Fun at Foster's blog

Digitization and Scrapbooking

As summer draws to a close many of us are looking at our photos and reminiscing about our vacations. In the digital age, this is so easy to do—we have smartphones, point-and-shoot digital cameras, and Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras. These provide us with instantaneous memories that we can share with the world, and often do. But what happens when you want to share old photographs from your childhood, or images of your grandparents? Most of these images were taken before digital photography was a gleam in anyone’s eye.

A weathered black and white photo of a man and young woman is compared to a restored version.

Many places offer digitization of old photographs, slides, and negatives at varying prices. Your Resident Photographer has decided that she would rather do it herself and has invested in a scanner attached to her desktop computer. The advantage to doing it yourself is that you are able to use the images in any project you might decide to create.

A man poses in a park wearing a suit with a hat in his hand.

Digital scrapbooking is one way of using your digitized photos. This involves creating your scrapbook page on your computer before printing it out. You can also print your images out at will, and in any size your printer can handle, to use in more conventional scrapbook projects. You might actually find that you enjoy being the family archivist!

If the scanner you choose also does slides and negatives, as well as physical photographs, you have an opportunity to preserve your fragile memories to share with future generations. While nobody knows how long different storage formats will last, once scanned you have the option of saving your treasures in multiple places, such as your hard drive, a CD, an external hard drive, or a flash drive.

Photo-editing software can help you be more creative with your images. It can also help you to repair scanned images of photos that are damaged. There are a number of options for software available, and some are even free. Foster Library has a selection of books on computer graphics to help you get started.

A young girl and her grandmother enjoy some flowers they have picked.

Foster Library also has items on scrapbooking in general, as well as digital scrapbooking. We even have a book that teaches you the best method of scanning your negatives and slides: Scanning Negatives and Slides: Digitizing Your Photographic Archives, by Sascha Steinhoff.

Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

Tim Wilbur on Social Security @ Foster

On Wednesday, August 5, speaker Tim Wilbur will deliver a talk at E.P. Foster Library on maximizing your Social Security benefits.

Understanding your retirement benefits is important but also surprisingly complex. Wisely managing your Social Security income benefits starts with understanding your options. Come to this free presentation for tips and advice.

This talk begins at 6 p.m. in the Topping Room. Stop by if you’d like to learn more about this important topic!

Three images of a Social Security card stacked on top of each other.

David's Dish: Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup

I never knew that oatmeal was such a versatile food, but a new book in our collection certainly illustrates this. OATrageous Oatmeals: Delicious and Surprising Plant-based Dishes by Kathy Hester is an eye-opening book. I was shocked by the variety of both sweet and savory dishes!

Once again I had to make a choice—so many recipes, so little time. I went with the Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup, which is made with oatmeal (I know, it sounds weird). We have scads of homegrown tomatoes, so it would be a very inexpensive meal to prepare.

The book cover for "OATrageous Oatmeals" featuring wooden spoons and bowls with a variety of oats.
A bowl of Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup with a parsley garnish and tortilla strips on the side.

The recipe is quite simple: all the ingredients are thrown into the pot, brought to a boil, then simmered for twenty minutes, blended, and served. I ended up serving it over basmati rice which made it a very satisfying meal. Indian food goes fast in my household. By the time I returned home the soup and rice had been devoured, so the photo of the meal is from the cookbook.


*****David's Dish

Check out the book at E.P. Foster Library, or put it on hold—we will send it to you. If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking!

Maritime History of Ventura County @ Foster

A three-masted wooden sailing ship on the open ocean under a blue sky.

On Sunday, July 26, E.P. Foster Library will host Jim Kosinski and Jerry Leckie of the Channel Islands Maritime Museum for a special historical presentation.

In their talk, "The Rich Maritime History of Ventura County and the Pacific Coast," Kosinski and Leckie will discuss the rich and varied history of ships along the Ventura County coast. This event is free and open to the public.

The talk begins at 2 p.m. in the Topping Room. Stop by to learn more about this fascinating topic!

