Staff Picks - Books

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The Origins of Labor Day

With Labor Day fast approaching that means the end of summer is near. First nationally recognized in 1894, Labor Day celebrates the working class and the American labor movement. The following books delve into the history and conditions that led to this holiday:


From the folks who brought you the weekend : a short, illustrated history of labor in the United States by Priscilla Murolo and A.B. Chitty.

The first comprehensive look at American history through the prism of working people. From indentured servants and slaves in the seventeenth-century Chesapeake to high-tech workers in contemporary Silicon Valley, the book "puts a human face on the people, places, events, and social conditions that have shaped the evolution of organized labor."















The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working in Chicago’s infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians.

While Sinclair’s main target was the industry’s appalling labor conditions, the reading public was most outraged by the disgusting filth and contamination in American food that his novel exposed. As a result, President Theodore Roosevelt demanded an official investigation, which quickly led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug laws. For a work of fiction to have such an impact outside its literary context is extremely rare.
















American labor : a documentary collection, edited by Melvyn Dubofsky and Joseph A. McCartin.

This comprehensive compilation of documents integrates institutional labor history (movements and trade unions) with aspects of social and cultural history. It charts changes in trade union and managerial practices and integrates the economics and politics of labor history.
















The fall of the house of labor : the workplace, the state, and American labor activism, 1865-1925 by David Montgomery.

By studying the ways in which American industrial workers mobilized concerted action in their own interest, the author focuses on the workplace itself, examining the codes of conduct developed by different types of workers and the connections between their activity at work and their national origins and neighborhood life.

Posted by Olin Laster on Aug 30, 2014 | Comments: 0 |

Helpful Websites for Storytime Plans and Ideas by Karen Habra

Abby the Librarian:


Abby is a children’s librarian in New Albany Indiana. From her blog: “Helping and mentoring new librarians and library school students is a passion of mine and you’ll find many of my posts written with that audience in mind. (I am still new-ish, so I remember how it feels to be just starting out.)”  And Abby means it! Not only does she provide detailed storytime plans, she also shares her positive and negative experiences delivering storytime programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.



Awesome Storytime:


Another children’s librarian blogging away with great ideas and thoughts about preschool storytime programs primarily for ages 3-5.  She always evaluates each program in her “How It Went” comments.



Library Noise:


A blog written by a Youth Services Librarian named Jennie.  You will find lots of storytime plans, music and fingerplays for Baby, Toddler and Preschool Storytime programs.



Library Village:


“We are a super team of youth services librarians located in Ohio.  We love what we do and love being part of an amazing team.  We want to share our passion and ideas with all youth services librarians.  “Find storytime plans and ideas for Baby, Toddler and Preschool programs.



Mel’s Desk:


Created and updated by a youth services librarian.  Lots of story time themes and ideas for all ages including books, songs, fingerplays, flannel stories and rhymes.



Storytime Katie:


Tons of stuff on this well organized blog including detailed plans, fingerplays, rhymes, props, songs.  Written and updated by a children’s librarian who is excited about story time and wants to share.



      Helpful Websites for Storytime Fingerplays and Songs


Most of these websites feature fingerplay videos


County of Los Angeles Public Library Videos of Children’s songs & Fingerplays



Hennepin County Library Fingerplays, Rhymes & Songs



Jacksonville Public Library Fingerplay Videos



Kididdles Action songs



King County Library System-Rhymes & Songs & Songs



Reading Is Fundamental



San Jose Public Library: Fingerplays with Miss Nancy

Read it Before You See it!

There are many movies coming out in this half of 2014 that were books before they were movies. Check out these 5 reads before the movie hits the theatres this fall so you can say you’ve “read your favorite movie” this fall.


WildUnbrokenDark PlacesMocking Jay Book JacketBook Jacket


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again. The movie features Reese Witherspoon as the lead character; the movie is scheduled to hit theatres December 5, 2014. Check out the trailer here.  


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared--Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.  The film adaptation, directed by Angelina Jolie, is slated to be released on December 25, 2014. View the trailer here.


Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

After witnessing the murder of her mother and sisters, seven-year-old Libby Day testifies against her brother Ben, but twenty-five years later she tries to profit from her tragic history and admit that her story might not have been accurate.   This chilling movie is set to be released on November 14, 2014 staring Charlize Theron, check out the trailer here.

Also by Gillian Flynn is another chilling novel: Gone Girl, the movie starring Ben Affleck is to be released on October 3, 2014, see a trailer here.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen's having survived the Hunger games twice makes her a target of the Capitol and President Snow, as well as a hero to the rebels. She must accept responsibility for countless lives in order to change the course of the future of Panem. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. Read the last book in this trilogy before November 21, 2014 to see part one of this two part film.


This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper

Siblings who spend more time quarreling than together reluctantly agree to their dying father's request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together in the same house. Like a family. See the film adaptation September 19, 2014 – starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, watch the trailer here.

