Monday, December 31, 2007

Annnnd...They're Off!!!!! Decision 2008!

Iowans are set to nominate on Janurary 3rd. While much of the rest of the country is using primaries to nominate presidential candidates, the hawkeye state (see image to the right) still proudly clings to its caucus system of 'getting' the right person, a method that's been a part of American politicking since the early 1800s.

I'm a bit embarrassed to pose the question, but I truly don't know the answer. That said, here we go: What in the world is a CAUCUS, a nominitive method used by, in addition to Iowa, Wyoming, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, Maine, West Virginia, Washington State, and Kansas???

Well, according to the Dorsey Dictionary of American Government and Politics, the caucus is...

"...a private meeting of political party members in order to seek agreement on a common course of action, to select delegates for a state or national nominating convention, and so on. The caucus was an early method of selecting presidential candidates before its replacement by party conventions (and for nominating state and local candidates) rests of a series of party meetings that begin at the precinct level and extend to the state convention. The first round caucuses are especially important, for they often establish the share of delegates awarded to each candidate." (pg. 86)."

In so far as the primary (aka the nominating method used by California), the dictionary states...

"An election held before a general election to nominate a political party's candidates for office. In some states, other officials, such as delegates to party conventions, are also elected a this time. Primaries [were] developed during the early twenthieth century as a part of the reform agenda of the progressive movement. It was argued that leaving the nomination process to the political party bosses was inherently undemocratic, that real democracy was possible only with rank-and-file participation, especially since nominations in jurisdictions where one party was dominant were often tantamount to election."

The Concise Encyclopedia of Democracy chimes in with its take on the Caucus as a...

"...Meeting on members of a political party in order to make decisions on policy or to select candidates."

"Until 1824 candidates for the presidency and vice presidency of the United States were selected by the congressional caucus of each party. Public opposition to what was considered a secretive, elitist process and the growth of mass political parties resulted in the establishment of national nominating conventions, but caucuses are still used in some states, such as Iowa, as the first step in selecting delegates to the national meetings."

"Those who support the the use of caucuses assert that they encourage participatory democracy by requiring voters to take time out for the process and to debate each other face-to-face. Those who oppose their use argue that most caucuses are dominated by individuals with strong ideological stands that may not reflect the thinking of rank-and-file party members." (pg. 84).

A very good article, comparing the two nominating systems is accessible through SPL's EBSCO Database. To view Thomas Marshall's Turnout and Representation: Caucuses Versus Primaries from the American Journal of Political Science, (Feb78, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p169, 14p), click here (library card and PIN required for viewing).

And, if that weren't enough, the official Web site of the Iowa Caucuses is a pretty good place for answers:

California will nominate its candidates on February 5, 2008. The Central Library will have election guides and voter registration forms available on Thursday, the 3rd, of January. All literature will be placed at service desks on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.

To the right, the beautiful Caucuses at sunrise...thanks, flickr!


¡Muchos no lo saben! Pero en Latinoamérica también hay africanos, no se diga de su gran presencia en los países caribeños como Cuba, la República Dominicana, Puerto Rico y Haití ( la primera república negra en el mundo) . Pero en el Perú hay una presencia inmensa y su contribución cultural refleja su porte histórico. Después del descubribimiento de este continente por Cristóbal Colón el tráfico de esclavos africanos a las colonias españolas aumentó astronómicamente.

Los africanos dejaron su huella cultural ( en eso no cabe duda) , pero su legado musical es espeluznante. Este CD titulado Afro-Perú destaca muchos artitistas afro - peruanos como Susana Baca y la talentísima Eva Ayllon. Por favor disfruten y prestan atención al latido del corazón africano en América Latina.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Teens' Top Ten Books of 2007

The books on the following booklist were nominated, selected and seconded by teens according to teen-worthy criteria. The list was compiled as part of YALSA’s Young Adult Galley Project where groups evaluated books published between January 2006 through April 2007. Final nominations for the 2008 Teens’ Top Ten vote will be posted in April at

And the winners for 2007 are... (drum-roll, please)

1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2006).
2. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Viking Children’s Books, 2006)
3. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles (Flux, 2006).
4. Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever by James Patterson (Hachette Book Group USA/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2006).
5. Firegirl by Tony Abbott (Hachette Book Group USA/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2006).
6. All Hallows Eve (13 Stories) by Vivian Vande Velde (Harcourt, 2006).
7. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt, 2006).
8. River Secrets by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury, 2006).
9. Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe (HarperCollins, 2006).
10. Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks (Chicken House, 2006).

Start with this list if you want to familiarize yourself with what makes a good book good for teens, and get hip with teen lit. Happy Reading, jami, ys librarian

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Finer Focus: The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Almost as quickly as she entered the world’s political arena, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is gone, assassinated.

