Wednesday, December 31, 2008


¡Feliz Año Nuevo! De parte de la Biblioteca Pública de Sacramento les deseamos un año prometedor lleno de alegrías.

Monday, December 29, 2008


" ALGEBRA" por A. Baldor

"El álgebra ha sido definido como una rama de las matemáticas en la que se usan letras para representar relaciones aritméticas, lo que permite darles un carácter más general, válido para cualesquier números.Esta ciencia surgió en Egipto y en Babilonia, civilizaciones cuyos matemáticos llegaron a resolver ecuaciones de primero y segundo grado, prácticamente mediante los mismos métodos empleados hoy. La tradición de los egipcios y de los babilonios fue retomada por los griegos, sobre todo por los matemáticos alejandrinos Herón y Diofante, quienes alcanzaron resultados sorprendentes en la resolución de ecuaciones indeterminadas especialmente difíciles. Cuando Europa se hundió en las tinieblas de la Edad Media, los árabes continuaron desarrollando el álgebra, «ciencia de la reducción y el equilibrio». Entre los matemáticos árabes se destacó al-Jwarizmi, de cuyo nombre tomó el castellano las palabras guarismo y algoritmo. Fue al-Jwarismi, precisamente, el primero en usar el término al-gabr para designar esta parte de las matemáticas cuyo nombre completo era ilm al-gabr wa l-muqabala (ciencia de las reducciones y de las comparaciones), lo que explica el nombre antiguo del álgebra en portugués: almucábala. En el bajo latín de la Edad Media, algebra se usaba tanto para designar esta parte de las matemáticas como el 'arte de restituir a su lugar los huesos dislocados'. En la primera edición del Diccionario de la Real Academia (Autoridades), 'algebrista' aparece con el significado de «componedor de huesos». "

Eartha Kitt, 1927-2008

Though I'd seen Eartha Kitt in a few movies, I think I'll always remember Ms. Kitt best for her song "Santa Baby." Yes, Christmas is officially over, but since I haven't taken my holiday tree down since 2001 (I'm putting red hearts on it for Valentine's Day), it's never too late (or too early) to have a song about Santa.

Sacramento History Photo(s) of the Week: Issue No. 3


With the 1976 opening of the 143-unit housing development at 8th and 10th and “E” Streets came the unveiling of two mosaic murals by Sacramento artist and activist Armando Cid. The works were commissioned under the sponsorship of the Centro de Artistas Chicanos. “Sunburst” and an accompanying mural, “Olin,” were created at a cost of $11,000. “Sunburst’s” pre-Columbian eagle is significant in that it symbolizes the Aztec sun god Huitzilopochtli who, according to legend, bowed to arriving Aztecs at what would become the civilization’s capital, Tenochtitlan. It is also true that the Aztec referred to themselves as the "People of the Sun." These two gems are nearly as eye-catching as they were 32 years ago (see damage at left of 'Sunburst'), and still resting in 'our own backyard,' so to speak. They're truly worth a look...

These photos and many more like them can be found in the Sacramento Public Library’s Sacramento Room which is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5, and Thursday 1 to 8.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Google Image Labeler

Got a few minutes left in your lunch hour? Feel like contributing to the success of Google's image search? Become a Labeler! Instructions here.

You will be paired with someone else who is using the site at the same time, and you will compete with that person for points by contributing descriptive tags for photos Google will show you. The more matches you share with your partner, and the more specific your tags, the more points you get. Ready? Go!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Chance to view the Freedom Sisters Exhibit!

We know you're busy. It's the holidays. Some of you are out shopping for gifts; others are baking and making presents. And then others are too busy praying for a miracle to come into our library and see the most awesome exhibit we've ever had. But the Freedom Sisters Exhibit is almost over. Sunday, January 4th is its last day on display. To me this exhibit is way more important than making peanut brittle for your second cousin in Des Moines. In fact, taking someone to the exhibit is a gift unto itself. How about instead of baking for your relatives you take them to see the interactive display? Not only will they thank you for the once in a lifetime experience, that's a few less workouts they'll have to do after the holidays because they weren't at home gorging on brownies. So what are you waiting for? The exhibit is available during Central's normal operating hours.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sacramento History Photo(s) of the Week: Issue No. 2

Central Pacific Railroad Hospital, circa 1887. Built in 1869 at the corner of 13th and “C” streets at a cost of $64,000, the CPR hospital was a result of the company’s desire to fill a healthcare and morale vacuum for its employees, many of whom were migrants, solitary, and without sufficient funds to acquire proper care. In fact, by 1883, 125 Irishmen had matriculated though CPR care, as compared to the 65 native Californians who had. Facility and medical costs were funded by a “hospital due” which, by 1890, came out to roughly 50 cents a month. Free care was predicated on injury sustained in service of the CPR. The hospital, which gained the reputation for being one of the finest medical facilities on the west coast, succumbed to fire in 1904.

Thomas W. Huntington, MD, circa 1890. One of the best medical talents in the early American West, Huntington was Staff then Chief Surgeon at the Central Pacific Hospital from 1882 until his death in 1929. His adherence to the principles of English physician Joseph Lister and the early use of antiseptics during patient recovery were groundbreaking. Overnight, Central Pacific deaths from infection from traumatic accidents dropped from 30 to 40 percent to 5 to 7 percent. Huntington also lived in Alkali Flat, first at 515 13th Street, then at 1215 “H” Street.

