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Question of the Week: Where are More Streams to Go Fishing?

California Fishing Book coverA customer wanted to know the various areas where different streams and creeks ran for fishing in Northern California. The first of the resources that popped up in my mind was Santa Clara Valley Water District.


The District’s page of Healthy Creeks has posted information including the following passage:
"Santa Clara Valley encompasses five major watersheds. A watershed is the land area from which surface runoff drains into a stream channel, lake, reservoir or the ocean. For example, all the creeks and rivers in the Guadalupe Watershed, including water from storm drains, flow into the Guadalupe River then downstream into San Francisco Bay."


The same page presents a video tour "Watching Our Watersheds" which is also on Youtube. These five watersheds are: Coyote; Guadalupe, Lower Peninsula, Uvas/Llagas, and West Valley.


Next, by googling "California and Fishing," the top results include a page of Fishing in California from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). It links to Sport  Fishing Regulations, as well as Sport Fishing Regulations-Fresh Water Edition, etc. The CDFW site also helps you plan your fishing trip with map-based information in the form of an interactive Fishing Guide. It allows you to see many excellent fishing spots and learn about the services and facilities for recreational fishing in California.


If Eastern Sierra is of interest to you, Mono County provides an attractive page of Top Fishing Spots that links to helpful Fishing & Stocking Reports.


At the library, there are copies of an excellent guidebook, California Fishing: The Complete Guide to Fishing on Lakes, Streams, Rivers, and the Coast that may be checked out.


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Back to School - Learning Express

It's back to school time!  Need some help with reading, writing, science or math? The tutorials for grades 4-12 at LearningExpress Library may give you that extra boost that you need.  There is help for adults on these topics, too. LearningExpress Library also has practice tests for the GED, SAT, ACT, TOEFL and more.  There's even a section for Spanish speakers - Recursos para hispanohablantes.


Using LearningExpress Library is easy, and can be done from the library or your home computer. From home you’ll need your library card number. 

Posted by Laurie Willis on Aug 18, 2014 | Comments: 0 |

Looking Back: The Errant Tombstone of Louis Pellier

Louis Pellier, "The Prune King"

Photo courtesy of History San Jose



One August day in 2011, a fellow named Tim Peddy came into the California Room to look at some aerial photos.  I noticed that one of the aerials showed the San Juan Bautista Hills near my neighborhood.  The San Juan Bautista Hills are an outcropping of hills on the southeast corner of Willow Glen that include “The Church on the Hill,” County Communications, Communications Hill (with the cell phone tower), and Oak Hill Cemetery.   I pointed out to Tim that the small hill between the church and County Communications had once been part of a Catholic cemetery known as “Kell Cemetery” or “Holy Cross Cemetery.”  Then his eyes then widened when I told him that I knew an old farmer who had in his possession the grave marker of Louis Pellier’s nephew.


The older Louis Pellier (1817-1872) was born in St. Hippolyte, France, and came to California during the gold rush.  By the early 1850s, he'd opened the City Nursery in downtown San Jose.  He was joined a few years later by his brother Pierre.  In 1854, Pierre journeyed back to France and returned with a wife, and cuttings and seeds for the nursery.  From these, Louis grafted the French prune onto the rootstock of the wild plum, which produced the prune that Santa Clara Valley became famous for.


 When Pellier died, he was buried in the Holy Cross cemetery, and was later joined by his nephew (Pierre's son, also named Louis).  By the late 1800s, the cemetery was abandoned, with most of the graves reinterred at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery on Alum Rock Avenue.  Both Pellier gravestones however, remained at the abandoned cemetery near the small hillside.  Louis Pellier’s tombstone was discovered and saved in the 1940s by City Historian Clyde Arbuckle who lived nearby.  Later, the smaller tombstone of Pellier’s nephew was saved by Lee Lester who owned adjoining property.


Excited by the news of the nephew’s tombstone, Tim Peddy soon alerted his fellow California Pioneers of Santa Clara County members, who included City Historian Paul Bernal, Jim Zetterquist, Bill Foley, and Rick Helin, also known as the “In Grave Danger Gang.”  They were anxious to meet Lee Lester and retrieve the nephew’s tombstone.  In the meantime, I contacted Jim Reed with History San Jose, to see if he could locate the tombstone of Louis Pellier that had been saved by Clyde Arbuckle.  It was soon located in a History San Jose storehouse, and a plan was made to restore Pellier and his nephew’s tombstones to the site of their reinterment at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.


Jim, Ralph, and Tim retrieve Louis Pellier's tombstone

from a History San Jose warehouse.

Photo by Bill Foley.


