2018 Summer Recap

It’s been a busy summer!

Here’s 10 summer highlights including special guests (Summer Learning Challenge performers) and fun filled programs hosted by library staff!

Bay Area Discovery Museum – Try it Truck!

Bats in the Library

Robotics Competition

Shadow Puppets

Park and Rec Visits the Library


Science Club: Atomic Construction

Spencer Grey Magic Show

Sterling Johnson Bubble Show

DIY Mason Jar Fireflies

Bay Area Discovery Museum – Try it Truck!

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The Bay Area Discovery Museum was a hit for hands on exploration at Grand Avenue Library! Be sure to check out this truck whenever you get a chance! There’s plenty of STEM learning projects, activities, and new technology on board!

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Bats in the Library

Live bats were brought into the library for this special program! Children were able to see and learn how bats are good for our ecosystem. Echo location was a fun topic along with bat communication at frequencies that humans can’t hear! There was even a bat simulator which made bat noises audible to human ears.

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Robotics Competition!

West Orange Library hosted a three part series where students learned the 3D design skills to create robot parts using OnShape. Participants were asked to book time with our 3D printers and print pieces out before the next session! Here are some pictures from Part One:

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Part Two included taking these 3D printed parts, other components, and learning how to solder them together to create more permanent electrical connections!

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Part Three included programming these robots to finally race! For a more detailed look at recreating this project, please view https://eleccelerator.com/blog/ written by Frank Zhao whom led our Robotics Competition program series! Thank you, Frank!

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Shadow Puppets

During this captivating sound and light show, our special guest was able to demonstrate several different kinds of instruments! The lights were turned low and we saw paper puppets brought to life by the light box!

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After the shadow puppet show, children created their own puppets and tested them out on the light box!

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Park and Rec Visits

Yearly visits from Park and Rec are always something to look forward to during the summer! Students gain hands on learning with our Makerspace equipment! Contact us if you’d like to arrange a Makerspace or library class visit!

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Led by library assistant, Jovi, kids expressed their inner artist and demonstrated story telling abilities with this installment of STEAM focused on the letter “A” for Art!

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Science Club: Atomic Construction

Science club meets regularly and there’s always tons of fun whether creating slime or as seen in the pictures below, learning about science through construction of atoms!

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Spencer Grey Magic Show

West Orange Library was at full capacity for the Spencer Grey Magic Show! Be sure to view all the photos on our Instagram page!

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Sterling Johnson Bubble Show

The great Sterling Johnson came to visit South San Francisco Public Library as the last special guest of the Summer Learning Challenge!

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DIY Mason Jar Fireflies

Another program at full capacity with quite a few teenagers was the Do-It-Yourself Mason Jar Fireflies program hosted by library assistant, Aris! The fun craft had over 70 patrons using their imagination and motor skills to create beautiful take home projects!

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The Summer Learning Challenge officially ends tomorrow on Friday, August 30th! You still have time to turn in your summer learning logs and claim those prizes!

For more programs and events that South San Francisco Public Library has in store for you this fall, pick up a makerspace brochure or view the digital copy below:

LibLab TriFold 1

LIBLab TriFold 2

Thanks for spending your summer with us and we hope to see you soon!

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Escape the Space Alien- Escape Game Recap

The South San Francisco Public Library has another escape room under its belt! The latest escape game, “Escape the Space Alien”, immersed players within a spacecraft setting while they set out to defeat an evil space alien. Four brave teams of 5-8 space rangers each took the daring challenge.  They had 60 minutes to discover whom the space alien infected, defeat the alien, and escape! Recruits used teamwork and their wit to solve the space alien’s challenging puzzles. Once the alien was found, it was time to create a concoction that would eliminate the foe! Working with the spacecraft’s librarian, recruits solved puzzles and created a “chemical” that would stop the threat.  But with the spacecraft set to self-destruction, the recruits were presented with a new challenge; to find a way out of the spaceship! Once they deciphered the grueling final puzzle, recruits broke free of the final lock and safely returned to Earth.