These photos and many more like them can be found in the Sacramento Public Library’s Sacramento Room which is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5, and Thursday 1 to 8.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


According to statistical studies conducted by both the Cervantes Institute of New York City and the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be 132,000,000 Spanish-speaking inhabitants in the United States by the year 2050. Making the United States, the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. From a population point of view, the United States will be the largest Latin American nation surpassing current birth rates in both Mexico and Peru. In terms of language learning, Spanish language matriculation rates at the secondary, high school and university levels are at their highest.

In terms of library usage, the numbers are growing as Latinos and the Spanish speaking are learning more and more how to use libraries . With this in mind, REFORMA has finally established its' first chapter in the Sacramento area precisely to help the area's libraries in improving library services to the Spanish speaking and Spanish language collections.

The chapter is aptly called the California Gold: The Sacramento Valley Chapter of REFORMA
California Gold: The Sacramento Valley Chapter of REFORMA supports the following goals:

. Development of Spanish- language and Latino- oriented collections and programming

. Recruitment of bilingual, multicultural library personnel

. Promotion of public awareness of libraries and librarianship among Latinos

. Advocacy on behalf of the information needs of the Latino community

.Liaison to other professional communities (CLA, EMIERT, SLALM for example)

.Providing training, education for our members and those interested in serving Latinos
and Spanish Speakers.

The California Gold Chapter will be meeting soon ,so dates and times will be forthcoming. A Facebook and website will also be available so stay tuned!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sacramento History Photo of the Week: Issue No. 1

Starting this week, we will be bringing to you historic photos from Sacramento's historic past that either come from the Sacramento Public Library's Sacramento Room collection or can be accessed through any of our many city/county branches. Along with the photo itself, we hope to provide thoughtful description and discussion on the photo's content and context. Here's today's photo, coming to us from the Library of Congress:

This is a rare, rare photo of China Slough, aka Sutter Slough or most elegantly Sutter Lake, circa 1866. Depending on the extent of seasonal flooding (and it's very high in this photo), the slough lapped upon the western-most boundary of Alkali Flat at 6th or 7th Streets. The oils and solvents of Southern Pacific/Central Pacific Railroad, not to mention the sewage and garbage of the residential community along lower “I,” made the slough both unpleasant to look at and notoriously odorous, prompting the City to plant some 3,000 eucalyptus trees along its banks in 1876/77.

The slough was finally filled in 1910 as part a deal between Southern Pacific and the City: the railroad fills the slough, it gets the land. This view from the Pioneer Flour Mills (located on the eastern bank of the Sacrament River) looks east toward Alkali Flat; the white structure near the upper, left-hand section of the photo is the Ohio Brewery, the spire in the middle, upper section of the photo is the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the far-right structure is the Grace Church.

What had sat as a pristine inlet of the Sacramento River as late as 1849 had, in a short 15 years, become something that most Sacramentans just wanted to forget about. Amazingly enough, as I look out the 5th floor window at Central Library, I'm not sure I feel too differently as I look at the big SP sandbox to the northwest.

The persistent url for the photo is as follows:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a Great Volunteer Service Day

On Saturday, December 13th, 18 Sophmores of the McClatchy HS Criminal Justice Acadamy (along with their sponsor) performed 3 hours of volunteer service to Central Library. As the coordinator for the day, I had a fabulous time. This group was enthusiastic from start to finish, even to the point of arriving 5 minutes before I showed up at 8:45am. Their accomplishments:
  • Performed 57 wo/man hours of service
  • Replaced and correctly labeled 30+ broken CD audiobooks
  • Cleaned 293 gunky audiobook cases and verified their contents and labeling
  • Recycled most of the Gen. Picture File; Filled 2 large grey (recycling) bins and 3 double loaded carts- representing hundreds of files
  • Labeled with large CEN spine labels 306 books from the World Languages collection (in less than 45 minutes!)
  • Found and sent home to CHS 1 Vietnamese language book
  • Ate 23 muffins

Thank you for your service, Sophmores. I hope you enjoyed the scavenger hunt and that you remember the library when you need help for college or want to find some new sheet music to practice your music skills.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008



El Rey de la Montaña es una película que cuenta con las actuaciones del actor argentino Leonardo Sbaraglia (Quim) y la beatífica española María Valverde (Bea). Quim ,buscando su novia, se encuentra perdido en un bosque. De repente, se encuentra perseguido por algún personaje desconocido. Durante su huida por el bosque se encuentra cara a cara con Bea quien también se encuentra perseguida.

¡Resérvanla ahora y encuéntranse cara a cara al espeluznante final!

El Rey de la Montaña Trailer Spanish
by eMaTriKs

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nearest Book Meme

Something fun to try: please post yours as a comment by clicking the "comment" link at the end of this post.

The man grabbed the steering wheel with arms as big as my legs and snarled, "I ain’t gettin’ out!" (Thompson, “Verbal Judo”)

* Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence - either here or on your blog.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don’t look for your favorite book or your coolest but really the nearest.

Saw this on Stephen’s Lighthouse this evening, and thought I’d better jump on it before it gets old. Noticed it also on a colleague’s facebook page. Fun, fun fun!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Get Smart

Forgive me for projecting, but most women fear turning into:

a) Crazy cosmetics kook: the woman who looks like she uses a Sharpie as lip liner.

b) Depressing woman: the one who calls to say, “Do you remember so and so?” and keeps trying to make you remember some obscure person you met in a previous life. When you finally lie and say you remember said person so you can move on with your day, she tells you, “Well, they passed away.”

c) Cat food lady: the woman who lost it all and now has to eat Nine Lives morning, noon and night.

