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drinkThough I’m fascinated by all things scientific now, as a child I was intimidated by the numbers and technicalities of science, and stayed that way well into young adulthood. My electrochemical engineer husband now has to bear the brunt of my trying to play catch-up with basic scientific concepts. I constantly bombard him with questions that fourth-graders have mastered: “So, wait, when you take a cold drink out of the fridge and it starts to sweat, that moisture is coming from the air because the water vapor in the warm air is turning back into liquid water when it hits the cold glass?!”  Ergo, I make heavy use of the library’s children’s non-fiction section any time I want to brush up on (or start from scratch about) a topic, whether I need a refresher on how our government is structured or an overview of climate change.

You can never have too many weapons in your knowledge arsenal, so when I stumbled across Wonderopolis recently, I was intrigued. A project of the National Center for Family Literacy, Wonderopolis is a fun and easy-to-navigate treasure trove of learning resources designed for children, parents, and educators of all stripes.

CastleI immediately signed up to receive its Wonder of the Day via email. The next day’s Wonder happened to be #931:  Where is the Biggest Castle in the World? The content included an article and video explaining the answer (Prague), sections including Try it Out (comprising activities like how to build your own sand castle based on a “Physics of Sand Castles” article written by NASA); Still Wondering? (with a link to a nearly two-hour film on castles and their historical significance hosted on the Kennedy Center’s website); and Wonder Words (with hyperlinked tags for further discovery within the Wonderopolis database). Teachers and parents will appreciate the ability to find a Wonder by correlation to Common Core State Standards. Kids can even submit their own Wonder for consideration.

It’s so easy to fall into a rut: doing the same things, talking to the same people, ingesting the same news sources, even forgetting to wonder about anything new. So do yourself a favor, and either sign up for a Wonder to be delivered to your inbox daily, or simply remember that when those little questions pop into your head (Why do zebras have stripes?) you could Google them, but the more enriching option, especially for kids, may be to search them in Wonderopolis.

Happy wondering!



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Women’s History Month

Womens-history-month-250March is Women’s History Month. The Sunnyvale Public Library joins other libraries in paying tribute to women. Our collection contains quite a few books to satisfy your curiosity about this topic. Perhaps the following will be your next read:

Women’s world : a timeline of women in history / Irene Franck & David Brownstone

100 most important100 most important women of the 20th century / [author Kevin Markey ; project editor Lorraine Glennon.]


The 100 most influential The 100 most influential women of all time : a ranking past and present / Deborah G. Felder





Herstory : women who changed the world / edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn ; introduction by Gloria Steinem



The power of styleThe power of style : the women who defined the art of living well / by Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins



Women's firstsWomen’s firsts / Caroline Zilboorg, editor ; Susan B. Gall, managing editor ; foreword by Christine Todd Whitman



Well-behaved womenWell-behaved women seldom make history / Laurel Thatcher Ulrich




33 things33 things every girl should know about women’s history : from suffragettes to skirt lengths to the E.R.A. / edited by Tonya Bolden



A few good womenA few good women : America’s military women from World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan / Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee



Women from the ankle downWomen from the ankle down : the story of shoes and how they define us / Rachelle Bergstein




From out of the shadowsFrom out of the shadows : Mexican women in twentieth-century America / Vicki L. RuizWomens-History-Month2.svg_.hi_ (1)




The forgotten Desert MothersThe forgotten Desert Mothers : sayings, lives, and stories of early Christian women / Laura Swan




For information at a national level, please visit the Women’s History Month website.

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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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It’s that time of year when many of us tend to reflect on all of the good in our lives now and in the past year and hopefully reach out to those who need a little extra help. Often disasters like Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina, while devastating to those impacted, prompt us to remember how fortunate we are.

Now is not the only time to reflect on the positives. This is something you can do year-round. There’s even an iPhone/iPad app called “Gratitude Journal” (not a paid advertisement – just something I found while looking around) that helps you remember to write about 5 good things that you’re happy about each day. According to their website, writing down positive things each day for a month can help change your overall outlook for the better. Obviously you don’t need a fancy app to do this. Any piece of paper or notebook will do.

We also have a collection of Library resources about gratitude.

Want to do something this holiday season to help others who may not be as fortunate? Check out these online resources to get started:

HandsOn Bay Area – According to their website, HandsOn Bay Area “strengthens communities through volunteer action and leadership development.” Try searching for opportunities and see what you find.

Network for Good – Hurricane Sandy Relief – We can still help even though we live on the opposite coast.

San Francisco Bay Area Volunteer Information Center – A local organization that provides a listing of various volunteer opportunities in our area. You can search by interest or browse by area.

VolunteerMatch – Great site that helps match your strengths to an organization in your area that needs your help as a volunteer. Type in your location and some keywords, and click search. You can narrow your search by selecting more specific parameters on the left.

As always, please ask your Sunnyvale librarians for help using these or other resources to help you find volunteer opportunities or express your gratitude.

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What does Sunnyvale Library and Jeopardy have in common?

As a regular Jeopardy watcher, I was intrigued by a recent article in the August 2012 Library Journal titled “Research in Jeopardy”.  The article is a brief interview with Billy Wise, the show’s editorial director. Over his twenty year span on Jeopardy, Wise has written 25,000 clues. As a librarian, I watch in awe how so many questions on various subjects are represented each night. I couldn’t imagine doing all that research so I was glad to read that a team of eight writers and six researchers work together to create clues, cite their sources and fact check them.

How do they come up with all that material you might ask, well, Jeopardy has their own 10,000 volume library, some dating back to the beginning of the show in 1964. In addition to their print resources, on-line subscription resources are also used. Just like students, teachers and librarians, clue writers and researchers know that all print and online resources are not created equally so they take their sources very seriously as do we.

Rest assured your Sunnyvale Library has a plethora of reliable print and on-line resources for all your back to school needs. Access to our vast online resources can be found on our Articles and Information page. Here you will find everything from student resources (elementary through college), health and wellness articles, grant information via the Foundation Center, online “Consumer Reports”, language learning with Mango Languages, genealogy research with Ancestry, and stock and business resources to name several. All this and so much more, all free with your Sunnyvale Library card.

One database that I am excited about is the California Digital Textbook Initiative, where digital editions of math, science and history high school textbooks are available free online. Not all text books are represented so check with your child or their teacher for the appropriate text book for their curriculum. The California Digital Textbook Initiative is a great resource to gain other perspectives from text books by exploring how another author explains a process or a formula.

As we welcome our community back to school we are adding new books and resources every day to help you become lifelong learners by connecting you to the information you need. It’s our pleasure to have reliable resources and a team of Librarians ready to help you.

For more information on Jeopardy check out these items or read the Library Journal article here.

Jeopardy! : a revealing look inside TV’s top quiz show, contestants and question, selection process unveiled by Harry Eisenberg






Final Jeopardy : man vs. machine and the quest to know everything by Stephen Baker




Prisoner of Trebekistan : a decade in Jeopardy! By Bob Harris

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