Saturday, October 6, 2012

Teens Only | Be the Change

Thank you, Mahatma Ghandi. 

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

During the month of September, our community read, discussed and learned from Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster as part of One Book, One San Joaquin. One question that was frequently raised was this: What does the individual owe the community?

I was totally blown away by the essays submitted by teens from our community. There were some really great ideas and some very insightful thinking going on! So tell me more. What would you like to see in our community? What would you like to see at the library? Email your thoughts and ideas to me (

And hey, if you think one person can't make a difference, meet Mary Pat Hector. At 10 years of age, she founded Youth in Action and mobilized young people across the country to take a stand on issues like bullying, gun violence, and drugs. She is now the National Youth Director of National Action Network

Going back to those wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, let me just say one more thing: October 10th is National Stop Bullying Day

Catch me here on Saturdays.

Books on Film | From Paper to Film

How many of your favorite movies are actually based on books?

Film and television adaptations of teen novels are all the rage now. The Hunger Games series and The Twilight series have made it to the big screen, while titles like The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle series have been adapted into television shows. 

It's not just a teen lit phenomenon either, both adult and children's books are regularly adapted into film.  Fantastic adventure films, like Jurassic Park, and fun family films, like Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs, are based on books.

It's also not a new phenomenon. Books have been adapted into movies for almost as long as film-making has been around. Sherlock Holmes was one of the earliest series to be to be adapted into film.

And not only are books adapted into film, but vice versa! This film to book transformation is very popular in science fiction. Movies like Star Wars and television shows like Star Trek have inspired many authors to pick up their pen.

Books on Film will explore old, new, and upcoming film and television adaptations from novels, written plays, and comic books; as well as draw attention to novels inspired by some of your favorite movies and shows.

Do you have a favorite book adaptation? If so, share by adding a comment below. 

[Book covers courtesy of LibraryThing]

Friday, October 5, 2012

Food, Food, Food!! | Cookbook Friday

This blog will be dedicated to the celebration of food, glorious food.   There may be some fun drink and restaurant chatter, too.   When your name is “Peaches,” you have to write about food.  I AM food!  I not exactly a foodie, because I am as finicky an eater as your average 8 year old but I do love to read and talk about food.

Initially I want to remind all of you that every library in this system has a terrific collection of cookbooks.  The primary call number for cookbooks is 641.  (You can always ask a librarian to show the section to you.)   I want to highlight some cookbooks for children in this blog, because we have some terrific ones!

First I want to highlight one of my favorite food books for children; It’s Disgusting and We Ate it! True Food Facts From Around the World and Throughout History.  By James Solheim.  Here’s a fun fact that is in fact, disgusting:

“From the mushrooms on your pizza and the yeast in its crust to the mildew behind the sink, fungi are everywhere.  In fact, there are millions of fungi in your house that you never even say ‘hi’ to!  You breathe them in every breath, and they grow in your food.”

Fun cookbooks based on Children’s Books:

The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook by Virginia H. Ellison
The Nancy Drew Cookbook by Carolyn Keene

See you next week, unless you frequent Centrale on the Miracle Mile in which case you will probably see me sooner.

Constant Curiosity | Oh look, a duck!

Hello all and welcome to my blog.  They say curiosity killed the cat, but since I'm not a cat, I'm not too worried.  I am worried (just a little) about how to boil down all the interesting things I'm interested in and make them interesting enough for others to read about them.   

O.k., enough worrying.  I like books and art and music and movies and theater, and many, many other things.   When I read a book or see a film I invariably get curious about something or someone in the book and have to look it up.  I understand that one of Amazon's newest Kindles gives viewers a way to look stuff up in IMDB (Internet Movie Database) while watching the film on your Kindle in case you wonder where you've seen that actor before.  My own Kindle Fire offers word definitions at a touch as one reads.   It's a boon to the curious, but that's where the duck comes in.  