In life, she was notable for a few different reasons. She became the first woman leader of an Islamic country after her election to prime minister in 1988, at the age of 35. She was also the brightest hope for the ascension of a south-central Asian leader, firmly dedicated to the principles of democratic government and posing a viable counterweight to extremism in Pakistan and throughout other sections of Asia.

In death, one must wonder what is to happen with the U.S.’s delicate relationship with current Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who just weeks ago, abdicated his side-post as leader of the country’s military. Although he’s publicly denounced the elements of Islamic extremism, and most fingers are pointing to Al Qaeda, Bhutto’s supporters are already looking to Musharraf as a factor in the killing. Should a connection be substantiated, what will America do, as it has relied on Pakistan for assistance in its fight against Al Qaeda? What's more, how will Bhutto's death impact upcoming Pakistani elections? Will there even be elections? Time will tell, but, in the meantime, it is remarkable that such a viable, intriguing, accomplished – and certainly brave – leader, is now gone.

For books on Benazir Bhutto, do a Subject search using the phrase, “Bhutto, Benazir.” For books on Pakistan, do the same, a Subject search using the phrase “Pakistan.” For items authored by Bhutto, do an Author search using the same phrase, “Bhutto, Benazir.” You may expand your search options by utilizing the LinkPlus option, your portal to borrowing books from libraries all throughout the state of Califoria. Books will arrive within 5 days, and you need only your library card number and Personal Identification Number (PIN). For instructions on obtaining a PIN, click here.

An electronic alternative for biographical information on Bhutto is our collection biographical indexes/databases: Biography Resource Center and Biograohy, Genealogy Master Index (not an 'end source,' by a reference to other sources that will contain biographical information), and others. Biographical resources are located in the lower, left-hand corner of the SPL Database page.

For further information on Pakistan - pre and post Bhutto assassination - check our periodical and newspaper databases. EBSCO offers timely access to popular and specialized journals and magazines like the Economist (1990-present) and Foreign Affairs (1922-present), while Newsbank provides access to award-winning newspapers like the San Jose Mercury News (1985-present), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-present), and Sacramento Bee (1984-present).

To use these databases (including biographical), you only need a library card number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Again, for instructions on obtaining a PIN, click here.


Un trabajo de años que reúne recetas tratadas de manera tradicional con todo aquello que Narda fusiona de una forma única desde sus programas de televisión ( sólo en Sudamérica y Puerto Rico ... lo siento) y sus espacios en la prensa gráfica. Consejos, relatos de viajes y experiencias personales: Comer y pasarla bien es un "utensilio" indispensable tanto para quienes dan sus primeros pasos en la cocina, como para quienes buscan llegar un poco más lejos.

Uno de sus relatos involucra uno de los Red Hot Cili Peppers ( Anthony Kiedis) cuando viajó a la Argentina por primera vez y quiso probar el famoso ( pero ubicuo... ¡por favor creenme! ) tereré.
El relato va así: Anthony Kiedis se encontraba en Buenos Aires por gira y se encontró en la buena compañía de nuestra autora cuando quiso él describir el tereré. Como no dominaba el castellano muy bién , sólo pudo describir que era aquello algo verdusco y en una naranja. La autora y compañía trataron amablemente a poder ayudar el cantante californiano. Trataron por 45 minutos a descifrar sus gestos y trabalenguas cuando de repente le mostraron un mate y una bombilla. Ella lo cuenta con más gracia que yo, sin embargo leen este libro fascinante. Es delicioso.

Este relato divertido y muchos otros se encuentran en este libro encantador de Narda Lepes. Como siempre disfrútanlo ( y también las recetas) .

Try This @ Home: What Have I Read Lately?

There's a new feature in the library's catalog that many have been asking for. My Reading History is now available as an "opt-in" service. It saves a list of books you check out, beginning with the first item borrowed after you opt-in. Only you can see it - the list is not available to library staff. You can selectively delete individual titles or opt-out at any time - your choice.

My Reading History is off by default; to turn it on, click the "My Account" tab in the library's catalog, log in with your library card number and PIN, and look for the "My Reading History" button under the box containing your name.

With the new year just around the corner, and with book clubs and reading programs planning busily for spring and summer, My Reading History could become an easy way to remember books you liked or might want to recommend to others. It could also be a "feel-good" list - a trophy list - of reading accomplished (or movies watched, or books on CD listened to.)

Let us know how it works for you!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making the holidays a little bit merrier

Just because it’s the holidays and the writers are on strike doesn’t mean you should get stuck watching horrible made for TV movies. As if the typical mother-on-the-run features weren’t bad enough, this time of year there are only two themes to choose from. You can watch a woman dump her rich fiancée in favor of an average widowed father of an angelically adorable child, who would never do anything horrible like wait until the last minute to tell you their class project requires a homemade replica of a California mission. Or you can watch a career woman go back in time, trade her affluence for her broke blue-collar boyfriend, and raise children in a “modest” home with a kitchen bigger than Rhode Island and enough granite, hardwood and crown molding to open a home improvement store.