While the library does not host classes for individuals who insist on using products bought at Office Max as makeup (though we can point you to a few helpful books on the subject), and we can only advise you not to call someone before six in the morning unless the earth is on fire, we can help you a bit on the financial front. Central Library's Smart Investing for Women series continues on Wednesday, December 3rd at 12 p.m. Last time Pam Krueger, co-host of MoneyTrack and author of The MoneyTrack Method, showed us how small amounts of money invested over long periods of time can grow to huge amounts of cash. Hopefully this next class will cover how to stop freaking out everytime we turn on the news. Cookies and sodas will be provided, but you should really bring a lunch so you don't crash twenty minutes after you return to work.

Monday, November 24, 2008



La recién publicada "Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos" por la directora del Instituto Cervantes Carmen Caffarel es una compilación de más de 80 artículos escritos por hispanos e hispanoamericanos dedicados al español en los Estados Unidos. Esta obra es importante no solamente por el tiempo necesitado para componerlo sino también porque es el único estudio desempeñado de este tipo en este país y en el mundo.
Actualmente, el número de hispanos en este país llega cerca al 15% de la población , o sea, redondamente el 45,000,000 de hispanohablantes. Para el año 2050, esa cifra incrementará al 132,000,000 aproximadamente.
Eso indica que los Estados Unidos es el segundo país de habla hispana debajo de México. Las implicaciones para este país son enormes ya que el español es el segundo idioma utilizado en el mercado internacional. Para las agencias púbicas tanto como las de gestión privada, tendrán que mejorar sus servicios para servir mejor a nuestra comunidad. ¡Pronto estará disponible en nuestras estanterías!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hand Made Especially For You By Me

Recently, the Sacramento Bee ran an Associated Press article about an "alternative handcrafting" movement that is gathering momentum. It seems a growing number of people are beginning to step away from online connections, runaway consumerism and big-box stores in favor of connecting materially in the real world, of hand-crafting limited numbers of unique items for themselves, to give as gifts, and to sell. The Seattle Times also wrote about it, as did the Taunton Gazette.

For Sacramentans with a little time and a sense of adventure, Central Library's crafts collections can provide inspiration and instruction for making this holiday season truly special. From fiber arts like knitting and crocheting, quilting, and home decor to the more robust wooden toys or garden art; from handmade greeting cards to quilling and calligraphy; from decoration of clothing to fashion; from candlemaking and soap to culinary delights for the holidays ... there is something here for the artist in everyone!

The Web is also a treasure-trove of information and ideas for crafters. The Librarians Internet Index is a good place to start, because the sites are vetted by information specialists. Stores like Michael's and Jo Ann also post crafting ideas. Other places to visit include where you can buy and sell all things handmade,, a forum for hand crafters, and Where Creativity Happens, Michael's handicraft how-to videos.

If you'd rather be a consumer than a constructor, this is the season for local craft shows! Whatever your inclination, this can be a handmade holiday season!

Springm's photo used with permission.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Point Reyes, A Sleeping Toddler, Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake and the Golden Hinde

So, here I am sitting in my car in the North Beach area of Point Reyes. If you've not been there, you really should go. The strength, size and power of the waves are all quite humbling. I lounge back in the front seat as my toddler son sleeps. It's a busy day, it's gonna get busier, but even a 1 hour nap can give him ample fuel to burn.

While he's "out," I'm awake, and it occurs to I look out upon the Pacific...that Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde reached Point Reyes in 1579.

I could squint my eyes just enough to imagine the little 120-footer bobbing its way across the horizon. Oh, and there's Sir Francis dangling off the prow, hand gripping rope, shouting "boys, it's land I see!" Cool. I then refocus my eyes - there's nothing there, except for the same smells, the same sounds and see many of the same sights that Drake and his Salts saw.

It's weird also that I'd chosen to bring the soundtrack from the 1998 film, Elizabeth; that's Elizabeth the First, probably Drake's most generous and well-known patron. Domine secundum actum meum is what I can hear. It was written in 1575 by William Byrd. Haunting, especially with the backdrop of crashing whitecaps. The dirge builds and builds, a tenor spilling out - what to me - is unintelligible, but sublime Latin. I then look at my son, then the ocean, the same one that held the Golden Hinde so many centuries ago, and I wonder what my son's Point Reyes will be. My thoughts lean to less material concepts: tolerance, peace, trust.

I hear a stirring in the back of the car. It's my son. His puffy little eyes open and look over at me. Then his head swings around to an SUV blazing its way out of the parking lot. "Bus," he says. "Yep, that's a bus, sweetheart," say I.

So, how does all of this relate to the library? Well, I may not know what my son's Point Reyes will be, but I do know - a least early on - what shape his Golden Hinde will take. The library. The book. The written word. All of which will sail any sea, traverse any desert, and plant a flag atop any mountain. The economy is down, news about the world is a bit unkind, but one constant in a world of ever-decreasing constants is...our library.

To hear Domine secundum actum meum, click on the image below:

Econo-talk in Central's Sacramento Room

The economy is the big creature with a bull’s head and bear’s body, sitting in the corner of the room. Last Wednesday evening, the 12th of November, the Central Library decided to talk about. With the assistance of CSUS Economics professor, Kristin Van Gaasbeck, and the passion and enthusiasm of a great group of participants, the current and future state of the financial markets, both home and abroad, were discussed in detail.

Plus, those buzz terms that have become near household were thrown about: sub-prime mortgages, credit default swaps, and the sham of the mortgage-backed security. What’s more, the fate of the dollar and the slow, but deliberate conversion of the U.S. economy from one of a manufacturing base to one that is service-centered were tackled.

And, how much is too much regulation, since we know that it’s inevitable with a new administration taking its place on Capital Hill in January?

