January 2016


While visiting Illinois a few months ago, I had the privilege of watching the naturalization ceremony of 60 new citizens from 33 countries in the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, in the very room where Abraham Lincoln gave his “a house divided” speech on on June 16, 1858, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s United States senator.    The naturalization ceremony concluded with the presiding federal judge congratulating the new citizens who had chosen to become part of our nation, and a chorus of lawyers singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”   There was not a dry eye in the chamber at the end of the ceremony.

My own father was a naturalized US citizen, born in Italy.  Given my own personal background, I’m pleased to announce that, as part of Alameda County Library’s subscription to Pronunciator, we now have full access to ProCitizen, a comprehensive citizenship preparation course that contains 100 videos, plus interactive drills and quizzes.

Links to free online resources and books, as well as CDs and DVDs from our catalog to help you with the process of becoming a citizen of the United States, are available through the Citizenship LibGuide.  Be sure to take advantage of these and all the databases provided to you as a member of the Alameda County Library System!



Now that we’re in the year 2016, many of us have made resolutions.  One of the best resolutions one can make is to maintain mental fitness.  Just as the body needs exercise, your mind requires  social and mental engagement for proper maintenance.  Activate your brain with fun activities.

Board and number games help stimulate your brain.  It’s no wonder that  Bingo is popular in retirement and nursing homes, as those who play the game experience fewer memory problems and have better hand-eye coordination than those who don’t.  Brain teasers like crossword puzzles, word searches, Rubik’s cubes, playing Scrabble® or chess are all great for keeping your mind in good working condition.

Stimulate your synapses  by undertaking new activities. Take up a new hobby or craft.  Take an online course.  Learn a new foreign language or brush up your skills in one you’ve nearly forgotten. Walk or drive a new way to work. Visit local museums and other attractions in the area using Discover and Go.  Learn to play an instrument like drums or piano, which requires performing different actions with your hands and feet.  Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, eat, dial a telephone or move a computer mouse. This switch will force your brain to invent new pathways for  controlling physical movement.

Stimulate your senses!  Brush your teeth or get dressed while keeping your eyes closed – you are allowed to cheat and open your eyes to make sure you are putting on the right garments and that your outfit is color-coordinated!  Multi-tasking doesn’t have to be stressful – use several senses at the same time; for example, take a hike while listening to an audio book or music, or explore the texture of leaves and tree bark while listening to bird songs.

We got a lot of new books during the latter half of 2015, and we want to share them with you! Click the images below to check availability in our catalog.



Ragweed’s farm dog handbook

By Anne Kennedy

Ragweed gives you some tips about all the things you need to do (and not do) in order to be a good farm dog.



Playdates are not scary!
By Kara McMahon

Friday desperately tries to get out of a playdate with Mushy.



show horses

Show Horses

By Stephanie Turnbull

Horses work together with their human counterparts to entertain others in many ways, from formal performances to Medieval jousting.


my pet human

My Pet Human
By Yasmine Surovec

An independent cat insists he prefers to live alone until he learns to love and train the human who adopts him.


Jan16 - JPB, JE, MU (1) Jan16 - JPB, JE, MU (2)

DSCF0010Did you end up with new tech toys over the holidays? Need a little help setting up your devices or learning how to use them? Drop-in to our special Teen Tech program, where friendly teen techs will be available to answer questions and help you learn how to use your device(s).

Ereaders, laptops, cameras, cell phones, tablets, toys (like drones or robotics), etc. are all welcome for questions. If you have the manual for your device, please bring it along with you in case there are questions.

Drop-in Saturday, January 9, 2016 from 2-4 pm in the Group Study Room.

Happy New Year!

Today we have a special edition of Teen Book Talk (hence the posting on a day other than Monday!) I decided that I would share a list of YA novels due out in 2016. These are titles that interested me, or ones that I knew teens would be interested in. This is by no means a complete list of upcoming releases, and I’d love to hear what YA books you are most looking forward to in 2016? Leave a comment with the book(s) you are most looking forward to in 2016 so I can add them to my (very long) to be read pile!

(All of these book descriptions can be found at www.goodreads.com)

Upcoming YA novels 2016

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