September 2011

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Consumer Reports Free Database

Consumer Reports magazine can be very helpful to shoppers who want to find out if a product is the right purchase for them. The magazine’s experts compare, rate, and evaluate a great variety of items from wrinkle creams to appliances, cameras to insurance. If you’re interested in getting a good product, Consumer Reports can help you make a decision. San Jose Public Library provides free online access to the magazine database in addition to the paper issues in the library.  To locate the database, start at the library’s homepage. Find the large graphic “research” and click.  Next select “homework help and articles.” Under “Find articles online,” choose “magazine and journal articles.” In the blue bar at the page top, click on “Publications.” Find the “browse” box and type in “Consumer Reports” and click “enter” for that magazine. The title will display in blue text.  Click on the title and browse issues by year and month. To do a specific keyword search, click on the phrase “Search within this publication” to locate articles in any issue over several  years.

Edenvale Book Club

Breathing Lessons book coverDo you enjoy reading and discussing what you read?  If the answer is yes, the Edenvale Book Club is the club for you! Come to the fireplace area of the Edenvale Branch Library on Wednesday October 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm. This month, the Edenvale Book Club will discuss Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. Everyone is welcome.

This book is available in a variety print formats:




Large Print

Korean Fiction

Learn from Home

Khan Academy Logo

I wanted to share an interesting resource, Khan Academy.  Khan Academy is an excellent online resource to learn through video lectures and exercises. Topics range from Linear Algebra, Investing and Finance to SAT Prep. The founder, Sal Khan, was named #7 in Fast Company's list of 100 Most Creative People in Business 2011.


Khan, who does all the lectures on the site, is also a Silicon Valley resident, former hedge fund manager, has 3 degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. I think he's a qualified lecturer!  Khan Academy is a non-profit and access to the 2400 video lectures are free. Schools are using this resource and incorporating it into the curriculum. I imagine this would be a great learning resource for visual learners. In addition, the program tracks your learning progress and to keep things interesting, you have an opportunity to earn badges for accurately completing exercises. What a great resource for parents to suggest to their kids for math, history or SAT help.


I suggest you browse through the different classes offered, I am sure you will find something that you always wanted to know about in there. I think I might try and learn more about P/E ratios!

Newest Additions to the Children's Literature Canon

Think you’ve read everything by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and Shel Silverstein?  Think again.  These enduring authors have generated new books posthumous for you to share with your families.


Bippolo Seed Book Cover

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss is a compilation of short stories found by a collector in old Red Book Magazines.





Book Cover

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle shows an animal on every page in a surprising color, based on Carle’s inspiration by the artist Franz Marc.





Book Cover

Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein is a collection of poems selected by his family that will make you laugh out loud.


Skate coverGus just moved to a new town.  Due to his skating skills, he was able to survive, make new friends, and show them new skating tricks. DK Publishing House did it again by presenting pictures on every page depicting important moves, tricks, techniques, and safety measures for a skater. A non-skater as well as a skater can learn so much from every page in the book as well as the glossary in the back of it. Terms of the trade were very well presented so that a person new to skating would not feel lost or bored.


Skate! by Amy Junor can be found in San Jose Public Library Catalog.


Another book on skating, The Skate Boarding Field Manual by Ryan Stutt also shows basic skating tricks (thirty-three of them).


There will be split sessions/demos between Skateboarding and BMX, according to LCRSP (Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park) on Sat. Oct. 01, 2011, in the District 8's festival "Day In The Park".  Check it out at


translations into English「千江有水千江月」出自佛家偈語 「千江有水千江月,萬里無雲萬里天。」江不分大小,有水即可映照月光。天空有雲,雲上是天,萬里天空便都是青天,兩句都說明天地相容,講究自然之心,一切不必苛求。






此小說的英文版 A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers,有興趣的讀者亦不妨借來一看。 

Explore San José History on a Walk with Your Smartphone

Explore San José History on a Walk with Your Smartphone
San José Public Library Releases Unique Smartphone-Enabled Guided Walking Tours that Connect Users to the City’s History


San José, Calif.– San José Public Library (SJPL) has developed a free new Smartphone enabled self-guided walking tour to give residents and tourists alike an interactive way to explore downtown San José and learn about the City’s history. The tour, called Scan Jose, was developed on a web application (app) made compatible for Smartphones. It showcases historic images from the collections of the San José Public Library’s California Room and the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History.


Scan Jose directs walkers to a variety of downtown landmarks. At each stop, historic photos and information related to an event that once occurred at that location will appear on the web app. The images used in the web app date back as far as the mid 1800s.


"We are very excited to introduce Scan Jose to the public, as it places some of the rarest pieces of SJPL’s history collection right into users’ hands. Plus, it offers a fun and free new way for residents and visitors to get active, connect with technology, and explore the rich history of our city all at once," said SJPL Director Jane Light.


Users can choose from three distinct tour options including; a walk around Plaza de Cesar Chavez, a stroll down Santa Clara Street, or a trip through some of downtown San José’s most historic tragedies and calamities.


To access Scan Jose, search for on a Smartphone or tablet computer web browser. All of the stops on the tours can also be viewed in 3D with the Layar augmented reality browser. To do this, visit the iTunes app store or the Android Marketplace, download the Layar app, and search for Scan Jose.


Scan Jose was supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. For more information, contact the San José Public Library at (408) 808-2369 or visit


Scan Jose Launch Event – September 10, 2011

SJPL will host a special group tour of Scan Jose to celebrate its launch on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This free event is open to the public and will meet in front of the San Jose Museum of Art in downtown San José. Participants will have the opportunity to test out one of the tours on a group walk and should bring their own personal Smartphone to fully enjoy the experience. Library staff will be present to help first time users navigate the web app. Contact SJPL at (408) 808-2369 for more information.