Or you can borrow a really good movie from the library.

If you like time travel films (but not Craftsman homes), Déjà Vu is a great pick. Denzel Washington plays AFT agent Doug Carlin, a man set out to determine who blew up a crowded ferry in New Orleans. He soon discovers the key to solving the mystery lies in a murder victim played by Paula Patton. Patton is relatively new, but you might have seen her a few million times in the Lost Without You video---she’s married to singer Robin Thicke.

These aren’t holiday films, but these are great movies. This time of year is stressful enough without being stuck watching the woman who used to be on The Young and the Restless play the love interest of the man from General Hospital and Melrose Place. So live a little and borrow a few movies from the library. They’re enjoyable; unlike cable and satellite, they’re free; and you’ll only cry from laughter or enjoyment, not because you just wasted forty minutes of the last two hours watching fabric softner commercials.

Tabin, YS Librarian

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Try This @ Home: Linked Up With Link+

So, if we don't have the books you're looking for, are you out of luck? Dead in the water? Heading for Not yet!

Sacramento Public Library recently joined a new partnership called Link+. It allows us to link to over nine million items in the collections of 47 other library systems in California and Nevada. It also allows you, the borrower, to request and receive materials from those libraries just as if we owned them - for free!

Here's how it works: When you look up a title in our online catalog, if we do NOT own a copy, you will see a red statement to that effect. Look on the right side of the screen for the Link+ logo and click it. You will then be connected to a joint catalog and can see immediately whether another library owns copies. You then click on the link to "request" the title, and follow the prompts. That's it! You will be notified when the book is at your branch and ready for pick up.

If you have questions about this new service, the staff at the Circulation Help Desk (916-264-2789) or the Telephone Reference Desk (916-264-2920) can probably answer them. (Hours here.) Or you could e-mail the library at for more information.

Happy holiday reading!

A Discussion On Mexican Film Great Pedro Infante

Mexico's Golden Age of Film produced numerous stars, but none bigger than Pedro Infante. During his memorable career, the actor and singer starred in over 60 films and crooned his way through 350 songs.

On January 18, 2008, at 6:00 pm, contributing speaker at the Sacramento Public Library, Fred Dobb, will be leading a discussion on Infante at the South Natomas Community Center on 2921 Truxel Road in Sacramento. In addition to the talk, there will be a reception, where wine, cheese and other refreshments will be served.

If you've not heard Dobb speak, this is an event you'll truly want to catch. Dobb is a scholar who has made Latin culture his passion. Over this last year, his discussions at the Central Library on Carmen Miranda and Cantinflas (Mario Moreno Reyes) were packed.

The charge to attend is $20.00, with proceeds going to the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California. Tickets may be purchased at the MCCNC on 1010 8th Street, Suite 101, on weekdays, between 8 am and 2 pm. Other ticket outlets are La Esperanza Bakery, 5044 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento, 95820, and Carniceria Lopez, 5550 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento, 95820.

For more information, call the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California at 916.446.3691 and for a list of Pedro Infante movies at SPL, click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Grinch

You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
You’re as charming as an eel.

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch
Your heart’s an empty hole.
Your brain is full spiders,
You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch.

Next to the Heat and Snow Misers, my favorite negative holiday character is Mr. Grinch. And guess what? He hit the big 5-0 this year! Making his debut in Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book, Mr. Grinch has been trying to steal Christmas now from the Who’s in Who-ville since 1957. Originally black and white with beady pink eyes, the Grinch perhaps had more of an effect on television in his sickly shade of green. The popular 1966 television episode that we still see today popularized the humorously descriptive song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Director Ron Howard brought the Grinch to Hollywood (unfortunately with bad reviews) in 2000.

Why does this slinking and slithering dog-abusing emancipated green guy capture our hearts? Probably for the same reasons we love Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ protagonist in A Christmas Carol. Ultimately, we recognize that these characters, in their determination to give away only misery for the holidays, are themselves miserable. We especially love that they recognize this and then admit freely to the errors of their evil ways. We identify with the happy people who joyously accept them nonetheless, and we feel compassionate. And then, of course, we just love happy endings!

So Happy Birthday, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Mr. Grinch. ~jami, ys librarian


Gloria Trevi será entrevistada por Leila Cobo hoy noche en Estudio Billboard en V-me el Domingo a las 20:00 hrs. Leila Cobo hablará con la cantante mexicana oriunda de Monterrey, Nuevo León sobre su obra musical más reciente , su dura vida marcada por la violencia ( tanto en su casa como en la calles de Monterrey), su trayectoria astronómica a la fama ( y la infamia ) , y también su descenso cuando pasó algunos años en una cárcel brasileña.

