Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer of Citizenship

There are different ways of gaining U.S. Citizenship.  Many of us are born in the United States.  Citizenship is automatic when you are born in the U.S.  Then there is Naturalization, where an adult spends years in the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident and fulfills all the requirements of naturalization.  That includes learning basic English, passing a civics exam and a thorough background check as well as several other steps and expenses.  Another path is being the minor child of a U.S. citizen.  The minor is born in another country but has at least one parent who is either a natural born U.S. citizen or becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.  The minor-aged children of those citizens are then eligible to apply for citizenship.

On August 13, in partnership with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Fresno County Public Library hosted a Citizenship Ceremony for 26 of those young new citizens ranging in age from 8 to 18.  The Woodward Park Regional Library was decked out in red, white and blue for the event.

 The Library had activities throughout the ceremony to showcase how FCPL is a part of the community.

During registration hour, there were two crafts available.  For our younger guests, we had a construction paper Chinese Lantern craft while our tweens and teens were able to make modge podge tile coasters.  
 After USCIS officials opened the ceremony, WoW! Librarian Michelle Gordon offered some welcoming remarks, touching on her experiences working with the immigrant community in Fresno County.  Then two more FCPL librarians showcased their own talents.  Nicole Settle, the county-wide Children’s Programming Librarian, read a story about the U.S. flag.  That was followed by Woodward Park Regional Library’s Youth Librarian, Tiffany Polfer, providing a book talk (think movie trailer but for books) for the tweens and teens in the audience.

Tiffany then took all the candidates on a tour of the Woodward Park Regional Library that ended in the children’s room.  There, all 26 candidates took their Oaths of Allegiance, which was administered by the Fresno Field Office’s Supervisory Immigration Services Officer.  After the Oath, everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance and watched a short congratulatory and welcoming video by President Obama.  USCIS then presented the certificates of citizenship to each new citizen.

It was a wonderful and special event.  FCPL has made a large effort to offer more comprehensive resources to Fresno’s immigrant community.  We offer Citizenship Corners in numerous branches currently and are expanding those locations monthly.  Another Citizenship Ceremony is scheduled for September 17, 2016 at the Central branch.

Monday, July 25, 2016

But Wait! I Want More Time!—How to Renew Library Materials

Checking out books, movies, and audio from the library gives you a sense of joy…until you realize that it’s the due date, time to return them, and you aren’t finished with your reading, watching, or listening.

What do you do? Take a speed-reading class? Turn them in and hope you can check them out again? Keep them until you’re finished, and dip into your savings to pay the overdue fines?

Stay calm. You may be able to renew them and get some extra time.

It’s Not Late, Yet

If the Fresno County Public Library items you want to keep aren’t overdue, you may renew them (get more time) at any library branch, by phone, or even online. If nobody else has it on hold (has requested that item, and is waiting for it), you can renew it up to two times.  
Look at your checkout slip or the self-checkout monitor to see when the materials will now be due. Books and DVDs check out for different lengths of time. The renewal starts the day you renew it, not from the day it was originally due.

You Can’t Always Renew What You Want

If your library materials are already late, you can’t renew them online. You can go to a branch to renew them in person, or renew over the phone with library staff. Some things can not be renewed. The New & Now category is a one-time-only checkout, and is not to be renewed. Inter-library loans from outside the Valley consortium do not get renewed. Items that are on the waiting list for other people don’t get renewed. It’s only fair that others get a chance to read that book or see that movie.

The Fresno County Public Library wants people to have a pleasant library experience, and to share its holdings with as many people as possible.

Read on!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

¿Comprende Ingles?

Learning a new language can be frightening, but Basic ESL is a service that makes it easier to learn English as a Second Language. The Fresno County Public Library has Basic ESL for FREE on its website.

The method is simple, starting with the English language's sounds, then going on to vocabulary and its sentence structure. You can start with primary languages from many parts of the world: French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, and more. Lessons are spoken in English, with their words and sentences printed in the primary language.

Vocabulary lessons teach words and put them in context, and dialogue lessons show how to use those words in talking to people.

Entering through the Research It link on the FCPL home page, Basic ESL asks new users to register, so their progress can be tracked. The home language, name, email address, and a selected password are used to set up an account. Passwords are six letters and numbers, and can be as simple as “abc123” or “mynam3.”

