Pass It On

Tidbits and treats from the Sunnyvale Public Library Reference Division

Leap Day! February 28, 2008

Filed under: History — svref @ 8:29 pm

greatwalljump.jpgCheck your clocks and calendars…it’s a leap year and that means March will have to wait a day.

It’s fairly common knowledge that every four years, we add an extra day to the month of February to help account for the fact that the Earth’s orbit around the Sun actually takes slightly more than 365 days. Less commonly know, however, is that century years (1900, 2000, 2100, for example) only receive a leap day if the year is evenly divisible by 400. So the year 2000 (2000÷400=5) had an extra day, but the year 2100 (2100÷400=5.25) will not. This is because the actual length of the year is close to 365.242 days, which would create three too many days added over a 400-year period.

If it all seems too technical, you might be interested to know that leap years have long been associated with a variety of superstitions and traditions. A popular old wives’ tale makes it proper on a leap day for a woman to propose marriage to her man and makes him beholden to accept the proposal. Some ancient cultures perceived leap days to be harbingers of bad luck, leading governments to ignore them altogether at times.

Signs don’t point to the federal government skipping this year’s leap day, and most of us aren’t yet nervous about 2100, so unless you have designs on proposing tomorrow, leap day 2008 will probably go off without a hitch. Unless your time/date clock doesn’t track years and thinks it’s March 1…


Chitra Divakaruni to speak at Sunnyvale Public Library February 27, 2008

Filed under: Authors,Books,Chitra Divakaruni,Uncategorized — svref @ 9:00 am

chitra.gifAuthor Chitra Divakaruni
Award winning author Chitra Divakaruni will speak about her new book, The Palace of Illusions, on Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m. at the Library.


“the real McCoy” February 26, 2008

Filed under: invention,Patents & Trademarks,Technology,Uncategorized — svref @ 8:40 am

“the real McCoy”African-American Inventor, Master Mechanic, and Engineer Elijah McCoy worked as a train fireman and oilman for the Michigan Central Railroad.  He created a device that allowed an engine to remain in motion as the device regulated oil flow into machine parts that needed constant lubrication.  Patented in 1872, this invention was a revolution for the steam engine.  It was in such demand that railroad men ordering the part insisted that they receive Elijah McCoy’s invention and not an inferior substitute.  It its said that buyers began asking for “the real McCoy,” popularizing the expression, which eventually came to refer to anything of undisputed quality that is neither imitation nor substitute.


Read-Along Shakespeare, Monday March 3 February 25, 2008

Filed under: Programs,Shakespeare — svref @ 9:09 am
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wives.jpgGather with other fans of Shakespeare to read the plays and enyoy them in a very personal way. The group meets the first Monday of every month unless holidays move us to a later Monday.

March 3   The Merry Wives of Windsor

April 7      Richard the Third


Paying for College February 22, 2008

Filed under: Books,college,Community Information,financial aid,Money,Teens — svref @ 4:30 pm

Financial Aid 101

Are you still trying to figure out how to pay for college?

Federal Student Aid and State Student Aid programs can help by providing grants, low-interest loans, and work-study opportunities.

When applying for government financial aid, there are important federal deadlines and state deadlines to keep in mind. Most importantly, if you are applying for a Cal Grant for fall 2008, you must have your FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification forms completed and postmarked by March 2, 2008. And that date is approaching fast!

If you are looking for additional ways to get through those college years without going broke, the library has a variety of books on student aid, including information on obtaining scholarships, lowering education costs, and saving for college.

Hopefully this information will help you reach your educational goals without breaking the bank!


Focus on Trademarks February 21, 2008

Filed under: Classes — svref @ 8:45 am
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tm Tuesday, February 26, 2008, 2-4 p.m.

Explore trademark information available on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site and get a brief look at trademark and business name searching in a free class in the Program Room at the Sunnyvale Public Library. Find out how to search for the owner of a particular trademark. Learn to find forms, fees, assignment information, guides and manuals, file histories and status information.


Blogs & Blogging class, Feb. 27 February 20, 2008

Filed under: Classes,Technology — svref @ 2:08 pm

word_puzzle.jpgWednesday, February 27, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The popularity of blogs has exploded over the past few years and is transforming the way the Web works. Come hear practical ideas for launching your web presence. Learn about free tools to create a blog in minutes and how new technologies can help you reach the world with your message.