Disfruten de una entrevista siempre divertida con la académica de Leila Cobos en Estudio Billboard , y también de la música y vida de Gloria Trevi.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Carol: Sacramento Style

150 years ago, Sacramento celebrated its seventh Holiday season as an incorporated city. A great window into the state of the city at that time is the Sacramento Bee. The full run of the paper (back to 1857) is held at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library. Central also holds the Sacramento Union (back to 1851), the Sacramento Transcript (1850-51), Daily Democratic State Journal (1852-1857), and the Placer Times (1849-50), Northern California’s oldest newspaper. Papers are viewable and microfilm and patrons may make copies for ten cents a page. Here are a few Holiday snippets from the December 1857 Sacramento Bee; not quite the world of Charles Dickens, but then again, not that far off either:

Just days before Christmas 1857, Sacramentans were treated to the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis. At around 11 o’clock, the phenomenon “presented a magnificent appearance, enveloping the sky in a sheet of brilliant red…” Lasting twenty minutes, the display pulled sleepy citizens from their homes and “created no little consternation in the minds of those not accustomed to the display.” (“Aurora Borealis,” December 17, 1857).

It did not take long for settlers to grasp the immensity of the Central Valley’s agricultural value. This must have made the local Holiday table an amazing sight. A particularly germane passage comes from the Christmas Day issue of the Bee that describes the City Market of “K” Street, where the display of “meats, poultry, vegetables, etc. was superb, and attracted large crowds of citizens.” The stall of Marzen, Burnes & Co., was said to have “excelled all others…with artistic skill…beets, turnips, celery, radishes, potatoes, cabbage, spring onions, lettuce, carrots…such as would astonish our Atlantic friends too (sic) see on a Christmas at their markets.” (“A Grand Display,” December 25, 1857).

Further spectacle was recorded in the Bee under the headline of “Christmas Tree Festivals.” The article describes Reverend Benton’s Sixth Street Church, Reverend Grober’s on Seventh, Reverend Hill’s on Eighth, and Reverend Deal’s on “H,” as serving venue to “Christmas trees laden with gifts of every description.” The article goes on to say that “many hundred prizes were given to the Sabbath School children, all of whom, of course, were perfectly delighted.” (December 25, 1857).

What were the antebellum Holidays without the flow of spirits? Local saloonist, John Zwicker of the Wiener Coffee Hall on Third Street, did not forget the importance of patronage, as he supplied the Bee staff with “delicious egg nogg (sic).” The editors went on to drink to “his health in bumpers, and wished him four score and ten returns of a merry Christmas.” (“Did Not Forget Us,” December 25, 1857).

Holiday charity was even extended to those having ended up in the city’s chain gang. “roast duck, plum pudding, pound and fruit cake, egg nogg (sic), etc.” were provided by a fellow named Sands who, as the Bee said, “insure[ed] him forever against the incursion of thieves, for he never forgets the unfortunate, no matter how busy he may be.” (“A Rare Treat,” December 26, 1857).

Happy Holidays and thanks for using the Sacramento Public Library!

Dude, Where's My Payphone?

The first coin-operated telephone was made public in 1889 in Hartford, Connecticut. Fron that point on, the payphone had itself 'a good run,' as they say.
However, what had been as American as baseball and apple pie is slowly giving way to the immensity of cellular phone tehchnology. Most phone companies are moving away from the payphone due to its financial liability. In fact, a few months ago, the Central Libray lost its payphones and so too was the case at City Hall. Even the Metro Post Office recently lost their phone.

So, caught in a bind - sans phone - what does one do around the Central Library? Although on the ebb, there are payphones and other telecommunications alternatives in the area. Here's a list:

*Joe Serna Jr. Cal/EPA Headquarters Building 1001 I Street P.O. Box 2815 Sacramento, CA 95812-2815 (916) 551-1313 Comments: Building is open 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Staff will allow the general public to use a courtesy phone, provided calls are local.

*"K" Street Mall: AT&T Payphone at the southwest corner of 9th and "K;" MCI Payphone at the northwest corner of 8th and "K;" MCI Payphone at the southwest corner of 8th and "K."

*Cathedral Neighborhood Center 711 J St Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 442-9014. AT&T Payphone is located outside, just in front of Center.

*Sacramento County Main Jail 651 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814 Comments: 4 AT&T payphones are located in front of main entrance, on "I" Street.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fotos del Hmong New Year

El sábado después del día de acción de gracias, asistí el festival del nuevo año Hmong y fue brutal. No he estado entre un grupo immenso de personas hablando un idioma diferente al inglés hace moverme de Puerto Rico el mayo pasado.

Fuera como una feria del estado, pero diseñado para la cultura Hmong. En el "midway" habian paseos de maquina de feria y juegos para niños, comida desde los churros a salchica Hmong (una mezcla de la carne oscura del pavo y jamón) a Khob poob y cientos de pollos (con cabezas y patas) asadas por parrillas del tamaño de remolques.

