- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Imagine that you are living in America in 1849, and that you start hearing rumours about a gold strike in far-off California. They say you can pluck gold right out of the river, and can easily become a rich man! However, the road to California is hard. Why, 3 years ago, the Donner Party became snowbound on the way, and they say the survivors ran out of food and ate the dead!
How will you find out what's really happening? You’ll read the newspapers (or find someone to read them to you). Newspapers are the only significant media source you have. Those newspaper accounts are the best (and sometimes only) source of information around. Read the stories, and make your own decision on whether to go prospecting for gold in California!
Back in the 21st century, you can still get a taste of what people were reading about in 1849 and the following years. Newspaper accounts from that era are compiled in the book To the Golden Shore: America goes to California – 1840, by researcher and editor Peter Browning. These are the very stories that stoked gold rush fever in the U.S. Check it out, at San Jose Public Library!
It's that time of year again. Third and fourth graders around the state descend upon public libraries and various craft stores to start their California Mission project. But after you check out books about your mission of choice, take the time to visit some of the missions in the area. San José residents have easy access to two missions. Located on the campus of Santa Clara University, Mission Santa Clara de Asis, was the eighth mission founded in California and the first in Santa Clara Valley. Though technically in Fremont, Mission San José was named in honor of St. Joseph (just like the city!). Books, websites, and databases can give you a lot of useful information for projects, but visiting these historic locations give you an up close and personal touch to California history.
For more information, the library has a list of great links about all California Missions and at King Library, the California Room is a great place for primary sources and their Digital Collections contains great photographs of the missions.
For a print reference work, there is no better bang for your buck than a good ole Almanac. Every year, these books are published and for quick access to more statistical and reference information - they can't be beat.
World Almanac for Kids 2011 - If your kid is a lover of facts, this is a great book to give as a present, or a fun check out from the library. Topics covered include sports statistics, information about the 50 states, weather highlights, olympic medalists and many more!
My parents always bought a copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac every year to decide things like when to plant tomatoes and what the weather might be like on a particular day- very helpful when planning an outdoor wedding or party! Now the Old Farmer's Almanac has an online site - which will give you some of what you get in print.
Old Almanacs give you a glimpse into what life was like in years past - The California Room has a copy of the California Miner's Almanac for 1864. This work contains metallurgical information and "useful directions for prospecting gold, silver or copper."
In these days of the internet, one could reasonably argue that the time of almanacs has past. But I have found that in most cases, if you give someone an almanac and their friend the internet and have them both look up the same fact, the person with the almanac is more likely to find the information first! Don't believe me? Check out an almanac and try it out for yourself!
Want to know more about San Jose's Historic past? Check out a copy of San Jose's Historic Downtown, a beautiful photo exhibit of our days of old! And if you are enthralled by this book, check out the rest of the San Jose: Images of America Series: Theaters of San Jose, Portuguese in San Jose, Mexicans in San Jose, and Chinese in San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley