Friday, January 30, 2009

Golden Grains, Harvested at Central

On Wednesday, January 28th, an enthusiastic group of history, brewing and winemaking buffs (not to mention an archaeologist and a brewmaster) got together for a presentation on alcohol production in pre-Civil War Sacramento. Librarian, James Scott, gave the talk.

Content ranged anywhere from the general pre-1861 Nisenan and Miwok experience with alcohol to the introduction of the cool, German-style lager beer to Sacramento's hot, dry summers.

Also discussed was the galvanizing influence that alcohol production could have on community building, especially when it came to George Weiser and George Zins. Zins was a Frenchman, coming from Alsace-Lorraine, while Weiser was a German, coming from Baden-Wurttemberg. These regions bordered one another, and Zins' home region had changed hands several times between the Holy Roman Empire (pre-Germany) and France. Certainly, there was plenty reason for hostility to exist between the two, but not enough for them to not go into business with one-another. What this illustrates is the clearly universal appeal and draw of drink-making:  it could bring culture groups together, even to the point of joint capital venture, where trust was an indispensable. It also meant that a singly momentous event like the Gold Rush could attract some of the finest artisan brewmasters in the world to the shores of the Sacramento River. Their brewery was one of the first in the city's history.

Thanks go out to those who came down to the presentation. Questions were great and interjection invaluable.

Anyone who's interested in acquiring a the PowerPoint version of the presentation can send an e-mail to the Sacramento Public Library's Correspondence Team at

In case you missed the talk, watch this video for a 'sampling' of what we talked about:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Witnessing History from the Nosebleed Section

Do you know what the true Audacity of Hope is? It’s deciding around the middle of January that you’re going to the Obama inauguration and thinking you’re going to find a flight and a hotel. Yet during one break I looked over at my co-worker, and announced, “I think I should go to the inauguration,” in about the same manner I usually say, “I think I’ll have Chinese food for lunch.”

But really, I had to go the inauguration---it was on my life to do list, sandwiched between #5. Buy a house and #7. Marry a “qualified” hot rich guy. Though I plan to attend the 2012 inauguration in style---flying to D.C. in my corporate jet and attending balls in designer gowns---something awful might happen to prevent me from going, and then I would have missed not just the historic swearing in of the first black president, but a really great party the second time around. Thus I made (hastily threw together) arrangements, and when I arrived at SFO I found out I was not the only wishful thinker…

There were fifty standby passengers.

Only about half made it onto the flight.

The trip was totally awesome.

So much happened that day, I can’t even begin to describe it. And I really don’t need to---I took tons of pictures yet still not enough. However, I do have one request for President Obama for the next swearing in ceremony:

Can we have the 2012 inauguration in Hawaii? It was freakin’ cold!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


US100: Your Road to Passing the U.S. Citizenship Test

La reciente fuga de inmigrantes hispanos a sus respectivos países debida a la recientes crisis económica, me puse a pensar:

"¿Qué haría yo para enfrenar esta espantosa fuga de mi gente querida?"

Listado de respuestas:

1. Construir un muro de concreto y alambre para contener el derrame de latinos de los Estados Unidos.

2. Dar plazas de trabajo de alta rentabilidad.

3. Regalar DVDs enseñando como obtener la ciudadanía estadounidense para así quedarse con sus niños nacidos aquí.

Claro que para la primera respuesta alguien con mucho más poder que yo me ha ganado esa respuesta pero con otro objetivo. La segunda respuesta no es posible dada la actual crisis bursátil. Y, finalmente, la tercera respuesta todavía tiene mayor posibilidad de rendimientos positivos. Me refiero al DVD titulado "US100: Your road to passing the US Citizenship Test."

Este DVD fue producido por ECM Media de Reno, Nevada y ha tenido mucho éxito en presentar las varias secciones del examen actual. Las explicaciones son sencillas y fáciles de entender, y uno puede repasar las preguntas a su paso.

Para esta nota opté mostrar dos videos luciendo el DVD, el equipo de producción y la publidad alrededor de su estreno.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sacramento History Photo of the Week: Issue No. 6

City Brewery, circa 1900. Resting at the northeast corner of Twelfth and “H” Streets, the brewery was established in 1856/57 by German expatriates Wilhelm Borchers and Benedict Hilpert. The two-story structure was made of brick, rested on a lot measuring some eighty by 160 feet, and possessed a forty foot by eighty foot cellar for cooling what almost exclusively lager-style beer. Much like the Ohio, the City rode the city’s lust for lager - a much cooler and refreshing drink than the traditional English ale - and, by 1858, the brewery was producing nearly 800 gallons of beer per week.

