July 2009

The Bay Area Heart Gallery is a professional photography exhibit of photographs of children and youth living in foster care in need of adoptive families and permanent lifelong relationships.  The Heart Gallery also features portraits of adoptive families and their children.  These families reflect the diversity of adoptive families across the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Bay Area Heart Gallery will be displayed in the Dublin Library from August 3 – 28, 2009. 

If you are interested in becoming a foster or an adoptive parent, or you are interested in a particular child or youth in the Heart Gallery, please go to http://www.bayareaheartgallery.com/ , and review the Bay Area Heart Gallery Resource Guide and then fill out an inquiry form.    If you are already a licensed or certified foster parent or are a prospective adoptive parent already working with a licensed adoption agency, you may email us at heartgallery@familybuilders.org  or contact your agency social worker who will follow up with us.


Frank McCourt, memoirist, author, and teacher passed on July 19th at the age of 78. 

 He received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela’s Ashes (1996), which details his impoverished childhood in Limerick, Ireland. He also authored ‘Tis (1999), which continues the narrative of his life, continuing from the end of the previous book and focuses on life as an immigrant in America.  Teacher Man (2005) detailed the challenges of being a young, uncertain teacher. 

McCourt’s memoirs can be found in your Alameda County Library System in the biography section: 

Teacher Man:  A Memoir by Frank McCourt B MCCOURT, F

 ‘Tis:  A Memoir by Frank McCourt B MCCOURT, F

 Angela’s Ashes:  A Memoir by Frank McCourt B MCCOURT, F


Madeleine M. Kunin, the first female Governor of Vermont, wrote the following about Walter Cronkite, who passed away on July 17th at the age of 92:

“It may be difficult for people under the age of 40 to fathom what an imprint Walter Cronkite had on my generation. He has been called “the most trusted man in America,” and possibly he was. All I can recall is that what he said seemed sound and sensible. I do remember that in the early years of the Vietnam War I was impatient with him because he reported on the war dispassionately with no hint of doubt. I already had my doubts.

But when he declared that this war could not be won, and at best, end in a stalemate, we knew that the dissenters were not only marching in Washington, they had reached Middle America. It was a turning point.

Few people today could serve as such a precise barometer of American public opinion. Lyndon Johnson saw it, and perhaps even Archie Bunker, who had argued with his son about the war on television every week.”

Cronkite’s autobiography can be found in Alameda County Library System in the biography section: 

A Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite B CRONKITE

Alameda County Library System has changed its provider of online homework help.  The new online homework help provider, Brainfuse, offers online assistance to students from grade 3 to 12 in the following subjects:  mathematics, social studies, science, and writing.  

To access Brainfuse, go to the main Alameda County Library System webpage at http://www.aclibrary.org  Click on the blue Brainfuse icon with the slogan “Homework Help Now!” on the left side of the library homepage.  You will now have several options: 

  1. Homework Help for live homework help from an expert tutor.
  2. Live Skills Building to get help in understanding an academic concept from an expert tutor.
  3. Writing Lab where you can submit your writing and receive expert assistance.
  4. Test Center where you can practice tests or receive live online test tutoring.
  5. 24/7 Help where you can submit a question any time of the day to a tutor.
  6. Adult Learning Center to receive live tutoring sessions from trained adult education instructors.
  7. Foreign Language Lab where you can get live help for your foreign language homework. 

Brainfuse offers homework assistance as available with our previous provider for the same hours as before, 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. every day. 

Brainfuse uses the same process of connecting to a tutor; by selecting grade level and the subject area in which help is needed. There is no time limit on the length of a tutoring session. 

At the connect step, one can also mark the box to indicate if help is preferred in Spanish. 

Based on feedback from teen volunteers, waiting time to connect to a tutor should be much shorter than was the case with our previous home assistance provider.  

Once you click on the Brainfuse link on the library homepage, the Brainfuse page has a “login here” button at the top right. To use the main homework help service, no login is needed. However, to use the other features such as taking a practice SAT test, using the writing lab, or sending an email question, it is necessary to login. You only need to set up a free account (similar to the way Learning Express works), to get the most out of the Brainfuse service.

Morningstar database, available through your Alameda County Library System website, contains Morningstar’s premier content, including independent options on stocks and mutual funds, as well as screeners and a Portfolio X-Ray to help you make solid investment decisions.  Your library card is required for home access to this database. 

Morningstar is offering a virtual tour of the Morningstar Investment Research Center database.

When:  Wednesday, September 30th at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Where:  Anywhere with a telephone and Internet connection.

How to register:  Send an e-mail to librarytraining@morningstar.com .

Please mention Alameda County Library in your e-mail.