Thursday, April 30, 2020

History of Highland Park

On this page ( you will find three captioned photographs. Let me draw your attention to the one of the Railroad workers.  It’s caption reads: “Burly roustabouts strike an arrogant pose during the laying of Los Angeles and Pacific tracks during the 1890s in Highland Park. The area was already known as a desirable suburb of Los Angeles and attracted families seeking contentment and culture.” 

The page itself is a newspaper clipping dated 7/6/1975.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Trivia of the Week (answer)…

This week’s trivia question asked when the first black produced film was released --- what was it?

"William Foster released the first black-produced film, The Railroad Porter, in 1913. The film was produced by Foster's own company, the Foster Photoplay Company, which he had established in 1910 with intentions of ameliorating both African American portrayals on screen and their reputation for filmmaking ability off screen."
This information was found in the African American Experience database. Find this database listed alphabetically on LAPL’s Research & Homework page (

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Arroyo Book Club May Pick….

With our current inability to access physical library books the Arroyo Book Club picked a book out of Project Gutenberg to read for our May discussion.  This month we wanted to read non-fiction. The book that we picked was Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.

This book is an account of Twain's experiences as an apprentice riverboat pilot in the days of the great Mississippi steamboats.

You will find a downloadable copy of the book here:, courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

The plan is for everyone to download a copy and spend the first couple of weeks of May reading. I will begin posting questions to discuss on the group’s web space on May 14 and will add a new question each day until May 23 (our regular meeting day).  I encourage members to log on each day to answer the day’s question as well as review, and respond to, the answers other members provided for the previous day’s question.  We will then meet via video-conference on May 23 at 3:00. 

If you’re not already a member of our web space email me at I will send you the details you need to know to sign yourself up. 

Make a note: if you plan to join the video-conference you’ll need to send an email to so I can get the conference link to you.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Let’s Make Something

Paper beads! They’re fun (possibly even addictive) to make and they give you a lot of scope to play around with a kind of elementary transformative geometry.  You will need:

  • Paper, you could use magazines, newspaper, old wrapping paper, catalogs, etc. 
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A bamboo skewer or other fairly thin rod like tool (I actually used a steel chopstick)
  • A cup

Start by drawing and cutting your pattern.  Some sample patterns are shown in the image below. Each starting pattern yields a slightly different shaped bead. Try visualizing how the pattern would wrap up to picture the finished bead. 

Next take your pattern piece and use the skewer to begin rolling it.  Roll a couple of turns evenly but loose enough so the roll can rotate independently from the skewer. Put a drop of glue on the paper and continue rolling.  Periodically put a new drop of glue on the paper as the old one runs out. You should find your fingers getting coated in glue, this is not a problem just rub the glue across the bead as you continue rolling.  When finished set the skewer across the top of the glass so the bead can dry without sticking to anything (see image below).

When the bead is completely dry apply another coat of glue to the bead, just use your fingers, and allow it to dry again.

Make as many beads as you want. Start experimenting with your own patterns to make unique beads. Play with the paper selection and pattern placement to get different looking beads in terms of their color or pattern (see image below)

Finally use the beads in other projects. You might make them into a bracelet using some elastic beading cord or string them on some wire to make a necklace. I used some steel wire I had in my tool box to fashion a bracelet & a pendant that could hang from a necklace (see image of finished projects at top). You could make many, many beads and string them in rows to create a beaded curtain. The sky’s really the limit here.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Headlines on your Birthday...

Every wondered what the newspapers were saying on the day you were born?

Here’s a quick (a bit more than a minute) little tutorial on how to see what the front page of the Los Angeles Times looked like on the day you were born (or any other important day). You will need your LAPL library card.