To my easily piqued curiosity and equally distractable nature a duck signifies for me yet one more random thing that has caught my attention.  I even know a quote about ducks:  "How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks" says Lord Peter Wimsey in Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers.

I'm lucky I work where I do and do what I do, but it's sort of a blessing and a curse, since one thing invariably leads to another.  I had to quit looking at old newspaper microfilm because reading all the articles other than the one I had been looking for was just too fascinating.  I found out one time that Oscar Wilde had actually visited Stockton.  The description of his outfit was quite vivid.  Something about brown velvet trousers and a big green floppy tie. 

These sorts of occasions make me long for the ability to move around in time the way characters in these books & films do: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Time and Again by Nora Roberts, films like Somewhere in Time, The Philadelphia Experiment and Time After Time, starring a young Malcolm McDowell (as H.G. Wells) and an equally young Mary Steenburgen.  David Warner played Jack the Ripper.  In case you were curious.

Well, you get the picture about what my various themes might be...oh look! A rabbit! (Harvey, 1950, starring James Stewart) but wasn't Harvey really a Pooka, a mythological being...sorry gotta go look something up.  See you next time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Wanderlust Librarian | Wandering Through the City

Traveling doesn't have to be far away. In fact, there are some eclectic and great neighborhoods to explore in San Francisco. I try to research one or two different neighborhoods that I'm really interested in and put them in a little notebook that I carry in my purse. I call it my "commonplace book". I adopted the name after I had started reading the Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1: The Bad Beginning . There's a big plus to having a notebook to jot things down, write down suggestions from locals... or, in my case, write down books I want to read.

While I don't always make it to the neighborhoods I've researched, I know that the information is always there in case I need it. I like to take tips from friends, family, television shows and magazines.Do you want to get a flavor for the different neighborhoods in the City? Check out Walking San Francisco. This books shows maps of the neighborhoods and tries to capture the personality of that area!

Some things I like to jot down:

  • Name of neighborhood and location
  • Shops, addresses and descriptions (who knew that a store called Karikter carries Tintin books and toys?)
  • Restaurants & cafes (with address and description)
  • Places of note (libraries, picture opportunities, historical places)

Without research, I would have never known that this was the Richmond Branch Library! 

 Another fun tip is to theme out your excursions. Some of my San Francisco wanderings have included:

  • Cupcake-palooza - visiting cupcake shops around town 
  • Let's go to the movies - famous sights in San Francisco that were in different movies
  • Pretty Woman - trying on expensive clothes at swanky stores
  • It's a (tourist) trap! - visiting various tourist spots and capping the day off at the Yoda fountain at the Presidio

These little lists do not give me an excuse to get bored when I'm in the City. In fact, it gives me freedom in choosing the activities and sights I want to see! The library is your best friend in helping to plan and execute a fun, spontaneous visit to the city or anywhere your heart desires!

Adventure is out there!  - Ellie from "Up"

Book Bucket List | Introductions

Bucket List:

A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. (Oxford Dictionaries) 

When someone mentions their “bucket list”, I usually think of activities like skydiving, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and swimming with sharks.  The “bucket list” refers to once in a lifetime activities designed to excite, scare, or challenge the participant. Once complete, you check it off your list with varying degrees of feelings of accomplishment or “Why on Earth did I just do that?!”

In the same vein, a book bucket list contains titles that are “must reads” for various reasons. For example, the list hanging on my desk includes:

One is a classic that I have been told many times I need to read, the other is an author I have really enjoyed in the past, and one is a book that I loved as a kid so much that I still love reading it today!

So as my own list develops, I will be posting about my favorites in hopes it will help you with your own book bucket list.  This blog will have suggestions of books you should read at least once in your lifetime!  

Also, I always take suggestions! So comment below with your own suggestions, and maybe I’ll feature the book!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just Because | Thank you to the Friends and Foundation

It bears constant repeating that SSJCPL as an organization and all that staff that work here are incredibly grateful for the amazing contributions made by the various Friends groups throughout San Joaquin County as well as to the continued financial support of the Library & Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County.

