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There are lots of very simple things you can do with your kids and teens over the holiday break that are not only fun, but will stimulate your child's brain, helping to prevent learning loss.  Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Sacramento Public Library's youth materials selector, has recommended the following kids and teen books to buy or check out for free at the library:


A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by ErinStead: A charming, quiet picture book in the spirit of Goodnight, Moon. For ages 2 to 6.


Corduroy by Don Freeman:  This classic picture book tells the tale of a teddy bear searching for his lost button who finds something even more special - a child to love him. For ages 2 to 6.


Press Here by Hervé Tullet: This interactive picture book is sure to charm even the most tech-savvy reader. For ages 3 to 8.


Frederick by Leo Lionni: A perfect read aloud and classic tribute to the creative spirit that will inspire young artists. For ages 4 to 8.


Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by G. Brian Karas:  A rollicking modern fairy tale that families will enjoy reading again and again. For ages 4 to 8.


Tree of Cranes by Allen Say:  A beautifully illustrated, multicultural holiday story perfect for family sharing. For ages 4 to 8.


The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco.  Originally published in 1922, it's sure to resonate with any child who loves a stuffed animal, and makes a cozy bedtime read aloud. For ages 5 to 8.


Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, Illustrated by Tony Fucile

Full of humor and lots of interesting vocabulary words, this title makes a great gift for newly independent readers. Ages 6-8.


The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg:  A great gift for young writers, alone or paired with The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a collection of short stories by acclaimed children's authors based on the original illustrations. For ages 6 to 10.


Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume: This timeless tale of sibling hijinks will keep elementary school readers laughing, and makes a great gift for reading aloud or for independent readers. For ages 7 to 10.


Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Earth's Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst: This year's best gift for animal lovers provides up-close examinations of fifty of the Earth's most curious critters. For ages 8 to 12. 


The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster:  Share this one with young fans of humor, action, and clever wordplay. For ages 8 to 10.


Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu: Perfect for curling up with on a winter night, it makes a great gift for fantasy fans and voracious readers. For ages 8 to 12.


The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: This award-winning and funny novel keeps young mystery fans delightfully puzzled. For ages 8 to 12.


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia: Effortlessly combining American history with dynamic, memorable characters, this is one historical fiction title that kids won't mind reading for fun. For ages 9 to



Holes by Louis Sachar: When Stanley Yelnats is sent to a juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, he finds the solution to reversing four generations of family bad luck in this award-winning and hilarious story. For ages 10 to 14.


Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Odd details of everyday life are featured in fifteen illustrated short stories, some humorous and some haunting. A quirky collection perfect for teen dreamers. Ages 12-18.


The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien: The new movie will be released in December, and even those already familiar with Bilbo's journey will want to brush up on their Middle Earth knowledge before the premiere. For ages 12 and older.


Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley: An award-winning an d extraordinary novel for teens who like their reads more realistic. For ages 14 to 18.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: A perfect gift for teens looking for something exciting, magical, and utterly unique. For ages 14 to 18. 
In This Issue
New Library Website
Make a Difference Day!
Chromebooks at Library
Free Family Programs
Meeting Minutes From the Past
From the Foundation
From the Friends
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Library News 
December 2012/January 2013
From the Director: Celebrate with Your Library


Photo by Kevin Andrew Jones

One of our librarians shared a cartoon recently that is so appropriate to this season. A child is saying to Santa, "I want books, a computer, the ability to travel through time and space, and...." Santa replies, "Okay, here's a library card."


No matter what holiday you celebrate during these dark, winter months, getting a library card is the best gift you can give yourself, or someone you love. A visit to any one of our Sacramento Public Library locations will show you how hard we work to make a difference in your life.


This has been an exciting and awarding-winning year for Sacramento Public Library with achievements that include:

  • Friends of Sacramento Public Library receiving an outstanding service award for their hard work on behalf of the library;
  • Christy Aguirre, Branch Supervisor at the Southgate Library, being honored as California's Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy;
  • Sacramento Magazine recognizing us with a "Best of Sacramento" for our Book Club in a Box;
  • Publishing our 5,000th book on the I Street Press;
  • Developing new partnerships to help us improve library services, including a mini television recording studio, courtesy of Access Sacramento, to develop video content and demonstrate that the library is so much more than books;
  • An initiative with ScholarShare and News10 that every month highlights 10 books to read with children under 10.