The expertise and ideas of Van Gaasbeck were illuminating, but what the made the program truly meaningful was the participation of those citizens who joined us. It was a pleasure to watch this cross-section of Sacramento convene in the library to exchange ideas and experiences over an issue that affects every last one of us. My hat is off to Professor Van Gaasbeck and those of you who attended and contributed to this timely discussion.

Photos taken by Julie Garabedian.

Friday, November 14, 2008



"Cuidar la silueta suele ser una preocupación muy frecuente en las mujeres que temen aumentar de peso y perder elegancia. Algunos vestidos se diseñan para realzar la belleza de la silueta femenina, entendida como los contornos del cuerpo.De un modo más genérico, silueta es un dibujo de la sombra de un objeto, o sea, de su contorno, sin tener en cuenta los detalles de ese objeto.La palabra proviene del francés silhouette, y se tomó del nombre de un austero ministro de Hacienda de Francia de Luis XV, Étienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), quien llegó al cargo en marzo de 1759 por recomendación de la favorita del monarca, madame de Pompadour. Este ministro tenía la afición de recortar en papel retratos de siluetas. Silhouette se granjeó la animadversión tanto de la nobleza como de la pequeña burguesía, perjudicadas por sus medidas, con lo que su impopularidad muy pronto se generalizó en toda Francia, a tal punto que en noviembre del mismo año se vio obligado a renunciar. Pero la afición del ministro de recortar dibujos de contornos, que los cortesanos llamaban con desprecio portraits à la Silhouette (retratos al estilo Silhouette), se había hecho famosa y contaba con una popularidad mucho mayor que la del alto funcionario nombrado por la favorita del rey.En 1788, silhouette ya aparecía en francés para designar dibujos de contornos, y en 1835 la palabra era admitida por la Academia Francesa. Pero fue Chateaubriand quien en 1841 usó por primera vez silhouette para referirse específicamente a los contornos de cuerpos humanos.Silueta apareció en el Diccionario de la Real Academia en su edición de 1869, y ya en 1864 era usada por el poeta sevillano Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870) en Desde mi celda:

Absorto en estos pensamientos, doblo el periódico y me dirijo a mi habitación. Cruzo la sombría calle de árboles y llego a la primera cerca del monasterio, cuya destellada silueta destaca por oscuro sobre el cielo, en un todo semejante a la de un castillo feudal."

Monday, November 10, 2008

T.G.I. Over

After the past two presidential elections I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe voting lines rivaling those at Six Flags or an alien invasion from the planet Ork. I probably wouldn’t have blinked had I heard Halle Berry’s baby declared the winner in the Minnesota senatorial race, or that because I failed to check two boxes at the bottom of my ballot, I was now a member of eHarmony and my phone service was being transferred to T-Mobile. Thankfully none of those things happened (I’d better check the phone bill) and Senator Barrack Obama is now our president elect. And while he has some big things to tackle, like our $10 trillion debt, Guantanamo, and finding a hypoallergenic yet completely adorable shelter puppy, here are a few quick actions he could do on day one:

Clone Sasha and Malia
Is it just me, or are these the most gorgeous children? Parents are attractive, Ivy League educated professionals. If Michelle Obama was under age 30 she could sell her eggs for a fortune.

Push up the fall back
Our current Daylight Savings Time schedule, for the lack of a better word, sucks. When I was a kid, you could barely see your hand in front of your face on Halloween. This year it was so bright, the only reason I knew it was time to pass out the candy was I heard a toddler crying on the corner while his mother said, “Stay-with-me-baby-baby-stay-with-me-stay-with-mommy-listen-to-mommy-get-your-butt-over-here-now!”

Speaking of Halloween...
Pass a law requiring people with their lights on to pass out candy to EVERYONE. When I opened the door to trick-or-treaters, I didn’t see Obama supporters or McCain supporters. I saw Iron Man, Spider Man, Batman, Cinderella, a ballerina, a bunch of teens who didn’t bother to wear costumes but wanted candy anyway, and some adults who knew better yet did it anyway.

Outlaw scary Facebook photos
While such Facebook photos have rightfully ended many what-might-have-been fantasies, it’s a bit unsettling to discover your high school crush now resembles the Unibomber.

Keep taking your kids to school
The next time a significant other tells us they can't pick the kids up/take out the trash/drive us to the hospital, we can say, "Don't tell me you're too busy to make dinner when the leader of the free world took time out of his busy day to drop the kids off by the flag pole!"

Host inaugural ceremonies in every state
Considering scalpers are selling tickets for over $20,000, it’s needed. Plus it will save me from either commuting daily from New York because it’s the closest place with an affordable hotel room, or staying at lounges all night and showering at 24-Hour Fitness.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Administration, Same Wall Street Angst: Get the Prognosis for the U.S. and You this Wednesday Night

September 2008: Wall Street’s financial giants take a historic hit. Weeks later, the United States Congress responds with a 700 billion dollar rescue plan, coming in the form of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. To make the issue even more layered, the Obama Administration steps forward with its own intent to push a stimulus package through Congress.

The implications of the plan(s) are many. The credit market, business payrolls, national security, and just overall ebb in economic confidence are all issues that are swirling about, New York to Chicago to Wasilla to London to Sacramento.

On November 12, at 6:00 pm, in the Central Library’s Sacramento Room, find out more about the significance of a wounded Wall Street and staggered American economy, as Sacramento State University Economics Professor, Kristin Van Gaasbeck, joins us.

In addition to addressing the state of financial markets and the economy as a whole, she will take your questions on how these looming issues will affect you, the consumer, investor and business owner.

