Friday, November 17, 2017

Our History

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.
Currently in the Library, there is a display honoring and acknowledging the Native Americans. There are books dealing with the trials and tribulations of their history, different tribal cultures, current political issues and concerns, art, and Navajo code talkers. There is fiction by Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and Craig Lesley, the beautiful, poignant poetry of Joy Harjo and Leslie Marmon Silko. and several documentaries and movies, too.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Indian County Today website to learn five ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

The First Nations Development Institute has a recommended reading list with a wide range of topics: History/Politics, Popular History, Imagery, Education and many more.

The PBS website is celebrating the history, culture, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in a special collection of films, short stories and resources from Public Television.

Standing Bear and his family. He was an Indian chief who redefined what it means to be an American.
Contributed by staff librarian Michelle Sadamori.

Call # 813.54 Si34c

Call # 813.54 Al279t

Call # FIC Er27l

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Freedom of the Press

In our last post, I wrote about Dan Rather's idea that patriotism is a dialogue. One of our great American values is the freedom of the press, a freedom that ensures an ongoing dialogue about our political process. While there are many excellent books and films that document and celebrate the freedom of the press, and even challenge it, critics generally agree that All the President's Men is one of the best.

All the President's Men (1976) tells the story of the two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who cracked the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon's presidency. The critical consensus about the film, according to the review site Rotten Tomatoes, is that it is "a taut, solidly acted paean to the benefits of a free press and the dangers of unchecked power, made all the more effective by its origins in real-life events."

So it's a good movie. But what do we learn about our political process by watching the film?

We learn that, as Bob Woodward has often said, "democracy dies in darkness," that just as dangerous as Rather's "monologue of nationalism" is the silence of our government. In order for the people to have a voice in the direction of our nation, the people must be informed about government actions and policies in a consistent, honest, and unbiased manner.

All of this is easy to say, but much harder to execute. It is up to us, as the American people, to advocate for a free press while holding that same press accountable:

When we see a shocking news headline, we should think before we click.

When we see a questionable article, we should self-check the news.

When we see fake news, not only should we call it out, we should search for the real story. A great place to start your search is at the local library!

Want more? Pair All the President's Men with Frost/Nixon (2008). Both are available at the Library!

A DVD cover of "All the President's Men." Text reads "The most devastating detective story of this century."
Call # DVD 070.92 A1517al
A DVD cover of "Frost/Nixon." Text reads "Ron Howard's finest film yet."
Call # DVD 973.924 F9295f

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What Unites Us

Dan Rather begins his new book What Unites Us with a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville,
The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nations, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.
This month in the Library, we’re focusing on just this theme. “We are a nation not only of dreamers, but also of fixers,” writes Rather (17). When we see injustice and inequity in our country, the best tool available to us is our own voices, not raised in a monologue, as Rather characterizes nationalism, but in a dialogue, in true patriotism (15). Our patriotic dialogue is sure to include dissent, but it is only by asking the hard questions and by hearing—and understanding—the hard answers that we can better our society. Throughout the month, we will be posting about books that explore our political process, that celebrate “what unites us,” and that emphasize the power of our democratic process. We will close the month with a community movie night at which we will watch the political drama All the Way.

Until then, enjoy this interview with Rather originally published in Publisher's Weekly.

Texas Book Festival 2017: Dan Rather Talks to PW About 'What Unites Us'

By Craig Teicher | Oct 13, 2017

Photo by Ben Baker

In the Trump era, the news has become infinitely more divisive, confusing, and addictive. Whatever one's beliefs or political leanings, the swarms of notifications, sound bites, and updates that bombard us are so dizzying it can feel impossible to know where to look. Which is why we need Dan Rather, festival headliner and winner of this year's Texas Writer Award, more than ever.

Since the time of J.F.K.'s assassination, through his storied career as anchor for CBS News Tonight, to the present day, Rather has been one of the major voices of the news—the real news. In his new collection of essays, What Unites Us, he advocates for sanity and seeks common ground in a divided America. He has plenty of wisdom to share, especially about how to read the news.

How can Americans sort through the many overwhelming feeds of news they're exposed to every day?

There was a time, not too long ago, you could expect to tune into the evening news on one of the big three networks and get a pretty good feel on what was going on in the day. That's no longer the case, so you need to remind yourself it requires some work. It's very important to check a wide variety of places—not just find a place where you think they reflect your biases. This may be the most important part. And the news consumer today needs to be skeptical. Never cynical, but skeptical. Particularly when something is on social media.

Would you say that what we're experiencing socially and politically right now is unprecedented?

We are unquestionably in an unprecedented era. Not just for journalism but for our country as a whole. It does feel completely different. When people say to me, "This doesn't feel like anything we've been through before," my answer is, "Yes. It feels that way to you because that's the way it is." There's never been a presidency like this presidency. There has been so much chaos, even dysfunction. Facts are not debatable. Water does not run uphill. And yes, two and two equals four. There's no alternative fact to that.

Social media has played such a huge role in political life. Lately, you've started to use it much more heavily. How do you feel about President Trump's use of social media?

President Trump is our first totally social media president. President Obama experimented with it. Franklin Roosevelt was our first radio president—there was radio before Franklin Roosevelt came into office, but he marshaled radio to further his political agenda. Kennedy was the first real television president. Television had been around before, but President Eisenhower didn't understand it, didn't like it. So Kennedy was the first television president. Now, Trump is our first through-and-through social media president. His Twitter offerings have very often set the news agenda for any given day, any given week, any given month.

In such a polarized time, what do you hope readers will take away from What Unites Us?

