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We need your suggestions for the IMPAC Dublin award

Book cover: The tiger's wife  Cover title: Swamplanida Book cover: State of Wonder Book cover: The marriage plot  Book cover: The Leftovers book cover: 11/22/63 Book cover: 1Q84

Have you read 1Q84, 11/22/63, The Leftovers, The Marriage Plot, State of Wonder, Swamplandia, The Tiger’s Wife?

These are  among the best fiction for 2011 as nominated by NPR, the New York Times, Salon, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.


If you have read any of these, vote for the novel that you think San Jose Public Library should submit for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary award.

Other  titles (novels, not short stories) welcome for submission if published in 2011.

Click on Add new comment below and let us know the title. Our deadline is April 25th.

You Belong @ Your Library





Hey everyone its National Library Week, April 8-14!


Celebrate National Library Week with a fun Scavenger Hunt at your local library.  All participants will receive a prize. This program is designed for children ages 6 and up.


While at the library visit the information desk and pick up a heart and tell us why you love your library. 

All Reads Lead to Rome

Silver Pigs cover art



It all started with my sister-in-law. She’s a self-proclaimed Romaphile, and she gave me a paperback copy of Silver Pigs, a mystery novel set in ancient Rome. It’s the first in the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis, and it’s great. Private informer Falco tries to be a first-century tough guy, but he falls hard for a smart young lady of a noble Roman family and finds his life becoming more complicated. The author uses tension and humor deftly to keep the reader hurtling through the complicated storylines.


Thieves of Ostia cover artYounger readers will enjoy the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. I was lucky enough years ago to hear the author in person at the King Library, and I knew immediately if she wrote as well as she lectured, I would enjoy her books. I was hooked from the first title, The Thieves of Ostia. Twelve-year-old Flavia Gemina and her friends Jonathan, Nubia, and Lupus solve mysteries during the reign of Vespasian. The books are not for the very young, due to some scary situations, and life in ancient Rome is portrayed pretty accurately, blood and all. In the first book, the mystery involves dogs being killed in the port town of Ostia. I recommend this series for middle-school ages and up, including young-at-heart adults. The series has just recently concluded, but Lawrence is starting two new series, a Roman spin-off for younger readers and one set in the Old West.


It looks like Lindsey Davis is still going strong, but inbetween Falco books, I'll probably start reading the Gordianus the Finder series by Steven Saylor, now that my appetite has been whetted for Roman mystery novels. As my “must read” list of authors and series keeps growing, I guess it’s inevitable that I fall behind a bit, but I have added my favorite authors to my account's Saved Searches / New Item Alerts,  added the newer series titles to My Lists, and I hope to catch up eventually. Luckily, all three of these series are available through the SJPL Library, saving me tons of money and bookshelf space!

Check out the Winners of the Music Video Contest

Did you follow Battle of the Bands this year? Did you vote for your favorite bands?

All the bands had an additional chance at winning a prize this year:

our teensReach members voted for the best videos and here are the winners:


First place:



Second place:



Third place:



Honorable Mention:




Let us know what you think of the videos in the comments!

Story time is a big draw for customers of the San Jose Public Library

storyteller and his puppet

In a recent article by Mary Gottschalk published in the web site, story times at the Willow Glen, Rose Garden, Cambrian and Almaden branches were highlighted.  Librarians Lucia Farnham-Hudson, Mary Cage, Nancy Donnell and Ed Koetitz, were interviewed for the article.  In addition to information on the regular story times, a brief history and overview of the Inclusive Story Times was presented.  For a comprehensive listing of Inclusive Story Times offered by the San Jose Public Library, please consult the online calendar of events


At an inclusive story time you will find stories, songs, fingerplays, rhymes and activities that are tailored for our youngest audience with special needs.  To make the story time more accessable, there are also carpet squares, fidget toys, a story time schedule, big books and other visual props designed to engage the child. 


For more information and advice for parents with children who have special needs, Parents Helping Parents is a remarkable resource.  In addition, the Inclusion Collaborative, (part of the Santa Clara County Office of Education), is a valuable resource for parents and teachers alike.

How We Decide


Any big decisions coming up?  Have you ever found yourself in a store and have difficulty choosing between two or more similar items? 


How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, addresses these questions and more by looking at how the brain functions during decision making.  In using research and observations from neuroscience and psychology, the author points out the dilemmas between making a decision with the logical, rational part of the brain that creates spreadsheets and pro and con lists vs. making decisions based on feelings, “the gut”, or instinct.  In fact, it was found that in some cases, people who created spread sheets and spent much time analyzing their decision made worse decisions than those who focused on what their emotions were saying. 


Here are a couple of samples from the wealth of helpful skills from Lehrer’s book:


For simple problems, the decision may be best left to reason.  For example, in the supermarket or electronics store, when you have a decision between two products of approximately equal quality, a couple of minutes comparing the per unit price or cost of the item could lead to a better decision.  That is, some emotion driven choices may benefit from conscious deliberation.  So, when the decision is less important, analysis is preferred. 