36333518_10216508345606691_3783540092384051200_n36305148_10216508346086703_5040022011640807424_n36423289_10216508345646692_7741352167885242368_n36342102_10216508345926699_5683178726968262656_nAll four teams bested the challenge!

The first team’s collaboration and determination led to the fastest escape time of 52 minutes and ten seconds!

Our second team cut it close, but they also defeated the evil space alien.

The third team was a mix of experienced players and new-comers. But they had a blast and made quick work of the evil villain.

 The fourth and final team had only five players; 3 members short of a full team. But that didn’t stop them from completing their mission. With a slim 28 seconds left, they became the 4th winners.

This escape room had a 100% completion rate!

Be on the lookout for more escape room and puzzle challenges coming soon!

Incredible Insects Discovery Lab – Grand Avenue Library Experience Recap

Last Saturday, on June 16th, we had the Incredible Insects Lab visit both West Orange Library and Grand Avenue Library. 42 patrons were able to view, hold, and learn about these incredible creatures during the Insect Lab visit to Grand Avenue Library.

Walking stick

Some important take home lessons included awareness of how we can coexist with insects, how insects help our environment, and some tips for relocating bugs instead of using pesticides or chemicals. “The grasshopper is my favorite,” exclaimed several of our young compassionate participants.


Other favorites included two walking sticks and the gentle beetles. We learned the difference between a centipede and a millipede. Madagascar cockroaches demonstrated their speed as well as hissing noises in attempt to ward off predators. We also learned that if you cover a cockroach and leave them in darkness for about 10 seconds, it will effectively stop the bug from running around.


This hands on learning program is one of the many fun opportunities for children to continue learning throughout the summer! Be sure to grab our summer brochure or view our post here. Children that sign up for our Summer Learning Challenge will be able to receive free books and prize packages! Our next fun filled event will be Saturday, June 30th, with Northern California Bats in the library!


GoldieBlox Recap

On June 14th, we held the last workshop of our Inventor’s Challenge series featuring GoldieBlox. The first challenge was to follow along and build an existing invention. The Leap Bot was a favorite!

GoldieBlox Leap Bot

Click play below to see Leap Bot jump into action!

The next challenge was to improve an existing design. One of our creative #ssfmakers decided to combine the Leap Bot with wings in hopes to give the Leap Bot greater hang time in the air:

Combined Leap bot with wings

And lastly, inventor’s were asked to engineer their very own designs from scratch! Here’s a few of their creations:

We had one young inventor notice that we ran out of the long purple pieces, but was able to find a solution by using several smaller pieces to span the desired distance. GoldieBlox teaches engineering, problem solving, and encourages creative thinking. “I’m glad we didn’t miss it!” stated one happy parent. We had a total of 23 builders that all successfully completed the Inventor’s Challenge: GoldieBlox!

Nintendo Labo Recap

On June 7th and 8th we had Nintendo Labo kit building at the library! At Grand Avenue Library, we were able to construct the RC car and the fishing pole.These two kits would normally take an individual around 90 minutes to complete, but with over 30 participants, we were able to build both within 45 minutes!

Nintendo Labo RC car

Through building the RC car, we learned about the vibration motors that are inside each of the Nintendo Labo’s Joy-Con controllers. Children correctly identified that in order to have the RC car turn left that only the left motor needed to vibrate. Likewise, we discovered that in order to turn the RC car to the right, only the right motor needed to vibrate. For the RC car to move in a straight path, children successfully used both vibration motors at the same time! Children had fun comparing the Nintendo Labo RC car with our Dash robots at Grand Avenue Library. We also had a mini race course for children to navigate the robots through.

Nintendo Labo Robot Kit

Labo Builders

At Main Library, we took on the challenge of building the robot kit! As an individual, building this kit alone can take around 3 hours to complete! But with 31 pairs of helping hands, we were able to construct over half of our robot in about an hour!

