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Celebrate Free Comic Book Day - Saturday, May 3, 2014

Free Comic Book Day - 1st Saturday in May! May 3, 2014Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic shops and libraries across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free.  The following locations will be providing free comic books while supplies last:


Gira de Libro: Library Bicycle Tour

The San Jose Public Library (SJPL) is teaming up with San Jose Bike Clinic to present the Gira de Libro, the first ever SJPL bicycle tour.


The Gira de Libro is a guided community and staff bicycle ride that will visit seven of San Jose’s twenty-three branch libraries. The ride will start and finish at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in downtown San Jose.


The tour date is May 10, 2014, starting at 10:00 AM with sign-in and bicycle safety check. For safety purposes, registration is required and the ride will be limited to 75 participants. The ride will stop at each library to regroup; the total distance is 25km (15.5 miles).


We invite you to ride with us and enjoy the City of San Jose’s libraries and bikeways.


Space is limited. Register today!


For more information please contact giradelibro@gmail.com


Please Note: The bicycle tour will not be held in the event of inclimate weather


The San Jose Bike Clinic, formed in 2012, is on a mission to grow more educated and savvy bicyclists. Through Bike Clinic’s monthly pop-up bicycle maintenance workshops, they empower San Jose’s bicyclists to repair their own bikes and ride safely on San Jose’s numerous roads and trails.


The name of the ride, Gira de Libro, is a play on the name of the famous Italian professional road bike stage race, Giro d’Italia, which starts May 9 and ends June 1. SJPL’s Gira de Libro roughly translates to "turns of the book" or "book tour."

Silicon Valley Energy Watch: DIY Home Energy Savings Toolkit


Save Energy and $$$ with the DIY Home Energy Savings Kit - Now Available for Check out!
This no-cost kit contains devices that will help you easily reduce energy and water use, saving you money on your utility bills. Users can expect to save, on average, $200 per year after installing the DIY Toolkit's equipment.  


You get to keep:
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs that save energy compared to incandescent light bulbs
  • Outlet gaskets that seal the void around your outlets and prevent heat loss
  • Weatherstripping that keeps out cold drafts by sealing leaky windows and doors
  • Low-flow showerhead that gently reduces the water you use and helps lower both your PG&E and water bills
  • Faucet aerators that help water flow more efficiently
The Toolkit also includes an easy "how-to" installation guide, complete with links to interactive videos, to help you navigate points of action in your home, as well as tips on decoding utility bills and how to calculate your savings.  Toolkits can be checked out at your local San Jose Public Library for a period of two weeks.  
Home Energy Savings Kit - Information Events

Silicon Valley Energy Watch Program Representative will host an informational table to answer questions regarding the Home Energy Savings Kit on the following dates and locations:



Media Release: San Jose Public Library Marks Earth Day with Free Energy-Saving Toolkits for Library Patrons 

Zen Doodling

zen doodleJoin us for an introductory workshop in Zen Doodling. Doodling requires no previous artistic skill and can aid in relaxation and ability to focus. Learn to concentrate on drawing one small section of a page at a time to create beautiful patterns. All supplies will be provided. 


Done with Divergent? Satisfied Your Appetite for Hunger Games?

Dystopian Teen Fiction Just For You!

Cover for DivergentCover for The Hunger GamesCover for Catching FireCover for City of Bones


After reading and watching the latest teen book-to-movie success you might be feeling a little unsure about what lies in store for your future. Your reading future that is.


Well fear not! Here's a list of books that you'll be sure to enjoy. Whether it's the plot, characters or dystopian setting that you loved most, you'll get a kick out of comparing it all between these books and your favorite teen novel/movie.



Some of My Favorites:

Cover for MatchedIn Divergent you are matched with factions, in Matched, you are paired with another person. See how it all plays out in Matched by Ally Condie, where society is tightly controlled by its government.




Cover for the TestingThe Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

In this post-war barren landscape, those who are allowed to participate in rebuilding the society are those that pass "the test" and make it into the elite university.




