All posts by varelaariana

The Summer of Love at the Rare Book Room

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the “Summer of Love.” But what exactly was the Summer of Love in San Francisco? There continues to be much debate over what this time in history was and the implications of its legacy.

The De Young museum is hosting an exhibit entitled “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll” to probe this question and to commemorate the confluence of the visual and musical aspects of the time period. This exhibit showcases rock posters, photographs, films, fashion, and light shows to celebrate and remember the way the movement disrupted culture in a time of social and political upheaval. It runs from April 8th to August 20th.

Here in the Rare Book Room we have a facsimile edition of the San Francisco Oracle (issues September 1966 through February 1968), an underground newspaper based out of Haight Ashbury at the height of the Summer of Love. In the preface, editor Allen Cohen describes the SF Oracle as a “psychedelic, multicolored tabloid… [a contemporary] version of the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages.” The Gathering of the Tribes, a.k.a. the Human Be-In, which was  held on January 14th, 1967 at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, is publicized in the fifth issue of the SF Oracle. This event is seen as the kickoff point for the Summer of Love with attendance in the tens of thousands. The Oracle describes the Be-In as a “union of love and activism previously separated by categorical dogma and label mongering.”

We also have the first issues of Rolling Stone Magazine which features news on the prominent musicians of the era and other social events related to the counter culture movement.

Stop by the Rare Book Room Monday – Friday 9am-5pm to check out these awesome sources!

Wolfgang Lederer in the Rare Book Room

Wolfgang Lederer was an influential designer, illustrator, and educator who shaped the future of design practice in the Bay Area. Gleeson’s Rare Book Room is lucky enough to hold Lederer’s personal archive and is beginning to catalog some of the items from the archive. Before the catalog records go live, I thought I’d give you some background and a sneak peak into the collection.

Lederer was born in Manneheim, Germany in 1912. He studied book design and graphic arts throughout various schools in Europe until 1939 when he was forced to flee Nazi Germany. According to a memo issued by the California College of Arts (formerly known as the California School of Arts and Crafts and the California College of Arts and Crafts), Lederer arrived in New York with only eight dollars in his pocket. In 1941 he became a professor at the California School of Arts and Crafts. He developed the design department and made it one of the major design programs in the country. He was also a book designer for the University of California Press.

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer(30)
Designed by Lederer

The Rare Book Room here at Gleeson Library holds Lederer’s personal archive, which features awards he received for book design, original artwork from book illustrations, copies of journals he designed, wine bottle labels, and memorabilia from the retrospective of his work held at the San Francisco Center of the Book. This collection also features various Christmas and greeting cards that Lederer designed.

We also have various books featuring Lederer’s illustrations including African Figures, The Two Islands: A Tale, and The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable. Stop by the Rare Book Room to check out this collection! We’re open 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday.

Join us for coffee and donuts!

Join us for some coffee and donuts this Thursday, April 13th at 10:30 am and help us celebrate National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.” National Library Week was created to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and to promote their continued use.

Spring into action for libraries!

Thursday, April 13th is also designated Take Action for Libraries Day. Take Action for Libraries Day will highlight the library community’s efforts to safeguard funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which serves as a critical funding resource for every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories to support libraries and museums.

You can spring into action by advocating for full funding of IMLS which will safeguard federal funding for our nation’s libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) encourages libraries, library workers, and patrons to make at least five calls to their legislators to ask for full support of IMLS funding. Please support by urging your representative to support IMLS.

Rep for 94117:

Nancy Pelosi

(202) 225-4965

(415) 556-4862

For more information check out the display located near the atrium.


Have a happy Spring and a great Easter, Dons!


Spotlight on Trans Women

In honor of Women’s History Month and in light of the critiques of the exclusivity of the Women’s March, I created a display next to the Reference Desk about the experience of trans folk, with emphasis placed on trans women of color. The 2017 Women’s March focused on a genital-based feminism where womanhood was linked to possessing the right genitalia, subsequently excluding trans women. The exclusion of trans women from “women’s spaces” has been a reoccurring theme, contributing to the societal violence against trans women. It is important to maintain an intersectional approach when engaging in activism for women’s issues. It is essential to include trans women during Women’s History Month, specifically trans women of color who experience increased levels of violence against their bodies.

Swing by the display, pick up a book, or pick up a reading list.

Editor’s note: This blog post was written by Ariana Varela, a student assistant in the Reference & Research Services Department and the Rare Book Room at Gleeson Library.


Midterms and Sleep Awareness Week


This midterm season I thought I could highlight the benefits of sleep, as well as offer some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation announced their annual Sleep Awareness Week which will take place from April 23 – 29, 2017, but there is no time like the present to improve your mood and ability to function!

Chart from

An article entitled “Pilot study of a sleep health promotion program for college students” from the scholarly journal Sleep Health, which is available through the library’s database ScienceDirect, states that college students get 7 hours of sleep per night on average. That is the lowest amount of hours on the recommended scale. Many students also reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. Skipping out on a few hours of sleep creates “sleep debt,” making you feel tired throughout the day and like you need to catch up on that sleep on the weekends. The college students in the study reported having symptoms of daytime sleepiness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and concentration/memory difficulties. These symptoms are associated with lower grades, falling asleep while driving, and feelings of depression. A consistent sleep schedule where individuals get enough hours of sleep each night can lead to a better mood, better academic performance, and improved mental and physical health.