On the contrary, for important decisions, spread sheets and over analysis can create confusion and indecision that is difficult to reconcile.  In fact, some scientists, such as Ap Dijksterhuis, suggests that a decision with more than four variables overwhelms the rational brain.  He also states that the prefrontal cortex may become overwhelmed with those decisions and makes consistent mistakes.  If you overanalyze, you may end up with an “ugly couch in the wrong apartment.”  So, some decisions are better left to the unconscious; hence, the “deliberation-without-attention hypothesis.”    


So, for big decisions, such as choosing an apartment or a car, it is recommended to compare some of the variables.  However the main point as stated by Lehrer is: “Think less about items you care a lot about. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions choose.”  When the decision is important, you can’t make the decision on a single variable.  So, the emotional part of the brain will likely lead to more satisfaction with your choice.


So, with this book summary, I hope you feel interested in finding out more about it for yourself!


Much more awaits, as there is a plethora of information that was excluded from this terse synopsis!  Happy reading!   :]  


Hooray for Techie Volunteers!


Library customers who want to do more with technology may want to sign up for a class, but sometimes you're just trying to accomplish a specific task (e.g., get started on e-mail, apply for a job, or find tax forms online).  If you already have some experience with computers, you can search for a tutorial online--like this one for downloading eBooks--but what if you have little or no computer experience? One-on-one computer help is the answer! 


Many branch libraries offer free assistance thanks to volunteer Computer Tutors. These devoted volunteers spend hours helping out at local library branches, for no financial reward. The community is strengthened and enriched, as new computer users learn how to navigate the Internet, use social media, and apply for jobs online. Willow Glen Branch Library offers one-on-one Computer Help two days a week. If you're not in the neighborhood, other branches offer one-on-one help and sometimes classes, too. Check out the SJPL Events Calendar. Select locations from the menu to only see certain branches, or simply click on the time and day that appeals to you, and you'll be connected to the event description and branch name. Call first if appointments are recommended, especially on Saturdays.


Happy learning, and don't forget to thank your volunteer!

Silicon Valley Reads 2012 "Muslim and American"

Welcome to Silicon Valley Reads 2012!


2012 is the 10th anniversary of Silicon Valley Reads and we are celebrating with an outstanding selection of books and events focused on the theme "Muslim and American: Two Perspectives".  We invite everyone in Santa Clara County to read one or more of the featured books, to attend the free events we have scheduled, and to engage with others in discussion and share perspectives on this relevant theme.


The Butterfly Mosque cover The Muslim Next Door cover2012 Featured Books
The Muslim Next Door by Sumbul Ali-Karamali
The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson


2012 Companion Books for Children
It's OK To Be Different (pre-K) by Todd Parr
One Green Apple (Gr K-2) by Eve Bunting
My Name Is Bilal (Gr 2-6) by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Skunk Girl (Gr 7 and up) by Sheba Karim



Events will be held at many of our San Jose Public Library locations.

See our calendar for other Silicon Valley Reads events at San Jose Public Libraries. Stop by any of our locations to pick up the Silicon Valley Reads brochure and check out other events happening throughout Silicon Valley.


Also, our new Online Book Club will be discussing the Silicon Valley Reads selections during February and March.

Willow Glen Wags (Chiko)

Furry Friends 005

Meet Chiko! This nine-year-old is a dog with a job--he's a Furry Friends therapy dog who visits Willow Glen Branch Library, and other places, spreading joy and good will. What do therapy dogs do at the library? They act as a friendly audience to young readers. With a dog's non-critical ear, a beginning reader is more likely to enjoy the learning experience. Chiko is very well-behaved, a requirement for a therapy dog. Plus, this mixed breed is big enough to endure hugs from tots, and he loves kids. Chiko was found in an animal shelter and adopted by Debra, a second-grade teacher who frequently brings him to her classroom. He's been a therapy dog for three years. Children and families are invited to visit WG on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month to read to Chiko and other Furry Friends. Or look for other reading to dogs programs in your area.

Read a Good...Purse?

Book purseWhen librarian Debbie retired, she began volunteering with the Friends of Willow Glen Library (FWGL), her own neighborhood library. She knew FWGL has been able to purchase furniture, pay for special programs, and even enhance the library’s collections with its book sales proceeds.


One day, Debbie came across donations no one wanted to buy: Readers’ Digest Condensed books, with beautifully decorated hard covers. She'd heard there was a way to make a purse from a book, so she did what any librarian would:  research!  She downloaded patterns from the Internet and created prototypes to show the Friends. Now, besides selling books, the Friends handcraft one-of-a-kind purses; each takes about 12 hours to create. Book Purses were introduced to the public at the Friends’ April, 2011, book sale. Later, a line of E-book Reader Covers was added. To date, FWGL has sold 72 purses and e-reader covers.


FWGL relies on fabric, notions, and handles donations from members, Internet appeals (a local e-list and Freecycle), friends, and neighbors. Recently, the Friends have struck up a partnership with The Thrift Box on Lincoln Avenue, trading donated items that FWGL cannot sell for items like fabric and RDC books donated to the store. The WG Farmers’ Market and Comerica Bank have assisted with sales, advertising, and networking opportunities. Look for Book Purses and other items at your local Friends' next book sale.