Foundations were created, and the markers were placed above the site where the remains of the two Pelliers were buried.  A formal dedication took place in October of 2011, with Lee Lester and many Pellier descendants in attendance.  All was not well for long though. After more than a century of being separated from the remains of Louis Pellier, the reunited marker was struck and run over by a disoriented driver on the cemetery grounds a few short months later. The “In Grave Danger Gang” didn’t give up however, and the broken marker was eventually repaired and restored, this time with a protective barrier. Whether their tenacity pays off however, only time will tell. 


The Restored tombstone of Louis Pellier

(center) near his nephew Louis (far right).

Photo by Tim Peddy.




Further reading in the California Room:


Question of the Week: Who Was First Non-Japanese to Place in the Emperor's Poetry Contest?

On January 12, 1957, it was reported in the New York Times that Lucille Nixon, a resident of Palo Alto, California, was among fifteen persons whose works were read or chanted as the best of Emperor Hirohito’s annual New Year’s poetry contest. Tomoshibi or light was the subject of the contest. Below is her winning tanka in Japanese and English, respectively:


Akogare no uruwashiki
Nihon Horyuji
Hiru no miakaski itsu
mata towamu


I am longing to return to beautiful Japan
But even more to Horyuji,
Where the soul’s light beams eternally.


The significance of her work was that "she was the first foreign-born poet to be ever so honored."


A thesis, "The History of Japanese Tanka Poetry in America," was written by Tomoe Tana and accepted by the History Department of San Jose State University in 1985. In it, Ms. Tana wrote that Lucille Mary Nixon "was the first tanka poet who was not of Japanese descent to be selected as a winner and who attended the Palace Poetry Party in Japan." Ms. Tana was also herself a previous winner in 1949.


The problem is that despite Lucille Nixon’s accomplishment, which was no mean feat in itself, she was not the first person of non-Japanese descent to win a prize in this contest, she was apparently the second. The honor of first place went to Mrs. Charles Burnett, as married women were often addressed in the past. She was least known as Frances Hawks Cameron Burnett. This honor for Mrs. Burnett was found through the use of the Historical New York Times (1851-2010) database from ProQuest Historical Newspapers. This is a San Jose State University database, and is only available for public use at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in downtown San Jose.


On January 15, 1921, it was initially reported in the Times that Mrs. Charles Burnett, "wife of Colonel Charles Burnett, the American Military Attaché at Tokio (an older way to spell Tokyo), has just been awarded fourth place in the Emperor’s annual poem competition." Later on March 13, 1921, a longer article, "An American in Japanese," was published in the Times with more details.

The theme of that year’s contest was "Before the Shrine of Ise at Dawn." Below is her winning tanka in Japanese and English, respectively:


Toshi no Akatsuki
Ise no Miya ni
Kami no hikari wo
Aogi miru kana.


In the dawn of the New Year,
Before the ancient portals of
Eternal Truth
Behold! in changeless Majesty,
The Light of God.


The poem was brushed in Japanese characters as required, and "is said to be the best original Japanese poem composed by a foreigner. It was submitted anonymously and selected from among some 17,000 other verses."


The question is how did Mrs. Burnett’s moment of triumph get lost over time? There are a couple of explanations. First, when Ms. Tana was doing her thesis research in the 1980s, there obviously was no New York Times database and, more to the point, no internet. Second, as possible alternative sources for this achievement, there was a failure of institutional memory among two groups. The Japanese Imperial Bureau of Poems or its equivalent after World War II somehow forgot the achievement of one of their own past winners. Thirty-six years later in 1957, there was no one in the New York Times to tell the reporter that this story had been done before in 1921, even though there was an account, buried of course, in their files.


From this example, it’s apparent that the New York Times and other newspaper databases may contain unknown, contradictory information and that data mining into published stories may sometimes lead to better information and corrected history. As happens in some cases, especially this one, someone’s reputation may be restored and enhanced, while someone else’s may be diminished.


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Question of the Week: Library Sources For Learning Yoga

Yoga for Arthritis coverA woman came to the reference desk and said that her doctor had recommended trying some basic yoga stretches to ease her pain from arthritis. She was reluctant to purchase either books or DVDs without first trying them out to see what she could do.


I told her that this is one of the best things about using the library collection, because she has free access to a variety of styles, philosophies, and learning levels on the topic of yoga – either in book or DVD formats.


She asked if there were any materials specifically on yoga for people with arthritis, since simply typing in the keyword YOGA in the library catalog did, indeed, bring up hundreds of records. I tried again by adding the word ARTHRITIS to my keyword search, and sure enough, we found some great titles. I pointed out that she could limit her search on the left side of the screen by refining it to type of format or library location.  She was excited to go home and give it all a try!