Cover for Starters

Like more Sci-Fi? Try Starters by Lissa Price. In this post-war society where money is tight, you can rent your body to other people. Giving up control of your own body through a neurochip in your brain sounds harmless enough, until someone with evil plans rents Callie's body. Will she be able to regain control and stop the crime before it happens?



Cover for EnclaveEnclave by Ann Aguirre

What if your only worldview was from living below the surface of the earth? What if you had never seen daylight before? Then you might be living in Ann Aguirre's post-apocalyptic society in an enclave underground, presumably in what used to be the sewer. The elders keep a strict order on the underground society and claim it is what keeps everyone safe and surviving. When Deuce, a huntress, and her partner go out on a mission and find that a neighboring enclave has been decimated, she begins to question the wisdom of the elders. Find out what adventure awaits Deuce when she gets kicked out of the enclave and must survive "topside" with her partner Fade.



Cover for FeedIf you think we live in a technology-dependent society, just imagine if smartphone-like technology was implanted directly into your brain and delivered a constant supply of information every waking moment! Who controls your "feed" and what happens when you begin to reject it, or it rejects you? Find out in Feed by M.T. Anderson!



Cover for LegendLegend by Marie Lu

Two prodigies--both equally smart--born into very different layers of society. What happens when one is trained to hunt and find the other, who is considered an enemy of the state? What these characters recognize about each other and about themselves is really what drives the story in this military government controlled society.




More To Try:

   Cover for VariantCover for Blood REd RoadCover for the Bar Code TattooCover for Under the Never SkyCover for DeliriumCover for GracelingCover for Life as We Knew ItCover for the Age of MiraclesCover for After the SnowCover for Monument 14Cover for SafekeepingCover for Shatter me  



Which one do you think will hit the big screen first?

Dr. Seuss' Birthday Party at Your Local Branch Library (Read Across America)

Cat in the HatYou will be in good company celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday at your library. Everyone across the country is doing it! Party and read Dr. Seuss with your neighbors. It’s Seussical!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bascom Branch Library - 11:00a.m.

West Valley Branch Library - 11:00a.m.

Berryessa Branch Library - 11:30a.m.

Seven Trees Branch Library - 2:00p.m.

Alviso Branch Library - 3:00p.m.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Joyce Ellington Branch Library - 3:00p.m.

Educational Park Branch Library - 3:30p.m.

Cambrian Branch Library - 4:00p.m.

Calabazas Branch Library - 4:00p.m.

Tully Community Branch Library - 4:00p.m.

Vineland Branch Library - 4:00p.m.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Edenvale Branch Library - 11:30a.m.

Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library - 6:00p.m.

Alum Rock Branch Library - 6:30p.m.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Almaden Branch Library - 11:15a.m. - 6:30p.m.

Pearl Avenue Branch Library - 4:00p.m.

Hillview Branch Library - 6:00p.m.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

East San José Carnegie Branch Library - 4:00p.m.


Friday, March 7, 2014

King Library (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library) - 4:00p.m.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Evergreen Branch Library - 4:00p.m.


"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss


Check out copies of all of your favorite Dr. Seuss stories at your local branches!

Early Literacy Foundations Part 6: Letter Knowledge

In this sixth blog post, we will explore Letter Knowledge.

For previous blog posts in this series, please see Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five.

What is letter knowledge?

Letter knowledge includes recognizing the letters of the alphabet and knowing their names.


Why is it important?

The first step toward developing phonological awareness (an awareness of letter sounds), starts with letter knowledge. These skills are necessary for learning how to read.  


How can I help my child develop letter knowledge?

Activities that have your child focus on one letter at a time are great for building letter knowledge.