Registration is encouraged and can be done by calling 264.2920 or by going online to

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Michael Crichton (1942 - 2008)

He gave us the Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man, the Great Train Robbery, Congo, and Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton, who excelled at combining great storytelling with science and science fiction, passed away on November 4, after a struggle with cancer. He touched many lives, both through his books and through the movies that were made from them.

For a peek into his life, there are many articles in the Biography Resource Center (library card needed if you click the link at home), and in case you want to revisit his books, here's a link to the list in the Sacramento Public Library catalog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results Updates

Record numbers of voters turned out to register their opinions this year. Thanks for voting!

Some races and votes were too close to call; mail-in ballots are still being counted; Prop 8 voting results are being challenged. NewsBank has a special report on the election - log in with your library card number to read stories published in newspapers across the country.

Ongoing election coverage updates are available at:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last Chance to Vote!

Need I say more?

Apparently, yes, because there are some people who aren't going to vote because they are still undecided. Though this election cycle officially started around the Nixon administration, they are lost as to what to do. Last night visions of undecided voters danced in my head and all I could think of is this burning question:

Do undecided people eat?

Seriously, do these people eat? Are they able to pick up a menu and decide what they want? Or do they sit staring at the menu their entire lunch period because they can't chose between chicken teriyaki and beef stroganoff? Is it really that hard? Because our political choices look kind of like the menu board at In-N-Out: Do you want a soda or a shake? Cheese or no cheese?

And how can you live with an undecided person? One time in CostCo I watched a woman call her husband because she couldn't decide which detergent to buy. I wanted to yell, "Get the cheapest one with the nicest smell and leave the poor man alone!" But I didn't do that, though had I done so, her husband might have decided to divorce her and marry me on the spot. Thus, by keeping my mouth closed, I saved her marriage. (Considering she likely lives a better life than me, I sometimes question this decision.)

Look, I realize life is confusing, but it's important to make decisions about the place you live in. They're even bribing us with free coffee! So even if you don't care about democracy or where we live, or if 14 year-olds should be tried as adults, at least care enough about caffeine to get out there and pick someone!

You have until 8 pm.

Breaking News: Richard Scarry's "Pig Van" Found in Sacramento?

In a shocking turn of reality, a photo was released today of what appears to be Richard Scarry's Pig Van. The exact location of the photo was not released, but sources say that it was indeed taken in the greater Sacramento area.

Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster all pale in view of this sighting. What's more, there's speculation that the near unintelligable streak on the left side of the photo carries an uncanny resemblance to Smokey the Fire Pig.

Public safety officials from the Capital City all the way up to the National Security Agency have been briefed on the image. World leaders are also ready to summit to discuss the significance and next step to take. In support of any claims to the veracity of the photo, the following image - in particular - is being studied by experts at the CIA in Langley, Virginia.

It is recommended that the public, in order to better aquaint itself with this startling occurrence, head to their closest Sacramento Public Library branch and study up on the artful greatness of Richard Scarry.

It's difficult for this reporter to not impart a bit of editorialism in the face of these quickly-developing events. For the last few months, my son has been convinced of the reality that is Richard Scarry. The existence of Pig Vans, Three-seater Pencil Cars, Beaver-driven bulldozers, and Lederhosen-clad wild boars driving jeeps, are a foregone conclusion to millions of children.

So, what say I to you, fellow grown-ups? Especially in these harried economic times, let's think of a place where Mistress Mouse is the only mechanic you'll ever need to call if your Banana-mobile (and I know we all own one) breaks down.

Stay tuned to grandCentral for any and all breaking news!

RINCóN LATINO: 2008 Festival del Invierno

Le invitamos a todo su familia disfrutar de los días festivos con títeres, música y más.
Los sabados, @ 1:30pm en el sucursal Central, 828 I Street Sacramento CA 95814
  • 16 de noviembre: el Mundo Maravilloso de los Títeres, presentado por Jim Gamble

  • 23 de noviembre: Música de las Americas con Zun Zun

  • 30 de noviembre: el Príncipe Rana con las Marionetas Fratello

  • 7 de diciembre: Felices Fiestas: un concierto con el Sacramento Youth Symphony Premier Orchestra, dirijido por Michael Neumann

  • 14 de diciembre: Andando por la tierra blanca, cuentos y canciones del invierno con Francie Dillon y Teatro del Arte de Marionetas

Monday, November 3, 2008


Mañana el 4 de Noviembre será una fecha histórica porque por primera vez en la historia de los Estados Unidos un ciudadano de raza africana tendrá una gran oportunidad a ascender al puesto más poderoso del país.

Getting Out the Vote

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time Changes

Why do we do it? We reset the time on clocks, watches, microwave ovens, stereos, car dashboards twice a year as most of the United States adjusts for Daylight Saving or Standard Time changes.

The U.S. Naval Observatory's Astronomical Applications Department lines out the starting and ending dates of Daylight Saving Time, and its history.

From the library's collection, David Prerau's "Seize the Daylight" explains "the curious and contentious story." The Librarians' Internet Index provides additional selected time web sites with information about time and calendars that both adults and kids can enjoy.

Hope you enjoyed your extra sleep-in hour this morning!

Petoo's photo used with permission.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gwen Stefani and the Public Library

When Gwen Stefani decided to debut Kingston’s new baby brother, Zuma, she didn’t pick just any old Beverly Hills scene. No. She wanted her two-month old son to be associated with culture, intelligence, and a thirst for knowledge. She had only one place to go: the public library. She could have dined out at a hot new restaurant, like the Library Bar in Los Angeles. Or, she could have checked into a fashionable New York City hotel with babe in arms, one like the Library Hotel. The moral of the story: The road to lifelong learning can begin at birth, and Gwen Stefani is one smart mama.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Aunque el título de este maravilloso libro está inglés ( La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Oscar Wao ) , esta obra del escritor dominicano Junot Díaz ganó el Premio Pulitzer hace algunos meses. El libro tardó más de 11 años para que se cumpliera pero como dice el escritor en una entervista con BBC Mundo "... hay obras en las que uno tiene que luchar ."

