West Valley News

  • Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Size: 100%

  text size

Subscribe to this blog: RSS Email

2014 Tax Help at San Jose Public Libraries

Tax help from VITA and AARP is available again this year at several of our libraries.  See our events calendar for a complete list of opportunities.


VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

VITA offers free tax help to hard working individuals and families whose income is less than $52,000. Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese at most locations. All locations provide e-File.  Volunteers are trained to prepare basic 2013 Forms 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040 with Schedule A, B, limited Schedule CEZ, C and California Income Tax Returns ONLY! You also CANNOT be filing as "Married, Filing Separate returns".


What to Bring:

  • Photo ID and Social Security card or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for each family member.
  • W-2 forms and all 1099, 1098, or all other tax forms you received.
  • A copy of last year's federal and state tax return, if available.
  • A check with your account number for direct deposit.

VITA Library Sites:

VITA volunteers are also available at many other Santa Clara County locations.  For questions, call  1-800-906-9887.


AARP Foundation Tax Aide

Residents 60 years and older with low and moderate income can register for free assistance on their personal tax preparation. e-File is available.


AARP Library Sites

The AARP Tax Aide program is available at other locations throughout the country. For questions, call 1-888-227-7669.


Where to Get Tax Forms

Our Libraries have not carried tax forms for several years now.  You are encouraged to get the forms online:

You can also get them at the following San Jose locations:

New to the Library Catalog - "Freeze" Your Hold Requests

New Library Feature: Freeze HoldsA new feature has been added to our Library Catalog - the ability to "Freeze" your hold requests.


"Freeze Holds" essentially allows you to "pause" the progress of a hold request and let others "cut" in front of you in line for an item.  It's useful if you won't be able to pick up a hold that might be fulfilled during an inconvenient time. You can avoid both potential fines for not picking the item up and losing your place in the hold queue.


To Freeze a Hold:

  1. Login to My Account and views your existing holds. 
  2. You'll see a "Freeze" column with check boxes to the far right of each request.  Check the box(es) and hit "Update List".  Then confirm your decisions.

A frozen hold will look like this in our Library Catalog:

frozen hold in library catalog

And like this in our "Classic Catalog":

frozen hold request in Classic Catalog


Holds remain frozen until you choose to remove the freeze through My Account.  A hold cannot be frozen if it is already on the hold shelf, in transit, is a Link+ item, or otherwise paged to fulfill your request.

Silicon Valley Reads 2014 is Coming to a Library Near You!

Silicon Valley Reads 2014 has posted their online schedule for the seasons’ hottest author tickets in the South Bay – including events at the San Jose Public Library. The good news is all the events are free and don’t really require tickets!


The event series, beginning with the official kickoff on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 is entitled: "Books & Technology: Friends or Foes". Doors open at 6:45 p.m. with the actual event commencing at 7:30 p.m. There are no reservations required – first come, first seated at the historic Campbell Heritage Theatre.


Mr. Penumbra's 24 hr Bookstore Book Cover

The Shallows book cover

Here are the two headlining authors:


Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, will be joined on stage by Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy – a man experienced in the art of the interview.




Many more events are scheduled throughout February and March. Many of the events are perfect for the youngsters in your life and go well with these selected companion books for children:

All of the authors above will be at various libraries around town. Please check our events calendar for upcoming events. Each year Silicon Valley Reads encourages everyone in Santa Clara County to read and discuss the same book during the months of February and March. Take advantage of this opportunity. Be part of the community discussion. Make Sunday dinner an "all ages can participate" forum for fun. It’s bound to be lively and can include the whole family with the age appropriate selections.

When you have finished reading the featured books for Silicon Valley Reads 2014 you might want to try these books! Also, just for fun, why not try an ebook? Happy reading everyone!

Livemocha Ends December 31

Our subscription to the language learning resource, Livemocha will end December 31.  The company that provides Livemocha has decided not to continue this product and access to the site will end at the end of December.  We sincererly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We do still have our other language learning product, Mango, available online.

Please leave a comment if you have any concerns or questions.

Join us at Downtown Ice on December 15!

Downtown Ice skating rinkJoin us at Downtown Ice to enjoy an afternoon of skating and crafts hosted by us!


Have fun skating with our beloved mascot "Conroy the Cougar" and stop by the library's table for a fun children's craft making reindeer hats from Noon-3:00 p.m.


Present your San Jose Public Library card on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 from Noon-3:00 p.m. at Downtown Ice to get 1 person in for free with 1 paid adult admission - That's 2 skate admissions for $15! You must show your San Jose library card prior to transaction. Not combinable with any other offers or promotions.