  • Make letter flashcards together and then use them to talk about each letter of the alphabet.
  • Have a "letter of the day" so you can focus on one letter each day and talk about it in depth. Print out the letter as large as you can and display it in your home. This will give that letter a presence in your home and allow your child to become familiar with its shape.  
  • When looking at alphabet books together, have your child trace over the letter with their finger. Help them follow the lines and talk about the shape of the letters.
  • Pointing out letters in the world around you is a great way to bring attention to individual letters. It's often good to start with the first letter of the child's name, for example: "Look there's an S, on the Stop sign, just like the S in Sam!"




It's never too early to begin working on early literacy skills with your child! Here are some hardpage books that would be great for reading with your baby:


cover for abc bookCover for everyday alphabetCover for baby abc



Books that focus on one letter at a time are great for teaching letter knowledge. Check out these books in the "My Sound Box" series:



 cover for my d sound boxcover for my v sound boxcover for my m sound box


In conjunction with books, DVDs such as Leap Frog Letter Factory are great for learning about letters. Other books like Kindergarten Alphabet Activities and Spectrum Learning Letters are also great for  building and expanding letter knowledge.


 cover for letter factoryCover for Alphabet Activitiescover for spectrum learning letters



To experience the six early literacy skills in action, visit your local branch for a storytime, music and movement class or early learning readiness program. If you'd like help finding more information and resources about developing early literacy skills with your child, drop in to any one of our 23 locations and ask for a librarian!

Early Literacy Foundations Part 5: Print Awareness

In this fifth blog post, we will explore Print Awareness.

For previous blog posts in this series, please see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four

What is print awareness?

Print awareness means being aware of printed text and understanding that the text has meaning. It also includes knowing how to handle a book.


Why is it important?

Recognizing that those shapes on the page are actually words and not just part of the picture, is an important first step in learning how to read.


How can I help my child develop print awareness?


Book Handling

Before reading together, explain the different parts of a book.

  • front cover
  • back of the book
  • right side up vs. upside down
  • point out the title and author

Eventually your child will be able to answer questions such as:

  • Where's the front cover?
  • Where's the title?
  • Which way does the book go?
  • Can you open the book and turn to the first page?


While reading together it is important to fingertrack (drag your finger underneath the words as you read them). This will start to develop your child's awareness that what you are saying is what is represented by the words on the page.


Everyday Life

Point out print that exists in the real world:

  • Road signs
  • Billboards
  • Price tags
  • Receipts

Create a print rich environment around the home by labeling household objects.

For example, print and tape up signs for:

  • Window
  • Refrigerator
  • Cabinet
  • Chair

Turn everyday activities into opportunities to reinforce print awareness.

  • Before grocery shopping trips, write a list together and explain what you are doing. "We need milk, so I am going to write milk here on our shopping list." You can even spell the word out as you write.
  • When eating out, explain that the words on the menu represent different food choices.
  • Use a recipe to cook something together. Say it aloud as you go through the recipe step by step, and have your child help you collect the ingredients.

All of these activities are great ways to help your child understand that those shapes are letters, which make up words and words have meaning!




The following items in the San Jose Public Library Collection can help reinforce print awareness. Click on the pictures below to view the items in our catalog.


Easy-Peasy Recipes and Kids Cook 1-2-3 are great books to use to cook with your child. They have great pictures and easy recipes that will help you get started in using print when cooking.

 Cover for Easy Peasy Recipescover for kids cook 1 2 3

Reading books like Maisy Bakes A Cake and Bunny Cakes, can be a great way to show your child how someone can follow the directions of a recipe or use a shopping list at the grocery store, without having to do all the work yourself!

 Cover for Maisy bakes a cakecover for bunny cakes

Flight 1-2-3 and Backseat A-B-See are wonderful books that can introduce your child to road signs and other forms of print and symbols in everyday life.

Cover for flight 1 2 3Cover for backseat A B See


Keep an eye out for the next and final blog post of Early Literacy Foundations, Part 6: Letter Knowledge.

enki eBooks

Logo Image for Enki enki is a new eBook platform created by libraries in California with great content purchased directly from indie publishers rather than through a vendor reseller.  Try a new author you may never have heard of before, and find new favorites amongst these great independent titles from publishers who actively support libraries!