Once registered, it’s time to learn! Speakers or headphones are needed to hear the audio portion, which is triggered by the clicking the speaker icons
on the page. Listen and repeat the words, and listen again, if you wish.

It’s a simple program, and it’s FREE through the Fresno County Public Library.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Meet Me at the Library

A library isn't just a building with books in it. A library is a part of the community, a place where people can meet.

McCardle Room at the Central Library

Many branches of the Fresno County Public Library have meeting rooms where community groups and not-for-profit organizations can gather, and they are offered FREE to the public. Library meeting rooms have hosted drum circles, rodeo associations, knitters and quilters, table-top gamer groups, line dancers, cemetery use boards, T-ball parents, Scouting events, and community Thanksgiving dinners. Non-library-sponsored gatherings that aren't selling services or products or are campaigning for issues or candidates are welcome to sign up to use library spaces. After your event, you can sign up for another use, if the space is available.

Woodward Park Branch meeting room

Because the library is a public building, restrictions on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and flames and candles apply. Rules are meant to keep the buildings safe places. Different rooms have different service capacities. Kitchens, projectors, Wi-Fi, dry-erase boards, public address systems, podiums, or assisted listening devices are available at some locations. Fire Marshal room capacity limits must be followed.

To apply for meeting room use...
  • find a time that is available,
  • provide contact information,
  • choose options
That's what it takes to reserve a library meeting room.
Meet you at the library!
Betty Rodriguez Branch meeting room

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Here Comes Money Smart Week!

Do money matters mystify you?
  • How do I save for retirement?
  • Are payday loans a good idea?
  • How can I protect myself from identity theft?
Financial literacy, understanding how money works and what to do with it, is just as important as knowing how to read. That's why the Fresno County Public Library is participating in Money Smart Week, April 23-30. Government brochures and flyers are available, each geared to teaching people about financial matters from mutual funds to avoiding scams.

The WoW! Library staff are participating in several events.
  • Saturday, April 23, 2016 -- Sierra Vista Mall, Clovis, noon-4pm
  • Monday, April 25, 2016 -- Courthouse Park, Fresno, 11am-2pm
  • Saturday, April 30, 2016 -- River Park, Fresno, noon-4pm
Each event will include information flyers for adults in English and Spanish, computers with games that teach financial concepts, a sample saving plan, and storytimes and piggy bank crafts for youngsters.

The FCPL has links to useful resources on renting, saving, retiring, and credit.

Shannon Morrison of the WithOut Walls Library talked with Kim and Kopi on KMPH-26 about Money Smart Week and the library's National Poetry Month writing contest.

Knowing how to take care of your money is an important skill. If you don't watch your money, you'll watch it fly away.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Placing Holds: Get that book locally!

Did you know you can have materials you request (holds) delivered to your nearest branch?  All you have to do is search for the item in our catalog and request it!  It only takes a few easy steps.

Find your Title

You can search for library items by the title, by the author who wrote it, or by the subject (what it's about). If you wanted to find It by Stephen King, you could search with the terms "It," "King, Stephen," or "Clowns--Fiction." If you were looking for Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy with Peter Telep, the subjects to search for include "Taliban--Fiction," :Terrorism--Fiction," "Mexico--Fiction," "Drug Traffic--Middle East--Fiction," and "United States. Central Intelligence Agency--Fiction."

See where it is available 

Requests tells you how many people are in the line waiting for it. The Location list tells you what branches have copies and if they are checked in or checked out.

Click on Request Item

A Request will put you on the list to get what you want sent to a convenient library. Add to My List makes a wish list of things you would like to get from the library...but not right now. When you want one of those items, go to the list. One click will request it.
Once you select Request Item the next screen will ask for your library card number and your PIN, the four-digit Personal Identification Number you set up with your card (if you can't remember your PIN take your ID to any FCPL branch library; one of the staff will be able to look it up for you).

The next page confirms your request and allows you to choose the location where you want to pick up your request. Select the branch closest to your home or where it is most convenient for you to pick up materials

Sometimes you will be first on the request list. Popular books may have a long waiting list. Don't worry. Anything worth having is worth the wait.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Library Film Studies Drought Impact

A four-year drought has brought pain and anger to the San Joaquin Valley. Not only are the solutions unclear, even the questions are hazy.

