Monday, December 1, 2008


The Sunnyvale Public Library was opened on September 14, 1908; the Reading Room's collection consisted of fifty books.
Hundred years later,the Library has 191,904 books today.
In January 1988, the library began using an online checkout and catalog system. Dial-up access to the library catalog began at this time. The card catalog was removed.
A 1998 modernization project brought a range of improvements to the library facility. Non-English language materials, compact discs, and videotapes were relocated to a more visible location. New wiring was installed to support access to the Internet and to the online catalog. A new children's services desk was added.
In 2006, the Library received more than 766,000 visitors and checked out more than 2.2 million items, making it one of the busiest libraries in the state for its size.
Every morning I walk down from my daughter’s house here for 20 minutes to the Library. On the way I will be the only person walking. All move by car. The Library is very spacious and books are well arranged. Over thirty computers will help you to locate the books you want. You can specify,
Author—Title—Subject and submit and you will get all the details of the book you want. If issued out it will indicate “Issued—returnable on23-8-2008.There is facility of reserving the book—they call it ‘Hold”. You merely punch the Hold button and print your Library Card number. It will say. ”Accepted.” You will be advised by e-mail as soon as it is returned. If there are many claimants it will indicate “ 15 on “Hold”. There is also information on which other libraries have copies of this book.
After you have located the details of your book you can go to the relevant shelf—on both sides the numbers are given and books are arranged in Alphabetical order. You can easily pick out the books you want. After you have selected your books you can get it issued just as in Mumbai or do it manually. There is a machine with a screen. At its metallic base you can keep five items at a time—in batches of two and five. Even as you place a book or a DVD the title appears on the screen. After all the titles have appeared you have to place your membership card and the barcode will be read by the ultra violet light and you will press a button Continue. Hey ! Presto—a receipt will appear—giving all details-date issued , due date, etc.
You can now take away the books.
There is gargantuan collection of CDs / DVDs and Audio Cassettes.
At a moment of time you can take 50 books and 20 DVDs. They have kept carts with wheels which you can use to place books till you take it to your car and then you put the cart back.
Returning of books is pretty simple. Place books / DVDs on a moving ramp one at a time. Receipts are not issued.
Old books are issued for 21 days and new books for 7 days. DVDs are issued for 7 days. No book ,DVD or periodical can be taken out without it being checked out. If you carry out any item unauthorisedly the alarm bell will ring at the exit as you attempt to sneak out and the Library staff will come promptly to check your book-bag.
Reading rooms are very comfy, with good cushion seats and excellent lighting. There are separate areas designated Silent Areas –no sound here—no talking—deep silence.
Over 100 computers are available in the Library. At a moment internet is free for 90 minutes. You can come again for another stint any number of times.
Regarding books all the latest books are purchased and not less than ten copies. All books have good quality plastic covers and no date stamp is affixed on the books.
Children’s Section is fantabulous. Never knew so much wealth is available on this subject.
Reference section is awesome. Latest Wordbook Encyclopedia Britannica, Dictionaries in hundreds, Science and Technology cyclopedias. Rich - really rich.
In addition the Library holds discussions, reviewing books, has courses on a variety of subjects, Knitting, Sewing, Painting and other fine arts—even Tomato growing—done by son-in-law. He has currently in his balcony over twenty luscious green tomatoes.
Of special significance is that under the American with Disabilities Act, reasonable efforts have been made to accommodate persons with disabilities. The restrooms provide special facilities for those on wheelchairs.
I have spent happy hours all these days. Books that have not yet reached Mumbai are available.
I was keen on a new book on Joseph Needham who wrote 25 volumes “Science and Civilisation in China” by Simon Winchester. I got it and am reviewing it for Free Press Journal. The review has appeared since.
You can get a complete account of what books are issued to you in your P C at home. Renewals can be done on-line. I give my latest record.

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1 comment:

Mahadevan said...

I believe, you must have spent more time in the Librarary than with your daughter and son-in-law.