Gleeson Zine Workshop

Express yourself.  Make your own zine!   Zines are self published magazines made by artists, writers, and other interesting people.  Zines are created in a variety of ways using comics, collage, drawings, hand written, or typed text.

Thursday October 12 from 11:00-2:00 we will show people how to make zines and will make some ourselves.  Join us on the second floor of the Gleeson Library next to the new Gleeson Zine Library.  Both experienced zinesters and people who are just getting started are encouraged to attend.  Come when you can only leave when you really have to.

 

 

 

Saint Jerome and fake news

We have a tradition here at Gleeson Library for the last 24 years: we celebrate the feast of Saint Jerome on September 30th. Why? Because Jerome is the patron saint of librarians and Jerome spent his life searching for the truth. 

 Jerome was born in 347 and died on September 30 in 420. He was a translator, theologian and priest. His translation of the Bible, called The Vulgate, was considered the most important translation of the Bible for over 1,000 years.

In Jerome’s time, the church was still defining Christian doctrine and beliefs. There were raging controversies about questions like the nature of Jesus (how could he be both human and divine) and the nature of the Trinity. Jerome took very strong positions on these kinds of issues. He had a reputation for being a difficult and argumentative person because of this. (I suspect many of us would not have liked Jerome personally). But Jerome did this because the truth mattered very much to him.

We are now living in a time when “fake news” is being created and used to attempt to influence our democracy. People are saying that all truth is relative and situational. For centuries, libraries and librarians have tried to gather information and help people determine what information is reliable, is truthful.

Libraries are creating research guides to help people spot and fight “fake news.” As all of us think about the role of media and the impact of fake news on our lives, it is important to remember the value of simple things like truth and honesty. Jerome’s unending pursuit of the truth, as he understood it, can be a reminder to all of us of the value of truth in turbulent times.

So this Saturday, September 30, take a moment to think of Jerome and appreciate the importance of truth in our lives and our society. And stop by Gleeson and see our display on St. Jerome and libraries.

St.Jerome

Gleeson Library Remembers: John Ashbery

 

American poet John Ashbery  passed away on Sunday September 3, 2017 at age 90. In his acclaimed career, Ashbery published more than 20 volumes of poetry, most noted for their intricacy and controversy. He has won almost every major American poetry award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant.

“I tried each thing, only some were immortal and free.” – John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Ashbery is remembered by the public mostly for his reflective work titled Self -Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and this where his legacy most strongly lives on. These poems are rooted in radical and complex ideas, yet portrayed with simple and non-grammatical line structure. The stream of lines and stanzas move and flow without having to do with one another, but later unite to present the bigger picture. Many memorial think pieces have been written about Ashbery in the wake of his death, but you may want to check out the article about Ashbery written by Matthew Zapruder in the San Francisco Chronicle, available through the library’s subscription to Access World News.DSC_3606

Gleeson Library staff has prepared a display to honor Ashbery and his works just past the circulation desk. Please feel free to stop by, browse, and pick up a physical copy of a couple of his books. You can also browse his books in the library’s catalog, and use the “request” function to place a hold on any of interest to you. If the work you’re looking for is checked out or not available, for example the single volume Some Trees, you can request a copy for a later pick at Link+, an easy-to-use consortium Gleeson Library belongs to.

The display will be up until September 17, 2017, but you can always view the ebook of his work The Tennis Court Oath, listen to a recording of Ashbery’s work through the LA Public Library Aloud series, or watch one of the streaming videos through the library’s collections that features Ashbery:

 

IT: Clowns, Coming of Age, and Comedy

Fall is quickly approaching, so what better way to get into the spooky season than with Stephen King’s IT. This haunting tale just celebrated 31 years of print, alongside 27 years since the IT miniseries aired. Keeping with the twisted 27 year theme, Warner Bros. has recently released their own take on this frightful classic. I went to one of the first showings in San Francisco this past weekend after speeding through the paperback book.

IT
Bill Skarsgård nails his performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 2017 adaptation of IT. Illustration from the San Francisco Chronicle.

In short, in both the book and the new movie, horrifying and vivid details superbly frame the mysterious 1957 town of Derry, Maine, where peculiar is the norm. 27 years after a rather odd and grotesque murder, we flash forward to another brutally haunting murder. Michael Hanlon solicits the help of his childhood friends a.k.a The Losers Club. Familiar with this freakish trend, they unwillingly venture back to Derry to eradicate this evil once and for all.

King’s story digs into fears we harbor as children that never really leave us. If you’re ready to reprise repressed childhood memories while being totally frightened like I was, this horror staple is for you. The book’s point of view alternates between each member of the Losers Club’s youth and adulthood. I still cannot tell if I like this style or not. Quite ambitious on King’s part and executed moderately well, 700 pages in, the style of the book may either leave you annoyed or bored of the adult Loser’s Club, who seem to be sticking around only to give voice to their childhood counterparts. Having read the book in about two weeks, I found some parts absolutely thrilling while others dragged on. This book is available to check out at USF through Link+, an easy-to-use consortium that Gleeson Library belongs to; books can be requested from another library and sent to the building for pick up in as little as 2 days.

