Fun at Foster's blog

Eastern and Western Perspectives on Health and Well-being

Visit the Topping Room on April 16, 2014, for the next installment of the E.P. Foster Library and CSU Channel Islands Lecture Series!

This event will feature a talk by Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez, who will examine happiness and well-being from Eastern and Western perspectives.

The talk begins at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

The Month of the Military Child

In 1986, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger designated each April as “The Month of the Military Child” to celebrate the contributions and inspiration of military children. There are approximately two million military children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. April is a time to acknowledge the strength and resilience of children who grow up in a unique and often changing environment and to reinforce that the health and well-being of military children contributes to the strength of our Armed Forces as a whole.

As the daughter of a lifetime Army veteran, I know how challenging, as well as rewarding, it can be to grow up as an “Army Brat.” We only saw our extended family in between deployments, if we had enough time. The longest time I ever lived in any one place was three-and-a-half years. I attended three different high schools in three years. This was “normal” for us. I look at the photos from my childhood and I see loving parents who did their best to create a home, no matter where we lived. As long as we were together, we were home.

Military children have a unique heritage and may not always understand civilian life. When asked about our “hometown” we may choose a location where we particularly enjoyed living, the place we lived the longest, or one of our parents’ hometowns. Today’s military children have different dilemmas to deal with than when I was growing up. My mom was a WAC, but she left the service when she married my dad. Today, many military children may have both parents in the service.

Ventura County is home to two military bases, Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station and Port Hueneme Navy Base. There are many families who make use of our libraries, including E.P. Foster. We have a number of materials available that focus on military children and their families.

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Haiku Poetry Contest @ Foster Library

Come celebrate National Haiku Day with E.P. Foster Library by entering our Haiku Poetry Contest! You can enter at the library or by visiting this link between April 2 and April 16.

Entries should follow the traditional haiku structure: three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. There will be prizes for the winners! Call or visit the library for more details.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winners!

Book Appetit: Sunflowers on the Square

Join us at E.P. Foster Library on Saturday, April 5, in the Topping Room for our next Book Appetit event!

The owner of Sunflowers on the Square, a local Ventura bakery, will be at the event to provide tips on creating delicious treats as well as give a live baking demonstration!

It all starts at 5 p.m. Call or visit the library for details!

The Big Read @ Foster: Captain Luis Carlos Montalván

On April 15, 2014, come by E.P. Foster Library to listen to a talk by Captain Luis Carlos Montalván, author of Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.

Captain Montalván will be discussing the “war after the war,” the human-animal bond, and an inspirational story of healing and hope.

The event is at 6 p.m. in the Topping Room. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Veterans Home of California—Ventura

On March 7, 2014, Foster Library opened its Veterans Resource Center inside the library. Its purpose is to assist veterans in finding resources they may not be aware are available. The Veterans Home of California—Ventura, which opened in December 2010, is just one of the resources available to veterans who may need assisted-living accommodations. The Veterans Home provides California veterans with a living environment that protects their dignity and contributes to their sense of self-reliance as well as self-worth.


As part of its commitment to provide materials to educate and enlighten, E. P. Foster Library has many items available for veterans.


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Novelties: “Sycamore Row,” by John Grisham

In 1989, John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was released. Though it initially had a modest showing, the novel ultimately became a best-seller, even being made into a feature film in 1996. Twenty-four years later we have Sycamore Row (2013), Grisham’s latest offering, which reunites readers with the time, place, and familiar characters from his incredible debut.

A master of the legal thriller, Grisham is also returning to the subject of race relations in Sycamore Row. Jake Brigance is a Mississippi lawyer facing an interesting case. An elderly and extremely wealthy man has hanged himself after penning an alternate will that cuts off his immediate family and leaves the bulk of his estate to his African-American housekeeper. Brigance has been chosen to ensure that the will is faithfully executed—largely due to the reputation he earned in A Time to Kill—which proves difficult once the deceased’s next-of-kin learn they have been passed-over. In working the case he partners with several familiar faces, including Lucien Wilbanks and Harry Rex Vonner from A Time to KillSycamore Row’s place on the New York Times Best Seller List testifies to Grisham’s ability to write complex legal fiction in a way that is engaging and leaves the reader ready for more.
If you can’t get your hands on Sycamore Row right away, consider looking into The Reversal (2010), by Michael Connelly. Being a NoveList Plus read-alike for Grisham’s latest, the two have a lot in common: they are both legal thrillers, they both have fast-paced, suspenseful storylines, and they both revisit a recurring character from their author’s extended universe. Mickey Haller is a defense attorney, first introduced to readers in The Lincoln Lawyer (2005). In The Reversal, however, Haller is called upon to join the prosecution for a case involving a man whose conviction for killing a young girl has been recently overturned. Haller agrees to work on the retrial along with his ex-wife and half-brother, both characters fans of Connelly will be familiar with—Haller’s half-brother Harry Bosch is actually the subject of his own series of books by Connelly. Like Grisham, Connelly manages to write courtroom scenes in a way that turns even routine procedures into page-turning scenes.
Rounding out this legal suspense trio is I Heard That Song Before (2007), by Mary Higgins Clark. When she was a child, Kay Lansing—the daughter of a gardener who worked on an estate owned by the Carrington family—overheard a suspicious exchange involving desperation and blackmail. Now 28 years old, Kay returns to the estate to ask a favor of its present owner, Peter Carrington, and finds herself falling in love with him. But Peter has a shady past, having been suspected of involvement with the death of a teenage girl years before, not to mention the death of his pregnant wife some time later. As the accusations unfold, Kay struggles with the faith she has in her husband on the one hand and a gnawing sense of doubt on the other. Ultimately, she learns that finding the truth might mean putting herself in significant danger. While Clark’s formula may feel familiar to her avid fans, it will most likely keep you guessing until the very end.

