On April 26, Albany Library hosted groups raising awareness for Victims Rights Awareness Week. The information fair was coordinated by Kelli Sage of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Children and adults passing through the lobby on their way to the library stopped and picked up information and spoke with the presenters. One ingenious display gave children a chance to write about their own experiences as victims and how they stood up for their rights in difficult situations. The Albany event was part of a series of consciousness-raising fairs, hosted by different Bay Area libraries.
Archive for the ‘The Albany Community’ Category
It’s no secret that libraries matter to the people of Albany and surrounding communities. Adults, teens and children continue to stream through the open doors to use public computers, attend programs and browse for books and movies.
In recognition of National Library Week, Mayor Peggy Thomsen, read a proclamation honoring Albany Library. Ronnie Davis confirmed the statistics cited in the proclamation, introducing Library Board President, Rosalie Gonzales, and the new children’s librarian, Dan Hess.
The 2013 theme for Library Week is “Communities Matter.” See this motto come to life at Albany Library.
Be sure to see the basket display in our case this February. Catherine Anderson is both a collector and maker of baskets, so the display features work from around the world and her own intricate designs.
One interesting feature of the collection is the array of subtle colors, with grass, straw, paper, and other dyed fabric. Stand back and see the whole case to gain an appreciation of the useful (and beautiful) basket!
The Albany Library Board met on Wednesday, January 23. The Board has been restructured to include five members, each appointed by a city council member. The new Library Board includes Hank Olson, Karen McKeown, Rosalie Gonzales, Alan Riffer and Karen Leeburg. Outgoing members–Sarah Whitmer, Linda Yamamoto, Leah Flanagan and Robert Lieber (not pictured)–were recognized for their conscientious service to the community, with combined service of over 24 years! Judy Lieberman will continue to represent the City of Albany at these meetings–bringing her organizational expertise and commitment to fairness to the table.
The Board will continue to serve as advocates for the people of Albany, working to ensure that funds are used wisely and allocated properly. Community input is encouraged and members of the public are always welcome to attend meetings–to be held on the 3rd Tuesdays of most odd-numbered months. (Please see Library and City calendars for actual dates. There will be no meeting in July.)
Be sure to spend some time in front of the display case as you enter the library this month. The Urban Sketchers have treated us to a rainbow of local color. The group will hold a sketching party on January 19 from 12-3 on Solano Avenue followed by a reception in the foyer of the Community Center. See sign in gallery below for details of that party.
The Miko Dolls on display this December bring a story of Kizuna and camaraderie across the ocean. The March 11, 2011 Earthquake in Northern Japan and the following tsunami saddened the world. Miko Doll creator, Mikio Sakuma, responded to this tragedy with creativity and compassion.
One box shows a family reaching toward each other across rushing waves, with branches arching over their heads. It is a delicate portrayal of kizuna or friendship which pulls us toward each other even when we are in danger.
So many of the boxes tell interesting stories. Come see for yourself!
Our featured readers at the November 13 poetry night were Betty Roszak and Murray Silverstein.
A fascinating collection of painted tubes stood to the left of the podium as Betty Roszak read her poems, glowing like a futuristic city. These designs are part of the cover art for her collected poems: For Want of the Golden City.
The art fit the mood of the poems. Just as the decorations on the tubes were reminiscent of a hippie bus, the concepts held under the poet’s scrutiny shimmered in a groovy way as they caught the light. See photos below.
Roszak also stared down the problems of pollution and greed and her poems were a testament to ecological awareness. As Catherine Taylor writes,
“Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and reviews. Her audio-texts, Starbirth and The Crest of the East Pacific Rise, poetic evocations of recent scientific discoveries, have been presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The poem “Global Ocean Flux” was commissioned by the American Geophysical Union.”
Murray Silverstein was the second reader. He read favorites from his collection, Any Old Wolf, reminding the audience how rooted we are in spoken truths. The voice, narrating the passages of family life, is great within us and Silverstein’s voice is particularly clear and strong.
His idiosyncratic poems about a series of buildings in Modesto (with slides of each building) were a delight to hear and see. Not only did we meet the people who lived in the buildings; the structures spoke out–each revealing its own persona. The architectural poems were written for Modesto’s 2012 International Architecture Festival.
Look for Murray’s new book, Master of Leaves, from Sixteen Rivers Press.
Many accomplished poets stepped up to the open mic following the featured readers, a night remarkable for its clear voices. I hope to add video recordings of the featured poets at a later date.
Albany Library Board met on Wednesday, October 24, with a special item on their agenda: a presentation honoring Gardener and Margaret Young, whose bequest made possible an audio-visual upgrade to the Edith Stone Room.
The Albany couple died last year, both just shy of 100 years. Mr. Young worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the couple lived in Albany from 1952 to 2011. Neighbors fondly recall them and spoke of how much they loved Albany.
