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.)

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.)

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?


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!

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

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.

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.