About San José Public Library

San José Public Library system (SJPL) is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the West Coast of California, serving a culturally diverse population of approximately 946,000 in the nation’s 10th largest city. Recipient of the prestigious national Library of the Year award, SJPL is recognized across the country for its innovation and leadership in the field and is one of the busiest library systems nationwide, with an annual checkout rate of more than 13.5 million items through 19 currently operating locations. For more information, visit


About the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History

The Sourisseau Academy promotes local history through sponsoring research, educational programs, and publications. The Academy maintains an extensive photograph collection and historical ephemera relating primarily to the history of Santa Clara County and the central coast region of California. For more information, visit


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Graphic Novel Making Contest - 2011 Award Winners

Emerging Graphic Novelists Receive Recognition

Winners of San José Public Library 2011 Graphic Novel Contest Announced


SAN JOSE, Calif.— San José Public Library announced winners of this year’s tri-level Graphic Novel Contest on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at the Berryessa Branch Library.

The winners in each of three age level categories are as follows:


Children’s group:

  • First prize:        Nidhi Naroth, age 12, “The Cliff”        
  • Second prize:    Liam Kirk, age 8, “The Adventures of Agent Bucktooth”      
  • Third prize:      ShirleyHuang, age 12, “Arrow’s Forest Friend”

Teens group:

  • First prize:        Apanuba Mahmood, age 13, “Flower’s Canvas”         
  • Second prize:    Jessica Lee, age 17, “Little Red Riding Hood”
  • Third prize:      Nancy Doung, age 17, “Chess: The Black Queen and the White Knight”

Adult group:

  • First prize:        Michael Merritt, age 18, “Pure Element: Revelation”
  • Second prize:    Jessica Tang, age 18, “Turning Point”
  • Third prize:      Darren Tat, age 41, “Rabbit in the Moon”

All the entries were evaluated on content as well as illustrations.  Entry levels were available for children (12 and under), teens (13 – 17) and adults (18+). The contest engaged around 100 participants, eager to share their creative strokes.


The winners’ prizes include gift certificates in the amounts as follows:

  • Children’s:  first prize, $50; second prize, $25; third prize, $20
  • Teen’s:  first prize, $100; second prize, $75; third prize, $50
  • Adult’s:  first prize, $100; second prize, $75; third prize, $50

The San José Public Library system offers a multitude of unique and interesting programs that are open to the public and free of charge. For information about other opportunities, visit the Events page ( or contact your neighborhood library.


Picture Books - New Takes on Old Favorites

Every once in a while a new version of a classic appears in picture book form.  Sometimes it’s a retelling of an old story, sometimes the classic is used as a base for new characters or situations; the permutations are endless.


cover of book showing 3 bears leaving their cottage

Several reworkings of classics have recently appeared.  One of my favorites is a retelling of  Goldilocks and The Three Bears by Susanna Davidson.  Goldilocks is the star of this version.  She’s a very naughty little girl who is eventually “scared straight” by her encounter with the bears.  The illustrations are cartoon-like in keeping with the lighthearted tone of the presentation.  Young readers can enjoy the story without being scared. 



Cover of book showing animals that hop-rabbit, cricket and frog.

Most preschoolers know the song “If You’re Happy” and will easily relate to If You’re Hoppy by April Sayre.   This version isn’t meant to be sung.  It presents various animals that move in a variety of ways.  Young children can enjoy identifying the animals while absorbing the ways they move and the fact that more than one kind of animal can hop, or flap, etc.  The illustrations are humorous and sure to amuse little ones.



Cover of Book Showing cat with fiddle

Hey Diddle Diddle, the well known nursery rhyme is the basis for a book of the same title by Eve Bunting.  This version uses the rhyme to introduce several kinds of animals who play different instruments.  The illustrations are clear and gentle, the words minimal; perfect for a very young child just learning to be read to. 

Posted by Carole Chisvin on Sep 24, 2011 | Comments: 0 |

Celebrate Banned Books Week at the Library

ALA Banned Books Week logo Banned Books Week 2011 begins today!  Each year, the American Library Association and other nonprofit groups spend seven autumn days helping to ensure that everyone has the freedom to read what they want. 


At San Jose Public Library, we're celebrating Banned Books Week 2011 by displaying banned books and offering a quiz for teens. Please join us at King Library, Almaden, Cambrian, East Branch, Edenvale, Pearl Avenue, Santa Teresa, Vineland, or West Valley if you'd like to take the quiz for a chance to win prizes.


Here are the ten most challenged books of 2010.  Are any of your favorites on the list?



cover of Nickel and Dimedcover of Brave New Worldcover of Revolutionary Voicescover of What My Mother Doesn't Knowcover of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

cover of Crankcover of And Tango Makes Threecover of Hunger Gamescover of Twilightcover of Lush

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Hoot cover

Roy's new life in Florida makes a complete about-face when he sees a wiry, tanned boy running by the school bus with no shoes!  What is the strange-looking boy running from?  Meanwhile, Roy must also deal with the school bully, Dana.


Sensing a good mystery, Roy finds the boy, "Mullet Fingers."  Roy finds himself embroiled in a bitter dispute between a national pancake chain and Mullet Fingers, who is a fierce environmentalist.  Mullet Fingers is trying to save an endangered animal.  Roy becomes involved in the protest to save the animals from imminent destruction. 


A Newbery Honor Book, Hoot (AR 9.0, level 5.2) shows the conflict that can occur when corporate interests intersect with environmental interests.  Does Roy find a peaceful means of resolving the environmental crisis?  Check out this book!

Boys Are Dogs by Leslie Margolis

Boys are Dogs cover

Annabelle is the new kid at Birchwood Middle School, which is very different from her old all-girls elementary school.  Now, Annabelle has to figure out how to juxtapose being the new girl, being in a school with boys, being in a new family, and being a new dog/puppy owner!  She thinks boys are like wild animals!


Fortunately, Annabelle quickly makes some new friends and enjoys training her new puppy, Stripe.  However, the boys in her classroom make her quite miserable with their behavior.  Boys behave so differently from the girls at her old elementary school!  She needs to find some way to deal with their behavior because ignoring their bad behavior is not working.  What can she do?


Leslie Margolis has an immediately sympathetic character in Annabelle.  Kids will enjoy learning how Annabelle applies her lessons with Stripe to other problems in her life.  This is really a laugh-out-loud, book!  Boys are Dogs (AR 6.0, level 4.2) and Girls Acting Catty, (AR 5.0, Level 4.2) the sequel, are best read together. 

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Louisa May AlcottLouisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was one of the most fascinating people of the 19th century. She is mostly known for her book Little Women, but did you know that ...