Here are some tips to get a better night’s sleep from an article entitled “How do I get a great night’s sleep?” that appeared in this month’s issue of the popular magazine Harper’s Bazaar, which is available through the library’s database subscriptions.

  1. Give yourself 20 minutes before your bedtime to relax.
  2. Try to power down electronics at least two to three hours before bedtime.
  3. Use a sleep mask.
  4. Upon waking, expose yourself to light in order to tell your body it is time to wake up and reset your natural sleep cycle or circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm responds to light, which is why blue light electronics, including laptops and phones, can interfere with you ability to fall asleep. The light tells your body it is still daytime.
  5. If you find yourself running through your to-do list or worrying about something as you are trying to fall asleep, try something called “constructive worrying.” Three hours before your bedtime write out a to-do list for the next day or write out the problems that are causing you to worry. Then brainstorm some solutions so that your mind can feel at ease as you are trying to fall asleep. Setting aside a “worry time” helps you to get through things that need to be done and have a restful night’s sleep.
  6. Try and keep a consistent bedtime and morning schedule. This helps train your circadian rhythm.

Happy sleeping!

Editor’s note: This blog post was written by Ariana Varela, a student assistant in the Reference & Research Services Department and the Rare Book Room at Gleeson Library.

Record Setting 2017 Oscars


The 2017 Oscars aired on Sunday, February 26th, and this year’s nominations set records for Oscar history, and this year’s winners likewise set records for Oscar history. After listening to the Code Switch podcast Oscars So Black… At Least, In Documentaries, I was interested in researching the changes sparked by the #OscarsSoWhite backlash during last year’s Academy Awards.

In 2016 the announcement of the Academy’s Oscar nominees sparked the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite in response to the fact that all the actors nominated in the top four categories were white. This hashtag was meant to highlight the lack of diversity in film, along with the lack of recognition for actors, directors, and producers of color.

In response to the backlash and protests, the Academy governing board made some changes to the voting process in order to address the issue of the lack of diversity. The changes included a pledge to double female and people of color members by 2020, along with a change in the voting privilege of those who are no longer active in the industry. Members will be able to vote for 10 years and are able to renew their voting rights if they remain active in the film industry. Those who renew their membership three consecutive times will be granted lifetime voting privileges.

This year’s nominations suggest that the Academy listened to the discussions about the lack of diversity in acting nominations. In this cycle, six black actors and actresses were nominated, marking the highest number of black nominees in a single year in Oscar history. Also for the first time at least one black actor or actress is nominated in each of the four acting categories.

Also, four out of the five documentaries nominated for the category Feature Documentary were made by African American directors, featuring subject matter about African Americans. These films include 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, O.J. Made in America (which won in the category), and Life, Animated.


I set out on a mission to watch all of these documentaries before the results were announced. The most recent one I watched was I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck. This film completes James Baldwin’s unfinished book where Baldwin tells the story of America through three of his friends who were all assassinated due to their political beliefs and work within the black community. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were all important leaders for the black community during the fight for civil rights. This film, following Baldwin’s unfinished story, explores the construction of race and “blackness” by white America. If you are curious to know more about James Baldwin’s life and works, you can view and request books about him in the library’s catalog.


If you are interested in black documentaries like I am, the library provides access to Kanopy, a database where USF students, faculty, and staff can stream films and documentaries free of charge. February features an African American History section with films of multiple genres and topics.

Here at Gleeson, we congratulate Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins, Ezra Edelman, and the cast of Moonlight for their Oscar wins!

Robert Graves Collection in the Rare Book Room

During my first week as a Student Assistant in the Donohue Rare Book Room I was able to work with sources from the Robert Graves collection. This sparked my interest in learning more about the author and why the Rare Book Room would have such an impressive selection.

Robert Graves was born in Wimbledon on the 24th of July, 1895. Graves displayed a talent for writing poetry early in his life. After he finished his secondary education he received a scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford, but he instead enlisted in the Royal Welch Fusiliers after the outbreak of WWI. At the battle of the Somme he was critically wounded by fragments from an artillery shell that had exploded near him. Graves was actually reported dead due to the severity of these injuries. He recovered and was one of the rare survivors of the “lost generation.” During his recovery time Graves began working on his first novel that would remain unpublished.

Graves then began his career of writing novels, prose, and poetry. Although his novels were more commercially successful, it is stated that Graves wished to be remembered as a poet first and as a novelist second. Graves passed away on the 7th of December, 1985.

I found this information in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, one of the library’s databases.

The Robert Graves collection in the Rare Book Room features handwritten drafts of poems, doodles, and personal correspondence with family members and friends. This collection provides a glimpse into Grave’s process of writing poetry. Some of these poems would later be published in his collections Man Does, Woman Is (1964) and Collected Poems (1975).

The Rare Book Room also has copies of some of his novels including The Greek Myths (1955) and An Ancient Castle (1980), along with copies of published works of poetry

The Donohue Rare Book Room holds many interesting collections that are available for browsing. I highly encourage students and faculty alike to explore and utilize the Rare Book Room.