Friday, September 26, 2008

Banned Books Week

We've put up displays of banned and challenged books in the Library along with documents and quotes about censorship and the First Amendment.

Our library clerk, Cythea, with an eye for the dramatic and beautiful was a great help in designing the displays.

As soon as I can I'll have some pictures to share. The picture shown is from an exhibit about the artistic response to literary censorship currently being held in Oakland. See the reference below.
"The work of Liz Hager confronts when people tried to ban Harry Potter at the African American Museum on Tuesday, September 16, 2008, in Oakland, Calif. The exhibit has original artwork on the impact of banning books. (Gregory Urquiaga photo)"

The theme of Banned Books Week this year is "Closing Books Shut Out Ideas."

The official ALA web page for BBW is here. The includes press releases, lists of the most challenged books, and other materials about the topic.

The Banned Books Week site, which is more general in scope, states:
"Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. Banned Books Week is also endorsed by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress."

A couple folks have questioned whether we should "celebrate" BBW but my attitude is that we are really celebrating a very important part of the First Amendment with this week.

Almost every week a message comes across the school librarians' LM_NET listserv about a challenge to some book or film. Intellectual freedom is what we are celebrating and which we must continue to protect in libraries and bookstores across the country.

According the the Banned Books Week website the following local event is underway:

San Francisco Center for the Book | 300 De Haro Street | San Francisco, CA 94131

August 15-November 26, 2008 | 415-565-0545

Banned & Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship More than 60 artists interpret banned or challenged books in their chosen medium in response to the suppression of literary art. Curator Hanna Regev has assembled more than 60 artists, each interpreting a banned book of their choice. “Collectively," says Regev, "the work initiates an important undertaking—the recovery of fragments of our censored history. We felt that the pairing of visual and graphic artists with these banned and threatened books was a natural one. After all, what better group to interpret suppressed works than visual artists who are already so attuned to the threat of censorship. The show is a powerful reminder of the fragility of our freedoms, many of which are being chipped away by the PATRIOT Act. It is a powerful testament to the irrepressible creative spirit.” A sister exhibition is being held in Oakland at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th St. An Oakland Tribune article discusses the exhibition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month

Throughout the year the Library celebrates several groups with displays of posters and books. From Spetember 15 through October 15 we celebrate Hispanic Heritiage Month. Unlike the other month-long celebrations Hispanic Heritage starts in the middle of one month and ends in the middle of the next. This is because Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua achieved independence on September 15th. Mexico achieved independence on September 16th and Chile on September 18th. Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated in the United States since 1974, when President Gerald Ford issued a Presidential Proclamation extending Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long observation.

Some titles in the Bessie Chin Library to consider reading during Hispanic Heritage Month are:

Books by Gary Soto including: California Childhood: Recollections and Stories of the Golden State; Living Up the Street: Narrative Recollections; A Summer Life; Who Will Know Us: New Poems
Books by Julia Alvarez including: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; In the Time of the Butterflies; Saving the World; Something to Declare
Books by Nicholasa Mohr including: El Bronx Remembered; Going Home; In Nueva Yorka
Books by Rudolfo Anaya including: Bless Me. Ultima; Benedicime, Ultima; Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano Homeland; My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande
A book by Esmeralda Santiago: When I was Puerto Rican
Books by Isabel Allende including: Daughter of Fortune; House of the Spirits; Cuentos de Eva Luna; Zorro: A Novel
Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States and Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States edited by Lori Marie Carlson
A book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: The Shadow of the Wind: A Novel
Books by Gabriel García Márquez including: One Hundred Years of Solitude; The Autumn of the Patriarch; The General in His Labyrinth
Here Is My Kingdom: Hispanic-American Literature and Art for Young People by Charles Sullivan
Books by Judith Ortiz Cofer including: Latin Deli: Prose and Poems
Books by Jimmy Santiago Baca including: Black Mesa Poems; Immigrants in Our Own Land & Selected Early Poems; A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet
A book by David Rice: Crazy Loco: Stories
Books by Richard Rodriguez including: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez; Brown: The Last Discovery of America; Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father
Books by Oscar Hijuelos including: Mr. Ives' Christmas; The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Books by Piri Thomas including: Down These Mean Streets; Savior, Savior, Hold My Hand
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez
Latinos: A Biography of the People by Earl Shorris
Books by Jorge Luis Borges including: The Book of Imaginary Beings; The Book of Sand

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome to Our New Afternoon Library Specialist

Because Karen Barrett, our long-time full-time Library Specialist has taken the position of Athletic Director we have hired a new part-time person to fill her position in the afternoon.

We'd like to welcome Hans Doto to the Bessie Chin Library and the Redwood community.

Most recently Hans has been working in food service at Drake High School in the district. He also runs a martial arts school in San Rafael in the evening.

At his interview Hans said he was looking forward to learning how a library is run and learning some new skills in an area he doesn't have too much experience in. Hans definitely seems eager to learn and judging by his first day on the job gets along well with students and staff. We all look forward to working with Hans this year.