Some of her early teachers were Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, she was an ardent abolitionist and early feminist, served as a nurse during the Civil War, wrote over 200 works, including poetry, stories about race relations and interracial marriage, and "pulp fiction," was not a "little woman" but was nearly 6 feet tall and the Alcott home functioned as an Underground Railroad stop for fugitives ... Pretty interesting!


Come and explore the life of Louisa May Alcott through the King Library's series of events and other resources about this remarkable American.


Tuesday, Oct. 4: Panel Presentation with Karen English on Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches & Civil War Nursing.  3:30-5:30 p.m. at King Library, 2nd Floor, Rooms 255/257


Sunday, Oct. 23: A Tea with Louisa featuring Valerie Weich.  2-4 p.m. San Jose Woman's Club.


Upcoming November Events at select Branch Libraries  ...

  • "Making Paper Dolls and Paper Boats Craft"  - Date TBA
  • "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women Film Screening" - Date TBA


Louisa May Alcott programs in libraries are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


For more information visit

Hey Now! You're a Rock Star!

Years ago I ran the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco for the first time.  It was an interesting experience for a recently transplanted Minnesotan.  One of the reasons that I wanted to complete the race was that afterwards in Golden Gate park, in the area where you could pick up your race t-shirts, Smash Mouth was going to perform.   I have always liked their music, esepcially songs such as "Walking on the Sun" (1997) and "All Star" (1999).  They branched out into retro music performing such songs as that well-known Monkees tune "I'm a believer."   Imagine my surprise when I found out that they are a local band, originating here in San Jose in 1994.   Their music is even found on sound tracks for television shows like "Lizzie Mcguire" and movies like "How the Grinch stole Christmas," "Shrek," and "Austin Powers in Goldmember."   I even remember how pleased I was when I saw them in an episode of "Kim Possible."


If you would like to see them perform on Kim Possible, check out the video below.



Come visit us at the library and see the many types of media we offer.

HathiTrust - 2.6 Million Public Domain Books at Your Fingertips

HathiTrust logoAre you working on an in-depth historical research project? Take the War of 1812 for example; it is a topic that the HathiTrust can provide invaluable research material. The HathiTrust is a huge repository of free digitized content (books, periodicals, historic documents) from numerous research libraries including works digitized via the massive Google Books project. HathiTrust was founded in October 2008 by the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California. The partnership includes over 50 research libraries across the United States and Europe, and is based on a shared governance structure. As of September 2011, HathiTrust comprises over 9.6 million volumes, over 2.6 million (27%) of which are in the public domain. HathiTrust provides a number of discovery and access services, notably, full-text search across the entire repository. For those with inquiring minds, Hathi is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal famed for its long-term memory. (source: Wikipedia).

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Book cover of True Meaning of SmekdayThe True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex is loosely structured as a personal essay written by eleven year old Gratuity Tucci for a school assignment. The Boovs conquer Planet Earth and declare that all Americans must relocate to Florida. Gratuity's mother is abducted by Boovs on Christmas Eve (or "Smekday" Eve since the Boov invasion). So Gratuity, also known as Tip, learns how to drive, packs up the Chevy, grabs her cat, and heads off to Florida to find her mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom.  Along the way, she meets a Boov mechanic named J.Lo, who hitches a ride and agrees to help her and save the planet from disaster. J.Lo himself is on the run after mistakenly advertising the planet's whereabouts to yet another alien species. This is an extremely funny and creative sci-fi/road-trip story. Great black-and-white illustrations capture the characters' escapades and shed light on Boov history. Check out a review of this book by the New York Times

Get Free eBooks from the Library - on Your Kindle!

Get your Kindle books now from the library! Most existing OverDrive eBooks can now be read on all Kindle devices or by using free Kindle apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile devices. A few PDF titles may not yet available for Kindle but OverDrive and Amazon are working to reduce this.


To check out Kindle Books, first, visit our Virtual Branch website ( to browse, search, and check out. Click on the Kindle icon on the left to browse the titles. You can also use the Advanced Search option and limit by format, also.


Then, when you decide to check out a Kindle Book, a "Get for Kindle" link will display. You will then sign in to your Amazon account. Then, you will choose which Kindle device or free Kindle app you want to deliver the title to.


Please let us know in the comments what you think about this exciting update!

Living with Face Blindness

Cover of You Don't Look Like Anyone I KnowHeather Sellers’ book You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness and Forgiveness is a moving memoir of her life with prosopagnosia, or face blindness. This is a neurological condition where a person does not reliably recognize familiar faces. Growing up, Sellers thought she must be crazy when she couldn’t recognize people or places, and her parents made her feel like she was either stupid or careless. However, her childhood was so disrupted by her mother’s mental illness and her father’s alcoholism that she never stayed at one school long enough for her face blindness to be apparent to outsiders. As she got older she began to realize that something wasn’t right. She once hugged a stranger in a store, thinking it was her boyfriend, and she often would introduce herself to colleagues, thinking they were newly hired, but then discover she had known them for years. Sellers eventually learns some methods for coping with her face blindness, like explaining the condition to everyone she comes into contact with so they understand she isn't being rude when she doesn't remember their name.


Cover of The Mind's EyeRenowned neurologist Oliver Sacks also explores prosopagnosia in one chapter of his work The Mind’s Eye. Sacks reveals that he suffers from face blindness, and has since childhood. Like Sellers, Sacks also has trouble identifying places, even his own street and home. Sacks even has trouble recognizing himself, going so far as to apologize for almost bumping into someone, only to realize it is his own reflection in a mirror. Sacks uses coping techniques similar to Sellers', though they aren't always effective.


Sellers and Sacks both explain that prosopagnosia was once thought to occur only as a result of injury or trauma to the brain. However, research now seems to indicate that the condition may have a genetic basis and that many people are born with it. Visit to see more about what researchers at Harvard University and University College London have found so far, or to seek help with your own recognition impairment.

Chanda's Secrets; Chanda's Wars

Book cover: Chanda's Secrets

Chanda’s Secrets and Chanda’s Wars, two young adult novels by Allan Stratton set in a fictional country in southern Africa explore the problems and social issues that African young people face.


