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Pete Seeger Lives Forever in the Library

Young Pete Seeger with banjoAmerica has been mourning the passing of our great folk singer Pete Seeger this past week. He was giving and helpful to so many communities, and the library world is no exception.  The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress posted about him on its blog:

"In the 1930s, Pete was invited by his friend Alan Lomax to work at the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, which is now the AFC Archive. There’s no record of his being paid, so we consider him the Archive’s first intern!  Several AFC collections from the 1930s and 1940s contain materials collected by Lomax and Seeger, as well as music and square-dance calls performed by Seeger alone and with groups."


The AFC's blog post has a link to an archived recording of Pete Seeger performing a song called "Dear Mr. President" at the Library of Congress in 1942 - go read the entire blog post and give the song a listen!

The San Jose Public Library catalog is also full of treasures Pete Seeger left us, in print, electronic, audio and video format. We've also got his children's books based on a South African lullaby and folk story, Abiyoyo and Abiyoyo Returns.

Some of us thought Pete might live forever. We were right. He is always in the library.

Congratulations BOTB 2013 Winners

Congratulations BOTB 2013 Winners!


1st Place

Lizard Kingdom Progressive Rock


Lizard Kingdom is heavily influenced by bands such as the Fall of Troy, Ricky Martin, Sha Na Na, Nickelback, Milli Vanilli, and Brian Wilson. In our spare time, we enjoy making balloon animals. Collectively our favorite food is pickles. Our pre-show ritual is we gather around, and run with scissors to display bravery.




2nd Place


Cactus  Experimental/Fusion


"Cactus is a group that plays for the sheer love of all different kinds of music, whether it be jazz, blues, alternative, classic rock, or Motown. Each practice is always different consisting of spontaneous new ideas every time. We enjoy the simple things in life, humor, and acting weird and crazy!"



3rd Place


Half N Half   Indie Rock


“We have been together since Fall 2011, and started out playing covers. But with HALF of us wanting to play this, n Half of us wanting to play that, we finally decided to collaborate to write our own music! “






The library gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of its community sponsors:


  • Live 105.3 FM
  • PinUp Productions
  • San Jose Pro Drum
  • Steetlight Records
  • San Jose Rock Shop
  • Music Village
  • Music Go Round







Ravi Shankar

Ravi ShankarIndian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar passed away on December 11 at the age of 92.  Known as the "Godfather of World Music," he is widely credited with popularlizing Indian music in the Western world. He was a mentor to British Beatle George Harrison, American contemporary classical composer Philip Glass and jazz artist Johnny Coltrane, who named his son Ravi in Shankar's honor. 


The San Jose Public Library has a number of Ravi Shankar's musical recordings available on CD. You can browse the catalog for them.

San José Public Library presents - Battle of the Bands 2012

 Rock the Library!!!

In honor of Teen Tech Week,  March 4-10, 2012, it’s time to “Geek Out @ your library”

Like us!

Teens ages 12-18 can join in on all the fun and participate in the competition for a chance to perform at a live concert in March and WIN awesome prizes!


  •  GRAND PRIZE: $250!!!
  •  Second Place: $150
  •  Third Place: $50

You can check out last year’s contestants and finalists Videos/Pics



Concert Finale:


The top FIVE finalists will compete for prizes at a live publicized concert on Saturday, March 24, at 3 p.m. at Almaden Branch Library and Community Center. The finalists will have up to 20 minutes to perform their set in front of an audience and a judging panel of local music experts. All are invited to attend this exciting concert event, which will showcase local talented youth. The judges will determine the grand prize winner of San Jose Public Library's Battle of the Bands!



We are Asyla, and we enjoy writing and composing hard rock and indie music. We enjoy long walks

on the beach, and candle lit dinners under the sunset. We are inspired by 80's aerobic workout videos. As a group we strive to play music that people will love. And we enjoy Karate.


The Gist

The Gist is an eclectic (but not necessarily experimental) music group playing various styles of rock (alternative, classic, blues-rock) and some quieter, jazzy arrangements. The Gist enjoys writing original material as well as covering and interpreting some of their favorite artists' songs.




We are an experimental metal band named Kagemusha that formed in 2007. Previously known as Shackled Gunmen/Chorus of the Dead. The demo album record on purevolume is about a year old. The Music there are only our instrumentals. Live performances include singing.


Some Random People(SRP)

Some Random People (SRP) was formed in the summer of 2010, born out of a common musical interest and love for classic rock. This year brings them into a new phase. They have started working on original music and have never been more excited about their future.




Theseus is a progressive rock band who writes songs featuring many metre changes as well as extended instrumental sections.  Their influences include Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, King Crimson, Muse, and Radiohead.


For more information contact (408) 808-2175.



Top 5 Reasons to Sign Up for SJPL's Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands graphic5) You have the chance to win $250! What can you buy with $250?? Tons of things like: 500 Jack-in-the-Box tacos, 41 movies at Camera Cinemas, 50 Starbucks’ Tall Mocha Frappuccino…. or more important things like new guitar strings, sound equipment, or awesome matching fedoras. 


4) Increase your fanbase!  Did you know that over 7 million bodies come through our doors every year?  That’s a lot of Facebook friends.


3) Get a jump start on your rockstar career early!  The average age of the members of The Rolling Stones is about 66; that means at least 50 years of rock for your band!


2) Make rock concerts in libraries a good thing!  San José Public Libraries are not places where you can only wear rubber soled shoes and have the potential of being shushed.  They are thriving, active, and fun community hotspots.  Do your part to keep the library that way!


1) Make your parents/family/friends proud.  Yeah, I know; that sounds kind of lame, but it’s true.   Performing in front of live audiences is really nerve wrecking,  but the end result is the pride you and your loved ones will feel when they see you on stage. 


So sign up NOW for our annual Battle of the Bands competition!

The Rest Is Noise

Book cover of  The Rest is NoiseAlex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise could be considered as one of the most important and comprehesive survey of modern music in recent history.  The author looks back more than 100 years, starting from Richard Strauss and Gustave Mahler of Vienna in the transitional period of 19th and the following century.  Readers will be amazed by the amounts of information on the composers’ lives, styles, and contemporaries.  Intriguing stories of eccentricities and scandals revolving towering figures such as Sibelius, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Britten, etc. sometimes read like tabloids, but give significant insights into their creativity and long-lasting influences.  Sporadic musical analyses (such as ones for Strauss’ Salome and Britten’s Peter Grimes,) remind readers of CD liner notes.  Chronically arranged, the book starts with the German masters of Berlin and Vienna at the end of 19th century, then to Stravinsky and the Serialists (Schoenberg, Webern, Berg), nationalists (Bartók, Sibelius, Copland), to the suppressed (Shostakovitch, Prokofiev), minimalists (Young, Reich, Stockhausen), and latest contemporaries (Adams, Pärt, Glass.)  In 623 pages, The Rest Is Noise is quite fun to read and offers readers of all levels and expertises a concise but clear and complete understanding of modern music.


* Read more about 20th-Century Music

* Check out Listen To This by Alex Ross