Archive for August, 2011

Edinburgh International Festival

Summer is not quite over yet.  If you are still up for some traveling, the world-class Edinburgh International Festival may be worth consideration.The Edinburgh International Festival takes place in the city of EdinburghScotland every year and lasts over three weeks from around the middle of August.  It is a festival of performing arts.  They invite top artists in classical music, theater, opera or dance from around the world to showcase their talents. 
This year’s theme, “To the Far West,” features cultural performances by artists from Asia, such as China, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.  Its goal is to show the diverse cultures of the Orient.For more information, visit



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The Traveling Vietnam Memorial includes 58.129 names of fallen and missing servicemen and women. The frames on the ground contain names added to the Wall in Washington, DC.

One day soon I will visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I had a preview of this trip last week, when DeVry University in Fremont hosted “Bringing Home the Wall” August 10-13.  The traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is smaller than the one in Washington and shows more than 58,000 names of servicemen and women who died or are missing in action from the Vietnam War. This replica evokes emotions that I imagine will only be more pronounced when one is seeing and touching the actual memorial.

An image of "The Three Soldiers" is incorporated in the replica Wall.

The Wall is one of three elements that make up the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  The first part of the memorial to be erected, the Wall was dedicated November 13, 1982 and today bears 58,226 names.  Maya Ying Lin, a 21-year-old senior Yale student from Athens, Ohio, designed the Wall.  Following a debate on whether the Wall appropriately honored Vietnam War veterans, a sculpture designed by Frederick Hart was dedicated on Veterans Day 1984 and placed near the Wall.  The statue, a grouping of three men carrying infantry weapons, has been called both The Three Soldiers and The Three Servicemen. The men are wearing Vietnam War era uniforms and could be from any branch of the U.S. military at that time. Interpretations of the work vary with some saying the troops have the “thousand yard stare” of combat soldiers. Others say the troops are on patrol and begin looking for their own names as they come upon the Memorial.

The Vietnam Women's Memorial is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Vietnam Women’s Memorial rounds out the memorial. Designed by Glenna Goodacre, the statue of three women, one of whom is tending to a wounded serviceman, honors all women who served in Vietnam. The Women’s Memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day 1993.  Of her sculpture, Goodacre has said:  “The photos from Vietnam often included stacks of sandbags. It seemed natural for a nurse – in a moment of crisis – to be supported by sandbags as she serves as the life support for a wounded soldier lying across her lap. The standing woman looks up, in search of a med-i-vac helicopter or, perhaps, in search of help from God.  The kneeling figure has been called ‘the heart and soul’ of the piece because so many vets see themselves in her. She stares at any empty helmet, her posture reflecting her despair, frustrations, and all the horrors of war. ”

The traveling Vietnam Memorial that was in Fremont incorporated an image of The Three Soldiers in the Wall, but I did not see the Vietnam Women’s Memorial represented.

For the missing in action, a prepared dinner table awaits at the Fremont installation.

A tribute to California's Fallen Heroes in the Afghanistan-Iraq war accompanies the traveling Vietnam Memorial in Fremont.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commemorative Plaque, also known as the In Memory Plaque, was dedicated in November 2004.  The simple plaque of granite stone in the northeast corner of the Three Servicemen Statue Plaza is intended to honor Vietnam veterans who died after service in Vietnam, but as a direct result of that service, and whose names are not eligible for placement on the Memorial because of Department of Defense policies. The inscription reads: “In memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”

One day soon I will be in Washington, D.C., to pay my respects at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Then I can cross that one off my “bucket list”.  In the meantime, I can read up on the Vietnam War.

(Text adapted from http://www.vvmf.org, http://bit.ly/qyo9r9.)

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Lists are fun to read and to check. Here’s a good one for sci-fi and fantasy lovers: “Your picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books,” courtesy of National Public Radio. I was pleased to see that one of my all time favorites was number #1. No surprise — it was the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Although I’ve been reading sci-fi since high school, I have also discovered new titles to explore.  For many titles, excerpts are included.

Does the Fremont Main Library have copies of these gems? I checked the first 10 titles and we have copies  in the system.

Happy reading!

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science and inventions

When I worked part-time,  I tried to time my car trips so I could listen to Science Friday. I don’t get to listen to it as often anymore – in fact, I have to go to the website to listen to what I  have  missed. So much is going on in the world, we haven’t found everything yet. Or invented everything. watch what the teens did .

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Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run on this day, August 11th, in 1929. He was the first baseball player to do so. Since that day 24 other players have reached 500 homers too. See who else is in the 500 Home Run club here. Babe Ruth has long been regarded as one of baseball’s heroes. His career homerun record of 714 at his retirement in 1935 would stand for almost 40 years before being bested by Hank Aaron in 1974. If you are interested in Ruth’s baseball statistics look here. Check out what the library has to offer on Babe Ruth here. Be sure to watch the old footage of the Bambino in action below. 

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Looking at Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor

Consciously emulating Nature’s genius means viewing and valuing the natural world differently. In biomimicry, we look at Nature as model, mentor, and measure.
Model:  Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then emulates these forms, processes, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – sustainably.
Mentor:  Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.
Measure:  Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, Nature has learned what works and what lasts. (excerpt from www.asknature.org )

If you find the above topic interesting  you might enjoy titles on the following areas:

Human ecology — Philosophy


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Do you enjoy playing with babies?  Do you want to  introduce them to the library world by having fun together singing, reading and do some body movement? 