Chanda’s Secrets begins with 16 year old Chanda arranging for her baby sister’s funeral, one of many funerals happening in their neighborhood that day. Her mother falls ill and goes to stay with relatives at her ancestral village, so Chanda is forced leave school to care for her younger siblings. When Chanda’s mother doesn’t return phone calls, Chanda returns to the village to find the truth about her mother’s illness.


In Chanda’s Wars, Chanda is determined to rescue her brother and sister who are kidnapped by a warlord and destined to be trained as child soldiers.


Chanda’s secrets has recently been made into a film: Life, Above All.


Did You Know?

SCORE logo image


I  knew  SCORE was a great organization that provides free in-person business counseling sessions. But did you know that you can get your business questions answered via email? SCORE proves business counseling via email and you can communicate with a counselor that matches your business need. You can communicate with SCORE counselors nationwide, so you are not limited to counselors located in Silicon Valley. What a fanatastic, convenient resource and it's free!

Allegra Biscotti Collection by Olivia Bennett

Book cover of The Allegra Biscotti CollectionAllegra Biscotti is a hot new fashion designer. However, Allegra is different from other fashion designers because she is actually the secret identity of Emma Rose, who is NOT an adult! Emma Rose is a talented kid who can't reveal to the world that Allegra Biscotti is actually an eighth grader in middle school!


After being wowed by stumbling upon three dresses in Emma's makeshift studio, fashionista Paige Young wants Allegra to produce more for a fashion spread. Emma Rose is soon tasked with building a three piece collection for Madison magazine. Paige, Emma's fashion hero, has hung her own career upon Allegra; she believes Allegra will be the next biggest thing. Will Emma be able to hide her talent from Paige, the fashion world, and her own family? Will she able to produce the three pieces for the Allegra Biscotti collection by the magazine's deadline?


Olivia Bennett's The Allegra Biscotti Collection (AR 7.0, Level 5.1) is the first book in a series about Emma Rose and her alter-ego. Kids who have an interest in clothes and fashion will be entranced by how a designer's collection is produced from idea to fashion spread. A fast-paced industry, the fashion process becomes quite a thriller in Olivia Bennett's hands. Look for the sequel!

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Book cover of You WishIt takes a moment to realize it's me standing on the patio, but when she does, her scowl transforms into a look of surprise...then delight.


I am so screwed.


I watch them wind their way into the crowd, wondering when exactly I lost hope any hope of enjoying this party.


I close my eyes to calm the anger boiling in my stomach and also to block out the crowd around me.


I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin' do.


Kayla McHenry just wanted to have a nice dinner on her sixteenth birthday party. Her mother, however, wants to impress some important clients for her event planning business. So she plans a huge bash for Kayla, who makes a birthday wish she will come to regret.


Kayla soon finds out what happens when every birthday wish she ever made comes true. A humorous mix-up of epic proportions follows. Will Kayla be able to juggle her changing friendship with her best friend Nicole while harboring a huge crush on Ben, Nicole's boyfriend? Will she be able to explain why she has a live, pink My Little Pony in her garage or why her Raggedy Ann doll has come to life to her busy mother? Will she be able to avoid the desperate birthday wish she made when she was fifteen and pining for a kiss from Ben?


Mandy Hubbard writes an absorbing novel which shows us why we should be careful about what we wish for in the humorous, engaging You Wish. She is the author of Prada and Prejudice.

September is Roald Dahl Month!

Book Cover: Roald Dahl, the Champion Storyteller by Andrea ShavickDid you know that September is Roald Dahl month? I didn't! Roald Dahl was born  in Wales on September 13 and during his life had many careers: he was a British Novelist, a short story writer, a fighter pilot, a screenwriter and of course the author of many wonderful children’s books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda, The Twits just to name a few. You can find these and many other Roald Dahl books at the San José Public Library. They are also available as BookCDs and even as audio books that you can download.


If you don't feel like reading or listening to a book, many of Dahl's books have also been made into movies: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches and others. There is a wonderful website Roald Dahl that has lots of information about him. Sadly Mr. Dahl is no longer with us but if you go to the website you can hear him reading from his book The BFG. Wonderful! Have a listen!

¡Vamos Rafa!

cover image of "Rafa" I've never been much for the confessional nature of sports biographies, but somehow tennis seems to provide the exception to that rule. Maybe it's the seemingly obvious in that tennis players appear always willing to confess some of the unseen seediness of this sport of the genteel class, or that in spite of this chosen glamor profession it seems clear that, well, in many cases tennis pros seem to have some personality issues which can at times make for some entertaining reading. Rafael Nadal is not revealing any of the sturm und drang of the Andre Agassi or John McEnroe bios, but in his autobiography Rafa he provides an insightful telling regarding his approach to the sport and it's place in his life. You want to know about his sometimes torturous relationship with his uncle and coach Toni? Check. Interested in his close-knit Mallorcan family, upbringing and longtime girlfriend? You got it.


The real appeal of this book seems to be in Rafa elucidating his approach to the game and in particular an account of two of his most epic matches: the 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer and the 2010 US Open final against a raging up and comer in Novak Djokovic. His comments regarding the latter are prescient indeed as Rafa lost this year's US Open only 4 days ago to the same Djokovic (not to mention the 2011 Wimbledon final). With Rafa now the world's number 2 player behind Djokovic it's clear that this 25 year old has more than a few years of tennis left in him, but will his sizable and devoted fan base and talent propel him to the top spot again? We'll see, but whatever the case this book will appeal most to players and fans of the sport, so if you fall into either category have a read to fill yourself in about the life thus far of this colossal yet humble figure in world tennis.

Caldecott and Newbery Medal Winners at the San Jose Public Library

NoveList Plus logoFor those who are looking for award winning children's books in the San José Public Library collection, a great source is NoveList Plus. The following links will provide a comprehensive listing of the Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners. To see if a particular award winning book is part of our collection, please click on the title of the book you are interested in and then click on the "Check the Library Catalog" link. Please note, if you are accessing this resource from home, you do need a San José Public Library card.


How the Romans Fought, and How They Prepared to Fight.

