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Collections in Sora

Collections in Sora

Looking for your next ebook or audiobook in Sora? Try browsing the collections in Sora. Collections are curated lists of books that are grouped together based on genre, format, theme, or appeal term. If you’ve scrolled through the Explore tab in Sora, you may have already seen collections like “Great 6th Grade Reads”, “Queer & Here”, or “Literature for Older Readers”. To see all of the collections at once, click or tap “Collections” at the top right of the Explore tab.

We are updating our current collections and adding new ones regularly. Let us know if you have a suggestion for a collection!

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Creativebug: Online Arts & Crafts Classes

Creativebug: Online Arts & Crafts Classes

Crafters! Creativebug offers online video arts and crafts workshops so you can learn how to paint, knit, crochet, sew, screen print, and more. This is a subscription service, but Santa Clara County Library cardholders can access Creativebug for free! All you need is a library card. Click here to fill out a library card application. Once you’ve got your card, click here to explore all the fun projects available from Creativebug.

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Check out a Casti Library Action Pack (CLAP)!

Check out a Casti Library Action Pack (CLAP)!

Have you heard about Casti Library Action Packs (CLAPs)?? Borrow all the materials you’ll need to complete one of three fun activities: cloudspotting, pompom making, and sashiko mending. The upcoming February break is the perfect time to check one out!

The Cloudspotting CLAP comes with cloud and light effects identifiers, an inflatable pillow, and watercolors. Get outside and see what kinds of clouds you can spot using The Cloud Collector’s Handbook. Lay back on the inflatable pillow and draw inspiration from the sky to create a small watercolor painting!

The Pompom Making CLAP comes with four sizes of pompom makers, yarn, scissors, and a cat brush to make super fluffy pompoms. Try out some of the projects in Pompomania, like garlands, cacti, emojis, and more!

The brand new Sashiko Mending CLAP comes with embroidery thread, needles, and hoop, scissors, and fabric so that you can make an embroidered patch. Make + Mend has sashiko stitching patterns, plus project ideas for your completed patch!

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The Asian American Writers’ Workshop

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Picture shows poet Emily Jungmin Yoon, a young Korean woman wearing a white sweater, standing at a podium. She is speaking into a microphone, and behind her is a projected image of her book "A Cruelty Special to Our Species."

Emily Jungmin Yoon at speaking at Castilleja Library

This past Tuesday, the Class of 2019 was fortunate to hear poet and PhD candidate Emily Jungmin Yoon read some of her recent work. Yoon’s first full-length collection of poems, A Cruelty Special to Our Species, tells the complex stories of Korean “comfort women” during World War II. She is an inspiring writer who is open about the challenges she has faced as a young Korean Canadian poet trying to find her voice.

Yoon is part of Asian American Writers’ Workshop, a national nonprofit organization with the goal of helping Asian American stories be told. They “believe Asian American literature is vital to interpret our post-multicultural but not post-racial age,” and act on this belief with devotion “to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans.” They want to start conversations about immigration, cultural pluralism, assimilation, and complex identities. As “one of the top five Asian American groups nationally,” they have the influence to empower and assist writers like Emily Jungmin Yoon.

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop began in 1991 when a group of Asian American friends and writers decided they wanted to be hearing more representations of their stories than just The Woman Warrior or The Joy Luck Club. They began the organization together, and within eight years their membership had quickly grown to a group of 600 operating out of a basement under a Gap store in New York City. They run their own bookstore, hold workshops for high school students interested in writing, and offer grants to writers in need. Most significantly, the organization helps writers publish their works.

These publications take the form of two literary magazines, The Margins and Open City. The Margins, their first magazine, is “dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow” and bringing Asian Americans out of the sidekick role and into the spotlight. Their literature includes essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and more. Open City “takes the real-time pulse of metropolitan Asian America as it’s being lived on the streets of New York right now,” telling the stories “of the Asian and immigrant neighborhoods that comprise one million New Yorkers and 13 percent of the city, but that rarely find their way to mainstream media.” Both of these magazines are published on their website and are open for writing submissions. You can find The Margins here, and Open City here.

As America’s “melting pot” culture develops further, it becomes even more important to hear a variety of diverse voices represented. The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is working to make this true for Asian Americans pursuing literature. Although Asian American can mean a number of various identities, there’s a certain power in bringing them together in a community that has something in common: writing. Andrea Louie, a Chinese-American writer who is a part of the organization, is quoted in the New York Times: “I’ve enjoyed the diasporic experience of different groups. Even though it’s different, we’re very much the same.”


-Lia S. ’18

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What is a zine, anyway?

Zines (rhymes with “beans”) are small circulation, self-published works created by a person (or small group) with a passion for a particular subject.  Zines can be educational, creative, wry, beautiful, political, whimsical, silly, sarcastic, dark, and even disturbing depending on the aim of the author.  APUSH fans may be interested to know that Thomas Paine’s self-published 1775 pamphlet, Common Sense, is considered by some to have been an early zine.  In the 20th century, the popular comic book hero, Superman, was based on a short story from the 1933 zine, Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.

a photograph of several zines on a dark brown table

There are no limits on the variety and breadth of topics addressed in zines.  Are you aware of the characteristics of face blindness and its causes?  Did you ever wonder how morphine and heroin are chemically related?  Are you fascinated by the experience of young, second-generation Asian immigrants living in the Bay Area?  Are you just curious about many different things? The Castilleja Library has a large selection of zines – there is something for everyone. Please come ask your library team about what is available now!

-Emi S. ’19

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Introducing Sora, a new ebook app

Introducing Sora, a new ebook app

the logo of the ebook app SoraExciting news! Overdrive has a new app just for schools called Sora. Sora makes it easier than ever to browse, download, and read books from our digital library. The best thing about Sora is that your librarians can create collections of books with you in mind! We have collections of everything from books your librarians especially loved to retold fairy tales to John Green read-a-likes.

Click here to see a page on how to get started with Sora. You can also click here to visit Overdrive’s Help Center, where you can watch device-specific videos that will help you check out books for the first time. If you have more questions, see our ebook FAQ page or come in to talk to your librarians!


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