This photo and many more like it 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.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Golden Grains: Brewing, Winemaking and Distilling in Pre-Civil War Sacramento

Today, Sacramento boasts a huge number of micro-breweries and wineries, all of which produce an abundance of fine, artisan-style elixirs.  This is nothing new to Sacramento - as early as 1849, we see the Sacramento Brewery producing ales, while wines were being produced near the late 1850s from grapes growing near Sutter's Fort.  

Sacramento's position in what was once an inland lake means that the State's capital city has inherited some of the richest soil in the word, born of alluvial fans - the American, Feather, Cosumnes and Sacramento Rivers and Putah, Cache and Stone Creeks.

Join us Wednesday, January 28th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Central Library's East Meeting Room as librarian and local historian, James Scott, will deliver a talk on the production of alcohol in Sacramento's earliest days.  Registration is encouraged and can be done by calling 264-2920 or going to

For a 'taste' of what's to come Wednesday evening, watch a brief video history below:


Hey teens! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Want to tell your sweetie how much they mean to you, but don’t know how? What says love better than chocolate? Make them a bunch of chocolate kiss roses! They are fun to make, delicious to eat, and beautiful to see. Come to Central Library Kids’ Place on Thursday, February 5, between 5 and 8 PM. Materials will be supplied and staff will help get you started. Show your sweetie how much you care and how talented you are! This free program is just for teens.

Monday, January 19, 2009


"EL ARTE DE HACER DINERO" por Mario Borghino

Este título escrito por el famoso asesor financiero ilumina ciertos principios necesarios para obtener la riqueza que le merece a cada uno de nosotros. Este libro Mp3 también destaca un principio no necesariamente reconocido por muchos asesores y escrtores de finanzas: la riqueza tiene muchos sentidos. Para gente quienes se encuentran en duras circunstancias la solución no es claramente lógica. " ¡Si tuviera más dinero todo se me solucionará!" La respuesta suele ser algo muy ajena.
Este libro les dará ideas y sugerencias para obtener la riqueza adecuada para mejorar sus vidas.

También tomen nota del nuevo formato Mp3 de este título. Recientemente he descubrido este formato anteriormente solo disponible en inglés. He ordenado más títulos en en el formato Mp3 para las distintas sucursales de la biblioteca y estoy muy entusiasmado que la compañía Findaway haya decidido publicar títulos en español ya que gracias a la actual crisis económica muchos más hispanoparlantes estarán audidiendo nuestar bibliotecas buscando respuestas a sus apuros.

Martin Luther King Day, a Day On

In the volunteer world, MLK Day is a day of civic service, as encouraged by the King Holiday and Service Act, signed into law in 1994. It is a way to honor and transfor King's life and teachings into community service. As all Sac Public Library branches are closed on Monday, the Central Library Volunteer Program celebrated MLK Day with an Evening of Service on Dr. King's actual birthday, Thursday, January 15th.

16 volunteers served a total of 44 man hours and accomplished the following:

  • Cleaned 1,530 books

  • Barcoded the front cover of 625 books

  • Labeled and taped 977 spine labels

  • Found 2 books that were mis-shelved.

Special Thanks to Toppingz Pizza for supporting volunteer service on this special evening.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crocker-Kingsley art exhibit @ Central Library

On the heels of the Freedom's Sisters' display at the Central Library, comes the 75th Crocker-Kingsley : California's Biennial juried art exhibit. In conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum, currently undergoing expansion, we are excited to offer this amazing collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, printmaking and crafts – in a range of artistic styles from representational to abstract to conceptual. The first floor and second floor Galleria exhibit will be on display through Friday, February 6, during the Library's open hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Digging Up Roots at Central Library

Genealogy – the study of one’s past – has become an avid pastime of many Americans. One of the easiest ways for a researcher to get their hands on extremely meaningful family information is to look at the obituaries or death notices of ancestors.

The Sacramento Public Library’s Central Branch holds runs of the Sacramento Bee back to 1857, the Sacramento Union from 1851 to 1994, the Sacramento Transcript, 1850-1851, and the Daily Democratic State Journal from 1852 to 1857.

Too busy to swing by Central and search the archives? No problem. Call us, snail mail us, e-mail us. Our reference staff takes the topic of genealogy very seriously – we boast one of the finest genealogy collections in Northern California, possess in-house indexes (Sacramento Bee Vital Statistics Index (1857-1905) and the California Information File) that you’ll find nowhere else, and welcome the opportunity to help you build your family tree.

Try us. Just give us a week and we can give you your roots.

Letter Mail: Sacramento Public Library, attn. Correspondence, 828 “I” Street, Sacramento, California 95814


Phone: 916-264-2920

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Financial E-Book! Will Self Destruct This Thursday!