These groups work hard to come up with ways to raise money and then so graciously offer those hard earned dollars right back to the library for a variety of purposes.  A majority of the funds go toward the purchase of materials for our shelves, which end up in the hands of people of all ages.  

Some of those funds also go toward our programming - the day to day book clubs and storytimes as well as the special programming such as Summer Reading and the One Book, One San Joaquin program that is taking place this month.

Shop at your local Friends Book Sale Event!
If you want to help these groups to support the library, it's easy! In addition to shopping your favorite national bookstores, stop by the local Friends of the Stockton Library bookstore in Stockton to check out their best sellers and new releases.  Or, if you are outside of Stockton, when checking out books at a county SSJCPL branch, take a moment and peruse the in-library friends book sales!  Ripon is well know for their book sales, as is Manteca and Linden! The money you spend puts a book in your hand and puts dollars in a fund that will eventually be used to purchase new materials for the library system.

As for the Library & Literacy Foundation, check them out, too!! They are doing all kinds of great things in San Joaquin County that help to promote literacy!  

Thank you to our Friends and patners -- we do what we do better because of you!

Learning | Introduction: Learning is Fun

This blog will meander through different topics related to learning. At various times, I'll talk about parenting, or teaching, mostly in the context of having fun.  I consider myself a lifelong learner, and hope that my children will do the same.

I'm the youngest of six children (three boys, and three girls, kind of like family in the The Brady Bunch TV series, except that all six of us had the same biological parents.) Think of me as Cindy Brady, without the curls. 

Carol Brady's question, "What have we learned from this?" reminds me of answering to my own parents. It's a question I throw out to my own sons occasionally. Regardless of the reason I ask the question, they usually answer, "Not to play ball in the house!" before giving the matter any serious thought.

I was lucky enough to be raised by parents who valued education, reading, and libraries. We always had plenty of books around the house. My parents read to me, and my siblings read to me; some of them even listened patiently as I learned to read to them.

I read nearly everything I could get my hands on, particularly encyclopedias and dictionaries.  A special favorite of mine was the set of Golden Book Encyclopedias.  I could pick up any volume and find something to read.  It was fun discovering things like banyan trees, or pyramids. Our SSJCPL Kids Page has some sites that will allow curious young people to have a similar pleasure.

Alas, the Golden Book Encyclopedia is no longer in print, but I picked up a set at a Friends of the Tracy Library book sale a few years ago.  I adore these books with alliterative collages on the covers.  The "Chalk to Czechoslovakia" volume, depicted below, shows a clock, compass, cotton, chemist, and coral, among other things. How many more items can you identify in this picture?

"Golden Book Encyclopedias Vol. 4 - Chalk to Czechoslovakia - Back Cover" by Thoth, God of Knowledge, on Flickr

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4 Children | May the Force Be With You

Hey kids, this is Suzy, your new blogger. Welcome to 4 Children! This will be the place to find out about cool new books, fun activities at the library and all over our community, and much more!

I love Dr. Seuss' book, I Can Read With my Eyes Shut because it has this great quote in it: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." How cool is this? And it's true! Reading takes you places.... it really does.

Maybe even to a galaxy far, far away. Speaking of which, October 6th is Star Wars Day and lots of the libraries will be having special programs celebrating all things Star Wars...from Yoda to Obi-Wan Kenobi....from Princess Leia to C-3PO. There will be lots of fun Star Wars activities, and after the progams, you can browse and check out lots of great Star Wars books. One of my favorites is Star Wars: the Ultimate Visual Guide by Ryder Windham. This book will tell you all you could ever need to know about Star Wars.

So, follow Dr. Seuss' advice and read! Reading is good for you. And if you are a Star Wars fan, check out the library's calendar of events to find out about the special Star Wars programs happening soon!