We are recruiting more volunteers to expand our very popular storytimes for the very young.  If you are interested in learning how to lead storytimes for babies and their mothers, please contact the Children’s Desk at (510)745-1421 during the library open hours or you can send an email to jtsou@aclibrary.org.  These storytime for babies will be running once a week for about 40 minutes each time in every other month.

The upcoming training sessions are scheduled  on two consecutive Tuesdays, 8/16 and 8/23, 2 - 4 p.m.

Come and give it a try.  Believe me, it’s rewarding to see the smiles on the babies’ faces.

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Today is Friendship Day!

The United States Congress proclaimed the first Sunday in August to be Friendship Day back in 1935.  This year, Friendship Day (or Dia del Amigo in Spanish) falls on Sunday, August 7.  “Friendship” is a popular theme in childrens’ books.   The United Nations named Winnie the Pooh the world’s Ambassador of Friendship in 1997.

So what would you like to do on Friendship Day? Hang out with your Best Friend? Call a friend you haven’t talked to for a while? Make a craft for a friend?  Read a book with a friendship theme? The possibilities are endless!

Some books with a friendship theme:

Wanted:  Best Friend, by  A.M. Monson ;  Brothers, by Yin;  Best Friends for Frances, by Russell Hoban;  Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel;  Alien and Possum: Friends no Matter What, by Tony Johnston;  Cork & Fuzz:  Short and Tall, by Dori Chaconas;  Andy and Tamika, by David A. AdlerDrita my Homegirl, by Jenny Lombard;  Lowji Discovers America, by Candace Fleming; The Cay, by Theodore Taylor;  The Clockwork Three, by Matthew Kirby; Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick .

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3 Panel Review

I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but sometimes I don’t feel like there is enough time in the day to sit and read, let alone time to go through reviews to choose a good book.  Thank goodness for Lisa Brown’s Three Panel Book Reviews that come out in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sundays.  I not only get a little laugh but they help me decide if I want to pick up the book and start reading.   Well, okay mostly I get a little laugh.  If you haven’t seen Lisa’s Three Panel Book Reviews, have a look at a couple below . 


 To see more, head to Lisa’s website or the San Francisco Chronicle archives.  You may also want to head to the library to check out a few of Lisa’s books.  And, oh yes, if you really are interested in finding book reviews,  don’t rely solely on the Three Panel Reviews, instead head to the Alameda County Library’s Reading Corner :)

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eBooks and the Elephant

Blind men and an elephant

Image via Wikipedia

The Blind Men and the Elephant –  John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -”Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong! 

From Linton, William James, (1878) Poetry of America: Selections from one hundred American poets from 1776 to 1876

Change is a constant at aclibrary.org.  Keeping up with the new choices and the new interface for online resources is a challenge. There is a lot going on and it is difficult to see the whole picture,

Please bear with us as we go though some growing pains with the new roll-outs and know that we are learning with you. If you get stuck along the way please let us know.

Today I would like to introduce you to one of our new eBook collections, EBSCOhost eBooks. In the not-too-distant future I’ll return to discuss other eBook options and eAudiobooks.


EBSCO Publishing recently purchased NetLibrary.  If you used to use NetLibrary to read eBooks, you will now use the EBSCOHost interface. Look for the red tab at the top of the page currently labeled EBSCO/NetLibrary.

(If you are looking for what used to be NetLibrary eAudiobooks, go to OneClick.)

           What is available in the EBSCOHost eBook collection?

  • Over 8,000 eBooks.
  • 7,537 of these can be downloaded to read offline or on a portable device.
  • Mostly Non-Fiction for children, teens and adults.
  • Fiction, Memoir and Biography comprise a small proportion of the collection.
  • CliffNotes
  • Business & Economics is the largest subject category.

 How to  get started:

  • Start on the library’s homepage and select the link for eBooks & eAudiobooks. This appears on the lower right side of the page under Using Your Library
  • Soon there will be links from the catalog to these books, but these titles have not been added yet.
  • Select EBSCOHost – there is link to this under Ebooks at ACL and under the EBSCO/NetLibrary tab.
  • Enter your library card number when prompted. When you select EBSCOHost (and other subscription databases via our website) you need to enter your library card number. The terminology varies from vendor to vendor. EBSCO asks for your Patron ID, other sites may ask for Barcode, Authentication, or Library Card Number.
  • Select eBook Collection. This is currently the first option on the list of EBSCO resources.
  • Click on the eBooks link. When the new page loads, look for the eBooks link which appears at the top left of the page in the purple tool bar. This link opens up the main page for locating eBooks.

Create an Account:

  • Select the Sign In link in the purple tool bar. The first time you go here you will Create a New “My EBSCOHost” Account.
  • Once you have an account you can download books, place holds, save your search history and more.

How to search:

 Download an EBook:

  • Downloading Instructions

  • You will need Adobe Digital Editions 1.7.1 or higher for offline viewing.
  • You can read the eBook on a portable device including a Sony Reader.
  • See Adobe Digital Editions Help for information on using the Sony Reader with Digital Editions.
  • “There’s an app for that.” iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will want to download the EBSCO app

I love elephants, don’t you?

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