El tema brevemente tratado se concentra de un emigrante latioamericano recién llegado a los Estados Unidos. Para Díaz, nadie a pesar de donde sea sabe lo que involucra vivir como emigrante menos que un emigrante. Y él pasó por aquella estrecha durísima poco después de llegar a Nueva Jersey con su familia desde la República Dominicana.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learn about the Paranormal Online

Central Library is hosting new computer classes that not only help patrons hone their computer skills, but also further their knowledge on how to find information on a specific subject.

One subject that was taught on Saturday, October 18th is fitting for the Halloween season: Learn About the Paranormal Information Online. Attendees learned about where to find a variety of paranormal information as well as finding advice from research organizations and parapsychologist on how to investigate hauntings coupled with critical thinking skills. Many websites covered in the class included ghostly photographs and testimonials via video, audio and podcast on true ghost accounts, near death experiences, poltergeists, psychic phenomena, electronic voice phenomenon (digital or tape recording of spirits apparently communicating), and other unusual phenomena. Since there is no sure answer to what is really going on when paranormal activity occurs, the websites provided for the class help open minds to all the different types of phenomena, theories and speculation to what may be really happening behind the bangs in the night, ghostly visions, unusual sounds, and extra sensory perception.

Some highlight websites from the class: - Paranormal Phenomena
Finding paranormal phenomena on's, is a good way to start, and find a large variety of paranormal information which includes famous ghost photographs, electronic voice phenomena recordings, and video footage.

Ghost Village: ghost research, evidence, and discussion
Ghost Village is dedicated to providing ghost research, evidence, and discussion from around the world. They welcome and explore all viewpoints, from the skeptical to the religious, and from the scientific to the metaphysical.

Mike Daniels – Psychic Science
Find some free educational and educational-entertainment resources for parapsychology, psychical research and mind magic. Site includes a host of audio and video documentaries from popular paranormal specialists and investigators.

Parapsychological Association
The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (PA) is the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The site also has a links to Online Psi (psychic) Experiments.

International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc.
IANDS explores the near-death and near-death-like experiences, their effects on people’s lives, and their implications for beliefs about life, death, and human purpose. IANDS does not subscribe to any particular interpretation of the near-death experience.

Check the library's event calendar for future computer classes at Central Library.

by Tuula Laine

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ask Us Through "AskUs" and Get the Answer...

An interesting thing happened when we opened the "inbox" to the AskUs reference portal ( This popped up:

We love questions like these...

A medal - an old one - was located in a collection of keepsakes belonging to a long-time Sacramentan. The fellow had passed away and a family member wanted to get the story on this curious artifact.

It read:



The story behind the story was found in the library's copy of the Sacramento Bee for dates December 21st and 22nd, 1918. Sacramento lost over 100 of its own in the Great War. On December 21, 1918, the city of Sacramento honored over 1,300 mothers and the sacrifices endured by their sons and daughters at the city's Native Sons' Hall on Eleventh and "J." Two of the mothers received a medal with five stars (indicating the number of sons that they had sent overseas), but most were of the one star variety.

Also present were many area luminaries; D.W. Carmichael, the founder of present-day Carmichael and Governor William Stephens. It was cool on that day in Sacramento and the setting was...

"And when we present you with this little token, we do so, realizing that during the years to come it may, in some degree tarnish and grow old, but with its age may we assure you will grow the thoughts of kindness, the thoughts of appreciation, the thoughts of love and esteem which we, the people of Sacramento, the donors of this badge, bear to you, to whom we give -- the mothers of the defenders of liberty."

In the same issue of the Bee, there was also talk of a new auditorium to be built in honor of those who had served and died in Europe.

We hold a run of the Bee that goes back to 1857. That said, the paper is a great way to better understand the events of the day and the story behind that which could have been easily pulled from a time capsule.

If you have a question that you'd like to submit, Askus would be happy to answer it. Simply write us at and we'll get back to you within 24-hours.

To view a short movie, remembering the lives of seven Sacramentans who died in the Great War, click on the image below:

Friday, October 24, 2008

True Crime

Even though I am personally too scared to read true crime books, I know that they are hot property in any public library, and the Central Library is no exception. We have books about classic figures, like Jack the Ripper and The Black Dahlia, as well as information about less famous cases. So if you're in the mood to be scared, especially with Halloween coming up, head downtown to the Central Library and browse the 364.1523 sections in Central Express on the first floor and the main collection on the 2nd.

Monday, October 20, 2008


"XXYes una película argentina escrita y dirigida por Lucía Puenzo estrenada el 14 de junio de 2007 y protagonizada por Ricardo Darín, Valeria Bertuccelli e Inés Efrón. Trata la historia de una persona intersexual de 15 años que junto con sus padres huye a una pequeña villa frente al mar para evitar ser rechazada por la sociedad y aprender a aceptar su condición.
XXY ha recibido una extensa aclamación de la crítica, ganando el Gran Premio de la semana de la crítica del Festival de Cannes en 2007 y el premio Goya a la mejor película extranjera de habla hispana el mismo año, además de haber sido nominada por la Asociación de Cronistas Cinematográficos Argentinos a 8 premios Cóndor de Plata.
Su título es una referencia al Síndrome de Klinefelter, también conocido como Síndrome XXY, condición en la que los hombres tienen un cromosoma X extra. Dicho título ha sido catalogado por la Unitask, una organización italiana para personas con el síndrome de Klinefelter, como confuso debido a que los hombres con este síndrome no tienen rasgos físicos femeninos y el protagonista de la película si."

