Give me a museum and I’ll fill it. – Pablo Picasso

From Brian Selznick’s “Wonderstruck”

Our conversation last night at the alt+library book club about Wonderstruck and museums in general still has me thinking today. When I was reading Fragrant, I came across the quote comparing Pinterest to the latter day cabinets of curiosity. And per our discussion, I started to wonder what I would put in a cabinet, leave hidden in an artwork like the Panorama, or what building I would choose to use as a marker of self. (City Lights, for the record.)

What would you put in YOUR cabinet of curiosities? How would your curate your collection of self? Comment below!

Also mentioned last night, Joseph Cornell and Rhyolite. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Hyperbole and a Half for next month! Another heavily graphic read; look at some pictures, yeah?


It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and about the world. – Alice Waters

Sacramento is becoming a farm to fork capital. Slow food, sustainable farming – these are the sort of terms being used more and more frequently in the local lexicon. October is the annual Vegan Chef Challenge where a variety of restaurants offer a separate vegan menu for the month and diners vote on their favorites. (I only managed to make it to The Porch this year though, dang it.) This awareness of food, where it is coming from, what processes each item goes through on the way to your belly, is something that alt+library is interested in and we have had several raw or healthy eating programs over the last couple of years. Since we’re coming up on some serious “eating holidays”, we invite you to join us for Go Raw: Holiday Edition. If you loooooove a big fat roasted turkey, you get DOWN with your bad turkey-eating self. If you are interested in exploring some unusual raw variations on the more traditional fare, come sample the recipes we’ve collected and see what you think. (These are not mutually exclusive positions – you can dig cooked meat AND raw foods.) Holidays get heavy so keep your belly light and happy! As always, check out our meetup for upcoming programs and we hope to see you soon!


(There will definitely be dessert. Maybe even two.)

My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. – Jim Henson

The holiday season is upon us. Our Halloween book shelves are emptying out. Items checked out today are now due back in mid-November. Library of Things voting is getting WILD. So we’ve added a mellow day. An all-day Jim Henson marathon! Libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on 11/27 and 11/28 but we understand that by 11/29, you need to get out of the house. Arcade Library will be showing “The Muppet Movie“, “The Dark Crystal“, and “Labyrinth” starting at 1030a. You’re welcome to dip on and out, watch as much or as little as you like. (If you can’t make it in, the links to request a copy from the library are in the titles above.) Though I’m starting to think maybe some Charlie Brown holiday classics are in order . . .

What are your go-to holiday books/movies/music?

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Though today I think that luster is actually just the much needed rain. Surprisingly rainy days are very quiet in the library – I would think everyone (read: me) would want to be curled up in the library with an absorbing book. But AUTUMN! We at alt+library have an action-packed couple of months coming up for you:


Saturday 10/4 – alt+fitness Zombie Survival Aerobics AND (yes, AND!!) BollyWOW! at Arcade

Wednesday 10/15 – alt+library book club: The Cater Street Hangman at Coffee Garden

Friday 10/17 – the ever spooky annual Haunted Stacks at Central


Saturday 11/1 – alt+fitness Hairobics at Arcade

Wednesday 11/19 – alt+library book club: Wonderstruck at Coffee Garden

Saturday 11/22 – Go Raw: Holiday at Arcade (mmm, samples)


Saturday 12/6 – alt+fitness Holidaze Yoga at Arcade

Sunday 12/14 – Broke A$$ Holidays at Arcade (make a thing!)

Wednesday 12/17 – alt+library book club: Hyperbole and a Half at Coffee Garden

Also also also! LIBRARY OF THINGS! What, on earth, is a library of things? Why, exactly that! You, our lovely library users, get to vote on what “stuff” you want to see circulate from Arcade. Vote here. alt+library users – we want to see you. Get involved!

/jess (I used a whole lot of exclamation points. Dang.)

My sister and I had a library card when we could pass off something as a signature – Geraldine Brooks

September is National Library Card Sign-up month and alt+library wants to get you back into a branch. Or a virtual branch. Did you know you can check out and download up to 10 virtual items with your Sacramento Public Library card? You can. Or get free museum passes to a variety of local spots? You can. Or learn a new language using Rosetta Stone for free from home? Yes indeed, that too. Need information on how to fix your car? Use your library card to access the Chilton‘s database. And of course at Arcade Library, you can use our Design Spot’s 3D printers or modeling and design software. You don’t even need a library card for that.