Y por supuesto para cumplir las necesidadedes de todo Hmong, habia el mercado de servicios y productos: videos, ropa colorada tradicional con cuentas y monedas, estaciones de radio y cable, la iglesia Hmong local... todo me inspiró mucho a ver que una cultura "escondida" en Sacramento es en realidad fuerte con varios miles residentes y que su festival atrae más asistentes fuera del condado para unirse otra vez, conocer gente nuevo y disfrutarse de una actividad dirijido completamente a sus idioma y preferencias.

En el juego traditional del lanzamiento de la pelota, jovenes y adultos se alinearon en una cola, las muchachas frente a los muchachos. Tiraban pelotas pequenas de uno a otro- algunos coqueteando con sonrisas y guiñando el ojo y otros aprovechando de conocer mejor la otra persona. ¡Qué manera facil y aceptada por la sociedad a conocer a otros, para los que generalmente no tienen el costumbre a hablar con los desconocidos!

Por supuesto, no estaba presente para buscar un pretendiente Hmong; asistí para atender el kiosko de la biblioteca pública de Sacramento. Nos pasaba mucha gente, leyendo la pancarta SPL y recogiendo la información. A veces, cuando los niños estaban acompañdos por su abuela, ella se puso tímida por la barrera linguística y no aceptaba los folletos. Se apartaría sus nietos de los lápices, dulces y las pulceras que ofrecemos, pero algunos madres tomaron el tiempo para llenar las aplicaciones!

Nos encantaban las visitas de algunos clientes de la rama bibliotecaria Franklin, quienes pararon en vestida tradicional completa para saludarnos y ofrecer su apoyo de nuestra presencia en la actividad. Aunque no hablo el Hmong, nunca me sentí fuera de lugar con la muchadumbre, y no importaba que no podria superar la barrera linguística para explicar nuestros servicios- aceptaron las sonrisas y llevaron los regalitos de SPL, los folletos y las aplicaciones para leer en casa cuando les convienen.

Gracias del parte del comité multicultural a los que representáron el SPL en el festival.

Hmong Festival Pictures

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I attended the Hmong New Year's festival and it was so awesome. I've not been around that mass of people speaking a single other language than English since moving from Puerto Rico. It was like the state fair all over again, but designed around Hmong culture- there were rides and games in the mid-way for kids, there were foods from churros to Hmong sausage to Khob poob and hundreds of chickens (with head and feet) grilling on trailer beds. And of course there was a market of services and products to fill every Hmong need: videos, traditional colorful clothes with beads and coins, Hmong cable and radio, the local Hmong church... it was very inspiring to see that a culture "hidden" in Sacramento is several thousand strong and that their festival draws more from outside of the county in order to re-connect, luxuriate in their language and preferences, and meet new people.

In the traditional ball toss, youth and adults stood in long lines and tossed small tennis sized balls back and forth- some simply enjoying an easy way to flirt with smiles and batting eyes, others taking the opportunity to get to know the other person. What a easy and socially approved of way to meet people you wouldn't normally have the courage to speak to!

But of course I wasn't there to pick up a Hmong suitor; I was there to man the Sacramento Public Library's booth. Many people walked by, scouting out our SPL banner and picking up information. Sometimes, when grandma chaperoned the kids, the language barrier would make her too shy to take our flyers. She'd drag her grandchildren away from the bracelets, pencils and candy we offered, but a few moms took the time to fill out applications!

We were delighted when patrons of the Franklin Library stopped by in full traditional dress to great us and offer their support of our presence at the New Year's Festival. Although I don't speak Hmong, I never felt out of place among the crowds. And even when the language barrier kept me from explaining what we had, our visitors accepted our smiles, and took bracelets, information and applications to look through at leisure at home.

Thanks from the Multicultural staff for those who represented SPL at the festival.

Slide show created using

Friday, December 14, 2007

What Would You Like to Know?

One of the more interesting things librarians do is answer questions. In Sacramento, questions that come in by phone to any of our branches are routed automatically to the Telephone Information Service (TELIS) at the Central Library, where librarians use a collection of books, online subscriptions, and the Internet to answer them - usually in less than 5 minutes.

So, what kind of questions do callers ask? Everything from "What day is it today?" to "How many hairs are there on a cat?" (answer)

Here are a few questions we've received over the last few years:

Q: How did Roseville get its name?
A: It was chosen by the residents at a picnic for the most popular girl present (Sacramento Bee, Oct. 10, 1931).

Q: When weather reports give wind direction, does that indicate 1) direction the wind is blowing to, or 2) direction from which the wind is blowing?
A: From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: "the direction from which the wind is blowing."

Q: Does OPEC have a standard size for their oil drums?
A: According to the OPEC Web site: "Oil is measured in barrels. . .One barrel equals 52 US gallons, or 159 litres."

What would YOU like to know? Call 916-264-2920 after 10 a.m.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


La escritora chilena Isabel Allende será entrevistada por el periodista Jorge Gestoso en Viva Voz en V-me hoy noche a las 22:00 hrs.

