In light of the recent Tassajara and Laureles fires, and weather signs pointing to an El Niño storm season that may include severe weather and potential flooding, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight several websites for emergency preparedness. When you come to the library, don’t forget to look in the front lobby display for information, including brochures for Alert Monterey County, a website where you can sign up to receive alerts on your phone.
From the website of AlertMontereyCounty:
AlertMontereyCounty is a system used by City and County public safety officials to deliver emergency notifications to residents and businesses impacted by, or in danger of being impacted by, an emergency or disaster. AlertMontereyCounty uses the 9-1-1 database to call and deliver a recorded message to all landline phone numbers in a specific geographic area within a City and/or the County. Residents may also be notified on their cell phone, Voice over IP (VoIP) phone or at their email address. Those wishing to receive messages on these devices must register online.
The website of AlertMontereyCounty includes an excellent guide to resources for emergency preparedness, including tips on how to prepare for winter storms, floods, earthquakes and fire. Browse the emergency checklists and supplies to have on hand this winter.
After a fabulous summer with magicians and drummers and so many special programs, the library is now in back to school mode. In addition to the more well-known services such as checking out books, audio-visual materials, and the variety of programs, Carmel Valley Branch offers an abundance of help for students! Our library is one of ten County branches that offers FREE live after-school drop-in homework help, a way for students of all ages to complete their school work.
Tuesday through Friday after school we have staff ready to help. Our Homework Center is led by De, our Homework Center Coordinator, and supported by all branch staff. Parents and volunteers also provide assistance. You can drop in and sign up with De. Print and computer resources, including Internet access, online research resources and word processing, are available for use. For more information, call the Library at (831) 659-2377.
In addition to our after-school Homework Center, we have a great option if you can’t get to the library or need assistance late in the evening. Have teenage kids who don’t start their homework until after dinner or late at night? Live too far from our branch to get here during library hours? Go Online! From our website, you can access Free Live Online Homework Help with trained tutors available to assist with all types of questions – math, history, science, etc. Go to our website at www.MontereyCountyFreeLibraries.org and click on this icon:
Live Online Homework Help is available everyday from 1:00pm – 11:00pm.
The service is free but you do need a library card to use it. Come to the branch or apply for your library card online at
Our library branch is your local connection to so many money-saving ideas. When you need practical help, one of your smartest options is your library. This month I want to highlight a few resources available both online from any computer with an Internet connection and in print at your library.
Since 1936, Consumer Reports has been published by the Consumers Union to test and evaluate new products and technologies, rate their quality, and provide warnings about potential disadvantages and dangers. Each monthly issue has an index in the back listing articles about specific topics in that issue and recently-published issues. You can look up anything from new car ratings to articles about the efficacy of nutritional supplements. Not only can you check out the magazine from your library, you can access it from any computer or electronic device with your library card number. On the Library’s homepage, www.MontereyCountyFreeLibraries.org there is a direct link to our online subscription to Consumer Reports so that you can quickly find consumer information from any computer.
Another great resource for practical information is Mother Earth News, a magazine that covers organic gardening, DIY projects and plans, renewable energy savings, and more. You can look up tips about water-wise gardening, home food preservation, how to raise backyard chickens, and many similar topics. Not only do we have the magazine for checkout at the library branch, it is also available as part of our free digital magazine service, Zinio, which provides access to hundreds of magazines on any computer or electronic device with your library card number. Like Consumer Reports, you can access Zinio on the Library’s homepage.
These are just two examples of ways to use your library to make informed choices and save money.
How much information and education can fit into one small branch library? There’s all the words, images, ideas and stories in the library collection. And then there’s the incredible variety of activities that make the library a beehive of learning and inspiration for all ages. This month I want to focus on just two program series as examples of the diversity and value of library programs and events.
For over a year, Carmel Valley Library has hosted Legal Services for Seniors on the second and fourth Tuesday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:30. Legal Services for Seniors’s mission is to “provide legal services at no charge to Monterey County seniors 60 years of age and older with an emphasis on the socially and/or economically needy.” Library patrons can schedule one-on-one appointments with an attorney for help with wills and advance care directives, financial and elder abuse, social security, SSI, and private pension problems, Medicare Medi-Cal, insurance and other health care issues, housing rights including landlord-tenant disputes, consumer rights, debt collection, and more.
