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From the Director
A change in hours, but no change to our commitment to service


Photo by Kevin Andrew Jones

The Library's final budget was approved late last month,and this month new hours of service will roll out at all 28 of our library branches. With a 10% reduction in overall funding, we have had to reduce expenses across the board by an equal amount. These reductions include holding approximately 30 staff positions vacant and eliminating funding for substitutes who have traditionally provided coverage for regular staff vacations and illnesses. With these limitations in mind, we have had to carefully review service and staffing models to determine the realistic number of hours each branch could be open. A variety of factors were taken into account when preparing the revised schedules, including usage patterns, community needs and information gleaned from our community forums held in July.


The new hours of service provide a five-day per week schedule in 26 of 28 locations, with most branches closed on Sundays and Mondays. The new schedule provides Saturday service and extends Friday hours to 6 p.m. in all locations. The new schedule also provides services until 8 p.m. at least one evening per week in most locations. Carmichael and Central Libraries will remain open on Sundays from 12 noon to 5 p.m., and the library's Telephone Information Service (TELIS) will continue to be available on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (916-264-2920). These changes reflect a system-wide reduction of 43.5 hours per week, the equivalent of closing one medium-sized branch, and will help us manage our funding gap.


As always, the library's website ( offers 24/7 access to many library services, including book renewals, payment of fines, and catalog search and request. Online databases also provide access to full text newspaper and magazine articles, homework helps for students, genealogical research, auto repair, language instruction, job skill development, and music, eBook and audio book downloads.


We realize that library services are more crucial now than they have ever been, and Sacramento Public Library's primary commitment is to keep our branch locations open and available to the public. I am pleased that library staff have stepped up to the challenge to continue to offer the services, materials and programs that get children ready for school, help students learn, assist job seekers, and enrich our communities.


We will be monitoring usage patterns over the next six months to evaluate the schedules in each location, and make adjustments as needed. Please let us know your thoughts about the new service schedule. You can send feedback to, or submit a comment in writing by completing a comment card available at branch service desks, or by letter addressed to Sacramento Public Library, ATTN:  Director, 828 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.


We are all looking forward to better days ahead. In the meantime, I encourage you to consider becoming a member of the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library or giving a gift to the Sacramento Public Library Foundation. These support organizations help us every day to provide the great programs and materials that make Sacramento Public Library a great place to learn, grow and be delighted.


Rivkah K. Sass
Library Director
News From the Library

Twain and Tom continue to dazzle community readers through The Big Read/One Book Sacramento project. 


Community residents are celebrating the spirit of the classic Americana character Tom Sawyer and his literary creator Mark Twain by participating in the Sacramento Public Library's The Big Read/One Book Sacramento project. 

 Big Read

Each fall for the last seven years, Sacramento Public Library has invited the entire community to read a great book together and then discuss it with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.  We've also offered numerous library programs related to the books' varied themes. 


This year, we are especially pleased to announce that Mark Twain's classic book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is our Big Read/One Book selection.  This title seemed especially appropriate given that Twain's life and his story's characters are intertwined with Sacramento and California's Gold Country.


"We are especially pleased to have chosen Mark Twain's classic book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  This book is much more than the exploits of a big readyoung boy in a small Mississippi River town.  The classic story is about integrity, the value of a human being, and how our choices, especially as young people, make long-term differences in our lives," said Rivkah K. Sass, Sacramento Public Library director.  "We're hoping residents of all ages will either discover the book for the first time, or re-discover this classic story."


The library is presenting 75 programs through late October that celebrate Twain and Tom.  A complete listing is on our library web site.  We hope you will take advantage of the wide array of offerings for kids, adults, teens and families.


The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. 

Mark Twain scholar to appear at Oct. 19 Central Library program


Mark Twain is well-known for his insightful humor with such witticisms as: "Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to." and "Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."


