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Super Bowl or Super Brawl At Your Library

The Super Bowl is done, and like all 49ers fans, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. So for now, let’s do like all the other teams that didn’t even make the game and talk about the commercials.

Between getting choked up by a Clydesdale and grossed out by GoDaddy, the best ad for $4 million of not-our-money was the only one that took place in a library (naturally). Oreo’s spot begins with two men arguing, quietly, over which is better: an Oreo’s creme filling inside or its chocolatey cookie outside. Soon everyone in the library gets involved, quietly, in an all-out brawl for sandwich supremacy. Eventually, fire and police crews respond, quietly, to quell the chaos. The ad is laugh-out-loud amusing, but it also perpetuates two (ok, one) stereotypes about libraries we’d like to dispel.

Stereotype #1: Quiet study is the only activity that happens in the library.

First, you should know that the library can still be a place for quiet reading and reflection. We have designated areas of the library expressly for this purpose. However, as times and the needs of our community change, so does the library. Public libraries in general are evolving from silent crypts of knowledge to vibrant, lively, and yes, at times loud, centers for exploration and collaboration. Sunnyvale Library is no exception. Last week on this blog, Becky wrote about some of the unexpected things that librarians do instead of shushing people all day. While we do and always will promote reading and study here, one of our goals at the library is to create programs that help people lead active, enriched lives, both physically and mentally. Take a look at our recent and upcoming events to see that we are working hard to offer something for you to get up, get engaged, and doing something on your own or with others. We’ve had wonderful success with our recent Fresh Start Series, as hundreds of you have come out to learn about organization, investing, EBay, and more. There are programs still to come on healthy food and estate planning in this series. Also still to come this month, you can visit the library to learn about getting out in your garden to grow blueberries, raise money for your organization, pick up the basics of computers or ebooks, or get crafty and make a valentine for your special someone. We recently got you listening to chamber music and dancing to Bollywood beats, and you still have time to tap your toes when we continue our Sunday Music Series with barbershop harmonies later this month. And of course we have some great literature programs planned as well, including our monthly book group which will kick off Silicon Valley Reads month with a discussion of The Long Walk: The Story of War and the Life That Follows by Brian Castner (who will speak here at Sunnyvale Library on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m.).

Stereotype #2: Oreos are great library eats.

While we can all appreciate the pick-me-up that a sweet snack provides during a long session of reading or studying, eating inside the library is problematic for several reasons. Crumbs on the floor, especially under tables and next to bookshelves where it is harder to clean, eventually attract vermin and other nasties. It’s gross and no joke. Food debris and beverage spills on books and other materials can cause permanent damage, especially if not reported immediately (usually out of embarassment). Have you ever unluckily picked up a book or DVD that had obviously been through a soda spill? Double gross. Eating, especially in a quiet area, is often disruptive to others. Very few of us are true eating ninjas, stealthy and silent. Some of us are unabashed lip-smackers, and well, we just won’t go there. Finally, take another look at the mess that can happen when Oreos and libraries mix:

So get up, and get engaged here at your library! But leave your Oreos outside or else they might disappear, because for the record, this librarian is most definitely on Team Creme.

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Open 24 Hours

Open 24 HoursThe holidays are upon us. This means that the physical Library will be closed for some of the holidays (open all surrounding days):

Christmas – closed December 24 and 25
New Year’s – closed December 31 and January 1

The good news is that the virtual Sunnyvale Public Library is open even when the physical Library is closed! All you need is your valid Sunnyvale Public Library card. And if you don’t have one already, you can apply for a new library card online for free (you’ll still need to visit the Library with your ID or a piece of mail with your name and current address to receive your card). Here are lots of things you can do with your library card while sipping eggnog at home in your PJs:

Of course, all of these online resources are available when we’re open, too. Just ask a Librarian for help if you’d like to learn how to use anything. Happy holidays!

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New Readers in the eReader Petting Zoo

Across from the Information and Circulation desk, you will find the eReader Petting Zoo, where you can touch and test the devices available on the market. We have updated and added to the readers, so that now we have the following six:


Kindle Paperwhite    New!




