Pass It On

Tidbits and treats from the Sunnyvale Public Library Reference Division

Sandra Faber – The Universe – What Recent Discoveries Mean for Astronomy and Humanity February 26, 2009

Filed under: Technology — svref @ 10:29 am
Tags: , ,

faberThursday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Renowned University of California astrophysicist Sandy Faber will deliver a talk about current space research and the Hubble Space Telescope. Ms. Faber’s important work has focused on the evolution of galaxies and the structure of the universe.


Monthly Book Group: “Not a Genuine Black Man” February 19, 2009

Filed under: Books,Humor,Monthly Book Group,Programs,Silicon Valley Reads — svref @ 11:15 am

jacketaspxTonight, Thursday, February 19, the Library’s Monthly Book Group will be discussing Brian Copeland’s Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider. This is the author’s memoir of growing up during the 1970s in one of the first African- American families to move to San Leandro.  Not a Genuine Black Man is the 2009 Silicon Valley Reads selection. Please join us this evening at 7 p.m. in the Library Program Room.

Note: Brian Copeland will not be at the book discussion. He will be speaking at the Sunnyvale Public Library on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.


What Happened to My TV? February 18, 2009

Filed under: Community Information,Technology,Television — svref @ 5:23 pm

dtv-small-shadowLast month, we posted on this blog that the deadline for full-power television stations to transmit only in digital format (popularly known as “DTV”) had been set for yesterday, February 17, 2009.  Congress has since moved the deadline back to June 12, 2009.  Some stations, however, are moving ahead with the original date or plan to switch before the new June 12 deadline.  This means that those consumers still receiving TV signals through rabbit-ear or rooftop antennas and who have not yet set up a digital converter box, will notice today that some channels, such as KOFY and KICU, have disappeared and more will continue to disappear over the next few months.

Fortunately, there are many options available to make the move to digital, although some cost more or require more work than others.

One of the simplest options is to buy a new television set that contains a digital tuner.  Practically every new television you find in a store today will be digital-ready, and the few that are not are required by law to be clearly marked as such.  Be aware that digital television (DTV) is not the same thing as high-definition (HDTV) and that if you purchase a TV simply because it says ‘HDTV’ on the box, even though it will contain a digital tuner, it may be more machine than you require.

Another option being advertised in many places is to subscribe to a cable or satellite television service.  These are popular options that may have benefits, including digital recording capability and many more channels than regular over-the-air TV, but will have a recurring monthly cost and may also require you to purchase or rent additional equipment anyway.

Those consumers wishing to keep their older television set will need to obtain a digital converter box.  This box can be purchased at most electronics stores and connects between your antenna and TV.  Congress created a coupon program for consumers to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, to be used towards the cost of eligible converter boxes.  The funds available for coupons have been exhausted but applications are still being accepted and will be fulfilled as existing coupons expire or more funds become available.  Since it is unclear how long it may take to issue new coupons, some consumers may choose to purchase a converter box without a coupon, although coupons cannot be used for reimbursement.

Much more information is available from the FCC at either their website,, or their toll-free information line, 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).  Information and applications for the converter box program can be found at


Blogs & Blogging class February 24 February 17, 2009

Filed under: Classes — svref @ 9:00 am

canTuesday, February 24, 3 -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 new technologies to help you reach the world with your message. We will also look at the rise of microblogging.

This program is free and no registration is required.


Library Closed for Presidents’ Day February 12, 2009

Filed under: Holidays — svref @ 2:23 pm

The Sunnyvale Library will be closed on Monday, February 16, 2009, for the Presidents’ Day Holiday.  We will reopen with regular hours on Tuesday the 17th.

LincolnSplitter42-single-BGv1This year’s holiday is particularly special as the nation celebrates the bicentennial of the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, born on this day in 1809 near Hodgenville in Hardin County, Kentucky.  Lincoln would become the 16th President of the United States in 1861 and is particularly remembered for his leadership through the years of the Civil War and his untimely assassination at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865, barely a month into his second term in office.

This year, President Lincoln will be honored in two extremely visible ways, as the United States Mint will be releasing a commemorative series of four pennies with scenes depicting Lincoln’s life on the reverse (tails) sides, and the United States Postal Service will release a series of four postage stamps also featuring scenes from his life.

LincolnPresident42-single-BGv1Lincoln has long been a popular subject on postage stamps and any history buff or philatelist will be fascinated by a new exhibition from the National Postal Museum available online entitled From Postmaster to President: Celebrating Lincoln’s 200th Birthday Through Stamps and Postal History.


Greenlight Fair, February 21 February 11, 2009

Filed under: Environment,Programs,Technology,Transportation — svref @ 12:49 pm

greenlightgrn-logoGreenlight Fair
Saturday, February 21, 2009
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Could your choice of cars change the world?

Want to learn more about “going green” and environmental awareness?  Come view some demonstration vehicles and explore the booths at the Greenlight Fair to learn more about hybrid vehicles, alternative fuels, and reducing the impact of automobiles on the environment.

The American Automobile Association’s (AAA) Greenlight Initiative supports the development of alternative fuel solutions.  Homestead High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students and the Greenlight Initiative have partnered to promote the awareness of alternative fuels and hybrids.

This program is free and no registration is required.


Great Books IV – Henry James

Filed under: Authors,Fiction,reader's advisory — svref @ 11:28 am


Henry James (1843-1916) wrote of innocent people in a harsh world, and of Americans discovering the complexity of European society. His novels often had a global focus, with characters moving in a social world that encompassed New York, Paris and other international hot spots.

Contemporaries like H.G. Wells objected to the sometimes ponderous style of James’s fiction, but his strong themes and patiently constructed effects attracted other fans like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. James’s stories and novels continue to fascinate readers, and many have been adapted into films. “Every good story is of course both a picture and an idea,” James wrote in 1888, “and the more they are interfused the better the problem is solved.”

Stop by our Great Authors display in the fiction section of the library to discover writing by and about Henry James.

Sources: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009; “Henry James,” Dictionary of American Biography, American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936; The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, Oxford University Press, 1997. Photo from