Noe Valley Voice March 2010

Noe Valley Voice

By Noe Valley Adult Services Librarian Susan Higgins

Spring is almost here, and for many it's time to go outside and explore. If you're interested in outdoor pursuits, the library has lots of books to help you commune with nature or give you ideas for interesting places to spend a day or a weekend. Here's a sampling:

For Adults and Teens

Field Guides

- The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley is a portable, regional edition of the popular birding guide. Includes descriptions, illustrations and range maps.

- National Geographic Birding Essentials by Jonathan Alderfer provides "all the tools, techniques, and tips you need to begin and become a better birder."

- Written for both experienced and novice butterfly watchers, Arthur Shapiro's Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions discusses more than 130 species and features full-color plates.


- In Wildly Successful Plants: Northern California, Pam Pei rce identifies a wide variety of easy-to-grow plants that create beautiful gardens. For novice and experienced gardeners.

- The richly illustrated Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness, by Bunny Guinness and Jacqueline Knox, shows design ideas for "healthy" gardens, as well as exercises that prepare the body for gardening.


- Best Hikes Near San Francisco by Linda Hamilton offers descriptions and maps of hikes within an hour's drive of the city.

- Sixty Hikes Within 60 Miles of San Francisco by Jane Huber covers easy and more strenuous hikes in nine Bay Area counties, including Marin, Napa, Contra Costa, and San Mateo.

Local Travel

- The Cafes of San Francisco: A Guide to the Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of America's Original Cafe Society, by A.K. Crump et al, is an illustrated tour of some of the best cafes in the area.

- Frommer's San Francisco: Free and Dirt Cheap, by Matthew Richard Poole, explores events, attraction s, entertainment, shopping, and classes.

For Children

Picture Stories for Younger Children

- In Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale, by Sibylle von Olfers, simple rhymes tell how Mother Earth's children awaken to experience new life and the color and joy of spring.

- A fox wanders through the woods and discovers the colors and sounds of spring in Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson.

- Sarah Wilson's Friends and Pals and Brothers, Too features two brothers who describe their favorite activities throughout the seasons. "In spring we bring out balls and bats. We look for frogs, we pet strange cats."

Nature Guides for Older Children

- Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area, by Chris Fisher et al, is a useful guide for identifying birds in your back yard or at the park.

- National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals, by Edward Ricciuti and Margaret Carru thers, contains full-color spreads and covers more than 150 minerals.

- Ron Russo's guide to organisms living in rocky reefs and tide pools along the Pacific Coast, Pacific Intertidal Life, explores creatures and algae from Alaska to Baja California.

To put your name on one of these books, go to and make a reservation. Or better yet, take a stroll to the Noe Valley/ Sally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street near Castro Street (phone: 415-355-5707). Enjoy the fresh air.

Need Help with Homework? Click on the Library

The San Francisco Library subscribes to a variety of online databases that you or your kids can use from your home computer. These are great resources for homework assignments, projects, and finding answers to questions. And they're available free. All you need to get started is your library card number and PIN.

Kids InfoBits: Articles, News, and Photos for Younger Children

- Go to

- Click on the link to Arti cles and Databases

- Scroll down the list of categories and click on the Student Resources link. You will see a list of databases.

- Kids InfoBits is a general reference database for children in kindergarten through Grade 5. After you click on the link to Kids InfoBits, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN.

Kids InfoBits contains information from a variety of reference sources, including articles from magazines and newspapers. You can search for information using key words or by clicking on graphics for 12 broad subject areas, such as "animals or "geography." Articles contain symbols that indicate which items are easier or more difficult to read.

For Older Kids

For older children, the Student Resource Center covers a wide range of topics. Resources include primary documents, biographies, topical essays, critical analyses, magazines, newspapers, photographs and illustrations, and audio and video clips. The Biography Resource Center is an excellent supplement to the biographical books at the library and contains biographies of more than 380,000 people.

Science Online contains definitions, essays, diagrams, biographies, and experiments covering many scientific topics. And you can browse the Encyclopedias and Dictionaries category to find a wide range of reference sources that are useful for homework assignments and projects.

These are just a few of the many useful databases that you can explore in the Articles and Databases area of


Tuesday Toddler Tales

- Toddlers 18 to 36 months (and their caregivers) are invited to come hear rhymes, music, and stories at the Tuesday morning Toddler Tales sponsored by the Noe Valley Library at 451 Jersey Street. The events are March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Family Story Time

- Kids ages 5 and younger will enjoy the library's reading-aloud program, Family Story Time, < /I>which follows Toddler Tales on Tuesdays, March 2, 9, 23 & 30, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. On Tuesday, March 16, the library will show films for children from 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Lettuce Go up on the Roof

- Sustainable garden expert Maya Donelson, in partnership with Garden for the Environment, holds a Rooftop Gardening workshop Saturday, March 6, 2 to 3 p.m. The free event will explore a variety of garden layouts and show how to build a self-watering container for food-producing plants.

A Quiet Place for Meditation

- On Sunday, March 14, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Jaymie Meyer will lead a free workshop on Breathing and Meditation techniques, "Resilience for Life." A certified Ayurveda health educator, stress management counselor, and reiki master, Meyer will show how the practice of meditation can relieve stress as well as strengthen the immune system and calm the mind.

Noe Valley Book Group

- The Noe Valley Book Discussion Group gathers on Wednesday, Ma rch 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the meeting room of the library at 451 Jersey Street. All are invited.

All events take place at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey Street near Castro Street; 415-355-5707.