Trivia of the Week…

This week’s trivia question is when was the first black produced film released --- what was it?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Science Friday

Fascinated by volcanoes? Check out the Smithsonian Institute’s Volcanoes of the World database (  Here you can find information about volcanoes and eruptions across the past 10,000 years, up-to-date information about current eruptions, learn about the process of volcanism, get your volcano questions answered and more. A site well worth exploring.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

History of Highland Park…

The article, 76-Year old school building faces demolition next year, by Charles Cooper discusses the building located at 6537 N. Figueroa St.  At the time of the article it was the Meridian Child Care Center. It had originally served as the Ruby Lane Elementary School. The article discusses its future demolition and provides some nice community context.  The article was published on 11/15/1973.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Trivia of the Week (answer)…

This week’s trivia question asked what Vitamin D does for you?  Vitamin D plays an essential role in stimulating intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, in the mobilization of calcium from bone, and in renal reabsorption of calcium. The vitamin D hormone controls parathyroid gland growth and production of the parathyroid hormone. It is an immunomodulator and is being developed for use in autoimmune diseases.
This information was found in the Health Sciences section of the Access Science database. Find this database listed alphabetically on LAPL’s Research & Homework page (

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Computer Science without a Computer

The CS Unplugged site ( offers a collection of free teaching material that teaches Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. In the “At home – Activities” section you will find a selection of how to do a few puzzles or magic tricks with kids that will engage them in deep computational thinking. The site is ramping up to provide more such activities so keep returning.

The site is generally aimed at teachers with activities to do in the classroom so you will find robust lesson plan instructions in the “For Educators – Topics” section. Check it out and teach your own children.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Let’s Make Something

Today’s project is all about recycling and is something any age person could do. You will need:

  • Colored sharpies.
  • A cleaned plastic food container. The one I’m using held a serving of instant rice. A cleaned yogurt container might fit the bill. Basically sturdy plastic with no product labeling on the sides.

Use your colored sharpies to draw decorative panels on the side of your container. Since I’m not very good at drawing I took the color block approach on my sample here (see image below). The sharpie ink did take a couple of minutes to set up. I discovered this by using the bottom of the container as a place to test ink color / setting. Because of this I was careful to keep from smearing my drawing until it had time to dry. Once dry, smearing ceased to be a problem.

Once you’ve decorated your container to your liking use it. I planted a couple of succulents in mine (see images above). You could also use it to corral small belongings for organizational purposes.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Science Friday

Take a few minutes to explore the world of comets with NASA courtesy of the Jet Propulsion Lab.  A visit to ( will yield an interactive exploration of comets. The exploration includes comet anatomy, life cycle, and specifications.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

History of Highland Park…

The article, Masonic building entrance restored, describes the Highland Park Heritage Trust’s first restoration project.  The project was the restoration of the Mason Building at 104 N. Ave 56.  The article includes information about the building as well as information about the Trust. It was published on 3/19/1986 and written by Anne Marie Wozniak.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Trivia of the Week (answer)…

This week’s trivia question asked… How much would a 3-piece set of monogrammed towels set you back in the Pasadena of 1955?
The answer is $3.40.  The question was found using the Access Newspaper Archives. This database contains millions of searchable historic newspaper pages. I browsed into the Pasadena collection and took a look at the 10/2/1955 edition of the Pasadena Independent. 

Find this database listed alphabetically on LAPL’s Research & Homework page (

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Science Fun with Your Kids

The California Science Center has a page up ( full of science activities you can do with your kids using household supplies.  They’re taking an activity a day approach so if you haven’t been following them there’s a backlog that will keep you and the kids occupied for a while. Check it out.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Let’s Make Something

Today let’s try our hands at paper roses. This a quick and simple spiral rose. You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Paper – scraps, pages from catalogs or junk mail letters or even candy wrappers
  • Glue (if you’ve got a hot glue gun, even better)


  • Take your paper and cut it into a rough circle (image 1).
  • With your scissors cut a spiral from the circle leaving a small circle on the inside, to serve as rose attachment (image 2).
  • Starting with the outer edge of the spiral, roll the paper (image 3).
  • When you get to the center allow the spiral to relax into the shape of a rose (image 4). Use glue to attach the spiral to the center. If not using a hot glue gun you will have to hold the project together for a few minutes so the glue can set.