La escritora de renombre internacional hablará sobre su vida , su entorno actual, Chile ( el país de sus padres; ella nació en el Perú) , el mundo actual y ... bueno quién sabe, por eso veremos la programación hoy noche. La biblioteca también tiene un sinnúmero de sus obras como Eva Luna, Inés Del Alma Mía y su recién publicado La Suma De Nuestros Días. Sus obras han sido traducidas en 30 idiomas y 59 millones de ejemplares han sido vendidos alrededor del mundo. Por favor gocen de la programación con esta gran escritora encantadora , y también de nuestra colección.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hooked on Books: Bookstore Independence Springs Forth in Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a nice place to visit. Its quaintness and warmth bely a population of 320,000. Each 'Springer' need only turn their head to the west for a breathtaking view of Pike’s Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. A great spot to take in such scenery is the parking lot of one of the city’s oldest and most established bookstores, Hooked on Books, an independent enterprise which opened in 1982.

The store’s history is a special one. Its owner, Mary Francis Ciletti, founded the store with a two-year-old daughter in one arm and a hammer in the other. Through the decades, Hooked on Books has girded itself with customer-centered service and an eye on building relationships with patrons. Ciletti had a dream and saw it through. Hooked on Books is a literary staple and citizens in the ‘Springs’ know it. In fact, the virtual world knows Hooked on Books too; in the last few years, the Internet has provided plenty of showcasing space for the bookstore. It's also availed patrons - worldwide - to a plethora of first editions, rarities, and reasonable prices. The store's online identity is Aamstar Books, operated chiefly by Mary's husband, James Ciletti.

This Sacramento Librarian visited Ciletti’s store a few weeks back. Like our previous trip to Powell’s of Portland, our sense of smell is prompted: the aroma of used books, new books and cedar book shelves, built by Ciletti and her employees years back, provide the bibliophile with a serious olfactory rush. The store has numerous strengths, but its collections of local and military history are special. But that is a wee bit of the story; there are genres aplenty to be browsed through. The store's narrow and high network of shelves reminds one of a land of literary fjords with the occassional falling volume to keep the reader on his or her toes.

The Holiday Season has been good to Ciletti and her staff of 4. They believe in what they do and have fun doing it. A big band CD may be helping staff to whistle while they work and sounds of giddy staff-patron rapartee freely waft through the store. They understand the power of the written word and how it can influence a community. Ciletti has a close relationship with the Pike's Peak Library District, serving at one time on the system's Friends Board and has consistently supported literacy programs in the Colorado Springs area. Hooked on Books even helped out ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with a healthy donation of books for a local family that was featured on the program.

Hooked on Books is a gem, built and maintained by real people. When in the Springs, don't pass up a visit. These people know their books, know their community, and want to know and help you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Nacido en Buenos Aires , Argentina en Septiembre de 1957 como Hector Eduardo Reglero Montaner, Ricardo Montaner y su familia se trasladaron a Maracaibo, Venezuela donde pronto desalloró una pasión para la música participando en coros parroquiales en su adoptado Venezuela. Desde entonces, ha destacadose como uno de los intérpretes más talentosos de América Latina colaborando con otros cantautores como Yuri, Laura Pausini, Carlos Arjona y Alejandra Guzmán.

Mañana noche a las 22:00 hrs en Estudio Billboard en V-me y de nuevo el Domingo a las 20:00 hrs. También acuden a nuestras estanterías para disfrutar de mi compatriota Ricardo Montaner.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Portland, Oregon...Green, Hip and Full of Books

Portland, Oregon, got its name from, of all things, the flip of a coin. The alternative was Boston. Be that as it may, PDX (as it's affectionately referred to by natives) could - just as well - be called Booktown. This Sacramento Librarian had heard rumblings of Portland's literary side, but had to take a first-hand look. Ergo, a long weekend...

My first stop was Powell's Books on Burnside (an ancient road that runs East-West through Portland). It's also located amidst the VERY fashionable Pearl District of Portland (again, Portlander's use code for such spots; in this case we refer to this place as "the Pearl") . Back on task, Powell's is - in a word - huge, and as is reputed to be the largest independent bookstore west of the Mississippi River. Aptly enough, upon entering the store, one is greeted with a map. Genres are divided into rooms, with there being a total of 8. Purple is where one can find history, biography; red is where one can find theology; and, gold is where one can find fiction, etc., etc.

There's certainly nothing fancy about the 30-year-old store. Dust isn't too rare a sight and the Linolium HAS to predate the business. What's more, the place just smells like books. Cellulose, milldew, the whole deal.

After grabbing a few choice titles, one can then make their way to the cafe, located just west of the Gold Room. I recommend coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. Upon entering, the place is packed. Scarves, jackets and bags are thrown over chairbacks and the floor is slippery, due to the near-constant fall/winter rain. It's certainly one of the only places where you can sit elbow-to-elbow with a total stranger and feel a mentionable detachment, simply because whatever you've chosen to read has taken you away.

