally Kate and Cocoa investigate ghostly sounds in the barn. Who or what is making such unusal noises? This is the sixth book in the series, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa which continues to focus on the warm bond between two friends: one being a beloved talking but somewhat lazy horse and the other a can-do type of gal. Written by Erica Silverman, a librarian and winner of the Theodor (Seuss) Geisel  Honor award for the first Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa book and an ALA Notable Children's Book. The humorous illustrations were done by Betsy Lewin, the Caldecott honor winner for Click Clack, Moo: Cows that Type. You can visit ericasilverman.com and download a Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa bookmark. This series works well as either a read aloud or for a confident new reader to tackle on their own. The winning friendship between girl and horse will appeal to many early readers.

If You Like...

If you like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Swedish author Steig Larsson, you might like the novels of Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. His latest, featuring detective Harry Hole, is


Book cover of The Devil's Star by Jo NesboThe Devil's StarThe main character, Harry, is complex and the plot developments twisty and engrossing!


And a big (lliterally!) novel to read might be: The Passage by Justin Cronin, which has gotten lots of good reviews.  The characters in this post-apocalyptic quest-for-safety story make it a page-turner similar to Stephen King's The Stand

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet


Book cover of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De ZoetFor over 200 years, Japan isolated itself  from the rest of the world; the only Europeans allowed to enter Japan were merchants and traders living  in the Dutch East India Company outpost on Dejima Island in Nagasaki Harbor. This lonely outpost, which received an average of two trading ships a year is the setting for David Mitchell’s historical novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.  In 1799, the last year of the eighteenth century, young and devout Dutch East India clerk Jacob de Zoet comes to Dejima with a commission to solve discrepancies in Company trading accounts.   As one of the dozen Europeans allowed to live and work on the island trading post, Jacob quickly becomes involved in the intrigue, corruption and scandal of the commerce between East and West.

This book is a page turner – action and events seem fantastic  (scarred female midwife chases ape with human amputated arm, martial arts team scales remote monastery ) but many of the book's characters and scenes are based on historical facts.


Read more about the book at David Mitchell's website













The island of Dejima is now a historical park which you can visit online.

Teen Books: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

The Eagle movie posterMany of you are probably already anticipating this year’s film conclusions to the popular Harry Potter and Twilight series, but did you know that there are plenty of other book-to-film adaptations set to release in 2011, including more young adult fiction? Take a look at these teen titles set to release in the first half of the year, and be sure to read before you watch!


The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

In theaters Feb. 11, releasing as The Eagle

Books, TV shows, and movies set in Ancient Rome continue to rise in popularity. This novel was actually published over 50 years ago but has been given new life with a re-publication and a new film adaptation. In this historical adventure, a young centurion ventures among the hostile tribes beyond the Roman Wall to recover the eagle standard of the Ninth, a legion which mysteriously disappeared under his father's command.


I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

In theaters Feb. 18

In rural Ohio, friendships and a beautiful girl prove distracting to a fifteen-year-old who has hidden on Earth for ten years waiting to develop the Legacies, or powers, he will need to rejoin the other six surviving Garde members and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their planet, Lorien. The film will star up-and-coming teen heartthrob Alex Pettyfer and Glee’s Dianna Agron.


Beastly by Alex Flinn

In theaters March 18

The film adaptation of Alex Flinn’s popular and modern re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast” was supposed to come out last summer, but after studio delays, it finally hits theaters this spring, featuring Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, and…Alex Pettyfer! Two YA film adaptations in two months for this guy! Pettyfer plays a vain Manhattan snob who suffers a disfiguring curse that can only be broken by finding his one true love, played by Hudgens.


Other teen book-to-movie projects set to go into production this year include the tear-jerker If I Stay, indie-favorite The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and...The Hunger Games.  YES, please.

What Do We Mean by "Reference"?


graphic of reference interviewLibrary reference service is all about helping people meet specific information needs. Library staff members engage in reference transactions to "recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information sources," (according to RUSA, the Reference and User Services Association. We answer brief, factual questions, provide guidance in using reference tools, and refer requests for in-depth research to specialists.


While all San Jose Public Library System locations provide reference service, King Library is open the most hours, has an extensive collection of reference materials for in-library use, and provides access to San Jose State University electronic databases. Also, King Library staff reply to reference questions asked online. So please ask us to help you with your particular information needs. Now you can ask a librarian a reference question in more ways than ever before: with a visit, phone call, email message, chat or IM session, text or tweet!

