Facebook’s Oculus to bring virtual reality to California libraries

From The Mercury News

“Strapping on a virtual reality headset can digitally transport a person under the sea, to the red surface of Mars or even inside the human body.But purchasing a virtual reality headset isn’t cheap, especially for low-income families.Teaming up with the California State Library, Facebook’s Oculus said Wednesday it hopes to bridge the digital divide by donating 100 sets of Rift headsets, touch controllers and computers to 90 libraries throughout California as part of a new pilot program.Participating libraries include those in San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, Sunnyvale, Campbell and other locations in the Bay Area.“By having access, it takes away the mystery of what it is and inspires,” said Cindy Ball, Oculus’ education program manager. “No matter how many videos or news reports you’ve seen about VR, once you put on that headset for the first time, that’s when you really get it.”Califa Group, a San Mateo nonprofit, is overseeing the program.VARLibraries — a network of libraries sharing best practices for implementing virtual and augmented realities — will run daily operations and deployment of the equipment.”


Grants lifeblood of Tulare County libraries

From Visalia Times-Delta

“Grants help open the world to our communities by assisting our budget-challenged libraries.When librarians and library staff develop amazing life changing ideas, such as new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs or a Family Literacy outreach to preschools and the jails, we turn to grants for funding.The world of grants can be confusing so we’ve outlined how important outside funding like grants are for us and you, as each new grant make it possible for us to provide you with innovative and exciting services.The Tulare County Library and Foundation find grants from numerous sources. Many companies have foundations that offer grant opportunities.”


San Diego librarians undergo ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training

From 10 News San Diego

” The job description of a librarian goes far beyond recommending books and organizing shelves — they’re often the first responders when someone needs help in the library.”I think there’s a misperception of what librarians would be. Everybody has a bun in their hair and a pocket pen protector,” said Joe Miesner, access services librarian at San Diego Central Library.Miesner has been working at San Diego libraries for 26 years. He and his colleagues say they got into the field to help the community.”We’re a great community link where everybody is welcome,” said Miesner.Most of the librarians have been trained in traditional first aid, but they will soon learn how to address the hidden wounds.Staff with the San Diego Public Library are taking part in the Mental Health First Aid course, learning skills to provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health issue or substance abuse problem or experiencing a crisis.”


SF library celebrates Pride

From The Bay Area Reporter

“The San Francisco Public Library kicks off Pride Month in a big way with book and author talks, rainbow crafts, exhibits, and its beloved Drag Queen Story Hour.”There is no better place to celebrate Pride than at the public library,” said Tom Fortin, a gay man who is chief of the main library. “The public library has often been the singular place where many in the queer community first found acceptance, whether through literature or programming. The Hormel center exemplifies the best public libraries have to offer and we celebrate being the queerest library ever.”The library’s James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center starts Pride month Thursday (June 1) with RADAR Superstars, the annual birthday bash for superstar and emerging writers.”


4 Glendale Libraries to Serve Free Lunches to Children Through Summer

From NBC Los Angeles

” Several Glendale libraries will serve free lunches to children on weekdays, starting Monday through Aug. 4.After testing the program called “Lunch is on Us” at one Glendale library, it is expanding to three other libraries this year as part of a partnership with the Glendale Unified School District. The program was started by the California Library Association. “School’s out. And the kids have lost their access to lunch that they normally got at no charge because their families qualified,” said Theresa Robinett, senior library supervisor. “So what a better to have these programs than at the libraries.”Children, from toddlers to teens, who eat lunch eight times during the program will get to choose and take home a free book.”


Santa Clara: ​’Reading by Design’ Comes to Los Altos Libraries

From Los Altos Patch

“With the school year almost at an end, it can be easy to slip into the long, lazy days of summer as soon as the first vacation day arrives. But don’t become too complacent, cautions educators and librarians alike. Summer is a great time to keep the educational momentum going, ensuring readiness for the following school year and beyond.By providing fun summer activities that also promote creativity, exploration and knowledge, the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) is helping kids, teens and adults stay academically current through a multitude of free programs and events offered throughout the summer.Inspired by the creativity of authors, illustrators, builders, inventors, artists, architects and everyone else who has been instrumental in developing a more interesting, livable and beautiful world, SCCLD’s “Reading by Design” summer reading program encourages participants to explore individual creativity while designing new learning opportunities.”


Sunnyvale gets mobile bike library

From Mercury News

” The Sunnyvale Public Library will soon hit the streets with a new mobile bicycle library complete with the ability to check out books, sign up new members and give away library-related goodies on the go.The library-on-wheels is a bright green electric bike with a yellow book trailer hitched to the back that can haul 25-50 pounds of books and other materials. It’s also a hot spot for free wireless Internet and is equipped with a tablet station where people can sign up for library cards.Librarian Christina Shin says similar mobile bikes are used at other Bay Area libraries like Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Los Gatos. Shin says it could be a tool to boost outreach while also promoting other city aims like healthy and green living.”