Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.


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Juan L. Sánchez hails from Spain, but the entire world is his stage. Juan celebrated the many languages and cultures of the Albany community and told great stories about his songs and instruments. One story told how Africans enslaved in South America transformed the boxes that held the plantation crops into drums, knowing that owners could never take away their music: the heartbeat of the mind. Kids jumped up to join in and the whole audience was bouncing by the end of the show. See for yourself in the pictures and videos:

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Albany Community Center plaza was the scene of an inspired demonstration of flower power today! Brandishing sunflowers, the speakers and farmers from the Gill Tract down the street, gathered to address local citizens and the media. Albany Library’s pink stripes are the backdrop to the photos below, and the beautiful flowers planted by city gardeners show that the Library and Community Center are yet another green spot on Marin Avenue.

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Kelli Sage of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office brought an enthusiastic team of advocates to Albany on Thursday, April 26. The group hopes to raise awareness of the rights of crime victims. Library visitors were presented with an array of programs and agencies that help victims assert their rights and obtain justice. Kids had a chance to color pictures and learn about personal safety. The program was held at many libraries throughout Alameda County during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 22-28, 2012.

Alameda County Office of the District Attorney-Victim & Witness Assistance Division: (510) 272-6180, http://www.alcoda.org/victim_witness/

Alameda County Family Justice Center:  (510) 267-8800, www.acfjc.org

Family Paths (Parent Support Hotline & Referrals): (800) 829-3777, www.familypaths.org

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Sale raises record $7229!


Special Thanks to the Students from MacGregor High School who were a HUGE HELP at the sale.

 Leftovers from the May sale went to :
     U S Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan 
     African schools – Uganda and other countries 
     Nevis and St Kitts 
     a local art teacher 
     San Francisco Jail 
     St Vincent de Paul 
     Springville and Strathmore ( Tulare County) libraries

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Creative Albany!

Where: Albany Library, 1247 Marin Ave, Albany, CA 94706
Date: March 26, 2011
Time: 10:00am–4:00pm

A captivating community arts day providing a range of ways for youth and families to experience the arts in action!

  • 10-12 – Origami Workshop with Margo Wecksler
  • 12-1 – Tour and Reception for Youth Art Display and Local Artist, Irfan Akbar
  • 1-2 – Welcome from Supervisor Keith Carson and Fratello Marionettes’ Carnival of the Animals
  • 2-2:30 – Albany High Jazz Combo Performance
  • 2:30-3 – Lobby Gallery Tour with Irfan Akbar
  • 2:30-4 – Presentation and Craft workshop with Albany Children’s Book author, Elisa Kleven

Youth visual art will be on display throughout the month of March! Presented by Albany Library / Alameda County Library system, City of Albany, Albany Arts Committee, Friends of the Albany Library and the Alameda County Arts Commission. Special guest:Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, District 5 will visit at 1:00 pm!

Everyone invited: Families, Free, Kids, Open to All, Seniors, Teens

Website: http://www.aclibrary.org/branches/alb
Phone: 510-526-3720
Email: dhess@aclibrary.org

Price: free


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Banned book Week: September 25 to October 2, 2010.

…efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. [see full statement below.]

ALA | Freedom to Read Statement.

Banned Books Week

Celebrate this important freedom by sitting down with a difficult idea. Then discuss it with a family member or friend. Let us hear how it went by responding to this post.

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