- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
On Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19 2013, over a hundred thousand people descended on the San Mateo County Event Center. They came in droves for the annual Maker Faire, billed as "The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth". The event acts as the epicenter for the fast growing maker community; a group of people who enjoy "innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance, and craft". Some of you may have noticed a cultural shift in recent years with the emergence of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself)/maker movement. Television shows, books, blogs, and videos have been popping up everywhere, showing us how to do everything from knitting a sweater for the holidays to growing our own food or even designing a circuit board. Maker Faire brings together people from around the world who want to show off their maker creations and teach others.
Maker Faire is unlike any event you’ve ever been to. There isn’t much in the way of rides, though you can still chow down on corn dogs and funnel cake. Instead, attendees can build robots, sew LEDs into clothing, learn how to raise chickens, take a workshop on programming Arduino, or watch a 3D printer in action. People are encouraged to be participants, not just spectators.
One of the talks that caught my attention this year was, "Librarians Making Makerspaces". Makerspaces are a somewhat new phenomenon, giving people outside of the tech industry an opportunity to work with tools that were once beyond their reach. Companies like TechShop allow its members to use a huge assortment of tools, most far too expensive (or large) for the average person to have at home. Spaces often have items such as laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines, vinyl cutters, screen printers, computer software, welders, etc. Most makerspaces charge its members a monthly fee in order to access their equipment. These shops are amazing, but are often too expensive and therefore only accessible to a select few.
Libraries, being the great equalizer that they are, are beginning to create their own makerspaces, open to everyone in the community. At the talk I attended several Bay Area librarians discussed their advancements in bringing makerspaces into their locations. Libraries are much more than book depositories. We are houses of knowledge, palaces of learning. The maker movement is about experimentation and learning new skills, something libraries have been encouraging since their inception. Libraries want everyone in the community to have free access to the latest in technology and have the opportunity to tap into their creativity. Many of your local San Jose Public Libraries already offer free workshops where you can learn a new craft technique or how to use your computer. We also have a TON of books and e-resources covering everything from robotics to knitting. Browse through our catalog or talk to your local librarian about what your interests are. We would be happy to help you find the resources to start that new project!
Being a maker myself, I am currently looking into ways we can bring the maker movement into our libraries offering a wide range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programming options for all ages. If you’re a maker and want to volunteer to teach people in your community about your passion, send me an email!
Expand your maker knowledge:
Each location will have drawings for:
Part of the Summer Reading Celebration
Check our events calendar for other FREE activities to enjoy this summer!
If you have a talent for creating comic/manga style illustrated short stories, you are invited to enter San José Public Library’s Graphic Novel Making Contest for all ages as part of our Summer Reading Celebration, 2013. This contest is sponsored by San José Public Library, Hijinx Comics, San José Museum of Art and TRY Japan Culture Group.
Here’s how to enter …
Entries will be judged on content and illustrations by a panel of library staff and comic industry professionals. All cash prizes will be awarded as gift cards.
Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a reception to be held at the Seven Trees Branch Library on Saturday, August 24th at 2:00 p.m.in the Community Room.
San José Public Library staff members are ineligible to participate.
San José Public Library reserves the right to refuse submissions that are not appropriate for a general audience. This contest is open to all California residents.
I recently finished reading J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. Having been addicted to the Harry Potter series as an adult, I was eager to read Rowling's first offering actually targeted to my demographic.
Something that always struck me about the Harry Potter books was J.K. Rowling's unflinching approach to such dark themes as mortality, destruction and evil. I don't consider encounters with Lord Voldemort, murderous Death Eaters and soul-draining Dementors to be for the faint of heart. I admire Rowling for not allowing a need to "shelter" children from these unpleasant themes get in the way of her storytelling.
With The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling is no less willing to confront an adult audience with harsher truths. Only now, she does not need the fantasy setting and the metaphors of dark magic and wizards gone bad to cover very adult themes of drug use, predators, child abuse and other uglinesses. And the reader does not have clear-cut heroes like Harry, Ron and Hermione to root for or villians like Voldemort and Draco Malfoy to deplore. The residents of Rowling's English town of Pagford are often unsympathetic, petty and selfish, but for the most part they are also simply ordinary people just trying to get through life. For me, this greater moral ambiguity made the greatest difference in my experience as a reader of The Casual Vacancy as opposed to the the Harry Potter novels. But I still recognize that unflinching storyteller.
Are you looking for a fun way to get your family or a group of friends outside for fun and some exercise? Go geocaching! Geocaching has been around for a little over a decade. Using a GPS unit or smartphone, you are given the hidden container’s coordinates, or the "X" marks the spot, and you are off on a new adventure. The fun is in finding the "treasure" but for kids it might be all about trading the goodies in the box with a small trinket brought from home. The idea is if you take something from the cache you should replace it with something you brought of equal or greater value. The cache typically has a log for you to record the date and your name or alias and a collection of miscellaneous items. Geocaches are located all over the world but the San Francisco Bay Area, in particular, has loads of hidden caches just waiting to be discovered!
To get you started, you can find more information about geocaching before you head out in the San Jose Public Library collections.
Geocaching.com – comprehensive site with information about geocaching, GPS coordinates of cache locations as well as upcoming events.
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) – offers beginning classes to introduce you to geocaching. They also have a passport program, the Preserve Circuit Geo-challenge, where you locate the MROSD’s hidden caches in a number of their preserves, stamp your passport with the official stamp then turn the completed passport into the district office for a limited custom District cache tag (while supplies last).
Many adults associate the library’s annual Summer Reading Celebration as something to encourage their kids or grandkids to read over the long summer months they are out of school, but how many of us adults read during the summer? Moreover, how many of us enjoy sitting near the fan or window on a warm summer evening, sipping lemonade and becoming lost in the latest fiction novel? Sound like something you enjoy? So, why not celebrate your own love of reading (which probably started back when you were a kid) and earn a few prizes while you’re at it. No, they’re not yo-yos and jacks. We’re talking real prizes for adults, like a Starbucks Gift CardCard®, re-useable book bag or even a Kindle Fire! So, if you’re already reading this summer, take a moment to sign up at your local library or online and take your summer reads to the next level. After all, summer reading isn’t just for kids; it’s for the kids at heart too.