Jonathan Waltmire of the WoW! Library team is project director for a new video documentary, Reflections of a Drought: a film, which shows the issues through the words of people in Fresno County dealing with the drought’s effects. The film was shown at the Woodward Park, Selma, and Mendota branches of the Fresno County Public Library.
Jonathan Waltmire answered questions about the film
at its Woodward Park Library premiere showing.

Funded by a competitive California Humanities grant underwritten by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the California Documentary Project seeks to understand the people and history of the state. Waltmire and videographer/editor Steve Thao interviewed ten people, from civic officials to farmers to homeowners, cutting six hours of raw footage into a 21-minute exploration of how agriculture, communities, and the public are dealing with the lack of water.
Waltmire says his biggest challenge was “trying to find a story that was balanced between urban and rural. There’s something for everybody, farmers and city dwellers. We’re all in the same boat together.”

Sarge Green, interviewed in the film,
spoke at the Selma showing.
“Reflections of a Drought” can be seen on YouTube or at the end of this post. Future plans for the documentary include having DVD copies available for checkout at FCPL branches.

Waltmire’s goal for the project was to “foster discussion on how people can mitigate the effects of the drought.” What surprised him the most was “how complex water management in California is. There is no easy solution.”

Friday, February 5, 2016

Librarians Pop-Up on Groundhog Day

You never know where the WoW! Pop-Up Library will pop up...or when.

Fairwinds and fun reading.

On Groundhog Day, Kenny Abramowitz, Joanna Chase, and Terrance Mc Arthur set up a Pop-Up at the Fairwinds-Woodward Park retirement community in north Fresno, bringing more than 100 books and videos to peruse and check out.

What Is This?
People have questions about the Fresno County Public Library's Pop-Ups:

The WoW! Pop-Up packs a lot of library into a little space.
  • Is this a book sale?--These are library books, DVDs, and CDs to check out. It's a mini library branch for lending books, not selling them.
  • How do I return the books?--The Community Pop-Up Library goes to different places at different times, instead of on a schedule. Library materials may be returned to any of the public library branches in Fresno County, or as far away as Merced, Mariposa, and Bakersfield.
  • Do I have to have a library card?-- Materials are checked out with a user's library card, and  WoW! processes new library cards on the spot. Cardholders who don't have their cards with them may check out with proper ID.
    Joanna makes a card at Fairwinds.
  • What if I don't see what I want?-- The Pop-Up Library is a sampler of library services and materials. Each event helps our staff learn what people want, and the goal is to match the books to the people we meet: children's and parenting books at a school night, cookbooks for a gardening group.
  • How can I request a Pop-Up Library near me?--The Pop-Up Request Form on this blog site is designed to help library service users sign up to have a pop-up at their location or event. Filing a request more than two weeks in advance increases the chances of WoW! staff being available. Back-to-School night, church potluck, or shopping center--the Wow! Pop-Up Library can be there!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

TNT. Computers. WoW!

A TNT grant. Sounds explosive, doesn’t it?

It stands for Technology aNd Training, using technology products to provide information services to library patrons. The WoW! unit of the Fresno County Public Library is participating in a TNT grant, providing computer classes to rural communities, focusing on skills that would help adults in job-searching. Librarian-instructors and translators make it happen.

Monthly classes take place in Parlier and Firebaugh, communities with great needs for computer training and job-search help.  The venues used are non-library buildings (Parlier Youth Center and Firebaugh’s First Baptist Church), with morning and afternoon sessions. January's classes taught basic computer terms, mouse skills, and how and why to get an e-mail account; that set will be repeated in February. March is resume-writing, and April is on-line job-hunting techniques. The resume and job-hunting classes repeat in May and June.

The WoW!-mobiles contain the supplies for a pop-up classroom, with laptop computers, projection equipment for visual presentations, and other needful things. Translation is provided for Spanish-speakers by Sonia Bautista and Carlos Estrada of the FCPL staff. After January's first sets of classes, a dozen adult students left with their own e-mail accounts that they could use for communicating with friends, shopping online, and filling out job applications. Information literacy--being able to use computers with confidence and without fear--is a major need for people in the 21st century. According to Shannon Morrison, one of the teachers, class members “enhanced a skill they might not have had otherwise.”