Professor Gregg Camfield, of the University of California at Merced's School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, will discuss the life of Mark Twain as one of America's most beloved humorists on Wednesday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library.


Camfield has published widely on American literature and culture -- from 18th century poets to 21st century animated television.   His work has primarily focused on the ethical and esthetic debates of the 19th century, including Twain's works.

Hear The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


The Sacramento Bee has invited local celebrities and elected officials to eachtom sawyer read one of the 36 chapters from the great American novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The book chapters were recorded at the Access Sacramento studios and can be heard online at


"The recordings will publicize the importance of reading for children and families and introduce the wonders of boyhood on the Mississippi from one of our country's foremost authors and local legend, Mark Twain," said Pam Dinsmore, The Sacramento Bee's community affairs director.

Book Club in a Box now available


Start your own Tom Sawyer book discussion group or choose from other book titles with the Sacramento Public Library's Book Club in a Box. Each box contains 15 copies of a book, discussion questions and discussion leadership tips - everything you need to run your own book club!


You may request a Book Club in a Box through the library catalog or by calling (916) 264-2920.

Special October 14 family dinner celebrates The Big Read/One Book Sacramento  


Join the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library at the first annual One Book Sacramento Dinner on Friday, October 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Elk's Lodge #6, 6446 Riverside Boulevard, Sacramento. The evening's theme of interactive family fun is An Adventure with Tom Sawyer, which features entertainment, games, and prizes.


Bring the kids--their Polliwog Pizza meals will be delivered by costumed frogs! Everyone is welcome to dress as a character from any book of the late-1800s when The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written.


Tickets are $25 for each adult and $10 per child. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Kathi Windheim at (916) 392-0101 or at

Haunted Stacks returns to the Central Library


The dead will come to life for the Central Library's second annual Haunted Stacks program on Friday, October 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy a big screen showing of Tim Burton's comedy-horror film, Beetlejuice (rated PG-13), and an after-hours tour of the Sacramento Room.


In addition to walking through a darkened and Halloween-decorated Sacramento Room, the special tour will feature biographic tales from six historic (dead) Sacramentans, including first librarian of the Sacramento Free Public Library, Caroline G. Hancock, who will tell attendees about the library in 1879.  Most of the featured re-enactors died tragic deaths, such as "Lucky" Bill Thorington, a Sacramento shell-gamer who was eventually hanged for cattle rustling in Nevada.

Homework Coach program launched at two Sacramento Public Library locations


The Sacramento Public Library is introducing a Homework Coach program at its Martin Luther King, Jr. and Colonial Heights branches whereby volunteers have been trained to assist students in first through sixth grades with their homework assignments in specially designated "Homework Zones." 


Each volunteer coach involved in the program has been screened and received training on the library's resources for students. Trained homework coaches are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. to provide guidance with math, science, social studies, English, and writing.  


Library staff and homework coaches can also show students and parents how to use the library's online homework service, Homework Help Now!, which instantly connects students (third grade and up) with expert tutors who can help tackle any homework problem, assist with learning academic skills, or give advice on writing a term paper.  Students can access this online service daily between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m.  Spanish-speaking tutors offer the same online assistance on all Homework Help Now! subjects with the same hours of availability.

75 years of McKinley Library memories celebrated


The Friends of McKinley Library will throw a community party Sunday, October 23 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of McKinley Library and Clunie Community Center.


The festivities will feature the Sacramento Plein-Air Paint-Out from 8 a.m. to 12 noon with paintings by more than 20 artists on display and offered for purchase; a 1 p.m. presentation of the history of East and Midtown Sacramento, McKinley Park, Clunie Community Center and McKinley Library by historians and authors Bill Mahon, James Scott and Tom Tolley; old-fashioned children's activities and board games from the 1930s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Penny the Clown and Big Band Era dance music by the SwingMasters from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and throughout the day the Sacramento Art Deco Society members will be attired in period costumes. Vintage cars from the 1930s will be on display in front of the library and free cupcakes and old-fashioned root beer floats will be available.