Don’t want to wait for Part 2 of IT, the movie? You can always read IT, the book. Just sayin’.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 11, 2017

2017’s reboot of IT is terrifying. Director Andres Muschietti’s retelling of this story is divided into two parts: the first, focusing on the kids’ encounters and a “Chapter 2” sequel planned for a later release date. This adaptation follows the book more closely than ABC’s 1990 miniseries of the same title. The plot of both novel and movie is about IT’s ability to continue living by keeping the characters’ biggest fears present. The screenwriters change only a few details of the Losers Club’s original story to keep the scares and plot relevant to the new time period of 1986, while maintaining the plot’s integrity. Most notably, the movie also lacks the amount of mysticism that is extremely prevalent in the book. Muschietti has stated, “I was never too crazy about the mythology…”

Watching this film brings a mix of familiar cringy childhood nostalgia and an “edge of your seat” feeling that something is not quite right, even once the movie ends. The movie’s high intensity scenes are equally balanced by the Losers Club’s amazing performances, crass humor, and preadolescent behavior. The subtle scary aspects of the story build up the anticipation for the bigger battles between the Losers Club and Pennywise. The 2017 adaptation of IT sparked much needed excitement to hit the box office following a less than exciting summer movie season, and brings together a perfect blend coming-of-age themes and quintessential scary movie components to kick off this fall’s lineup of scary movies. A more in depth review can be found in the database Access World News (a database brought to you by Gleeson Library), written by Peter Hartlaub from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Image: We All Float Down Here by Carl Glover

Happy Constitution Day!

Constitution_We_the_People

“Constitution Day” celebrates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. On this day, 230 years ago, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia, PA to sign this landmark document. The Constitution established our national government and fundamental laws, and continues to guarantee basic rights for U.S. citizens. The Bill of Rights became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

Check out Gleeson Library’s Constitution Day Guide to online resources.

 

Why Digitize KKK Newspapers?

Gleeson Library has contributed funds to support a project to digitize and provide open access to Ku Klux Klan newspapers from the 1920s, and we now have early contributors’ access to the newspapers that have been digitized so far.

The project is in its early stages, but is already being used for analysis in national media.

Overview from the project website:

From its birth immediately following the Civil War to its re-awakening inspired by the film Birth of a Nation in 1915 through today’s fractured organizations using the Klan’s name, the Ku Klux Klan has occupied a persistent place in American society.

The Klan’s national newspaper had a circulation larger than the New York Times.

To understand today’s version of American nationalism, we need to go back to the 1920s when the Klan re-emerged as a slick and successful recruiting and marketing engine that appealed to the fears and aspirations of middle-aged, middle-income, white protestant men in the middle of America. At its peak in 1924, Klan paid membership exceeded 4,000,000 and its national newspaper, the Imperial Night-Hawk, had a circulation larger than the New York Times.

The goal of this project is to assemble a comprehensive and hopefully complete collection of KKK newspapers into a fully-searchable open access database.  The collection features national Klan publications (for example: the Imperial Night-Hawk and the Kourier) as well as regional and local Klan produced papers (i.e., Sgt. Dalton’s Weekly, Jayhawker American, and the Minnesota Fiery Cross).  The collection will also include a smaller set of papers sympathetic to the Klan (i.e., The Good Citizen and The Fellowship Forum) and a few important anti-Klan publications (Tolerance and The Record). A complete title list may be found here.

The collection will be hosted on the Reveal Digital platform, which will provide controlled access to funding libraries until the collection moves to open access.

From the Slums and Gutters of Europe
From The Badger American, August 1923. A foreshadow of presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015? : “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”

Why Digitize KKK Newspapers?

Contributed by Dr. Thomas R. Pegram, Professor of History, Loyola University–Maryland, and author of One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.

The degree to which Klan newspapers drew from ordinary currents in American life in the 1920s is stunning. These newspapers detail the extent to which the Klan movement was anchored in American traditions of fraternalism, sociability, business and civic practices. That makes the appeal to exclusivity, the anti-Catholicism, and the assumed white Protestant ownership of American institutions that are also apparent in Klan newspapers so powerful.

The Klan newspapers of the 1920s are a reminder of how current divisions over immigration, race, and citizenship are deeply embedded in American history.

Sentiments that are now considered radical or located on the fringes of American society actually existed side by side with mainstream American beliefs and practices. Openly bigoted and reckless publications such as Colonel Mayfield’s Weekly contrast in style with more conventional publications such as the versions of the Fiery Cross that appeared across the Midwest, but all Klan newspapers shared the same bedrock beliefs that American democracy existed for only white Protestant Americans. Some, like Chicago’s Dawn offered frank denunciations of ethnic and Catholic Americans that reveal the extent to which American pluralism was contradicted by American tribalism. The Klan newspapers of the 1920s are a reminder of how current divisions over immigration, race, and citizenship are deeply embedded in American history.


Top Image: From The Badger American, March 1924. KKK Newspapers database.