If you are interested in building your skills at these classes, contact the Firebaugh branch library at (599) 600-9274, the Parlier branch library at (559) 646-3835, or the WoW! Library unit at (559) 600-9699.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Girl Scout Expo

Image result for girl scout cookies

Take a thousand or so Girl Scouts, put them in one building, and what do you have? the Fresno Girl Scout Cookie Expo!
The Fresno County Public Library booth at the Cookie Expo was a busy place January 23rd at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Information about library resources, craft activities, and making new library cards were the order of the day.
Even with cookie tasting, inflatable obstacle courses, Star Wars Stormtroopers, Kopi Sotiropoulos, and other displays to get their attention, hundreds of Girl Scouts, leaders, and families from several counties of the Valley visited the FCPL booth. Eric Dunnicliff, Rita Leung, and WoW! staffers Joanna Chase and Terrance Mc Arthur helped Scouts with the craft and answered questions about library services.

Eric and Joanna,
waiting for the Expo to start.

Here come the Girl Scouts!


Bentley going to meet
his fans.
Bentley, the Library's popular mascot, made an appearance, greeting fans and posing for pictures. In the booth, Terrance told people about e-books and downloadable movies, Zinio online magazines, the Freegal music service, and Beanstack. All these FREE services excited leaders and parents, who carried off flyers and bookmarks filled with information.

The Girl Scouts decorated cut-out leaves with what they liked most about the library. more than 150 participated. The leaves will be part of a display at the Central Library in February. For helping to create the display, each Girl Scout received a patch with Bentley's picture stitched into it.

Girl Scout-decorated leaves,
ready for display at the Central Library.

The Library Patch for Girl Scouts,

It was a lively event, with lots to see and do. Next to the FCPL booth, a radio station challenged people to hit a golf ball into a putting cup. Costumed members of the 501st (the local Star Wars re-enactors chapter) swung light sabers as onlookers oohed and ahhed.

Rita putts at the
booth next door.
Terrance learns a lesson:
never jostle a Jedi.
It was a good day for Girl Scouts, families, cookies, fun, and learning about the library. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Books for Them


Beanstack is a new library resource that matches your child to quality children's literature, from  board books for babies to pre-teen fiction.

Just Imagine
Imagine your own electronic librarian, one who knows your child and can recommend books that meet their needs. Each week, your "Robo-brarian" would let you know about worthwhile books that fit your child's tastes and reading level. It would track reading, reward achievement, and suggest enrichment activities.

What Does Beanstack Do?
Beanstack sends e-mails with book suggestions tailored to your child's interests. The website features themed combinations of booklists for reading, subject exploration  learning tracks, and learning tips.

How To Begin
To begin with Beanstack, parents (or computer-savvy kids) fill out a reader profile with contact information, reading level, and reading likes. Explore the service. Enter what books are read. Earn colorful badges.

Oh, The Things You Can Do!
Beanstack's learning tracks are aimed at children from pre-readers to twelve-year-olds. Learning tracks are grouped sets of activities about animals, plants, cultures, behaviors, famous people, and other topics. Each theme has its own activities to engage young minds and reinforce learning skills. For example, the learning track on "Autumn" includes seven books to read, music to listen to, crafts, games, and fun facts. This FREE service helps prepare youngsters for a lifetime of learning. Come on! Climb the Beanstack!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Music to Your Ears

Music--great music--is part of our lives, but it can cost you...unless you can find a way to get it free and legal.

Enter the Fresno County Public Library and Freegal.

The library subscribes to databases and online services to make them freely available to the public. Freegal's catalogue of over 8,000,000 songs and 15,000 music videos is ready to be streamed or downloaded to a mobile device or a home computer.

The collection can be searched by song title, artist, album, or genre. Library card holders can download three songs for personal use a week and stream three hours of FREE listening pleasure per week. Everything from classic performers...
 to current hitmakers...

 to one-hit wonders...

 to unique kinds of music...

are all ready to be heard.

A month of downloads can give you all the songs on a great album that you can put on a CD or store on a device, or make up a set of your favorite tunes to set a mood while you work or study. The music is for non-commercial use only, to play for small groups of friends or listen on your own.

Freegal is one of the ways the FCPL tries to meet the needs of Fresno County and its people. Give it a listen.