May the force be with  you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Wanderlust Librarian | Introductions

My name is Rena and I'll be your travel blogger for the library. If you're reading this, then you're probably interested in travel. If you're not interested in travel....then maybe reading my blog will get you excited about it! My philosophy is simple: Travel is exploring somewhere different than where you've been. Adventures are just as meaningful close by as they are far away.

I love to discover destinations through books. Some of my favorite travel inspirations are:
This book has rich writing that puts you into the Tuscan countryside. It also puts me in the mood to eat pasta. I love how genuine Frances is in the book. The author works out some of her complicated issues by transplanting herself in Italy. 

My ultimate dream as a kid: to run away to a museum and explore it when it was closed. Later, my dream was to get locked in a mall and get as many clothes as possible... but that dream was dashed when I read Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Peck.  (Look how scary those mannequins are!!). When I finally made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City decades later, I was in awe because I finally made it to the museum.

This magazine has great travel tips and amazing destinations for budget minded people. This magazine puts a positive perspective on being able to plan and save for big trips.

Consider what makes you happiest when you travel. There are books for every kind of person and every type of adventure you want to experience. Come and visit your local library to find inspiration.

Adventure is out there! - Ellie from "Up"

(Cover images courtesy of LibraryThing)

Life & Style | I Left My Heart In The Old Library

My dear Chavez, 

I have a confession to make.

I am in love with these two older libraries; Stewart Memorial Library & Hazelton Marble Library

Please don't judge me. Just look at them and you will understand.

Stewart Memorial Library
This is my first love, Stewart Memorial Library on Hunter street. It opened on February 1, 1889. It was located right next to the Eureka Firehouse. Can you ask for a better workplace; books & handsome firefighters. Stewart Library was a two story brick building and it contained 11,000 volumes. Stewart Library was the third largest library in California at the time. Half of my heart belongs to Stewart.

Hazelton Marble Library

The other half of my heart belongs to Hazelton Marble Library. The entire exterior of this Library was covered in white marble. Hazelton Library opened its door on April 14, 1895. They forgot to build a firehouse next door. This handsome building housed 25,000 volumes of books. 

Dear Chavez please don't pout, I still like you very much, but not as much as these two older libraries.

Signing off for the week- Panteha

City Librarian | Welcome to Our New Site!

As you might have noticed, things have changed around here! Yes, you're still visiting the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library's virtual branch but we thought our website needed a little sprucing up. Hopefully you like what you see.

Some of the features we're excited about on our new site include super easy access to information about your favorite SSJCPL library using the "My Library" section on the home page. Pick a library from the drop-down menu and you'll instantly see that week's schedule of open hours, the library address, telephone contact information, and even a photo of the library! For more  detailed information about your library location, just click on the picture of the library.

We know that, aside from taking advantage of the awesome collection of books, movies, music, and more that we offer, you love coming to the great events we offer to the public throughout the county. Another cool feature on our new home page is the "Events of the Day" calendar. If you want to know what's happening today, just take a peek. The events are updated in real time, too, so the next time you come back, you'll probably see some different event listings! And, if you want to see what is happening at a specific location, click the "more" link to visit the master events calendar.

And, of course, if you're reading this welcome to our new site, you've already discovered that SSJCPL now has our own blog. Check back as often as you like because the blog will be updated a couple of times every day. You'll have a great time getting to know each of our fabulous team of Library Bloggers. We all have our own personalities and we'll all be writing about different topics. You'll read about books (of course!), travel, food, parenting, style and lots more. Each blog post will also include links directly into the SSJCPL catalog so you can borrow books and other stuff related to the what you just read.

Lots of thought and effort went into designing a site that would be easier for you to use so please let us know what you think after you've poked around a bit. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page, tweet what you think to all your friends (don't forget the #ssjcpl hashtag!), or send an email directly to me, Chris Freeman, your City Librarian at We really want to hear from you!