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From the Director

Photo by Kevin Andrew Jones


The value of the library in this century


Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter...but I am proud of what I am... I am a librarian. 

~ The Mummy (1999)


Indeed, after more than 30 years in this profession, I AM proud to be a librarian and to be part of the one institution in America that welcomes all regardless of income, creed, status or belief. Being a public librarian has its challenges, but it also has incalculable rewards, most of which revolve around the people who use libraries, our ability to inspire creativity, and most importantly the connection we have with the communities we serve.


National Library Week is April 8 - 14 and this year's theme, You Belong @ Your Library, made me think about library users I've known and their impact on me and my work as a librarian. One of them was a patron from my years as a branch manager at the Timberland Regional Library in Chehalis, Washington. David was an incredibly funny, bright boy who loved the library. I tracked him down and discovered that he is still bright, still inquisitive, and now that he is a father, makes visiting the library a routine with his kids.


David described the value of the library in the 21st Century perfectly: "In my opinion, today's internet exposure is dwarfed by the various things that I was directly exposed to in our library, even considering the internet's infinitely large amount of information.  I think this comes from the physical contact and knowledgeable librarians, which is particularly meaningful to children, vs. the virtual access to so much without guidance."


If you haven't been to one of Sacramento Public Library's 28 locations in awhile, plan a visit during the week of April 8-14, and rediscover why you belong @ your library! 

Rivkah K. Sass
Library Director
News From the Library


Library nominated as a great place to work


Sacramento Public Library is a finalist for a Sacramento Workplace Excellence Leader (SWEL) award that recognizes outstanding Sacramento area organizations for unique and exceptional work place practices. The competition is co-sponsored by the Sacramento Area Human ResourceSWEL Association and The Sacramento Bee. The winners will be announced at an awards banquet on April 18 at the Sacramento Hyatt Regency Hotel. The library is one of two finalists in SWEL's small government category.


"We are very excited the Sacramento Public Library has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the greater Sacramento region," said Rivkah K. Sass, library director.


"As the fourth largest library system in California, our 280 employees at our 28 library locations strive to provide the best service and programs possible during these difficult budget times," she stated.


"We serve more than 4.5 million library visitors and host nearly 5,200 free, high-quality library programs each year for kids, teens, adults and families. It is wonderful to have been nominated for this prestigious award," Sass continued.


Sacramento Public Library celebrates National Library Week with GLBTQIA programming emphasis


Sacramento Public Library will celebrate National Library Week (April 8 - 14) with programs built around the theme You Belong @ your library.  This message of belonging will be underscored by the library's programming efforts, specifically designed to encourage the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and ally (GLBTQIA) community to rediscover (or discover for the first time) all the services, materials and resources available at the library.


Funded through a $3,000 grant sponsored by Scholastic Library Publishing, a division of Scholastic Inc., these programs seek to recognize and celebrate this underserved Sacramento community.

"We wish to reinforce the message that our Sacramento Public Library locations are places of belonging for all members of the community," stated Rivkah K. Sass, library director.


Event titles include Rainbow Family Egg Hunt and GLBT Story Time, GLBTQIA Community Partner Showcase and Brown Bag Lunch; Come Out for Aerobics; It Gets Better Video Filming Drop-In Session; GLBT Movie Night, Cheerleader Costume Contest, and Kinect Gaming; and Same Sex Speed Dating for Book Lovers. Click here to find more details on these National Library Week programs.




Sacramento Public Library celebrates cultural diversity


The Sacramento Public Library invites the community to celebrate Día de los niños/Día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day) with special free programs at its library locations from mid-April through early May.


Observed on April 30 since 1925, the celebration brings attention to the importance and well-being of children.  The programs emphasize the importance of reading for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.


DIA"Since one day isn't enough for all the fun, Sacramento Public Library has scheduled Dia programs at all of our 28 library locations," said Rivkah K. Sass, library director.


A highlight of the Dia celebration events is award-winning children's author and recording artist Jose-Luis Orozco on Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m. in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library.   Orozco will present un grandioso programa o espectaculo - a musical experience filled with fun that will get the entire family to sing, dance, clap and laugh along together.


Visit the library website's Events page to find a list of all Día de los niños programs.



Why Taiwan Matters photo exhibition comes to Central Library


A multi-panel exhibit that explores the vitality and creativity that can be seen in all aspects of modern Taiwan will be on view May 8 - 31 at the Central Library. Displayed photographs will offer a glimpse of Taiwan, from its medical health sector to the ubiquitous convenience stores, from religion to pop music, and from industrial clusters to green technology.


"We are pleased to be hosting this unique and culturally informative traveling exhibit which coincides with May's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the 20th anniversary of the Sacramento Pacific Rim Street Festival on May 20," said Rebecca Higgerson, Central Library manager.


