Library Notes

As reported on this page and elsewhere, October was the month for many very successful library programs. November, however, brought another bout of renovation woes. Platt had integrated its increased workload with the new staff members re-assigned from closed branches, and everything was proceeding very smoothly. Then—of course—several of these staff members returned to their home libraries, leaving us with another shortage of clerical and shelving staff. Bear with us. This, too, will pass fairly soon. Here's how nearby West Valley Area branches stand at the moment:

Jan Metzler, Senior Librarian

LA folk singer Ross Altman and Adult Librarian Sherry Van Sickle chat after the California Reads concert sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book.

California Stories Concert Captivates

At the Ballad of Tom Joad: Woody Guthrie and the Grapes of Wrath concert October 28, audience members—including various Platt staff—responded enthusiastically to an excellent presentation of some of Woody Guthrie's greatest songs. Ross Altman, raconteur, folk singer, and Guthrie scholar, recreated Woody's Dust Bowl ballads within the context of the John Steinbeck story that inspired the ballads. The evening turned into a sing-along program, with audience members singing fondly remembered tunes, clapping hands, and stomping their feet. What a great way to celebrate a landmark American novel and America's foremost folk singer!

Sherry Van Sickle, Adult Librarian

Halloween Week a Big Hit at Platt

On October 29, Allen Oshiro, a member of Hollywood's famed Magic Castle, helped Platt Branch get into the Halloween spirit. A quieter, subtler magician than Tony Daniels, Allen specializes in superbly executed classic illusions such as the interlocking rings. In one, amazed at his ability, a small boy managed to cut a hank of rope in two—using his fingers as scissors. Allen also got delighted giggles as he made birds and rabbits appear from nowhere, turned scarves into an American flag, and caused balls to appear, vanish, multiply, change size, and zoom toward the audience as if Platt Library had suddenly been transformed into the Hogwarts playing field. Almost every member of the audience participated in one trick or another, but all were either completely baffled or totally unable to spot his slight-of-hand.

His more complicated illusions were all the more spectacular for being small and close. With the first tap of his wand, he created a fiery bowl that morphed into a white dove. This awesome opening progressed to such things as the mini guillotine that miraculously spared a brave young volunteer's fingers. And we'll probably never know how he accomplished his suspenseful finale. Without stage or mirrors, Magus Oshiro levitated a boy horizontally in mid-air and plunged a sword into the Children's Librarian's throat without incapacitating her in the least. Go figure. “That was a great show!” said a departing parent. Right. We Children's Librarians are ecstatic we're both still around. Thus prepped, Platt's younger set spent our Halloween afternoon Family Storytime admiring each other's costumes, reading and telling spooky stories, enjoying an in-house puppet show, coloring holiday sheets and playing with folded paper snakes. This homey Halloween was also a hit with our audience—which answered the question: “How do we follow Allen Oshiro?”

Vicki Migliori & Nancy Brennan, Children's Librarians

Young Adult Programs Score Repeat Requests

Filling a need for contemporary after-school events, Platt Branch's fall offerings garnered large audiences and calls for encores.

September's The Art of Mehndi featured Timid Tattoos artist Angel Lahr, an expert on henna body art. So many teens participated, the program had to be extended an extra 2 hours, and many asked if Platt could offer classes in this ancient art form. The same was true of Japanese Animation Drawing. Lead by Gentatsu Sakakibara, a talented animation artist, the workshop taught teens how to convert their favorite comic character into an SD (slightly deformed) character-format. Attendees not only enjoyed the hour, they asked for more drawing workshops. Young Adult Librarian Dan Cormier and I also found ample response to Platt's Teen Summer Reading Program. The interest is definitely out there.

Vicki Clarke, Young Adult Librarian

Magic Gourds & Mini Mania

Feathers, deer antlers, beads, and magical creativity turned gourds into a marvellous cabinet display in October. Visitors to the library discovered gourds transformed into sculptures that included a mask, an instrument, a dream catcher, and even hanging ornaments painted with running horses. These were truly special works of art. Our sincere appreciation to Tony Graves, Billie Pass, and the Channel Islands Gourd Society for sharing their enviable talents.


November arrived with a visit from the land of tiny things. Through the help of Jean Lierman of the Mini Maniacs Club, our display was loaded with miniature visions. Visitors’ noses eagerly pressed against the cabinet glass to enjoy Victorian scenes, an Olvera Street market, gingerbread houses, Christmas visions, a miniature doll house, and the tiniest Raggedy Ann and Andy ever! Many thanks to Jean, to Paula Van Brink and Kaye Melgrum…as well as their willing husbands, Herb and Jerry, who helped set it all up.

Millie Berger, Past President


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