Book cover for Roth's Roman Warfare. Roman Warfare by Jonathan P. Roth is a smooth overview of Roman civilization’s military practices from early republican times to the fall of the Western empire. A few pivotal battles which changed Roman methodology are discussed, but this is not a categorical list of every battle, date, and general of Rome’s many wars. A local professor (at SJSU), Roth neatly manages the trick of being highly informative without overwhelming a casual reader with minutiae as he discusses the equipment, methods, and history of the Roman armed forces over this vast period in a single readable work. Roth’s particular area of specialty is the much-neglected aspect of military logistics in the ancient world, making this book of interest even to those who are already familiar with the much more common topics of Roman strategy and tactics, as Roth fills the gaps left by most traditional histories of the subject. Roman Warfare is also nicely illustrated with painted recreations of Roman soldiers from various periods, and is accessible to new students of Rome as well as informative for those who already know something about the subject.

DO NOT READ: Banned Books Week 2011

Picture of Banned Books Week 2011 logoCelebrate our right to read and freedom to choose what to read in America by dropping by your local public library during the week of September 24-Oct 1 2011. Would you know it that classics such as Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, Catcher in the Rye by Salinger, or 1984 by Orwell have been challenged by individuals or groups for their language or content? If you would like to see lists of banned books, check the Banned Books Week website or the ALA Frequently Challenged Books page. Many of the San José Public Library branches will be celebrating the week with a Banned Books Week Quiz. Check out the libraries and learn what other classics or popular titles have been challenged or banned. At Almaden Branch, we will be having our popular Banned Books display, so when you drop by, be sure to check out the fun and interesting reads that some individuals or groups do not want you to read!

So B. It

Book cover of So B. ItWhen Heidi was just a newborn, she and her mentally disabled mother mysteriously appeared at the door of their kindly next-door neighbor, Bernadette. Although Bernadette has agoraphobia and is afraid to leave home, she discovered a connecting door between the two apartments that made it possible for her to look after Heidi and her mother. The three of them create their own unique household and family bond. As a young child, Heidi is content and has little reason to question her origins or her unusual living arrangement. However, at age 12 several nagging questions begin to haunt her. Her mother calls herself So B. It… does she have another, more conventional name? And what is the meaning of the strange word, soof – the only word in her mother’s 23-word vocabulary that isn’t a common one? When Heidi discovers some old photographs showing her mother at a Christmas party in Liberty, New York, she vows to find answers about her family history… even though it means embarking on a solo cross-country bus trip from Reno to New York. In So B. It, author Sarah Weeks has created a strong and likable heroine. You’ll find yourself routing for Heidi in her quest to unravel the mysteries of her past and discover her true identity. Recommended for grades 6-9.

Gilbert, the Surfer Dude by Diane deGroat

Book cover of Gilbert the Surfer DudeGilbert and his sister are heading to the beach for a fun day in the water. He discovered that he forgot his bathing suit, so at the beach his mother had to buy him a new one that said "Surfer Dude" on it. Something scary and yet funny happened later on in the deep water.


Read Gilbert, the Surfer Dude by Diane deGroat to find out what it was. For kids who still want to catch the last waves of summer. This is also a good book for kids to learn new words related to swimming, surfing, or having fun in water such as flippers, goggles, boogie board, and paddles.


More books to read to equip kids with the ability to have fun in water:

- Swimming Science by Helene Boudreau

- How To Improve At Swimming by Paul Mason

Scan Jose Lets You Take a Walk Through History

San Jose City Hall, c. 1889I took the coolest walk this morning.  Thanks to a new library resource made possible by a grant from the California State Library, I joined some friends and took a self-guided tour of historic downtown San José.  By connecting to on a Smartphone I was able to view historic photographs from the library's California Room collection as I visited those same spots today.  I took A Walk Around the Plaza which started at the San Jose Museum of Art (formerly both a post office and library) and stopped at San Jose's Chinatown, the site of a suspicious fire, the location of California's original state capitol and historic St. Joseph's Cathedral among other places.  At each stop my phone revealed how that very spot appeared to visitors a hundred years or so ago!  Scan Jose offers two more self guided tours as well.  I can't wait to visit Old Santa Clara Street or experience Tragedies and Calamities from our city's past.  I hope you'll join me.

Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Book cover of The Summer Before Boys

Julia finds that her interests are changing one summer, a summer when her friend/niece Eliza and she no longer see eye to eye. At the heart of the matter lies her budding interest in a boy. Eliza cannot understand Julia's changing tastes and is hurt and confused.


The Summer Before Boys (AR 5.0, Level 4.4) is a twist on the hurt friend who is left behind. Author Nora Raleigh Baskin instead takes the point of view of the kid who is changing. In Julia's case, she must face her guilt and budding romantic feelings alone.


In addition, many people are either oblivious or have forgotten about those who are in other countries fighting wars for the United States. A timely tale for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this story takes the point of view of a girl whose mother is a nurse in war-torn Iraq. How do the families who are left behind deal with the ongoing stress of wondering if their loved ones are safe?

Interesting Report on Silicon Valley Workforce

A coalition of local workforce development agencies including work2future put out a study in July about Silicon Valley's tech industry and it's workforce. The 119 page study titled Silicon Valley in Transition: Economic and Workforce Implications in the Age of iPads, Android Apps, and the Social Web highlights a lot of interesting points, however the most valuable are the recommendations for tech industry job seekers. The study found that employers are struggling to find qualified job candidates and seek employees who are flexible, adaptable, and can learn quickly rather than someone who is just technically skilled. Employers are looking for people that can work in teams and have experience at larger, well-known companies. If this is not you, don't worry the report gives job hunting/resume tips for older job seekers, long time unemployed job seekers, and job seekers from other industries looking for jobs in tech. You don't have to read the whole 119 page study, although you are welcome to! I suggest you skim through, read the highlights, particularly if you are a tech industry job seeker.

Build Lists of Library Items in "My Account"

Have you ever seen an interesting book or video in our catalog that you want to follow up on later, but don't want to (or can't) request at that particular moment? What did you do? Try to remember it? Write it down on paper? Email yourself a link?


You've now got an easier option! We've just introduced a new feature in the Library Catalog called "My Lists". With My Lists you can permanently save lists of library items that get stored in "My Account". You can make lists reflect whatever you want. They could be on a topic like "dogs" or "travel", a "wish list" of books you want to read or request, or a bibliography for a school assignment - it's up to you!