With Nintendo Labo, the versatility of cardboard as prototyping material as well as how to animate designs with electronics is shown in a fun, hands on learning environment! Due to popular demand, we will have more building days to complete our Variety Kit and to finish building our robot. Once all of the kits are complete, then we will have a Nintendo Switch Day to see our cardboard creations in action through video games! #morethanbooks #STEAM #Summerlearning #Nintendo #ssfmakers

Family S.T.E.A.M Story time!

Story time set up

Every Thursday, 10:30 A.M. at Grand Avenue Library we host S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Story time! This story time is geared towards all ages and we have plenty of fun reading S.T.E.A.M stories like Newtonian Physics for Babies, Dot, In the Garden with Van Gogh, Rosie Revere, Engineer!, and Monster Knows More Than, Less Than!

story time supplies

Not only do we have fun reading, but we also sing-a-long with the library’s xylophone playing robot, Dash! We sing songs in sign language, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Japanese.


The best part of S.T.E.A.M Story Time is Stay & Play where children and parents can make new friends! Stay & Play features our Makerspace equipment that children can get hands on experience with by sharing Dash or playing with our Shape Mags, Legos, OSMO drawing technology and more to reinforce the concepts we read about that day!

Stay N Play

Can’t make Thursday mornings? Feel free to drop in on any of following story times at South San Francisco Public Library:

Main Library Storytimes
840 West Orange Avenue
(650) 829-3860 se habla español

  • Family Storytime – (all ages) Mondays 6:00 pm
  • Toddler Storytime – (18 months to 3 years) Tuesdays 10:30 am
  • Bouncing Babies Storytime – (birth to 18 months) Wednesdays 10:15 & 11:15 am
  • Tagalog Storytime – (all ages) second Saturday 10:30 am

Grand Avenue Library Storytimes
306 Walnut Avenue
(650) 877-8530 se habla español

  • Family Storytime – (all ages) Mondays 10:30 am.
  • Portuguese Storytime – (all ages) Tuesdays 10:30 am. Histórias, cantigas e parlendas em português para crianças de todas as idades e pais ou responsáveis. Socialização logo em seguida.
  • Family S.T.E.A.M Storytime – (all ages) Thursdays 10:30 am
  • Baby Bounce Storytime – (birth to 18 months) Fridays 10:30 am
  • Leer y Aprender: Cuentos y artesanias!
    • Spanish storytime – (3 years to 5 years) third Saturdays at 10:30 am
  • NEW! Adult Short Storytime – Second Thursday of every month at 12:00 pm

Summer Learning Challenge 2018

School is out for the summer and we have a ton of programs lined up if you’d like to have fun while learning too! Featured programs include reptiles, insects, bats, puppets, bubbles, and magic at the library!

Receive a free book at the library when you sign up for the Summer Learning Challenge. Complete a booklet and bring it back to claim your prize package!

Summer Learning Challenge Summer Brochure FrontSummer Learning Challenge Summer Brochure Inside

Please visit LibCal.SSF.net for complete calendar listings of summer programs or follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@SSFLibrary)!

Escape from the Space Alien


Overpopulation continued to deplete Earth’s natural resources, pushing the planet to unsustainable levels. Earth tasked the United Sovereign with locating another planet suitable for life. Commander Devinitely Morose, a 5-star ranking leader who directed the United States army in the Battle of Agaroth, took charge of the operation.

man looking out of spaceship

The United Sovereign recently built the latest Heli-Craft: the Justice Oriented Special Elite Phasing Heli-Craft (J.O.S.E.P.H.). To pilot this ground-breaking spacecraft, Commander Morose selected the experienced Captain Patrick P. Card and 11 of the world’s finest space rangers for a perilous but crucial journey to find another inhabitable planet. On June 15th 2061, Captain Card and his crew set out on their voyage.


