Book talk | April 16, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- April 16, 2021

Book talk

LIBRARIES EXPAND SERVICES ... Public libraries in Palo Alto and San Mateo County are expanding their hours and services.

San Mateo County Libraries is scheduled to reopen its library doors with limited services this month. Beginning Thursday, April 22, the library system will offer Express Service from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays at most locations. Express Service will include in-library browsing and Wi-Fi, computer and printer access.

Express Service is part of a phased approach that the county library system has been working on for months to reinstate offerings and access since shutting its doors in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrons will be required to wear masks and abide by physical distancing guidelines. Building capacity and seating will be limited and libraries will close midday for high-touch surface cleaning, and community members will be encouraged to limit visits to 60 minutes to allow others the opportunity to use the library.

County libraries will continue to offer curbside services, which include pickup, printing and no-appointment walk-up service, at most locations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays - Wednesdays. Library programs and events will continue in a virtual setting.

Palo Alto City Library began offering limited in-library access by appointment only at Children' Library on April 13 and is scheduled to reopen its Mitchell Park and Rinconada locations in May. Patrons can reserve a 45-minute library visit in advance, which allows them to browse the stacks, pick up holds, consult the catalog and have questions answered in-person by library staff. Face coverings are mandatory.

For more information about San Mateo County Libraries' new Express Service, go to For more information about scheduling in-person visits at Palo Alto libraries, go to

LOCAL RELEASE: 'BENEATH THE SEAMS' ... Palo Alto resident Peyton H. Roberts, who is a sustainable fashion ambassador with the Bay Area nonprofit Remake, takes a look at the dark side of the fashion industry in her debut novel "Beneath the Seams" (Scrivenings Press), which comes out on May 11.

In her book, Texas-based fashion designer Shelby Lawrence is preparing to launch her mother-daughter dresses into retail stores nationwide when she becomes aware of her role in the unethical fashion industry.

Roberts, who grew up making sundresses and formal gowns on her mom's sewing machine, said traveling and blogging across Asia opened her eyes to her clothes' complicated journey from cotton fields to closet.

"Beneath the Seams" is available for presale on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and through local bookstores Kepler's and Books, Inc.

A NEW TITANIC STORY ... Award-winning author Stacey Lee, whose historical fiction includes "Under a Painted Sky" and "Outrun the Moon," will talk about her newest book "Luck of the Titanic" at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 4, during a virtual event sponsored by Kepler's LIterary Foundation.

"Luck of the Titanic" tells the story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage. In her book, Lee brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.

Lee is the winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. She will be chatting with Stephanie Garber, author of "Caraval," "Legendary," and "Finale."

To RSVP, go to Cost is $23-$33 and includes a copy of the book.


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