Experiment with making different sized flowers by using different sized starting circles and different width spirals.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Trivia of the Week…

This week’s trivia question asks… How much would a 3-piece set of monogrammed towels set you back in the Pasadena of 1955?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Science Friday

Take a break and take a dive into some science fun with Science Friday… Science Friday partners with educators and scientists to create free STEM activities, lessons, and resources for all learners.  You’ll find everything from “How do you graph a sneeze?” to “Make your own sauropod poop.” You’ll also find a collection of podcasts to bring you news about science, technology, and other cool stuff.  Check it out here:

Thursday, April 9, 2020

History of Highland Park…

This picture ( from the Higland Park News Herald is of Hotel Marmion as it was being demolished.  The picture was published on 5/12/1968.  The Hotel Marmion was located near the intersection of N. Figueroa St. and Pasadena Ave.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Trivia of the Week (answer)…

The month’s question asked about the range of the California Live Oak.  If you check out this map of its range you’ll notice that the range is almost entirely within California with just a small speck of range extending into Baja California (which we should perhaps just say is also California).

The question and answer were found in the A to Z Maps Online database, specifically in the Tree Range Maps section.  Find this database listed alphabetically on LAPL’s Research & Homework page (

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Start your time on the computer each day with a visit to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day ( You’ll be treated to a truly, beautiful image and can spend a few minutes learning about the astronomy behind the image --- win/win!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Let’s Make Something

Today we will reuse decorative paper to make cunning balls. Make them for your Christmas tree trimming or sprinkle them about the house for visual interest.

You will need:

  • Paper. I used pages from a withdrawn (i.e. damaged) graphic novel. It would probably look cool if made from the pages of an old book.  Other good sources for this would be all the Holiday and other greeting cards you’ve got stashed away or photographs that are dear but not so dear that you mind cutting them up.
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue or stapler
  • Glass tumbler


  • Use the glass tumbler to trace circles on your paper and cut them out. You will need 20 circles (image 1).
  • Cut out one additional circle using cardboard (think used up cereal box).
  • Draw an equilateral (all sides the same length) triangle on your cardboard circle.  Each point should rest on the edge of the circle. Cut out the triangle (this is your template).
  • Use the template to draw triangles on all your circles.
  • Fold each circle along the three lines of its triangle (image 2).
  • Join one flap from each of the two circles. I was doing it quick and dirty so I just stapled. Glue would be the more finished way to go.
  • Once you’ve connected 5 circles, connect the two free ends to make the top (image 3).
  • Repeat to make the bottom.
  • Connect the remaining 10 circles onto the top. Start by connecting one by its flap to a top flap. Continue in this way.  Fill in the gaps at this middle level by putting a circle in between the two attached to the top and attaching it to either side.
  • Connect the bottom to the orb.
  • Attach a string (image 4).

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Spring Reading Challenge…

The Spring Reading Challenge is well underway and is a tool in your arsenal to keep the family mentally active and engaged. Sign up your whole family (if you haven’t already done so) with a visit to  There are cute little reading at home themed challenges and the chance to earn a slew of virtual badges.  Once you’re signed up swing by LAPL’s collection of eBooks to find just the titles to pique your interest (

Trivia of the Month (now week)…

We will be switching our source of trivia question for the duration of this temporary exile to home. Rather than looking to reference books for our question we will seek that question in a randomly selected LAPL database.  We will also make it a weekly rather than monthly occurrence, with question posted on Saturday and answer on Wednesday. 

Without any further ado….  This week’s trivia question is:  Does the California Live Oak grow in places that are not California?

Friday, April 3, 2020

History of Highland Park…

This article, Good turnout for house and walking tour, by Anne Marie Wozniak and dated 6/21/1986 describes 2 annual house and walking tours sponsored by the Highland Park Heritage Trust.  The article provides quite a bit of background information in the course of describing the walking tours. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Look Alive Twenty-Five

The ineffable Stephanie Plum returns in Evanovich’s Look Alive Twenty-Five.  In this volume Stephanie is dragooned by her boss into managing a local deli.  This deli has a bit of an unsavory reputation --- its last three managers have disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a shoe.  Under Stephanie’s watch two more people disappear leaving Stephanie with no choice but to buckle down and figure out just what is going on.  Aided by the always provocative Lula and the usual cast of amusing characters and while simultaneously continuing to hunt down bounty jumpers Stephanie finally solves the case.

While this volume is indeed 25th in a series it can easily be read as a stand-alone and is perfect for anyone in the mood for a light-hearted, easy, easy read. 

Additionally, since it's not the latest Plum, you can (as of the time of this post) find the book available for checkout as an eBook.