Hemingway and Cuba @ Foster

On Tuesday, July 21, E.P. Foster Library will host visiting Cuban scholar Victor Pina Tabío as he gives a talk on Hemingway and Cuba.

Dr. Tabío has attended numerous international colloquiums on Ernest Hemingway and will share his passion for this unforgettable American author who called Cuba home for over 20 years.

The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Topping Room. We hope to see you there!

Hemingway writing while seated at a wooden desk.

ArtWalk Ventura @ Foster

The ArtWalk Ventura logo, featuring a stylized A, W, and V design in blue, green, and orange.

ArtWalk Ventura will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday, July 18 & 19, and E.P. Foster Library will be serving as a venue for the weekend!

The library is already hosting some great pieces of local art, and in addition will be holding a special Late Night @ Your Library event starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday featuring music, a book sale by the Friends of the Library, a 3D printing demonstration, and more!

E.P. Foster's ArtWalk events will be going on from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call or drop by the library!

Exquisite Corpse

Book cover for "Exquisite Corpse," wherein a young woman in a red top reads a book while others look on.

Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu tells the story of Zoe, a young woman living in France. In many ways she is a lost soul, stuck in a lousy job where she is little more than a piece of eye candy and in an even worse relationship with a deadbeat boyfriend. She has no plans, no aspirations; she’s going nowhere. Then one day while having lunch in the park she notices a man peering behind the curtains of a nearby apartment. Out of curiosity, perhaps, or on a whim, she decides to meet this reclusive stranger. What she discovers will change her life and take her in an unexpected direction.

This stranger is no stranger. He is a famous writer named Thomas Rocher, but this means nothing to Zoe, who is admittedly not a book person. As they continue to spend more time together, she will not only be faced with Thomas’ idiosyncrasies, but also the secrets behind them. Oh, and there’s also his editor (and former wife) to contend with.

Zoe could have easily been written off as a victim—of the ogling and groping she endures in her job, the shiftlessness and neglect from her boyfriend, even the wayward moods from that mysterious man behind the curtain. But rather than let these people define her, she turns the tables on them, and in the process finds her own identity.

Exquisite Corpse was not the graphic novel I was expecting. It was much, much more, and definitely worth reading. It’s a good read, but definitely not for children.


Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

"Beary" Big Book Sale @ Dudley House

A light tan bear holding a stack of multicolored books.

On Saturday, July 25, the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library will hold a special book sale!

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Friends will be at the Dudley House on Loma Vista and Ashwood in Ventura. All genres will be featured, and the deals will be fantastic!

For more information, you can contact You can also visit the Friends of the Library book store on the first floor of E.P. Foster Library.

A light tan bear holding a stack of multicolored books.

Wabi-sabi and Zen

Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

A weathered metal handle on a wooden door.

Writer Patricia Ward explains that “Wabi denotes simplicity and quietude and incorporates rustic beauty, such as patterns found in straw, bamboo, clay, or stone. It refers to both that which is made by nature and that which is made by man. Sabi refers to the patina of age, the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life and careful, artful mending of damage.”

An autumn tree branch with several red berries.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. 

Rabbit tracks in the snow.

Photographers can capture this aesthetic when we take images of worn items, used pottery, weathered wood, or utensils that have been broken and lovingly repaired. A photograph itself can also be considered wabi-sabi when the subject is impermanent or transient, such as cloud formations, sunsets, rainbows, etc.

An old, cracked stone bowl filled with plant material.

The Ventura County Library has books on wabi-sabi and zen, as well as electronic resources on zen and an eBook on wabi-sabi for artists.


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

FOL Book Sale at the Fourth of July Street Fair

While E.P. Foster Library will be closed on July 4 along with all other Ventura County Library branches in observance of Independence Day, the City of Ventura will be putting on its annual 4th of July Street Fair—and the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library will be there!

Along with E.P. Foster TAG, the Friends will be holding a special book sale during the street fair. Stop by downtown for some great deals on great books and other materials, and then see what the rest of the fair has to offer!

Red, white, and blue 3D-printed figurines stand in front of books for sale by the Friends of the Library.
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