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Science Summer Camps: Youth Science Institute (YSI)

Youth Science Institute logSummer?  Check!

Sun?  Check!

Outdoors?  Check!

Sunscreen?  Check!

Friendly counselors?  Check!

Fun?  CHECK!


The Youth Science Institute is conveniently located in both the eastern and western edges of San Jose:  Alum Rock Park and Vasona Park. Each park has weekly summer camps throughout the summer that engage different interests:  hiking, bike riding, fishing, exploring, etc.


YSI also provides entertaining school shows and library(!) shows. Last summer, YSI brought over live frogs, snakes, and other reptiles for our library audience to "ooh and ahh" over.


If you are interested in camps that are fun, but also educational, YSI is the perfect camp for you!  (Lunch not included, but flora and fauna are!)  My daughter developed an initial (but ongoing) love of science through YSI!


If you are interested in science, here are some Dewey numbers to keep in mind:


570  Life Sciences

580  Plant Life

590  Zoology/Animals


Happy reading and experimenting!  Don't forget, if you have a super-terrific summer camp you'd like to talk about, add a comment to this post!

Let's Celebrate Dia de los Niños!

Book cover of Book Fiesta!Every year, we try to make "Children's Day" a fun and educational day for the whole family. This year, let us celebrate our children by giving them a "gift of reading" to begin their educational journey. Join us on Saturday, April 30 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Tully Community Branch Library for great stories, crafts, reading workshops and refreshments!


Hãy đến Thư Viện Tully Ngày Thứ Bảy, 30 Tháng Tư từ 11:00 giờ sáng đến 1:00 giờ trưa để cùng chúng tôi nghe đọc truyện, làm thủ công, trau dồi kiến thức và có một ngày đầy vui tươi cho các em!


Cada año, intentamos reírnos el “día de los niños” y día educativo para la familia entera. Este año, nos dejó celebra a nuestros niños dándoles un “regalo de la lectura” para comenzar su viaje educativo. Ensámblenos encendido Sábado, 30 de abril de 11:00 a 1:00 P.M. en la biblioteca del rama de la comunidad de Tully ¡para las grandes historias, artes, leyendo talleres y los refrigerios!

How to Prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse and Other Potential Disasters

Preparing for Disasters Book CoverOn Tuesday, April 5th at 6:30 PM, the Edenvale Branch Library will present a program on disaster preparedness that takes a step back from real disasters by focusing on a "zombie apocalypse."

This is a great way to plan for those more earthly disasters like storms, earthquakes, and power outages with the added fun of pretending it's to keep away the zombies. We'll show families how to keep their kids involved in disaster planning by making it all about zombies.& Children and teens might not feel comfortable putting together a disaster plan while thinking of actual emergency situations. By putting the task in the form of a zombie apocalypse plan, valuable planning can be accomplished that can be used in any emergency situation.

This program will be repeated at other libraries.

Butterflies in the Glen

Exhibit of St. Christopher School butterflies at Willow Glen LibrarySpring is here at last, and butterflies have come to visit Willow Glen Branch Library! The kids of Room 1B at St Christopher School have created these beautiful watercolor works of art and generously shared them with the Library. They have been fluttering above the picture books in the Family Space since mid-March, brightening the spirits of staff and Library customers alike during the last few weeks of rainy weather. Thanks to the wonderful young artists and to their teachers, Mrs. Lang and Mrs. Zeitler, for all their work. If your class is interested in displaying artwork in the Willow Glen Branch Library, come in and talk to one of the staff members.

Kids: Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Help your child discover poetry by checking out the library’s children poetry collection. Here are some recommended books to get your child excited about poetry:


Poetry Books


Book cover of The New Kid on the Block: PoemsThe New Kid on the Block: Poems by Jack Prelutsky

A collection of funny poems about strange creatures and people such as Baloney Belly Billy and the Gloopy Gloopers.





Book cover of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Various Authors)

A varied and complete collection of more than 550 poems by various poets, including Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, and Shel Silverstein.




Book cover of Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

This is a masterful collection of humorous poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein that will engage readers.





Learn to Write Poems


Book cover of Haiku Activities

Haiku Activities : Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids by Patricia Donegan

Introduces the form of Japanese poetry known as haiku, explores the seven keys to writing haiku, and provides instructions for five haiku projects, including creating haiga, or illustrated haiku.





Book cover of Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry

Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutsky

Featuring personal anecdotes and an abundance of information, this is a humorous guide, filled with poetry exercises, ideas, projects, and pointers that teaches readers how to write poetry.