The board was honored to have the trustees of the Young estate, Kay and Ed Kinney, at the meeting for this “ground-breaking” of sorts.
Jeremy Allen, representing the City of Albany, demonstrated the audio-visual capabilities to an enthusiastic audience. Cal Freshman and Albany’s own Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nir Maoz, manned a TV camera in the back of the room. (See the meeting on KALB.)
After the demo, Ronnie Davis thanked the board and the Kinneys on behalf of the library. She showed how the equipment already proved its worth, working its magic on kids playing Wii games and wowing adults with HD images of the presidential debate.
City Manager, Beth Pollard, officially thanked the Kinney’s for the gift provided by the estate. Board members also expressed thanks and noted that the project cost only a third of the library’s share of the bequest. They expressed satisfaction with the current project and stated that any future spending of the gift should follow the same thorough planning.
Finally, Kay Kinney addressed the group, thanking the library board for their stewardship and emphasizing how much the Young’s valued the library’s service to kids and the community. (She and her husband arrived at the library during peak kid time and were happy to see the library full of children–knowing how that would have pleased the Youngs.)
Read more about the Youngs and their awesome gift on Albany Patch
The cheers and sighs, the clapping and the cringing are over for the time being. The candidates have spoken, the citizens have taken note. Not an ordinary night in Albany, but a night where nearly 300 gathered to express their collective curiosity. “Who are these guys?” “Which person’s vision will revitalize the country?”
After the televised debate, Professor of Cognitive Linguistics, George Lakoff took questions and reflected on the drama we had just seen. His analysis–both simple and complex–seemed more stimulating than the wrap-up on TV. (Incidentally, the main hall and foyer of the community center and the Edith Stone Room were filled to capacity, with 3 TV screens running.)
Dr. Lakoff showed how our own political speech and notions of justice and fairness spring from our frames of reference. He challenged us to discover our own moral imperatives and push our representatives to do the same. He exposed the folly of enlightenment rationality that supposes the “best argument” should win the debate. As he points out in The Little Blue Book, people rarely look to logic for persuasion. Rather, it is the “look of understanding and the tone of empathy” that wins. (Of course, it doesn’t take an H. L. Mencken to point out how often this empathy is fake, or how the handshakes get heartier when there are dollars pressed between.)
The Debate Watch on Tuesday was a hit for the whole community. The City of Albany, Alameda County Library, The Friends of the Albany Library deserve a huge round of applause for providing space, tech-savvy, staffing and funds to create this Town Hall Meeting. Catherine Taylor, who arranges the Second Tuesdays Poetry Series, was central to the evening’s success. Her interest in the way ordinary people speak of politics prompted her to suggest Dr. Lakoff as a guest speaker. We were pleased to have Pegasus Books on site to sell “The Little Blue Book,” and, of course, Dr. Lakoff, his wife and guests.
It was great to have Chris Pech from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on hand to answer questions about voter registration and the upcoming election. We were honored to have Amelia Lopez from Assembly member Nancy Skinner’s office, who told Albany Library Manager, Ronnie Davis “she was ‘blown away’ by the community response and the role that libraries play in creating this kind of community forum.” A super thanks goes to Nancy Rubin for the great photographs showing democracy in action!
Commentator Lakoff spoke of the mirroring our brains perform as observers. We form connections with others because we form connections first in the neuronal circuitry of our noggins! Watching the debate with other voters–partisan or neutral–inspires us to think and act politically; it sparks conversations, nudging us to see how others see.
Albany Library is an ideal venue for watching the debate; as it is our mission to promote life-long learning and civic engagement. (We also have many binders full of women! Albany City Council recordings, for example!)
Remember to register for this election by October 23 and to vote on or by November 6.
On Monday, October 15, Mani Feniger read from her book, The Woman in the Photograph: The Search for my Mother’s Past. The author’s odyssey into her family history was prompted by the accidental discovery of a packet of photographs in a family closet.
These pictures showed a young woman from Leipzig, Germany in the 1930′s. Mani’s own memory of her pragmatic, thrifty mother contrasted with the rich, soft images of the girl in the photos. This puzzled her. The pleasure evident in her mother’s face was a side of her mother the author had never seen.
Through discussions with relatives, email exchanges with strangers, records searches and a trip to Leipzig, the stories of her mother’s youth (and the family’s former property in Germany) came to light.
The author’s resolve to accept everything that was revealed–including pain and disappointment–made the stories very compelling and built empathy for this woman who kept so much of her life “to herself.” The memoir improves our understanding of how people cope with fear and danger, passing those traumas on to their children–at the same time, surrounding their kids with comfort and love.
Feniger was especially eloquent in describing the symbolic re-emergence of her mother’s ring–one of the view tangible treasures from her mother’s past.