Outlander Series

book coverOn August 9, Starz cable TV station premiered the first installment of the Outlander Series.  The production is sure to create a lot of excitement about Diana Gabaldon's beloved and addictive Outlander Series :  a collection of eight books chronicling the adventures of World War II nurse Claire Randall who travels back in time to the 18th Century Scottish Highlands.  Start with book number one: Outlander, which begins the time travel adventure.  It is post WWII and while on a vacation trip to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Claire touches a stone in a mystical stone circle and suddenly finds herself transported back in time.  Romance and adventure follow.  Here are the eight titles, in chronological order,  in the Outlander Series:


Dragonfly in ambervoyagerdrums of autumnthe fiery crossa breatj pf smpw amd asjesan echo in the bonewritten in my own heart's blood

Mental Health Resources

Coping with Mental Ilness Book Cover  The difficulty of dealing with mental illness can be terribly compounded when
  you don't know where to turn for help. For those in need of such help, the
  Santa Clara County Mental Health Department provides a mental health
  outreach table several times a year at different SJPL branches. At an outreach
  table, you can get information about mental health education, referral services
  and other resources. Check the event calendar for the next time an outreach
  table will be at a branch near you. If you can't make it to an outreach table,
  you can still call the county mental health department at 1-800-704-0900
  or 408-885-5673.


  The SJPL catalog also has books and resources intended to help you cope with mental illness,  whether you have the illness or it's affecting someone close to you.

Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

This well-written Wall Street Journal blog post highlights the reasons that public libraries are way ahead of Amazon Unlimited and the other similar services, Oyster and Scribd.  The biggest reason is that after years of negotiations, all of the "big five" publishers are finally allowing libraries to acquire many of their top titles as ebooks.  Some of the publishers (HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette) have been doing this for quite a while.  Simon & Schuster and Macmillan have joined in more recently.  Amazon Unlimited has only a few of the titles that people are anxiously wanting to read.  Libraries have lots of them.  You may have to wait in a hold queue for a while, but there's always something interesting available in the meantime.  Visit SJPL's Collections page to see what we have to offer.

The Legacy of Richard Nixon

Forty years ago this week President Richard Nixon became the first president of the United States to resign from office. Since then countless scholars and academics have discussed his legacy and what it means for America and its people. The following are several books that discuss this most infamous of American presidents:

The Invisible Bridge cover


The Invisible Bridge: the Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein.  The best-selling author of Nixonland presents a portrait of the United States during the turbulent political and economic upheavals of the 1970s, covering events ranging from the Arab oil embargo and the era of Patty Hearst to the collapse of the South Vietnamese government and the rise of Ronald Reagan




The Nixon Tapes cover

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.  The famous--and infamous--Nixon White House tapes that reveal for the first time President Richard Nixon uncensored, unfiltered, and in his own words President Nixon's voice-activated taping system captured every word spoken in the Oval Office, CabinetRoom, and other key locations in the White House, and at Camp David--3,700 hours of recordings between 1971 and 1973. Yet less than 5 percent of those conversations have ever been transcribed and published. Now, thanks to professor Luke Nichter's massiveeffort to digitize and transcribe the tapes, the world can finally read an unprecedented account of one of the most important and controversial presidencies in U.S. history.

The United States v. Nixon cover




The United States v. Nixon: The Watergate Scandal and Limits to U.S. Presidential Power by Erika Wittekind.  Examines the Supreme Court against the former president, discussing the history, the investigation, and the lasting impact.




The Nixon Defense cover

The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It by John W. Dean.  In this book, former White House Counsel John W. Dean, one of the last major surviving figures of Watergate, draws on his own transcripts of almost a thousand conversations, a wealth of Nixon’s secretly recorded information, and more than 150,000 pages of documents in the National Archives and the Nixon Library to provide the definitive answer to the question: What did President Nixon know and when did he know it?

New Features from OverDrive (eBooks & eAudiobooks)

OverDrive launched several new features to their eBook/eAudiobook service this week.  You can now elect to have an eBook or eAudiobook that is being held for you automatically be checked out to you instead of having to watch your email for a notification.  And, if you've got more holds than you can read at once or aren't going to have time to read, you can "freeze" your holds and keep your place in the queue.


Read more about these and other new features on the OverDrive blog.

Posted by Laurie Willis on Aug 7, 2014 | Comments: 0 |

July 2014: Top 10 Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction Checkouts

It's that time again for the monthly check on what the community's reading! Here's a selection from the top titles for July. Here are the previous lists for May and June. Enjoy!


Top Fiction

  1. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hr Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  2. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  3. Inferno by Dan Brown
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  5. And The Mountains Echoed by Hosseini Khaled
  6. Never Go Back by Lee Child
  7. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
  8. W Is For Wasted by Sue Grafton
  9. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
  10. King & Maxwell by David Baldacci

Top Non-Fiction

  1. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
  2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
  5. What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles
  6. Lao Fuzi by Ze Wang
  7. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  8. David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  9. Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  10. In Defense of Food by Michael Lewis

6 Books for the First Day of School

Summer is ending and in its place will start a new school year. For many kids, this new school year will be their first school year. Children will be filled with questions, hesitation and excitement about what will be in store for them. Here are some great books to start the discussion on what types of experiences they'll encounter during the next few months.


Various Book Covers


  1. First Day of School by Margaret McNamara - After a summer of playing with his puppy, Michael is sad to learn that she cannot stay with him on the first day of school (J Easy Reader McNamara)
  2. Mouse’s First Day of School by Lauren Thompson - When he goes to school, Mouse finds a world of new objects and new friends. (J Picture Book Thompson)
  3. Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish - A literal-minded first-grader's first day of school is filled with confusing adventures, much to her delight. (J Picture Book Parish)
  4. Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman - On the first day of school, a young panda learns about the special things his animal classmates can do. (J Picture Book Gaiman)
  5. My First Day of School by by Nancy Skarmeas - Daniel liked preschool just fine, but he is not so sure he wants to go to kindergarten. (J Picture Book Skarmeas)
  6. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney - Llama Llama experiences separation anxiety on his first day of nursery school.  (J Picture Book Dewdney)