Need a break from reality?

Have you opened up your retirement account statement lately? You might want to keep a paper bag handy for when you start hyperventilating. Right now saving for retirement seems to have about the same outcome as sending a check to that Nigerian prince who has millions of dollars but needs a few thousand up front first. Our current election feels like it started back in 1984 when Marvin Gaye was still alive and Indiana Jones was a big hit...Okay, that last bit happened this year, too. Still, things are just...


Once I get home I have little desire to think. I just want to lay on the couch like a blob and zone out while eating sugary soy based products. But zoning out doesn't happen if you're watching regular TV. You have to listen to "reporters" discuss celebrities and their book based baby names. Or you accidentally flip to a Rihanna video, and, after realizing you're not that much older than her but she looks waaaay better, you end up exercising for an hour. While this may be good for you, is it truly relaxing?


So, If you're like me, and you just need some down time, here are a few videos I recommend to help get your mind off your disintegrating account balances:

Planet Earth

The Matrix Reloaded

In the Heat of the Night

The Shawshank Redemption

Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb


Star Wars

Back to the Future

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Genealogy News

Fall is a busy time of year for those interested in genealogy in the Sacramento area! Here are some recent and upcoming family history events that will interest both beginners and long-time researchers:

The Central Library staffed a table at this year’s Family History Day at the California State Archives on Saturday, October 11th. This free event included several genealogy classes and tours of the Archives throughout the day. For more information, including a schedule of classes, visit the California State Archives website. Watch for this event next year!

Central Library’s upcoming genealogy programs will be held on Saturdays, 1:30 – 3:00 pm, in the West Meeting Room. These programs are free:
January 10th: Help! The Courthouse Burned!, with Pamela Dallas
January 24th: Using Federal Census Records, with Glenda Lloyd
January 31st: Exploring Ellis Island, with Lisa Lee
For more information, call the library at 916-264-2920, or visit

Book a Genealogist at Central Library, 4th floor. Meet with a genealogy volunteer for individual help with your research. For an appointment, call the library at 916-264-2920 or visit

The Sacramento Family History Center is offering Eternal Keepsakes, a day-long genealogy seminar on Saturday, November 1st, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm at 2745 Eastern Avenue in Carmichael. There is a small fee for this seminar, which is open to the public. The Family History Center also has free genealogy presentations most Wednesday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. For more information, call 916-487-2090, or see the Family History Center’s website.

Take advantage of these great programs to learn how to explore your family’s history!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Get a Handle on the Economy at the Central Library

September 2008: Wall Street’s financial giants take a historic hit. Weeks later, the United States Congress responds with a 700 billion dollar rescue plan, coming in the form of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The implications of the plan are many. The credit market, business payrolls and national security are all issues that are swirling about, New York to Tokyo to Berlin to London to Sacramento.

On November 12, at 6:00 pm, in the Central Library’s Sacramento Room, find out more about the significance of a wounded Wall Street and staggered American economy, as Sacramento State University Economics Professor, Kristin Van Gaasbeck, joins us.

In addition to addressing the state of financial markets and the economy as a whole, she will take your questions on how these looming issues will affect you, the consumer, investor and business owner. 

Registration is encouraged and can be done by calling 264.2920 or by going online to

Bellying Up to the Bar in the Sacramento Room: El Dorado in a Shot Glass, Saloon Culture in Gold Rush Sacramento, 1848-1853

Wednesday night, October 15, in the Sacramento Room, SPL Librarian James Scott, presented his research on the heart and soul of Sacramento popular culture during the Gold Rush, the saloon.

Did you know that Sacramento's first saloon was called the Stinking Tent?

Did you know that Sacramento's first bartender was Peter Slater of Missouri?

Did you know that bears, eagles, oxen, anacondas and monkeys were all used to lure folks into Sacramento's saloons?

In addition to imparting such fun facts, Scott spoke to issues of race, gender and politics in saloons. Certainly, going back to one of the earliest drinking/gaming spots, the Round Tent, it's clear that the many races and ethnicities that were drawn to the Gold Rush could share a relative amount of harmony within these places, the Foreign Miner's Tax, and the large number of emigrants from the American South notwithstanding.

Hopping on from race, the contributions of saloonist Josephine Gibson were discussed. She was likely the first female saloon owner in the city, having opened and operated the Capital and Josey's Place saloons.

Finally, Scott emphasized the versatility of saloons as venues for - among other things - boxing, theater, adjudication, and bathing. Saloons were also strong aligned to politics. The Whigs, Know-Nothings and Democrats all found places to rally 'round their causes. One such example was the Indian Queen, which was a spot for Democrats to gather. It was owned by the Daly brothers, James and Bernard. Although the two started off as Democrats, they broke, with James becoming a Know-Nothing and opening his own establishment called the Merchant's Exchange at Front Street. Bernard maintained the Indian Queen, but their relationship was never the same.  The Whigs had a gathering place cunningly called The Whig Headquarters.

It's important to never lose sight of the history that flowed through California's capital city during the Gold Rush. The brother and father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth acted at Lee's Exchange, one of Sacramento's first "concert saloons"; one of the city's earliest saloons, the Mansion House, was operated by future Confederate Cavalry Officer Edwin Waller, Jr.; and, Charles Cora, one of the most skilled and disliked gamblers in the American West, got into a blazing gunfight at the El Dorado Saloon, located at the northeastern corner of Second and "J" Streets.