Carmel Valley Library’s partnership with Legal Services for Seniors is just one example of how the library can provide essential information on difficult subjects to the people who need it most. For an appointment at the library or other locations, call Legal Services for Seniors at 831-899-0492.
This summer, as part of the Summer Reading Program and with support from the Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries, the library is delighted to host renowned local poet, artist, and author Patrice Vecchione for two workshops. Patrice’s most recent book is Step Into Nature: Nurturing Imagination & Spirit in Everyday Life is just out from Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster. She describes it as “…a guide to make nature personal again, to stimulate awareness and increase our understanding of the environment while inspiring readers to develop their imaginations and strengthen their spirits.”
Patrice will offer a collage workshop for teens on Saturday, July 11 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and a poetry workshop for adults on Saturday, July 18th from 10:30 to 12:00 p.m. No registration is required—we hope to see you there!
Legal Services for Seniors and Patrice Vecchione demonstrate the range and richness of programs at the library. Check this website, the Monterey County Free Libraries events calendar, or the library bulletin board to learn about more.
Thanks to your generous donations, the Carmel Valley Branch’s collection is supplemented throughout the year by new titles purchased with funds from the Friends of the Carmel Valley Library. Many of these titles are requested by Carmel Valley library users. If you have a title request, let us know. Here are some titles just added in March:
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: A psychological thriller that has been compared to Gone Girl, with an unconventional female narrator who is drawn into events emanating from her observation of a couple during her daily commute by train.
Hope to Die by James Patterson. Fans will line up for the latest Alex Cross thriller.
The Rosie Effect: a novel by Graeme Simsion. Sequel to the NYT bestselling novel The Rosie Project, featuring the same couple now living in New York and expecting their first child. Clever love stories that have been compared to Where’d You Go Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally.
Someone to Watch Over Me: a thriller by Yrsa Sigurdardottir “A young man with Down’s Syndrome has been convicted of burning down his assisted living facility and killing five people, but a fellow inmate at his secure psychiatric unit has hired Thora to prove Jakob is innocent.“ –from the publisher’s website. The newest entry in the popular Icelandic mystery series.
Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz. The latest romantic suspense offering from the popular author is highly praised by reviewers.
The Art of Stillness: adventures in going nowhere by Pico Ayer. A TED book based on Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet”, The Art of Stillness profiles people whose lives and accomplishments have been inspired by quiet.
Being Mortal: medicine and what matters by Atul Gawande. A surgeon explains how medicine could better improve our lives and the way we die.
Big Fat Surprise: Why butter, meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet by Nina Teicholz. A bestselling investigation into the role of fats in our diets and why sixty years of the experts’ advice was disastrously wrong.
Blood in the Fields: ten years inside California’s Nuestra Familia gang By Julia Reynolds. The author is an award-winning journalist who also wrote for the Monterey County Herald.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. The brilliant cartoonist’s unflinching memoir of her relationship with her parents as they faced illness and death.
Groundwater for the 21st Century by John A. Conners. A clear, accessible introduction to groundwater science and the current threats to a resource that is essential to human survival in California and throughout the world.
The Innovators: how a group of inventors, hackers, geniuses and geeks created the digital revolution by Walter Isaacson. The author of Steve Jobs shows the inventors of the digital world we live in—from Ada Lovelace in the 1840’s to Google’s Larry Page. An inspiring story of creativity and collaboration from an author with an unusual ability to communicate scientific and technical ideas without jargon.
Isabella: the warrior queen by Kirstin Downey. A vivid biography of Queen Isabella of Castille and her enormous influence on the modern world. Time magazine called it, “”A tale of feminist ambition that reads like a pulpy novel. (Don’t be a snob—that’s a good thing.)”
Small Victories: spotting improbable moments of grace by Anne Lamott. New and selected essays by the always moving, inspiring, and hilarious novelist and writer.
So, Anyway… by John Cleese. A pleasantly meandering memoir about life before, during, and after Monty Python by a comedic genius
When Books Went to War: the stories that helped us win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. An unusual history of the remarkable role of book in the Allied victory in World War II, including the books that the Germans banned and burned, and the millions of books that the U.S. government, along with publishers and librarians, sent to G.I.s overseas.