Math Resources for Kids and Math Club Reminder

Graphic of numbers and symbols falling from open bookSJPL has great media resources to help kids K-6 with math. For 4th and 5th grade students  the following DVDs -Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1 or Mastering Essential Math Skills Pre-algebra Concepts are recommended. Another visual math aid is Discovering Math Expanding Problem-solving Skills DVD. We also have tons of good math books for the kids. Please join us for our Math Club session on Saturday January 8th, 3-4pm at the King Library, 1st floor, Children's Room for some math fun and additional recommendations.

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

Book cover of the Canon

I'm always looking for books that are interesting to read on topics that I don't know much about -- or have forgotten. In The Canon : A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, Natalie Angier, a science writer for the New York Times, re-introduces the science you left behind at high school and updates it, relating basic principles to current controversial issues and reporting conversations with leading scientists, in a style that is not only readable but enjoyable.


Though each chapter is an essay on its own, it's best to start with the first chapter, Thinking scientifically. Other topics include: probabilities , calibration, physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, geology and astronomy.




Read an excerpt and listen to an interview at the author's website.

Posted by Lucille Boone on Jan 6, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Football Dominates TV Ratings

According to an article in Sports Media Watch, 65 of the top 100 televised sporting events in 2010 were football games. Of the top 25, football accounted for 20 of the broadcasts. The beloved SF Giants could only reach 97 on the list with Game Four of the World Series. San Jose Public Library has many books and some DVDs on all aspects of football. As of late April 2011, there was a lockout between the players and the owners, and fans are getting nervous.


Reading Buddies

Every Thursday afternoon at 4:00 PM, the Reading Buddies program takes place at the Tully Community Branch Library. All the little buddies from Kindergarten through 3rd grade gather in the community room anxiously waiting for the teen buddies to arrive. For one hour, they share the joy of reading together. Their teen buddies read to them or assist them to read aloud. Of course, we also offer a little snack to give them more brain power.


Parents, if you are looking to improve your child's reading skill or to instill in them the joy of reading, don't miss out on this free program!


Hãy đem con em của quý vị vào chương trình dạy km đọc sách cho các em!


Đây là một chương trình miễn phí.  Những thanh thiếu niên thiện nguyện đã được huấn luyện để đọc sách cho các em hoặc giúp các em đọc sách mỗi tuần 1 giờ.  Chương trình nầy dành riêng cho các em từ lớp mẫu giáo đến lớp 3 vào mỗi Thứ Năm từ 4 đến 5 giờ trưa.


¡Anote a su niño en nuestro Programa Compañeros de Lectura!


Este es un programa gratis de ayuda con la lectura.

Jóvenes voluntarios están disponibles para leerle a los niños o ayudarles a leer por una hora semanal.

 Este programa está diseñado para ayudar a estudiantes de Jardín de Niños a Tercer Grado.


Todos Los Jueves a las  4 PM

Chinatown History

Book cover of American ChinatownGreat food, narrow streets, and a good place to find a unique gift – many times, these are the first thoughts people have when they think of Chinatown, whether it is in San Francisco, New York City, or any other location.  But the history and reasons why Chinatown communities have developed are way more complex.  American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods by Bonnie Tsui, is an excellent read about the history and cultural significance of Chinatowns in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Las Vegas.  Tsui takes an in depth look at how and why each community was developed and how current trends in American culture and economy are guiding the future of them.  It reads more like a series of short stories than a chronological history book.   Very interesting and eye opening for those who aren’t familiar with Chinatowns.  For more information about San Francisco’s Chinatown, there are also other resources including something from the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco, as well as many resources about it here.  

Tango in the Library

Tango is the most romantic dance form I can think of and there's a whole lot of Tango going on at the Library this month!


Put on your dancing shoes and head for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Saturday, January 8th (this Saturday) at 3pm in Room 255!  Jurek Mazur and Company will be presenting a program on the roots of Tango (including demonstrations). 


 Carlos Gardel is known as the most prominent figure in the history of Tango.  Although he died in 1935, his songs and recordings live on and on.  You may recall a famous scene from Scent of a Woman which featured Al Pacino dancing to a Gardel song - Por Una Cabeza.  This video features the original recording of that song.


