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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Weekend Get-Aways

Congrats! You've survived the first several weeks of school and you'll likely cherish every moment of the weekend. Take care of any school work on Friday afternoon because you're not going to have any time to do it while you're enjoying this weekend!

If you enjoy getting outdoors....

Forget Pokemon Go - go geocaching! If you are planning on going on a hike, make it into a scavenger hunt by searching for hidden caches. If you have data on your smartphone, it's easy! 

Head over to Vasona Lake  or Shoreline Lake for some paddle boating, bike rides, or pretty sunset picnics. 

Drive to the beach! If you like the sun and surf, head to Santa Cruz or Capitola. If you prefer the foggy views, Ocean Beach or Half Moon Bay are the best.

If you want to jam out to music...
Several awesome artists are coming to the Bay! Green Day, Pentatonix, and Charlie Puth just to name a few.

For coffeehouse blues, Red Rock Coffee always has Open Mic nights with local artists.

If you're feeling lazy...
Sleep in late, read a book, take a bath, watch some Netflix.
Bake a recipe you've been dying to try but you don't have the time.
Call friends and family members to spend time together.

Make sure to share how you spend your weekends in the comments. Have fun, you all deserve it!


Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Breaking Records is No Longer a Good Thing....

2016 is a record-breaking year.

And here you were all along, thinking it was just another year gone by. Now, I’m sure you’re so excited—more records is more fun, more accomplishment, right?

But believe it or not, 2016 was the year with the hottest summers, the coldest winters, the strongest winds, and the worst fires. Whether we decide to attribute such environmental patterns to humans or not, you’ve got to admit it’s a little scary.

This past June was the hottest month of June ever recorded. And the same goes from the hottest May, hottest April, and the entire last year which has recorded the highest ever monthly temperatures. Yikes! In fact, in June, Iraq and Kuwait brought the thermometer to 129 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature ever other than the historic reading in 1913 in Death Valley.

If you haven’t heard, carbon dioxide is the gas that is primarily responsible for global warming. And carbon dioxide levels have been on the rise ever since cars got on the road. But this year, the carbon rate accelerated, increasing by 3.1 parts per million (ppm) to bring us over 400 ppm for the first time in man's history. YIKES

What more? The Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, was almost entirely killed, it’s coral “bleached” by the warm water current from El Nino. Only 7% of the entire reef escaped bleaching. Y-I-K-E-S.

So you’ve probably heard the joke about the polar bears drowning as their ice melts away. Well, my friends, this is unfortunately not a joke. This year also is on track to have the smallest amount of ocean ice ever-- meaning polar bears and seals lose their habitats, and the sea levels are rising.

Needless to say, if our world continues to warm at this rate, every year is going to be a record-breaking year going forward. Are you scared? Inspired? Either way, take action ( to avoid breaking more of these “records.” It starts with just one person, making a difference.

Where I found my facts: 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fun Facts About Libraries

There's more to libraries than you think. Here are some fun facts about libraries just because! Enjoy.

1) The oldest known library began around 350 BC by Clearchus, a Greek student of Plato and Isocrates.

2) At any of the 150 "human libraries" in the world, you can check out a “person” and listen to their story. This system allows people to share their stories and defeat stereotypes of judging a person by their appearance.
The human library in Toronto, Canada. Source: yongestreetmedia
3) The Library of Congress adds an average of 12,000 items to its collection EVERY DAY! The 162 million items in the library span 800 miles of bookshelves.

4) Haskell Free Library is built on the border of the US and Canada. If you enter on one side, you better have your customs form and passport to exit on the other!

5) In Norway, you can check out a book from one library and return it to any library in the country!

6) With 16,500 libraries, there are more libraries than McDonalds in the US.

7) The smallest book in the Library of Congress, “Old King Cole,” is supposedly the size of a period. Its 1/25th inches wide! Good luck reading that one.

Which facts surprised you the most? I can't believe the teensy tiny book. Hope you enjoyed learning some strange library facts! 


Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

16 year old Eon has a lot going on - she's hoping to be chosen as an apprentice to one of the 12 energy dragons, she's training to master the martial arts and energy channeling required for that job, and she's compensating for the injury that has left her lame for most of her life. Oh, and she's also hiding the fact that she's a girl, a fact that would lead to her immediate death if anyone finds out.
There's a lot to like about this book. Eon is a strong female character, capable of doing so much although occasionally making some really poor decisions. She is smart, loyal, and strong, even when she doesn't know it.
The world building is rich and imaginative, clearly drawing much from Asian culture and history. The descriptions of the energy dragons are so evocative, I can clearly picture them in my mind!
There's some romance in the story, and some threatened sexual violence which makes me reluctant to recommend to tweens, but it would be a good choice for 7th-9th grade readers, especially those looking for strong female characters and interesting fantasy worlds. Give to fans of Tamora Pierce's Alanna books and Hunger Games.
Marie, Teen Librarian

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Thoughts on the Rio Olympics

Hello everyone and welcome back to school! While school took full effect last week, I still made sure to make time to watch my favorite television: the Rio Olympics!

The Olympics were absolutely incredible: over 200 nations cametogether to celebrate the peak of athleticism, which is why millions of us tuned in every night to watch. There are tons of crazy things that go on, but when I'm watching, here are my thoughts:

The people chosen to perform were actually indigenous Brazilians!
1. This opening ceremony and environmental theme is AMAZING.
2. OMG look at how they are moving those weird glowing strings.
3. Giselle Bundchen walking across the stadium is one long moment.
4. Yes! Michael Phelps is the flag bearer that makes me proud.
5. The refugee Olympians are perhaps the most inspiring group of individuals and they SO deserve it!