As you read this newsletter issue, be sure to look at our suggestions for books to give and consider a gift to a child or teen in your life.  It's a fact that owning books increases literacy and reading -- which leads to more reading -- which leads to success.


Sacramento Public Library is looking forward to making 2013 another great year. Who knows what we'll have to celebrate this time next year.


Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!


Rivkah K. Sass,

Library Director

Sacramento Public Library Launches Newly-Designed Website

The Sacramento Public Library has launched its newly-designed website with major search improvements and a cleaner and more modern design.  Library staff worked with Rancho Cordova-based PMC 

corporation representatives to simplify and streamline the website, which is viewed by more than 356,000 library visitors per month.


Online visitors have already responded with favorable reviews of the new website design that features improved navigation and site search, a "virtual shelf" of recommended books, revolving slideshow of library events and services, an online library newsletter that the public may subscribe to for free, and more.


"We looked at many other library sites and incorporated strategies that would benefit our patrons.  I love how it looks now!  People can now find what they're looking for easily and it's easier for our staff to manage," said Rivkah K. Sass, library director.


"The new library website helps promote our upcoming events, news bulletins, and new and existing services with large slideshows on the main pages that are easy to display and manage.  It's now easier to search for particular library events, and we can display events just for kids or teens on their web pages," said Amy Calhoun, electronic resources librarian.

News10 and Library's Make A Difference Day Was a Success

On Saturday, October 27, News10 participated in our first ever Make A Difference Day, a Gannett-wide initiative to improve the communities in which we live. As a part of our "Reading Connects" literacy program, it seemed fitting to make a difference at our local libraries.

Working with the Sacramento, Public Library, California State Library and Friends of the Sacramento Public Library, News10 selected the South Natomas Library to assist with a 'make-over'. With a $5,000 grant provided by Gannett, News10, staff volunteered to create an inspirational reading environment in a much needed 'Family Reading Cove.'  But the impact didn't stop there...News10 encouraged other libraries and viewers to get involved in over 28 other projects and book drives in our community.


The Sacramento Public Library reported over 157 volunteers and 2,000 books donated!


In an effort to increase Friends of the Library sign-ups, the Galt-Marian O. Lawrence Library held a T-shirt decorating and distribution event attended by 60 children and 30 adults.


With the help of 30 volunteers, the Colonial Heights Library held its first Harvest Festival attended by more than 200 people.


Representatives from the WonderWagon and Del Paso Heights Library were at the Mutual Assistance Network Harvest Festival, where over 

550 people received information about the library, volunteer opportunities 

and programs.


  Rancho Cordova Library had 30 youth and 16 adults volunteering with cleaning, cutting paper, shelving books and displaying gift books for sale.


Southgate Library held a Kendama ladder battle, which brought in over 70 people through the doors of the library on Make A Difference Day.

We look forward to our next successful event on October 26!


Mellisa Paul, News10 Community Liaison Director and Sacramento & Company Hostess

Why I Love the Library

My mother took my sister and me to the library as young children.  I remember bringing home a bag of books, fighting over them with my sister, flipping the pages, looking at the pictures and learning to read and being read to with library books.  It was also a cool place to be for a few hours in the summer when all we had was a swamp cooler.


As a young teenager, I became a voracious reader and I got all my books from the library.  I'd walk the mile or so to the library, bring a bag, fill it up and lug it home, especially in the summer when there were three whole months to read!


As an adult, the practice continued.  Why buy a book when the library is right there with thousands upon thousands of books to read for free?  And not only the books at my local library, but any book have I wanted throughout the library system!  Sure, I'll buy some non-fiction here and there, but all my fiction comes from the library.  I still take a bag to the library, fill it up with books and lug the bag to my car, a dozen or so at a time.  But now, I borrow not only books, but music CDs, and I even download books onto my iPod to listen to while I walk.


Now in my forties, I wonder how many library books I've borrowed over 30 years visiting various Sacramento public libraries.  I'm sure it would be a staggering amount.