For those who haven't been reading the newspapers the forecast for 2009 is...I guess the best word to describe what's going on is scary. Years ago I used to stare (longingly) at the full mall parking lots and wonder if anyone in Sacramento had a job. Today I'm wondering the same thing, only for different reasons. The local economy is bad. The truly frightening holiday bills are arriving in our mail boxes. Today the only way you can afford dinner and a movie is if you get a free ticket in exchange for donating a pint of blood and stay in their rest area for 30 minutes devouring Lorna Doone cookies and making mixed drinks out of all their juices. This may be completely fine to some people, but those donation buses are freakin cold! Plus I was too sick to donate last time. If only there was some type of plan to show us how to dig ourselves out of this mess...

Suze Ormans's 2009 Action Plan is available as a free download on Oprah Winfrey's website. However, unlike many items on our Overdrive catalog, it is not an always available book which can be downloaded at any time. The offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on Thursday, January 15. So hurry, hurry, hurry!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacramento History Photo of the Week: Issue No. 5

Washington Primary School, circa 1895. Located at Thirteenth and “G” streets, Washington School was built in 1869 at a cost $13,720 to replace two wooden structures felled by arson – less than two weeks after they were completed – and to meet the needs of the city’s burgeoning northern wards. Upon opening, it housed Intermediate No.3 and Primaries 5 and 8. Its architect, Seth Babson, pursued a style and brick shelling that matched the Union School on Seventh and "G" Streets. As the nineteenth century came to a close, the Washington School possessed a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 30. In 1922/23, the school’s name and occupants relocated to a newer and bigger building at Seventeenth and “E,” but its use – as a continuation school, training center for the Army Signal Corps and headquarters for the American Red Cross – continued well into the 20th-century.

This photo and many more like it 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.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Book Nook & Book Bulletins

This is the staff room on the 5th floor of the Central Library. The window is one of several that comprise an "art in public places" work called "Geometric Progression."

The books in the window are publishers' pre-publication galley proofs sent to our local newspaper to be reviewed, and passed along to the library. We can't add them to our collection, nor can they be sold by the Friends of the Library. I found the "Tale of Despereaux" amongst them last year, and discovered the recent works of two talented Jamaican authors, Andrea Levy and Lorna Goodison. Because they are not cataloged, I have picked up titles far outside the usual range of books I would normally choose, and have been challenged to read outside my comfort zone.

If you are also interested in discovering new reading interests without any financial outlay, try our Book Bulletins for adults and kids. Just click a topic and provide your e-mail address to receive a monthly announcement of recent titles in that area. There's a link on our web site - just click on the Book Bulletin graphic to see the list and sample the titles before subscribing. Titles on the lists are selected from our collection by Sacramento Public Library staff.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sacramento History Photo(s) of the Week: Issue No. 4

917 “H” Street, circa 1890. The residence was built in 1882 by architects Seth Babson and James Seadler in the style of ‘Victorian Stick,’ characterized by rectangular shaping, wood siding, and a steep, gabled roof with overhanging eaves. Its first resident was city pioneer Llewellyn Williams. In 1891, it was sold to H.G. Smith for $30,000 in gold. Well after Smith’s departure, it was converted into a funeral home in 1907, and then acquired by the University Club in 1971. Today, it serves ably as a youth hostel. Sacramento Room.
Halsey G. Smith, circa 1890. While the promise of the Gold Rush drew Smith to Sacramento from New York, it was business – most notably the Pioneer Milling Company at Front and “G” Streets – that brought him enormous wealth. His residence at 917 “H” Street offered not just a clear to his president’s post at the river front mill, but entry into Sacramento’s business aristocracy. Sacramento Room.

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.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 - What's In It For Me?

Many people take a few minutes during this season to review the accomplishments, the works-in-progress, the lessons learned during the past year, and to make their resolutions for the coming year. I read something recently - can't remember where - that suggested we make "Goals" instead of "Resolutions". Making a resolutions implies that you must keep it to be successful; not keeping it, therefore, means failure. Having a goal, on the other hand, implies progress toward same, and any progress can be counted as a success. All year long!

Central Library has also been reviewing accomplishments, works-in-progress and lessons learned, and is setting goals for the coming year. Some of the accomplishments:

  • Creation of a microfilm reading area closer to the microfilm collection.

  • Conversion of the former microfilm reading area into a Technology Lab.

  • Expansion of the computer classes beyond the basics and into subject interests.

  • Complete revision of the call routing system for the library's main phone number (916-264-2700.)

Some works-in-progress:

  • Re-arrangement of the Central Express area on the first floor and tweaking loan rules so that more new titles are available for borrowers.

  • Refreshing the book and federal documents collections by withdrawing materials clearly past their prime and moving some of the documents into the book collection. We hope this will make the documents collection more usable.

  • Now, which would you rather do: make a resolution or set a goal?