Add to My Lists buttonWhile you're searching our catalog, look for a button next to each title like the one on the right that says "Add to My Lists". You'll then be asked to login to your account and can add the title to an existing list or create a new list. Go to "My Account" to view the lists you've built. You can make a hold request directly from My Lists for any requestable title (remember some materials, like entertainment DVDs and music CDs cannot be requested).


If you want to learn more, Frequently Asked Questions for My Lists are available to review.


Also, you don't need to use "My Lists" to build lists of books you've already read or checked out. Remember, we have a "My Reading History" feature that will automatically do that for you. Just turn it on and everything you check out from that point on will be saved in a convenient list.


Try it out and then leave a comment to let us know what you think!

9/11 - 10th Anniversary.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11, officially known as the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. 


You can also browse a number of websites commemorating the event. Here's a partial listing.


  • The National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc.  "The memorial exhibition will commemorate the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and will provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women, and children who died."
  • The Flight 93 National Memorial. "Its mission [is] to preserve, protect, and tell the story of Flight 93."
  • The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. "Dedicated to developing educational resources and outreach opportunities to help visitors understand the historic significance of the site and the events that occurred on September 11, 2001."

Here's more information on participating in the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. What will you do in tribute? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


(Thanks to Karen Laughlin for her help on this post.)

Lousia May Alcott's Purple Prose

Book cover: Modern magic by Louisa May AlcottRecreational drug experimentation, cross-dressing and mind control are not topics we associate with Louisa May Alcott. Before becoming famous as the writer of Little Women and other children's books, Ms. Alcott earned her living writing fiction (using pseudonyms) f ) )       f               or popular adult magazines. Five of these stories are collected in the anthology Modern Magic. Other collections include: Behind a Mask: the unknown thrillers of Louisa May AlcottAlternative Alcott, and From Jo March's attic : stories of intrigue and suspense.


See here for information about Louisa May Alcott library programs and events

(clip below from the American Masters documentary: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman behind Little Women.)


. ....

Is Adopting a Shelter Dog for You?

Cover of Saved! A Guide to Success With Your Shelter DogLately, animal shelters throughout the Bay Area are advertising specials about dog adoption and the reduction or elimination of fees. Last December we rescued a dog who has subsequently adopted us. Here’s our story.


It had been 27 years since I last had a dog and I had him for 17 years. Now we have a yard and a neighborhood full of kids who love dogs. But how to get one? My first dog was one of the last of a litter of pups that a pet shop owner was trying to give away. But this time I knew I wanted a different kind of rescue dog – a little fellow who needed to feel special and taken care of and would be happy to see me when I got home. It took two trips to the shelter to find a little guy and get approved.


Biscuit joined our household on Dec 27, 2010 so it’s just over eight months that we’ve been a family. They say that a sleeping dog is a happy dog. If this is true, he must be the happiest little guy on the block because he is always sleeping! He was scrawny when we got him, but now he has filled out, and is looking healthy. He adds a lot of laughter and personality to our home, but I do wish I knew some things and thought more before I just jumped in. I thought that patience and care would be enough. I was wrong. I'm slowly learning how to reduce his separation anxiety and over-protectiveness of my husband. For us, this adoption was very well worth the learning-as-I-go. Maybe in a few years we'll be better "parents" for a second adoption!


Here are some resources to help you – and your children - make your pet adoption decision.

You Too Can Be a Memory Champion!

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

When finalists at the 2005 US Memory Championship claimed to be people of average abilities, science writer Joshua Foer was skeptical. Taking up the challenge, he devoted the following year to the study of memory and mnemonics, (the techniques and methods of memory training) interviewing to scientists, savants, physicians and people with amnesia. Coached by a European memory champion, he learned techniques developed before the invention of writing, entered the 2006 US Memory championship and won!  Moonwalking with Einstein chronicles Foer’s experience training to be a memory champion, and his research into the science and history of memorization.



If you’re interested in improving your memory, check out these library books on mnemonics.

NEW Shojo Manga Series: Kitchen Princess

Check out this newly ordered Graphic Novel series Kitchen Princess. This is shōjo manga series written by Miyuki Kobayashi , illustrated by Natsumi Ando, translated by Satsuki Yamashita, and adapted by Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir. It’s a story about a chef with magical power.


Amazon Product Description of this series mentions that "Najika is a great cook and likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now Najika is determined to find him. The only clue she has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy.


Attending Seika will be a challenge. Every kid at the school has a special talent, and the girls in Najika’s class think she doesn’t deserve to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince?"


Book cover of Kitchen Princess volume 1 Book cover of Kitchen Princess Volume 2 Book cover of Kitchen Princess volume 3 Book cover of Kitchen Princess volume 4


Kitchen Princess is currently available to check out from your local library. Due to the popularity some volumes might not be on shelves but they are requestable with a valid library card and PIN number.

Write on Callie Jones by Naomi Zucker

Book cover of Write On, Callie Jones

Callie Jones likes to write. She would like to find other like-minded students, so she decides to try out for the school's first newspaper, The Hawk. A plus for her is the extremely cute advisor, Mr. Fischer. Of course, she has to watch out for her nemesis, Shane.


Once again, Callie finds herself on the wrong-end of Mr. Nolan or "Mr. No-Man." She learns about censorship, bullies, and the power of the press.


Naomi Zucker's Callie is a unique character, much like the title character in Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series. This title is a continuation of Callie Rules. Anybody who likes to write will surely enjoy Write on, Callie Jones (AR 5.0, Level 4.7)!

Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub by Jamie Gilson

Book cover of Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub

"Sinking a sub" has nothing to do with submarines in this thoughtful tale of fourth graders and their schemes to make a substitute teacher succumb and cry.


The fourth graders in Hobie Hanson's class are ecstatic when their teacher, Mr. Star, has to go home with the flu.  Mr. Star is never sick! What follows is a competition between the boys and the girls to see who can make the sub, Miss. Ivanovitch, cry. At stake: retrieving balls from the spit pit!


The competition gets intense and finally ends with a big disaster no one saw coming. The fourth graders soon learn that this new sub is unlike any other they have seen before! Thirteen Ways to Sink A Sub (AR 4.0, Level 5.2) occurs in only one day. However, the fourth graders learn alot and have fun, too! Have fun reading this quick read from Jamie Gilson!