I feel deep gratitude to the libraries for all of the wonderful books I've read and then returned to be read by someone else.


Serene Erby

Sacramento Public Library patron


Editor's note:  Please e-mail your story (100- to 250-word maximum) and a photo to us how the Sacramento Public Library has changed your life at stories@saclibrary.org

Chromebooks Offered at Library Branches

Sacramento Public Library cardholders can soon check out Chromebooks, a new type of laptop computer, at the South Natomas, North Highlands-Antelope, Fair Oaks and Arden-Dimick branches.  Patrons with an active library card can borrow the portable computers for up to two hours in those branches.

Chromebooks are lightweight and fast to use, with security built-in to protect against viruses or malware, and just one click away from a world of Google apps and the web.


Just sign in with your Google account and you will be able to access your files stored in the Google cloud, or as a guest, and the web is there at your fingertips. And once you log out, none of your personal data can be accessed by other users.

Chromebooks run web apps which allow users to create and share documents, edit photos, and listen to music, and much more. Unlike software on a traditional computer, web apps install in seconds, load instantly, and update automatically.
Monthly family program series slated at Central Library

Families will enjoy the free monthly entertainment programs scheduled 

in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library at 2 p.m. on the following Sundays:


January 27: Puppetry, Music and Stories.  Join children's singer-storyteller Francie Dillon and the fantastic puppetry of Puppet Art Theater for a lively program filled with songs, stories and lots of humor.


February 10: Celebrate Black History Month with Ebo Okoan.  Explore the rich tradition of the Afro-Cuban culture through drumming, dance and song with this exciting folkloric music and dance ensemble.


March 24:  Family Concert, Instrument Petting Zoo & Crafting with theCamellia Symphony Orchestra.  Children will marvel at the 1 p.m. Instrument Petting Zoo when meeting the musicians and learn how their instruments are played.  Kids can also create art related to the musical experience with the I Can Do That! volunteers.  At 2 p.m., the award-winning orchestra will perform a variety of classic music selections from well-known movie scores. 

Meeting minutes of the past:  Library Board of Directors

Nestled in the climate-controlled Sacramento Room vault on the second floor of Central Library are perhaps the most interesting and valuable records in the Sacramento Public Library archives:  the minutes of the Library's Board of Directors.  The hefty three-volume set spans 1857 to 1909 - from the founding of the fee-based Sacramento Library 

Association through the establishment of free county-wide service and 

opening of the first Delta branches.


Volume One contains signatures of the first library members, a veritable 'who's who' of prominent Sacramentans, including Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford and C. P. Huntington. In-depth monthly statistics also appear in the minutes and reveal trends and interesting facts (in the early decades, the vast majority of library visitors were male; fiction has always circulated much more than non-fiction).


In addition to beautifully handwritten minutes, secretaries pasted inside news clippings from back when annual reports and new acquisitions were detailed in The Sacramento Union newspaper.  And you'll find examples of early borrower applications, borrower cards and fine slips.  In addition, colorful ephemera from library fundraisers are interspersed throughout that include:

  • Constitution Title Page: A secretary with a little extra time on his hands illustrated this title page for the 1859 Sacramento Library Association Constitution and By-Laws
  • Grand Calico Party: Example of ephemera pasted in the meeting minutes.
  • Borrower Application Card 1896: In 1896, applicants had to be over 10 years of age, reside within the city limits and provide a reference from a responsible person in order to borrow from the Sacramento Public Library.
  • Volumes of Meeting Minutes: Two of three volumes of board of directors meeting minutes.

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.

From the Foundation


1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.


The first library in recorded history was established more than 2,500 years ago. Sacramento's first library was built in 1850 and burned down in 1852. In 1857, the Sacramento Library Association was founded by well known leaders in the region. By 1879, using provisions of California's 1878 Rogers Act, which encouraged transfer of private libraries to municipalities, the association became a free public library.


In 1914 Andrew Carnegie gave $100,000 for our Central Library on the corner of 9th and I streets after citizens persevered through an initial rejection of the concept of a Central "monumental" library. Throughout history libraries and library leaders have had to persevere through changing times.