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Pack Up & Go! - Travel Resources

Going somewhere? Plan your stay with ebooks in SJPL's Travel CollectionAre you planning a trip? You don't want to lug along a bunch of heavy travel guides? Or you don't have time to stop by the library to pick some up?


The library's online Travel Collection can help! Get Rough Guides and Eyewitness Travel Guides in ebook form. You can read a whole book online in your browser or download just the chapters you want to take with you on your trip.


Are you going out of the country? Don't know the language? Choose one of 63 different languages to learn at Mango Languages and be ready to carry on a conversation.


And, of course, the library has thousands of ebooks for you to take along for leisure reading.


Wherever you're going, enjoy your trip!

Question of the Week: What is FIFA?

With all the excitement on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil a customer requested information and the availability of library resources on  Soccer, techniques of the sport, how to play the game, and wanted to know exactly what is FIFA?


By subject and keyword searching the library catalog, the San Jose Public Library collection has a variety of books on all aspects of soccer, including:


Searching Google turned up popular Websites on soccer and the answer to the question, "What is FIFA?"  According to Wikipedia, FIFA is the "Fédération Internationale de Football Association", or the "International Federation of Association Football", and is the international organization that governs the World Cup games and tournaments.  Soccer, aka Football, is the most popular sport worldwide and there are many leagues including Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and the game popularity is spreading here in the United States too. Here in America, The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is the official governing body for the U.S Soccer games and sport. Enjoy the game!


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Value Line Investment Survey

Logo of Value Line Investment SurveyDedicated investors have long been looking to Value Line Investment Survey for current information on companies and stocks. Value Line's website recently had a facelift.  If you're an investor and haven't used Value Line yet, take a look.


If you're already a Value Line user, you may have to look around a little to find the customary information. Here are a couple of places to try.


DASHBOARD - in the box on the right you can click on Summary & Index and Selection & Opinion, which correspond to the pages in the paper version.  The VLIS Current Issue link gives the latest updates.


BROWSE RESEARCH - Click this tab to get Recent Rank Updates and Recent Commentary Updates.


USE THE SEARCH BOX - Enter a company name or symbol in the box at the top, but DO NOT click "Quote" - Just hit the ENTER key. When the company page opens, click PDF Reports in the upper right corner to see pages that correspond to the paper version, or browse the page for extended information.  You can even move elements around on the page and make your own layout.


FIND IDEAS tab - includes a screener to narrow down investment choices and a set of model portfolios.


Let us know if you're having trouble finding anything.


This subscription to Value Line Investment Survey is paid for by San Jose Public Library.

Looking Back: El Rancho Drive-In Theater on Almaden and Alma

El Rancho sign and pine trees photo


Of the various San Jose landmarks of the 1960s and 1970s, one of the most impressive to me was the huge mural that stood on the corner of Almaden Avenue and Alma Avenue.  How many times I looked out at it through the window of our 1964 Nova station wagon I’ll never know, but I was always in awe of it.  And yet, it never would have occurred to me that I might one day wish I’d taken a picture of it.  It would always be there, right?


The mural was created by local muralist Don Clever, who painted it on the back of the huge El Rancho Drive-In movie screen.  The drive-in was located at 1505 Almaden Road, with the screen standing at an angle on the southwest corner of Almaden and Alma Streets. The El Rancho opened in 1950. Created by Paul Catalana (who later brought the Beatles to Candlestick Park), the drive-in featured a game room and kiddie rides.  The drive-in closed in the 1980s, giving way to condominiums.  A reminder remains however, in the form of a nearby liquor store; El Rancho Liquors/Taqueria proudly displays its name "El Rancho" in the same script as the theater used (see photo).  The mural stood on the corner approximately where the pine trees stand on the right side of the accompanying photograph.  See a photo of the El Rancho Drive-In's Mural here



Further California Room Research:


New Resources about Social Issues

Keep up with what's going on in the world. Check out these new library resources.


Biography in ContextVirtually every course of study — from history to science to literature — is ultimately tied to the study of people. Biography in Context delivers outstanding research support with 600,000+ biographical entries — on more than 528,000 individuals — spanning history and geography.



Global Issues in ContextGet the tools you need to understand today’s world issues from a global perspective. Global Issues in Context offers global perspectives on issues of international importance and current world events and topics in the news related to these issues.



Opposing Viewpoints in ContextRead pro/con arguements and topical overviews about today’s hottest social issues. Opposing Viewpoints in Context covers them all, from offshore drilling to climate change, health care to immigration.