Conroy Cougar with child


Downtown Ice is the South Bay’s largest seasonal outdoor skating rink, produced by the San Jose Downtown Association, located in the Circle of Palms between the SJ Museum of Art and the Fairmont Hotel.


For more information about Downtown Ice visit sjdowntown.com/downtownice

Book Signings in San Jose!

Hicklebee's is an independent bookstore full of dedicated people who are willing to help any eager reader walking through their doors! And during the month of November, Hicklebee's will be holding two book signings at their store!



Curtsies and Conspiracies cover

On November 5, 2013, Gail Carriger will be coming to Hicklebees to celebrate the launch of her second book in her Finishing School Series. You can check out her first book Etiquette and Espionage at the library, and come to the book signing to get the sequel: Curtsies and Conspiracies. There is will also be a steam punk costume contest for those who wish to dress up, and Gail Carriger herself will be one of three judges.


The Launch Party and book signing will be on November 5, 2013 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at this address:


1378 Lincoln Ave. San Jose, CA 95125

(408) 292-8880




ODiary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck covern November 14, 2013, Jeff Kinney will be coming to Campbell Christian School on behalf of Hicklebees to talk about his brand new book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (book 8). You can check out the first seven books at your local library: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw, Dog Days, The Ugly Truth, Cabin Fever, and The Third Wheel. Pre-order Hard Luck at Hicklebee's and get your ticket to attend the event!


The event will be held on November 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM at this address:

Christian School
1075 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell, CA 


Important: In order to go to this event, you must have a ticket. To get tickets, you have to buy Hard Luck from Hicklebees. One book = two tickets.

Halloween Fun at your Library!

kids in halloween costumesWould You Let A Ghost Borrow Your Library Book? Story and Craft for Kids


Would you like your children to love books? We would too! Come to this special storytime and craft. You and your child will listen to stories and make a felt ghost bookmark to take home. For ages 4 – 8.





Halloween Story Times and Crafts

Get in the Halloween spirit with this special storytime for young children. Enjoy books and songs about all things Halloween, and make a cute pumpkin craft.


Halloween Parades

Join us for a fun Halloween Parade and trick or treating through the library!


Costume Contests

Don't forget to dress up! 


Haunted Houses

Come to the Haunted House… if you dare! A chilling, thrilling experience featuring some special tricks and treats!


7th Annual Harvest Festival and Holiday Boutique at the Almaden Community Center and Library

Spooktacular Family Fun! Come in your most spooktacular outfits and take part in costume parades through out the day.


Check out Halloween from previous years at the library on Flickr!

Author Fair 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library presents an Author Fair


Saturday, November 2 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the King Library.


Come meet and support more than 30 local Bay Area authors during King Library's first ever Author Fair! You will have the opportunity to mingle with participating authors as well as listen to them share their inspirations for their books. The event is free and open to the public.


Learn more about all the participating authors:


Help a Friend Get Online: EveryoneOn.org

1 in 5 Americans Don't Use the Internet. Luckily, Help is all around


  • 1 in 5 Americans consider themselves non-users of the Internet.
  • 80% of teachers give homework online.
  • Digital literacy is one of the top three reasons Americans don’t use PCs and the Internet, with 46% of non-users responding that they lack the necessary skills according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


During the months of September and October San Jose Public Library in conjunction with EveryoneOn.org will help promote the cause of increasing the digital literacy skills of San Jose residents.


San Jose Public Library regularly offers many opportunities for residents to learn basic computer and internet skills that are necessary to find employment, help children complete homework, access electronic medical records, and connect with family and friends.


Free Internet and Computer Training Events at San Jose Public Library Branches


everyoneon.org logo

Back to School Already?

Learning Express logo imageTutor.com logo imageWorld Book Student logo imageLogo image for shmoop


Parents might be rejoicing, but for students back to school is no fun.  However, we have resources to make sure you start your school year off right:


  • Did you know that we have online tutors through tutor.com that can help you with your homework? Pretty cool, huh! Online tutors are available everyday from 2:00pm to midnight and can assist students, grades K-12 and the first 2 years of college.
  • So say you get an essay or research paper assignment and the library is closed, don't worry you can use World Book online with your library card and find research for your paper.
  • Also, if you need help with an AP class, the SAT, ACT, PSAT, CAHSEE, or an SAT subject test we have Shmoop and LearningExpress to the rescue!

All of these resources are available online for free with a San José Public Library card.


With all these great resources to help you with tests and homework, you will no doubt be looking forward to your next report card.