Just a few days after they launched, however, some mysterious occurrences followed…

Crew stumbled upon the lifeless body of Breuven Court, the ship’s quartermaster. The autopsy revealed an unknown parasite species had penetrated his cerebral cortex. More specifically, the part of the brain for cognitive function was found to be damaged.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this”, declared Ernest Von Bertram Jr., the ship’s resident doctor. “The parasite is no longer in his body. Quite perplexing. I suspect that it needs a new host to sustain itself.”

The ship’s on-board camera system was able to detect the alien parasite slithering around the ship, in search of a new host. Bertram was the only one to see the creature in its true form, and what he saw chilled him to his core.

After receiving Bertram’s status report, Captain Card ordered the crew to confine themselves in their individual quarters to protect themselves and isolate the threat. Card tasked Bertram with initiating the ship’s lock-down procedures to ensure that the parasite could not infect its next victim.

From the safety of his own quarters, Bertram instructed the ship’s AI. “Decca, initiate protocol lock down 17A! Entry ID: 998401!”

Initiating lock down sequence in 10, 9, 8, 7…

empty hall of spaceship

Suddenly, the parasite fled out of the camera’s view. Not knowing where it went, the frenzied doctor commanded Decca for a live feed from all on-board cameras.

“Oh my.” The doctor was startled by what he saw…

Puzzles. Everywhere.

Bertram began pacing back and forth. “Perhaps the parasite is capable of increasing the cognitive functions of its host,” he pondered out loud. “If we play its game to the end, we may be able to deduce who it infected. I must send out a distress signal!”

The doctor frantically pushed several buttons. “Commander Morose, this is an S.O.S! Only the best space rangers can save us!”

“Please, you’re our only hope…”



You can join the fight! Help the crew members escape from the space alien!


Escape from the Space Alien June 2018

Log on to Libcal.ssf.net or call 650-829-3860. Because this journey is fraught with danger, only recruits 13 years or older can be accepted, and only 8 can be taken at a time. Sign up today… The universe depends on it!


Silhouette Cameo PixScan Tutorial

Silhouette Cameo offers a cool and fun option called PixScan.  PixScan allows you to use images from your phone or scanner to create precise designs in Silhouette.  To get started, open up the Silhouette application and click the Panels tab.  Choose the PixScan tab from the drop-down menu.STEP 1

You will place and stick the drawing or picture on top of the PixScan sheet like the one that is shown below.


Using your phone, take a picture under good lighting of the PixScan mat at an angle or straight up above.  Save the picture onto your computer.


Click on Import PixScan Image from File.


Search for the picture that you took with the camera or scanner and open it.


Click Continue Without Calibration.


The registration marks (the black squares) will show up on your screen as shown below.


Click on the Panels tab again and click Trace from the drop-down menu.


Click and drag the cursor to highlight the objects that you want to cut out.  From here you can choose from a variety of cut settings like Outline, Solid Fill, Trace, etc.


Click Send.



Make sure that before pressing Send, that the registration mark all the way on the top left of the PixScan sheet is directly below the cutting blade.  Otherwise, the Silhouette application won’t register the cutting mat.


To adjust the PixScan sheet directly below the cutting blade, use the arrows on the Cameo screen.


Laptop Optimization and Maintenance

South San Francisco Main Library held a Laptop Optimization and Maintenance program and it was a huge success!  Staff outlined and covered all of the necessary steps to keep your laptop device working at an optimal rate.


Patrons were taught about Random Access Memory (RAM), a form of volatile/temporary storage that is an integral part of computers.  Upgrading current RAM in your device will improve computer  performance.


The differences between Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD) were covered as well.  Hardrives play an important role in backing up data and files.  SSD is faster than HDD because SSD has no moving parts whereas HDD does.  SSD stores, extracts and processes data inside of individual chips embedded in the drive.  HDD makes use of a disk and a arm component to read and process data, which is slower than SSD.


Hard Disk Drive vs. Solid State Drive


South San Francisco Main Library hosts Laptop Maintenance and Optimization programs throughout the year.  If you are not able to attend, never hesitate to drop by the Makerspace area for a 1-on-1 session to speed up your device.  Resources and services are available for everyone in the public.