In sum, this is a must-see spot with quantum-size character. The presence of high quality used books at a reasonable price, not to mention, new titles, means that Powell's will rarely disappoint the frugal book hunter.

Just up Eleventh Avenue is one of the most charming Central libraries in the country. The Multnomah County Library's Main Branch was built in 1913 and rennovated in 96-97. Little authenticity has been lost to time; simply put, it's hard to imagine the building having changed much over the past 90-some years, save the addition of 130 public computers. I guess I was most
taken by the mass amount of granite used to build the library. Both inside and out, the stone's sparkle is remarkable. Another spectacle is the granite benches that ring the entire branch, each one etched with the name of a literary great...Voltaire, Twain, William Something-Or-Another. Another few items of note are the branch's Starbucks booth (with a portion of coffee sales going to the library) and fantastic giftshop (where else are you going to find a "Where the Wild Things Are" backpack?).

Portland is a charming, progressive town that possesses a youthful hum. It's worth mentioning that the city's protector, Portlandia, a massive sculpture resting just outside the city government's Portland Building is reaching for something. There's clearly nothing there, but she might as well be reaching for a novel by long-time Portland resident Chuck Palahniuk. Visit PDX and enjoy and don't worry about bringing a book...

Friday, December 7, 2007

When the Internet is Down

We quickly learn who our real constituency is when our Internet connection goes down. What is normally a bustling reference floor turns into a deserted expanse of empty tables and empty terminals. The very few who are in the library seeking information approach the reference desk with an apologetic "I don't want to bother you, but ..."

Well, actually, library staff gets paid to answer questions and to help put information/answers/books into your hands! Trust me, it's no bother! We're doing our jobs when we help you discover and use the rich array of resources the library provides. We'd love a chance to show off some of the neat stuff we've collected over the years and show you how to use them in the library and at home or work.

Our Internet connection went south a couple of days ago due to an equipment failure. While certainly not on the same scale as the bombing of Pearl Harbor (today's the 66th anniversary,) it nevertheless caused waves among our service population. It's been interesting to watch the reactions of our regular Internet users, which ranged from the resigned to the actively angry.

We all recognize that widespread use of the Internet and other online resources has fundamentally changed the way libraries offer materials and services. We hope, if you came to use the Internet and were disappointed, that you will stay a while and enjoy some of our other more traditional offerings: the Art of Glass exhibit in the lobby, the gingerbread house collection in Kids' Place, the newspapers and magazines on the third floor, the holiday books and videos on the first floor. We are looking forward to having a healthy Internet connection - and happy patrons - again. Very soon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


La Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara 2007 despegó el 24 de Noviembre hasta el 2 de Diciembre con Colombia como País Invitado de Honor. La FIL es la segunda feria del libro más grande del mundo después de la de Frankfurt de Alemania. Desde su empiezo en 1993, la FIL ha crecido astronómicamente brindando elogios a los autores más destacados del mundo entero y no solamente del mundo hispanohablante. En 2007, el país invitado era Colombia. Este país sudamericano cuenta con uno de los paisajes más primorosos del mundo caracterizado con una belleza avasalladora ecológica y cultural.
Hector Abad Faciolince era uno de los autores homenajeados en Guadalajara como un novelista revelando la belleza y la violencia de país natal con su nueva obra literaria titulada : El Olvido Que Seremos.
En la superficie, este es un libro sobre la vida de uno de los hombres que vivio (y murio) luchando por enseñar a los colombianos a ser tolerantes: Hector Abad Gomez. En el fondo, el libro recorre la historia reciente de Colombia: una lucha silenciosa, violenta, y efectiva para decimar a aquellos que piensan de manera diferente. Una guerra inteligente, sistematica y ordenada contra aquellos que deciden soñar con una sociedad mas justa. Hector Abad Gomez (el padre) fue tan solo una victima mas de esta lucha, en la que lamentablemente estuvo de lado de los perdedores. Mas que a la vida de Abad Gomez, este libro hace honor a las anonimas vidas de las miles de personas que han muerto a cuentagotas de sangre. Gracias a este libro las victimas se humanizan: tienen familias amigos y trabajo. Tienen nombre y apellido. Y los victimarios tabien: tienen nombres, apellidos, y poder. Pero lo mejor del libro es que es una historia sencilla del amor de un hijo hacia su padre. Y del amor de los padres hacia los hijos. Y depronto si saberlo, Hector Abad Faciolince nos entrega una gran leccion de convivencia. Esa leccion que su padre intento exponer en multiples articulos con poca resonancia en la sociedad. A lo mejor esta vez si escuchemos.
Por el momento, este libro de Héctor Abad Faciolince no hemos adquirirlo pero pronto estará en nuestras estanterías. ¡Estén atentos!