Today, libraries are changing dramatically. Instead of losing their relevancy libraries have become more important during this technology transformation. More people than ever are coming to the library for its resources, information and environment. Adults are checking out best sellers, teens are finding resources they need for their education and families are accessing vital early education tools for literacy.


Similarly, library funding is changing and the need to partner with philanthropic organizations is becoming more important as libraries keep the pace with these changing times. Philanthropists looking to advance early education, literacy deficits, healthy communities, workforce development and technological competency can all look to libraries to achieve their goals. Libraries are the place that gives everyone an equal chance.


April L. Butcher

Executive Director

Sacramento Public Library Foundation

Next Authors on the Move fundraiser dinner set for March 9

Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers, joins us as the Sacramento Public Library Foundation's 11th annual Authors on the Move keynote speaker.  The fundraiser dinner is Saturday, March 9, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Sacramento Hyatt Regency, in downtown Sacramento.


This year's dinner theme, 'There's Still the Story,' emphasizes the importance of stories. Telling stories, writing stories and reading stories enrich our culture and enrich our lives generation over generation. Join us and more than 40 regional authors with their recently published stories for an evening of cultural delight!


Guests will enjoy a champagne reception, a four-course meal from the Sacramento Hyatt's new executive chef, Jason Poole; unlimited wine by Sobon Estates Winery; three conversations with local authors at their table; Tsukiyama's keynote presentation; and a live auction which features opportunities to win additional author experiences.


Tickets are $200 per person or $1,500 for a table of eight. Tickets are available through our website or by calling our Library Foundation office at (916) 264-2711.


The Avid Reader bookstore makes all titles available for purchase the night of the event and generously gives the Library Foundation 20 percent of its proceeds.  Authors on the Move dinner proceeds benefit the Sacramento Public Library's Summer Reading program and the Library Foundation operations.

From the Friends of the Library

Friends of the Sacramento Public Library receive statewide honor

The Friends of Sacramento Public Library recently received one of the highest statewide library honors: the 2012 California Library Trustees and Commissioners Association award for outstanding service to a library.


The Friends' 4,380 volunteers are a vital support group for the Sacramento Public Library.  They provide funding for books and materials, programs and library activities, primarily through selling discarded and donated books and materials


"The Friends members do so much for all our Sacramento Public Library branches, and I am absolutely thrilled that they are recognized for all that they do," said Rivkah K. Sass, Sacramento Public Library director.


Since January 2012, the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library and individual library branch Friends groups collectively raised more than $228,000 to enhance the library system's 28 locations, including funding of programs and services and the purchase of new books and materials.


To learn how you can learn of the Friends' volunteer opportunities by calling (916) 264-2880 or visiting the website.

Friends of the Library Dinner Celebrated the U.S. Constitutions

The second annual Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Dinner gathered more than 250 Friends members and other library supporters to enjoy food, fun, and friendship in late October. 


The family-friendly event had 40 area students serve as hosts, food servers, quiz correctors, and actors. Attending children were given a book about one of our country's Founding Fathers and were assigned a 'personal waiter' to ensure enough Patriotic Pizza.


After dinner, adults enjoyed a cutthroat trivia game. Congratulations to Len Marowitz, winner of the U.S. Constitution table trivia contest and to costume contest winners Linden Tarr and Ginny Kidd.


The Friends of McClatchy Library won a special contest award for 'Best Table,' thanks to their unique costumes celebrating the First Amendment.  Guests also enjoyed a drawing for prizes, a silent auction, and live music. The Quote Actors performed during the dessert course of Dolley Madison Chocolate Cake; while many branch Friends members had correct trivia guesses, winning prizes for their tables.


The Friends would like to thank the Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 for donating their rental hall to us. Their support is invaluable. And, of course, the Friends would like to invite all of you, in advance, to the third annual Friends Dinner with the date and theme to be announced later.


Carrie Sessarego

Friends of the Sacramento Public Library Board Member

Join 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
The Friends of the Sacramento Public Library host book sales at their   Book Den's warehouse six times per Book Den 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.Book Sale
Branch Friends Book Sales 

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. 

Sacramento Public Library
828 I Street
Sacramento, CA  95814