Book cover of Poem-Making

Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston

Introduces the different kinds of poetry and the mechanics of writing poetry, providing an opportunity for the reader to experience the joy of making a poem.





More Ways to Celebrate


Besides reading and writing poems, here are other ways that you and your child can celebrate National Poetry Month, according to Lily Jones and Skila Brown from www.education.com/magazine/article/Celebrate_Poetry:


  • Memorize a poem together.
  • Write poems about various things and occurrences at home.
  • Read a short poem before a family meal, such as breakfast or dinner.
  • Take a notebook and go on a walk. Be ready to write a poem or phrases about various things that you or your child would observe.
  • Have a poetry slam by inviting other kids or adults over to read poems aloud.

And as always, you can ask a Youth Services Librarian to help you find more poetry resources at your local library branch

Protect Your Infant

Photo of mother holding child

In addition to making sure your child gets all the immunization shots that he or she needs, you should always have the poisoning emergency number 1-800-222-1222 handy. Young children have the highest risk of poisoning because of their natural curiosity. Many common household items can be poisonous to children. Never leave cleaning supplies, medicine, alcohol, fumes, and chemical products unattended and within the reach of your child.


Having the First Aid Quick Guide can also be useful. This pocket size book was put together by the National Safety Council.  Founded in 1913, NSC is an nonprofit membership organization devoted to making our world a safer place. You will find valuable information on how to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid to infants. If you want to take a look at it before purchasing one to keep, please make a visit to your local library.   

Got a Mystery to Solve? Call Nate the Great!

   Book cover of Nate the GreatDo you have a child always asking "why"? Then  Nate the Great series, by Marjorie  Weinman Sharmat, is right up their alley. This mystery series for children is a fun way to introduce the genre. The stories follow Nate the Great, a young detective, as he searches for clues to help solve mysteries in his neighborhood. But the best part is that he explains how he solved the mystery. These engaging books will have your child putting on a thinking cap to see if he or she can outsmart and outwit, Nate the Great. Checkout this series in the Children's Easy Reader section of the library.

Get Your Health and Wellness Resources from San Jose Public Library

Photo of Melanie I have a 10 month old daughter and found out how much health and wellness resources are needed. There were times that I wanted to look up certain medications for Melanie. I also searched for information on particular symptoms that she had. San José Public Library has several health and wellness databases which have been helping me. To access most of these databases from home you'll need your library card and pin number.


Consumer Health Complete covers all areas of health and wellness from mainstream medicine to holistic and integrated medicine. This database includes topics such as aging, cancer, diabetes, drugs and alcohol, fitness, nutrition and dietetics, and children's health.


Medline Plus has information on diseases and conditions, hospitals and physicians, and medical drugs. This database includes links to a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, and clinical trials from the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. The database is also accessible if you type in http://medlineplus.gov.

US Census Statistics and American FactFinder

It is hard sometimes to find verified statistical data. US Census Home Page may help. To search data in particular area you would need to go to American Fact Finder. US Census currently is working on simplifying the search technique and developing a new web page. There are some basic steps that you would do searching both sites - a New American FactFinder and the Legacy American FactFinder The latter will go away in Fall 2011.


New site has a nice Help page that will guide you through the  Quick Start search or Search using categories and topics. Data search could be performed by using geography (maps), industry codes or population groups topics. After getting results arranged in the table,  you also can create a reference map or thematic map based on this data.


By clicking on American Fact Finder Virtual Tour link in the content (left frame) you will be able to view a short video that will explain to you how to navigate this site.

Talking to Kids about Disasters

Cover of Terrorists, Tornados and TsunamisWith all the footage of Japan coming across the media, parents of children are going to be asked some very serious questions about the earthquake, tsunami and the aftermath. It seems the younger your children are, the more you want to protect them from devastating news like this. 


Here are some resources that might help:


FEMA has a website about disaster readiness for kids that walks you through the steps of how to make a disaster plan for your family.


FEMA also has a webpage devoted to helping parents and teachers help their children cope with disasters. It is comprised of a quick overview of how different aged children cope, what their needs are and how to help them.


Terrorists, Tornados, and Tsunamis: How to Prepare for Life's Danger Zones by Lt. Colonel John C. Orndorff and Suzanne Harper. This book takes all sorts of dangerous situations and explains what they are and how to be better prepared to handle them if they should occur. A really good book for middle schoolers.


Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat.  This novel describes one child's experience during and after the earthquake in Haiti.


DVD - How and When to Dial 911 - situations when a child should dial 911 and what to do in case of an emergency.


More books on earthquakes for children

More books on tsunamis for children