Cover of The Tango Singer by Tomas Eloy MartinezThe Tango Singer by Tomás Eloy Martínez is a wonderful story about a student seeking out an elusive tango singer in Buenos Aires who has never recorded his voice and who shows up in random parts of the city to sing for whoever happens to be on the street at the time.   It is a quick read and evocative of the tango culture of Argentina.


If you want to learn more about Tango, the website Todo Tango is a great place to get info on historical Tango as well as todays dancers and singers.


To start dancing the Tango yourself and with a partner, we've got some instructional videos that just might help you!  Latin Dancing for Beginners or Learn to Dance in Minutes: Latin Dances are available at libraries all over the city.


Though this film isn't exactly about Tango, Strictly Ballroom is a really great film about ballroom dancing.  Don't expect the usual with this Australian movie by Baz Luhrmann who also made Moulin Rouge and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.

LearningExpress Library - Online Practice Tests and More

LearningExpress Library logoEven if the library’s closed, you can get practice tests, exercises, and skill-building courses with LearningExpress Library, an online collection of tests and ebooks to help you prepare for tests, in work, school, or life. Some topics include: GED, citizenship, cosmetology, real estate, electrical, plumbing, and more. You do have to create an account the first time you use it. You can also take courses on resume writing and interview skills.

Free Knitting Lessons

Come learn how to knit on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4 PM in room 392 on the 3rd floor of the King Library. Professional knitter D. J. Tanner will teach absolute beginners how to knit a small cell phone or MP3 player bag. (It’s really cute!!!) Yarn is free and needles are $3 (or bring your own size 7 needles). Crocheters are welcome to come and crochet with the knitters!

Hi! Fly Guy

Book cover of Hi! Fly GuyTo most people, a fly is a pest. But to the little boy in Hi! Fly Guy, a fly is a pet and a smart one at that. Now he’s just got to convince his parents and the judges in the Amazing Pet Show. New readers will find much to enjoy in the funny story and illustrations, both by Tedd Arnold. Fly Guy fans will want to read other books in the series: Super Fly Guy, Shoo! Fly Guy, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy, Hooray for Fly Guy, Fly High, Fly Guy!, I Spy Fly Guy, and Buzz Boy and Fly Guy. Look for these titles in the Easy Readers section of your library. 

Books by Brian Lies

If you like bats, you will love these books by author Brian Lies. Also check out his website for cool facts about bats and various bat related fun activities.


book cover of  Bats at the BeachBats at the Beach: is a great book about going to the beach complete with overflowing picnic baskets, kite flying, singing around the campfire, and scratchy sand in places where no sand should be. The rhyming text especially the bat characters using “moon-tan lotion” makes this a truly engaging read.



 Book cover of Bats at the LibraryBats at the Library : The bats are bored, but someone left a window open in the library. Once inside, older bats look for favorite books, while younger ones explore and play. Storytime settles everyone down and transports them into the tales, filled with bat characters playing new roles.






Bats at the Ballgame : Check out this trailer for his new book.


Homeless Services in San Jose

Photo of San Jose City Hall Rotunda

There are many services available to the Homeless Community here in the City of San José. The City Website provides excellent resources to the community and here are some direct links to the services:

- Housing for Families with Children

- Domestic Violence, Family & Children Issues

- Drop-In Day-Time Service Center

- Housing for Single Men and Women

- Rental and Other Assistance

- Mental Health and Recovery Programs

- Veterans Services

- Legal Referrals

- Food and Meals

- Youth Services

- Job Services

- VTA Services

- 2-1-1

Marketing Your Business

Congratulations! You got your business plan together, secured financing, and opened up shop. Now what?   You need to market the daylights out of your business. The days of advertising your business in the yellow pages and hoping customers come in are gone.  Don't get me wrong, the yellow pages are still an option but now there a lot more options. If you are still in the dark about social media and other ways to market your business give these books a look:


Book cover image of 30-Minute Marketing

30-Minute Social Media Marketing by Susan Gunelius

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

Book Cover Image of The Social Media Marketing Book

The Social Media Marketing Book by Dan Zarrella

Teen Book Review: Gimme A Call

Book cover of Gimme a Call showing teen age girl with cell phone At this time of the year we often think about New Year's Resolutions, makeovers or the youthful term "do-overs" without ever contemplating the unintended consequences these new behaviors might cause in our lives and those around us. Popular young adult fiction writer Sarah Mlynowski creates a warm and witty second chance scenario in Gimme a Call.