Kindle Keyboard




Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight    New!




Nook Simple Touch



Sony Reader WiFi





Kobo Mini



The library also has books about how to use some of the eReaders above. If you search for the terms “kindle” or “nook” in the catalog, you will find several books about how to use the devices.

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Oh, how I love the nonfiction section!  I can figure out if Bigfoot really exists.  I can learn how to make giant bubbles.  I can discover what it was like to live in a real castle during the Middle Ages.  As the selector for children’s non-fiction materials, I get to shop every month for the most interesting, educational, and entertaining titles out there.  My storytimes often include a nod to nonfiction as a kind of sales pitch for the collection.  Just last night we used More Life-size Zoo to determine if a certain puppet was a leopard or a cheetah.  (Hint:  one of these cats has a pink nose, the other a black nose.)  So imagine my delight when we added a brand new way to introduce kids to the joys of nonfiction.  Welcome, BookFlix!

Scholastic’s BookFlix is an interactive literary resource available through our library’s home page.  BookFlix pairs classic video storybooks with nonfiction e-books and includes links to puzzles, games, author facts, and external sites (e.g.,, for more fun and exploration.  BookFlix is English/Spanish bilingual and includes an Educators’ Resource section with ideas for classroom activities and at-home learning.

Hundreds of book pairings are available in a broad range of themes including animals, space, adventure, and the ABC’s.  Is there a dinosaur fan in the house?  Try Peter McCarthy’s T is for Terrible, paired with Susan Gray’s early reader Dinosaur Teeth.  Can’t get enough of Curious George?  Bookflix shows just how mischievous real monkeys can be by matching H.A. Rey’s Curious George Rides a Bike with Mary Schulte’s Monkeys and Other Mammals.  My favorite duo just might be Simms Taback’s There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and Sharon Gordon’s nonfiction You Are What You Eat.  There’s something for every taste.

Want to learn more?  Stop by the Children’s Desk for an introduction to BookFlix.  Or, you can access BookFlix from home with your library card through the Articles and Information section of the library’s home page.


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Love my new e-reader!

GlowlightI finally made the leap and bought a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight.  I had resisted buying an e-reader for quite some time; after all, I work in a library and have books at my fingertips every day.  But when Barnes & Noble came out with the Glowlight feature, I began to see possibilities.  I was a little concerned about buying books since that is something I rarely do.  So, I justified my first purchase by starting with a relatively hard-to-find book by an older author, Nevil Shute, titled No Highway.  It’s a great book, by the way, especially if you’re the engineering type.  And that’s when I fell in love with my Nook.  I could read it anywhere!  No longer was I bound by having to sit near a light.  I could read out on the patio, camping,  in the car or in bed at night.  No more reading by flashlight as I have been known to do in the past.

As soon as I finish No Highway, I will turn to the Overdrive collection offered by the library.  I’ve already spent time exploring Overdrive since the other librarians and I are asked about it often.  There are long waiting lists for newer titles, but I checked the box labeled “show only available copies” and found many books that I could read right away.  There are a few steps to take to prepare your e-reader to download these books, but once that’s done, sign in and you’re on your way.  The help page on Overdrive is quite good and we have a short video tutorial that is helpful as well.  (Scroll down the “How do I…?” page to find the tutorial.)

Is this the end of the printed book for me?  I don’t think so, at least not yet.  My Nook is great for reading novels, but I’m not so sure how I would like it for books on decorating, cooking, or knitting. Another problem is that some of the major publishers are not giving libraries access to their new titles in digital format.  The American Library Association is quite concerned about this and some libraries, such as Sacramento Public Library have been very  proactive about the situation.  We will be watching  closely to see how it all plays out.

One last thing, if you haven’t taken a look at our e-reader petting zoo and tried out the other e-readers on the market, you should take a minute to do so.  They are all just a little bit different and just as I think the Nook with Glowlight is perfect for me, you will find one that is perfect for you.  And of course, stop by the Info Desk and let us know what you think.


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