Here are some quick facts:

  • enki offers EPUB and PDF eBooks, no Kindle format and no audiobooks.
  • You will need an Adobe ID
  • Titles can be downloaded or read online
  • iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire users will need to install the Bluefire Reader app
  • Desktop users will need Adobe Digital Editions (ADE)
  • You can transfer to a Nook with ADE
  • You can checkout up to 5 and place up to 5 titles on hold
  • 14 day checkout

To learn more, this tutorial is excellent and has step by step download instructions for computers and devices. The Help pages are also excellent.

Posted by Margaret Yamasaki on Feb 4, 2014 | Comments: 0 |

Early Literacy Foundations Part 4: Narrative Skills

In this fourth part of Early Literacy Foundations, we will explore Narrative Skills.

For previous blog posts in this series, please see Part One, Part Two and Part Three.


What are narrative skills?

Narrative skills include the ability to describe things, the ability to tell a story, and the ability to follow a story that someone else is reading or telling. This includes understanding a sequence of events (first, middle, last) and being able to predict what will happen next.


Why are narrative skills important?

Narrative skills allow a child to develop their oral language skills as well as their comprehension of what others are saying or reading. Being able to follow a story, and being able to interpret and understand what is being read, are linked with being able to read. These skills are foundational for general reading comprehension and have implications for being able to listen and understand what a teacher is saying in a classroom or what is written in the instructions of an assignment or project, later in life.


How can I help my child develop their narrative skills?


Activities using prediction

Ask questions that provoke your child to predict what will happen next. This can be done when reading together or in everyday life. Questions like: "Look the cup of milk is on the edge of the table, what do you think will happen if someone bumps it?" will help your child begin to think about cause and effect and be able to verbalize a sequence of events.



Ask questions after reading a book about what happened such as "Can you remember what it was that the girl found in the treasure chest? What happened after she opened the chest? Where did they go after that?". These types of questions will help your child recall what just happened in the book and allow them to work on their oral language skills as well as their comprehension of the book that was just read. Help your child along in re-telling the chain of events from the book.

Even in everyday life, something as simple as asking your child to recall what they did today can help develop narrative skills. Get the whole family involved and take turns having each family member describe their day at the dinner table.



Cover for show me a storyTelling stories together is a great way to develop those narrative skills, work on oral language skills and use our creativity and imagination! Making storytelling kits can be a great craft project to do together as well. A random collection of small objects (a key, a stuffed animal, a shoe, a box) can be a great starting point for any number of creative stories. You can also use object flash cards! Have your child pick five at random and help them create a story using those objects. Help them along by giving them a leading sentence or two: "Once upon a time, the child picked up a magical stick, and then..."


For other storytelling kit ideas, Show Me A Story by Emily Neuberger is a great book full of creative storytelling activities.


Another great tool for storytelling is the wordless picture book. Books such as Where's Walrus, Flotsam, and Higher! Higher! have little or no words and allow you (with the help of your child) to provide the narrative. Make sure that you spend a good amount of time on each page really explaining what is going on and asking questions about what your child thinks is happening. Take turns on each page describing what is happening and what the characters might be saying. Without printed words there are many possibilities and opportunities to work on those narrative skills.

Cover for where's walrusCover for flotsamCover for Higher Higher



Cover for baby read aloud basicsIn addition to the many wordless picture books in our collection,Cover for the read-aloud handbook

the San Jose Public Library has a wide variety of resources to assist you in helping your child develop his/her narrative skills. Titles such as Baby Read-Aloud Basics and The Read-Aloud Handbook can give you strategies for purposeful reading aloud and ideas for making every book you read with your baby or child meaningful and fun!


Keep an eye out for the next installment of Early Literacy Foundations, where we will talk about the fifth early literacy skill: Print Awareness.