Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

December 27, 2005 > Magazines, movies, manuals, and much more

Magazines, movies, manuals, and much more

by Sabrina Mahajan

If you think your local library is just for checking out free books, periodicals, videos, CDs, and DVDs, think again. Modern libraries are filled with a wide variety of resources for everyone, regardless of age. For those too busy to go visit or with limited transportation, the library will come to you through the Bookmobile - a library on wheels.

Alameda County:

Library services can be found at 10 branch locations in Alameda County including Albany, Dublin, Fremont, Newark, Union City and the unincorporated communities of Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. Milpitas consolidated three branches into one main library in 1983 under the Santa Clara County Library system. Both Alameda and Santa Clara County libraries support community outreach services including Bookmobile visits, a Literacy Program, Senior Outreach, and at county jails. A Business Library is located in the Fremont Main Library.

Established in 1910, the Alameda County Library is governed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. It is funded primarily by local property taxes, with additional revenue from state grants and contracts with cities for additional open hours and services. The Alameda County Library Foundation and active Friends or Library League groups in each community support library programs and services.
An active group of library supporters were able to bring Santa Clara County Library bookmobile services to Milpitas in 1955. A civic center branch opened in 1958 followed by the Calaveras Branch in 1962 and the Sunnyhills Branch in 1966. In 1983, the locations consolidated and a comprehensive Milpitas Library moved into a 19, 500 square foot building in Town Center.
Following are some of the enrichment programs offered by these libraries:

The Bookmobile operates as a branch of the Library, A library on wheels, the bookmobile is filled with books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, CD-ROMs and other materials in Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, and many other international languages for children, young adults and adults. Library materials are checked out for two weeks and may be returned to the Bookmobile or to any branch. The Bookmobile Schedule can be found at and

Stephen Perrier, Alameda County Bookmobile Supervisor said, "This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Bookmobile, which was introduced in Washington County, Maryland in 1905. Mary Titcomb, the first librarian of Washington County Free Library, decided to use a "Library Wagon" to deliver books. "The book goes to the man, not waiting for the man to come to the book." He further added that, "Today, a hundred years later our mission is still the same- to bring books and other materials to people who cannot come to the library." He is very excited about the bookmobile program and encourages everyone to make use of this excellent feature of the library, which comes to "your front yard."

Resources for kids:
Libraries offer a huge choice of services for kids, students and teens including bilingual story time for elementary students, homework help and chess classes for the older kids. For kids in 5th to 8th grade, the library offers a web surfing class, which explains about using the Internet to access information. A popular Summer Reading Game program includes readers and children being read to. Most branches also have a Kid Power program in which junior high students help others play the Summer Reading Game. In addition, a wide variety of special events from storytellers to puppet shows and magicians are scheduled at the branches on an ongoing basis. Look for information about the reading game and the special programs when school lets out for the summer.

Resources for seniors:
Considering the ethnic diversity of the Bay Area, the library has various programs geared toward the senior population. One of the upcoming programs is about consumer protection for seniors- explaining how to avoid scams and frauds and prevent identity theft.

Internet resources for seniors can be found at the library such as a benefit check-up for people age 55 and over including programs that may offset costs of prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other essential items or services. Resources to help Medicare recipients sort out their options is also a popular service. The Senior Outreach Service trains volunteers to bring the riches of the library to seniors who are unable to visit their local branch library. For more information about Senior Services, stop by your local branch, or call (510) 745-1491, (510) 745-1499 or (408) 262-1171 (Milpitas).

Taxpayer Assistance Program
IRS-trained volunteers with the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provide help in filling out tax forms to seniors and other low-income persons whose household income in 2005 was less than a certain amount, at certain library locations.
Interpreters in Farsi, Indian dialects, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog are provided at some branches.

Test taking made easy
Practice taking tests online with immediate scoring for ACT, SAT, GED, CBEST and other academic exams. This also includes civil service, military, law enforcement, real estate and other career exams and the U.S. Citizenship test. You will need to register to create a free account with Learning Express Library so you can access your own exams on repeat visits from your home or in the library.

Adult Literacy
The Adult Literacy Program provides educational opportunities for adults who want to improve their literacy skills. Students develop reading, writing and critical thinking skills through classroom exploration of social issues. Classes are held both day and evening during the weekdays. Most of the students in this program are bilingual with a few monolingual English speakers. Teachers are professional educators, experienced volunteers or student interns enrolled in teaching programs. Information meetings to enroll in classes are held monthly. Call (510) 745-1480 or (408) 262-1171 (Milpitas) for more information.

Lawyer in the Library
The Alameda County Bar Association sponsors this program; a lawyer visits the library for about two hours every month to offer free advice about legal matters. Sallie Pine, reference library manager said, "This has been a successful program for number of years." To learn more about the program and find out about the schedule and location to make an appointment with the lawyer, please check the library website or contact the library at (510) 745-1413.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Community Assistance Program
A representative from the Congresswoman's office visits the Alameda County library each week to help with federal related issues, including immigration, military service, Social Security and Medicare. To learn more about this please call the Congresswoman's office, (510) 763-0370 for an appointment.

The Bookleggers are a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting independent reading by children. They do this by visiting classrooms and introducing books that kids simply can't resist. Booklegger volunteers literally come from all over the globe and from every background imaginable. They have in their ranks a pizza maker, an accountant, several retired teachers, librarians, an editor, a computer engineer, a dental hygienist, a BART engineer, an ex-KrazyGlue salesperson, moms, dads and grandparents. All have in common a great love of bringing books and children together.

After training, Bookleggrs enter the Fremont Unified School District classrooms to bring the joys of reading to children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Children in Fremont have elevated Bookleggers to near folk-heroine (and hero!) status, can point them out on the streets and can recount their booktalks to friend and parents. For more information about this award-winning program and to sign up for the next training session, call the Fremont Main Library Children's Desk at (510) 745-1421, and ask for Gail Orwig (Booklegger Director) or Karen Pacheco (Fremont Main Children's Services Supervisor).

"We have programs for all ages from 2 year olds, to our book discussion group, to our storytelling workshop. Five times a year the Math Science Nucleus visits us presenting fun science programs funded through a grant from Lam Research Corporation. The coming year will feature cultural programs that will include Chinese New Year, Celebrate Scotland and Juneteenth. And don't forget our Summer Reading Game - fun for the entire family," said Pacheco.

These are some of the many community enrichment programs offered by the Alameda County Library and Santa Clara County Library. To learn more about all of the above mentioned programs please check or call (510) 745-1500 for the Alameda County Library. The Milpitas Library can be contacted at www. or by calling (408) 262-1171.

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