"This is a wonderful opportunity for the history buff, or just the curious, to learn more about the neighborhood," said McKinley Library Branch Supervisor Shari Nichelini.

Colonial Heights Library has new look


Colonial Heights ReopeningNearly 1,500 people walked through the doors of Colonial Heights Library on Saturday, September 24 for its grand reopening celebration. The Stockton Boulevard library branch underwent a major two-month interior transformation with new paint, carpet and furniture. The "new look" includes an open floor plan, a one-desk model, comfortable lounge seating, additional study tables with electrical outlets for computer laptop users, and three study rooms.


The West Campus Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard Colonial Heights Remodelkicked-off the festivities with the Star Spangled Banner, after which a ribbon was cut and an eager crowd surged in for a peek at the new library surroundings.


"The public adores our new look. One teen remarked how much he loved the branch's new expanded teen area, pointing out how strange it was that it was the quietest area in the library," commented Branch Supervisor Jami Trawick.

Get published! with Espresso Book Machine


Welcome to the brand new I Street: A Community Press & Writing Center! Thanks to a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Espresso Book MachineServices and the California State Library, Sacramento Public Library is creating the first Sacramento-area community based publishing center!


What does that mean? It means that we will inspire you to write, help you to write and help you to produce your very own book. We will have writing and publishing classes taught by professionals and a variety of topics will be covered, from cookbook writing to poetry to graphic novels.I Street


And once you've written the Great American Novel, we can print it for you on our brand new Espresso Book Machine. An amazing new piece of technology, the Espresso Book Machine can take your words, bind them together and produce a beautiful paperback book! You can print five copies or 500 copies, it's your choice!


I Street will debut at the end of November at the Central Library. For the most updated information about pricing and classes, visit

National Coming-Out Day observed with Punk Rock aerobics fun


In celebration of National Coming-Out Day, the Sacramento Public Library will present a special two-part adult program on Wednesday, October 12 at the South Natomas branch.


A Sacramento PFLAG chapter representative will discuss the significance of the observance at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a special fabulous GLBT version of Punk Rock Aerobics with a dance party soundtrack. All adults are welcome to attend, no matter their orientation.


Deposit Stations: Libraries on the Frontier


Editor's note: The Sacramento Public Library is pleased to regularly feature a snapshot of its 154-year history. To learn more about the library and the greater Sacramento region's history, please visit the Sacramento Room archives at the Central Library.


In 1908, the Sacramento City Library system, under the leadership of Sacramento City Librarian Lauren W. Ripley, became the first city library in California to extend service to the entire county. Eager to get going, the library didn't wait for a law providing county service, but entered into a compact with the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to open equal borrowing privileges to county residents for $3,500.


The City Library extended its service geographically to rural residents through the establishment of small deposit stations (also called contract stations). These library outposts were run by "custodians" and set up at accessible locations; many opened in post offices, fire houses, homes, general stores and gas stations.


An interested county resident or community could apply to host a deposit station if they agreed to provide free and open library service at a convenient location. The City Library would start a station with a core collection of 50 to 100 books, which grew as patrons requested books from the Central Library. Stations would eventually become county branches, be subsumed by a neighboring branch; or, if circulation fell below 2,000 per year, lose their status.   Deposit stations spread Lulu Flemingthroughout the county. At the height of their service in 1928, the Sacramento city and county libraries had a combined 121 points of distribution in Sacramento County, including branches, deposit stations and contracted school libraries.


In some cases, stations persisted for decades at the same location thanks to the dedication of the custodians who hosted them. The last two contract stations of the Sacramento Public Library were the Fruitridge station, which was in Audrey Bryant's converted double-car garage for over 30 years (1949-1980), and the Wilton station, which Lulu Fleming operated from her enclosed front porch from 1944 to 1978.