The general public is invited to a free film screening of Taiwan's history and culture in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library on Monday, May 7 at 6 p.m.


The exhibit may be viewed during the Central Library's open hours.



Sacramento TV station partners with library to improve literacy levels


News10 is launching Reading Connects, a major literacy initiative, with the support of the Sacramento Public Library, area schools, business leaders, and volunteers, to help build a stronger community -- one reader at a time. The Sacramento television station, the library, and others are teaming up to improve the literacy rate in our area through the power of television, the web, and social media.


"The startling fact is 74 percent of third graders in Sacramento read below their expected level and will never catch up," said Maria Barrs, News10 president and general manger. "Reading is one of the keys to a successful and productive life. Reading connects us to worlds, families, and communities," Barrs stated.


For more information on Reading Connects and links to libraries, book clubs and other reading and literacy resources go to


Or, click on a title below to view one of News10's Reading Connects PSAs:

Reading Connects



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. 


Lauren W. Ripley: Sacramento's Pioneering Librarian


In 1900, the Sacramento Free Library's Board of Trustees voted in Lauren W. Ripley to take the place of the first City Librarian, Caroline G. Hancock. Mr. Ripley witnessed the rapid transformation of library service over his 21-year tenure, and he kept up with the changes to become a pioneer in the field of public librarianship.


Ripley first went to work for the Sacramento Free Library in 1882 as the Assistant Librarian. He was still a student at Sacramento High School at the time, and when he graduated a year later, he ranked second in his class behind Hiram W. Johnson. He began as City Librarian with one main library located in a two-story Victorian between 7th and 8th streets on I Street, which housed around 30,000 volumes. The library claimed 5,400 borrowers and an annual circulation of about 90,000.


Those statistics would more than triple by his retirement in 1921. In 1908, he made the Sacramento Public Library the first system in California to offer free library service to the entire county. This expansion meant that just prior to the separation of City and County service in 1920, Ripley managed a joint library system with more than 100 points of distribution spread throughout Sacramento County, including 56 community branches and 287 classrooms in 85 schools. He was also at the helm when the impressive new Carnegie Library was built in 1917.


Ripley was widely published, served as President of the Board of Trustees of the California State Library, was active in the National Education Association - Library Department, and served on the faculty of the California State Library School as a lecturer on public library methods.  Susan T. Smith, a graduate of Columbia University, replaced Ripley in 1921 and was the first Sacramento City Librarian to hold a library degree.



Life in 1930s Sacramento explored in Capital Decades programs


The Sacramento Public Library will present its second series of Capital Decades programs this May highlighting Sacramento's culture, music, arts, and fashions of the 1930s.   All events will take place in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library.


Registration is required by telephoning the library at (916) 264-2920. Attendees are encouraged to dress in period attire.


City Life (Tuesday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.):  Introduction to life in 1930s Sacramento including industry and labor, Hoovervilles, recreation and amusements, and schools. Presented by Bill Burg, James Scott, Tom Tolley and Amanda Graham.


Fashions and Styles (Tuesday, May 15, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.): A fashion show featuring eveningwear of the 1930s presented by Sacramento Art Deco Society president Doreen Sinclair.


Motion Pictures (Tuesday, May 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.): Movie expert Matias Bombal will present clips from 1930s films and discuss the development of the Broadway entertainment district in Sacramento.


Jitterbug! (Tuesday, May 29, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.): Dance instruction from Midtown Stomp from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a dance to follow with period music and a silent showing of a classic 1930s dance flick.


Capital Decades: 1930s Exhibition.  In addition to the series of events, there will be special 1930s displays in the Central Library lobby, featuring items from the collections of the Sacramento Room and the Sacramento Art Deco Society through May 2012.



Why can't I download my favorite library books?


You just bought an eReader and are anxious to download your favorite books for free through the Sacramento Public Library's electronic catalogue, which offers thousands of titles for a 21-day borrowing period. Your friends suggested a few "must reads" that include Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson; V for Vengeance, by Sue Grafton; and 11/22/63, by Stephen King.


However, you cannot find these downloadable books and other popular titles on the library's eReader web site. Why aren't there more eBooks? Many publishers will not sell or license e-books to libraries.


Sadly, unlike a regular person, a library cannot pay Amazon or Barnes & Noble for an eBook and then lend it out to people. We can buy a printed book from these companies, place it on the shelf, and lend it out--but digital content is being treated differently by the publishers and the companies who manage digital content licensing.


Think that's wrong? So do we. We very much want to offer these eBooks to patrons; however, the publishers' policies are preventing us from doing so. Please know that Sacramento Public Library is committed to advocating for a change to these restrictive policies.