Look for a program on brewing and distilling in antebellum Sacramento in January and February.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voter Info at Central Library

Our DanskaBeaver reports, regarding the November 4th election:

The Central Library will have official voter guides from the State of California on the First, Second and Third Floor Service Desks. Easy Voter Guides in English will also be located at the Service Desks on the First, Second and Third Floors. Easy Voter Guides for Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese will be in the World Languages Section. Guides in other languages are also available.

An audio version of the Official State Voter Guide will be behind the Information Desk on the Third Floor. It is only for in-library use. Please be prepared to leave an ID if you use it. We are also cataloging audio versions for circulating and in-library use.

Voter registration cards will be available on the First, Second, Third and Fourth floors. The last day to register for the election is October 20th. Registration applications must be postmarked no later than this date.

Monday, October 13, 2008



"Es sabido que la música popular rioplatense suele expresar quejas, lamentos, sufrimientos, penas de amor y de nostalgia. Tal vez esto pueda explicar el nombre de la milonga, uno de los ritmos típicos platenses, que fue tomado de milonga, palabra que en la lengua africana quimbundo, traída a América por los esclavos, significaba ‘queja’, ‘lamento’, ‘calumnia’ o ‘demanda’. Se cree que tanto la milonga como el tango se derivan, en última instancia, de ritmos africanos que llegaron al continente con los esclavos."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Teen Reality Checks (a check you can cash!)

Going through the teen section I spotted the Au Pair series by Melissa de la Cruz. The premise is that instead of paying fully trained English nannies totting degrees in early childhood education to watch their kids fulltime, the wealthy would much rather pay the same amount to have their children watched by teens who party like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears. Fine, the teens aren’t that ill behaved. But when School Library Journal described how the au pairs take care of “four over privileged, under supervised kids,” I cringed. Under supervised???? Excuse me, but as au pairs isn’t it their jobs to supervise the kids?

Or maybe not.

Check out these books’ covers. One would mistake the world of childcare as one of glamour and fun, a place where young babysitters watch their charges for ten minutes a day before spending the rest of their time scantily clad in the sand. Because what married, middle-aged mother wouldn’t want a bikini-wearing teen with all of her original parts in their original places frolicking in front of her husband? Why it must be high on her wish list, sandwiched between botched Botox injections and male pattern baldness. Note to authors: stop making teens believe they’ll get paid for rolling around on a beach as if they were taking photos for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Do you know what teen girls should really be reading? I mean besides He’s Just Not That Into You (which an unnamed co-worker feels should be mandatory 8th grade reading).

The Nanny Diaries.

It’s hilarious, and a lot closer to reality to than the Au Pair series. By the third page you can’t put it down as the narrator describes The Interview: “I answer with as much filigree and insouciance as I can muster, trying to slightly cock my head like Snow White listening to the animals. She, in turn, is aiming for more of a Diane Sawyer-pose, looking for answers which will confirm that I am not there to steal her husband, jewelry, friends, or child. In that order.”

And that about sums it up.

Sure, we (meaning teens) would like to think folks will pay untrained individuals tons of money to stay in fabulous homes. The truth of the matter is, if I were married to some rich, handsome, great, rich guy who is rich (it will happen!) and I believed in in-house childcare, we’d either get a manny, or the woman would look like Nanny McPhee and dress like Laura Ingalls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Annual In-Service Day for Library Staff

School Districts do it. Companies do it. And Sacramento Public Library does it, too.

All libraries are closed Wednesday, October 8, for annual staff in-service development and training. Why Wednesday? Ah ... well, you see, the library is a 7-day operation. No, not at all branches, but some libraries are open evenings, weekends and Sundays, and Wednesday is one of the few days of the week all staff are working. Telephone services are available seven days a week, except for holidays ... and the annual in-service training day.

Online self-service will still be available: look for books in the catalog, renew items online or by phone at 916-264-2952 or 916-264-2953, research homework topics using our licensed magazine indexes and e-research tools - and we'll see you again in person on Thursday, October 9, during regular hours.

Smeerch's photo used with permission.

Friday, October 3, 2008



"En la Atenas del período preclásico, los principales magistrados eran los arcontes: el arconte rey; el polemarco, jefe del ejército; y el arconte epónimo, jefe de gobierno y magistrado principal. Este último daba su nombre al año en que desempeñaba su gestión. En la actualidad, epónimo se aplica al ‘nombre de una persona o de un lugar que designa un pueblo, una época, una enfermedad, una unidad’.Así, el nombre de Napoleón designa la era napoleónica, el apellido del médico británico James Parkinson es epónimo de la enfermedad de Parkinson, y el del ingeniero escocés James Watt, del vatio o watt.Epónimo proviene del griego eponymos ‘el que da su nombre a algo’, formado por epi ‘sobre’ y onymos ‘nombre’. Esta última voz griega también está presente en palabras castellanas como anónimo, homónimo, sinónimo, seudónimo y otras."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bring Your Cameras---The Sacramento Ballet is Coming!

Aren't Sundays fabulous?
You don't have to work (unless you're like me, and you actually do have to work), parking is free on the street, and the Central Library offers one great program after another for your viewing pleasure! Last week ArtWorks told folktales, the previous week we enjoyed my storytelling, but while all of these programs were great, there was just something missing from those events...
On Sunday, October 5 th at 2 pm, come to the library to meet characters from The Sacramento Ballet's Alice in Wonderland. Cast members will share the story of their adventures, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. So bring your cameras and don't forget your memory cards!