From the Foundation  

One of the most important functions of a foundation is to build endowments that will provide continued support. Currently, we have two endowments: The Friends and Foundation Books and Materials Endowment and the Sacramento Room Endowment. Despite the downturn in the economy, these endowments have grown in total from $1 million to $3.5 million because of a few generous bequests and ongoing professional financial management.


Endowments can help provide support to institutions during the lean budgetary years we are experiencing. Support for library materials creates more opportunities to integrate the many technological delivery systems we can now use to access books and materials. Greater support would provide a more current collection of materials (our children's collections are much older than the people we want to serve). Finally, growing support would allow all of us today to secure our libraries for tomorrow.


In the early 1900s, Andrew Carnegie secured the free public library by building buildings. Let's do our part and secure the future of our stories and information at our library!


The Library Foundation is continuing to host a series of estate planning workshops presented by Generations, Inc. We learned recently that only eight percent of estate plans in our area include charitable gifts. Leaving something for an endowment is a permanent legacy for the community in which you have lived. Check out this newsletter to find out when and where the remaining workshops will be held. Whether you are considering leaving a legacy to the library or just need help in thinking about your estate plan, you will find the workshop enlightening.


Nancy Lawrence,

Sacramento Public Library Foundation Board president

From the Friends   

Friends Book Sales

Find great bargains at the following Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Friendsand branch Friends' book sales:

The Friends of the Sacramento Public Library's Book Den store, selling gently used and collectible books, is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 8250 Belvedere Avenue, Suite E, Sacramento (off Power Inn Road and one block south of 14th Avenue). For more information, telephone (916) 731-8493.

The Book Den has been enjoying its expanded warehouse space.  Now all we need are more books to sell and shelves to put them on.  Your book donations help pay for the library's Summer Reading Program and so many other wonderful library programs and activities.  If you have any to donate, please call The Book Den at (916) 731-8493.

By becoming a Friends of the Sacramento Public Library member, you are invited to special preview book sales at the Warehouse, located behind the Book Den store.  The bi-monthly Friends' Warehouse book sales offer more than 75,000 books, all priced $2 and under.

Upcoming Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Warehouse Book Sales: 

  • Saturday, October 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (open to the public).
  • Saturday, December 3, 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Friends members only); and 12 noon to 4 p.m. (open to the public).
  • Saturday, December 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (open to the public).

Other Friends book sale dates include:

  • North Highlands-Antelope Library: Friday, October 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Valley Hi-North Laguna Library: Friday, October 21, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Arden-Dimick Library: Saturday, November 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Sylvan Oaks Library: Saturday, December 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 



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In This Issue
Big Read/One Book Sacramento
Elected Officials Read Tom Sawyer
Book Club in a Box
New Look at Colonial Heights
Espresso Book Machine
National Coming-Out Day: Punk Rock Aerobics
From the Foundation
From the Friends
Featured Article
Quick Links

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Featured Events

For a list of all events at your local library branch, visit our Events Calendar or call (916) 264-2920



Award-winning author/illustrator Chris Gall, featuring his new book, Substitute Creacher.


Rancho Cordova Library

Wednesday, October 26

3:30 p.m.


Arden-Dimick Library Wednesday, October 26

6:30 p.m.


*   *   *


Learn about bats with Northern California Bats.


South Natomas Library

Saturday, October 29

3 p.m.


*   *   *


Teddy Bear Tea Party (registration is required)


Fair Oaks Library

Saturday, November 5

10 a.m.


*   *   *


Teen Spanish Conversations Club


Southgate Library

Tuesday, November 8

4 p.m.


*   *   *


Meet Local Authors


Elk Grove Library

Saturday, November 12

1 p.m. 


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Create African shekeres percussive instruments with artist Daphne Burgess.


Valley Hi-North Laguna Library

Saturday, November 12

2 p.m.

Sacramento Public Library
828 I Street
Sacramento, CA  95814