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

Move over Grumpy Cat…


Meet Sacramento’s most famous cat.

To celebrate the summer reading theme “Paws to Read” Sacramento Public Library will be hosting a real reading heavyweight: Norm Lopez. Stop on by Central Library Sunday, June 8th at 1 pm to meet the Mayor of Midtown and sign up for the Summer Reading program! In addition to hanging at the Sacramento Public Library, Norm will also be promoting the summer reading program with a little free library at his normal spot in midtown.

Get out your poodle skirt…

Capital Decades50

We’re celebrating the 1950s in Sacramento for this year’s Capital Decades series! As with previous years, the library is offering engaging programs every Tuesday in May that are beyond the usual history lecture – we want to explore what day-to-day life was really like in Sacramento during the decade.  I am happy to announce that this year we will partner with Sacramento Modern (SacMod) on displays and our May 13 program (Gretchen Steinberg will share some great images and facts about Sacramento fallout shelters).  We will be screening a rockin’ Elvis movie for Classic Movie Night on May 6, exploring the Cold War and atomic era on May 13, talking about the sights and stories of the decade with native Sacramentans on May 20, and showing a rarely-seen Sacramento Chamber of Commerce film from 1950 on May 27.  All programs will take place in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Also, there will be 1950s displays designed and installed by Sac State intern Kaitlyn Crain and SacMod at Central Library throughout the month.  For more details about the series, visit

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. – George Bernard Shaw is our Maker event – Author and maker David Lang will be at Arcade Library to talk about his book, Zero to Maker, maker culture, and answer questions.  While you’re here, tour the Library’s 3D printing lab–the Design Spot. See our rainbow elephant, bird mobile, the Hex Flex, and more!

But what do YOU want to make? Lunch? The world a better place? A 3D printed candy box? People smile? A crocheted doily? Come in to the library, we can help you make almost anything. My heart’s desire is to make people love the library as much as I do.

And vegan coconut lime rice pudding. It’s delicious.


We’re still accepting submissions for the Midtown ramble in May – email to include your spot! Don’t forget to get a copy of A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

The wild nerves of your poems will translate straight into my tongue – D.M. Thomas

They’re HERE! Just picked up my box of books for World Book Night. Lori and I will be handing out free(!) books on Wednesday April 23rd somewhere in the midtown area. Check the meetup for details. So – speaking of sharing the joy of words – HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! I’ve been sharing poems with a couple of friends on a near daily basis. My favorite Emily Dickinson, illustrating so perfectly the experience of the current warm weather, is below:

I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed

I taste a liquor never brewed,

From tankards scooped in pearl;

Not all the vats upon the Rhine

Yield such an alcohol!

Inebriate of air am I,

And debauchee of dew,

Reeling, through endless summer days,

From inns of molten blue

 – Emily Dickinson

Banksy image

Any favorite poets or poems? Share in the comments! We’re also still looking for spots for our midtown ramble in May so by all means email me or post in the comments. Also, big things are in the works for your alt+library. UNEXPECTED things. So blow your dandelions and wishes in our direction.


Heeeeeeey. Love alt+library? Wanna be our Friend? Find out more!

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. – Henry David Thoreau

Delicious springtime has come around again and we are beginning to plan our second annual Midtown ramble in conjunction with the alt+library book club. May’s selection is A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit so we’d like to share the best places in Sacramento you’ve found when you were lost (intentionally or accidentally).  Our parameters are smaller this year: between H & P and between 20th & 28th. Not familiar with that area? Go wander now! Find what you can find, something that delights or astonishes you. Be a tourist in your own hometown. Our walk will be Wednesday May 21st – start place to be shared soon. Please email your location suggestions to so we can construct a route.


You just NEVER know what you might find when you wander!
Image courtesy of Street Art Utopia.

Television is chewing gum for the eyes. – Frank Lloyd Wright

Lora Zombie has perfectly illustrated how I feel when I am on camera.

Grab some ocular Bubble Yum – Lori and I will be on cable access today. LiveWire with Ray Tatar at 5p. To talk about our beloved alt+library and all the delightful things we get to do in and out of libraries. Then you can join us LIVE at Coffee Garden tonight! to discuss Octavia Butler’s Fledgling. And in April (which is fast approaching) we’ll have our April Fool’s Sacramento History program, Punk Rock Aerobics, Book to Art for Hyperbole and a Half – all of the fun. Remember, we are always accepting program ideas, book suggestions, and compliments. Especially compliments.


You know, there’s nothing damnable about being a strong woman. The world needs strong women. – Ginger Rogers

I’ve seen the quote about Fred Astaire, “Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” (Bob Thaves) and it never fails to make me smile. During Women’s History month, nearly every library will have a strong/powerful/notable women display up in the branch and the variety is astonishing. A couple of years back, I did a women’s history month program at the North Sacramento Library where I played a song by a different female musician each day we were open. Oddly, no one seemed to notice the 3-4 minutes of rocking out but we enjoyed it! See photo:Image

But, as always, we of alt+library want to hear from you. What woman/women inspire you and why? (This is a little like a wishing well, I keep dropping in questions but there are rarely comment echos splashing back up; I remain optimistic). I just read Janet Mock’s biography, Redefining Realness, and DAMN if that isn’t inspiring! She overcame a LOT to be the woman she is today. Also inspired every day by the women I skate with on the Sac City Rollers.