The Pacific Crest Trail: A Hiker’s Companion by Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith. Not a step-by-step guidebook, but an essential introduction and companion for anyone who wants to follow Wild author Cheryl Strayed’s footsteps on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Recent titles on social media are designed to help small entrepreneurs and job seekers looking to expand their reach in the highly networked business world:
Likeable Social Media: how to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more, revised and expanded, by Dave Kerpen
Use Social Media to Find Your Dream Job! by Dan Quillen
Many young people in Carmel Valley are doing amazing things with computer coding, from robotics to app building:
Building Android Apps in Easy Steps by Mike McGrath
Minecraft for Dummies by Jesse Stay
It is the time of year to plan a summer or fall vacation, so travel books are circulating briskly. New additions include titles from DK Eyewitness Travel, Insight Guides, and Rick Steves on Mexico, New York City, Argentina, India, Scotland, Iceland, Europe.
New titles from The Never Girls series by Kiki Thorpe: The Woods Beyond and A Pinch of Magic. An early chapter book series for kids ages 6 to 10 starring the Disney Fairies in stories full of adventure.
Totally Cool Nails: 50 fun and easy nail art designs for kids by Catherine Rodgers. The title says it all.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A guide to daily happiness for kids by Carol McCloud. Through simple prose and vivid illustrations, this heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves.
At our library’s recent iPhone instructional workshop, one primary point of instruction was the importance of creating a good password: one that is easy for you to remember but strong enough to prevent theft or hacking. The following excerpt from SeniorPlanet.com offers some great advice for password creation and safeguarding:
Passwords may seem like an annoyance blocking you from what you want to do online, but of course they help keep your personal information safe from hackers who are up to no good. Think of a strong online password as a burglar-proof, fire-proof, triple-locked safe for your personal documents. It may be unlikely that you’ll be burglarized; but you’d rather be safe than sorry.
So, although you might be tempted to go with an easy-to-remember password like “12345” or even the word “password,” it’s a good idea to come up with something that’s harder to remember. Simple passwords like “12345” aren’t only simple for you – they’re also the easiest ones for someone to guess. The same goes for using a single password for all your accounts: easy – but unsafe. If one account is compromised because someone figures out the password, then all your accounts could potentially be compromised. For your own safety, every account should have its own unique password.
Now let’s move on to what constitutes a strong password and how to create one for each of your accounts. At the end, we’ll give you some tips on how to remember all your new (or old) passwords.
Strong Password Do’s and Don’ts
Here are some tips for making your online password secure. It should:
- Have at least eight characters long, preferably more
- Include a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation (like *or $ or #)
- Include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Not be an actual word
- Not use your real name, username or personal information, such as your birthday, license plate number or address.
How to Create a Strong Password: Method 1
- Start with something that is memorable to you: a phrase, a date or a hobby. For demonstration purposes, I’m going to use the phrase “Cooking is fun.” Next, I’m going to do the following:
- Replace each “s” with $
- Replace each space with %
- Replace ‘o’ with 0 (the number zero)
- Replace each “i” with !
- “Cooking is fun” becomes C00k!ng%!s%fun
How to Create a Strong Password: Method 2
- Think of a group of names that are related to each other: your children’s names, the names of your pets, or the names of all your siblings. For demonstration purposes, let’s say my siblings are named Jessica, Jenny and John.
- Combine the first couple of letters from each to form one word. It may look like gibberish to someone else, but it’s meaningful to you. “Jessica Jenny John Betsy” becomes JeJeJoBe
- Remember that strong passwords also include punctuation and numbers. So I’m going to add a few to my password, using my favorite number and a smiley face emoticon to make it JeJeJoBe27:-)
Remembering Your Password
By now, hopefully you have a few strong passwords. The tricky part is remembering them so you can actually access your accounts.
Some people will write their passwords on a Post-it note and stick it to their computer monitor, under their mouse pad or under their desk. This is not a safe method. If you locked your valuables in a heavy-duty safe, would you write the combination on a Post-it note and stick it to the safe? Probably not! It doesn’t matter how strong the safe is if you give away the combination.
It’s OK to write down your passwords to remember them, but make sure you hide the paper well. Here are a few places you could write down your password in case you forget it:
- In a cookbook on the page of your favorite recipe
- On the page of your favorite book
- On the back of a picture
- On a piece of paper in your wallet
- On a piece of paper that you lock in a safe
Don’t email your passwords to yourself; if hackers got into your email account, they would get access to all your accounts. And don’t keep your passwords on a document on your computer’s hard drive; that would be a little bit like putting them on a Post-it on your computer screen.
Ready? Go make safe passwords!