The book is not meant to provide answers. My hope is to start and keep going a conversation—including a conversation about what, in the second decade of the 21st-century, patriotism is. I think there are core values in the United States in which the overwhelming majority still believes. Things like the right to vote, the right to dissent, free press, and the rule of law. The national conversation has gotten in many ways so toxic, and we're so divided over so many things. Not enough people stop to say, "I disagree with you about a hundred things, but can we find one thing or two things that we agree on? Common ground?

A version of this article appeared in the 10/16/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Dan Rather on 'What Unites Us'

What Unites Us will be available soon at the TVCC Library! 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Books Week

Every year, the TVCC Library joins with the American Library Association and libraries across the United States in celebrating Banned Books Week.  What is Banned Books Week? Most of us have heard of banning books or burning books in an historical context... something you may have read in a history textbook yet doesn't seem relevant today. What many don't realize is the practice of banning books (removing them from libraries and school curriculum) still happens today. Not only does it still happen, but it is happening in the United States. One of the most fundamental aspects of this country is the freedoms we all have which are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.  As a society, we celebrate those freedoms, stand on them, defend them. One of those freedoms is the Freedom to Read, to read and to think whatever you choose. Book banning defies that freedom by removing access to books or other materials because individuals may find some of the content offensive.
The list of books that have been challenged or removed from library shelves over the years is astounding.
For example, the American Dictionary was removed from a library because some of the words defined were deemed inappropriate to all readers. Little Red Riding Hood by the Grimm brothers was removed from school libraries because, "The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol."

Next week please join with us in celebrating your freedom to read and choose for yourselves.  What to expect next week...

  • You will find lots of information about banned books and a great selection of them in the Library.  
  • Watch the ALA youtube channel to hear other banned book readers and authors in the Library throughout the week. 
  • Enter the Library's BBW drawing here on the blog, in person in the Library, on Twitter #TVCCreads, or on our Facebook page to be entered to win prizes at the end of the week! Do this by telling us what your favorite banned book is.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Finding peace, sharing kindness (part2)

With the kindness rocks project, we are sharing kindness out into the world.  Some days, admittedly, that's not so easy.  In fact, there are many days where you may just feel like you have little to give or just really be in need of some care and attention yourself.  One way to do that is to slow down for a moment, to take some time to connect with the world around you, the people who live in it, and with yourself.  In zen master Thich Nhat Hahn's book Finding Peace in Every Step, he shares some insight into this process.
“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

This year, the Library will practice finding that peace and connection with each other by incorporating the ancient art of the mandala into our space.  Mandala, which in its original Sanskrit means circle, is a practice that is integrated into both Hinduism and today's Buddhist religions as a method of connecting to oneself, to that world around us which Hahn speaks of, and to find peace.  While there are all types of mandalas to be found today, the practice of creating one is best done in community.  Each person comes and works, contributes to the creation of the whole, and the end result is something beautiful created only by coming together.  That is the circle, the life, which is the meaning of the mandala. 
During the 2017-18 school year, you will find a large mandala in the Library.  We invite you to come, sit, color a while, help create the work of art that will represent each of you and us as a whole.  Any time you need a break or just to connect with the world outside of yourself, you will find space and peace in the Library.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Finding peace, sharing kindness

It's almost here, the start of Fall quarter and the 2017-18 school year.  Each year, as fall approaches, I think about what the year will bring and what hopes I have for it.  While there is much about the year to come that is beyond my control, beyond your control, I do believe that we have the potential to affect how it feels to us. We may not be able to change how those around us act, what we can control is what we put into the world. 
There's a project that has spread around the world that we are going to be a part of and hope that you all will join with us too.  It is the Kindness Rocks project.  The paint a rock, put a message of hope on it, and place it somewhere in the world for someone else to find.  Sounds simple right?  It is.  It's a very simple and small act that sends life and light into the world around us.  Here's how it all got started.
If you need some help getting started, there are rocks and paints and inspiration to be found in the TVCC Library.  Come by anytime and paint one.  Do it today.  Do it tomorrow.  Do it any moment when you could use a little hope or encouragement yourself.  Paint a rock on your own and share it with us.  Take a pic of your rock, or you with your rock, and share it here.  Share it on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter with #tvccrocks #kindnessrocks. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Never Again II

After the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the incarceration of over 100,000 persons of Japanese heritage. Most of them were American citizens. In February of 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 (the image above), an order that gave military commanders free rein to set apart areas as military zones, to exclude "any and all persons". These zones were mainly on the West Coast, in California, parts of Oregon,Washington and Arizona. The U.S. government focused mainly on those of Japanese heritage as "any and all persons", removed them from their homes and livelihoods and sent them to various internment camps or centers around the country. The internment lasted from 1942 until 1946.

Map of World War II Japanese American internment camps.png(source: Wikipedia)

Beginning in 2005, TVCC's Oral History Project, under the direction of Gerry Hampshire, sought to record the events that violated the civil rights of those who lived through the internment.

  (Photo taken by Dorothea Lange. Source: Wikipedia)

( Source: Wikipedia)

Our library has the collection of interviews of Japanese-Americans, conducted by the Project, it includes the recollections of a number of Treasure Valley residents who were deprived of their equal standing as American citizens as well as their civil rights. These citizens' lives were affected not only by the attack on Pearl Harbor, but also the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As you see the images of the aftermath in Hiroshima during the exhibit that continues at the Performing Arts Center through May 13th, we invite you to watch and listen to the experiences of Japanese-American citizens who lived through the Internment.

In recent years, when events have prompted suggestions of interning other citizens, such as Arab-Americans, some of the Japanese-Americans who endured in the camps, are the first to come out and speak up and say "Never again!" Their voices continue to be needed and valued as we continue to live in a turbulent world.