Sycamore Row, The Reversal, and I Heard That Song Before are all available to borrow at E.P. Foster Library. You can also access NoveList Plus from our eLibrary’s Reading Suggestions section. If the book you are interested in is not currently on the shelf at your branch, you can always request a copy either in-person, over the phone, or online through our catalog.


Woven together by Ronald Martin.

California Young Reader Medal Nominees

The California Young Reader Medal program encourages recreational reading of popular literature among the young people of our state. Since its inception in 1974, millions of California children have nominated, read, and voted for the winners of the California Young Reader Medal.

Books are nominated for the medal in four categories: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-6), Middle School/Junior High (6-9), and Young Adult (9-12). Students may read and vote for books in any and all categories, but they must read all the books nominated in a category to be eligible to vote.

This is a student program and books can only be nominated and voted upon by students. Students read the nominated books from July through March, vote for their favorite, and submit the results to the CYRM committee. All CYRM ballots are due by April 1 of each year.

The Ventura County Reading Association (VCRA), an affiliate of the California Reading Association (CRA) and the International Reading Association (IRA), is a professional organization of teachers, student teachers, administrators, librarians, instructional assistants, parents, and others committed to literacy efforts in Ventura County. Each year, VCRA members work to promote literacy through a variety of dynamic events and educational activities.

Participating in a contest is always exciting! In California, children have the chance each year to nominate, read, and vote for books to win the California Young Reader Medal (CYRM). You can have your children participate in the CYRM voting!  Find out more at www.californiayoungreadermedal.org. The website provides the titles of the 2013-14 CYRM nominees, ballot information, and nomination forms. All CYRM ballots submitted for 2013-14 must be postmarked by April 1.

Even better, bring your children to the CYRM event at E.P. Foster Library in Ventura to hear and vote for the five books nominated in the Primary category. This special event will take place on Wednesday, March 26 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Come in and vote for these nominees:

Can’t wait to see you there!

OLLI @ Foster: Women of the Vietnam Era

Stop by E.P. Foster Library on March 30, 2014, to hear OLLI presenter Roz McGrath give a free talk entitled “Women of the Vietnam Era.”

The talk will explore how women were able to gain experience with organizing protests and crafting effective antiwar rhetoric that would later serve to form the foundation of the Women's Movement.

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Topping Room. We hope to see you there!

Opening the Golden Gate

On a recent weekend I was in San Francisco to do a presentation at the Disney Family Museum and, after months of drought, it rained all weekend. Still, it was atmospheric and there is one landmark that retains its glamour and grandeur in all winds and weathers: the Golden Gate Bridge.


 

Though that weekend I was not able to get close to it, there is a magnificent view of bridge and bay from the second level of the museum (which is in the Presidio), a thrilling panorama to which I kept returning each day.

And every time I marveled at how such a superstructure was constructed in the first place. When I was back in Ventura, in one of the coincidences that sometimes mysteriously happen, I came across a fascinating documentary among E.P. Foster’s varied collection of DVDs. The “American Moments” disc, The Golden Gate Bridge, covers the raising of the structure from the initial planning stages (and there were many) through construction and opening day.

The 30-minute DVD features a brief introduction which leads into the main section, a vintage (and mostly unrestored) film which condenses the years of labor on one of the most challenging construction projects of the 20th century into about 25 minutes.

The film was produced by Bethlehem Steel, who supplied most of the steel for the bridge, and I was amazed to discover that much of it was produced in Steelton, Pennsylvania, a steel town a little south of Harrisburg, where I grew up (I remember seeing the frightening slag heaps at night, like waves of glowing lava, in the steel mills of Harrisburg).


The steel mills of Harrisburg, PA, late 1940s. View from the State St. bridge, steel corporation sign in the background. The Steelton steel mills which produced steel for the Golden Gate were south of Harrisburg. KODACHROME photo by Ross J. Care.

 

The Steelton steel was then shipped through the Panama Canal to SF where construction slowly began.

Inch by inch the two huge towers were raised and work on the suspensions and roadway began. Dizzying shots of men on girders, towers, and suspension cables alternated with views down into the turbulent waters of the bay.

The grainy, sometimes fuzzy black-and-white archival footage is also a vivid reminder of the early days of cinema itself, and has a ghostly “You Are There” quality. It’s in stark contrast to the sleek, iconic lines of the finally realized project, a still-Golden Gate that retains its sense of wonder to this day, even when partially shrouded in fog.


 

-Text and recent photos by Ross  B. Care

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