Solving Zoe by Barbara Dee

Book cover of Solving Zoe

Friendships often change in middle school. Zoe finds this out when her best friend Dara starts to develop different interests from her. Zoe is unconsciously drawn to Lucas because of a shared gift in cryptanalysis.


Lucas is very unusual because he doesn't care what others think of him; he only cares about Zoe. But when Lucas tries to solve Zoe's problems, he inadvertently makes them worse! Along the way, Lucas tutors Zoe in the various puzzles he is so gifted in decrypting. Meanwhile, Zoe tries to figure out what to do about her friendship with Dara.


Barbara Dee skillfully shows us Zoe's troubles when she tries to choose friendship over her natural talent. Solving Zoe (AR 6.0, Level 4.3) is humorous and tender at the same time.

Looking for an Expert in Historical Children's Books

picture of antique children's bookAvailable position

We seek an independent consultant with experience and knowledge in appraisal of children’s books.



San José Public Library owns a collection of materials called the Children’s Resource Collection (CRC), consisting of approximately 7200 non-circulating books and magazines dating from 1763 to 1996. The materials get little use, and we’re interested in appraising the collection to determine its value and make a decision as to its future. 


Scope of work

The consultant will evaluate the CRC materials and offer an appraisal of the collection as a whole as well as individual appraisals for any item for which the estimated value is over $25.00, or of special significance for another reason. The appraised values should be those at which the Library can reasonably expect to resell the items. Deliverables will include a written assessment of the collection’s condition and value; appraisals for the collection as a whole as well as individual items as stated above; and written recommendations for potential buyers for the collection. The consultant may also be asked to make a fifteen-minute presentation at a library management meeting to explain her/his findings.


The Library will inventory the collection before the consultant starts. We will provide full access to the collection Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, and other hours as mutually determined; office space for the duration of the project; a laptop for the duration of the project to be used for research within the library; and office supplies as needed.


How to apply

Please email the following materials to Daisy Porter, Manager of King Access, Children’s, and Youth,, by September 23.

• A résumé detailing your qualifications for evaluating historical books, especially children’s materials

• A letter of interest including your requested fee and the time you estimate it will take you to complete the project

Birthday Books by Wendy Mass

Book cover of 11 Birthdays

A little bit of magic, a little bit of humor... Wendy Mass' 11 Birthdays (AR 7.0, Level 4.1) starts a series of books about how birthdays can bring great changes to our lives.


Amanda is caught up in a Groundhog Day - like loop where she is reliving her eleventh birthday over and over. She can't figure out what is wrong, until she starts to team up with her ex-best friend, Leo. Experimenting each day to see what can be changed, Amanda ends up helping many people that she had initially not noticed before. Together, they consult with the mysterious Angelina to discover what is truly going on with the repetitive day.


Book cover of Finally

Finally (AR 9.0, Level 4.6) is about how one person's good deeds can have life-altering effects and how wants may not be what we need.


Rory is so excited to turn twelve. Her strict parents have kept her from enjoying perks that her other friends already enjoy: cell phones, unsupervised mall visits, make-up, contact lenses, co-ed parties, etc. They tell her she needs to wait until she is twelve. Well, twelve is here and she is raring to try everything! Unfortunately, some uproarious side-effects occur in her quest to experience new things! Of course, Amanda and Leo do make an appearance in this story and provide some much needed insight to her many travails!

Ron Horii Featured in Santa Teresa Branch Library Photo Gallery

BGJ barns photo by Ron Horii


Coyote Peak photo by Ron Horii

Photo enthusiasts and nature lovers will be interested in a great Photo Display of Ron Horri's works at the Santa Teresa Branch Library. His work is well known in the South Bay and beyond. A member of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park and mentor to local photographers he has many nice selections of South Bay and Santa Teresa hills, wildlife, atmospheric weather patterns, hikes, wildflowers, historic buildings, historic sites and more. Come for a stroll in our Community Room where the photos are displayed through the month of September.

DIY Crafts

Cover of Knitting SchoolIt's hard to believe that school is back in session and fall weather will soon be here. That means that the end of the year holidays are not too far away. Many people are determining that instead of purchasing gifts to give, they prefer to make items for their special someones. Hand-knit items are gifts that come from your heart through your hands into the hands of others. If you are thinking of making hand-knit gifts this year, but are looking for ideas, or you want to learn how to knit, come to your local branch. We have lots of books on knitting, crocheting, as well as many other handicrafts.

How Do You Pronounce That Author's Name?

Have you ever come across an author’s name you couldn’t pronounce? I know I have. A fellow librarian told me about this great website where you can learn the correct pronunciation of a name directly from the author. Many of the authors are of children’s and young adult literature but there are also some authors of adult literature. I always thought I knew how to pronounce Maya Angelou but I discovered I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly! The authors sometimes just pronounce their names but often they go into a little history or give you some fun facts. Nancy Tafuri, a children's author, tells us why she loves to draw rabbits; we learn what the E.L. stands for in E.L. Konigsburg and R.L. Stine tells us why children are so disappointed when they hear what the R.L stands for in his name. Find out why Aliki just uses her first name and if the Chris in Chris Van Allsburg stands for something else. This really is a fun website and an educational one too. Just give it a try, I know you will enjoy it. Here's a little demonstration by an author whose name I could never pronounce until now: Jon Scieszka. Happy pronouncing!

Dream Job for Foodies

Book cover of Garlic and SapphiresHave you ever wondered what life would be like with a different kind of job? While it may be fun to dream about all the possibilities, most of us will never know what it would be like to make our living as a food critic for one of the most prestigious newspapers in the nation. Luckily we can all live vicariously by reading Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl’s bestselling memoir about that very thing – her time as the restaurant reviewer for the New York Times. It turns out the position also has qualities of being an actress, diplomat, secret shopper, and celebrity in addition to the more obvious comparison of writer with a chef’s palate.


As in Ms. Reichl’s other books, favorite recipes are sprinkled throughout. Additionally, the reprinted reviews which follow chapters describing the events leading up to and through the restaurant visits are so beautifully crafted and the food described in such sensuous detail that they are just as entertaining to read several years after their original printing in the paper. As readers we are conscious not only of the appreciation of the glorious food itself but also of the extravagant use of words to convey the atmosphere of the entire experience. Along the way we also find out about creative costuming, newsroom rivalries and relationships.