Jessica Parratto and Amy Cozad compete in the synchronized diving from the 10m platform.
6. It's been 24 hours and Katie Ledecky has already broken a record. Casual.
7. Who is this superwoman Simone Biles and why am I only just watching her now?
8. Yes, Laurie Hernandez is the cutest, spunkiest person to ever grace the world stage.
9. The world has been blessed with the beauty of synchronized diving.
10. OMG that platform is 10 meters and they are FLIPPING off it?!
11. Um, hello judges are you awake because that was a perfect 10!

The "Final Five" are all so talented it's impossible to choose a favorite.
12. Doesn't it hurt your brain to wear two swim caps like that?
13. Why does Michael Phelps always wear those headphones?
14. I think Michael's baby boy Boomer is the real MVP here.
15. You keep killing it Katie Ledecky.
16. So many of these swimmers go to Stanford, my home turf! #fearthetree
17. When a female gymnast is 5'3 she looks like a giant.

Phelps is the legend that makes us proud.
18. Aly Raisman is a returning legend and Simone Biles is the new one. Go USA!
19. Madison Kocian you may have got silver but if it were up to me you'd be the gold ;)
20. Michael Phelps is starting his last individual race - don't cry.
21. Michael is swimming (and slaying) his last relay - don't cry.
22. Michael is at his last award ceremonies and he is crying and now so am I.
23. Honestly how is USA so good at swimming?

Simone Manuel (who attends Stanford University!!!) has this priceless reaction to winning gold in the 50m final.

24. So what are those little statues they get at the medal ceremony? (I did some research on this one. As opposed to giving medal winners flowers as the Olympics have done in the past, Rio is extending their theme of sustainability by giving out these Rio figurines/metal holders instead. Pretty cool!)
25. What's the likelihood they tie when they measure to 0.01 seconds?

Mo Farah and Galen Rupp are friendship goals.
26. Track and Field has started and I'm not looking back
27. You're a true athlete when you fall in the 10,000 meters and still win. (Ahem, Mo Farah).
28. Is it okay that I rooted more for South Africa in the 400 m final than Team USA.
29. They just jumped 7'5" in the high jump, soooo yeah.
30. Usain Bolt has arrived. And he has won it. Again. Go Jamaica!
31. The sportsmanship in the women's 5000 meter prelims is beyond inspiring.

Still a little crazed, to be honest. The Bahamas wins with a dive!
32. When I watch the steeplechase and hurdles I forget that they are running faster than I could ever AND simultaneously jumping over barriers.
33. Oh no the Olympics has just a few days left :(
34. I will keep humming along to the Olympic theme every time it plays.
35. It is now midnight and I have watched five hours of this.
36. Team USA is #1 in medal counts. Rep that red white and blue.
37. Tokyo 2020; I'm ready for you.

What are some of your random observations from the Olympics?
I hope you enjoyed this year's games as much as I did! Also, I invite you to check out my predictions from earlier in the Spring for Team USA to compare to the results!

Written by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dive Into Teen!

Next week marks the beginning of the Teen Summer Program series with Dive Into Teen!

Join us to talk about what you've been reading, learn about awesome new books, and play a few games!

Snacks will be provided.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Favorite Documentaries

Girl Rising
What's to love: I've seen this stunning documentary three times, and each time it has managed to re-inspire me. It tells the story of several different girls from around the world as a method for addressing girls' education on an international scale.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: You can download the movie online here

What's to love: Just like Girl Rising, this is a documentary that will take you on a trip around the world. Happy is on a search to determine what makes us, as humans, happy.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Happy is available on Hulu here
Exit through the Gift Shop
What's to love: Documentaries are a fun way to learn about a topic that is particularly foreign. Herein lies the appeal of "Exit through the Gift Shop", which chronicles one filmmaker's attempt to track down and befriend Banksy, a world renowned street artist who has famously managed to keep his identity a secret.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Exit Through the Gift Shop is available on Netflix.
What's to love: Babies chronicles the first year of four babies, from San Francisco, to Tokyo, to Namibia, to Mongolia. It's awesome to see how different infanthood is around the world.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: You can stream"Babies" via Amazon here
Chef's Table Episode 1
What's to love: While each of the six episodes that make up Chef's Table is interesting in a unique way, the first of the series was by far my favorite. This installment follows Italian chef Massimo Bottura's rise to prominence in the culinary world. There are also elements of this episode that feel like a romantic comedy so it's a win-win.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: Chef's Table is available on Netflix
The Woman Who Wasn't There
What's to love: File this one under 'weird but strangely engrossing'. IMBD describes this doc as "a psychological thriller that goes inside the mind of history's most infamous 9/11 survivor." What makes Tania Head, the former president of The World Trade Center Survivors' Network, so infamous? Head was never in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and her "epic story of grief was a complete fabrication". 
See the trailer here
How to Watch: "The Woman Who Wasn't There" is available on Hulu
The House I Live In
What's to love: I was really surprised by how engrossing this story was. "The House I Live In" explores America's ongoing "War on Drugs" from the perspective of everyone from the "dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator". This movie will provide a whole new perspective on one of the US's most pressing domestic issues.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: "The House I Live In" is available on Amazon.

First Position
What's to love: For those outside of the world of dance, First Position provides a fascinating look at the cut-throat daily lives of the world's most elite ballerinas.
See the trailer here
How to Watch: First Position is available on Netflix and iTunes

Post written by Allie, Homework Assistant