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!

Book-to-Action: Hackathon!


Here’s your chance to dive into the maker movement while giving something back to the community.  As part of the library’s Book-to-Action series you’ll help design and build an interactive Rube Goldberg-style machine to be displayed at the Arcade Library’s Design Spot.  We’re putting the ideas in David Lang’s book, Zero to Maker, into action.  The device will inspire people of all ages to learn more about design and engineering.  Don’t worry if you’ve never built anything before—you’ll have help!  All of the following events take place at HackerLab (1715 I St.), the region’s premiere makerspace and co-working venue. Please RSVP at

May 31, 10:00 a.m.—Tour HackerLab and machine design

June 7 & June 8, 10:00 a.m.—Workshop safety: procuring, planning, pre-assembly of parts

June 21, 10:00 a.m.— Mini-hackathon to assemble the machine


Book-to-Action is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Art is for everybody. – Keith Haring








Last night we enjoyed our second annual Midtown ramble, the May meeting of the alt+library book club. Attached are some images of the discoveries we made when we got “lost” on our walk route. Turns out the Sacramento actually has a dedicated program for art in public places! I had no idea. Growing up in AZ, there was a surprising commitment to public art. I remember a lot of works on the Phx freeways. And Tucson has a thriving local arts community as well. (Though lately I have a hard time admitting I’m from AZ; the politics are embarrassing.)IMG_5316[1]

Libraries and public art are often linked. There is art in, on, or around all of SPL’s branches. One of the most visible pieces is the giant book at the North Natomas branch. When I was the supervisor at the North Sacramento library, we were knitbombed (which was AWESOME). And, of course, libraries are always having art programs for all ages. My question for you is: what contribution have YOU made to public art? Are tattoos a form of public art? Check out War Ink if you think so. What’s your favorite piece of public art – hidden, easily visible, whatever – here in Sacramento?

IMG_5312[1]Also – next month’s book is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as we are partnering with the Sacramento French Film Festival and will be hosting a showing of the movie at the Arcade Library on July 2nd. Punk Rock Aerobics on June 7th. Some fun queer activities for Gay Pride Month. All of it will end up on meetup, of course. Just look there.


Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking. – Antonio Machado

” . . . the wisest phrase for this activity is the Latin solvitur ambulando (‘it is solved by walking’), attributed to St. Augustine.” – The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux.

Tada! Courtesy of one of our own librarians, we have a starting place. We’ll start at the University Art Center on 26th and J (2601 J St) at 7p on Wednesday May 21st for our Midtown Ramble. If you are still missing a copy of our selection, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, email or comment to request one.

Let’s get lost and see what we find!

By the French artist Oakoak.


If you want to print your own map, thank Downtown Grid and go for it. Midtown Map