Reading Ruth Reichl’s books will encourage you not just to eat, but to savor. One word of warning, you may get very hungry…

The Last Apprentice: Rage of the Fallen

 Book cover of The Last Apprentice:Rage of the FallenIn the eighth installment of the Last Apprentice series – Rage of the Fallen by Joseph Delaney, Tom – a spook’s apprentice, his master Old Gregory, and his best friend Alice (who also happens to be a witch) have all fled from the evil forces pursuing them to the wild lands of Ireland. There, they continue to fight the Dark – facing new and more dangerous creatures than they have encountered before including the Old God Pan himself. Alice also faces the strongest threat to her very soul as she gets drawn deeper into her dark side while trying to protect Tom.


If you’re a fan of supernatural adventure for tweens and teens, you may enjoy the Last Apprentice series, also known as the Spook’s Apprentice in the author’s native U.K. According to the author’s blog on the U.K. series website, filming of the first book of the series should start soon and will be called “The Seventh Son.”  If you are already a fan of the series, the blog also gives a peek at the next five books to come which will complete the set.


Although these books are more gory, scary and grim than the likes of Goosebumps or Harry Potter, each story continues to hold out hope like a beacon to readers rooting for good to vanquish evil.

Fun with Raw Foods

Raw Food Quick & Easy coverPerhaps you’re wondering what’s with the growing hype over raw foods lately. Maybe you’ve seen books, websites, or products proudly proclaiming “raw.” A raw food diet consists of raw, unprocessed, and preferably organic ingredients. It’s typically a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, although some choose to incorporate raw dairy and meat. Like any diet, there are variations; some strive for 100% or mostly-raw diet, while others just want to incorporate more raw foods into their existing diet. Moms everywhere have been telling their kids to “eat their greens,” and common sense tells us that a hearty salad is a smart lunch choice, but why go raw?


Raw food advocates believe that high temperatures above 105-114 degrees destroy many of the natural enzymes and minerals found in uncooked foods. Among various other health claims, there’s also the theory of raw food alkalinity, which purports that a diet consisting of primarily raw, unprocessed foods restores your body’s pH levels to a healthier alkaline range. If this sounds nutty, consider this: Even the USDA’s new “Choose My Plate” campaign recommends that you fill half of your plate with fruits & veggies. It makes sense that you should opt for fresh, unprocessed options over fried or sugar-coated counterparts when you can, right?


Raw Strawberry CheesecakeAre you curious about the kale chips or raw cheesecake you’ve seen at grocery stores like Whole Foods, but run away in horror when you see the hefty price tags? Since many of these specialty raw items take a lot of time to prepare and consist of various high-quality ingredients, they’re going to set you back considerably more than their cooked counterparts. Fear not! The good news is that raw foods don’t always have to be overly time-consuming or expensive when you choose to make your own. The library has some great raw foods cookbooks full of recipes for salads, soups, wraps, smoothies, and even unexpected dishes like pizza, pasta, and cookies. I've enjoyed Ani Phyo's playful recipes, as well as Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. While personally I won’t be taking the all-raw plunge anytime soon, I enjoy incorporating at least one raw meal or side-dish into my daily routine, whether it’s a green smoothie for breakfast, a colorful salad for lunch, or my personal favorite, a decadent raw dessert.  I’ve found many raw foods recipes to be healthy, tasty, and just plain fun to make! If you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with one of my recent adventures, recipe courtesy of the Post Punk Kitchen. Cheesecake speaks louder than words.

Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

Book cover of Nature GirlNature Girl (AR 8.0, Level 3.9) by Jane Kelley is one of those tales where you might have to suspend your disbelief, especially if you saw the movie 127 Hours!


If you like character development and hiking, this is the book for you!


The title character is very superficial and self-absorbed until she takes to the Appalachian Trail. She feels that she is a person who is a quitter and who complains about everything. Quickly, she learns that when you get lost in the woods with only your dog, quitting and complaining are not options.


Watch her encounter some large woodland animals, unruly teens, fire-making, raging currents, fishing, falling dogs, and large mountains. What Megan learns about herself is both positive and negative. She learns about true friendship and kindness from strangers. Most importantly, she discovers within herself an enduring and resourceful spirit!

Oh Say, Can You See... the War of 1812

Book cover of The War of 1812Man the cannon and batten down the hatches! The DAR, traditionally the Daughters of the American Revolution, more recently the Daughters of the American Republic, have announced the theme of this year's essay contest: it's the War of 1812!


If you are a local student ranging from 5th to 8th grade, that's big news. It's likely your class is going to pay more than usual attention to that conflict in its history studies this year. Here at the Library, we were inundated with train-related requests two years ago when the topic was the Transcontinental Railroad. One year ago, we revered Paul Revere when that fine silversmith-turned-horseman rode his way into the hearts and minds of the DAR membership.


The War of 1812, you ask? Who cares? Ah, but echoes and lessons from the War of 1812 reach down to us today. It was a war that was largely a reaction to terrorism, or at least perceived terrorism on the seas. A significant proportion of the populace on both sides was ambivalent about the need to go to war at all. Botched, ill-timed, slow communications contributed to both the start of the war, and the prolonging of it. Sound familiar? Every time we hear the Star-Spangled-Banner, or pay for a transaction with a twenty dollar bill, the denomination with Andrew Jackson's handsome mug, we commemorate the War of 1812. Not to mention that fine old incendiary American tradition of getting mad as blazes at the Capitol, the White House, and Washington D.C. in general!


That's all very nice, but how can San José Public Library help you, the poor struggling student? Well, the SJPL selectors have put in orders for more War of 1812 books. But, you exclaim, all the books have been checked out, there's a line of holds, and I need information now!


Voila! San José Public Library has databases, the procrastinator's best friend, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week! With your library card, you have access to the 748 articles that come up when you plug the search term "War of 1812" into the History Reference Center. You have any number of articles that appear when you plug Dolley Madison, Oliver Hazard Perry, Jean Lafitte, Tecumseh or your favorite War of 1812 participant into Biography Collection Complete. Don't neglect World Book Encyclopedia online for a good overview of the conflict.


Don't give up the ship! .....  We have met the enemy and they are ours.  .....  Have fun with your topic. People and events of the past are relevant to us today.