The following companies currently refuse to sell or license eBooks to libraries: Macmillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group, Brilliance Audio, and Hachette Book Group.


If you would like more information, please visit the Sacramento Public Library's eReader Emergency web site.


From the Foundation  


Literacy is one of California's most pressing issues. Budget cuts, like the most recent elimination of all state literacy funding, for California libraries remain a huge barrier in solving our literacy problems. Sacramento's third grade literacy rates are at an alarming low of 37 percent.


The good news about literacy right now is that Early Childhood Education (ECE) is getting the attention of national and state funders. California has been selected as one of nine states to be awarded a Race to the Top grant, a federal initiative for early childhood education.


The Annie E. Casey Foundation has prioritized The Campaign for Grade Level Reading which in Sacramento is named Sacramento Reads. First 5 Sacramento, our county's early childhood development agency, has weathered recent budget issues and continues to provide a great deal of support to our 0- to 5-year-old-citizens.


Resources from these and other grantors will be allocated to organizations that are creating systemic solutions to providing early childhood education, particularly for the low and middle income communities. As a community learning center, the library can be part of every child's literacy toolkit. The Foundation is working with both Sacramento Reads and First 5 Sacramento as part of our effort to support the Sacramento Public Library's early childhood and summer reading programs.


April Butcher, Executive Director

Sacramento Public Library Foundation


From the Friends   


Be a Friend by Joining the Friends


You can never have too many friends. Have more by joining the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library.


 As a Friend, you will help to:

  • support the library through the sale of donated and discarded books and materials
  • provide support for programming for all ages - children, teens, and adults
  • plan and staff the Friends system book sales
  • advocate for the library with elected officials and within the community
  • and much more! 

As a Friend, you will receive:

  • the satisfaction of helping to support our local libraries
  • discounts at the Friends Book Den and system Friends events
  • early entry to the System Friends quarterly sales
  • the bi-monthly Friends newsletter, which lists System and Branch Friends book sales
  • a membership in your local branch library Friends (in addition to your membership in the System Friends).

To join the Friends, fill out their online application.


Find Bargain Book Sales


Find great bargains at the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library and branch Friends' book sales.


Book Den and Warehouse Book Sales


Book DenThe Friends of the Sacramento Public Library host book sales at their Book Den's warehouse six times per year at 8250 Belvedere Avenue, Suite E, Sacramento (off Power Inn Road, and one block south of 14th Avenue). There is a wonderful selection of books and other materials, sorted by category. Prices range from 50 cents for pocket books to $2 for hardbacks. Become a Friends member and enjoy the benefit of early-bird shopping opportunities at all book sales.


The Book Den  store will be open during the Warehouse Sale and Preview. At the Book Den, shoppers can selectfrom individually-priced books, including collectibles, and other materials, with most books priced at $3 and up. The Book Den is regularly open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information call (916) 731-8493.  Click here to learn of upcoming Book Den sales.


Branch Friends Book Sales

 Book Sale

Many Sacramento Public Library locations host bargain sales that feature discounted books, magazines, audio tapes, CDs and more. These sales are hosted by local Friends members whose proceeds benefit their library branch.


Please click here to find upcoming library branch book sales near you.




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In This Issue
The Library...a great place to work
GLBTQIA Programs
Dia De Los Niños
Why Taiwan Matters
Reading Connects
Libraries on the Frontier
Capital Decades: 1930s
From the Foundation
From the Friends
Quick Links

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Featured Article

Share your library story


Has the Sacramento Public Library helped change your life or do you have a favorite library memory at one of our branches? Please share your library story for publication in a future Library News issue. E-mail your 100- to 250-word submission (and your photo, if you wish) to Submissions are subject to editing.



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Nikki Finney on Libraries


Please view this interesting one-minute video of author, professor, and poet Nikky Finney as she discusses the importance of libraries.  For the full version of her book talk and reading, visit


Nikky Finney on Libraries
Nikky Finney on Libraries



Featured Events

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



Cultural folk music with Jose-Luis Orozco (family program)

Central Library

Sunday, April 29, 2 p.m.


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Daddy & Me Story Time

(toddler and preschooler program)

Franklin Library

Saturday, May 5, 11 a.m.


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Bike Safety Month Celebration

(adult program)

Belle Cooledge Library

Saturday, May 5, 10 a.m.


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Mae Lin & The Magic Brush with the Puppet Company

(family program)

Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library

Wednesday, May 9, 2:30 p.m.


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Dances of the Hawaiian Islands with Ohana Dancers

(family program)

Arcade Library

Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m.


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Learn the Art of Origami

(family program)

Colonial Heights Library

Friday, May 18, 4 pm

Sacramento Public Library
828 I Street
Sacramento, CA  95814