Seriously, a library card can be the most valuable card in your wallet. When was the last time you used yours?


UPDATE: Holy cats. You can stream video too. I work here and MY mind is blown.


We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. – B. F. Skinner

As we approach the end of SPL’s summer reading program, alt+library wanted to check in and find out what you’ve been reading. Last night I finished a thrilling new Megan Abbott book, The Fever, that reminded me of Miller’s The Crucible but with less “required reading” flavor. I was also pleasantly surprised by Linda Przybyszewski’s The Lost Art of Dress (I had to copy + paste that last name), a great nonfiction book about the history of home economics programs and the women who earned advanced degrees in fields like chemistry in order to further their research and development in what is a traditionally overlooked or even derided area of study.

We’re also working on planning our alt+library programming through the end of the year – AlternaPilates, Zombie Survival Aerobics, Hair-obics, and Holidaze Yoga for the fitness, book clubs, the annual Broke A$$ holidays. You can find everything on our meetup.


SO – 2 questions! 1) what have you been reading and 2) what programs do you want to see happen in the library?


P.S. I feel really funny about using a quote from BF Skinner who, while a pioneer in psychological fields, creating the very disturbing electric shock Skinner box. But a compelling point is made nonetheless.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – Saint Augustine

With both last month’s book (Helping Me Help Myself) and this month’s selection (The Art of Eating In), the story has the potential to inspire the reader to try some of the techniques discussed in their own life.  I know I am VERY susceptible to in-text suggestion - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn always makes me long for peppermints. And a fire escape. And one of our previous selections, The Geography of Bliss, has inspired me to fly to Amsterdam in September. What book inspires YOU to do something out of your ordinary?


Image from Barnes and Noble

Any book is a self-help guide if you can take something from it. – Kevin Smith

Re-reading the July selection for alt+library book club is cracking me up. Beth Lisick has the same approach to the “self-help” genre that I do. In fact the reason my psych degree remained a BA and I opted for a Masters in Information Science, instead of going further in the psychology field. (Though arguably public librarianship is strikingly similar to counseling so there’s that . . .) But reading a humorist’s take on a variety of “gurus” in different change-your-life fields is pretty darned entertaining. That said, I definitely get sucked into articles like Lessons from Punk Rock on BuzzFeed. And I have novels that I read regularly as a form of bibliotherapy – a way to hit the reset button or be tragically self-indulgent or whatever else I might need at the time. I also love to recommend books in the same way, the right title for the right mood/time.

Image from Esquire magazine

Comment below: what is YOUR self-help book? Is it embarrassing? Or do you have a go-to you like to share?


Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.–Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love


Jeni Britton Bauer’s first cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, was a James Beard Award winner, a New York Times bestseller, and transformed the way people make ice cream at home.  If you’ve had ice cream at an alt+ program it came from this book!

In her new cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, Jeni turns her bold and inspired ideas to a wider array of desserts, delivering 100 dazzling recipes for one-of-a-kind ice cream-centric sweets.

June 24, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts with cookbook author Jeni Britton Bauer

Central Library
828 I St.

Come learn new recipes that play with texture, temperature and color. Discover breakthrough new tricks with dairy-free and soft-serve ice cream and frozen custard. Jeni will share the stories behind her flavors and offer samples of some of her seasonal summer ice creams!  In addition to scooping ice cream at this event I plan to use this opportunity to beg Jeni to open a shop in Sacramento.


I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve. – Charles de Montesquieu

Happy Summer Reading! No, seriously, have you signed up in your local library? Summer Reading is the biggest programming push of the entire year. Every branch has tons of activities and displays and everything else you could hope for going on RIGHT NOW. For those of us who (happily) don’t own children, there is still plenty happening. So often adults dismiss summer reading programs as “for kids” but that is WRONG-O! Did you know that “adults who read build up a much larger “cognitive reserve” than those who don’t—meaning they can hold on to mental sharpness much later into old age”? You could also win an iPad mini by participating. Looking for some title suggestions? Check out the alt+library book club previous picks. Or the Great Reads on the website. Or just walk into a branch a look around! Judge a book by its’ cover. There is a book for every person, every subject, every interest. Supporting summer reading programs supports libraries. You know the places that let you take home thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for weeks at a time? Yeah, us. Stay cool this summer and treat yourself to a book. And a popsicle. Or ice cream!