Discovering Your Roots, Part 2

As promised, the Central Library has some great genealogy programs lined up for the new year! Presentations are scheduled for three Sundays in January, 2008. They will be held in the West Meeting Room on the 1st floor at Central Library from 1:30 - 3: 00 p.m. Please join us for research hints from these knowledgeable speakers!

Beginning Family History Research, Lisa Lee, January 6th
Researching your family’s history can uncover fascinating information, and it’s easier to get started than you might think! Come to this program and learn about the basic tools, techniques and resources you can use to search for your ancestors.

Yes Indeed! Answers in the Land Records, Barbara Leak, January 13th
Land records hold answers to family puzzles, offering implied information along with the stated facts. Learn how to effectively analyze the information involved in property transfers.

Obituary Records – An Untapped Resource, Glenda Lloyd, January 27th
Obituary records may provide the tidbits of information needed to extend your family tree. In this program you will learn to search these records for clues for further research about your family.

Registration for these programs is preferred but not required. To register, click the title of the program(s) you want to attend. For more info, call Telephone Reference (916-264-2920) after 10 a.m. (12 noon on Sundays.)

~ Beth, Genealogy Librarian

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Otra vez la emisora local de V-me presentará Estudio Billboard presentando esta semana a la cantante italiana Laura Pausini quien también canta en español. El programa podrase ver hoy noche a las 22:00 hrs y de nuevo el Domingo a las 20:00 hrs. Esta bella italiana estrenará su nuevo CD titulado " Yo Canto." Laura Pausini comenzó su carrera hace algunos años atrás en Italia ( ¡dónde más! ) desde muy chica apareciendo en programas de televisión y concursos de talento juvenil. Desde entonces, empezó a cantar en francés , portugués y castellano; también cantando con el cantante italiano de renombre internacional Andrea Bocelli . En el mundo hispanohablante, han destacado no solamente estos dos artistas italianos mencionados sino también otros como Eros Ramazzoti y Zucchero. ¡Por favor disfruten de este programa musical en V-me y también de la música de estos interpretes italianos en nuestras estanterías!

Kids Are Avatars, Too

I recently helped a girl through AskNow, our online reference service. Her request, “Will you take me into an avatar chat room?".

Finally, in that moment, the strangeness of such a request struck me head-on. There I was in Sacramento, there she was halfway across the country, and here we were together traveling through cyberspace, or cobrowsing, seeking a place where she could settle. Later, I started wondering what defines an avatar in a computing environment. Must it do certain things to be called an avatar? Does it have to wear skirts that are way too short and heels that are way too high? Or is it required to spend an unnatural amount of time at the gym? N.B.: Second Life. I found that an avatar is any image, icon, or other representation of a user in a virtual reality environment (a computer environment represented by multiple users).

Interestingly, the Sanskrit word Avatara means “the descent of God.” According to India’s ancient Veda’s, avataras incarnate onto earth-- immune from those pesky physical laws of matter, time, and space. Then I got it. The desire to create identities and environments might represent characteristics not unlike those that the cliche “playing god” brings to mind. I was not at all surprised then that this word developed to define our all-powerful, non-destructible, matter and space defiant anonymous alter egos. That’s the why of it, but who thought of this and when? And did they know about the sacred Avatara beings?

Sean P. Egen wrote an enlightening article on the history of avatars. That history has many grey areas, but it is relevant to note that avatars appeared in the fiction genre, cyberpunk, with the publication in 1984 of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Then they appeared in Neal Stephenson’s classic Snow Crash in 1992.

When my 11 year old virtual customer asked me to take her to an avatar chat room with her 7 year old cousin, I was at a loss. Aren’t avatars just for adults? She taught me the first rule to kid-endorsed avatar web-sites: blatant educational elements are not allowed. She was completely savvy on me when I took her to Whyville. “Not Whyville, they make you take tests.” So, sometime between after-school snacks and dinner, my in-house community consultants introduced me to some kid-approved and adult-approvable avatar sites.

At Webkinz your avatar choices include a selection of cute fluffy animals. There are two levels-- one uses pre-constructed messages and one requires parental permission. Neopets is innocent fun. More surreal than Webkinz, your avatar pet has the kind of distorted body part thing going on that we’ve come to expect from avatars. Confession: I have a neopet that I almost starved to death. The kids did not tell me that I actually had to feed it. At Club Penguin you create a penguin, give it an identity, and then waddle around meeting new penguin friends. I haven’t explored this one much, but I just may after recently watching the fascinating documentary March of the Penguins. At Toontown, players combine forces to rescue the world from the Cogs, humorless business robots who are attemping to transform joyful Toontown into a corporate metropolis. Sound familiar? Don’t expect the shiny-bling-in-your-face elements of the adult avatar sites, but do expect your child to hone their technology skills by using them. These sites are winners for parents and children. See you in cyberspace... ~Jami, Youth Services Librarian