Seventeen year old, Devi Banks realizes that she wasted three years of her life going out exclusively with her dreamboat boyfriend Bryan when he breaks up with her the night before their senior prom. She had also let her friendships fade, didn't join any clubs, blew off studying and now she has nothing left. Not even a working cell phone-- she dropped hers in the mall fountain. Now it only calls one number...her number, at age fourteen, three years ago.  Once Devi gets over the shock and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko, she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift.  She can tell herself all the right things to do or so she thinks until some of those unintended consequences start popping up. Mlynowski creates a plot jammed with twists, humor and a likeable role model-no two role models in one.


Sara Mlynowski is also the author of the Magic in Manhattan series, coauthor of How to Be Bad and has written several novels for adults.  You can find out more about this hilarious author at www.sarahm.com or if you enjoyed this book and would like more light-hearted stories with a dash of fantasy, be sure to check out Mlynowski’s Bras & Broomsticks series, Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt, Gorgeous by Rachel Vail, or How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier.


So the next time you wonder what the result will be between eating one more hot fudge sundae and doing an extra 50 sit-ups it may be different than you think or you could just read a chapter or two from Gimme a Call and you'll have a lot more fun. Enjoy.

Vampires Who Aren't Sexy

Book cover of The StrainThe Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan is an engrossing vampire tale set in modern day New York City.  A passenger jet lands and goes dark on the tarmac at JFK airport.  When airport security enter the plane, they discover all the passengers are dead, though they cannot determine the cause.  The Centers for Disease Control is called in and discover 4 passengers that were left alive.  Meanwhile, an elderly jewish man is watching the news footage about the mystery plane and knows exactly what is going on.  A vampire has arrived and all those dead bodies are about to rise as vampires themselves!  This book is a real page-turner that I just couldn't stop reading!  If you are expecting the sexy vampires of Twilight or True Blood, think again!  These vampires are vermin - a literal human virus that threatens to eliminate all of humanity.

Calendar Questions?

sun moonOn this first Monday of 2011, we're receiving a variety of questions related to calendars. For example: What other years in the future will be like 2010, with both Christmas and New Year's Eves on Fridays? Another example: where can I get single-sheet calendar printouts for February and March 2011? You can find answers to both questions at several websites, such as: TimeandDate.com and VPCalendar.net. These sites have helpful tools such as perpetual calendars, lists of milleniums and centuries, timezones, and - in case you want to start early - countdown counters to the next new year (or to any date of your choice). The answer to the first question above is here.


If you're interested in the history of calendars, you might check library availability of Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History (also available as a library eBook) or perhaps Calendar: Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year. For children, try Calendar or The Time Book: A Brief History From Lunar Calendars to Atomic Clocks.

Posted by Ronna Nemer on Jan 3, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Almanacs Anonymous

For a print reference work, there is no better bang for your buck than a good ole Almanac.  Every year, these books are published and for quick access to more statistical and reference information - they can't be beat.


Cover of World Almanac for Kids 2011World Almanac for Kids 2011 - If your kid is a lover of facts, this is a great book to give as a present, or a fun check out from the library.  Topics covered include sports statistics, information about the 50 states, weather highlights, olympic medalists and many more!


My parents always bought a copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac every year to decide things like when to plant tomatoes and what the weather might be like on a particular day- very helpful when planning an outdoor wedding or party!  Now the Old Farmer's Almanac has an online site - which will give you some of what you get in print.


Old Almanacs give you a glimpse into what life was like in years past - The California Room has a copy of the California Miner's Almanac for 1864.  This work contains metallurgical information and "useful directions for prospecting gold, silver or copper."


In these days of the internet, one could reasonably argue that the time of almanacs has past.  But I have found that in most cases, if you give someone an almanac and their friend the internet and have them both look up the same fact, the person with the almanac is more likely to find the information first!   Don't believe me?  Check out an almanac and try it out for yourself!

Friday Fun ~ January 7, 2011

Book cover of I Have a DreamJoin us on Friday, January 7, 4:00PM at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for our first "Friday Fun," of 2011.  It will be double the fun. We'll be doing an "I Have a Dream," craft in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., plus we'll be welcoming in the New Year by playing "Holiday Bingo," for fun and prizes. Each child will also receive a 2011 calendar that they can take home and decorate. Friday Fun is a great way to start off your weekend since we always do something interesting and of course FUN!                                               

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